Fantasy Focus: Eagles' Vick, 49ers' Smith KO'd with concussions
Michael Vick was taken to the locker room midway through the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion. The Eagles also say that Vick has an eye injury. The last play that involved Vick did not appear to have any significant hits, but concussions can occur without a major hit. Nick Foles has entered the game and would take over if Vick is unable to continue. Some have called for Foles to take over regardless, so any injury might make it easier on embattled Andy Reid to make a change.
Vick will be evaluated according to the NFL's protocol and would be eligible to return if he is found not to have suffered a concussion. The secondary eye injury is unknown at this point, though Vick did not appear to be in significant distress. Vick does wear a visor, so direct trauma is more difficult.
The NFL's concussion specialists have recently called for new regulations, including a limitation on return to play after being suspected of any concussive hits. This suggestion has not been taken up yet and Vick, like any player, could return once cleared by the team. It came out at the same conference that the NFL's concussion observers have called for over 100 checks of players observed to take hits on the field.
If Vick is out for any significant period of time, Foles is a solid pickup and a near-must-have handcuff as Vick and Reid have come under fire. Foles' presence should help LeSean McCoy, who has been a bit forgotten and has had the same problems with line play that have plagued Vick. The WRs are likely to see some dropoff from Vick to Foles, but again, we will need to see how Foles handles the poor line play.
Alex Smith has been knocked out of today's game between the 49ers and Rams with a concussion. Smith was hit in the head on a play where he could have slid, but instead went for extra yards. The physical Rams defense has been especially tough on QBs this season. With Smith out, Colin Kaepernick will take over for Jim Harbaugh's Niners.
Smith was quickly taken to the sidelines and was being evaluated on the bench by team personnel. There was very little question about it being a concussion evaluation, with no sign that there was any other body part being checked for injury. The clearest sign that a concussion was apparent is that an athletic trainer immediately took Smith's helmet. Trainers will often do this to make sure that players do not try to sneak back in.
Smith has no known history of concussions. He will be subject to the NFL's concussion policy and will not be allowed to return until he has cleared all testing and been cleared to return by doctors. In the meantime, Kaepernick has shown himself an adept runner. Fantasy players should pick him up as a handcuff for Smith, but should adjust the WRs - Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham - and TE Vernon Davis down until Kaepernick proves he can handle starting.