Fantasy

Gonzalez Injury An Opportunity

It now appears that Anthony Gonzalez will miss the entire season.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - I was one of those many "experts" who thought Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (RapidDraft ADP 54.9) was going to have a great 2009 campaign.

Gonzalez was coming off a 57-catch, 664-yard, four touchdown season as a third wideout and was expected to be the starting wide receiver opposite Reggie Wayne. With Wayne drawing double coverage on most plays, Gonzalez would just need to beat one man to get open. And we know that Peyton Manning sees everything and would certainly hit him early and often.

Unfortunately, Gonzalez injured his right knee during the first quarter of the Week 1 game against Jacksonville and never returned to the field. Originally though to be a six-week injury, with setbacks, it now appears that Gonzalez will miss the entire season. What a waste of a high sixth-round selection.

However, his spot in the lineup has been ably manned by two young receivers - Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. Garcon is a second-year receiver out of little Mount Union and was a sixth-round pick of the Colts. He has 45 catches for 749 yards and four scores and has become a useful fantasy player for those who made the free agent pickup. Garcon has posted double-digits points in four of the last five games.

Collie, also a fantasy free agent, was a rookie out of BYU, who almost instantly seemed to connect with Manning. He has grabbed 50 balls for 540 yards and six scores, including one in each of the last two weeks.

As good as they have been, they are still the No.3 and No.4 options for Manning behind Wayne and All-Pro tight end Dallas Clark, so starting them is a week-to-week proposition.

This week, I recommend getting Garcon and Collie along with regulars Manning, Wayne, Clark and Joseph Addai into your lineup for Thursday's rematch with the Jaguars. Manning and the Colts are the No.1 passing offense (296.4 ypg) and Jacksonville's defense is ranked 26th against the pass.

For Jacksonville, the good news is that Mike Sims-Walker practiced on Tuesday. Walker has been limited by a calf injury over the past weeks and it shows in his numbers (six catches for 64 yards and no scores since Week 12). If he's healthy, he should be started against the Colts' 20th-ranked pass defense. If Sims-Walker is inactive or still limping, then both he and quarterback David Garrard should be benched. Garrard had just 122 yards against Indianapolis the first time around and just 139 yards last week against Miami. He has thrown just 10 TD passes (six to Sims-Walker) all year and has three 300-yard passing days.

Hopefully, I don't have to tell you to start Maurice Jones-Drew, but I do want to remind all fantasy owners that there is not only a Thursday night game between the Colts and Jaguars, but there is also a Saturday night game between New Orleans and Dallas. Don't lose your second-round playoff game because you forgot to get your lineup changes in on time.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.