We shall remember this day as the Sunday in which all of the players who play all of the positions broke.
First it was C.J. Spiller and Reggie Bush going down, and they only had a combined 542 rushing yards thus far up until the moment they left with shoulder and knee injuries respectively. They join Fred Jackson and Matt Forte in the steaming running back tire fire, and serve as our weekly reminder that no running back is safe from the wrath of breakage.
That evil wasn’t isolated to running backs either, as Matthew Stafford left Detroit’s OT loss to Tennessee and was replaced by Shaun Hill. Stafford aggravated a pre-existing hamstring injury while chasing down Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner after he stripped Brandon Pettigrew of the ball late in the fourth quarter. He’ll have an MRI tomorrow to determine the severity of the strain, and his status for next week is uncertain.
No injury from a major contributor is particularly enjoyable, but from a value standpoint Bush and Spiller going down is a little easier to deal with since they were later picks in August, which especially applies to Spiller, who was a late-round flier in most leagues.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to Falcons receiver Julio Jones.
Lost amid the insanity of the late games — HI, three overtimes — was Jones’ injury early in Atlanta’s game against San Diego. Jones left and was taken to the locker room with a hand injury, and his return is questionable.
The immediate reaction will be to brand Jones as an injury prone decaying mess even in just his second year. That, of course, is classic narrative construction, because the hamstring injury that kept him out for three games last year and severely limited him when he did play late in the season was in an entirely different area of the body than the hand.
That’s of little importance to fantasy owners though who changed clothes hourly during the preseason due to their inability to hold back various body fluids while watching Jones dominate. When the Falcons’ first team offense was facing first-team defenses, Jones had 240 yards on just 13 receptions in his limited time.
If Jones’ injury is serious, Harry Douglas is the immediate pick up. He’d be set for a significant increase in targets going forward, and could provide high-end WR3 value.
UPDATE: Jones returned in the second quarter, meaning your normal breathing can too.