As part of the large group of fantasy managers who have been enjoying the success of WR Cooper Kupp (96.5 percent rostered) this season, the sight of him lying on the ground, holding his knee in agony during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game was stomach-turning.
The Rams' receiver will be undergoing an MRI on Monday to determine whether he has torn an ACL, although ESPN's Adam Schefter has already reported that the feared injury is a reality. Even if the prognosis ends up being something less than "out for the season," for fantasy purposes his season is likely over as, in many leagues, there are just three weeks left before the start of the fantasy playoffs.
As we get ready to work the waiver wire ahead of Week 11, for many fantasy managers in redraft leagues there's actually little point in doing so. After all, if you've already been eliminated from the postseason, then what motivation is there to tinker with your roster to try to improve your lot?
It's quite understandable that someone might "check out" at this point, perhaps going so far as to not take injured players like Kupp out of their starting lineups. For me personally, even if I'm in the cellar, I'm still going to make whatever moves I can to try to "play the spoiler" down the stretch. That's just me.
However, I have played in leagues where a winless squad takes this opportunity to try to leave a lasting mark on an otherwise lost season by making ridiculously lopsided trades with contenders (which should absolutely be vetoed).
Worse still, though, are those nefarious sourpusses who decide that if they're not having fun, they'll wreak havoc by simply cutting their entire roster and sending them all to the waiver wire. And if the league manager isn't able to act quickly enough to reverse that action before some contending teams add multiple "free" All-Pros to their roster, tipping the scales of competitive balance in their favor, then the whole season could potentially be ruined.
It's because of fantasy managers like this that I try to participate only in dynasty/keeper leagues. The temptation to give up on a season (and to blow up a league) is far less if you know you still have something to play for, even in a winless disaster of a year. It's for those of you in leagues like this for which this week's veteran move is designed to help.
The act of tanking by intentionally losing games to get a better draft pick next season is absolutely something to be frowned upon. That said, dynasty-league fantasy managers shouldn't have their hands completely tied in terms of beginning the rebuilding process as soon as their team has been eliminated from contention this season.
In all likelihood, should Cooper Kupp be placed on IR, he's not going to be cut in a keeper format. But if for some reason he is, then by all means snatch him up and stash him for 2019 -- and don't stop there! A quick look at the NFL's current IR list has a bevy of names that are unlikely to help your team in the slightest this season, but may well be better than anyone currently on your roster if they were healthy.
If that's the case, then go ahead and load up your roster with as many of these potential candidates for 2019 as you can: Derrius Guice, Paul Richardson, Raheem Mostert, Jerick McKinnon, Jimmy Garoppolo, Hunter Henry, Marshawn Lynch, Jay Ajayi, Delanie Walker, Bilal Powell, Cameron Meredith, Dez Bryant, Ted Ginn Jr., Albert Wilson, Marqise Lee, Corey Grant, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Will Fuller V, Geronimo Allison, Tyler Eifert and Devonta Freeman.
If healthy, a roster made up entirely of players listed above is likely to be light years more competitive than whatever you've currently got. There's no reason you can't upgrade now, even if it means placing your entire bench on a proverbial "layaway plan." What's more, if Le'Veon Bell ends up not reporting to Pittsburgh by this week, feel free to trade for him (if your league's deadline hasn't passed) or claim him off waivers (if his current manager decides to finally cut him loose).
If your 2018 season is indeed already over, then the future of your current roster is probably not going to be much brighter than your present record indicates. Sure, you can take on the rallying cry of "Wait until next year!" However, it's far more productive to not wait. Start building for tomorrow today.