Injuries and Byes

Over the baseball season, I wrote a few times about the phenomena I had discovered called #fanticide. #Fanticide occurs when you watch your pitcher or hitter or team with excitement, but as soon as you turn on the game of your choice, a meltdown, usually involving your players, occurs.

A few weeks back, prior to the kickoff of the Raiders/Redskins game, I tweeted that now the country could see how Oakland had the most versatile and efficient offense in the NFL. Well, it has simply gone from bad to worse, and I feel totally responsible for the Raiders lousy past three games.

It is true that somehow of all the teams I have ever followed, Oakland wormed their way most deeply into my soul, but for the last 25 years, as I focused on being an objective sports analyst, I did not have to worry about favorite teams or winning titles. But as I age–and as I falsely thought Oakland was back–rooting for my roots seemed fun.

Alas, I now remember–maybe within the shadow of the Immaculate Reception–there is serious pain involved within the idolatry of team sports. Maybe a .500 season is in the cards? I hope.

On the other hand, there are a number of teams struggling like the Raiders, with many suffering injuries this past week like Odell Beckham, Jr. and Dalvin Cook and J.J. Watt, all now lost to us just as the bye weeks are upon us.

There are players out there if we glean carefully, so let’s take a look. And we’ll start with the struggling Niners, who are 0-5, but have lost the last four by a total of 11 points of which the last pair were overtime casualties. Through that game, the Niners did indeed show they can move the ball and among the pleasant surprises was Running Back Matt Breida, who rushed for 49 yards on ten carries while bagging three of five passes for 22 more yards. With Carlos Hyde ever brittle, Breida, a rookie out of Georgia Southern, makes an interesting play who should get a lot of looks.

On the other side of the line, the Colts’ Marlon Mack made great use of his nine rushes, scrambling for 91 yards and a score while finding the end zone. Mack, a rookie from South Florida, should see increased time as the aging (but no less effective it seems) Frank Gore is used in a more specialized fashion.

The Pack gave fans another heart attack with a last minute win over Dallas, and RB Aaron Jones played a large part in the result. Jones ran for 125 yards over 19 carries along with a catch for nine yards. Another rookie RB, Jones was a fifth-round pick out of UTEP. With Ty Montgomery wounded, Jones also stands to get some looks in the interim and who knows what opportunity can produce.

If you are in a super flex league, or are hurting for a QB, or simply looking for DFS plays, three signal callers emerged this weekend who make interesting plays starting with the Bears’ Mitch Trubisky, who really comported himself pretty well for a first start. Trubisky completed 11 of 19 for 128 yards, a TD and a pick and rushed three times for 22 yards. Mostly, though, he protected the ball well and that is something that cannot be taught in my opinion. A rookie who is concerted in his ball handling during a debut merits tracking.

Much of the shine around Trubisky’s debut was shadowed by a last-minute win by the opposing Vikes, who struggled under Sam Bradford over the first half, only to be led to victory in the second by Case Keenum. Pushed into action after Bradford suffered a knee injury, Keenum threw for 140 yards and a score while rushing for 22 on one carry. As we hit the bye weeks, if you are playing in a two-QB format, there are never enough signal callers, so track and grab as necessary.

While we are at it, the Niners’ Brian Hoyer threw for over 300 yards for the second time in three weeks, picking up a pair of scores and 353 yards albeit against a porous Colts defense. But, depending upon the matchup, Hoyer makes a pretty good and low-end DFS selection.

Ed Dixon is an eight-year veteran with the Panthers who has at worst been playing behind Greg Olsen but who also had a monster 175-yard game in which he caught all five of his targets. Dixon is still marginal, but if you need to plug a hole, give him a try.

Much the same could be said of the Cowboys’ Cole Beasley, who scored a pair of TDs on two red zone passes from Dak Prescott. Beasley, who caught 75 passes last year, seems to have a solid connection with Prescott, so he too makes for a possible cheap DFS play or even free agent grab during the bye weeks.

Remember to tune into the Tout Wars Hour on the FNTSY network, hosted by me, with Justin Mason and featuring Lord Z every Thursday night at 9 PM ET.

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