Sunday, September 26, 2004

Fantasy Football: Injuries

I've been playing fantasy football for a long, long time now (since 1990 or 1991). I've had some pretty good teams, and I've had some real stinkers. One constant with my teams seems to be injuries decimating my team by the end of the season.

The very first year I played I drafted an AWESOME team. I remember we took a secret poll after the draft of how everyone rated the various teams, and I was picked across the board as having the best team (I think you weren't allowed to vote for your own team). So I went into my first-ever fantasy season with high hopes. Then my star first-round draft pick quarterback Randal Cunningham suffered a season-ending knee injury on like the second play of the first game. My team limped to a few more wins carried by Christian Akoia, but then he was injured or his productivity dropped severly, and my team ended up finishing towards the middle of the league.

Two years ago I had by-far the best team in the league through the first half of the season. Then players started dropping one by one, until by the end of the season I limped into the playoffs in second place (losing 4-5 straight at the end of the regular season I believe). I managed to claw my way into the finals, and was soundly trounced by the team that finished in first place (having won the last 4-5 straight at the end of the regular season).

Last year I had a decent team (not good enough to have delusions of grandeur, but it was decent enough), but I ended up finishing the season with only one player still on my roster who I had drafted. Nearly every other player got injured. It was insane.

This year I'm sorry to report is yet another year where my preseason hopes are being dashed thanks to injuries. I started the season with a pretty good team I thought, Tom Brady and Aaron Brooks as QBs, Torry Holt and Eric Moulds and Plaxico Burress as starting WRs, and Shawn Alexander, Edgerrin James and Brian Westbrook as starting RBs. Then the injuries started.

One of my backups was Lee Suggs, who suffered some sort of neck injury and hasn't stepped on the field yet this season. Then all last week I had to worry about starting Shawn Alexander because of the injury he suffered at the end of the previous game. This week it was Edgerrin James who I had to spend all week wondering 'is he going to play, or not'. The day-to-day injuries are the worst, as you can't really make any drastic moves and you have the danger of starting someone who rushes 3 times for 6 yards before being taken out of the game.

Last week I also lost my starting tight end Todd Heap to an ankle injury for 2-4 weeks. Coupled with Tom Brady and Eric Moulds being on bye week and Edgerrin James being questionable, I just barely fielded a full squad.

However that full squad included a receiver (Kevin Johnson) who was like my fourth string option, and as far as I can tell didn't catch a single pass in the game. Yep, that is a huge help.

If the past is any indication, this is only the beginning of the constant roster moves trying to cope with injuries to key players all season long.

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