By Mark Ackerman, CBS4 Fantasy Football Pro
DENVER (CBS4) – Thursday night’s slate of pre-season games has head coaches holding their breaths and holding their star players out of the action. Avoiding major injuries in this preseason finale is the biggest thing on every coach’s mind, especially after some major setbacks for starting QBs this week.
Teddy Bridgewater Blows Out His Knee
The Vikings were a playoff team last year, but will have a hard time contending without the services of their quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, who is likely out for the season after a serious knee injury. So what does the loss of Bridgewater mean for first round running back Adrian Peterson? I wouldn’t worry. When he’s been on the field, Peterson has consistently been a top performer. The injury to Bridgewater could mean fewer touchdowns, but more carries. In the end he’s going be a workhorse. Don’t let the injury spoil your excitement about selecting Peterson in the first round.
Tony Romo Injury Presents Uncertainty for Teammates
This is stacking up to be a lot like 2015, and if you stacked your roster with Cowboys last year, you know what I mean. At this point, Tony Romo’s back injury has him officially out of 6-10 weeks, which means he “could” be back fairly soon, some analysts saying as early as Week 3. I’d avoid him like the plague. The uncertainty also slightly downgrades star receiver Dez Bryant, who has always had chemistry with Romo. Bryant is coming off an injury, too, and could be rejuvenated by the emergence of QB Dak Prescott, who has looked super human in preseason. I also think the loss of Romo could hurt rookie rusher Ezekiel Elliott, who is also viewed as a potential first rounder. If the Cowboys aren’t moving the ball, Elliott isn’t scoring touchdowns.
Proven Stars, Returning From Serious Injuries
Some of the biggest names in fantasy football suffered serious injuries in 2015. Andrew Luck, Jamal Charles, Arian Foster, Steve Smith, Keenan Allen & Jordy Nelson are all trying to make comebacks this year. So who can you count on? Luck is rated as a top five QB. He should be fine. Jamal Charles could be a bigger risk. The Chiefs backfield is getting crowded with talented running backs who filled in capably in his absence. Foster and Smith tore their Achilles tendons, and that’s a hard one to come back from. Foster has been in and out of the training room for the past few seasons. I’d pick him, but late. I never count Steve Smith out. He always seems to put up big numbers. Keenan Allen was having a career year in 2015 before lacerating his kidney. He should be a no-brainer second round pick. I’m a little more skeptical of Jordy Nelson returning to form, mostly because the Packers offense looked so lost without him last year.
Broncos Start Siemian
The quarterback controversy is over, for now. So what’s the fantasy outlook for the rest of the Broncos with Siemian under center? Demaryius Thomas can no longer be considered one of the elite receivers. He’s still a solid pick up, in the fourth round. Emanuel Sanders has fallen completely off a lot of draft boards entirely, which could lead to a true value pick if he’s available in the later rounds. He’s still a very talented wide receiver who scores touchdowns. The real player to watch is C.J. Anderson, who is positioned to be the workhorse of a run first offense. A lot of fantasy owners will shy away, after last year. But I expect big things. Brandon McManus and the Broncos Defense are strong picks.
Mark Ackerman’s credentials: CBS4 Producer. AFC North Expert. Childhood ruined by Drive & Fumble. Drafted Adrian Peterson and still won it all last year.