How Will NFL Injuries Impact Your 2011 Fantasy Football Draft Strategy?

As the NFL makes its way through the second half of the preseason schedule, injuries will continue to impact fantasy football. Whether it's Peyton Manning's neck injury or Eric Steinbach's disc injury, every injury impacts fantasy football in some way. We're hear to break down the fantasy impact of injuries.

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Lance Moore Injury: Sits Out Monday, Tuesday Practices

The first week of the NFL season means a Thursday opener, which this season features the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints in a matchup of the last two Super Bowl champions. As fantasy players get ready for Thursday's contest, practice participation reports are coming out with the final injury report due Wednesday.

The early practice participation reports indicate Saints wide receiver Lance Moore is probably going to be questionable at best for Thursday's opener. Moore suffered a groin injury two weeks ago and has missed the last two preseason contests. Moore has joined Garrett Hartley on the sideline for practice this week, which is a shame considering he reportedly started preseason off with a bang in practice.

Moore burst on the scene in 2008 when he led the Saints in receiving following a Marques Colston injury. Moore dealt with his own injury in 2009 but bounced back in 2010 with a respectable 66 receptions, 763 yards and 8 touchdowns. Moore is not the most exciting receiver, but prior to injury he was looking like a very safe and solid flex option.

Groin injuries, much like hamstring injuries, can turn into nagging problems if a player tries to push through them. If you have an injury spot on your roster, Moore is a solid choice to stash there until he is healthy. Once healthy, Moore will be a solid option on your roster given the explosive nature of the Saints offense.

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Peyton Manning Injury: Fantasy Football Implications To Manning, Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie And More

The Indianapolis Colts find themselves in a difficult situation this week as Peyton Manning's injured neck has them wondering just what his status is for week one against the Houston Texans. The latest report via Stampede Blue indicates even if Manning does not have surgery, he is likely to miss the opener and could miss as much as five weeks. Reports were pouring in Sunday evening that ranged from Manning needing a second surgery to the neck simply being slow in healing.

The fantasy football impact of any sort of extended Manning absence is sizable. If you drafted Manning you hopefully added did not wait too late to add a backup quarterback. If you did wait, you may find yourselves rolling the dice. If you have not yet drafted, Manning is going to be downgraded across the board. Over the next three days it will be interesting to see what kind of average draft position Manning is at. Teams with injury spots or extra bench spots can stash him for a bit, but even still, if Manning could miss multiple weeks, that could be enough to drop him several rounds.

The Peyton Manning neck injury goes a step further in that it affects virtually the entire Colts roster of skill position players. Kerry Collins was brought in to fill in for Manning if the injury resulted in an extended absence and that could very well be the case at this point. Collins has a live arm but is obviously no Peyton Manning. The question is what he'll be able to do with this offense. Can he distribute the ball to Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Dallas Clark and the rest?

And let's not forget the running game. Peyton Manning can keep any defense honest against the run, even when it's the questionable Joseph Addai/Donald Brown combination. This makes that duo all the more questionable for fantasy purposes.

To be perfectly honest, much like the Las Vegas sports books will be taking the Colts off the board for various wagers, the safest bet might just be taking them off your draft board. Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark will likely get their numbers, but even though you aren't drafting Kerry Collins, are you prepared to base some of your higher draft picks on Collins coming through? It may only be a few weeks, but a few weeks is all it takes to fall completely out of the playoff chase in your fantasy league. Consider yourself warned.

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Rashad Jennings Placed On Jaguars Injured Reserve, Removing Maurice Jones-Drew Handcuff

The Jacksonville Jaguars placed running back Rashad Jennings on injured reserve on Saturday, thus ending his season before it began. Jennings injured his knee against the Buffalo Bills in week three of the preseason and has been on crutches since. The Jaguars have not specified the nature of the injury, but most are speculating a ligament or tendon issue.

Jennings was going to be the primary backup to Maurice Jones-Drew this season, which would have had some value as both a basic handcuff option, and also as a guy who could get some starts if MJD got too banged up. MJD sat out the first three preseason games to avoid injury and finally played this past Thursday against the Rams. He looks fine right now, but it's a tricky situation in Jacksonville.

As it currently stands, Deji Karim appears to be the primary backup to Jones-Drew. Karim led the Jaguars with eight rushes for 58 yards against the Rams.

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Mohamed Massaquoi Replaces Greg Little With First Team Offense Following Ankle Injury

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi made his return to practice and quickly rejoined the first team offense. Massaquoi suffered a chip fracture during the lockout and was in a walking boot until recently. His return has bumped second round pick Greg Little to the second string offense for now. There is no word on the long term plans, but we'll have a better idea of things this Thursday when the Browns travel to face the Chicago Bears.

Massaquoi is entering his third season in the NFL, which is often viewed as a breakout season for wide receivers. After a monster eight reception, 148-yard performance his rookie season, he was a hot waiver wire pickup. However, he was fairly quiet the rest of the season, grabbing three touchdowns and featuring one strong performance of five reception, 115 yards and a touchdown.

Massaquoi got some pub his second season but didn't quite live up to the expectations. He had a few solid games later in the season, but other than bye-week fill-ins he was likely on benches for the most part. Which leads us to season number three.

The Browns offense is looking to improve but with many people expecting some regression in the running game with Peyton Hillis, it's hard to tell how well the passing game will perform. Massaquoi will be a top target for QB Colt McCoy, but at best is probably no more than a late round flier. There could be some deep keeper value and he could get that third year jolt. However, the odds can't be too high for that and if you're relying on Massaquoi every week early on, you might want to reconsider fantasy football.

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Michael Crabtree Foot Injury: Recovery From Surgery Going Well

Sunday afternoon, 49ers beat writer Matt Barrows revealed that a source told him the foot injury slowing Michael Crabtree is a foot fracture he suffered June 6 during the 49ers players-only workouts led by Alex Smith. More importantly, Crabtree had surgery at some point before training camp, which is the reason he has missed all of camp. It was common knowledge he had a foot injury, but these are the most significant details revealed to date.

During the conference call, Jim Harbaugh said it was possible Crabtree could be activated off the PUP list this week, although the possible was more like "as opposed to no chance at all" and not "it is likely to happen." Although Crabtree likely will not play in Thursday's preseason finale against the Chargers, all signs point to him being ready for week one.

What does that mean for fantasy football? The 49ers wide receiver corps received an infusion of talent when the team agreed to terms with free agent Braylon Edwards. He provides a big body opposite Crabtree that can help stretch out the field. Crabtree will likely be used for a lot of underneath routes and quick slants where the 49ers can get the ball in his hands and let him roll up the YAC. If healthy his after the catch ability could be a fantasy boon if you want to roll the dice a little later.

Crabtree is not yet a number one fantasy receiver and might not even be worth a second spot quite yet. However, he could provide excellent depth as your flex receiver or a bye-week fill-in while he gets his legs back under him. He's a gamble right now, but his upside is tremendous.

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Arian Foster Injury: The Fantasy Impact

Arian Foster left Saturday evening's preseason contest with the 49ers after tweaking his hamstring late in the first quarter. Earlier in the preseason, Foster missed eleven days of camp with a similar injury. If the injury is in fact similar, that would get him back in time for the Texans regular season opener versus the Indianapolis Colts.

Foster seems to think he'll be fine by the opener and tweeted accordingly. It sounds like he was getting some tweets from fantasy owners and took them to task. While he might be annoyed by the questions, when you've got big money on the line, that number one running back is absolutely key. It's better than hoping a player on an opposing team gets hurt before you play them.

The injury itself should not impact your fantasy football draft strategy when it comes to Arian Foster. If this was Fred Taylor we would have already factored a hamstring injury into his drafting strategy. Foster stayed relatively healthy last year and until he misses extended time, people will need to take him for the healthy back he has been.

The real impact on drafting Arian Foster will be how much faith you have in fullback Lawrence Vickers. One of the important factors in Foster's rise to prominence in 2010 was the performance of Vonta Leach. 2010 saw Leach put together a Pro Bowl campaign, which helped Foster earn his own Pro Bowl nod. Foster is still a good running back, even without Leach, but the question fantasy players have to consider is whether he drops a slight notch without Leach. I guess we'll find out.

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NFL Injury News: Patriots' Wes Welker Declares Himself 'OK' After Neck Injury Forced Him From Game

Late in the first half of the New England Patriots 34-10 loss to the Detroit Lions, Tom Brady threw an interception that forced wide receiver Wes Welker into a defensive situation. While tackling Ricardo Silva, Welker injured his neck and left the game. Welker did not return to the game but was able to walk off the field under his own power.

After the game, Welker told Patriots beat writer Karen Guergian that he was OK in spite of the injury. We likely won't hear much of anything from Bill Belichick on the subject, so we'll just have to stick with what Welker said. We'll keep an eye on him in the coming days of practice, although it wouldn't surprise me to see him sit out the next few days and the final preseason game.

Pending further developments, the injury should not affect draft strategies when it comes to Welker. Although the Patriots added Chad Ochocinco this offseason, Welker remains the top receiving threat for the Patriots. Ochocinco will be a significant wild card heading into the 2011 season, but Welker has looked particularly sharp in preseason play. Over the last two games, Welker has eight receptions for 127 yards and one touchdown. He is not a guy you want to rely on as your number one receiver, but as a number two he brings very respectable numbers to the table.

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2011 Fantasy Football Draft Strategy And Injuries

As the NFL makes its way through the second half of the preseason schedule, injuries will continue to impact fantasy football. Whether it's Peyton Manning's neck injury or Eric Steinbach's disc injury, every injury impacts fantasy football in some way. We're hear to break down the fantasy impact of injuries.

Continue
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