Never draft your kicker before the last round.
If there’s one message that should forever be burned into the memory of fantasy football team owners, it is that.
The gurus preach it, and year after year, there’s evidence to support the argument that you just can’t predict who the top kicker in the NFL will be year to year.
Over the last couple seasons, San Diego Chargers veteran Nate Kaeding has been the popular first choice among kickers in fantasy drafts.
On Sunday Kaeding tore his left anterior cruciate ligament on the opening kickoff, ending his season before it even began.
If you drafted Kaeding before the final round of your draft, thinking you were getting a leg up on your competition, go back to your draft results and see what sleeper running back or wide receiver you could have selected there instead. Ben Tate or Derrick Ward of the Texans, perhaps? Maybe Cadillac Williams?
Kaeding wasn’t the only elite fantasy name to go down on the first Sunday of the season. The Rams seemed to drop like flies in their loss to the Eagles. They lost second-year quarterback Sam Bradford to a right index finger injury and tough but always-banged up running back Steven Jackson to a right leg injury — on his first carry of the game. They also lost point-per-catch league stud Danny Amendola to a dislocated elbow (ouch!).
Jackson was slated to undergo an MRI on Monday while Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said Bradford’s finger only sustained nerve damage and no break. Still, for fantasy owners it means it’s time to scour the waiver wire for a Week 2 replacement.
At quarterback, check out Ryan Fitzpatrick who was a solid fantasy backup in 2010 and lit up the Chiefs for 208 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-7 romp at Arrowhead. Jackson’s injury opened the door for Cadillac Williams to test his knees on the St. Louis turf, and the former first-year wonder looked sharp, carrying 19 times for 91 yards and catching five passes for 49. He’s a must-add for all Jackson owners.
Arian Foster owners who neglected to check the status of their top pick Sunday morning were likely shocked to see a big fat “0” next to their No. 1 running back’s name. Foster was held out of the Texans’ 34-7 demolition of the Colts — not that they needed him — while he continues to recover from a left hamstring injury. In his stead, veteran Derrick Ward and post-hype hype-machine Ben Tate (who missed all of his 2010 rookie season) split carries as expected and both were productive. Ward scored a touchdown early but amassed just 39 yards on 11 carries before leaving with an ankle injury. Tate, meanwhile, posted 116 yards on 24 carries with a short touchdown run and a lost fumble. He’s the guy you want going forward whether you’re a Foster owner or someone looking for upside. If you’re in a shallow enough league where he’s still available, scoop him up pronto.
More injuries that could have a fantasy impact going forward:
RB Mike Tolbert, Chargers — right leg; rushed for 35 yards and one TD on 12 carries, caught nine passes for 58 yards and two more TDs before leaving with a leg injury. (If he were to miss time, it would provide a big boost to second-year starter Ryan Mathews)
WR Sidney Rice, Seahawks — shoulder; DNP Week 1
WR Kevin Walter, Texans — broken shoulder; out 10-12 weeks
WR Dez Bryant, Cowboys — quad injury; day-to-day
WR Austin Collie, Colts — foot; 0 catches, 3 targets in Week 1 (Of greater concern is the play of his new QB, Kerry Collins)
WR Michael Crabtree, 49ers — left foot; came off the bench in Week 1, caught one pass for four yards, then left with pain in same foot he fractured twice since 2009.
RB Marion Barber, Bears — calf strain; DNP Week 1
TE Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars — calf strain; caught two passes for 28 yards in Week 1
QB Peyton Manning, Colts — you know the deal by now