San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are continuing the unprecedented streak of injuries from 2015. This week the Chargers LB core lost Manti Te’o for the season with an Achilles tear. The Chargers offense has already lost RB Branden Oliver, RB Danny Woodhead, WR Keenan Allen and TE Jeff Cumberland. Now Antonio Gates is dealing with an injury severe enough to keep him out of Week 3 against the Colts. Joey Bosa, 1st round draft pick in 2016, is still sidelined with a hamstring injury. Bosa held out his contract signing until the 2016 season basically started. Brandon Flowers is dealing with a concussion on top of all the other injuries. Lots of recent defensive injuries that will make the San Diego Chargers a target for offensive fantasy players.
The fantasy relevance here is that the Chargers will be easier to run against for Mark Ingram and the New Orlean Saints in Week 4. Hunter Henry becomes a streaming option at TE if Antonio Gates is out Week 4. Henry’s Week 3 stat line was highly efficient; 5 targets, 5 receptions for 76 yards. Henry has a ton of upside as an athletic TE with Phillip Rivers throwing to him. The Chargers have plus matchups the next 2 weeks when they play the Saints and Raiders.
New York Giants
Shane Vereen had a season-ending injury in Week 3 against the Redskins. Torn triceps is the injury that will sideline Vereen. This leaves a vacancy for Orleans Darkwa and Bobby Rainey to seize the RB job. I don’t know if the Giants backfield is more than a running back committee but both Rainey and Darkwa are worth the roster spot. The Giants, with Week 3 as an exception, are a high powered offense with many points to be spread around. My gut says Rainey is the better stash with Rashad Jennings, dealing with a thumb injury, potentially making his way back in the near future. Rainey is a knucklehead who has fumbling problems but fits that change of pace back role that can explode for fantasy owners.
The other big injury is 1st round draft pick Eli Apple was sideline due to a hamstring injury. Apple has quietly been a contributor to the Giants defense and will hurt the defense if he is unhealthy. Free Saftey Darian Thompson is dealing with a foot injury and has a week to week availability.
The fantasy relevance here is that the Giants will be easier to throw on and opportunity to get an RB off the waivers. I like Rainey as an add in Week 4 because I like the player and he will be cheap.
Ryan Mathews is injured, surprised? Probably not. Mathews was non-existent in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The RB situation is muddled. Wendell Smallwood looked great on his handful of plays. Darren Sproles went crazy with big runs for TDs. Kenjon Barner looked equally as impressive as Smallwood. The Eagles in 2016 are like the Kansas City Chiefs without the elite RB in Jamaal Charles. I think Smallwood will be the popular add but I’m not quite sold. I think the sneaky play is Kenjon Barner and I don’t think you will have much competition in the waivers or FAAB.
The other news is that the Eagles DST can be considered a weekly starter. The offense is a ball hog, even more than the Dallas Cowboys(Source). That was an interesting stat I learned this week. The idea here is that rested defenders play better, they do not give up big plays and stay fresh. The Eagles are #3 in Yahoo PPR leagues for DST. The Eagles have a bye in Week 4 but have good matchups following the bye against the Lions and Redskins.
The fantasy relevance here is the Eagles DST needs to be owned and there is a temporary, or maybe not temporary since we are talking about Ryan Mathews, RB vacancy in a run first offense. Kenjon Barner and Wendell Smallwood are likely to split Mathews work while he is out.
Jordan Cameron sustained another concussion in Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns. Cameron hasn’t looked the same since he exploded on the scene when he was playing for the Browns. I would steer clear of this offense in general and away from Cameron. Arian Foster looks like he is going to miss Week 4 against the Bengals. The Bengals have a solid defense and I wouldn’t look to start any Dolphins RB this week. The Bengals shut down CJ Anderson in Week 3. In a plus matchup, the Dolphins RBBC Jay Ajayi, Kenyan
In a plus matchup, the Dolphins RBBC Jay Ajayi, Kenyan Drake, and Damien Williams split the touches in a way that would make it hard to be confident in starting them against a good defense.
The fantasy relevance here is waiting for unless you are desperate I wouldn’t start a Dolphins RB against the Bengals. Thursday night games are sporadic and I would hate to see a bad start for any fantasy owners out there unless you are playing me of course. But seriously, don’t start them. Jordan Cameron can be dropped for TE streamers. Hunter Henry, Dennis Pitta, Jacob Tamme, Vance McDonald, Zach Miller, Jack Doyle, Richard Rodgers and Brent Celek are waiver options.
DeAngelo Hall is lost for the season with an ACL injury. Bashaud Breeland is also dealing with an ankle injury and is week to week. The secondary is going to be easier to throw against without Hall and potentially Breeland. The Redskins haven’t been particularly good at stopping the pass before the injuries(Source). The Redskins are allowing 300+ yards per game in 2016. Part of that is new players to the defense and the other is playing elite offenses. I don’t see any of the DB news as positive. I won’t be scared to target the Redskins secondary.
Josh Doctson was out in Week 3 dealing with his Achilles injury. He is a stash until his injury is healed up. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is on the waivers by the end of the week.
Fantasy Relevance here is to not worry about the Josh Norman effect in the Redskins secondary. The Redskins haven’t been able to stop WRs with their starters playing, now they will be missing their starters.