Week Five Mailbag- The Injury Bug Bites
Q: Which major injury hurts more, J.J. Watt or Odell Beckham Jr.?
A: Both of these injuries are absolutely devastating to their respective teams. On one hand, J.J. Watt is one of the best defensive players in the league, using his incredible athleticism to claw his way through offensive lines to disrupt the quarterback to great effect. In 2015, the last time he played a full season, he had 17.5 sacks, but stats don’t adequately describe Watt’s impact in Houston. He is a leader, both on and off the field, and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone with even a passing connection to the NFL who doesn’t respect him.
On the other hand, you have Odell Beckham Jr., who is one of the most exciting players in the NFL. He makes catches that, even after watching three replays, you still can’t work out how he was able to do it. I talked about him in last week’s article, and his impact for the New York Giants can’t be understated. The Giants have scored 10 touchdowns thus far this season, with Beckham being responsible for three. No other player had scored more than one.
Both injuries hurt, and both teams will suffer for them. This call comes down to the intangibles and without a win in five games, Beckham’s injury just piles on the misery for the Giants. I can see their season to completely falling to pieces now. Conversely, Watt’s loss may galvanize the Texans, and they may rally to a few more wins.
Q: Which receiver has the most fantasy potential for the Buffalo Bills with Jordan Matthews out?
Though I don’t see any of these four being a viable fantasy option going forward, those in large leagues and desperate need – I’m looking at you, Odell Beckham owner – should lean towards rookie Zay Jones. The Bill’s clearly like Jones, drafting him early in the second round of the draft. He has also dominated the targets out of this group of four, nearly tripling the nine targets the Andre Holmes has seen through five games. He does only have five catches thus far this season, which is concerning, but no other receiver listed here has more than two except Holmes with six.
Despite the miserable production thus far the Bill’s have to throw to someone, and they evidently want that to be Jones. He should outperform his competition going forward based on volume alone.
Q: What will the Indianapolis Colts look like when (if?) Andrew Luck comes back?
A: This saga has been going on far too long. Before the season started, there were reports that Luck was a possibility to play even week one, with Coach Jim Irsay quoted as “not ruling it out”. This obviously didn’t happen, so the timetable changed, this time to just a couple of weeks. Now, five weeks later, multiple sources are reporting that Luck was be back to practice this week, but his return could still be a month away. Regardless of the confusion about the injury and his recovery, I think Luck will transform the Colts when he does eventually return, though Indianapolis fans will just have to hope it isn’t too late.
The reason I think Luck will have this big an impact is based on his history, especially when returning from injury. Since being drafted number 1 overall in the 2012 draft, Luck went on to lead the NFL in touchdowns in 2014. After suffering a lacerated kidney that forced him out of the majority of the 2015 season, Luck came back to start 2016 on fire, throwing four touchdowns in the first game of the season, and six in the next four games after that. He finished the 2016 season, during which he had shoulder pain from a recurring injury, with over 4,200 yards and 32 touchdowns in 15 games. When he returns, hopefully injury free, he will absolutely help the Colts win games.
Q: Who is Fantasy Football’s biggest underachiever so far this season?
A: I don’t even see anyone else in contention for this label except for last season’s number two overall point scorer, quarterback Matt Ryan. Ryan had an unbelievable season a year ago, and did everything he could to lead his Atlanta Falcons to a Super Bowl victory, coming within minutes of making this a reality. Ryan threw for 38 scores, and put himself 13th all time in single season passing yards, falling less than 60 yards short of 5,000.
2016 was a dream year for Ryan, but this one has been a nightmare thus far. He has just five touchdowns, and five interceptions to go with them in just four games. According to ESPN’s fantasy rankings, he is all the way down at 21 on the quarterback landscape. This means that he still wouldn’t make a fantasy roster in the largest of leagues, statistically speaking. This doesn’t mean Ryan won’t turn things around, but he’s been under a lot of pressure from opposing defenses so far this season, getting sacked eight times already. My advice would be to move on from Ryan as a fantasy option, and try to recover with an alternative. I suggest Jared Goff who is tenth in ESPN’s rankings so far this season, but is owned in less than 25% of leagues at the time of writing.
Last Week’s Recap:
Week Four Mailbag Here
Bills tail off
The Bills lost to the Cincinnati Bengals this week, and lost their leading receiver. This smells like trouble, expect them to continue in this direction.
Giants bounce back
Not sure this one is really my fault, because Beckham was a big reason I thought the Giants could rebound. With him out for the year, the Giants outlook is bleak.
Jury’s still out:
Patriots go deep into the playoffs despite their defense
The playoffs aren’t here yet, but the Pats did add a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even more encouraging, the defense held them to just two touchdowns in a 19-14 win.
Statistics all from Football Reference, unless otherwise noted.