Injuries are part of the deal in fantasy football. But it’s not every week that teams lose their best player — which is now the case for many A.J. Green owners.
The Cincinnati Bengals are in the same boat. Not only did they lose Green to a hamstring injury that leaves the rest of his season in doubt, but they lost their No. 2 pass-catcher — running back Giovani Bernard — to a season-ending ACL tear.
The Vikings signed Jake Long in October to fill a void at left tackle, but he didn’t stay healthy for long.
Has Bradford made a difference in terms of winning games?
Let’s look. The Vikings were supposed to be built around a great defense and a Peterson-led running game, but only one end of that bargain has held up. Minnesota wasn’t acquiring Bradford to be Drew Brees, but you don’t give up a first-round pick unless you think you have a guy who can squeeze out a late score to win a game. Where has he made the difference so far this season?
You can make a case for Week 2, Bradford’s debut, when he threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Diggs to put the Vikings up 17-7 on the Packers with 2:11 left in the third quarter. The Packers scored a touchdown in the fourth to get within three, but never got much closer. Bradford didn’t do much to close it out in the fourth: He completed a 15-yard pass on third-and-27, had a pass batted away, took a sack, and was part of a 12-yard pass interference call. He otherwise kneeled, handed off, and threw a pass with three seconds left to burn the remainder of the clock.
The three other games in Minnesota’s winning streak were all by double digits; Bradford played well, but his defense allowed an average of 11 points in those games. Minnesota’s only other victory came against the Cardinals in Week 11, 30-24, in a game where the Vikes scored 14 points on returns and Bradford’s only second-half scoring drive produced a field goal. In the fourth quarter, Bradford’s offense produced one first down, while he took a strip sack that gave the Cardinals a short field and set them up for a touchdown.
The possibility of a Bradford injury was another one of the arguments against the deal that is somewhat forgotten now. He has managed to stay healthy, but the injury chaos surrounding Bradford is a reminder of how we can’t assume everything will go right in justifying win-now deals.