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NFL Week 1: Injury Ripple Effect

The opening weekend of the NFL season looked like an episode of MASH as the injuries continued to pile up all the way through Monday Night Football. While your fantasy studs may not be the man down, they still could be affected by the injuries to their supporting casts. Let's take a look:

Eli Manning, QB (NYG): Obviously, Manning is a heavily owned player and a reliable No. 1 fantasy quarterback that can't be replaced. The Giants already look like a horrific defensive team and now without Manning, this team is going to get shredded on a weekly basis. Backup Jared Lorenzen is awful, which means that Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey automatically regress in value. The only bright spot is that Manning is not done for the season.

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Brandon Jacobs, RB (NYG): Jacobs is an upright runner and is a 10-game season waiting to happen. Well, now it's happened. Jacobs, in his first day as the full-time Giants running back, sprained his MCL and is out 3-5 weeks. Somewhere, Tiki Barber is smiling. With Manning also out, backup Derrick Ward doesn't have much value. This offense will not be able to move the ball until Manning comes back.

Orlando Pace, LT (STL): Of all of the long-term injuries, this one might have the biggest fantasy ripple effect. While it is under the radar, the St. Louis Rams lack of depth on the offensive line is about to be exposed. Pace is a perennial Pro Bowler and will not be replaced. Quarterback Marc Bulger now has to be more weary of his blindside and the push that the offensive line gets on Steven Jackson's rushing attempts will be diminished. Right tackle Alex Barron will move to the left side, which will inherently mean that tight end Randy McMichael will once again be forced to spend more time blocking than he'd like.

Jon Jansen, RT (WAS): Jansen, the stalwart right tackle for the Washington Redskins, suffered a several ankle injury Sunday and is done for the year. This is bad news for the backfield tandem of Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts, but mostly for tight end Chris Cooley. Undrafted rookie Stephon Heyer will step in for Jansen and you can expect a drop-off. Since it is on the right side, Cooley will do more blocking now that Jansen is out for the second time in four seasons.

Chester Taylor, RB (MIN): This is an injury that will definitely sting Taylor. A year removed from signing a lucrative free agent contract, the former Raven has already been back-seated to stellar rookie Adrian Peterson. Now he's going to be hampered somewhat with a hip pointer and will lose even more playing time. Fantasy owners were hoping to get at least a half season from Taylor but it looks like Peterson will be the feature back now. Taylor still has value though. Peterson is a brittle player.

*Just a final note about offensive line injuries. While losing Pace or Jansen may not directly affect the skill players on the team, often at the end of the season, when you look back and say -- "why did my guy underachieve on this offense?" -- it is usually because the supporting cast was not as strong or not as healthy.

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