When your prized pick in FOX4 fantasy football goes down, you’ve got to work around it

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Editor’s note: This is part of a season-long look at the FOX4 fantasy football league, as told through my eyes as team owner. Read last week’s blog here

Week 3 result: 123.85-102.95 = WIN

Season standings: 3-0

As Michael Stipe famously put it, “everybody hurts sometimes.” This time, it’s me.

Despite coming off a win, it’s proven to be my most costly yet. But there’s no time or reason to make excuses, not when we aren’t even a quarter of the way into the season.

The good: I finally got some supplemental scoring on my team. I picked right at last with my tight ends as Greg Olsen racked up two touchdowns, and he seems to have something working with Panthers backup QB Kyle Allen.

And a newly-minted starting QB in Daniel Jones for the Giants gave Sterling Shepard a, well, sterling performance for me, racking up 100 yards and a touchdown.

Sterling Shepard #87 of the New York Giants carries the ball against Xavier Woods #25 of the Dallas Cowboys in the second half at AT&T Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

This isn’t something you can count on every week, of course. This is probably closer to peak performance for both, but I can get two-thirds or even half that production on a weekly basis, I have faith in my stars that it won’t be a problem.

The bad: Picking up Philadelphia’s defense was a wasted move.

I didn’t want to play the Ravens against the Chiefs, and with good reason. But the Eagles didn’t exactly stifle a middling Lions squad either.

The fantasy point differential between the two defenses worked out to be about a point. It didn’t hurt me, but I certainly could’ve made a better streaming decision on this one.

The ugly (and is it ugly): Saquon Barkley, my prized pick in our fantasy draft and the consensus number one overall fantasy football player, is now out for 4 to 8 weeks with a high-ankle sprain.

Injuries are going to happen on any fantasy football roster, you just hope a) it’s not one of your stars, and b) it’s not a long injury. In this case, it certainly looks like both.

It’s normally about six weeks before a player can get back on the field after a high ankle injury, and even then, there’s no guarantee they’ll return to the field with the same potency they had before getting hurt.

Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants looks on from the bench after being injured against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Again, I can’t make an excuse about it; all I can do is work around it.

This is where roster planning and preparation all season long comes in handy. You might not *need* that underachieving or backup running back who’s on the waiver wire right now, but you very well could before the end of the season.

If you see value available, move on it. The timing is rarely perfect, so you just have to take it when it’s there. That might mean rostering a player who won’t crack your lineup for a few weeks. So be it.

There are two added benefits to doing this regardless. First, you have a potential trade chip if you decide you never will use that player. Second, you’re preventing an opponent from getting a useful player for nothing.

Waiver wire additions: RB Miles Sanders, WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Sanders falls into that underachiever category I just spoke about.

He was a popular mid-round target for many drafters who hoped he’d step up in a crowded Eagles backfield. To date, that hasn’t happened, although the rookie had his best game as a pro in Week 3.

I’m not optimistic about inserting him into my lineup this week, though. Thursday Night Football games always seem to be less than thrilling.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling #83 of the Green Bay Packers scores a touchdown in the first quarter against Kareem Jackson #22 of the Denver Broncos at Lambeau Field on September 22, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

My next best option for getting a third running back in would be Ronald Jones, but I don’t love the idea of counting on a running back getting a lot of touches against the high-flying Rams, which leads me to Valdes-Scantling.

I’m going against my own advice from earlier this season by taking on a Packers receiver who isn’t Davante Adams. The third-year receiver has done a nice job of taking control as the 2nd option in the Packers passing game right now.

Last week, Valdes-Scantling hauled in six catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. Going by my two-thirds rule, I think I’d be happy to take that from an emergency flex play.

What I’m hoping for this week: Survival. I still like my team, even without one of my real stars, but of course I like it a little less.

The situation will get even more dicey after this week when Melvin Gordon returns to the Chargers lineup, potentially taking touches away from Austin Ekeler.

I’d like to see one of my bench running backs make me regret not starting them in Week 4; I have a feeling I’m going to need at least one of them to become a factor in the weeks ahead.

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