After Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson suffered a season-ending broken ankle last week, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman chided the segment of fans who view such situations only through the lens of fantasy results.
"I think a lot of people, a lot of fans out there have looked at players even less like people because of fantasy football and things like that," Sherman told reporters. "You go and say, 'Oh, man, this guy got hurt.' … You're not thinking, 'Hey man, this guy got hurt -- he's really physically hurt, and he's going to take time to recover and it's probably going to affect his mental state and his physical state and now he has a long, rigorous rehab.' You're thinking, 'Oh, man, he's messing up my fantasy team.'"
Sherman is right. Whether they're fantasy participants or not, some fans see athletes only in terms of what they contribute on the scoreboard or to a fantasy result.
It is important to keep in mind that the injuries athletes suffer in the games we watch have far greater impact on their lives than on our fantasy contests.
Certainly, injuries are part of the fantasy sports calculus, but as Sherman suggests, it all must be kept in perspective.
Here are this week's value picks.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys: Prescott has been a steady fantasy performer from the very beginning of his young career. This week, he draws the Green Bay Packers, whose quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, poses a challenge to opposing offenses to keep up. Prescott is far cheaper than Rodgers across the board but is a much bigger value on FanDuel. He's a solid cash-game pick.
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts: This is a guaranteed prize-pool pick. Last week, it was Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was the bargain superstar in fantasy. This week, Brisset has a chance to have a similar performance against the sub-par San Francisco 49ers.
Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland Browns: Somehow, Johnson has remained under the radar on DraftKings, where he is especially valuable because its contests are full point-per-reception. Johnson's targets (he has 28 on the season) give him a nice floor, and since the Browns are often playing from behind, the ball is in the air a lot.
Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers are 0-4 and one of their most talented players, Gordon, has been underutilized. His fantasy salary-cap number has dropped because of his slipping fantasy points. Against the New York Giants, also 0-4, the Chargers are less likely to be playing from behind, and Gordon should get more touches.
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams: Fantasy experts have been keeping an eye on rookie Kupp, and last week he showed signs of some fantasy-star potential on a team that is surprisingly prolific on offense. His price is rock bottom. The downside is that he draws Seattle's menacing secondary, but the game is in L.A.
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys: This is notice that Bryant is shaping up as one of the most popular wide receivers in fantasy this weekend. If you throw out Week 2, he's averaging 12 to 13 targets a game. Yet his fantasy numbers are so-so, and that has depressed his salary cap number. If you're looking for a QB/WR stack, Prescott-Bryant looks pretty good -- and you could still get a premium player or two at another position.
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles: Yeah, him again. Sorry, but a tight end who has a consistent range of 13 to 18 points (on DraftKings) and a cap figure in the low- to mid-$6,000 range can be in my cash-game lineup anytime.
Jake Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles: As a result of Elliott's game-winning, 61-yard field goal a couple weeks ago, the Eagles are willing to send him out for long tries and he's making them.
Baltimore Ravens: This may surprise some Ravens fans considering the points the team has given up the past two games, but Baltimore's defense has strong takeaway ability (tied for first in the NFL with 11), and that's important in fantasy. Plus, this week's opponent, the Oakland Raiders, will start a backup quarterback, EJ Manuel.