Draft day had finally come. I was sitting gleefully in my chair trying not to be smug as I showed everyone the number I had just pulled out of the hat. Number 1. I tried to calm myself and gather my thoughts. A million things go through your mind when you have the number one pick in your football draft. Who was it going to be? Who was going to lead my team through the next 16 weeks to the championships? Ladanian Tomlinson? Peyton Manning? No, I knew deep inside my somewhat biased heart. Randy Moss was my favorite player, so how could I not seize this moment to pick Tom Brady so I could watch him every week rack up points to my favorite wide receiver. I was beaming. After all, Brady had just thrown 50 touchdowns the previous season, an amazing record breaking season.
First game of the season, my number one pick, my QB, went down 7 minutes and 33 seconds into the first quarter after taking a hit from Kansas City's safety Bernard Pollard. Brady threw 7 completions for 76 yards and was injured on a completed pass to who else, Randy Moss. Out for the season. I knew it. I sat down and cried just a little. Not because Brady got hurt but because I had waited an entire off season, 8 months or so, to get to this point and now I watched it slip away before it even started.
Yeah, sure I had other players. But when you pick number 1, you have to wait a pretty long time to pick again. My season looked over before it started.
This kind of thing can happen. It doesn't happen often, but for every person that took Tom Brady in 2008, we will never forget it. We will always be cautious and gun shy, about risks and injuries and I wouldn't draft Brady in the 10th round this year if I had the chance. No thanks! I hold a grudge for at least 4 seasons. (Still giving Matt Hasselbeck the evil eye because of his lackluster performance when he was supposed to be the next big thing and I happen to sell myself on it and I drafted him in all 3 of my leagues, thank you very much)
Therefore injuries can make or break your fantasy team. But they can also be made up for, survived through, and in some cases, you would have been better off without them as it were. I ended up picking up Brett Favre on waivers, who happened to have a pretty darn good season from the week I picked him up on and I also picked up Matt Cassel, who in the end really came through for me when Brett faltered a little.
Regular injuries though can be frustrating as well. Some players that were well missed this year were Owen Daniels who happen to be the leading Tight End in our league, Anthony Gonzales who never got his chance to shine at all, these guys hurt their fantasy owners, but in the end if your smart, you watch the waiver wire, you keep up on what is happening and pay attention then you should manage to pick up a few guys that will either bandage the hurt that your team has suffered enough, until that player perhaps return, or maybe they will surprise you and become a breakout rookie running back. You never can tell. There is no way to know who will get injured on any given week. Every pick you take is a risk, but as long as you are confident in your abilities you can recover, I finished 3rd last year out of 12 teams. Not bad for losing your number one pick. (doesn't mean I'm not still sore about it though)
What is hard is when you have small nagging injuries to your players. For instance, take Michael Turner, towards the end of the season this year, he had a high ankle sprain. He said he was ok to play, so I started him the next week. Turns out he was not. He re-aggravated it. (My guess was it was never ok to play on it!) So for the rest of the season I stayed away from Michael Turner, I got burned once and that is all you need in make or break playoff run. No one wants to have any goose eggs on their score card when you are in the playoffs. I can tell you what aggravated me though, was the difficult decision I had in trying to figure out if he was going to play and even if he was, should I start him, how great was my risk? It caused me a lot of grief towards the end of the season. After you play for many years, you second guess yourself so much that your not sure what your thinking anymore.The best thing to do is to just go with your gut and when injuries happen and they will happen, you go with the flow, keep your eyes on the waivers and hang in there. Any given Sunday right?