Each year, fantasy owners need to wrestle with the decision whether to draft hurt or suspended players. Owners constantly weigh the pros and cons of drafting players who may be elite talents at their position, but will miss a significant chunk of the fantasy regular season. The 2017 season has been no exception and Hurricane Irma has thrown us an additional curve ball. Whether you planned for your player’s absence or not, there are ways to persevere. This article highlights a few of the players who will create some adversity for your fantasy rosters and recommends some potential solutions for you.
Ezekiel Elliott (Looming 6 game suspension) & Doug Martin (3 game suspension delayed by Hurricane Irma) & Jay Ajayi (Week 1 game postponed by Hurricane Irma) – We can all breathe easy for one week, because Zeke can play against the Giants on Sunday Night Football. However, his week 2 status is completely up in the air. I have a feeling we will be in wait and see mode with Elliott for a few weeks and we won’t have any clarity on his 2017 status until we find out if his restraining order is granted. With Doug Martin on the other hand, if you were planning on using him starting in week 4, that plan has now been delayed until week 5 due to the postponement of the Tampa Bay and Miami game. This situation leaves Elliott and Martin owners in very similar situations. If you already have Darren McFadden or Jacquizz Rodgers to help you get by, then good for you. If not, I would monitor a few running back situations around the league, one of which being the Ravens. Terrance West is the starting running back in Baltimore, but he hardly has a stranglehold over the position. If West were to go down or fail to perform, Buck Allen may be a name to monitor heading into week 2 waivers.
In the alternative, you could be proactive in your efforts to mitigate the impact of having Martin and Elliott on your team even if you have McFadden or Rodgers by trying to figure out week 2 now before you find out it will be a problem for you. Heading into week 1 we do not know if Ty Montgomery will be able to stay healthy or if he will be the full-time back. Jamaal Williams is available in 76% of Yahoo leagues, so you may want to snag him in the event he ends up getting 10-12 touches a game or takes on Green Bay’s goal line duties. If Williams has a legitimate role this Sunday, you will be in a bidding war with everybody else in your league to get him. Theo Riddick is available in 43% of Yahoo leagues (he is most likely only available in standard leagues) and he will get consistent work in Detroit’s passing game giving him tremendous value if he scores a touchdown. Seattle’s running back group is as cloudy as it gets, but the one back who does have a defined role is CJ Prosise. It appears drafters were scared away from Prosise because of the looming four-headed monster in Seattle and he is available in 67% of Yahoo leagues. Given your alternatives, Prosise may save you for a few weeks in the event Elliott needs to sit out. If you only need a running back for one week because you are without Jay Ajayi, I would recommend going with Duke Johnson against the Steelers over the other options, because the Browns are likely going to have to abandon the run and pass the ball in order to keep up with, or play catch up with the Steelers. Duke Johnson is available in 37% of all Yahoo leagues.
Andrew Luck (Rehabilitating) & Jameis Winston (Hurricane Irma) – If you thought you were being sneaky (like me) in mid August drafts and snagged Andrew Luck in double-digit rounds thinking you just stole a top 5 fantasy quarterback, you may be hitting the panic button right now after seeing news that he was ruled out for week 1. Similarly, if you drafted Jameis Winston as your fantasy QB, you are also feeling the squeeze after Hurricane Irma put a damper on your team’s week 1 fantasy outlook. Each league is different regarding how many QB’s get drafted and rostered. In deeper leagues, or less savvy leagues, owners may have stock piled quarterbacks because of either scarcity or because they are simply novice and want QB’s because they score the most points. Sam Bradford may be the best option available for some people. In more savvy leagues or leagues with shallower benches, Carson Palmer may very well be available. Palmer is a great option this week against the Lions.
If you are desperate for a week 1 starter, you may want to consider Sam Bradford. Bradford faces off against a brutal Saints defense on Monday night football and if the Saints put up points, Bradford might be in a shootout. I don’t like Bradford at all, but under the circumstances, he may be a streaming option that could save you. Bradford is available in 79% of Yahoo leagues. It almost pains me to say this, but Jared Goff may also be a viable option against a brutal Colts defense who may not have Vontae Davis at corner. I know Goff isn’t great, but if he can’t get it done against the Colts, who can he get it done against? Goff is available in 94% of Yahoo leagues and if Bradford isn’t available, you may want to consider him. I would consider playing Goff over a low upside option such as Alex Smith (who is also available in 82% of Yahoo leagues) because of Goff’s enticing matchup.
Willie Snead (3 game suspension) – After a hot start and disappointing finish to the 2016 season, people have cooled off on Marvin Jones. If you drafted Willie Snead to be your WR3 or flex and are left in a tough spot until week 4, you may want to consider Marvin Jones. Jones is only owned in 66% of Yahoo leagues and although he doesn’t have the best matchups during the first 3 weeks (Arizona, NYG and Atlanta) he is still a big play, red zone threat who plays in a high volume passing offense with a solid QB in Matthews Stafford. In a pinch, I want to play guys who play in good offenses.
Mike Evans (Hurricane Irma) & DeVante Parker (Hurricane Irma) – If you need a receiver to replace Evans or Parker this week, look to the Buffalo Bills. Jordan Matthews is available in 32% of Yahoo leagues while Zay Jones is available in 56% of Yahoo leagues. Although they both play in a poor offense, the fact of the matter is you need a guy to step up for one week and the Bills face off against the Jets. The Jets secondary is absolutely terrible with Morris Claiborne, Juston Burris and Buster Skrine at corner. The Jets have a decent front seven so if the Bills are going to move the ball it should be through the air.
If you are really in a pinch at the wide receiver position you could consider picking up Robert Woods. Woods was listed as a starter on the Rams initial depth chart and although he’s playing with Jared Goff, he will be facing off against the Colts brutal defense who may be without Vontae Davis. I am not suggesting you start Woods, but in extreme circumstances, he may not be the worst option given he is only owned in 7% of all Yahoo leagues.