What would you do with your star wide receiver if going into Sunday you did not know whether he had a 50-percent chance of playing or a 90-percent chance of playing? Would you play him and risk him not taking the field or possibly taking the field strictly as a decoy? Would you sit him and start a back-up who at best is half the player?
This upcoming NFL season may present this dilemma more often than any other season now that the NFL has eliminated the probable designation from the injury report. They have their reasons, but you can read about that elsewhere. What really matters is how this will affect your fantasy team.
If you have played fantasy football for any length of time, chances are you have been burned by an injury or two. The worst feeling is to have that perfect line up in place, only to have one of your players lay a goose egg because of an injury. Many of us understand that there is an increased risk to playing a player who has any injury designation coming into the week, but many of us are not qualified to truly calculate that risk. With the probable tag being eliminated and the NFL planning to only give use a “questionable” or “doubtful” designation, you will have even worst odds in figuring out the status of your player.
It appears that the “doubtful” tag will signify that a player has less than a 50-percent chance of playing, while a questionable tag signifies a 50-percent or greater chance of playing. When you set your lineups on Sunday morning, I think knowing which player has a 50-percent chance of playing vs. the player who has a 99-percent chance of playing would be a big deal. With the probable designation gone, both players will have the same tag of “questionable”.
I don’t think this is and end of the world type problem for fantasy football, but I think we can agree that this will heighten the difficulty in a sport where injuries are inevitable. Season long leagues will feel the blow least, as you will likely get a heads up before kick-off on your players availability. Although the chance of getting completely burned is less in season long, think about the time wasted on a plan B that you may never need.
Daily fantasy players will have it even tougher as switching one player late may disrupt your entire salary cap and change the entire make-up of your team. I am more of a Draft Kings guy, but I feel for the FanDuel players who don’t have the late swap option. Without late swap, daily fantasy owners will almost always being taking a calculated risk on a player with a “questionable” designation.
Overall this development will likely increase the time investment for what most of us consider a hobby. Many of you who really take fantasy football seriously will be reading the local reports and trying to find the answer to what a player’s status really is. Some of you will just avoid players with a confusing injury designation and repeatedly get beat by owners who gravitate toward calculated risk. Some of you will just listen to the player or the team to get the player’s status and get “Bill Belichicked” on Sunday when the player you benched has a career day or the player you played never touches the ball.
The smartest option would be none of the above. If you want to know whether a player will play, the simplest thing to do is ask me. If you want to know if an injury will allow a player to be productive, the simplest thing to do is ask me. If you want to know which players have the best production ceiling to injury floor ratio to warrant you taking a calculated risk–Ask me!
As I stated above, most are not qualified to calculate the risk of playing a “questionable” player, but I am. Fortunately I have seen most, if not all the injuries that your players will experience this upcoming season. I would urge you to listen to Injury Science from a healthcare professional such as myself, rather than subjective rhetoric from television personalities and reporters who sometimes may not understand what they are reporting. Although I may be a new name to many of you, I have done this for some time now and my percentages are very favorable in predicting player production during or after injury. Like anything else, I will not be perfect, but I expect to bat 700 or above.
With most either getting ready or already in playoff mode, I thought I would cover some of the injuries that may literally make or break your season. Here are some of the key injuries to take note of, as well as what you can expect:
Rashad Jennings is suffering from an ankle injury from this past weeks loss vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars. This is one of the biggest injuries for league play and one day players as Jennings was in line to face the awful run defense of the Tennessee Titans. The Titans have been a running backs dream this season and I think that Jennings will unfortunately miss out. Initially the injury was said to not be serious but Jennings was quoted as not being able to put enough weight on his foot when it first happen. These details likely suggest that he is dealing with a simple grade 1 or 2 low ankle sprain. Although this may not be a serious injury, it will still need to go through the phases of healing. Like most ankle injuries, this will limit Jennings ability to cut and plant on that foot and should take 1-3 weeks of rest and treatment to heal. My guess is that Jennings is currently dealing with a swollen ankle that gives him pain if not supported significantly. The training staff should be focused on getting the swelling and pain under control and we may see him give it a go with a heavy tape job, but I would need to see him practice at least on Friday to have any faith. If you are in a league, a Friday practice and good reports may allow you to start him, but for one day fantasy it would be impossible to pay that premium price for damaged goods (wish they would adjust the prices mid-week). Unfortunately those who were licking their chops for this matchup will either have to trust Andre Williams, his back up, to still light up this poor run defense or look elsewhere for a quality running back. I would give Jennings until week 15 if it were my line up; after all it’s not like the Giants are in the playoff hunt and that he will pull out all the stops to get on the field. For league players, I would just pick up Williams. For one day players, there are other backs to consider near his price point (Eddie Lacy and Joique Bell are my picks for now).
Alshon Jeffrey’s injured hamstring is likely on many people’s minds. If I had to pick my least favorite injury for one of my fantasy players to have it would be either a groin strain or a hamstring strain. I despise these injuries mostly because they are the lingering type. In many cases with a hamstring strain, a player will seem to come along well, may be practicing again, and be generally pointing in the right direction; and with one simple stride that player will do what all fantasy owners dread seeing–abruptly slow up and grab the back of their leg in pain. Many of the other injuries are easy to predict, but a hamstring strain can feel like rolling the dice. The good news is that Jeffrey appears to have been struggling with hamstring issues as early as week 3 of the season and has now been dealing with it for the past 2-3 weeks, and during that time his production has been good.
The infamous hamstring pull or strain is generally a result of one or more of the hamstring muscles stretching to forcefully or quickly. This can happen for a number of reasons, but I believe that in many cases these athletes are simply too fast for their own bodies. This may be the case for Jeffries as he clocks in at a 4.48 with his 40 yard dash; and for a receiver standing 6’3″ and 216lbs that may almost slot him in the “Freaky Talented” column (although my verdict is still out on that). During the process of running, these athletes can sometimes just simply be thrusting their legs into extension (a straight knee position) too fast, and when this is combined with any contraction of the hamstring; the athlete will typically experience a strain or even a tear of the muscle fibers.
Additionally, some individuals simply suffer from muscle imbalances. Despite state of the art facilities and the top strength and conditioning professionals in the country, some athletes are still disproportioned. With respect to hamstring injuries, the culprit would be extremely strong quadriceps (thigh muscles on the front) combined with slightly less strong hamstring muscles (thigh muscles on the back). While in full speed action, if both sides are acting at their max capacities, the quadriceps can over power the hamstrings and in the process injure the hamstrings.
These are all things Alshon Jeffrey and his team should examine in the offseason to reduce his chances of repetitive hamstring issues next year, but for now I would expect Jeffries to play. Despite him playing, I would not play him on my fantasy team regardless of the upside he may possess . As I stated before, you are one stride away from that moment of him grabbing the back of his leg and ending your fantasy season. Combine that with the fact that he has to share with Brandon Marshall and the fact that Jay Cutler can not be trusted and I would simply look elsewhere for nearly all formats.
T.Y. Hilton was also limited on Wednesday with a reported hamstring injury. The timing of this being a Wednesday injury is the most troublesome factor to me as a T.Y. Hilton owner. Hamstring strain recovery feeds off of time to recover, and with a mid-week starting point, Hilton may be feeling some restrictions on Sunday. Additionally, Hilton is definitely in the “Freaky Talented” column based off his 4.34 speed alone. With his game being primarily based on his speed, a hamstring injury may bump Hilton’s stock down significantly. The Indianapolis Colts also have to leave the comfort of their temperature and surface controlled dome to go to Cleveland. As hard as it may be for a league player (I know as I own T.Y. in my league), this is a week I would have already considered sitting Hilton but any signs of a hamstring issue beyond Thursday would reserve a spot on the bench for T.Y. Hilton on my team. The good news is that wide receiver would have to be the deepest position in fantasy right now and you should be able to find a good matchup this week for league play (I have the luxury of Randall Cobb, Odell Beckham Jr. and Mike Evans as my other wideouts…..ha ha). One day players should not even consider Hilton an option.
DeSean Jackson has a lower leg contusion. Those who are familiar with me know that a contusion is just a fancy word for a bruise. Jackson may take a little time to manage any pain or swelling associated with the injury but he should be a full go. His presence is a domino effect for any offensive Washington player you may have. He opens up Jordan Reed who should continue to be a PPR monster, he allows Colt McCoyto likely put up 20 + for his 3rd straight time as a starter, and he gives Alfred Morris a chance to run in a box that would not dare stack 8 with Jackson as the deep threat. I am not sure DeSean would be my guy at receiver but in one-day PPR play, I think Reed and McCoy hold good value due to his presence. Use the information as you see fit, but expect him to be ready to go.
Dwayne Allen is back after suffering an ankle sprain. I think he took the perfect amount of time off as an ankle sprain generally is a 1-3 week injury, and he took the 3. I expect Allen to be effective, and with my expectations for T.Y. Hilton being low, you may find Allen to be a low-cost/high reward option especially in one day play. Coby Fleener is the obvious buzz kill for those who own Allen in traditional leagues, but simply stated–Dwayne Allen is a better football player than Coby Fleener (for now). That may be unpopular to the highlight watchers of the recent weeks, but most who really pay attention know this to be true. So in this spot, I would roll with Allen and expect things to slowly return to normal in which Allen is the obvious TE1 on the Indianapolis Colts.
How about some defense? They say defense wins championships and this can be true in fantasy football too. Aqib Talib has the hamstring bug too. Talib will have about 2 weeks off from game action by the time the Denver Broncos face the Buffalo Bills, but I would watch out for him having some difficulty. I especially think he will have difficulty if he somehow get matched up with Robert Woods. If he covers Sammy Watkins as expected, their injuries may cancel each other out as they are both banged up. Denver got away with missing their #1 corner vs. the Kansas CityChiefs as the Chiefs have no wide receivers, but I am not so sure they will fair as well without Talib against a respectable wide receiver duo. Owners of the Denver D/ST should pay attention and look for a good matchup this week instead of using a defense that may be without a true #1 cornerback, as I think I have cemented how I feel about depending on players with hamstring strains.
The other cornerback that may cause a fantasy domino effect is Vontae Davis who is coming off a concussion last week. I will eventually talk about concussion a little more in-depth, but one of my simple rules is to not trust a player to play at their best the week following a concussion. There is complicated evidence out there that correlates concussions with poor performance, but my stance is more from a common sense point of view. Concussion cloud the brain and typically take the player out of their normal routine. I believe that many of the players in positions in which studying the opponent is key, will suffer the most, shortly after a concussion. I especially worry about defensive players who need to read and react to the offense and as the corner that makes that defense go, Vontae not being at full capacity may spell disaster in Cleveland. I think the Davis concussion takes the Colts out of the starting D/ST conversation as I believe he is the single most important person on their defense. I also think his injury bumps Josh Gordon stock up. Gordon already has a QB in Brian Hoyer with something to prove and he gets what may be a shoot out vs. Andrew Luck. When you add in a recovering Vontae Davis, I think Gordon will be lighting up the scoreboard this week. If one day players can get lucky enough for Davis to not play, I think Hoyer and Gordon could be the value play of the week.
Reggie Bush- You can’t trust him. He’s been out too long with this ankle injury. Maybe during the regular season you could take a chance but at playoff time he is too much of a gamble. He made our running backs running out of time earlier this season and is fully living up to the injury prone status that I predicted.
Greg Olsen –The proof is in the pudding. Make sure he gets back to practice before believing that his swollen knee is not a problem. With tight end being such a tough position to fill, I think if he practices he should start in all league play. As a one day option, he would be way down my list.
Larry Fitzgerald- He should be back this week but watch his practice pattern. If he misses any practices, I would throw up a red flag for a set back.
Andre Ellington-He needs to rest and heal! Unfortunately his owners will have to scramble to find a RB1 that can get them through a playoff run. You better start matchup hunting.
You can type in “NFL injuries” in any search box and get the details of who is in and who is out, that is the easy part. The more important questions are how long will they really be out? Will they actually play well when they come back? What players are at highest risk to get hurt next? How will one injury affect the performance of other players? Being caught off guard by any of these issues could derail your fantasy line-up at a time where you can not afford any glitches. For many, playoff time is coming and for you one-day fantasy players, your time is running out to win the big one. I will discuss which injuries I see coming and which injuries I see going, and more importantly look at all of the angles that will decide whether you win or lose with your lineup.
Lets go by position:
Some of you have been unlucky and lost your starting QB. Former fantasy owners of Nick Foles and Carson Palmer are the primary victims here. For those who took the obvious option of picking up Mark Sanchez immediately after Foles got injured–good job! I’m not too sure on Stanton and definitely would not feel good with him as my QB down the stretch with the vicious schedule that Arizona has remaining. It is clear that neither of these QB’s (Foles and Palmer) will be back this year, or at least not in time to have a fantasy impact.
If you were not able to get in the Sanchez sweepstakes, then my suggestion would be to look at Shaun Hill as he is now injury free and the Rams have endured a tough schedule that will now lighten up just a little. Another not so obvious option would be Zach Mettenberger, who I do not think is great by any stretch, but he has a great selection of defenses to face to close the season and a monster arm. Last but not least is a stretch for most, but I believe Colt McCoy will finish the Washington Redskins season as a starting QB. McCoy is also not the greatest but he will literally be playing for his NFL career, he has a ton of weapons, and he has good match ups. I would spend a little time telling you how McCoy gets that job, but if you have a TV, a phone, or any type of electronic device I am sure that you have seen the train wreck that is RG3.
My bet is you can get any of those 3 players today and even if they just sit on your bench while you have another borderline QB playing, you will not end up in the back of the waiver line if they get hot.
As for the great Peyton Manning, he is being hit by the injury bug indirectly. With his number 1 and 2 running backs out, Julius Thomas’ status being unclear at Tight End, and his number 2 Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders just being cleared from concussion protocol; the future Hall of Fame QB may have the deck stacked against him. Combine the injuries with the fact that his next 4 opponents all currently rank in the top ten for total defense and that 3 out of those 4 games are likely to be played in cold weather, and you may just have given the ingredients for the kryptonite recipe. The only thing that may be missing is whipping winds and a few snow flurries. In any case, those who pay close attention know what bothers Peyton. When he is pushed off his spot, he is obviously uncomfortable. When he has to hold the ball, he is uncomfortable. With these defenses and bad weather coming, I project some sub Manning like numbers. Now I am not talking Alex Smith mediocrity, but chances are that Peyton is carrying your fantasy team in any league play and he is eating up your salary cap in any one-day play; so you absolutely need him to put up Manning like numbers.
While I do not see a day in which I tell you to sit Peyton Manning unless it is for Andrew Luck or Aaron Rodgers, I think Manning owners should prepare for a more conservative output and therefore be aggressive with the remainder of the roster. For Peyton and the Denver Broncos, I see very little chance of not making the playoffs, but for my fellow fantasy players this tough stretch falls right at a crucial time in regard to fantasy playoffs. In the end start Peyton as usual, unless you see wind and snow in the forecast; then I may look for one of the QB’s I listed above to hold the fort for one week. This is the closest I will get to betting against Peyton Manning and frankly it feels a little uncomfortable. Lets see what he does over the next month.
Running Back becomes very important in November and December as many of the outdoor teams will start to slow it down with hand-offs and short dump off passes. However as these running backs have their workload increased you may also see more injuries. I predicted way back in the first half of the season that DeMarco Murray would not make it through the entire season and now that its week 12, some may think I was wrong……NOT! All of youDeMarco Murray owners better have a back up plan, because it’s coming.
Another running back to beware of is Arian Foster. Earlier this season, I compared Foster to Steven Jackson as he is an oversized back who gets injured regularly. He is living up to this comparison and if he does not do something different this off-season ( I would suggest some type of Yoga/Pilates blend and a very clean diet), I think you should think long and hard before drafting Foster early. As you can see, when you need Foster most he will not be there for you. At this point, I don’t think anyone will get caught off guard with Foster being out as he seems to be on the injury reports on a weekly basis. The important thing is to not get your hopes up with this “game time decision” talk. I do not see him making it back in an effective way this week as he is only been out for 2 weeks with a groin injury that should likely take at least 3 weeks to heal. We explained the nagging groin strain a few weeks ago when predicting Monte Ball needed 3-6 weeks off before returning. As most of you know, Monte Ball did sit out for 6 weeks and then re-injured his groin on his first game back. Hopefully that lets you and Arian Foster know how serious this injury can be. The easy fix is to keep Alfred Blue on your bench no matter what. If you do own Foster or Murray or maybe even had Ronnie Hillman or Ahmad Bradshaw, there are a few options out there for you to consider:
C.J. Anderson could not have timed it better in regard to fantasy playoffs. With Ronnie Hillman down for at least another 2 weeks with a foot sprain (that should take a total of 3 weeks to heal) and Monte Ball out again with a strained groin , C.J. Anderson will basically have the backfield to himself. I expect Hillman to come back by week 14 and I expect Ball to be a non factor for the remainder of the fantasy season as his re-injury tells me he really needs to give that groin another 3 weeks or more to heal and then return slowly (I don’t expect him to play until the NFL playoffs). Furthermore, Peyton plus the cold means more running plays and more short passes. The only fear is that the volume that Anderson receives in the next few weeks will get him injured too. The good news on that front is that this is almost like game 4 for Anderson, as he has not played much this season. In my opinion he is the top running back to pick up down the stretch. Do anything you can to get him for your leagues and one-day players should spend whatever he cost to get him in the line up.
Another back who’s fantasy value just got a big boost is Trent Richardson. I say this reluctantly as prior to this injury, I literally considered him a bottom 10 back that I would never consider starting. However, the bottom line is Ahmad Bradshaw and his fractured fibula means he is done, and for now Trent will get all the goal line carries as well as a likely 20+ total carries per game. In a more traditional running back way, I think this will actually help Trent Richardson, who has the potential to be a wear on you/hard to stop at the end of the game back. The final kicker is really to look at the Colts remaining schedule. There are some blowouts coming and you know who will be killing that clock, even if it is 3 yards at a time. Look for some fantasy numbers in the form of 25 carries for 72 yards with 2 touchdowns with 2-3 catches sprinkled in. I think many of us can live with those 20 + fantasy points.
Giovani Bernard appears to be ready to return for week 12 and based on reports of a hip pointer and a clavicle issue, he appears to have taken the proper time off. For some, this may seem to be a good thing, but I look at this as a lose-lose situation for fantasy owners. Jeremy Hill showed the ability to be a fantasy stud while Bernard was out and Bernard was a stud before he got hurt. When you put two fantasy studs in one backfield, unfortunately they turn into one half a stud each. If you already have Bernard and are in a PPR format, he is definitely worth keeping, but I do not see the Bengals taking Hill back to his previous role of simply spelling Bernard. I see a backfield that will almost be half and half which is a disaster for fantasy owners. If you can trade either of these player based off of name value, now would be a good time. Jeremy Hill owners may consider sitting tight for a couple of games, as Bernard is undersized and as the cold weather sets in, he may be in line for another injury. If I could pick, I would much rather the style of Hill to carry me to the fantasy playoffs, but by no means would I wish injury on any player.
It appears that the wave of wide receiver injuries is over with Megatron, A.J. Green, Andre Johnson, and Odell Beckham Jr. all back and healthy. Despite this abundance of health at the position, there are some injuries that will make some receivers more attractive than others.
T.Y. Hilton is already a must own everywhere but for you one-day fantasy players who are comparing T.Y. to Dez or Megatron or Jordy Nelson on a weekly basis, here is the reason why T.Y. might have eclipsed many of them. With the injury to Ahmad Bradshaw, the Colts have lost their only receiving back. Additionally, the Colts have an injury to their best tight end Dwayne Allen. Allen is listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury but I expect him to miss at least one game or at the very least see less time on the field. This means more Coby Fleener during the competitive portion (there will be garbage time for Trent Richardson to get his!) of the Colts games; it means less running as Allen is the obvious running game tight end while Fleener is the passing game tight end. T.Y. is by far the most targeted player for Andrew Luck and these injury developments likely just increased his targets. As we hit the stretch for the fantasy season, I think T.Y. Hilton will be as good as it gets at the receiver position.
Demaryius Thomas may also get a little bump up from his already superstar status after The Dnever Broncos lost Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas in week 11 to injuries. Sanders went down with a concussion and looks to be probable for week 12, however there is evidence out there that correlates concussions to poor performance shortly after recovery from said concussion. As for Julius Thomas, he appears to have a simple low ankle sprain but he likely will miss a couple of weeks. This sets up for Demaryius to have an even bigger role in the Broncos pass game. We may even get a Wes Welker flash back for my fantasy league players who are desperate for a short-term play at receiver.
Brandin Cooks thumb fracture has effectively ended both his fantasy and real football seasons. This means someone who is healthy on the Saints likely gets more targets as Cooks was the second most targeted player on the team to Jimmy Graham, and the most targeted receiver on the team. This is a tough call between Marques Colston and Kenny Stills, but I would take a chance on Colston as Drew Brees targets him more than Stills, and Brees and Colston have more history. This must be a cautious play as Cooks injury may actually just lead to Colston, Stills and who ever replaces Cooks to split the targets by 3, which would make no one happy. This may be one to take a look at for a week or two before making a move.
Now this one has nothing to do with an injury per say, but those who read my work often know that I split my skilled players into Freaky Talented and Supremely Skilled. Around this time of season the Freaky Talented group will start to slow down as the weather elements may not be ideal for their talents to fully shine. Additionally, it is my theory that these Freaky Talented athletes need pit stops to rejuvenate as they max their bodies out while utilizing all of their god given talent. But if I can get one of the most Freaky Talented players in the league with completely fresh legs at this point in the season, I am all over that!. Josh Gordon is exactly that. Not only does the physical play in his favor, but the mental sounds like it is ready too. One of the first quotes given to nfl.com from Gordon was “I’m going to tear this league up”. If your league is anything like the one I am in, Gordon has been owned all year despite not playing…he is that coveted. If there is any way to get him, I would go for it. For one-day fantasy players, this may be the only week you will get him cheap. After he faces the worst pass defense in the league down in Atlanta, my guess is that his price will be right up there with the elite wide receivers where it belongs.
Marqis Lee is a low-level benefactor of the foot fracture that Allen Robinson suffered. This consideration is more for the one-day fantasy players who have the bare minimum to spend on a flex player that has the chance to actually do something. The two things I think I know is that Lee will now be on the field in all 3 wide receiver sets (with Robinson out) and that Lee has lots of talented. Everything beyond that is a gamble….your choice.
As I mentioned earlier, the Dwayne Allen injury may officially push Coby Fleener to the TE1 conversation. Fleener has been inconsistent despite being Andrew Luck’s teammate in college, but now he appears to be ramping up. 1-2 weeks of Allen being out may generate a role for Fleener that will become a little more permanent int the Colts offense. Additionally, if Trent Richardson does not take advantage of his opportunity like I think he will, you may see the Colts just turn into a pure passing team in which Fleener stays on the field a bunch more as run blocking would not be needed. I would keep my eye on Fleener in fantasy leagues and pick him up if a roster spot is available. He is also a good one-day play if you don’t want to spend on one the big three of Gronk, Graham, or Thomas.
Some of you may be waiting for Jordan Cameron to be cleared from the concussion protocol and are ready to plug him in as your starter. I would look in another direction. Again, performance after concussions can be tricky and with the reports indicating Cameron having some long-term concerns, I would simply stay away from Cameron this year. Any return will be on egg shells and the likelihood of poor performance or another concussion is a very real possibility.
Tight End is a tough position to pick up late in the season and in most cases the match up should dictate who you play, but there are a few that you may be able to pick up and fill in with. Zach Ertz had a big buzz at the beginning of the season but that buzz has faded fast. I am not saying Ertz will win any week for you but I think the addition of Mark Sanchez to the equation allows him to not lose a week for you. Sanchez and Ertz have a relationship that ranges from preseason as they both had significant 2nd team reps. Sanchez is definitely looking for him more than Foles did. Now all Ertz has to do is find a way to stay on the field for more snaps and you may have a decent TE2.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are about to get real healthy and are likely sitting there waiting to be picked up in most leagues. With the return of 5 starters including their leader-Troy Polamalu as well as the addition and rejuvenation of the great James Harrison, the Steelers may look like the traditional Pittsburgh Steelers down the stretch. The tricky thing with these injuries is that when the players make it through and the team stays competitive, the return from injury is that much greater. The Steelers should have a lot of fresh legs on the field vs. many who are simply worn down from the grind of a 16 game season.
The Philadelphia Eagles should be on everyone’s radar as they are having a near historic year on Special Teams with punt blocks, field goal blocks, and even extra point blocks. Combine this with arguably a top 3 punt-return man in Darren Sproles and Chris Polk who already has a kick return for a TD and you would think picking them up is a no brainer. But then the leader of the defense Demeco Ryans goes down and Aaron Rodgers puts up a million points. I can see how people may get nervous about this being their starting defense. As bad as the Demeco Ryans injury is for the actual defense, I think the response to the injury by the Eagles is even more telling. Instead of looking for another linebacker to replace Ryans or even just looking for another defensive player, the Eagles signed Chris Prosinski. Posinski is a safety from Jacksonville who is primarily a Special Teams stud. They added him to a Special Teams that already boast Chris Maragos who is arguably the Michael Jordan of Special Teams. So while losing your middle linebacker is bad, the Eagles may have gotten even better with rushing the quarterback by bringing more speed and agility to the linebacker position with Mychal Kendricks as the new focal point. The bigger point is that I don’t think any other team in the league takes Special Teams as serious as the Eagles and frankly that is where all the points are coming from rather than the actual defense. They should be the premiere DST going down the stretch in all formats despite losing the leader of their defense for the remainder of the season.