- Will Carroll, ESPN Fantasy Games
Things get crazy this week. The fantasy playoffs kickoff for most leagues this week, just as the Baseball Winter Meetings are going on in Orlando. Keeping in the loop on two sports is a challenge, but injuries are even more key to winning and losing now that every game counts ... more. I guess if the NFL's lead doctor, Elliott Pellman, can pull double duty -- he's here in Orlando, as am I -- then so can I. Let's get to it:
Chester Taylor has been beaten up all season, part of the price of becoming a feature back. He's adjusted and remained effective, but a rib injury might really slow him down, just as the fantasy playoffs start up. If the injury is, as expected, a cartilage injury, then Taylor's pain tolerance is the key. Cartilage injuries tend to linger and can easily be exacerbated by normal activities, let alone by getting hit at train-wreck speeds. We'll see if Taylor is able to practice this week and if the team makes any adjustments. If you have Taylor on your fantasy squad, be ready with a backup just in case.
As of Tuesday morning, the Browns still aren't sure if Charlie Frye has a broken wrist. Reports from Cleveland are conflicting, but the result is largely the same. Unless the injury gets significantly better by Thursday, Frye is definitely out this week. With the wrist still very painful and swollen, that's not the sound of something that's getting better. The short week caused by the new slate of Thursday games is going to be interesting. Heading into Thursday, some teams won't be able to get their guys healthy, game plans won't be as tight, and fatigue may open more players up to injury. On the other side, teams could benefit from extra rest coming out of Thursday games. The data sample's not there yet, but it's something to watch.
3hESPN Fantasy staff
3dFantasy Football Insiders
11hBrando Simeo Starkey, The Undefeated staff writer