Suspensions alter fantasy values

The NFL has suspended six players for violating its Policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances, a list that includes Saints DEs Charles Grant and Will Smith, Saints RB Deuce McAllister and Vikings DT Kevin Williams and NT Pat Williams.

The suspensions will have a serious impact on the value of Pierre Thomas, not to mention running backs Kevin Smith, Tim Hightower and Michael Turner in the fantasy postseason.

Thomas, who has emerged into a serious playmaker in New Orleans, will now split the workload with Reggie Bush. He’s now a more viable flex starter down the stretch against the Falcons, Buccaneers and Lions.

With Grant already out due to an injured triceps and Smith now done for the season, the Saints defense will have a tough time creating a pass rush and becomes even more vulnerable to opposing offenses.

With the “Williams Wall” absent from the middle of their defensive line, the value of the Vikings defense will take a hit. What’s more, opposing running backs will now have an easier time compiling good numbers against them. That makes Smith and Hightower better flex choices in Week 14 and Week 15, respectively.

Turner, who has developed into one of the league’s top runners, will also be a much safer play in fantasy’s championship week. The Burner and his Falcons will face a Williams-less Minnesota defense in Week 16.

In New York, the Giants have suspended Plaxico Burress four games for conduct detrimental to the team.

That means he’ll miss the rest of the season and the entire fantasy postseason. Burress was also placed on the reserve non-football injury list, which will keep him from practicing or returning to the teams’s active roster.

Fantasy owners in seasonal leagues can now release Burress altogether. Domenik Hixon will start in his absence and is now a very hot name on the waiver wire. Amani Toomer will also see an increase in value in Burress’ absence, but his stock is limited to those fantasy leagues with 12-plus teams.

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