- Will Carroll, ESPN Fantasy Games
I'm not a big fan of playoff bye weeks, even when I'm getting them, as I did in two of my three leagues. (The other starts the playoffs next week without a bye.) I watched the games without the same intensity, without the interest in some of the off-games. There were as many injuries as ever as most teams could care less about your playoffs and are much, much more worried about their playoffs. Next week for most, those byes are done and we can get to the nail-biting work of winning fantasy playoff games. Injuries, even the small ones, take on greater significance. Knowing that Chester Taylor was out or that Willis McGahee was in might have made the difference for you last week, but then again, readers of this column knew that. We'll try to do it again this week across platforms. Here's a question for you -- now that the NFL is noticing that fantasy football is a big driver for its popularity, how long will it take them to acknowledge the fantasy playoffs? While you ponder that, let's get to the injuries:
The Lions were eliminated from playoff contention about the time that teams broke training camp, but Kevin Jones has been a part of winning fantasy teams this season. Now, as the fantasy playoffs heat up, Jones is headed down with a Lisfranc injury in his foot. This is the same injury that ended Brian Westbrook's season in 2005, so the positives and negatives hold true for the comparison. While Jones' season is over, he should be able to come back effectively next season as Westbrook has. While Jones will see a specialist today to see if surgery will be necessary, the Lions will look for a replacement. Jones did his best work in space this season, dodging the defenders that a banged up line wasn't blocking and effectively creating yardage, Barry Sanders style. I don't think Arlen Harris has that same type of skill, so he's not a good fantasy option.
It was the hamstring that did in Tommie Harris, not the knee. Harris' MRIs showed that the hamstring tear was so close to complete that it would not heal without surgical intervention. The Bears placed him on IR before their Monday game and he'll have surgery as early as Tuesday according to reports. Harris should make a solid recovery, though there are not many data points for this type of player with this type of injury. As surprising as it is to say about a tackle, the Bears will miss his speed. Harris was perhaps the fastest inside rusher in the game, according to an NFL source. The injuries continue to stack up for the Bears defense, but the special teams continue to make them a good fantasy option.
Will Carroll breaks down the latest injury news in the NFL.