Week 7 of the NFL season provided many intriguing matchups for football fans. Brock Osweiler lost the battle to his former team despite a career high 41 passing attempts. The Seahawks and Cardinals would square off in a battle for divisional position. The game would end in a 6-6 tie with neither team finding the end zone. The NFL continued their International Series, with a sloppy contest that saw the Giants edge out the Rams and had fans wondering why they woke up that early on a Sunday morning. Jay Ajayi continued to shoulder the load for the Dolphins, rushing for over 200+ yards in consecutive weeks. These somewhat historical occurrences would mark for the major storylines in week 7 of the season.
The more important statistical rankings are the fantasy performances of individual players. Each week, millions of competitors face off against a friend that may quickly become a foe in the fantasy arena. Many players, like Ajayi, had monster fantasy performances. Below we’ll detail 3 players that really never go things going or players who disappointed many fantasy hopefuls in week 7.
First we’ll start with a name that many fantasy players are quite familiar with: Jamaal Charles. Charles averaged 2nd to 3rd round value at the beginning of the season. Despite being featured on less than half of the team’s snaps in week 6, Charles was able to find pay dirt and muck up a hard earned 33 yards on the ground. A week 7 matchup against a lackluster New Orleans defense seemed like the perfect place for Charles to find his footing once again. The result was the exact opposite, with Charles rushing the ball one time for no gain while only seeing a couple of snaps. This was only his third time on the field this season and fantasy owners wish that he would have been held out prior to game time. His recovering knee seems to undergo setbacks each week and it remains to be seen if he will ever become the lead back once again in Kansas City.
Another back suffering from loss of touches due to an unlikely source was Jordan Howard of the Bears. Howard was just starting to find his groove in Chicago until the team traveled to Green Bay for a historic battle with the Packers. The Packers defense has been rather mediocre over the past few seasons, citing health issues as the main reason for this fall-off. Howard lead the Bears in touches the past three weeks, putting together some rather impressive numbers during that stretch. The Bears, who are very banged up on offense, seemed to switch their game plan without notifying fantasy owners on Thursday night. Ka’Deem Carey lead the team in touches and in rushing yards. Howard rushed 7 times only producing a total slightly over 20 yards. He also failed to bring in his lone target out of the backfield. Howard owners should be worried heading forward as it is unclear who will get the touches going forward.
Sticking in Chicago, where fantasy duds seem to attract one another, we have Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery is the main target for the Bears on offense, and it’s not even close. The team lost Kevin White early in the season to an injury that would end his 2016-17 campaign. This would seem like the opportunity for Jeffery to put up large numbers and gaudy targets; the result has been anything but. Jeffery was targeted 11 times against the Packers, but only managed to successfully reel in 3 of those targets for 33 total yards. The Bears have lacked consistency at the quarterback position, which has created trouble for all offensive targets. Jeffery hasn’t even found the end zone this season and, if the team can’t find someone he can adequately communicate with, we don’t see this changing anytime soon.
When a player returns early and is re-injured, it is too simplistic to blame the coach for pushing a player to hurt. Bills head coach Rex Ryan faced that criticism when LeSean McCoy played through and aggravated a hamstring strain in a Dolphins loss on Sunday.
Mid-week, McCoy was originally declared with only muscle tightness that turned out to be “coach speak” for a mild to moderate strain per media reports. It would be easy for me to say “I told you so” after the Bills star RB left the game in the second half feeling pain after 8 carries for 11 yards. I did warn of ineffectiveness and aggravation but that is nothing the Bills medical staff would not be aware of and had considered. The offensive coordinator even said earlier this week, “I don’t want to do what we did last year. I don’t want him playing 85% re-injuring the hamstring and this thing lingering all year.”
Return-to-play decisions are not solely made by the team doctor or the head coach. Typically it needs to be a unanimous group decision between three parties: the medical staff, the team and the player. Any of the three has “veto power” and must share in the responsibility of all return-to-play scenarios.
The medical staff input is a combination of the doctors and athletic trainers. The team decision requires varying input from coaching (head coach, coordinators and position coaches) and management (general manager and sometimes owner). The player component includes the athlete, agent and often family. (Certainly agents have stepped up and prevented their guys from playing before.) All three combined parties must agree, otherwise a player doesn’t step on the field. Decisions like these are always joint discussions and are never made in a vacuum.
Ryan acknowledged, “We never play a guy our doctor and trainers don’t clear”. I am sure the medical staff was aware of and discussed risks of re-injury and ineffectiveness. McCoy accepted his role in the decision to play as well, saying “I felt good…I wouldn’t play, if I wasn’t 100%”.
Given this situation plus the Sammy Watkins, Aaron Williams and Shaq Lawson decisions to play through injury, it is inevitable critics will blame the Bills for allowing these players to push the envelope and get back to action prematurely, causing a bigger risk for re-injury down the line; however, that would not be telling the whole story. At least in this case McCoy himself acknowledges his role in pushing to play and admitted it might have been better to hold off.
MMMD 1: Geno Smith injury “not too significant”
The Jets Sunday starter exited with a left knee injury. By video, there was no major ligament injury but there is some worry for a meniscus tear (similar to Roethlisberger’s injury last week) that will be cleared up by a MRI. Smith himself indicated it wouldn’t be “anything too significant”; however, he spent the second half in street clothes on the sidelines. Unlike Big Ben who was cleared to play the 2nd half, doctors didn’t clear Smith to return as a precaution. The thought is Smith will avoid a knee scope and it doesn’t appear to be serious, even though he may not be the starter anymore.
MMMD 2: Steelers hope to get healthy with bye week
Antonio Brown took a knee to the quad and was hampered the rest of the game. Fortunately muscle contusions heal quickly and the week off comes at a perfect time for the Steelers star WR. With rehab, expect Brown to be 100% for the next game.
It would also help if Ben Roethlisberger would be throwing him the ball. Despite some doom and gloom reports of missing up to six weeks, I have never waivered (and a new CBS report agrees) http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/big-ben-unlikely-to-miss-more-than-two-games-could-return-after-bye/ from my feeling that Big Ben is most likely to return for the post-bye divisional games versus the Ravens.
MMMD 3: Giants injury designation faux pas
Odell Beckham Jr. and five other players were listed as “probable”, a designation that doesn’t exist anymore on the Friday injury report. Perhaps, the Giants share in the thoughts of fantasy players in wanting that category reinstated.
All six players were subsequently removed completely from the injury report, as downgrading to “questionable” would have proven the fallacy of the new system. Beckham did play as expected with a hip pointer, but he was seen working with trainers pregame and perhaps was not 100%. With the post overseas game bye, OBJ should not be hobbled for his next game.
MMMD 4: No Reggie Bush touchdown
It didn’t matter in the outcome of the game but it could matter for future safety. A play is dead when the ball carrier’s helmet comes off. Reggie Bush’s helmet was completely off just before he crossed the goal line yet he was still awarded the score.
Officiating guru Mike Pereira agreed. The NFL and NCAA rule are similar here except that the professional player is not required to leave the field for a play after his helmet comes off like the collegiate players. I would lobby that non ball carriers deserve the same protection. If the helmet comes off, any player should be deemed a non-participant meaning he can’t tackle, be hit, block or be blocked.
MMMD 5: 2016 Health and Safety Report
The annual medical update was released this week. The NFL has been far from perfect in dealing with head injury over the years but before anyone criticizes the league’s current action, they should read this comprehensive 39 page report of all of the health initiatives.
One piece of unfinished business is the NFL has yet to announce it’s new Chief Medical Officer. The often maligned previous medical adviser was forced to retire in July but the new full-time position has yet to be filled.
MMMD 6: Injury rundown
Jay Ajayi was cramping and not injured. Who can blame him after two consecutive 200+ yard performances in Miami.
Russell Wilson still seems to be hampered by the knee and ankle injury, which I expected to be behind him after the bye.
Jamaal Charles was limited by knee swelling and only had 1 carry for 0 yards. Knee effusion is common after ACL surgery but the swelling usually goes away quickly. Only if it persists, is it time to worry.
Tevin Coleman left with a hamstring strain but it is difficult to discern severity off video so his absence is yet to be determined.
Brian Hoyer’s doctors were working Sunday despite the Thursday game this week. The Bears QB underwent surgery with plate and screws into his radius (forearm) bone. Contrary to popular belief, team doctor’s have “day jobs” outside of the NFL and likely the regular weekly workload made the off day schedule more convenient.
Ron Brooks of the Eagles ruptured his quad tendon and will need surgery. This injury is similar to patellar tendon tear and will require a minimum of 6-9 months recovery.
Aaron Williams left the Dolphins game in an ambulance for a precautionary MRI that was negative and flew home to Buffalo with his team. Jarvis Landry apologized for the penalized hit that may still draw a fine.
Jeremy Hill seemed to aggravate again what by video seems to be a left AC joint sprain.
Jerick McKinnon by video suffered a high ankle sprain but had a limited return for the Bears.
Josh Norman and Cody Kessler suffered concussions.
Jordan Reed was out again and admitted to hiding his concussion.
John Brown missed the game as his sickle cell trait work up continued. Expect a full return as most teams have at least one player with the trait that play without issue.
Saints special teams ace, Jake Lampman is hoping to avoid major knee ACL and/or MCL injury.
Josh Doctson was placed IR for recalcitrant Achilles tendonitis.
Dez Bryant cut his fingers making soup, but his knee and digits should be fine after the Cowboys bye this past week.
MMMD 7: ProFootballDoc scorecard
Please be clear that I take the time to chronicle the correct/incorrect video and injury analysis to publicly vet my stats. This allows readers and twitter followers the chance for a public audit of my numbers.
This week, Russell Wilson does not seem to be over the knee and ankle injury as I expected, thus will count as a mistake. Unfortunately LeSean McCoy did aggravate his hamstring. Carson Palmer played with his as expected. Jerick McKinnon had a mild high ankle sprain confirmed. Brian Hoyer did have an isolated radius and needed surgery, Dwayne Allen missed the Colts game with a high ankle sprain. Michael Bennett did avoid serious knee injury and played.
Add these into last week’s 83-3 (96.5%) drops the numbers to 89-4 (95.7%).
There were many unfortunate fantasy letdowns in Week 6 but here are the top three under-achievers of the week. Some of us might look at our lineup and say, “What, only three?” Anyway, these are the players we hope will turn it around in Week 7.
Matt Forte posted 2.20 fantasy points in the Jets debacle with the Cardinals. The Jets’ defensive line desperately needed to perform at the highest level in order to give the Jets an opportunity to compete, which they did not. With the game quickly out of hand, Forte rushed nine times but gained only 19 yards and also caught only one of three passes that came his way. He was even targeted one less time than Bilal Powell. How the glory has departed! Forte has rushed for less than 30 yards in the last 3 games. In Week 5, he collected 6.0 fantasy points, and in Week 4 it was 4.30, so this has been going on for a while.
It’s not that Matt has lost a step because in Week 2 he blew up for 28.90 points against Buffalo. It’s that Jets coach Todd Bowles simply needs to use him more. The Jets are 1-5, so what are they thinking? If they have a better option, Forte owners might want to bench him until the Jets make this obvious decision. Otherwise, owners can simply wait it out.
Travis Benjamin ended up with -0.30 points against Denver. Ok, it’s Denver, but negative points, really? He caught three of five passes, but for only 17 yards and, as a punt returner, muffed a punt on the 11-yard line. Fortunately, he’s been replaced there by Dexter McCluster.
Many see Benjamin as a “boom or bust” player. But he can be more boom than bust. In Week 5, he brought in a respectable 11.70 points and, in Week 2, 23.40 points. Benjamin was a productive staple in a poor Cleveland offense, and he’s filled in admirably for the injury-stricken Chargers. Through Week 5, he scored the 15th-most fantasy points of any wide receiver. It is a safe bet to start Benjamin in Week 7 against the Falcons.
Jordy’s 4.80 points against the Cowboys was just part of the general Packers meltdown, following Aaron Rodgers’ QB struggles. Week 6 presented Nelson with a season low in targets while gaining plenty of attention from the tough Cowboys defense. Aaron Rogers spreads the ball around and has a completion rate of 60.2%, which also makes it tougher for Jordy. What’s more, in the first quarter, the Cowboys defense forced Nelson to fumble on the Packers 36 yard line.
But all is not lost. In Week 7, the Packers play the Bears, who are struggling more than they are. The Bears defense ranks 21st in total tackles, with only 2 interceptions. The Bears offense also spends little time on the field, wearing their defense out, so the Packers will be able to pick it apart. Nelson gets the most targets on the team, so he’s a sure start for Week 7.
So here’s hoping your fantasy world is looking up. Last week frustrated, this week elated!
Ben Roethlisberger will need surgery but his season will not be over. Big Ben has a meniscus tear like Adrian Peterson; however, the Steelers quarterback will return in short order.
Not all meniscus tears are the same. A locked bucket-handle displaced meniscus tear like the Vikings running back had requires repair to prevent long-term problems. Sutures require healing time measured in months. By video, Roethlisberger has a simple smaller meniscus tear that likely will be trimmed without the option for repair and his return will be measured in weeks. When laying down new sod, one must “keep off the grass”; however, after mowing the lawn, one can play football on the grass immediately.
The worst fears of injury were avoided. Roethlisberger described what he thought was a hyperextension injury but fortunately there was no serious ligament tear.
Big Ben will have had knee arthroscopy surgery by the time this article posts. Expect confirmation of a trimming procedure and a definite return this season.
With menisectomy (trimming) surgery, there is no wait for healing, thus, return is measured in weeks. Typically recovery is 2-4 weeks but given that Roethlisberger is not a position player and his recovery prowess is legendary, it is not impossible to return next week to play the Patriots. After all, Philip Rivers played New England in the 2008 AFC Championship game six days after a knee scope (and with a torn ACL).
However, the most likely return is after the Steelers bye the following week. I fully expect to see Roethlisberger play the division rival Ravens in Week 9.
There are many reasons to have immediate surgery. First, the tear can get worse. Second, playing on a meniscus tear can accelerate arthritis. Third, a cartilage injury limits playing effectiveness. Finally, with the quick recovery and the bye coming, there is no time like the present and Steelers doctors are acting quickly to make it happen.
Big Ben returned to play in the second half but there is no way he should continue to chance further injury without surgery first. I am sure if Roethlisberger had clinical signs of meniscus tear or mechanical symptoms, he would not have been allowed to return to play. Now that the meniscus tear is diagnosed, there can be no thought of playing through the injury.
Roethlisberger will return to 100% in terms of football. He will have some increased chance of long-term arthritis as a result of loosing some of the meniscus as cushioning, but less than without surgery.
An operation is never good news, but this type of meniscus procedure is really a positive scenario for Roethlisberger and Steelers fans. With a trim, Big Ben will have a chance to return very quickly.
MMMD 1: LeSean McCoy avoids serious injury
Like Big Ben, McCoy had a scare and clutched his right knee. By video, the Bills RB averted disaster and only had a mild MCL sprain. The key is that his foot was not fully planted or trapped. Indeed, McCoy returned for the second half and I don’t expect issues going forward.
MMMD 2: Odell Beckham, Jr. injures hip
The Giants star WR was injured within minutes of Roethlisberger and McCoy. Fortunately he too avoided major injury and returned for a big game.
By video, Beckham suffered a left hip pointer. The key is how swollen and sore he is this AM. Just because Beckham came back to play is no guarantee for next week. I expect the Giants to be aggressive treating this injury and thus a good chance to see Beckham in action next week in London. I do not expect the long flight to be a factor as teams fly on a chartered 747 and it’s like spending six hours in your living room. In fact, the Giants medical staff can set up a mini-training room on the plane as well.
MMMD 3: Terrell Suggs injured again
The 34 year-old pass rusher recovered from his second Achilles rupture, now he will have to deal with his second biceps injury. By video, Suggs ruptured his left distal biceps tendon at the elbow and Jay Glazer has confirmed the injury.
In 2012, he played through the month of December and into the Super Bowl with a right biceps tear. I suspect he will want to try to delay surgery and do the same now. Most players end up with surgery to re-attach the tendon to restore full flexion and supination (palm up rotation) strength.
Suggs has proven to be a quick healer and still can be an effective pass rusher. His ability to wrap and tackle may be hindered by this injury, but given his experience compensating and playing hurt on the other elbow gives him hope that he can do the same now.
MMMD 4: DeMeco Ryans sues over Achilles tear
The former Eagles linebacker ruptured his Achilles tendon in 2014 at NRG stadium and is now suing the Texans, NFL and stadium operators.
Originally the field was made up of natural grass pallets that were rotated into the sun for growth but the seams generated complaints. Subsequently the surface has now been switched to artificial grass.
Reggie Bush sued the St. Louis Rams stadium over his knee injury slipping on concrete and the case is still pending. Ryans returned to play during a subpar 2015 campaign but is no longer playing and seeks over $10 million in damages.
MMMD 5: Active does not always mean playing time
A big pregame topic is who will and won’t be on the inactive list. This week there was much discussion of to play or not to play for Arian Foster and Will Fuller.
Foster was called a game-time decision. The Dolphins RB was active but had minimal contribution with only 3 rushes for 3 yards.
Fuller was reported by Adam Schefter to be out. The Texans instead activated the wide receiver but he essentially did not play. Seems the Texans had no healthy scratches so Fuller was activated even though his effectiveness from hamstring injury was limited. In the end, the ESPN report was not wrong even though Fuller was technically active.
These are prime examples of where active does not equal effective.
MMMD 6: Injury rundown
Browns S Jordan Poyer was taken to the hospital with a concussion and diagnosed with a lacerated kidney. Expect a minimum one-month absence that could extend to season long.
Seahawks DL Michael Bennett suffered a scary looking knee hyperextension injury.
The hope is his ligaments were spared despite the gruesome appearance and only minor anterior bone bruise or posterior capsular stretch injuries.
By video, Colts TE Dwayne Allen left with a right high ankle sprain. His status for next week is in doubt.
Redskins TE Jordan Reed did not play as expected after his recent head injury. With his sixth reported concussion, it will be smart to take great care and consideration before return. The bigger concern is not when he will return but potentially if he will return. There is no absolute number of concussions when one has to retire but I hope Reed makes the right decision.
Today, Chiefs LB Justin Houston can come off PUP from his ACL. He has been cleared for football activities. If he is activated, he has two weeks to practice before potentially playing in Week 9.
Packers RB James Starks underwent an unusual Sunday AM knee scope surgery. The timing may have been necessitated by a family emergency last week. Usually in season arthroscopy are done early week to maximize return, as is the case for Roethlisberger (detailed above).
MMMD 7: ProFootballDoc scorecard
I am glad that this section generated some interest this week. A follower thought I should count Dez Bryant as a mistake as initially I only said MCL. His bone bruise is indeed related to the MCL but I will follow his advice and call that a mistake. It was correct that Big Ben did not have a major injury and returned to play; however, I will not count it as correct as he now has what I consider to be a minor meniscus tear.
Despite three touchdowns last week, Martellus Bennett did show up on injury report with an ankle as expected. Eddie Lacy did play through his high ankle injury while Steve Smith was inactive as no player listed as doubtful has been activated in 2016. Trevor Siemian and Terrance Williams played with AC injuries. Jordan Reed was out with concussion and although limited, Sammie Coates was active with index finger fracture and laceration.
This takes last week’s 73-2 (97.3%) mark to 83-3 (96.5%).
The NFL and fantasy football are filled with surprises and disappointments. Something shocking is almost guaranteed to happen every week. The potential of chaos at any moment is one of the things that makes fantasy football so much fun to play. These are the three players that disappointed their fantasy football owners the most during Week 5.
Julio Jones was coming off the sixth best receiving game in NFL history, so he was always going to have a hard time living up to expectations in Week 5. He was also stuck playing against the great cornerbacks of the Denver Broncos that have been able to shut down every great receiver they have faced this season. All of the fantasy football experts had Julio Jones ranked much lower than normal heading into Week 5, but he still managed to disappoint his owners. Jones only had two receptions for a total of 29 yards against the Broncos. The future should be a lot brighter for Julio Jones, but he may struggle to meet his lofty expectations on a weekly basis as the Falcons feature a much more balanced offense than last year.
Lamar Miller entered the 2016 season as the consensus 10th overall ranked player in fantasy football. While he has never lived up to this ranking, Miller still produced solid stats in his first four games thanks to a large number of carries each week. While the Vikings have one of the best defenses in the NFL, fantasy owners were still expecting a solid game from Miller thanks to his impressive workload. He severely disappointed by only gaining 20 rushing yards on eight attempts against the Vikings. Despite the horrible start, the upcoming schedule is very favorable for Lamar Miller. If the Texans continue the commitment to the running game they showed in their first four games, then Miller should be one of the more valuable running backs the rest of the fantasy football season.
Eli Manning had three straight unimpressive games entering his Week 5 contest against the Green Bay Packers. Fantasy owners were still expecting big things from Manning because of the great matchup. The Packers have a great rush defense, but they showed no ability to stop the pass before their game against the New York Giants, who many believed would have one of the most potent offenses in the league this season. Manning only tallied 199 passing yards and one late touchdown against the depleted secondary of the Packers. Unlike the other two players on this list, it is hard to trust Manning in the near future. The terrible play calling of Ben McAdoo will probably limit Manning’s upside the rest of the season, so he is only a desperation play at this point in the fantasy football season.