FANTASY PLAYS: QB injuries bring chaos to lineups
Interesting times for fantasy owners.
All of them will start Sunday, injecting all sorts of volatility into fantasy lineups. Owners suddenly have to weigh the value of starting wide receivers and tight ends now catching passes from second-string quarterbacks, many of whom are being thrust into difficult situations with little NFL experience.
The most notable change is in Denver, where Peyton Manning is sidelined with an array of injuries that contributed to one of the worst performances by a quarterback ever. It's not clear how long he will be out, and his brutal showing was a sad reminder of the impending end of a glorious career, especially for fantasy owners. Manning's record-setting numbers year in and year out coincided with the surge in popularity of fantasy football, which he no doubt helped fuel.
Hasselbeck came into the league the same year as Manning, and he is seeing a different fate than his 1998 draft classmate. He is taking over in Indianapolis for the injured Andrew Luck.
They are among the five teams who will have new quarterbacks this week. Here is a look at the fantasy scenarios for each team:
Don't press the panic button if you own Denver receivers. Osweiler has experienced the ideal situation since he came into the league in 2012. He was given time to learn the position, and do so under one of the greatest of all time. So he could easily outperform expectations. You do not want him as your starting QB at this point, but the Denver receivers won't necessarily see a drop in production. The fact that Osweiler is more mobile than Manning opens up lots of scoring opportunities in Gary Kubiak's offense, and remember, defenses were giving little respect to the deep ball with Manning's arm issues. So it's entirely possible that the change gives a lift to the running game, too.
Sam Bradford suffered a separated shoulder and concussion in the Eagles' disappointing loss to the Dolphins. Enter Mark Sanchez. That could be a blessing or a curse. Sanchez knows the Chip Kelly system and seemed to have a nice command of the offense last week. But then Sanchez pulled a Sanchez - he committed a mind-boggling turnover, a problem that has bedeviled him his entire career. The bottom line: Don't expect a huge drop over Bradford if you possess Philly offensive weapons like DeMarco Murray and Jordan Matthews, but it wouldn't be the craziest thing in the world to stream defenses going up against Sanchez because of his propensity for turnovers.
Hasselbeck now gets the starting nod during a key stretch in the Colts' season. Optimists will focus on his 2-0 record when Luck was injured earlier this season, but don't let that record fool you. One was a 16-13 win over Jacksonville and the other was a victory over a Houston team that sleep-walked through a Thursday night game. His return to the lineup greatly decreases the value of wideouts T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief.
Yates takes over for Brian Hoyer after leading the Texans to a surprising win over previously unbeaten Cincinnati and connecting with DeAndre Hopkins on the game's only touchdown. The problem is that Hopkins is struggling with a knee injury and missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. So that makes Hopkins a question mark, along with the rest of the offense against a tough Jets defense this weekend with a new quarterback.
Keenum replaces the ineffective Nick Foles, who was benched. Not much to see here for fantasy owners. The only real fantasy options on the Rams are Todd Gurley and Tavon Austin. Gurley is a must-start every week, and Austin is a matchup play. It seems possible that Keenum will give the Rams a lift.