With injuries always lurking, it’s always “Next Man Up” in the NFL
As Week 4 of the preseason looms this weekend, it’s also the end of preseason, and the start to the regular season kicking off next Thursday. Unfortunately, injuries play a big part in shaping up a team’s roster, for better or worse. But look at Jordy Nelson and Kelvin Benjamin for example. Sure it’s not just bad for fantasy, it’s bad for actual football, but as the saying goes “next man up”. This preseason thus far is no different. Regardless of who’s playing, any play can be your last of the season, or simply your last play ever. It’s Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware, and Cameron Meredith all missing the 2017 regular season due to gruesome knee injuries, this gives a chance for depth players to make a stamp on their season, and for fantasy stardom as well.
First of all, this is the main reason why it’s important to try and hold out with your buddies to draft late. But, if you were one of the ones to draft early in the preseason and ended up with Spencer Ware, hopefully you locked up the backfield with Hunt. Several analysts, and fantasy owners already had Hunt on their radar for what he did at Toledo. His current ADP was pretty deep into drafts outside of round 9, and now his stock has sky rocketed to where he’s going as early as the third round, and rightfully so. Aside from Charcandrick West, Hunt should be drafted as a high-end RB 2 low-end RB 1 depending on if you went double wide out early on, and don’t over think it when his name comes across the board. Andy Reid loves to stick with one cowbell usually in football, and with Ware out, Hunt has nowhere to go but up.
The former first rounder has had a dreadful rocky start to his young NFL career. The talent is not the question, it’s been his health. The good thing is we have a very small sample size of what this man can do, and although it’s nothing you’ll feel good about, betting on it is better than not knowing what White is possible of producing on the field. After missing his entire rookie season, the sophomore wide out was targeted 35 times in four games (averaging 8.5 targets per game) catching 19 balls for 187 yards and no touchdowns. Unfortunately White missed the next 12 games. But if you’re in the mid-to-late rounds, or dead zone of a draft and are feeling pretty good about your starting lineup and want some enormous upside, Kevin White is your man. What makes him even more intriguing is not just his price, but with Meredith gone, its time for the young man to show why he was the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft, or he’ll be labeled as a bust along with his injury history.
A guy coming into New England with several question marks as in what his role is going be, can he handle the cold weather, and will he be ok with the target share that the Patriots are accustomed to running their offense, which is why he wanted out of New Orleans, because he wanted a bigger role in the offense. Now I’m not saying he should be drafted as a WR 1, but with Edelman out, Cooks should get more of a workload than what was originally planned before Edelman’s injury. It won’t only be Cooks of course, Chris Hogan and Malcom Mitchell, who was excellent for the Patriots last season, will have an increased role this season I believe. Gronk will get his share of the load, and James White should see some more looks with Edelman out of the lineup. But you’ve got to consider Cooks as a low-end WR 1 now, with huge upside, compared to as the high-end WR 2 he was being talked up as prior to the injury.
Orlando Torres covers the NFL for MyFantasySportsTalk.com | Follow him on Twitter @ItsLandoYo