Sometimes you’re fortunate enough to draft first overall in your league, and you get to pick the stud running back who’s coveted by every other team because he can almost single-highhandedly carry you to a championship.

Then this happens…

Week One: He’s electric, he breaks tackles, finds every hole, and turns two-yard screen passes into 75-yard scampers into the end zone. At the end of the day, he rushes for 275 yards and 4 touchdowns. He’s the dominant back that your fantasy team has lacked for years. The league championship is finally within your grasp! You can now justify owning that ridiculously large trophy case that your wife not-so-secretly hates.

Week two: Your stud running back shatters his femur during his first touch of the game. He’s immediately put on the injured reserve, and his season is over.

Or is it?

This means that if your fantasy star is put on the IR early in the season, there‘s still a glimmer of hope that he could make a speedy recovery and lead your team’s late season charge into the playoffs. In real terms, though, it means that actual human beings may be able to salvage a season that would have otherwise been lost. David DeCastro is a perfect example of a player who could benefit from this rule change.

With the injured reserve rule, one player per team may go on IR early in the season and then return to the field later in the season. So a player who suffers an injury that’s expected to keep him out for a few months could go on IR but still play again. Steelers rookie offensive lineman David DeCastro, who is expected to miss about three months with the knee injury he suffered last week, could be a perfect fit for the new system.

The NFLPA also agreed to move the trade deadline from week six to week eight. This gives teams pushing for a playoff spot more time to evaluate their needs and address injuries that may happen during those  extra two weeks.

This could also lead to more teams blowing up their rosters in exchange for draft picks. They’ll have a much better grasp of their playoff chances by the end of Week 8, and an obvious talent and salary dump may be the result.

But as far as the new IR rule is concerned, make sure to stay diligent later in the season, and really keep up with what’s going on. Your fallen star could be re-activated from the IR just in time for your first-round playoff match-up against Ted from accounting.

That guy’s a real prick.

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