Tips on Injuries
By Staff Writer John Belaska
Nothing has the ability to sink a fantasy owner’s season faster than an injury to a very important player. Understanding injuries is very important in fantasy football. If you cannot tell how much an injury will affect a player you could end up in very big trouble. Therefore, you must always plan ahead for injuries and know a player’s history with injuries.
Remember there is a difference between getting injured and being injury prone. Just because a player suffered a season ending injury on year does not make him prone to injury. Injuries are just a part of football. One of the first thing your high school football coach will tell you is there is a huge difference between playing hurt and playing injured. The difference is simple. Everyone plays hurt. Getting tackled does not feel good. Injuries happen when someone gets so hurt at one point that they are physically unable to perform due to the recommendation of a medical professional. As the season goes along, you will notice a lot of your players will get hurt and appear on what is known as the day to day injury report.
If a player injury prone, it means they are constantly missing time due to minor injuries. These types of injuries will only keep a player out for a week or so. However, all this missed time adds up. You can easily tell if a player is injury prone because they will have a long history of missing time.
Players who were injured and missed an entire season are not necessarily injury prone. If they had never missed time before, then they are definitely not injury prone. Therefore there is no reason to stay away from these players in the draft. The best part about drafting these players is they can be very top notch players that come very cheap on draft day.
There are three major types of injuries and all of them must be dealt with by fantasy football owners. The first is a day to day injury. These are the most common injuries and can cause owners the largest headaches. Then there are week to week injuries. These must be evaluated base on an owner’s needs and on the length of time the player will miss. Lastly, there is the Injured Reserves.
Day to day injuries will happen throughout the season. The usually will occur at some point in practice during the week. This is why it is very important to be checking your team’s player news feed at least once a day. It is best to check in the evening after all the practices have been finished. When one of your players does appear to have a day to day injury, you need to make a point to check up on that player’s healing process every day.
The best way to go about dealing with this type of injury is to understand two things. First know how bad the injury is. The injury report will tell you the likelihood of the player playing in the game. If they are probably, it is not a big deal. If they are questionable or doubtful, then its time to start think of a backup plan. Secondly, you should known when in the week this injury occurred. If it occurred early on, more than likely the player will be healed up enough to play that week. If it happens on a Thursday or Friday, then this player is pretty likely to miss the game.
No matter if the player is probable, questionable, or doubtful; always have a second option in mind. From the second you hear of an injury you need to see what your options are. This could mean you need to use one of the players on your bench or even go to the waiver wire. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may even want to put that player in the starting lineup immediately.
Always check right before all games start on Sunday to see if a day to day player will perform in their game. You want to do this before all the games start because then you can choose which player to start. One a player’s game begins you cannot put in him the starting lineup or take him out. Therefore, to ensure you have all your options open; check prior to noon on Sunday.
The second type of injury is a week to week injury. This is a more severe injury where a player is definitely going to miss a few games. When this happens, a fantasy owner needs to see what his needs are and know how many games the player is expected to miss. If a player is not going to miss more than a couple of week, just stash him away for when he returns. If it is going to be a good while before he plays again then you need to do some thinking.
If the player will miss a long period of the season you should first understand what your team’s needs are. If you are weak at that particular position, it may be best to keep the player on the bench until he returns. This is also true if your team is in a position to make a run to the playoffs. If that player will be able to help out later in the season keep him around. If this is not the case you may want to consider dropping him and freeing up a roster spot for someone who will actually be playing.
The last type of injury is the ones bad enough to send a player on Injured Reserves. These players are not worth keeping around. More than likely they will not be returning this year. If they do return it will not be for a long time. At that point it is better to just pick up someone new and hope for the best.
Injury concerns will come up in your season. You will never have a fantasy season where every single player on your roster is completely healthy throughout the entire year. Therefore, you need to have a strong bench filled with good secondary options. The more options you have the more likely you are to be able to get past an injury to a stud player relatively unscathed. This is why it is so important to draft a strong bench and know how to evaluate talent on the waiver wire. If you cannot get past injuries, you will not be winning a championship that year. Damage control is everything during the fantasy football season.