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Fantasy Football Week 5: Wandering the Waiver Wire

By Alexander Hough in News on Oct 4, 2011 2:00PM

Do you ever wonder if you're injury prone? I was once so sore after playing a flag football game that I didn't realize I had sprained my knee until the non-injured parts of my legs stopped hurting three days later. There's a fine line between being out of shape and injury prone, so the jury's still out.

It's easier to tell with NFL players.

Matthew Stafford? The Detroit QB is having a great season, but for how long? He played just 13 games in his first two seasons.

Darren McFadden? Oakland's star RB has never played a full season, either, although that's reportedly due to ancient Al Davis insisting his medical staff center their practice on the four humors.

Owning an injury prone player in fantasy football is tragic. You invest a high draft pick or a hefty auction bid on the guy, and he just sits there, clogging up your roster with all his potential, doing nothing. It's also tragic for the actual player because he has the God-given ability to be the most revered in our society - The Sports Star - yet he was also made to physically break down when employing that rare talent blah blah blah whatever. Injury prone players present difficult risk/reward challenges and it makes you read about their health so much you're scared you're violating HIPAA.

Our concern this week is Andre Johnson, who has a pulled hamstring. That guy is awesome, easily one of the top two to three receivers in the league and he's fantasy dynamite because his QB Matt Schaub can't stop chucking the ball at him. But he missed chunks of time earlier in his career, had his knee scoped before the 2008 season, missed time last season with a high ankle sprain, and always seems like he's playing dinged up. So is he injury prone? And what should you do about it?

Andre Johnson (WR, HOU)
Johnson fell down on his own after catching a pass in the second quarter of Sunday's Texans-Steelers game and immediately began grabbing his leg, telltale signs of a significant knee injury. Luckily for Johnson owners (heh, Johnson owners), it's a hamstring pull. He's getting a second opinion now, so nothing is for sure, but the general consensus is that he'll miss some time, though will play again this season.

No one is going to replace Johnson's production (heh, Johnson's production), either on the Texans or on the waiver wire, so your best bet is to hold tight. If his absence puts you in a tough place with WRs, here are some options:

  • Jacoby Jones (WR, HOU) - Jones will slide into Johnson's starting spot. He has flashed potential through the years, so you could do worse. Actually, you will definitely do worse.
  • Victor Cruz (WR, NYG) - This is probably the best other name out there. He's had big games the past few weeks, but my friend who's a Giants fan calls him Stone Hands Cruz, so it's been a little hard to get on board.
  • Torrey Smith (WR, BAL) - He was featured in last week's post. If he's still out there, you can have him for nothing after his stinker Sunday night against the Jets. That wasn't really his fault, though; they tried to get him the ball, Joe Flacco was just too busy throwing 21 incompletions and turning the ball over twice. Smith won't be an immediate substitute for Johnson, though, as the Ravens are on their bye week. There are also the suggestions from last week.

Arian Foster and Ben Tate (RB, HOU)
Well, 30 carries and five targets for 166 total yards is probably enough evidence that Foster's hamstring is all better. Hamstring injuries have a nasty habit of flaring up, so Ben Tate still has value, even though he left Sunday's game after he felt his groin pop. Ugh, Lord - when we hear "groin" and "pop" in the same sentence, it better be referring to a dance move. Tate's injury - a groin pull - is apparently not serious.

Ben Roethlisberger (QB, PIT) and Rashard Mendenhall (RB, PIT)
We had no clue Pittsburgh was going to suck this hard, although we're still not convinced it'll be a season-long thing. It’s unclear whether either Roethlisberger (foot) or Mendenhall (hamstring) will miss any time. If you're looking for replacements, check out Tennessee QB Matt Hasselbeck and his 1,152 yards and eight TDs. At RB, pick Stevan Ridley (RB, NE) like we told you to think about maybe doing last week; he didn’t get as many carries as BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but he looks like a much better athlete.

Hank Williams, Jr.
The country star and Monday Night Football crooner is out indefinitely with a bad case of shit for brains.

Mike Shanahan (RB manipulator, WAS)
This A hole is like an injury. Ryan Torain didn't touch the ball the first three weeks, then he gets 135 yards and a TD on 19 carries against the Rams. Shanahan said that he decided in the middle of last week that he'd use Torain. Yeah, well, we decided on Sunday that you're a dick. Go ahead and pick Torain up, but this guy's the very definition of injury prone: he bookended 2008 with a fractured elbow and an ACL tear, didn't play in 2009, pulled his hamstring in 2010, and then fractured his hand in the preseason. Have fun starting him until he gets injured or Shanahan gives 20 carries to some RB you've never heard of.