Dallas Cowboys doctors have given good news to tight end Jason Witten, telling him that he will not need spleen surgery that would have ended his season. But while that is good news for both Witten and the Cowboys, it should not automatically be seen as a huge boost to Witten’s fantasy football value.
Yes, the bleeding in his spleen has subsided, and doctors believe that his spleen will heal on its’ own, but this is still a potential scary and devastating injury. While Witten is still hoping to play in the Cowboys’ regular season opener against the New York Giants on September 5, that may still seem like a pipe dream.
Witten is getting older, and his stats have already started to decline. He is not a touchdown machine, much like Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots and Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints, and he is also not a downfield threat similar to Jermichael Finley of the Green Bay Packers or even Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers.
That means that what you should be taking from all of this is that Witten is no longer a safe fantasy football starting tight end. It is much easier to let someone else deal with when he may be able to play and how much production he will give you this season.
Like I’ve warned you for years now, Father Time is not on any of our sides. Throw in a major injury, and that is a battle better left untested in your upcoming fantasy football season.
And while many of you – especially those Cowboys fans lurking out there always uttering that same old tired phrase (you know, “Wait ’til next year!) – will be quick to point out how Witten has almost never missed any time in Dallas and is as reliable as they come, I will tell you right now that those days are over.
As are the days of Witten being an automatic No. 1 tight end on any fantasy roster. On my board for my upcoming draft this weekend, Witten is only No. 8 or No. 9 on my list, depending on his injury. Even if he only misses a game or two, I would rank him no higher than No. 8 at any given point, and I could see him actually finishing the 102 NFL and fantasy season outside the top 10 for the first time in a long time.
I may be wrong, but like any savvy fantasy football owner will tell you, it is better to jump off the wagon the year before a player falls off completely instead of having them sit on your bench during the year it happens.