Sunday of Week 10 will likely be remembered as the day a trio of starting quarterbacks was knocked out – almost literally – with concussions.
Michael Vick exited first, giving many Philly fans what they’d be asking for – Nick Foles – though presumably not in the manner they intended. With news that Vick’s concussion is of the “significant” variety, and with the direction his franchise appears to be headed, it’s conceivable that the once-elite quarterback has taken his last snap as an Eagle.
A continent away, Alex Smith took a shot while scrambling that eventually sent him to the locker room. His concussion appears to be milder than Vick’s, though that doesn’t mean he won’t be held out a game or two for precautionary reasons.
The hit parade continued Sunday night when Jay Cutler was forced from the Texans contest with a concussion all his own. Again, it’s too soon to know his status for Week 11 and beyond, but it would be no surprise if all three passers are spectators next weekend.
Unlike the typical reaction to an injured starting running back, there should be no rush to acquire backups Nick Foles (Eagles), Colin Kaepernick (49ers) or Jason Campbell (Bears). Foles and Kaepernick are simply too green to trust, while Campbell’s best days (such as they were) are well behind him.
The bigger concern is how the players on the other end of the passes will fare with their starting QBs sidelined. Though Vick has struggled all season, both DeSean Jackson and, when healthy, Jeremy Maclin have been fairly reliable receiving options. With rookie Foles at the helm, both will likely take a hit to their value.
The bigger impact could be felt by LeSean McCoy, who will surely draw the lion’s share of opposing defenses’ attention with Vick out of the picture.
The fleet-footed Kaepernick could affect Frank Gore in a different way – by poaching even more of his TD runs. Michael Crabtree was already a borderline starter with Smith under center, so his status is little changed. Vernon Davis is struggling through a four-game slump and can’t be trusted right now anyway.
Perhaps Brandon Marshall’s owners should be most concerned. Campbell, who most recently flamed out in Oakland, is fortunate to still wear an NFL jersey. He’s in for a rude awakening when the Bears head to San Francisco next Monday night. Though Marshall should remain a fixture in every starting lineup, that could be one ugly primetime affair.
To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here's a look at players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup.
Catch ‘em while you can
Chris Ivory, RB, Saints. If you watched his 56-yard scoring jaunt against the Falcons, you know Ivory has skills. You can bet the Saints know it, too, which is why Pierre Thomas was a bit player on Sunday. While Darren Sproles is sidelined, Ivory will get plenty more chances to soar, even if Mark Ingram gets a majority of the carries.
Danario Alexander, WR, Chargers. The former Ram has good size and speed, but he can’t stay intact. Recently acquired as a free agent, Alexander has quickly vaulted past Robert Meachem in the wideout pecking order. He is developing a good chemistry with Philip Rivers, so more positive returns may be on the horizon, if he can just stay healthy.
Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers. You just missed Olsen’s first 100-yard outing and his best fantasy performance since mid-2009. It came against a Broncos defense that has surrendered the second-most fantasy points per game to tight ends, so temper your expectations. But with a very favorable schedule ahead, including Week 11 against Tampa Bay, Olsen offers more red-zone upside.
Don’t be fooled
Jarius Wright, WR, Vikings. The rookie collected 65 yards and a score on three receptions in place of the injured Percy Harvin. Before you invest in Wright’s stock, though, remember that he’s saddled with an inconsistent quarterback, and his targets will be even fewer once Harvin returns, most likely after the team’s Week 11 bye.
Golden Tate, WR, Seahawks. With 3 TDs over the past two weeks, Tate has vaulted onto the fantasy radar. But the Seahawks are heading into their bye, followed by a two-game road trip; and his rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson, has been unable to replicate his homespun heroics on the road. It could be a while before Tate revisits the end zone.