Offensive linemen don’t receive much attention in the world of fantasy football.
So when it was announced that the Indianapolis Colts had lost C Jeff Saturday (knee) for at least the first six weeks of the regular season, it didn’t make news.
Maybe it should have.
Saturday had started 59 consecutive games as a center and has missed a mere two starts since the 2000 season. With Saturday out of action, Peyton Manning will need to gain a quick rapport with rookie Steve Justice, who takes over at the center position. Manning and Saturday had started 126 games for the Colts, which ranks second among the elite quarterback-center combinations in games started together since 1970.
In fact, the last time neither Manning nor Saturday were in the starting lineup for the Colts was in the final game of the 1997 season, when Jim Harbaugh started at quarterback and Larry Moore started at center. If Justice can’t get the job done, Manning could be a bit more vulnerable in the pocket with a knee that has limited him in the preseason.
Manning isn’t the only star quarterback with a banged-up offensive line.
Tom Brady, who has been dealing with a foot injury, will be without OG Stephen Neal, who was placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list with an injured shoulder. That means he’ll be out for at least the first six weeks of the regular season.
The New England Patriots have also lost OT Ryan O’Callagahan for the entire season. While the return of OG Matt Light is a positive, this line is a huge question mark.
Manning and Brady remain in an elite class in fantasy land, but these offensive line woes are a cause for some concern.