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Jermichael Finley May Be Done for the Year with Torn Knee Ligament

Sunday was an awful day for the Green Bay Packers. Not only did they lose to the Redskins, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with a concussion, Clay Matthews left with hamstring cramps, and tight end Jermichael Finley left with a knee injury (called a hamstring injury as well). Finley’s injury initially appeared to be a three-week thing, but now the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says it’s likely an 8-10 week injury.

This is a huge blow for the Packers as Finley was becoming one of their best receiving weapons. In four games prior to the injury, Finley had 21 catches for 301 yards and a touchdown. He was one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets and was great at stretching the field, averaging 14.3 yard per reception.

According to the Sentinel, doctors initially thought they would have to remove Finley’s meniscus. Finley would have returned from such a surgery relatively quickly, but he would have been missing a ligament. When the doctors went in to perform the surgery, they noticed the ligament was torn, so they repaired it. Recovery from that surgery will take longer but it’s better for Jermichael in the long run. In the meantime, he’s probably done for the season and will likely be placed on injured reserve to create roster space.

Fantasy owners who took Finley highly in their drafts expecting big things (finger pointed firmly at my chest) are in a rough spot. The best move is to drop him unless you’re in a keeper league. There’s no sense having him take up a roster spot when he’ll be out at least two months and bye weeks are coming up. Luckily there are plenty of good tight ends out there, namely Tony Moeaki, Brandon Pettigrew, and Jeremy Shockey, who were all available on the waiver wire in both of my leagues. It’s a major burn for the Packers and fantasy owners alike, but the best teams can overcome such an injury. Hopefully that will be the case.

Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Working the Waiver Wire: Week 6 Free Agent Pickup Advice

As well as one can draft their fantasy football team, inevitably a combination of injuries and surprises arise throughout the year. As a result, working the waiver wire is a key component of winning your fantasy league. Here is some advice on whom to pick up and whom to leave alone in the free agent pool (for personal advice email larry at larrybrownsports.com):

With bye weeks in full effect, working the waiver wire for replacement players is as important as ever. The pickings are slim this week for fill-in quarterbacks, unlike last week where the likes of Shaun Hill and David Garrard were stars. There really aren’t many new running backs to recommend, but the player group with the most movement is wide receivers. Most of our advice centers around wide receivers because new players continue to emerge. Also, five weeks into the season we have very good ideas about what to exploit and avoid in fantasy land.

Matchups to Avoid (at your discretion): Steelers defense, Ravens defense, Jets rush defense, Giants pass defense

Matchups to Exploit (at your discretion): Houston, Seattle, Jacksonville, and New England’s secondary. Buffalo, Oakland, Arizona, Tampa Bay, and Indy’s run defense. Start a defense playing Carolina, Arizona, and San Francisco.


MUST-HAVE

Steve Johnson, WR, Bills – We’ve recommended him for two weeks in a row so he might be gone in your league, but he now has a touchdown catch in three straight weeks. As Ryan Fitzpatrick’s favorite target, he’s looking like a nice sleeper. Keep in mind he’s on a bye if you do pick him up.
Kenny Britt, WR, Titans – Much like Johnson, we’ve recommended Britt for two weeks in a row and he also has caught a touchdown in three straight weeks. With Justin Gage out, expect this to continue.
Danny Amendola, WR, Rams – We already noted Amendola as a guy to pick up with Mark Clayton’s injury, but it’s worth mentioning again. He sees a lot of passes and is great for PPR leagues.
Osi Umenyiora, DE, Giants – He used to be one of the top pass rushers in the league and appears to be completely recovered from knee surgery. Six sacks in four games? Now that’s what I’m talking about!
*Make sure they’re not still available: LaRon Landry, Brandon Lloyd

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Mark Clayton Season-Ending Injury Makes Danny Amendola Strong Fantasy Pick Up

Six years into his NFL career, former Oklahoma receiver Mark Clayton was having his best season. Acquired by St. Louis during the preseason, he became an instant favorite of rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, catching 23 balls for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, Clayton went down five minutes into Sunday’s game running a route up the sideline (video at NFL.com). His absence took a major weapon away from Bradford and the Rams offense, and the sad news is Clayton has a torn patella tendon and will be done for the year.

The injury is equally devastating for the Rams and Clayton. Clayton was set to cash in as a free agent following his big year. The Rams meanwhile have now lost two of their top receivers for the season because of knee injuries — Donnie Avery in the preseason, and Clayton. Not all will be lost in fantasy land — second year receiver out of Texas Tech, Danny Amendola, becomes the hot pickup if he’s still available in your league.

Amendola was averaging five catches per game before the Clayton injury, and with Mark out he emerged as Sam Bradford’s favorite target, seeing 19 balls thrown his way. He made 12 catches for 95 yards but still has yet to find the end zone. If you’re in a point-per-reception league, Amendola will have extra value, but he’s still a nice addition to your roster, especially if you lost Clayton.

The other Rams receiver to watch is Brandon Gibson. The second-year man out of Washington State has seen 18 targets on the year and was on the field a lot more after Clayton got hurt. He’s more of a stretch, but keep your eye on him if you’re desperate. For now, Amendola is the man.

Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

With Randy Moss Gone, What Should Tom Brady’s Fantasy Owners Expect?

With Randy Moss officially being dealt to the Minnesota Vikings, it seems like there are an endless amount of angles from which people are dissecting this thing.  The ripple effect from the announcement is one of the most defined I can ever remember.  One particular group of people whose heads must be spinning are fantasy football fanatics.  We’ve already shared our thoughts on what the trade means for the fantasy value of Brandon Tate, but what about Tom Brady?

Are Brady’s fantasy owners screwed?  Hardly.  The Patriots are a pass-first team and aren’t going to change their entire philosophy after dealing a receiver — even if it’s their top receiver — four weeks into the season.  However, it would be reasonable to assume that Brady’s fantasy production is going to take a hit.  By that I mean I wouldn’t expect many games where he throws for over 300 yards and 3 or 4 touchdowns.

I’ve already shared my thoughts on whether or not the Patriots are in trouble without their only actual deep threat.  I think they’ll bounce back and eventually be a better team, even if not this season.  While the offense is probably going to take a hit from a point-scoring standpoint, could the Moss trade actually help the Patriots defense?  Yes, this still has to do with Tom Brady’s fantasy value.  Just hear me out.

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Randy Moss Trade Could Turn Brandon Tate into Top Fantasy Option

We already told you about the rumored Randy Moss trade to the Vikings that appears to be coming together. Jay Glazer, who was the first reporter to drop hints of the trade, says the sides are working on the deal. We’ll reserve our analysis of the trade and how it impacts each team until the deal is officially completed. But that doesn’t mean fantasy owners shouldn’t prepare themselves for the situation.

The biggest winner of a Randy Moss trade could be Patriots receiver Brandon Tate. The second-year man out of North Carolina has already shown his speed with two kickoffs returned for a touchdown. He’s fourth on the team in receiving, hauling in 11 of his 14 targets in four games for 135 yards. Tate has the potential, he just hasn’t been on the field often enough to make a big impact. He won’t approach Randy Moss numbers (not many players can), but he could become the deep threat they would be losing.

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Working the Waiver Wire: Week 5 Free Agent Pickup Advice

As well as one can draft their fantasy football team, inevitably a combination of injuries and surprises arise throughout the year. As a result, working the waiver wire is a key component of winning your fantasy league. Here is some advice on whom to pick up and whom to leave alone in the free agent pool (for personal advice email larry at larrybrownsports.com):

So last week some of our recommendations for pickups included Lance Moore, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Chad Henne, Brandon Lloyd, and Matt Bryant. We also told you to keep your eye on Willis McGahee who scored against the Steelers, and Kenny Britt who scored against the Broncos. Obviously we know what we’re talking about, so don’t be afraid to follow our advice.

As far as trends go, through four weeks of the season we have some good ideas about what to exploit and avoid.

Matchups to Avoid (at your discretion): Steelers defense, Ravens defense, Jets rush defense

Matchups to Exploit (at your discretion): Houston, Seattle, Jacksonville, and New England’s secondary. Oakland, Buffalo, Arizona, and Indy’s run defense. Start a defense playing Carolina, Buffalo, Arizona, and San Francisco.


MUST-HAVE

Ryan Torain, RB, Redskins – Averaging 4.6ypc with Washington and scored a touchdown last week. Clinton Portis has essentially declared himself out for Sunday’s game. Torain is a decent add for this week and could get plenty of carries down the line.
Fred Jackson, RB, Bills – The trade of Marshawn Lynch opens things up for Jackson who racked up yardage totals last year. Don’t expect many scores out of Fred, but he could get you eight points as a bye week replacement.
Michael Bush, RB, Raiders – Darren McFadden sustained his annual injury and Bush should be ready to step in and take over. He probably is on someone’s roster, but check to make sure.
Paul Posluszny, LB, Bills – The tackling machine is back and had 12 tackles on Sunday. Make sure he wasn’t dropped in your IDP league.
James Anderson, LB, Panthers – Double-digit tackles in 3 of 4 games, plus he’s added in a pick and a sack. Looks like the new IDP stud on that defense.
*Make sure they’re not still available: Kyle Orton, Mark Sanchez, Patrick Chung

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Working the Waiver Wire: Week 4 Free Agent Pickup Advice

As well as one can draft their fantasy football team, inevitably a combination of injuries and surprises arise throughout the year. As a result, working the waiver wire is a key component of winning your fantasy league. Here is some advice on whom to pick up and whom to leave alone in the free agent pool:


MUST-HAVE

Lance Moore, WR, Saints – He’s not going to get easy 80-yard touchdown catches like that again, but he did have 10 touchdowns in 2008 and his six catch, 149 yard day makes him desirable.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots – Injuries and a trade have opened this spot up in New England and it looks like the lawfirm will be the beneficiary. The Pats actually run it when they’re up and looking to burn clock, so you can do worse as a starting running back than him.
Paris Lenon, LB, Cardinals – Has averaged nine tackles per game and even picked up a sack and interception against the Raiders. The high tackle totals should continue.
*Make sure they’re not still available: Peyton Hillis, Kyle Orton

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