TEARING: Ryan Broyles

This is the day when you start chucking your fists of fury, declare how much you hate fantasy football, and just give up to go study giant turtles in the Galapagos Islands. Why? Why not? Nothing makes sense any more, nothing is fair, and nothing is aligned as it should be. Just…just give me some space for a second.

Alright, I’m good now. Where were we? Oh yeah, Ryan Broyles is done for the year.

For some reason this injury is tugging at my lonesome fantasy heart strings more than any other fake team injury I’ve endured recently. Like many of you, I added Broyles, and he was set to be a fantastic value play for the remainder of the season on two of my three rosters. Now that’s no more. Play all the sad tunes on all of the sad musical instruments.

During the Lions’ loss to the Colts yesterday (you know, the one that ended in Andrew Luck throwing a game-winning touchdown pass and then nearly beating his receiver to the end zone) Broyles left early in the first quarter with a knee injury. It looked bad immediately, as Broyles limped heavily on his way to the locker room, which led to assumptions that doom was forthcoming.

And lo, doom has now arrived, as Broyles has torn the ACL in his left knee, and his seventh play in only his second game as a starter was his last play of the 2012 season. At least he’s consistent, as this comes one year after Broyles tore the ACL in his right knee during his final season at Oklahoma. The recovery required for that injury led to his three-game absence to start this season, and limited usage until Week 7. Despite Broyles’ injury prior to the draft last spring the Lions still used their second-round pick on him, welcoming the inherent risk of a player battling a major knee problem before being on the field for even a single meaningful NFL snap.

I’m not implying that those two injuries are connected, because they’re not. It’s the same injury, but it’s in two different legs, and two different areas of the body. Only a crystal ball with the strength of 10 crystal balls would have been able to predict such an outcome.

No, the long-term worry both for the Lions and for fake team managers in any format isn’t tied to injury proneness. Instead the concern is more simple, but incredibly daunting: a promising rookie has now torn a major ligament in both knees in successive years. This comes after Nate Burleson broke his leg, but usually the fear in Detroit right now would be balanced by the Lions’ depth, with Titus Young able to step into his former role. And he would if he wasn’t douche defined.

Head coach Jim Schwartz said that Young won’t be part of the mix. Schwartz even gave the verbal equivalent of a shrug when asked if Young is with the team, saying “that’s yet to be seen.” Alright then.

So in steps Mike Thomas, who now becomes the only receiver on the Lions’ roster not named Calvin Johnson who’s worth owning in standard formats, and he barely qualifies. Thomas was targeted four times yesterday, catching just one ball. Any receiver who’s set to benefit from the attention Megatron draws retains some value, but Thomas is only a desperate claim, and a reaching flex play. The majority of Broyles’ targets will likely now shift to Brandon Pettigrew, as the tight end is worked in more due to the decimated wide receiver depth chart. Tony Scheffler becomes the third wide receiver, and he’s also worth an add for those in deep leagues.

I’ve dealt with crushing injuries, and do it nearly every year, as does anyone who participates in this barely rewarding game. But this one is especially hurtful coming after the sky-high ceiling Broyles showed when he had 126 receiving yards on six receptions against the Texans on Thanksgiving Day, a game that included catches for 25, 37, and 40 yards, and an average of 21 yards per catch.