Commentary

Colston injury hurts Brees, helps Patten, Shockey

Updated: September 10, 2008, 12:43 PM ET
By Christopher Harris | ESPN.com

Another big name bit the dust Tuesday, as Saints receiver Marques Colston had surgery to reattach a torn ligament to his left thumb. The big receiver, a No. 1 fantasy pass-catcher in all formats, is expected to miss between four and six weeks.

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This is devastating news for Colston's fantasy owners, who need to scramble and find another (not as good) option for Week 2. Eddie Royal of the Broncos was already a must-add in all fantasy formats, and the urgency now increases for Colston owners. Royal won't be Denver's top receiving target with Brandon Marshall returning this week, but he still figures to be very involved in Mike Shanahan's offense. Other underdrafted receiver names include DeSean Jackson, Ronald Curry and Matt Jones, who looked like Jacksonville's top receiving target in Week 1. Muhsin Muhammad wouldn't be a bad one-game stopgap, until Steve Smith returns in Week 3.

However, the best solution for Colston owners may come from the Saints. David Patten is a reliable route runner with excellent hands, and he caught a 39-yarder for a touchdown in Week 1 as the team's third receiver. I like him more than deep threat Devery Henderson, who caught an 84-yarder for a score in Week 1. Henderson has teased fantasy owners several times with good games, only to subsequently disappear. Henderson is the home run threat, but with Patten, I think you're apt to get more targets. (Full disclosure: Patten and Henderson each got two targets in Week 1, while Colston got six and Lance Moore got four. Still, I'd probably not rely on Moore.) One hot name from this summer, Robert Meachem, might find himself active for the Saints on game day this week, but he needs to show he's consistent before he can be a fantasy option.

Finally, Colston's absence also affects the rest of the Saints' offense. Drew Brees must be knocked down a few pegs, as his most dependable (and frequent) target is shelved. For example, I had Brees rated No. 4 among quarterbacks for this week's game in Washington before the Colston news came out; I subsequently dropped him to No. 8. And perhaps the man this benefits most is Jeremy Shockey, who was already targeted six times in Week 1 with Colston on the field. Shockey might be Brees' foremost target in Sunday's game against the Redskins, and certainly deserves to be ranked among the top 10 tight ends in all formats.

Christopher Harris is a fantasy baseball, football and racing analyst for ESPN.com. He is a six-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner across all three of those sports. You can e-mail him here.

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