One of the most challenging tasks that any owner faces during the course of the fake football season is managing those injuries that crop up along the way. Often we’re kept down to the wire wondering if players will play, limited in practice and listed on the injury report, and sometimes if they do there’s very little in the way of assurances that they’re going to play 100% of their normal snaps, or ability.
On Saturdays we’re going to take a look every week at the players are fit that very description, and how their situations may impact your fantasy squad for the upcoming weekend.
Week 3 is the “week of the handcuff” at the RB position – looks like quite a few of them will be seeing upticks in their carries.
Week 3 Injury Report
Steven Jackson - Out: Jackson is likely sitting for somewhere in the range of three weeks following suffering a thigh injury early in week 2. Jacquizz Rodgers sits ahead of Jason Snelling on the depth chart, and both saw touches and targets following SJax going down. Despite no one being quite sure how the distribution will go this weekend, Snelling significantly outproduced Rodgers when given the chance (he had 19 yards on 2 carries compared to 17 yards on 11, and while both backs had 4 receptions Snelling racked up 13 more yards with his). Snelling also scored a touchdown in week 2, and he’s -probably- the choice if you’ve got to plug in one of them. I’d be leery of either until I saw how things actually pan out though.
Ray Rice - Doubtful: Murmurs out of Baltimore are painting a picture that’s not terrific for Ray Rice this week – he’s probably not going to play, and even if he does it’s hardly likely he’ll be heavily relied upon with such a potent handcuff as Bernard Pierce in the backfield. If I were a Rice owner I’d be considering looking elsewhere for this week just to play it safe.
Reggie Bush - Questionable: Despite owners being thrilled to see that he returned to practice and impressed during the end of the week, there’s word surfacing out of Detroit that the Lions may hold out their prized back just to give him more time to rest. – and why not? Joique Bell has done well with the opportunities he’s been presented so far this year and the Lions likely feel that they can rely on him against a Redskins defense that has been awful throughout two weeks this year. Given that Joique has been seeing touches and producing anyway through two weeks, it’s probably a sneaky flex play (or waiver pickup if you should be so lucky so deep into the year to nab him) to get him in there.
Eddie Lacy - Questionable: Although Lacy picked up the Questionable tag (and not even the Doubtful one!) he hasn’t practiced [or been cleared to even] since suffering a concussion versus the Redskins. With a week four bye on the horizon for the Pack, it makes sense just to give him some extra rest. They’ll roll with James Starks this week, who will see almost all of the work.
Arian Foster and Ben Tate - Probable: Another week seeing both of the Texans RBs on the injury report, both as probable and both expected fully to play. Despite all the discussion in the lead-up to the season concerning easing Foster in the fact is he continues to see more touches. They’ll continue to give Tate the ball though because he’s performed well when given the opportunity, but it’s Fosters show until the coaches actually give us a reason to believe otherwise.
Maurice Jones-Drew - Questionable: MJD is looking like the true form of a game-time decision on Sunday. However, he’s only racked up 73 yards and no scores on the season to begin with and faces the Seahawks stifling defense on Sunday. MJD has got to be on your bench until he has a terrific match-up you can’t resist, or until he turns it around. Forsett and Todman are expected to share the workload for the Jags, and absolutely neither is trustable – look elsewhere.
Giovani Bernard – Probable: This may finally be the week Bernard owners have been hoping for, as the coaches have to want to give him the rock following his two TD performance on Monday night. Despite not yet hitting double digit carries his numbers have impressed. His value for now lays in if he scores, but any week now he’s going to be a terrific flex play as carries are surely going to push closer to 50/50 if he keeps it up. Keep the faith, Bernard owners, your day is coming.
Rashard Mendenhall - Questionable: Another week, another visit to the injury report for Rashard Mendenhall. A new injury is sidelining him this week (as opposed to the one that’s limited his practice thus far this year), but he’s fully expected to suit up on Sunday and has a terrific match-up versus the Saints defense. Andre Ellington proved last week that he could be relied upon to shoulder some of the load, and that may limit Mendenhall’s value as a flex type play going forward, but for now we should anticipate similar production from Rashard that we’ve seen throughout the first two weeks.
Mark Ingram – Questionable: Darren Sproles, officially the man behind Ingram on the depth chart, is a must start every week anyway. If Ingram pulls through and plays you can risk plugging him in there and hoping that he’s at full force, but know that there are plenty of other options in New Orleans. Sproles? You still start him. If Ingram doesn’t play Sproles value increases a bit, but you were starting him anyway.
Le’Veon Bell - Questionable: Bell has pleasantly surprised fantasy owners that paid the price for him by returning to the practice field (and presumably to the actual gridiron) sooner than initial estimates provided. He’s no lock for this week, and even if he plays it’s likely he’s not shouldering the load on his own, but it’s a step in the right direction for the young back.
Daryl Richardson - Probable: Richardson did little to impress in week 2, after a sub-par week one. Although Pead returned to the lineup and saw a fair bit of the field, he didn’t really dig into Richardson’s carries. If Daryl doesn’t pick his game up in short order then I think it’s a safe bet that won’t be the case going forward. He’s been a disappointment for fantasy owners who thought they may be getting a starting RB on the cheap, and he may even be a backup before long after seemingly blowing his chances to take hold of the reins.
Bilal Powell – Probable: I don’t mean to sound like this, but does it matter? If you’re looking at plugging Powell in, or hoping his situation impacts Greene in any meaningful way, then you probably need to be looking for better options anyway.
Larry Fitzgerald – Questionable: Fitz had a bit of a down week last week, but he’s still a beast of a wideout and is going to enjoy a terrific match-up this weekend. He may be questionable but there seems to be little doubt about his availability for Sunday, and you’ve gotta get him out there.
Julio Jones and Roddy White - Questionable: We were down this road last week with the Falcons duo, and while Roddy and Julio both suited up last week only one was a viable fantasy option. Through two weeks Jones has hit paydirt twice and has over 250 yards…White has 40 yards and 0 TDs. So until I see otherwise I’m going to continue to believe that Julio is perhaps a “precautionary questionable” while Roddy is a “mostly on the field to distract defenders questionable”. Rod is riding my bench until he shows me he’s healthy.
Brandon Marshall - Probable: Marshall practiced in full on Friday, and has posted back-to-back 100 yard, 1 touchdown games. Deploy, deploy, deploy.
Dez Bryant - Probable: Dez was held out of practice for precautionary reasons and absolutely will be on the field coming Sunday, his probable tag is a formality. He strutted his stuff last week, and although he’s going to have some “misses” throughout the year you’ve got to roll with him anyway.
Andre Johnson - Probable: Andre has been cleared to play after suffering a concussion in week 2. He’s clearly Matt Schaub‘s favorite target, and he’s going to get his fair share of looks against a defense that hasn’t been able to stop much down the field so far this year. Another guy you just can’t bench. How his return impacts DeAndre Hopkins is yet to be seen.
Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and T.Y. Hilton - Probable: All three of the Colts wideouts hit the probable designation this week, but all three are expected to play – how much, or who is getting the looks, totally different situation. Wayne had a down week in week 2, while T.Y. Hilton just tore things up, while in the first week the opposite was true. What we do know though, is that DHB has been relegated to just another guy on the field, and he shouldn’t even be on your radar.
Hakeem Nicks - Probable: Nicks is going to suit up, and you’re going to start him because he’s playing Carolina. He’s posted decent numbers in the first couple weeks, but needs to find the endzone to prove his true value.
Mike Wallace - Questionable: We’ve seen two very different sides of Wallace through two weeks in Miami, but if he continues to produce numbers like last week – over 100 yards a score – then he’s a must start. There seems to be little doubt, despite the questionable tag, that he’s going to be starting this weekend.
Danny Amendola - Doubtful: It seems as though although he will avoid having surgery on his groin Amendola still won’t be suited up this week. Expect a lot of balls tossed to Julian Edelman again this weekend.
Andre Roberts – Probable: Andre Roberts had a tough week in week 2 as well, but with Fitz going to command the bulk of attending throughout the game, he’ll presumably continue to see a fair amount of targets (he lead the team in week 2 despite only making three grabs), and has a terrific match-up this week.
Jacoby Jones – Out: This will be the last week mentioning Jones, but I’ve included him because it’s worth suggesting again that people go out and get their hands on Marlon Brown. Although Brown will let you down sooner than later when he doesn’t snag a TD that day hasn’t come yet. He’s got the ability to pick up some yards and playing across from Torrey Brown will keep opening things up.
Cecil Shorts – Probable: Tough match-up this week against and still apparently no quarterback to trust in Jacksonville. Hard to believe that Shorts will improve much on last weeks performance, and although it was respectable it largely came late in the game. He’s still yet to reach paydirt on the year, so unless you’re in a PPR type league it might be best to consider shelving him if you’ve got a better option.
Malcom Floyd – Out: A scary injury last week for Malcom Floyd, who seems to have gotten off lightly all things considered. It’s being suggested that he’s going to be sidelined at least a month, although if we saw him on the sidelines six weeks or more it wouldn’t be surprising. Keenan Allen subbed into the lineup in his absence and caught a couple of balls for 34 yards, but shouldn’t be relied upon quite yet as it seems he’ll be fourth or fifth in line for targets.
Martellus Bennett – Probable: Bennett has practiced in full to end the week, and has three score through two weeks with Chicago. He’s got a decent match-up against the Steelers and there’s very little reason you shouldn’t run him.
Jermichael Finley – Probable: If the TDs stop coming in, Finley’s value will take hit – he’s had one each of the past 2 weeks. He’s got 11 receptions through the same time span, but there are only so many balls to go around in Green Bay. That said, he’s going to play this week, and if you own him I don’t see how you sit him unless you’ve got another very solid TE option.
Owen Daniels – Probable and Garrett Graham – Questionable: Daniels will play, Graham is a big old question mark. You probably aren’t considering Garrett anyway as a starter, but those with Daniels and Hopkins should consider that his absence will likely mean a few extra balls tossed their way. The Ravens have struggled in the secondary all year, so there’s plenty to like from the Texans’ offense.
Rob Gronkowski – Questionable and Zach Sudfeld – Probable: The general belief emanating from New England is that Gronkowski will be more likely to see his first action in week 4 than on Sunday. Zach Sudfeld, however, will likely return from a hamstring injury and take the field against the Bucs. Hard to know how often Tom will look to the rookie tight end, but given the drops that have come from Thompkins and Dobson through the first few games it wouldn’t be a shock to see a couple balls go his way. If you’re hard up he might come through for you…or perhaps he might post a 0.
Brandon Myers – Questionable: Myers has posted respectable TE numbers through the first two games, and despite the tag he doesn’t figure to miss any time. He’s worth checking back on before kickoff on Sunday, just to be certain, but there seems little reason not to set him in your lineup for the time being.
Rob Housler - Probable: Housler will finally take the field it seems in week 3. Once a fantasy-breakout darling, we’re now in a position where he’s missed significant time and reps and is probably the fourth option behind the three receivers in Arizona. If you’ve got bench room maybe you want to stash him, but you’d have to be very hard up to be considering him in your lineup.
Heath Miller - Probable: If anyone needs to a security blanket, it’s Big Ben. His favorite target simply cannot return soon enough to suit him, and it looks as though it should be this week. The Steelers offense is likely not one you want much to do with, but Miller might be a lone bright spot.
Kellen Winslow – Probable: Winslow has bad knees, so seeing him not practice should come as no surprise to anyone. He’ll likely be on the field, but after posting a 3 reception-15 yard performance versus the Patriots in week 2 you’ve got to wonder if his week 1 production was just an aberration. There’s likely better options available to you.