Here we are at the midpoint of the regular season, and what a brutal Sunday it was. We saw superstar Le’Veon Bell go down with a torn MCL that will cost him the rest of the year. We saw tough-as-nails ironman Steve Smith tear his achilles, ending his season, but hopefully not his career. We saw the ultimate model of consistency Matt Forte suffer a knee injury, though he was at least able to walk off the field on his own. We saw Reggie Bush, who was ready to play a bigger role for the 49ers with Carlos Hyde sidelined with a stress fracture in his foot, suffer a season-ending ACL tear. Underrated handcuff RB Khiry Robinson left Sunday’s game against the Giants with what looked like a serious leg injury. In that same game, TE Larry Donnell was carted off the field with a neck injury. Quietly having a very nice season, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered a thumb injury on his non-throwing hand in the first quarter against the Raiders and missed the rest of the game, except for a few plays at the end of the game after replacement QB Geno Smith came out after a hard hit. And, the most violent, frightening injury came in the late afternoon game, when Seahawks WR Ricardo Lockette sustained a concussion off a bone-crushing hit that left him on the ground motionless for several minutes. It initially appeared Lockette might have been paralyzed, but it was *just* a concussion. Hope he recovers well.
There were other smaller injuries throughout the day. After scoring a TD, Keenan Allen left the game with back spasms. Teammate Ladarius Green left the game as well, with an ankle injury in the first quarter. Calvin Johnson also exited early with an ankle injury, though he may have returned if the game wasn’t a blowout. Kendall Wright suffered a knee injury, and rounding out the injuries, last week’s out-of-nowhere sensation RB Orleans Darkwa left today’s game early with a back injury.
Now that we covered today’s fantasy infirmary, let’s get into what happened today (and Thursday).
Patriots 37, Dolphins 7
This was a “Dion game”… and an Edelman game… and a Gronkowski game… and a Brady game. The Pats picked the Dolphins apart. Tom Brady is in a class by himself right now, and there is arguably no safer fantasy asset than Brady. He was flawless – over 350 yards, 4 TDs, and no turnovers. By extension, Brady’s favorite targets are some of the more reliable fantasy options. Rob Gronkowski surpassed 100 yards for the second straight game and fourth time this season. He scored a TD as well and is on pace to score 14 TDs this season. After a rare quiet game (stuck on Revis Island) last weekend, Julian Edelman scored a couple TDs to go with 81 yards. Almost all of that came in the 4th quarter, but it’s worth noting he had a TD taken away earlier in the game because of a penalty on a teammate. After missing last week with an abdomen injury, Dion Lewis put on a clinic out of the backfield, catching for almost 100 yards and a TD. Meanwhile RB counterpart LeGarrette Blount finished with 72 rushing yards, but no TD. It can still be difficult knowing when to start Blount, but for now, there seem to be two scenarios where he is a must-start: 1) When the opponent has an especially weak running defense, and 2) When there is serious blowout potential. The Pats blew out the Dolphins, so you would expect this to be type of game where Blount would be more productive. But he still ran fine. Danny Amendola faded out of relevance with Lewis and Lafell back and Edelman’s finger not out of whack. Fellow WR Brandon Lafell added a meager 47 yards, but he should only improve with more reps. Continue reading