If you are like me, you spent most of Sunday roaming around the house never too far from a TV. If you are especially lucky, you have the NFL ticket and get to watch every game (or at least flip to other games when your wife’s Dallas Cowboy game is on commercial!). A few players go down throughout the day, some serious and others just cramps and such from being tired. Then Ben Roethlisberger goes out of the game and you start to panic a little, but you realize you have Drew Brees on the bench just for this occasion. Yes, you may lose this week’s match up, but you will be fine. Then the latest NFL injury update scrolls across the bottom of your screen… Drew Brees injured his hand and was out!
What to do with this injury news
First things first, don’t panic! Especially with the above scenario. There are a lot of quality quarterbacks that will put up decent numbers on a fantasy basis, since the NFL has evolved onto a passing league. After you’ve calmed yourself down, wait for the news from the team, which typically will not be until the next day. Immediately after the game the coaches are more concerned with game tape and will give the reporters the same answer, player X will be evaluated tomorrow.
For the case of Big Ben, he is out for the year, so in the case of leagues that draft new players every year he can be safely dropped. There is such a thing called a keeper league in which you carry over certain players to the next fantasy season, but even then outside of possibly Patrick Mahomes you wouldn’t “keep” a quarterback (and I wouldn’t keep him either, we will talk more about keeper leagues in a future post).
In the situation of Drew Brees, the first reports out of New Orleans said he was having thumb surgery and would be out for about 6 weeks. Then his head coach, Sean Payton, said that they were getting a second opinion and there was no time table for his return. If you have watched NFL football for any length of time you know this is normal, but unless you are a fan of the New Orleans Saints it didn’t affect you much. Now that he is on your fantasy football team, your perspective changes a little.
So you have the injury information – now what?
In the case of Ben you can safely drop him and start looking over the waiver wire to either replace him at quarterback, or add another player from a different position that your team may be lacking. Drew Brees injury history has been favorable, with him only missing 1 game due to injury in the past 13 years with the Saints. He could miss 6 games now, or it could be more. If you are unable to find a suitable replacement on the waiver wire, you may want to keep him stashed on your bench so that he can come back when healthy. These are the decisions that must be made, and could be the difference between making your fantasy football playoffs or your season being over before it even got started.
What if my injured player was not a quarterback?
I lost Tyreek Hill last week to injury, and he was my first receiver picked in my draft. Obviously he was a big part of my success for this year. He is supposed to come back sometime this year so obviously I kept him and he is now sitting on my bench, patiently waiting til he comes back to play. What to do in the meantime? Luckily I had other receivers and running backs that I could use for replacements and my flex spot players (running back or receiver). It is definitely a drop off in production, but my plan is to use other players who normally don’t put up the same kind of numbers against teams that have been letting up a lot of fantasy point. So basically anybody playing the Miami Dolphins!
Whether the player is a quarterback or not, the ideal situation would be to get that players back up. If you have a high usage player such as Ezekiel Elliot or Saquon Barkley, you may have thought ahead and picked up their back up just in case of an injury situation. Unfortunately if you did not do this beforehand, everybody else in your league will be trying to get their back up as soon as they are injured, so unless you are one of the top teams in the waiver order, you will probably not be able to get these players after the fact. If you have room on your bench, this is never a bad idea to do for your top players.
Help! There’s nobody on the waiver wire
Another option is always trades. Find a player that has too many of a particular position and see if you have something that you could send them in a trade. In my case I need a receiver, but with the quarterback injuries over the weekend I am sure there are other fantasy teams in my league that need a quarterback. So it is time to look over those teams and see if there is something you want/need. Then send them a trade offer! Sometimes it will take a little back and forth, but most of the time a deal can be worked out. And if it doesn’t work with one team, don’t stop trying. Look at other teams, even if they didn’t have a big name quarterback go down. You never know what others are looking for.
Sometimes you may need to wait a week or two before other fantasy teams are ready to make the trade. Keep in communication, be ready to trade when that person in finally ready to make a deal. Who knows, in a week or two something else could have happened to that other team, and you could get even more in the trade.
As you already know, every team in the NFL will have to deal with injuries throughout the season. However now that you have a fantasy football team yourself, you need to be aware of these injuries and be able to plan ahead if possible. As stated earlier, Drew Brees injury history was positive until Sunday, having only missed 1 game due to injury in his time with the Saints. Carson Wentz on the other hand has had his season ended early in each of his last 2 years with injuries. So if you have him on your team, it would be a good idea to have another quality qb on your team.
As always, please leave any questions or comments below!