Fantasy can be a cruel game. Perhaps not as cruel as actual football, because the concussion rate in fake football is quite low. But still, it can be cruel.
The dark side of the imaginary game tends to reveal itself in the final weeks, when an isolated dud performance from an elite player destroys thousands of fantasy teams.
Arian Foster(notes) carried his owners into the playoffs this year, but in Week 15, he sent most of 'em to the third-place game. Foster delivered his lowest rushing total of the season on Sunday (11 carries, 15 yards), then limped away with an ankle injury of as-yet unknown severity. These were the postgame comments from his head coach:
"[Foster's] ankle is bothering him," Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said. "He missed one day of practice last week. It’s a little sore, but he got his ankle in the game."
That doesn't really tell us much. Foster himself said nothing about an ankle issue following the game, instead claiming to have "a muscle spasm in my glute."
In any case, it appears that the NFL's leading rusher isn't operating at full capacity. Foster's handcuff is Derrick Ward(notes), a perfectly unspectacular back who happens to have a friendly match-up on deck in Week 16. Houston travels to Denver to face the league's 31st ranked run defense, a unit that allows 158.4 yards per game. The Broncos have somehow given up 22 rushing TDs this year, easily the highest total in the NFL. Ward is at least worth a claim, with Foster's status uncertain.
• We're delighted to report that every team in the NFL will have something on the line in Week 16, so none of your fantasy assets will be Dungy'd. If your league's championship is decided in Week 17 (a terrible setting that we do not endorse), then you'll have to fret about the availability of your Patriots and Falcons. Those teams can clinch home-field advantage next week.
• Terrell Owens(notes) suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee on Sunday, and the injury will end his season — and, at least for fantasy purposes, this ends Carson Palmer's(notes) season. Perhaps Andre Caldwell(notes) and Jerome Simpson(notes) gain some value, but c'mon. You aren't rolling those guys out in title week, not against the Chargers.
• Austin Collie's(notes) latest concussion is his third in just seven weeks, and you have to assume that he's out for the remainder of the regular season. Collie will finish with eight TDs in just nine games, thanks in part to Sunday's two-touchdown performance. We've already had a few Blair White(notes) fire drills this year, so you should know how to proceed.
• Jamaal Charles(notes) gave us a brief scare when he called for assistance from trainers at the conclusion of his 80-yard non-TD run on Sunday, but there's no reason to panic. He's perfectly fine. Nothing to see here … except an unbelievable runner. Charles has topped the 100-yard mark in three of his last four games, and he's averaging a ridiculous 6.4 yards per carry this year. Quietly, he's having one of the all-time YPC seasons. You have to go all the way back to Mercury Morris' 1973 campaign to find another running back who hit 6.4.
• Everyone in Denver seems to be dealing with a Tebow hangover at the moment, so we don't have much of an update on Knowshon Moreno's(notes) injury just yet. (Fun fact: On Tebow's 40-yard rushing TD, he was apparently supposed to hand-off to Correll Buckhalter(notes), but he mixed up the call). Moreno suffered a side/rib injury in the loss to Oakland, and his replacements (Buckhalter, Lance Ball(notes)) weren't too impressive in relief.
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