Bryant’s sea­son ends be­fore it started, sav­ing fan­tasy own­ers from pain ... Steel­ers might need Bell now that Con­nor is in con­cus­sion pro­to­col

Winnipeg Sun - - SPORTS - dbil­icki@post­ Twit­ter: @dan­bil­icki

Dez Bryant is a fan­tasy bust be­fore he even had a chance to step on the field.

There was a tremen­dous amount of hype for the for­mer Cow­boys re­ceiver this week when he fi­nally signed a deal, join­ing the

New Or­leans Saints.

At first glance, it seemed like a dream combo for fan­tasy play­ers. Bryant hasn’t played yet this sea­son af­ter be­ing cut by the Cow­boys in the sum­mer and the Saints are seem­ingly a bit short on pass catch­ers at the mo­ment.

In fact, fan­tasy play­ers were so ex­cited about the prospect of the Cow­boys ca­reer re­ceiv­ing TD leader get­ting the ball from Drew Brees that Bryant’s own­er­ship shot up an as­tound­ing 72% this week.

But, on the fi­nal play of prac­tice on Fri­day, Bryant suf­fered an in­jury that is re­port­edly a torn Achilles, end­ing hopes of play­ing this sea­son be­fore they even started in earnest.

The thing about Bryant was that, look­ing at the num­bers, he was never go­ing to live up to the hype.

Bryant had strug­gled the past three sea­sons, fail­ing to cre­ate sep­a­ra­tion in cov­er­age and be­ing forced into mak­ing con­tested catches. Last year, Bryant caught just 69 of his 132 tar­gets (49.7%). Over the past three sea­sons, his catch rate is just 48%.

And, sure, he’ll be play­ing with an all-time great QB in Brees, but there’s also Michael Thomas, who has a 28.9% tar­get share — sev­enth high­est in the league.

With Tre’quan Smith, Alvin Ka­mara and even Ben­jamin Wat­son also get­ting quite a few looks and al­ready hav­ing chem­istry with Brees, Bryant wouldn’t have seen nearly as many tar­gets as he did in Dal­las. Even with the 12th most tar­gets in the league last year, Bryant fin­ished as WR24 — ba­si­cally a WR3 or FLEX op­tion.

All in all, this was just a wasted move and wasted move by fan­tasy own­ers.

If you’re look­ing to re­place Bryant on your ros­ter, you’d do bet­ter with Smith, who is cur­rently avail­able in

73% of Yahoo leagues.


Does any­body AC­TU­ALLY know what’s go­ing on with Le’veon Bell, be­cause we don’t even know if him, his agent or the Steel­ers owner do. Yet again, there are con­flict­ing re­ports this week re­gard­ing the star RB’S sta­tus for the rest of the sea­son. Bell’s side is look­ing more and more likely to sit out the sea­son and hit the mar­ket this off-sea­son while the team’s owner seems to be­lieve that Bell will show up be­fore Tues­day’s dead­line.

It’s not even worth spec­u­lat­ing at this point, but, if we were bet­ting, we’d guess the Bell will shortly be hop­ping on a plane back down to Mi­ami.

The thing is, the Steel­ers might re­ally need Bell very soon. On Thurs­day night, James Con­ner — who has done a fan­tas­tic job of fill­ing in for Bell — suf­fered a con­cus­sion and is in pro­to­col.

The good news is that be­cause it was a Thurs­day night game, Con­ner has a few ex­tra days to re­cover and pass the nec­es­sary tests to play next week. But, of course, you never know with con­cus­sions. If he doesn’t get cleared for next week’s game in Jack­sonville, Ste­van Ri­d­ley and Jaylen Sa­muels would likely split car­ries in a tough matchup.


Just when some fan­tasy own­ers thought they were get­ting a shiny new toy to play with, the Pats’ back­field could be re­turn­ing to nor­mal.

With WR Cor­darelle Pat­ter­son fill­ing in at RB — and ac­tu­ally gain­ing the RB po­si­tion des­ig­na­tion on some fan­tasy sites like ESPN — the Pats looked to have found a ca­pa­ble re­place­ment while Sony Michel re­cov­ered from a nasty-look­ing knee in­jury.

But, be­fore we got an­other chance to see Pat­ter­son in that rare role, it looks like Michel is on track to play this week against Ten­nessee.

James White re­mains as a solid RB1 op­tion in PPR leagues, Michel is de­cent op­tion to start as well, but Pat­ter­son should be rel­e­gated to your bench.


Wide re­ceiver Dez Bryant signed with the New Or­leans Saints this week. Re­ports sur­faced that Bryant tore his Achilles ten­don on the fi­nal play of prac­tice yes­ter­day.

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