Consider this: Somewhere out there, some poor sap has already lost their first two draft picks. They have no starting receivers, and their WR3 is hurt, too. Their healthy running backs consist of a mid-rounder and a guy they picked up last week on the waiver wire. And they're supposed to somehow field a competitive team this week.
I'm talking about me. I'm the poor sap. But I'm not giving up, and neither should you.
I don't mean "give up" give up, because you're not going to do that, of course. I mean give up on the season mentally and play out the string knowing it's not in the cards this year. No matter who's out on your team, you still have a great shot of making the playoffs. You're not the only team in the league with these issues, and there's a lot of football left to play. The waiver wire is producing starters on a weekly basis, and there are opportunities to right the ship. There are also a few things you can do to help yourself out.
Be careful replacing injured depth. You see a hole in your roster and you want to fill it with a healthy player. It makes perfect sense when it comes to your starters. But when your backups are also hurt, be cautious about ditching them and grabbing healthy replacements off the waiver wire. You're throwing away a potential starter in week 10 for peace of mind on your roster you might never use.
If your backups have real potential and you already have starters to put in the lineup, let the injured guys sit there for a little while. Hamstrings heal. Ankles get better. They might be healthy by the time you actually need them. Staring at a roster of healthy players might sound reassuring, but you're diluting your talent for no reason. Don't let someone else sit on a valuable talent you threw away, and use them against you later on.
Don't always follow the next man up. Football teams love to use that phrase: Next man up. If someone's hurt, the next guy on the depth chart takes their place. After all, that's why they have depth charts, right?
Actually, no. They have depth charts because the league requires them. In a normal year, the depth charts are kind of fluid. This season it's a patchwork of guesses and shrugs. So if a starter gets hurt, the backup will probably be a group of guys, and the one who emerges is the new starter for a whole week. Sometimes they're good filler, but many times they're not worth picking up, and they're certainly not worth ditching someone with more potential throughout the season.
Don't rush to judgment. If you feel you have to make a move, wait as long as possible to make it. The information you have on Tuesday might be worthless on Thursday.
Take Michael Thomas. He was going to play through his injury, he'd be out a week, and he'd be out several weeks. And all that was the day after he got hurt. You need to make decisions based on accurate information, and you're relying on notorious liars (coaches, players, owners) to provide it. The longer you wait, the more your decisions will be.
Unfortunately, waivers don't run at your convenience. Blink and you might miss your shot at a viable replacement (if you don't already have one on your roster). So you'll have to discern between which guys would be "nice to have" and which ones are "gotta have." You might miss out on someone, but you also might not need a replacement at all. Your situation will have to dictate how much you're risking by waiting.
Understand that some people will make all the above mistakes. Even if you've decided that what's out there isn't as good as what you have, it pays to follow the waiver transactions during the week. Somebody will dump a great player to make room for a backup at another position. Someone else will take a flier on a guy listed on a team's depth chart and give you an opportunity to upgrade your own roster.
In almost every case, players are getting rid of people they drafted for guys nobody wanted. Their stock might have risen, but there's also going to be some panic selling. If you can take advantage of those opportunities, you might pick up someone who can help you win a title.
Of course, all this advice is valid until the next player goes down, giving you zero starters who can take the field at that position. That's a real possibility. Trust me. But even then, a calm decision is almost always better than a panicked one. The situation might be desperate, but you don't have to make decisions that reek of desperation. We'll get through it. I mean, the injury bug has to stop biting eventually, right? Right?
Good luck this week.
How badly have injuries hit your team? What's your game plan to get through it? Or have you been the league's golden child, with nothing but healthy hamstrings and smooth sailing? Share your thoughts below.
P.S. For those too young to remember, I was referencing a popular television show in the 70s.