Time to cut bait af­ter wave of in­juries

The Mercury News - - Sports -

Edi­tor’s note Nate Jack­son, a San Jose na­tive, spent six sea­sons in the NFL. This his weekly fan­tasy foot­ball col­umn for the Bay Area News Group. His books in­clude “Slow Get­ting Up” and “Fan­tasy Man.”

Quick, who won the Su­per

Bowl two years ago? Can’t re­mem­ber? I guess the play­ers aren’t the only ones with brain dam­age.

It is Week 6 in the NFL and men are drop­ping like bees with no stingers. Lets quickly eu­lo­gize a few of them here, as the recog­ni­tion of their pain and agony, once again, will help us win our com­puter game.

Among the ma­jor in­juries last week: Gi­ants re­ceiver Odell Beck­ham Jr., who folded his an­kle in half on live tele­vi­sion, and then sobbed as he dis­ap­peared into the tun­nel. Bran­don Marshall and Ster­ling Shep­ard — also Gi­ants re­ceivers — also had an­kle in­juries, which raises the ques­tion: Who is ty­ing their shoelaces?

JJ Watt, Charles Clay, Bi­lal Pow­ell, Ter­rance West and Travis Kelce were in­jured, as well. Kelce has a con­cus­sion, so he prob­a­bly won’t miss any time. Con­cus­sion is an “in­vis­i­ble” in­jury that re­lies on self-re­port­ing of symp­toms, and is dif­fi­cult to di­ag­nose. As long as a player can re­mem­ber that he is not Bat­man, he can play.

But for many of last week’s in­jured play­ers, the sea­son is over. As a fan­tasy owner, it’s time to cut bait.

TREND >> The Raiders have been lost since the minute Derek Carr went down. Con­sid­er­ing the NFL’s player in­jury rate (100 per­cent), this is a prob­lem. No one man should be so valu­able that the team falls apart with­out him. This hap­pens ev­ery year to some­one — and now two sea­sons in a row for the Raiders. This makes the case for re­design­ing of­fen­sive sys­tems with less em­pha­sis on the fran­chise quar­ter­back, and more em­pha­sis on ver­sa­tile play­ers, all of them ball han­dlers who take snaps at prac­tice and can play any­where on the field. Yay, stats!

That said, the Charg­ers face the Raiders in Oakland on Sun­day. Both teams need a win. But de­spite the 1-3 record, the Charg­ers are the hot­ter team right now. I would start quar­ter­back Philip Rivers and run­ning back Melvin Gor­don, who looked solid last week in New York, and re­sist start­ing Carr & The Boys un­til we see Beast Mode danc­ing again.

TREND >> Chiefs are play­ing the best foot­ball in the NFL, win­ning this week­end de­spite low num­bers from the league’s lead­ing rusher, Ka­reem Hunt. The 5-0 Chiefs are held aloft, not by Hunt, but by the above-av­er­age right arm of 49ers re­ject Alex Smith. Alex has turned out to be the man that no one thought he was. De­spite be­ing drafted No. 1 over­all, he, like Rod­ney Danger­field, gets no re­spect. Not even from his head coach, Andy Reid, who, af­ter Smith’s ex­cel­lent sea­son last year, se­lected his re­place­ment in the first round of this year’s draft. Cold blooded. But a fire has been lit in Alex’s jock­strap. Spite is a hell of a drug.

The lat­est ben­e­fi­ciary of Smith’s mas­tery is Char­can­drick West, who had two touch­down catches last week. With Kelce af­fected by a con­cus­sion, re­ceiver Chris Con­ley down with an achilles, and Hunt prob­a­bly fa­tigued, Char­can­drick is a vi­able op­tion Sun­day against the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers de­fense, which strug­gled against Jack­sonville last week.

TREND >> The Nin­ers have a new fan: Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence. He’ll be at­tend­ing ev­ery 49ers game this sea­son, where he will watch the na­tional an­them, squint dis­ap­prov­ingly and leave on a pri­vate jet. This gives the home sta­dium the op­por­tu­nity to dou­ble­book his suite. Who said the an­them protests aren’t rev­enue-gen­er­at­ing?

The 49ers are in Wash­ing­ton on Sun­day, try­ing to find their first win of the sea­son. The Nin­ers have scored the fewest touch­downs in the league but the sec­ond-most field goals. That’s some­thing we can build on. So come on, let’s all jump on kicker Rob­bie Gould’s back as we ride out this los­ing streak, so that when we fi­nally do find suc­cess, and we look back in won­der at what we’ve en­dured, Rob­bie will re­mind us: “It was then that I car­ried you.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.