I have never seen an injury season like this. I feel like I write that every week, but it has become clearer every week! I hope this is not the start of a trend. Many in the NFL are worried about the number of impact injuries to star players that we've seen this year.
Mike Mayock of NFL Network told me last week he believes you can blame the reduced training schedules. Jeff Legwold of ESPN told me he thinks it's due to the new type of athletes playing this game: Bigger, faster, stronger and moving at an incredible pace.
Hopefully this is just one bad season, but with so many quarterback and running backs going down, I'm not sure hoping is enough.
Add to the list now running backs Thomas Rawls (SEA), LaGarrette Blount (NE) and quarterback Andy Dalton (CIN). It's the big playoff week, and these names will be missed.
Quarterback Peyton Manning returned to practice Wednesday as the Broncos prepare to take on the Steelers.
The running back pool is so shallow, I'm not sure I'd be using them as flex players, but there are some options. Tim Hightower of the Saints is one -- I honestly didn't know he was still playing until last week when he had 85 yards and a touchdown. Denard Robinson of Jacksonville is an option, too. He should start with the Jags' backfield injuries. Brandon Bolden and James White will at least have one less option in New England to contend with.
At quarterback, if you had Dalton, look for Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota or Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Both have been on and off a lot of rosters this season. Both have been up and down. Hopefully you have other options, but both of these guys have had a few good games this season.
At wide receiver, you best bet is the Seahawks' Tyler Lockett -- the rookie is really coming on late -- and the Panthers' Ted Ginn Jr., who has been mentioned in this column before. Both offenses are finding their stride. Both guys can be a little boom or bust, but you're really scraping the scrap heap at this point anyway. Both are well worth a flex position, if you lost a running back.
Don't forget to start looking at your Super Bowl match-ups, too. The Bengals and Broncos Monday night game could make both offenses risky plays for the money game. Make a move this week if needed for next, to avoid a bad matchup.