Preseason football and I have a love/hate relationship. I love it because I finally get to watch football again. But I hate it because good players get injured before the season even starts.
This past week brought many brutal, season-ending injuries to NFL studs.
In case you missed it, here’s what happened:
It started with Julian Edelman tearing his ACL on Friday. Then, that same day, Spencer Ware went down with a PCL injury, along with other knee damage. Finally, on Sunday, Cameron Meredith severely injured his knee (it was painful to watch) and tore his ACL.
All three of these season-ending injuries are terrible, but it seems even worse that they happened during the preseason. Why is that?
I believe it’s partly for selfish reasons. As fantasy football players, we want the players on our team to not get injured, so they can score the most points and make us win the championship. It’s easy to view fantasy football and NFL players as a game, when in reality, fantasy football doesn’t matter at all to the players, coaches, and teams. In other words, we don’t care about the player, we care about our fantasy team.
Preseason injuries also make the preseason seem pointless. If so many players get hurt in the preseason, then why have them play during the preseason? It’s impossible to predict if they still would’ve gotten injured in the regular season if they would’ve sat out the preseason, but it’s still a question that should be considered.
I understand that the preseason matters, and it helps teams evaluate their players and get their team ready for the regular season, but is it worth losing your star wide receiver or running back?
All right, preseason rant over.
Now, let’s talk about the impact that these injuries have. Who will take each person’s place? Is it worth drafting or picking up their replacements? Let’s take a look, starting with Edelman.
Julian Edelman = Chris Hogan
It’s always hard to predict what exactly the Patriots are going to do, but I think we got a good preview. After Edelman got injured, Chris Hogan showed that he was up for the challenge and had four catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns. It seems like Hogan will fill Edelman’s void for the rest of the year, which gives him a huge boost. It also benefits Brandin Cooks, as more targets should be coming his way. According to ESPN standard rankings, Cooks is now WR8 and Hogan is WR44. I truly think that Hogan is going to be the one to benefit the most from this, and he is a steal at WR44. Danny Amendola will most likely see an uptick in targets as well, but Hogan and Cooks seem like the wide receivers to own.
Spencer Ware = Kareem Hunt
With Ware now out for the season, Kareem Hunt’s time in the spotlight begins. Many experts thought Hunt would eventually take the starting spot from Ware as the season went on, but no one predicted it would happen before the regular season even started. Hunt immediately has value on a run-heavy, and will shoot up in fantasy drafts. He’s worth taking in the third round, and will be a legitimate running back this year. In ESPN standard rankings, he’s RB16, and is right after Carlos Hyde. Even though he’s a rookie and has only played in a few preseason games, I think Hunt will live up to the hype and be an every-week starter.
Cameron Meredith = ???
While Edelman and Ware have clear replacements, Cameron Meredith and the Bears are harder to predict. Honestly, without Meredith, there isn’t much talent in the Bears wide receiver corps. Even though starting quarterback Mike Glennon is looking really good, their remaining wide receivers don’t. Markus Wheaton is recovering from finger surgery, leaving Kevin White and Kendall Wright as the starting WRs. If I had to draft a Bears wide receiver, I would pick White, solely because he has the most experience in the Bears offense.
Captain Obvious moment: injuries suck, for fantasy and for the NFL teams and players.
Hopefully this string of major injuries will make coaches be cautious of who they let play in the final preseason games this week.
And, hopefully for those drafting this week, you can snag Hunt, Hogan, or Cooks at a reasonable price/spot.
Good luck, and happy drafting!