Fantasy Football News and Notes 9-17-13

News and Notes from Tuesday Night's Red Zone Radio Show

Fantasy News and Notes 9-17-13:
Cleveland's Brandon Weeden is sounding unlikely to play after sustaining an injury to the thumb on his throwing hand. X-rays came back negative for a break but results of an MRI haven't been announced and it's believed to be a ligament strain. Jason Campbell likely would start if Weeden can't, although Brian Hoyer could surprise and get the start over Campbell.
No word yet on whether Blaine Gabbert's hand injury will be healed up enough for him to be able to play week 3. Chad Henne was just as bad in week 2 as Gabbert had been the week before. While Henne salvaged some value with garbage time stats, don't be fooled: he was pretty dang awful until the last half of the 4th quarter. Personally, I think Henne will get the start this week and Gabbert should be thankful as it will be against the Seattle Seahawks.
Josh Freeman continues to be in a free fall in Tampa Bay. Freeman had another poor outing week 2 and the veteran is in danger of being benched in favor of Mike Glennon. It probably won't happen for a couple of weeks, giving Freeman time to get his struggles turned around, but if he doesn't, we'll see Freeman riding pine within the next few weeks. Glennon is actually a lot like Freeman in that he has a strong, yet inconsistent arm. What Glennon lacks is Freeman's ability to make something with his legs as Glennon is very much a statue in the pocket.
Another veteran in danger of being bench is Minnesota's Christian Ponder. Ponder just doesn't have the arm to challenge downfield and he lacks the commanding presence necessary to provide his teammates with confidence. Matt Cassel may not be much better but at least he has proven capable of winning sometimes and making enough throws to keep his team in games.
Running Backs
Baltimore's Ray Rice suffered a hip flexor injury and his status for week 3 is very uncertain. We'll hopefully learn more towards the end of the week but currently he is looking like a longshot to play. If he doesn't Bernard Pierce would be the featured RB for the Ravens and he'd be backed up by Shaun Draughn. Before the season started I touted Pierce as a strong handcuff candidate to Rice and hopefully you listened. If not, and if Pierce is still available on your free agent wires, you need to grab him as he has proven capable of being a very effective replacement for Rice. It's doubtful Draughn would have much value.
Atlanta's Steven Jackson suffered what is believed to be a bruised quad injury and he's already been ruled OUT for week 3. Rumors are he could be out 2-4 weeks with the injury. Jacquizz Rodgers is likeliest to get the majority of the playing time but he has been pedestrian at best when given opportunities in the past and he probably would be no more than a fantasy RB3. It's also likely that Jason Snelling would get some time as a power rushing complement and goal line RB. But he'd be a risky consideration in any format as we just don't know how much Atlanta would run the ball.
Detroit's Reggie Bush dodged a serious injury when he suffered a knee bruise week 2. It's likely he'll be held out of practices this week and be questionable come Friday. It's not a stretch of the imagination at all that even if Bush is active, he'd be in a real time share with impressive backup Joique Bell. If Bush were to actually miss the game, we could even see Mikel Leshoure be active for the first time this season. But even then, it would be Bell operating as the primary RB over Leshoure. Hopefully we know more by Thursday, but those with Bush, I hope you have Bell, and those with Bell, you'll want to be paying attention to my Saturday team by team news and notes in my blog to see if Bell may make for a strong fantasy RB2 this week.
Eddie Lacy suffered a concussion on his first carry in week 2 and he is not expected to play in week 3. James Starks came in and was the Packers clear featured RB the rest of the game and Starks looked great. We now know Starks is the handcuff to Lacy, not rookie Johnathan Franklin. Green Bay has the bye in week 4 so Lacy should return in week 5 as the featured RB over Starks, but for this week, if you need a RB to replace Lacy, Starks is the guy although it's a tough matchup against a good Cincinnati run defense.
Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew suffered an ankle injury and his status for week 3 is unknown. MJD has found running difficult with the Jaguars offering up a pitiful passing attack and even if MJD is active, I would expect he would be hobbled. And in a game against Seattle's tough defense, I'd just keep MJD benched. If he can't play Jordan Todman and Justin Forsett would split up the RB duties with neither being a recommended play against the Seahawks either.
Ahmad Bradshaw made it through week 2 without issue so he should be good to consider as a middling fantasy RB2 going forward. That is except for this week when he faces a 49ers defense that should be steaming after letting Marshawn Lynch run over them. Bradshaw is a weak RB2/3 this week. Donald Brown looked okay spelling Bradshaw in week 2 but he won't get enough carries to be a fantasy consideration beyond being Bradshaw's handcuff.
Knowshon Moreno appears to have distanced himself from the other RB's in Denver. Of course, this situation is going to be dicey, but after Moreno ripped off two big TD runs, it's clear that he is operating as the top RB until the Broncos get a big lead. Then they bring in Montee Ball to close out the games. Moreno is definitely worth adding to fantasy rosters as a flex consideration most weeks. The problem with Moreno is that Denver has always tried pushing him away, and he always seems to keep turning back up as their top RB. Sooner or later Ball may push him to the side, but for now, it's Moreno as the best fantasy option.
The Steelers say that rookie Le'Veon Bell is expected to start speeding up in his rehab from a preseason mid-foot injury. While it's likely Bell doesn't return until week 6, the Steelers need him back as the trio of Isaac Redman, Felix Jones, and Jonathan Dwyer just won't get the job done. None of those three are even close to being fantasy worthy with a matchup against the Bears this week.
Tennessee's backup Shonn Greene underwent a knee scope to clean up his injured knee. Greene will miss 2-4 weeks. Jackie Battle steps in as the top backup and possible goal line vulture to Chris Johnson until Greene can return.
Wide Receivers
New England's Danny Amendola is expected to miss an additional 2-6 weeks recovering from a groin injury. It's a broad timetable, but I'd expect nothing less from the secretive Patriots. Expect Julian Edelman to continue being a huge target monster but as his 13 catches for 78 yards last Thursday night indicate, Edelman is not a big play guy. Kenbrell Thompkins continues to start with Aaron Dobson looking like he has stepped in as the Patriots #3 WR. In PPR, Edelman is the guy to consider starting, but in non-ppr, I actually like Dobson best for his big play ability. That's something both Tompkins and Edelman lack.
Houston's Andre Johnson suffered a concussion week 2 and while the Houston media seems to think Johnson is going to play week 3, he'll have to pass his concussion tests to do it. Rookie DeAndre Hopkins stepped up big time after Johnson suffered the injury and if Hopkins is available, he could be a smart addition to fantasy rosters. If Johnson can't play week 3, Keshawn Martin likely would start in his place, but Martin is unproven and not to be trusted as a viable replacement in fantasy lineups.
Larry Fitzgerald reportedly did not aggravate his hamstring injury in week 2, but rather was just wearing down and that's why he wasn't out there. No matter what the real story is, it's clear that in a tight game Fitz would have been out there if not for the injury. While I expect he'll be rested in practices this week, I do expect he will play week 3. But at what percentage of effectiveness, that's another story. Too bad as I like the matchup against the Saints but it's hard to trust a WR with a hamstring injury.
San Diego's Malcom Floyd is going to miss week 3 after suffering a neck injury this past weekend. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Floyd missed a couple of games as it was a scary looking compression of his neck. Eddie Royal and Vincent Brown will be the Chargers starters with rookie Keenan Allen stepping in as the #3. Royal has been on a monster TD tear having scored 5 in 2 games, but that is going to end sooner or later as he's on pace for 40 TD's and there's no way he's finishing the season with 12. Those who have him should sell now before the great dropoff comes.
Indianapolis's Darrius Heyward-Bey suffered a shoulder injury in week 2 and while the team says they expect him to be okay for week 3 it's already being discussed that T.Y. Hilton should replace him in the Colts starting lineup. Hilton's arrow is pointing back up while Heyward-Bey's is dropping.
Cleveland gets back Josh Gordon this week. Gordon has finished serving his league imposed 2 game suspension and should step right into the Browns starting lineup. Gordon is easily the Browns best WR and his return puts him squarely into fantasy lineups consideration. Unfortunately, if Brandon Weeden isn't able to start, Gordon's upside his first game back is suspect. If Gordon is available in your league, you should grab him.
Detroit's Ryan Broyles has been inactive the first 2 games of the season but they may change this week with Patrick Edwards having suffered a shoulder injury week 2. Broyles is easily the second most talented WR in Detroit, but his inability to stay healthy have been his downfall. If he can stay healthy though, he has a lot higher upside than current starter Nate Burleson and he could push Burleson to the being the #3. That may take a few weeks though and it depends entirely on Broyles not having any setbacks in his surgically reconstructed knee.
Tight Ends
Vernon Davis suffered a hamstring injury week 2 and his status for week 3 is uncertain at this time. If Davis can't play expect Vance McDonald to start in his place and it's also likely we'll see some of Garrett Celek. McDonald would be the one to consider as a low end TE2 for fantasy though as he's the superior receiver.
It's hoped that week 3 will finally see New England's Rob Gronkowski get back on the field. Gronk has had a while now to recover from his back injury and while likely to be listed as Questionable for week 3, I suspect he will play. The Patriots desperately need him back as their passing attack is sluggish without him.
The Giants Brandon Myers suffered a rib injury week 2 but it's not believed to be serious and Myers should be okay to play week 3.
Chicago's Martellus Benett suffered a shoulder injury week 2 but he's expected to be fine for week 3.
Pittsburgh's Shaun Suisham was able to kick for Pittsburgh last night despite having suffered a hamstring injury last week in practice. The Steelers had signed Shayne Graham as insurance but after Suisham made it through last night without issue, Pittsburgh waived Graham today.
No word yet on whether Washington's Kai Forbath will be able to kick week 3 or not. Forbath missed week 2 because of a groin injury. If he can't kick, John Potter will kick again in his place.