No doubt fantasy owners ensured of a playoff berth will savor turkey with all the trimmings a bit more today. Those scrambling for the postseason and counting on Donovan McNabb and Marc Bulger to help get them there may feel like passing on seconds after this week's bad news.
McNabb was placed on injured reserve and will undergo surgery for a sports hernia that has been bothering him much of the season. Meantime, Bulger's season is in doubt after he aggravated his right shoulder last week. The Rams' productive quarterback missed two games in October with a similar injury, and tests on Monday revealed more damage to the shoulder than he incurred when he first hurt it.
Fantasy owners with Eagles players should feel the brunt of McNabb's injury much more than those with players from the Greatest Show on Turf.
The Eagles' offense has been regressing since Coach Andy Reid suspended five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Terrell Owens three weeks ago for conduct detrimental to the team. Now, with McNabb gone, the Eagles are down to essentially one big-play threat, Brian Westbrook. Don't be surprised if he becomes the next Eagles player to miss time with an injury.
At 5 feet 8 and 203 pounds, Westbrook has not proved himself to be a running back who can handle 20-plus carries per game, but the Eagles might have to use him in that capacity because they have few other options. He missed three games last season because of injury, and the increased workload he figures to get in the final six weeks means more wear on his body. That scenario is far from ideal for a player whose durability is a question mark.
The fantasy values of the Eagles' primary wide receivers, Reggie Brown and Greg Lewis, and tight end L.J. Smith take a hit with Mike McMahon at quarterback. McMahon has started eight games in his career, and defenses relish blitzing and rattling inexperienced passers.
That's why the fantasy numbers of the Rams' skill position players should not decline appreciably, if at all, with Jamie Martin starting. He knows the offense well and is a veteran familiar with defensive coverage schemes. Plus, he has back Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, both of whom missed games this season with injuries. The Rams' offense is so efficient that when Holt and Bruce were out, it hardly made a difference. Backups Kevin Curtis, Shaun McDonald and Dane Looker filled in admirably, and running back Steven Jackson has been a fantasy must-start since interim coach Joe Vitt took over for Mike Martz.
Fantasy owners with those players also should be delighted with the Rams' closing schedule, which includes games against Houston, Minnesota, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Those four teams are in the bottom six in the league in total defense.