by Ray Kuhn
After the start of the seas was relatively quiet on the injury front, this week certainly makes up for it. There are questions surrounding a lot of top fantasy players, so it is very possible that your lineup will not be finalized until 12 PM on Sunday. What that means is that your depth will be tested. You must make sure that you have ready and able replacements on your roster. Let’s waste no time this week taking a look at some of the injury situations that you should be paying attention to and monitoring as Sunday nears:
- Hopefully Reggie Bush owners also have Joique Bell as a handcuff, but you want the PPR standout to take the field this Sunday as the Lions are facing the Washington Redskins and their pitiful defense. After Bush left last week’s game early with a knee injury, things did not appear to optimistic for this Sunday. The MRI did come back clean, but Bush was not cleared to practice until Friday. Even though he is going to take the knee for a test drive he is still not 100%, so there has to be some concern. At this point it appears more likely that Bush will play as opposed to not play, but it is still very much up in the air. How he feels and then recovers from Friday’s practice will determine a lot. Even if he does play, at this point it appears that he will not be getting a full workload, so therefore your rankings must be adjusted.
- Baltimore has a similar situation with Ray Rice, but at this point it appears that he will not be playing on Sunday. Even if he does play, I think we can pretty much guarantee that his role will be limited and Bernard Pierce will therefore be the focal point of the offense. Rice has not, and does not plan to, practice all week due to a hip strain, which does play a role in my expectations for him this week. He can play without practicing, but this early in the season I don’t think that will be likely. Pierce is the guy to own here in my opinion.
- Quite frankly, it should not matter whether or not Maurice Jones-Drew plays this week. His ankle is still bothering him and as of Thursday swelling was still an issue. He has not practiced yet and his stock has fallen each day. Then there is the issue of the Jaguars traveling to Seattle and having to face the Seahawks vaunted defense. Even if MJD were healthy, there likely would not have been much room for him to run. His replacement, Jordan Todman, should not have any fantasy value as this is a situation to ignore this week.
- One running back for whom the outlook this week is clear is Steven Jackson. He will be out two to four weeks with a thigh injury suffered last week. Replacing Jackson will be a group effort shared by Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling. Both are solid options, and Rodgers might have a little more fantasy value, but neither is too exciting. Rodgers and Snelling have not produced thus far in 2013, but Rodgers has a little more explosiveness and his ability as a pass catcher puts him slightly above Snelling. However, I can see Snelling getting the goal line carries if the Falcons chose to actually run the ball.
- It appears that Larry Fitzgerald’s hamstring issue will not be going away anytime soon. It bothered him last week and for the most part he ended up just being a decoy, catching only two passes for 33 yards. This week’s matchup against the Saints is certainly one you want Fitzgerald to be 100%, but that is not going to happen. He has not been able to practice yet this week, but all signs point to him playing on Sunday. Unless something changes before game time you have to start Fitzgerald, but his production level remains unclear and his ranking should be adjusted accordingly.
- With Dwayne Allen now going on Injured Reserve, there is no questioning who the tight end to own in Indianapolis will be. Coby Fleener was targeted eight times last week, catching four passes for 68 while also finding the end zone. With Allen no longer in the picture that is production you can expect each week from Fleener, making him a low end TE1.
- After injuring his neck on a scary hit on Sunday, Malcom Floyd will be out at least for this week. Early season surprise Eddie Royal will stay in the slot, so the Keenan Allen will be the receiver who gains the most playing time. There was a lot of preseason optimism surrounding Vincent Brown that has not been realized after the first two games. This is the perfect opportunity for Brown have a big game and to get on track.
- In a roster move that hopefully does not specifically have any fantasy impact, Brandon Weeden is sidelined this week and will be replaced by Bryan Hoyer. Josh Gordon is back from suspension, but I’m not sure there is a big enough difference between the two quarterbacks to really impact his fantasy value.
- Rashard Mendenhall has had a very good start to the season, but it looks that could be temporarily derailed this week. On Wednesday Mendenhall missed practice with a toe injury and did not practice again on Thursday. Currently it is not looking good for his status this Sunday, but he can play even if he does not practice. Andre Ellington would likely be the biggest beneficiary of playing time, but not I’m sure how relevant he will be in fantasy circles.
- Another week and we have the same story with Roddy White. So far this season White only has five catches for 40 yards with no touchdowns. He did practice a little bit on Thursday, and all signs point to him playing once again. You have to downgrade his status, but White once again should be in your lineup unless you truly have a better option.
- Andre Johnson did suffer a concussion last week, but he appears to have fully moved past that and practiced without issue on Thursday. Johnson is being targeted often and is a top wide receiver once again and you should proceed without hesitation.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 3 rankings: