News and Notes from Wednesday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Program
Fantasy News and Notes 9-25-13:
BYE WEEKS: Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers
A day after saying that Josh Freeman was his starting QB, Bucs head coach Greg Schiano announced today that rookie Mike Glennon will start this week against Arizona. The move is believed to be permanent. Freeman costs too much to likely be traded but in dynasty leagues he can be kept. In re-draft leagues he can be dropped. As for Glennon, he's got weapons around him so he could turn out to be a low end fantasy QB2, but only time will tell.
Cleveland has ruled Brandon Weeden OUT for week 4 with the thumb injury on his throwing hand. Brian Hoyer gets another chance to take the starting job away from him. It's pretty clear the Browns management prefers Hoyer and wants him over Weeden so don't be surprised if Hoyer holds onto it for quite a while.
Oakland's Terrelle Pryor has passed the first stage of his concussion protocols and has been approved for physical activity, but he is not yet cleared to practice though. Pryor's quick movement so far through the protocols bodes well for his chances of being able to play this week. Right now, consider it 50/50 he starts for the Raiders this week. If he can't, Matt Flynn would start and be a lot less of a fantasy consideration.
Minnesota announced today that Christian Ponder suffered a ribs injury in week 3 and while he is tentatively expected to be able to start this week when the Vikings take on the Steelers in London, it's not a sure thing. Ponder is sounding questionable at the moment and if he can't play, Matt Cassel would start in his place. Given the Steelers are the 2nd best fantasy pass defense and it's a good idea to just sit all your Vikings not named Adrian Peterson.
C.J. Spiller took part in a full practice today in Buffalo and he should be good to go for week 4 despite having a quad injury. But he'll also still have a time share with Fred Jackson.
Reggie Bush also practiced in full today and is fully expected to be ready for week 4 after missing last week with a knee injury. Detroit is still very likely to have it be close to a 50/50 split between Bush and Joique Bell though.
Ray Rice was limited in practice today. The fact he was able to practice at all is a good sign for him and I'd say he's better than 50/50 to be able to play this week. But even if he does, expect it to be close to an even split between him and Bernard Pierce. The matchup is juicy against a Bills run defense that allows 155 rushing yards per game on average so both would be strong considerations for lineups this week.
Despite coming out of week 3's game after just two plays because of an aggravated foot injury, Daryl Richardson has been able to practice in full the last 2 days and he is set to play Thursday night against the 49ers. But I still say between his injury and his lack of quality production as the Rams featured RB the first two games I expect to see a pretty even split between him and Isaiah Pead. The 49ers are surprisingly the league's worst fantasy run defense thru 3 games and while I think that may be more a product of their last 2 opponents, it does mean Richardson and Pead could be considered as flex options for those faced with injuries or bye week issues.
Pittsburgh's rookie Le'Veon Bell practiced in full today and is fully expected to make his season debut week 4. As I said last night, Bell may not be ready to take on a full workload after missing the last several weeks with a Lisfranc foot injury, but he should be the lead RB for the Steelers this week. I wouldn't want to trust him as more than a fantasy RB3 or flex option this though as I expect he isn't ready for a full workload.
The Colts pretty much confirmed today what I said yesterday: the rotation between Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw will be close to 50/50 again this week. That's if Bradshaw isn't more seriously hurt than currently believed though. Bradshaw sat out practice today with a neck injury. I expect the Colts were just taking it easy on him and that Bradshaw will be fine for this weekend.
Frank Gore is listed as Probable for tomorrow night and will be fine despite a minor knee issue. After griping about the way the 49ers abandoned their rushing attack after the first series in week 3, expect Gore to plenty of touches this week and be a borderline fantasy RB1.
Maurice Jones-Drew was held out of practice today to rest the ankle injury he played through week 3. I expect MJD to be limited in Jaguars practices but start this weekend without issue.
Rashard Mendenhall was limited in Cardinals practice today because of his toe injury. This is actually an upgrade for Mendenhall from last week when he didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday because of the injury. Now if he can just be healthy enough to handle the majority of the rushing load over Alfonso Smith and Andre Ellington so he can be more than just a fantasy RB3 option.
Cincinnati's Benjarvus Green-Ellis was limited today because of an ankle injury. We saw in week 3 that both BGE and Giovani Barnard got 10 carries each and that Bernard outrushed BGE 50 yards to 29. Bernard is starting to push Green-Ellis for the top spot in their RBBC and I bet it happens this week. Bernard is a solid fantasy RB2 while the Law Firm is a weak RB3 whose role is decreasing.
As expected, Houston's Andre Johnson missed practice today because of his bruised shin injury. What wasn't expected was Texans head coach Gary Kubiak saying that Johnson will likely be a game time decision for week 4. Johnson is unlikely to practice at all this week and while we'll know about an hour before the early games start this Sunday whether Johnson is playing or not, any limitations for Johnson drops him from his usual "must start" status considering the Texans face the Seahawks #1 ranked pass defense. If you have quality other options, you may want to consider them strongly over a hobbled Johnson this week.
Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald practiced today and he appears to have turned the corner with his minor hamstring injury. Fitzgerald should be a full go this week at Tampa Bay.
Neither of Tampa's Vincent Jackson or Mike Williams practiced today. Jackson has a rib injury and Williams a hamstring strain. Right now, both players are tentatively expected to be able to play this week but even though the matchup is good against Arizona this week, between injuries and a rookie QB making his first start, you may want to downgrade them both a little from their normal expectations.
Rams WR Chris Givens is Probable for tomorrow night's game and will be fine to start despite a minor knee issue.
Miles Austin missed practice today as expected. Austin has hamstring injury and while the Cowboys says he'll be fine to play this week I'm not about to trust him and his lengthy hamstring injury history.
Danny Amendola was limited in practice today and while he is getting closer to returning, the New England media considers him unlikely to play week 4 because of his groin injury. I'm not expecting him to play either but knowing the Patriots, he'll be listed as Questionable come Friday and considered a game time decision.
Don't be surprised if Tennessee's Kenny Britt is inactive week 4. Britt missed practice today with neck and rib injuries. After Britt was benched on the Titans game winning drive last week, it won't be a surprise if he is made inactive. But if the Titans want to trade him, they'll need to showcase him sooner or later. For now, Britt is in fantasy limbo.
Among WR's who either didn't practice today or were limited but are fully expected to be fine to play in week 4, the list includes: Detroit's Calvin Johnson (knee), Atlanta's duo of Julio Jones (knee) and Roddy White (ankle), Buffalo's Steve Johnson (hamstring), the Jets Santonio Holmes (foot), and Baltimore's Marlon Brown (neck).
Vernon Davis was limited in practice again today and he is officially listed as Questionable for the 49ers game tomorrow night. I tentatively expect him to play in an important game for San Francisco, but he may be limited some with his hamstring strain. We'll know for sure about an hour before kickoff tomorrow night whether you can count on Davis or not. If you have a quality second TE like Jordan Cameron or Julius Thomas, there's no need to fret the decision. In cases like that, just sit Davis and start Cameron or Thomas.
While this is the week many media outlets have pegged for New England's Rob Gronkowski to return, there's still a chance the Patriots may decide to hold him out another week. This drama is getting tiresome to mention every night but while he is tentatively expected to play, don't be surprised if he listed as Questionable and considered a game time decision. If that becomes the case, you may want to strongly consider other options. The Patriots take on the Falcons in the Sunday night game and taking a chance on getting a zero in the box score if you have another quality option is foolish. Hopefully we have more definitive word in the Saturday team by team news and notes.
Washington's Jordan Reed was held out of practice today because of his bruised quad injury. While tentatively expected to play, you'd have to be starting 2 TE's to be considering him. Washington's other TE, Fred Davis, was limited in practice despite supposedly having a high ankle sprain. High ankle sprains take 4-6 weeks of rest to recover from and his ability to practice in limited fashion today suggests the ankle injury isn't that bad. He's tentatively expected to play week 4 barring any setbacks. I wouldn't be starting him though.
The week 4 status for both of Jacksonville's Marcedes Lewis and Kansas City's Anthony Fasano is uncertain. Lewis hasn't played since preseason because of a calf injury and Fasano missed week 3 with an ankle injury. This shouldn't affect anybody's starting lineup plans this week though as neither is even in fantasy TE2 territory.
Billy Cundiff missed practice today with his quad injury. Cleveland has yet to sign another kicker so Cundiff may not be that bad off. Or maybe the Browns are thinking the best way to win games is to have their punter kick field goals. Or maybe not even try them at all.
Neither Washington's Kai Forbath nor Buffalo's Dustin Hopkins were able to practice today. It's a pretty good sign that neither will kick again this week. Expect John Potter to kick for the Redskins while Dan Carpenter will continue to do it for the Bills.