History will remember Week 8 of the 2015 season as the time the Saints and Giants agreed not to play defense against each other, when Aaron Rodgers looked truly mortal and for Colin Kaepernick's last NFL start as any team's "franchise quarterback." Right now, fantasy football owners view the week that was as the time all of their players came down with a serious case of the injury bug.
This week's look at the fantasy football free agents starts off by looking at which players replace all those who suffered various sprains, tears and dings.
LeVeon Bell's season-ending knee injury means DeAngelo Williams
Owners ended up spending a top 5 pick on the Steelers running back for six games. That sentence defines the term "ugh." However, many backed up their investment initially by also drafting Williams, who shined in the opening two weeks with Bell suspended. Those that kept the veteran on their roster even when Bell returned from suspension are breathing easier today knowing they still have Pittsburgh's starting RB. Williams doesn't offer Bell's "carry your team for a week" upside, but there's a strong chance he'll be a top 10-15 fantasy RB the rest of the season. If you've been holding out on making a splash in free agency or simply need an RB like the flower needs the sun, spend aggressively on Williams. $50-70 bids will not be laughed at here.
Matt Forte's MCL injury means Jeremy Langford
The Bears have yet to put a timeframe on Forte's return, but at least he's not expected to miss the season. Initial reports suggest he will be sidelined at least two weeks. That means Langford, who has 27 carries for 80 yards on the season, likely takes over. The rookie from Michigan State has every-down potential and there isn't much else of note on the roster, though ex-Falcon Antone Smith lingers. If he's expected to carry the load, consider Langford an RB2 in Week 9 against a leaky Chargers run defense. Your bid in the $8-25 range depends on level of need.
Steve Smith's (career-ending?) Achilles tear means Kamar Aiken
There is no replacing Smith's tough guy and big catch presence, but Aiken now takes over as the Ravens' No. 1 wide receiver. The 6-foot-2 slot threat caught all six targets thrown his way in Sundays win over San Diego. Baltimore ends up in one shootout after another these days so he offers value in standard and PPR formats when the Ravens return from their bye week. Keep an eye on speedster Chris Givens, who could end with some fantasy value going forward as Joe Flacco's deep threat.
Keenan Allen's kidney injury means Malcom Floyd, Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman
It appears as if San Diego will play without its volume pass-catching receiver for multiple weeks based on initial reports. Tight ends Antonio Gates (knee) and Ladarius Green (ankle) are also on the injury report. Looking at the remaining receivers, Floyd is typically a boom-or-bust option, meaning he offers the most potential, but isn't the consistent. Johnson's PPR value is interesting as he could end up with plenty of targets. Inman is the sneaky unknown in the group. Allen owners can bid on all three in that order while others can take a flyer on Floyd and Johnson in the $5-10 range.
Khiry Robinson broken right tibia means more C.J. Spiller
Mark Ingram dominates the work in the Saints backfield, but coach Sean Payton mixes in other players. Now one of those players is lost for the season. Spiller won't automatically take over Robinson's snaps seeing as they handle different roles, but he's likely to receive more work. Granted, he's done little with his opportunities this season. There is certainly hope in the Saints offense that he can turn into a RB3/Flex option.
Reggie Bush's knee injury means ... Kendall Gaskins or Pierre Thomas?
Bush was replacing the injured Carlos Hyde (foot), who could be out through the 49ers Week 10 bye. Now Bush is out for the remainder of the season and his replacement, Mike Davis, suffered a broken hand. That leaves the unproven Gaskins as the last man standing on the roster -- or at least it did until San Francisco signed veteran free agent Pierre Thomas. Not a single player in this offense looks appealing, but somebody will get the ball. Putting nominal bids on Gaskins and Thomas is fine for those in need.
Vernon Davis traded to Denver means ... Vernon Davis
This isn't about an injury, but rather a trade and one that potentially puts a former fantasy stalwart back on the radar. Tread lightly on the Peyton Manning enthusiasm following his impressive performance against the Packers. Let's see if his arm holds up going forward. That said, anything Manning offers is better than what Davis dealt with in San Francisco. His 18 catches on the season is more about the 49ers putrid passing attack than the ex-Terp's skills. Owners streaming tight ends should certainly add Davis as one of their options now just in case he pops immediately. Otherwise, he offers low-end TE1 potential. If nothing else with Davis' fantasy value, at least now there's a pulse.
1. DeAngelo Williams
2. Jeremy Langford
3. Theo Riddick
4. Kendall Gaskins
5. David Cobb
Others: Antonio Andrews, Chris Thompson, Charles Sims, Javorius Allen, Pierre Thomas
1. Kamar Aiken
2. Malcom Floyd
3. Brandon LaFell
4. Michael Floyd
6. Stevie Johnson
Others: Davante Adams, Tavon Austin, Dorial Green-Beckham, Chris Givens
1. Ben Watson
2. Charles Clay
3. Heath Miller
4. Vernon Davis
5. Crockett Gillmore
Others: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Richard Rodgers
Quarterbacks (Week 9 streaming)
1. Jay Cutler at Chargers
2. Derek Carr at Steelers
3. Tyrod Taylor vs. Dolphins
4. Jameis Winston at Giants
5. Kirk Cousins at Patriots
Defenses (Week 9 streaming)
1. Bengals vs. Browns
2, Bills vs. Dolphins
3. Eagles at Cowboys
4. Saints vs. Titans
5. Chargers vs. Bears