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The injuries are really starting to pile up, which means fantasy football scores are really starting to come down. Pretty soon, an RB averaging 5.5 points a game or a WR-3 on a run-oriented team will start looking like waiver wire steals.
The casualties of Week 6 included Stevan Ridley, RB, NE; Victor Cruz, WR, NYG; and Knowshon Moreno, RB, MIA, all lost for the remainder of the season. Already spending Week 6 at the infirmary were recognizable names like Calvin Johnson, WR, DET; A.J. Green, WR, CIN; Montee Ball, RB, Den; Reggie Bush, RB, DET; and Donald Brown, RB, SD, though all are expected to return to action soon.
This is the long way of explaining why Mohammad Sanu, WR, CIN, caught 10 passes for 120 yards and a TD (Green's replacement); Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN, amassed 100 yards rushing last week (Ball's replacement); and Theo Riddick, RB, DET, caught five balls for 75 yards and a TD (Bush's replacement).
More on the wounded and who may step up in the absence in our Week 6 recap:
* Ridley's injury theoretically should mean more work for Shane Vereen, RB, the pass-catching specialist in the Patriots backfield. However, Vereen has been something of a disappointment so far this year, as the Pats, amid their offensive struggles, have thrown to him less and handed off to him only in brief stretches. Don't forget, the Pats also have Brandon Bolden, RB, who, like Ridley, fits the three-yards-and-a-dust-cloud ground game the Pats have been relying on of late.
* It must have been nerve-wracking for Broncos fans to see Hillman back starting at RB. He has a history of gaffes, and in fact lost a fumble last week. Yet, he did something Ball hasn't done this year in rushing for 100 yards. With Ball likely to miss at least three more games and Denver suddenly giving its RB more to do, Hillman looks like a potentially high-risk, high-reward fantasy play the next few weeks.
* The injury to Cruz, who also had been having a subpar season, opens the door for a fantasy sleeper to emerge. Rookie Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, NYG, spent the first four weeks of the season injured, and hasn't been targeted all that much in his two active weeks, but is reputed to be a yards-after-catch monster. Sleeper-aware fantasy team owners with roster room stashed him away in recent weeks, though curiously he's still available in more than 60% of Yahoo! leagues.
* Moreno's absence may not cause much of a stir, and finally give owners of Lamar Miller, RB, MIA, reason to relax a little. Miller, despite showing flashes of power in the run and pass games, has sacrificed touches to free-agent signing Moreno, but he should be a fantasy riser over the next several weeks, getting about the same amount of attention Matt Forte gets in the Bears offense. (Guess which team Miller matches up against this week.)
* The Big Lead says Raiders receiver Andre Holmes is no one-hit wonder.
* SI.com agrees that Bolden will be the new Ridley, rather than Vereen.
* Bleacher Report weighs Rams RB Tre Mason as a breakout candidate.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.