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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fantasy Football - What do the injuries mean?

When I as a kid one of the best candies you could buy was called Fun Dip.  I don't even know if they still have it, so allow me to explain.

Fun Dip included a hard, white candy stick and three pockets of flavored sugar that was like what you would find in a Pixie Stick.  There was just a lot more flavored sugar than you would get in a Pixie Stick.  And, did I mention there were three pockets of flavor?

You lick the stick and then dip it into the flavored sugar and then lick it again.  Grape was my favorite with lime a close second.  Cherry was clearly number three and only used in case of an emergency.  The inevitable emergency always came, though... No more grape or lime.

And when cherry was gone you had to eat the stick.  A hard substance with a vaguely vanilla-like flavor.  It wasn't all that bad once it was your last option because the flavor was all gone.

Injuries in the NFL are like running out of grape flavor.  You immediately as yourself if there still some lime flavor left...  or do you have to resort to cherry?  If the cherry is gone, maybe you can at least eat the stick?

And, it goes without saying that there have been a lot of big injuries already this summer in the NFL.  A few big names and several more lesser names that still might create a big impact for fantasy leagues.  Sometimes there is some lime flavor left.  Sometimes you have to eat the stick.  Let's examine.

Dennis Pitta - The obvious benefactor here is Ed Dickson.  He jumps up in the tight end rankings, but he isn't the difference maker that Pitta could be.  But, with him gone and the loss of Anquan Boldin the Ravens will be looking for someone to make those short to intermediate pass receptions.  That guy is not Torrey Smith and definitely not Jacoby Jones, so who is left?  Dickson, right?  Yes, I suppose so... if you are going to go with the process of elimination.  That is why Dickson has bumped up the tight end list, but I wonder if this increases the value of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce.  It is possible that they will lean on those two even more now that there is an even greater void in the short-range pass game.  So, Dickson is probably a cherry flavor and the already grapiness of Rice gets even sweeter.

Danario Alexander - How many knee injuries can one guy have?  I don't know, but I do know that Danario Alexander is glad we don't have four legs like most mammals.  So, where do we go from here?  Vincent Brown is the obvious choice to get more targets, but he is a guy that missed most of last season.  He's a good flier at your WR4 position but I wouldn't count on him.  This also drops Philip Rivers a few more notches, too, all the way into hard candy stick country.

Jeremy Maclin - A lot of people were excited to see what Maclin would do in the Chip Kelly offense.  People have been wondering who the quarterback will be, how much work backup running back Bryce Brown will get, and how many targets go to the top receivers.  Well, with Maclin out more of those looks figure to got to DeSean Jackson and while Jackson hasn't lived up to his immense potential he remains a dynamic threat on the field.  More targets means more pitches at which to take home run hacks.  In other words, getting the ball to Jackson more often will give him needed opportunities to score more often.  I'd say that the loss of Maclin could give Jackson an additional 200 yards receiving and maybe three more touchdowns.

Michael Crabtree - He might not be out for the full NFL season, but he does figure to be gone for the full regular season in fantasy.  Even if he returns in week 14 you aren't going to feel comfortable starting him, so it's best to stay away.  The wide receiver position in San Francisco is a bit of a mess and I don't think anyone really knows where they will turn.  They could bring in a free agent off of the street, so this situation remains fluid.  As it is, they have Mario Manningham, A.J. Jenkins, and Kyle Williams at the top of the depth chart to go along with presumed slot guy Anquan Boldin.  Boldin probably won't see much more action with the loss of Crabtree, so someone else will have to emerge.  Manningham and Williams are candidates to start the season on the PUP list and Jenkins disappointed as a rookie last year.  Your guess is as good as anyone's, so there is profit potential here.  Monitor the situation and keep an eye out to see who is building a rapport with Colin Kaepernick.  One last note, I believe that Vernon Davis has a lot of value in this offense and might see a small bump from the loss of Crabtree.  Davis had a poor regular season last year but a great post-season... My opinion is that Kaepernick and Davis started to develop some chemistry and they keep it going into this season.