This NFL and fantasy football season has simply been amazing when it comes to injury. This past Monday, I gave you a list of the new walking wounded who didn’t make it out of Week 9 standing, but the bigger blow came out of left field yesterday.
Andrew Luck will miss two to six weeks with a lacerated kidney and a torn abdominal muscle. Most of us weren’t aware of it because Luck didn’t show any signs of serious pain or remove himself in the fourth quarter after the scramble that caused the injury to occur. Now the Colts and many fantasy teams — like one of yours truly — are left without a quarterback.
While the Colts have an answer in Matt Hasselbeck, he is not the best option for fantasy football, especially down the playoff stretch. You can wheel and deal and get yourself into a position that you have a mid-level quarterback, but what happens if you have to play the waiver wire?
Rest assured, there are still some options out there. Let’s take a look at a few that — if you are like myself and only have Tyrod Taylor on your bench behind Luck — could save your season.
Luck was on a bye this week anyway, so hopefully you started scouring the waiver wire to find your replacement. One guy that can make an impact this week is Kirk Cousins. He is playing the New Orleans Saints and DeSean Jackson is back, so that means he has his full arsenal. The Saints allow the third most yards per game (292.2) and have allowed the most touchdowns through the air by a landslide (24) while only picking it off four times all year.
Now, Cousins isn’t an end all solution, but he does have some other favorable matchups over the next few weeks that he could prove to be serviceable. He has the Giants (303 ypg, 17 TDs allowed) and Bears (17 TD and just 4 INT) after a game against the Panthers. The Redskins have little in the run department, and have no faith in any of their backups, so Cousins could make a nice play over the next few weeks.
He is only owned in roughly 20% of leagues and is started in less than 10%. Cousins is out there, go get him.
Another interesting pick could be Brian Hoyer. Hoyer is owned in about 20% of leagues and currently started in less than 5%. The Texans aren’t good, but like the Redskins, they have little to offer in the backfield.
What the Texans have shown is an ability to play to the end, no matter what the score. That sometimes is gold to a fantasy team. They have already fallen behind by 40 points twice this season and with the Patriots and Bengals still on the slate, it could happen again. He, like Cousins, has the Saints on the menu as well, and that is intriguing.
Plus he has DeAndre Hopkins, who is an absolute beast. Hoyer hasn’t posted below 16.9 points in over five weeks, which is more than you can say for other available options like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Alex Smith.
Speaking of Smith, he is out there in a lot of leagues, owned roughly near 35% throughout fantasy football. Smith always comes with a bit of caution. He is very good at being a smart quarterback and not turning the ball over. That is great for real football, but doesn’t always translate to fantasy football. Smith has never been good at throwing touchdowns, and that’s were the real gravy in QB scoring comes from.
That being said, if you are in a position already to make the playoffs, Smith may be an enticing option. The Chiefs square off against three of the worst passing defenses in Weeks 14, 15 and 16, which is more commonly know as the fantasy playoffs. He may not be a guy to start this week in Denver, but he may be a guy to snag now and stash for favorable matchups down the home stretch.
A lot of people dropped Josh McCown (owned by as low as 7% in ESPN leagues) when he went down with injury. He is getting the reigns back as soon as this week if he is healthy. The Browns aren’t good, but he does have some nice targets in Travis Benjamin and Gary Barnidge a.k.a Barn-kowski. Duke Johnson is also very good out of the backfield.
If McCown is healthy, he has some favorable matchups against the Steelers, Ravens and 49ers over the next few weeks, so rolling the dice isn’t a terrible idea. Just don’t pick him up expecting those monster few weeks he had earlier in the season.
The pickings are thin, but you can definitely squeak by and make a playoff run with some of the above as your quarterback. Most trade deadlines are a week away, so get ready to wheel and deal and make some hot waiver wire picks this week.