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Fantasy Football Edge: Reacting To Injuries

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6)

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By Matt Cott, and Matthew Schwimmer of Roto Analysis

Week 7 around the NFL was as brutal as ever, and led to a ton of injuries. With two starting QBs and various other fantasy studs now out, the way you react could end up shaping your season. We at RotoAnalysis are breaking down some of the key situations and what you can do as an owner to improve your team the rest of the way.

Doug Martin, Buccaneers RB

After finally getting some decent play out of the quarterback position, the Bucs’ top offensive player, Doug Martin, sustained a shoulder injury last week, which will put him out of play for at least a couple weeks and potentially the entire season. While Martin is not droppable yet, owners have to worry that even if Martin could come back this season, given the Bucs record, it may not be wise for the team long-term. In Martin’s place, Mike James filled in to rush for 45 yards on 14 carries. While James will get the majority of the work with the team, expect Bobby Rainey, who was signed Monday, to work his way into the mix. No matter the replacement, it will be extremely hard for any of these backs to have much fantasy value given the fact that Doug Martin, a vastly superior offensive talent, has only rushed for 3.6 yards-per-carry. The Bucs offensive line issues won’t fix itself in the near future so don’t treat any other back on the Bucs as more than a flex play unless Martin returns.

Jay Cutler, Bears QB

While Cutler isn’t a top 10 QB, he strung together four 20-point games in just six full games this season. The bigger ramifications come for his star WR Brandon Marshall and the up-and-coming Alshon Jeffrey. The Bears won’t be passing as much with Josh McCown at the helm, and Matt Forte should remain a top 5 stud. Marshall and Jeffrey receive slight downgrades for us, with Marshall a low-end WR1 and Jeffrey a flex option.

Reggie Wayne, Colts WR

Reggie Wayne’s season came to an end Sunday night when he tore his ACL, but plenty of other Colts should be impacted by the news. The biggest riser in this deal figures to be T.Y. Hilton, who has been extremely impressive in short bursts this year. Hilton has lost some playing time to Darius Heyward-Bay in two-WR sets this year, which has hurt his value, but those issues should be gone now. Hilton figures to get a ton of targets and slides into a top 20 weekly WR. Darius Heyward-Bay’s value figures to bump up a little, but not nearly as drastically as Hilton’s or Colby Fleener’s, another Colt who should see an increase in targets. While the news isn’t good for Andrew Luck’s fantasy value, the inability of Trent Richardson to establish himself as the back the Colts hoped he could be, still makes this a pass-first offense the rest of the way.

Sam Bradford, Rams QB

The Rams have an even worse drop-off at QB than the Bears, as Kellen Clemens is far worse than Josh McCown is. It’s officially time to give up on Tavon Austin for this season, and Jared Cook won’t provide much value either. Cook is the #11 TE so far this season, but 24 of his 42 fantasy points all year came in Week 1! The best news here is for Zac Stacy, who could be vaulted to a RB2 slot for the next few weeks with byes and other injuries around the league. He was very impressive last week and has at least 75 yards from scrimmage in each of his starts.

Agree? Disagree? Questions? Tweet @RotoAnalysis and be sure to follow Moe @MoeProblemsMatt @KidCotti21and Matt@Schwimingly. Check out their work on RotoAnalysis.com, as well as The RotoAnalysis Fantasy Sports Podcast.

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