This will likely be our final Aaron Hernandez update of the week. The ultimate stamp of approval on his health is the fact that the twitching of the tight end’s ankle is nearly no longer considered newsworthy.
Yesterday, we passed along the wondrous news that he practiced for the second straight day after missing the Patriots’ game in London two weeks ago and resting during a bye week. However, he may have been at least slightly limited still Thursday, giving life to your concerns, and possibly even fueling the desire to bench him in favor of Dwayne Allen last night among those of you who are both conservative, and in deep leagues. A deadly combination indeed.
But no worries, guys. If it sounded like Hernandez was fine yesterday, it really sounds like he’s fine today.
A day after running at full speed during the stretching portion of practice that was open to the media, Hernandez hasn’t regressed in his recovery as he practiced again today, and for what it’s worth Shalise Manza Young observed that his actions and attitude indicate that he’s playing Sunday.
While a diligent fantasy manager should monitor the status of a player like Hernandez who’s near the top of his position when healthy, the lingering concern over his injury this week was most likely a product of the Belichick effect. The Patriots head coach notoriously either hides or provides vague injury information to keep the opponent guessing. We’re just the innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire.
If we don’t count Week 2 when he first suffered his ankle injury early in a loss to the Cardinals, Hernandez has played in only three games this year, making news of his return a little bittersweet. No matter how much he does or doesn’t produce going forward, those who spent a mid-round pick on Hernandez and took him as the top player in the second tier at the position (he had an ADP of 52nd overall in NFL.com leagues, behind only Jimmy Graham and teammate Rob Gronkowski among TEs) are still a little disappointed. That’s because he’s missed over a quarter of the season, and a five-game absence is especially hurtful for fantasy purposes, as in most leagues the fantasy regular season is only 14 games long.
The sudden happenstance of injuries has taken away a premium player for a prolonged period when, say, Owen Daniels — who was taken 12 rounds later on average — is third in tight end fantasy points. ‘Tis the crappy reality of brute sport, but that matters so very little now as long as Hernandez’s absence hasn’t left you in a hole that’s too deep.
He’s back for the stretch run, so crank it, brah.