Aaron Rodgers’ injury devastated entire fantasy football seasons
People make fun of magic, but really, magic is fun. And no, were not talking about stupid card tricks, abracadabra gags, Expector Patronum spells, or even the magic word please.
We talking about real magic, harbored in your imagination, where anything is possible. And the magic phrase is simply: What if?
What if there was no Tuck Rule? What if Bo Jackson never got hurt? What if Scott Norwood wasnt wide right?
Or, what if Aaron Rodgers didnt get hurt on the fourth play of the season?
Entertain any of these ideas, and they fill the mind with marvel and wonder. Wait, did we say wonder? Rodgers staying healthy makes us feel wonder? Wrong. It isnt wonder were feeling, its agony and regret.
Now, clearly, this terrible event hurt Rodgers himself, his teammates and even the fans much more than us, a Fantasy Madman. But that doesnt mean we werent hurt. A lot.
Put aside the real-world damage and just focus on our imaginary damage because that is what fantasy football is, the imaginative use of real-world contests to invent fantasy contests.
So now that were safely locked away in our fantasy, lets talk about how this seasons most devastating fantasy injury destroyed many fantasy teams.
First, there is what it did to teams that had him as their quarterback. He was affordable, able to be had routinely around rounds 8 or 9. Ths is right in the Madmans QB-strategy wheelhouse, so we had him plenty. And we expected him to perform to a QB1 level maybe not high QB1, but certainly good enough to warrant a weekly start without much thought. So when he went down, it sent many of us looking for a new QB.
In single-QB leagues, that isnt ideal, but it also isnt an insurmountable hurdle. Most seasons, you can stream QBs and still be a strong contender. But this season wasnt most seasons, so his loss was amplified as more and more QBs went down.
Rodgers’ injury affected an entire offense’s worth of contributors. Charles Wenzelberg / New York PostStill, the damage is more than that. It also includes what it did to peripheral players the receivers who would catch passes from him, the running backs who would find wider gaps as defenses focused more defending the pass.
Like, we expected Garett Wilson to be a steal as an early second-round pick, capable of being a top-five wide receiver. Instead, he was WR24 heading into Week 15, and even that feels like it has been a struggle.
Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, thought to be decent fantasy depth pieces who were cheap, have been invisible. No tight end has been relevant. And Breece Hall and the running game also has run aground.
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What if Rodgers injury never happened? Asking that question is a form of self-torture disguised as a thought experiment.
Other candidates for most painful injury: Nick Chubb, Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Joe Burrow, Mark Andrews, Tank Dell, Jonathan Taylor. Most ill-timed injuries: Tyreek Hill, Justin Herbert, C.J. Stroud, Keenan Allen, Josh Jacobs, Chris Olave, Isiah Pacheco, Nico Collins.
On the up & up
Trey Sermon RB, Colts
If Jonathan Taylor (thumb) and Zach Moss (shoulder) cant go in Week 16, Sermon looked like the best alternative, outperforming (even if not outscoring) Tyler Goodson this past week.
Noah Brown WR, Texans
Went off with Tank Dell and Nico Collins out. We like Brown the rest of the way, with or without QB C.J. Stroud and even when Collins returns.
Noah Brown APJoshua Palmer WR, Chargers
Had a 79-yard TD that inflated his Week 15 numbers (4-113-1) in his first game back after missing six with a knee sprain. But if Keenan Allen (heel) is out again, we expect Palmers volume to increase as he shakes off rust.
Dontayvion Wicks WR, Packers
Stay in the fantasy football action even if you’re out of the playoffs
Wicks had just one fewer target than team leader Jayden Reed, who left late with a toe injury. With Christian Watson still dealing with a hamstring, Wicks could be the Packers top target this week.
Bijan Robinson RB, Falcons
Remember the previous month-plus, when Bijan was getting 15 touches a game? That was nice. Atlanta regressed in Week 15, giving him a mere eight touches, and bringing back distrust right in the middle of the fantasy playoffs. Thanks, coach Arthur Smith.
DeVon Achane RB, Dolphins
Raheem Mostert gets the bulk of the goal-line work, so you need a big play for Achane to be a fantasy factor. Even guys as explosive as Achane have trouble doing that consistently.
Terry McLaurin WR, Commanders
Fact he snapped out of a month-long slump can be attributed in part to Jacoby Brissett replacing Sam Howell at QB. But Howell will be back under center this week, and McLaurin will be facing the stout Jets secondary.
Jakobi Meyers WR, Raiders
Just two catches last week, but bailed out fantasy managers with one being a score and adding a TD pass. Not enough volume in an unreliable offense to use him with confidence.
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