PALLISTER: Aaron Rodgers injury affects every fantasy football league

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In a season that increasingly has been defined by its injuries, the biggest name yet went down Monday night.

Unlike the rash of injuries two weeks ago, Aaron Rodgers‘ fractured collarbone affects everyone who plays fantasy football. It also significantly affects the Packers' playoff chances, but I’m going to keep the humor to a minimum this week and thus will not get into that.

Rodgers was not having his typical season when the Bears’ Shea McClellin sacked him and ended his night on the first series, but he’s still Aaron Rodgers. He had thrown 15 touchdowns through seven games. That’s a 34-TD pace. Now, however, his season is in limbo.

Rodgers has been vague about the extent of the fracture, except to say it’s a “difficult injury.” Wishful thinkers continue to report, tweet and irresponsibly push the narrative that he’ll be back in three weeks. I even heard someone on the radio Tuesday night gleefully say Rodgers had yet to be ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Eagles. That guy must have Rodgers on his fantasy team. Even avoiding surgery, everything is going to have to go right for Rodgers to be back within a month.

With Rodgers out for an undetermined period of time, there is not a fantasy league in America unaffected.

Just like the Packers’ offense, fantasy owners with Rodgers on their team are going to experience a dip in production. Even with Rodgers having a “mediocre” year, it’s unlikely the backup can fill the void. If you’re lucky enough to have Tony Romo or Matthew Stafford, good drafting. If not, good luck trying to grab Case Keenum or Nick Foles off the waiver wire.

I prefer Keenum over the long haul. The Texans’ offense is more consistent than the Eagles’. I know Foles threw a record-tying seven TDs last week, but nothing of the sort will ever happen again. Also, Keenum seems to have revived the fantasy career of Andre Johnson, who has struggled to find the end zone for years. Put it this way, each QB threw three TDs to a single receiver last week. Which combo would you rather bet on: Keenum-to-Johnson or Foles-to-Riley Cooper?

Without Rodgers, ther rest of the skill players on the Packers become much less dependable. As long as Seneca Wallace is starting, I wouldn’t bother starting any of the Packers’ receivers. Not even Jordy Nelson (who is guaranteed to catch two TDs on Sunday now that I dissed him). James Jones is still dealing with a nagging knee injury, and he has managed to disappear with Rodgers under center. I have him in two leagues, and I’m thinking of dropping him in both.

Jarrett Boykin is no longer a sleeper flex play. Drop him. He and Jones combined for two catches and 32 yards Monday night against a terrible Bears defense. Eddie Lacy is the only viable starter on that offense right now, but he’ll be facing one to two more defenders near the line of scrimmage on every play because defenses will be geared up to stop him. He no longer has the luxury of nickel and dime defenses more concerned with the quarterback.

OK, I’ve talked enough about the Packers, and I swear, I did not write this with a smile on my face.

Week 9 Lineup Crime: I went 6-0 this week, the first time I’ve done that all year. I even managed to win one matchup with Tom Brady and his 49 points on my bench.

Week 10 Lineup Time:Jay Cutler has been cleared to play, but it’s not certain if he’ll start over Josh McCown against the Lions. I think it’s a more favorable matchup for the backup, who’s coming off a great game against the Packers. I don’t think Cutler is a good play if he’s under center for the first time in three weeks. On the other side of the ball, Reggie Bush should have another big game against Chicago. He had 173 total yards and a TD in Week 4. I was way off on Foles last week, but I feel confident saying he will not throw nearly as many TDs this week against the Packers. Call it a hunch, but I like Maurice Jones-Drew’s chances against the Titans. Zac Stacy should have another big game, so keep him in your lineup for the Rams’ matchup with the Colts. Philip Rivers should rebound against the Broncos, and Keenan Allen likely will benefit.

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