2013 Fantasy Football News and Notes: Week 4

Up to Date Player Injuries and Relevant News from All 32 NFL Teams Heading into Week 4

AFC EAST
 
Buffalo: RB C.J. Spiller was able to practice in full all week and is Probable for week 4 despite the quad injury he suffered week 3. However it's becoming clear that Spiller is too injury prone to be relied on heavily by the Bills and you can expect the time share between him and Fred Jackson to be a regular weekly thing. Spiller is a still a fantasy RB 1/2 most weeks with Jackson a fantasy RB2/3. Both have tough sledding against a Ravens run defense that ranks second in fewest fantasy points allowed on the ground and is one of only three teams to not allow a rushing TD on the season. WR Steve Johnson is fully expected to be fine despite having been limited in practices with a hamstring strain. He is listed as Probable and likely the Bills were just being cautious with their best WR. Dan Carpenter will again kick for Buffalo as rookie Dustin Hopkins remains OUT with a groin injury.  
 
Miami: The only thing that has marred Ryan Tannehill's second season has been an issue with fumbling, but otherwise he's been fairly effective at being an NFL QB. What it hasn't translated into though is being more than a mediocre fantasy QB2. Expect the hills and valleys of WR Mike Wallace to continue on a week to week basis. He was that way more often than not in Pittsburgh too if you remember. The Saints have actually been a very good fantasy pass defense this season; it's on the ground where they've been weakest and that bodes well for RB Lamar Miller. Miller has yet to distance himself from Daniel Thomas, but he is going to one of these weeks and it should happen in the next few games. Miller is a low end fantasy RB2 this week.
 
New England: There's an apparent disagreement going on between the Patriots and TE Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots think Gronk is capable of playing and Gronk apparently doesn't want to rush back too quickly. This is what is leading up to Gronk practicing every day but then not being active for games. Both he and WR Danny Amendola are listed as Questionable and both are considered game time decisions for week 4. Considering the Patriots play Sunday night, I wouldn't chance either Amendola or Gronkowski in a fantasy lineup. I would chance RB Brandon Bolden though if I had no other choice. Bolden is also listed as Questionable with a knee issue but he played week 3 with it and there's been no report of him having had any setback so I figure he is good to go. Bolden won't start over struggling Stevan Ridley but he fills the Shane Vereen as he catches the ball better than either of Ridley or LeGarrette Blount. It's not going to be easy against Atlanta's 4th toughest fantasy run defense, but if Ridley doesn't get something going this week I can see him get pushed completely into a RBBC with Blount and Bolden. Ridley is a mediocre fantasy RB3 with Bolden a RB4 with upside. One place where the Falcons have been generous though is through the air. 315 passing yards per game and 7 passing TD's in just 3 games is just what the doctor ordered for Tom Brady, who is finally showing more of a rhythm with rookie WR's Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson. Both are in that WR2/3 range for their upsides. Julian Edelman is a ppr target monster and a strong fantasy WR2 in that scoring system but in regular leagues he's just a WR3.
 
New York Jets: With RB Chris Ivory expected to be out the next few weeks with a hamstring injury, Bilal Powell gets to be the featured RB for the Jets. Powell looked great in week 3 but that was against a weak Bills run defense and really Powell has had every chance to be an effective NFL starter in prior seasons and has never been able to take advantage of it. Those expecting more of week 3 from Powell in coming games are going to be disappointed. But he will get plenty of carries so at least he can be considered a borderline fantasy RB2/3. Those who also have jumped on the Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes bandwagons after their big games week 3 are in for disappointment as well. The proven mediocre who have one big game will always tempt, but rarely repeat their success.
 
AFC NORTH
 
Baltimore: RB Ray Rice is Questionable and considered a game time decision for week 4 because of the hip injury that made him miss week 3. Personally, I don't expect Rice to play and even if he does there is no way he's ending up on the top end of any split between him and Bernard Pierce. I expect Pierce to be a borderline fantasy RB1 this week with a great matchup against a Bills run defense that allows 155 rushing yards per game. If Rice is active, Rice can be considered a low end RB2, but only because of the matchup. It's possible Rice will even be active but not play much as the Ravens other RB, Shaun Draughn is also Questionable with an ankle injury and he may not be able to play. Pierce stands a very good chance on having 25 touches in this game and Vonta Leach may get to vulture a TD just because he'll get more playing time than normal. Hopefully a bottle of champagne upside the head will remind WR Jacoby Jones that he's supposed to be working on getting his knee healthy and not pissing off strippers on a party bus.  
 
Cincinnati: The Giovani Bernard takeover is happening and likely we see it swing in his favor over Benjarvus Green-Ellis this week. Both RB's got 10 carries each last week (Bernard had 50 yards and a TD; Green-Ellis 29 yards and a TD) and the difference between the explosion Bernard has and the explosion BGE lacks has got to be noticeable, even to the Bengals. While the matchups this week for the Bengals aren't great, there's no reason not to think of Bernard as a borderline RB1/2, Green-Ellis a RB3, and A.J. Green a WR1.
 
Cleveland: Brian Hoyer starts at QB again and gets another chance to wrestle the starting job away from injured Brandon Weeden. Weeden's OUT week 4 with the thumb injury on his throwing hand. All Hoyer has to do is not be terrible and the Browns are likely continue riding him even when Weeden gets healthy. While RB Willis McGahee is supposed to get more time this week than last week, it's still unrealistic to expect him to be anywhere near in shape enough to handle more than maybe half the load. We're still very likely to see Bobby Rainey get some rushing attempts and Chris Ogbonnaya to dominate 3rd down and passing down RB duties. This makes each very difficult to trust in any way for fantasy purposes. The only two players who can be trusted for fantasy are WR Josh Gordon (a strong fantasy WR2) and TE Jordan Cameron (a strong fantasy TE1). The Browns deny they are shopping Josh Gordon, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are and are having Hoyer throw the ball to him a lot so he can have great stats and be more intriguing to those who may want to trade for him. Gordon is one strike away from a year long suspension so teams that trade for him must be willing to think the squeeze is worth the juice. Kicker Billy Cundiff is Questionable with a thigh injury. Cleveland hasn't signed a kicker yet though so Cundiff may be able to kick this weekend. I wouldn't trust it though. Kickers are usually plentiful on free agent wires and there's no need to ever risk taking a zero from a guy who may or may not play.
 
Pittsburgh: Rookie RB Le'Veon Bell is Probable and will start. It's hoped that this will finally give the Steelers a rushing attack that prevents opponents from just keying on Ben Roethlisberger. Bell is easily the most talented RB in Pittsburgh and he will be backed up by a combo of Felix Jones and Jonathan Dwyer. Isaac Redman has gone from starter to 4th string because of pitiful performances and likely won't be active on game days unless he has a role on special teams. Bell may not be ready for a full featured RB's workload, but he should get between 14-18 touches this week and make for a borderline RB2/3 against the Vikings 21st ranked fantasy run defense. Look for WR Antonio Brown to have another big day. The Vikings are the 31st ranked fantasy pass defense having allowed a league highest 9 passing TD's in 3 games. Brown is a strong fantasy WR1, Emmanuel Sanders a consideration as a borderline fantasy WR2/3, and Roethlisberger a strong QB2. It's also expected that rookie Markus Wheaton is going to start getting more playing time at the expense of unspectacular Jerricho Cotchery. TE Heath Miller made it through week 3 without any setbacks in his knee and should start getting more and more playing time each week as he gets back into full playing shape.  
 
AFC SOUTH
 
Houston: WR Andre Johnson is expected to play despite being listed as Questionable with a bruised shin injury. Reports earlier in the week suggested Johnson would be a game time decision but after getting in limited practices both Thursday and Friday he should be okay to start. Bigger problem is that between the injury and the fact Seattle is the top ranked fantasy pass defense, and I don't see Johnson being more than a mediocre fantasy WR3 this week. Hard to think of him that way but facts are facts. Matt Schaub is a poor fantasy QB play this week. Expect the Texans to employ a run heavy attack this week with Arian Foster leading the way as a strong fantasy RB and Ben Tate as a fantasy RB3. The Seahawks, while excellent against the pass, have been a little weaker against the run. Not bad, but weaker.
 
Indianapolis: RB Ahmad Bradshaw is OUT because of a neck injury. Bradshaw suffered the injury week 3 but remained in the game. This speeds up the process of Trent Richardson taking over as the featured RB for the Colts. Richardson should run right through a Jaguars run defense that ranks 32 in rushing yards allowed and 30th in rushing fantasy points allowed. Look for Richardson to be a strong fantasy RB1 this week. Donald Brown will be the backup but he likely won't have more than 5-10 carries and should only be thought of as a desperation flex option for the very desperate. WR T.Y. Hilton is Probable despite aggravating a toe injury in practice this week. Although the Jaguars are a lousy pass defense as well as being a lousy run defense, I think we saw last week that if the Colts don't need to throw the ball, they won't very often, instead relying on a strong rushing attack. QB Andrew Luck and WR Reggie Wayne are good fantasy considerations despite that though.  
 
Jacksonville: Maurice Jones-Drew made it through week 3 without aggravating his ankle injury and he is Probable for week 4 and will be fine. The Colts are the 28th ranked fantasy run defense so there is some strong appeal as a fantasy RB2 for MJD this week. Blaine Gabbert returns as the starting QB. Chad Henne failed to be better than bad in his two starts so Gabbert returns. It's said the Jags are encouraging Gabbert to throw the ball downfield more often, but I'll have to see it to believe it. His reluctance to challenge downfield is part of the reason why WR Cecil Shorts does so poorly with Gabbert at QB but excels when Henne is starting. Shorts has to be considered only as a risky low end fantasy WR2. TE Marcedes Lewis is probable and will play for the first time since suffering a preseason calf injury. But he isn't on the fantasy radar at all.  
 
Tennessee: WR Kenny Britt is Questionable because of neck and ribs injuries. I think he will be made inactive for this week. Britt has fallen completely out of favor with the team and may have slid all the way down to 5th on the WR pecking order because of mental lapses on the playing field. The Titans would love to trade him, but the only way to do that is to showcase him in games so they can get any type of value in return. But for week 4, expect these injuries to be the perfect excuse for the Titans to make him inactive Sunday. Nate Washington and Kendall Wright are the likely starters with Damien Williams as the #3 and rookie Justin Hunter working as the #4. TE Delanie Walker is Questionable with a turf toe injury and even if active isn't a good fantasy bet. With backup RB Shonn Greene still out a few more weeks after having arthroscopic knee surgery so Jackie Battle is the backup and goal line RB. Starting RB Chris Johnson is surprisingly not being used much in the passing game having drawn only 3 targets in 3 games. Johnson also hasn't busted any big runs so far and is overdue for one even though the matchup isn't great. Johnson remains a borderline fantasy RB2/3.
 
AFC WEST
 
Denver: After a horrible week 1 that caused mass panic amongst his owners, WR Eric Decker has caught 17 passes for 220 yards and a TD in the last 2 games. This is why you don't give up on players after just one game. The Broncos WR corps is going to have weeks where someone is left out of the statistical fun. TE Joel Dreessen is Questionable for week 4 as he tries to recover from a knee injury. It's very likely that with Julius Thomas having emerged as a superior offensive weapon to anything Jacob Tamme or Dreessen have ever been, the Broncos probably will wait for Dreessen to get totally healthy before making him active on game days. Dreessen holds no fantasy value though with Thomas healthy. Against Philadelphia this week, Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Decker, and Julius Thomas are all solid fantasy starters this week. The RB situation is the one that will confound owners on a week to week basis. Last week Ronnie Hillman was the best fantasy RB, but the week before it was Knowshon Moreno. Moreno gets most of the playing time in the first half of games, but if the Broncos have a big lead they get both Hillman and Montee Ball a lot of work in the second half.
 
Kansas City: Jamaal Charles should tear it up this week against a Giants run defense that has allowed 303 rushing yards and 4 TD's the last 2 weeks. QB Alex Smith also has a strong matchup but if he couldn't produce great stats last week against the Eagles, I can't believe he's going to be a strong fantasy QB1 consideration this week. He has the matchup, but the Chiefs just don't push the ball downfield. That's why WR Dwayne Bowe is struggling so bad. Even with matchups, Bowe can't be relied on because of Smith. Think of the way 49ers WR Michael Crabtree never lived up to expectations until Smith was replaced by Colin Kaepernick. Same thing with Bowe. And those who think Donnie Avery is going to turn 7 yard receptions into 20 yard gains regularly on a week to week basis are deluding themselves. Avery is barely worth a roster spot as a WR5. TE Anthony Fasano is Questionable with ankle and knee injuries. With rookie TE Travis Kelce out with a knee injury, it could be Sean McGrath starting at TE. There's not much fantasy appeal there.
 
Oakland: QB Terrelle Pryor is tentatively expected to get clearance to play week 4 sometime later today. At least that's what the Raiders say. I personally will be surprised if they really have gotten through all the concussion protocols so quickly and can play a guy who was never announced as being cleared for contact practices. I just got done watching head coach Dennis Allen's Saturday press conference and came away with the impression he's either lying about Pryor being cleared for everything, or he's trying to be coy so as to not let the Redskins know that Pryor is going to start. In either case, I'm not a big fan of the Raiders QB this week despite a great matchup as I don't trust anything I'm hearing about him and if he does play, his risk for an additional concussion is significantly higher than if he waited another week. My best guess is that Pryor is not going to play, Matt Flynn will start, and the Raiders will put a heavy reliance on running Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece. McFadden is a great fantasy starting RB this week as the Redskins have been an equal opportunity defense being horrible against both the run and pass. I also expect if Flynn gets the start there will be a lot of extra chances for McFadden as a check down option as a receiver. Both Denarius Moore and Rod Streater are high risk high reward types as flex WR options.
 
San Diego: After tearing it up the first two games, WR Eddie Royal came crashing back to Earth week 3 with 2 catches for 34 yards and no touchdowns. Royal had 5 TD's through the first 2 games and people were jumping all over his bandwagon, but I told you he won't hold up the pace and is unlikely to finish with 10 TD's despite the fact I was spotting him 5 with 14 games left. QB Philip Rivers is killing WR Vincent Brown because of his being afraid to throw the ball downfield. Sooner or later, he's going to have to and when he does he's going to learn he has an actual downfield weapon in Brown. Ryan Mathews has been mediocre so far through 3 games and the matchup against the Cowboys top ranked fantasy run defense makes Mathews nothing more than a mediocre fantasy RB3.
 
NFC EAST
 
Dallas: Miles Austin is OUT week 4 because of the hamstring injury he suffered week 3. The Cowboys originally said it was a minor injury and that they expected him to be okay for week 4, but either they lied (teams do that all the time) or Austin's extensive history of hamstring injuries made them think it wiser to rest him at least one week so it doesn't become a recurring problem (which it already is). With WR Dwayne Harris Questionable with a hip injury, it appears rookie Terrence Williams will start opposite Dez Bryant this week. Bryant should dominate targets and be in for a big day against San Diego. It was nice to see RB DeMarco Murray get on track last week and it's to be expected that the Cowboys aren't too blind to see the relation and will continue to give him the football. Murray has played in 26 career games and has a total of 1,846 rushing yards and 7 rushing TD's. 428 of those rush yards and 2 of those 7 TD's have come in 2 games against St. Louis. Let's hope he can start having some success against other teams too.  
 
New York Giants: After being thoroughly embarrassed last week in a 38-0 rout against Carolina it's hoped that Tom Coughlin gets them righted so they are at least competitive and producing fantasy points again. Injuries to the offensive line have really hurt them but I have to expect proven fantasy players like Eli Manning, and Victor Cruz are going to bounce back. And don't be surprised if WR Hakeem Nicks has a big game this week. Nicks is the latest WR to come out and complain about his lack of targets in the passing game. Mike Wallace did it after week 1 and exploded week 2. Antonio Brown did it after week 2 and exploded in week 3. A healthy Nicks can be a dominant WR and I won't be surprised if he blows up this week. Nicks is a borderline fantasy WR 2/3 with huge upside. The Giants have to realize that whether they like it or not, they need to give the football to RB David Wilson and have him on the field more often. Brandon Jacobs looks old and slow, and Da'Rel Scott is nothing special. But until the Giants come to this realization (which I give one more week) Wilson is nothing more than a risky RB3.
 
Philadelphia: Although last Thursday evening both QB Michael Vick and RB LeSean McCoy suffered foot injuries, neither is on the injury report for this week and both are fully expected to start without issue this weekend. But the injuries both sustained last week are stark reminders about how fragile they are likely to be given the huge workload each is taking on in Chip Kelly's offense. Hear me now, believe me later: if you own McCoy and RB Bryce Brown is available on your free agent wires, grab him. If Brown isn't available and your bench is big enough to support a deep speculative stash, grab Eagles 3rd string RB Chris Polk. I really do question how long McCoy can hold up.
 
Washington: Rookie TE Jordan Reed is Questionable and is not expected to play week 4 because of a thigh injury suffered week 3. Reed got in just one limited practice this week. TE Fred Davis is Questionable as well with an ankle injury but he is expected to play after being able to practice each day in limited fashion. Neither can be relied on though despite a pretty good matchup against Oakland. While the Raiders are not a weak fantasy defense on paper, I fully expect the Redskins to tear right through them on offense. RG3 is going to be a strong fantasy QB1 as he continues to get back into employing more and more of the Redskins offense. Alfred Morris should be a strong fantasy RB1 and WR Pierre Garcon a strong fantasy WR2. Leonard Hankerson is finally starting to get more playing time with the starters over Josh Morgan and if he can push Morgan completely to the side Hankerson is a prime fantasy sleeper WR going forward to be a borderline WR3/4. Kicker Kai Forbath is Questionable and probably is another week or two away from returning. I expect John Potter to be the Washington kicker week 4.
 
NFC NORTH
 
Chicago: For all the talk of new head coach Marc Trestman being a QB guru, his biggest fantasy impact hasn't been on QB Jay Cutler, but rather RB Matt Forte. Through 3 games Cutler is averaging 230 passing yards, 2 TD's, and 1 interception per game. Hardly great stats. But Forte is averaging 18 carries for 75.7 yards, 6.3 receptions for another 45.3 yards and 1 TD per game. Te only concern going forward is that Trestman has decided on Michael Bush being a goal line vulture even though Forte demonstrated good ability to fill that role as well. Forte continues to be a strong fantasy RB1 each week as a dual threat RB. Look for WR Brandon Marshall to bounce back after a disappointing week 3. After having over 100 yards and a TD in each of the first two games, Marshall only had 52 yards and no TD's in week 3. But more weeks than not he will be a strong fantasy WR1.
 
Detroit: RB Reggie Bush has been able to practice in full this week and is Probable for week 4. He is fully expected to start and resume his normal workload. Even though the matchup isn't great against Chicago, Bush has proven to be a strong consideration as a fantasy RB1. Joique Bell will still have his role behind Bush, but makes more like a borderline RB2/3 this week. Calvin Johnson continues to get Wednesday's off in practices each week with a listed "knee" issue but he's Probable on the injury report and just fine to consider. Johnson usually struggles against the Bears Charles Tillman, but Tillman is very questionable with groin and knee injuries so I expect Megatron to be a beast this week. WR Nate Burleson is out indefinitely after breaking his arm in a car accident. This will expedite the process of Ryan Broyles getting on the field more often. Especially with WR Patrick Edwards Doubtful with an ankle injury. Kris Durham likely will start opposite Johnson and Broyles be on the field plenty as the #3 WR. Through 3 games undrafted rookie TE Joseph Fauria has been the best fantasy prospect at TE catching 4 passes for 32 yards and 2 TD's, but he's only been targeted a total of 6 times. Meanwhile Brandon Pettigrew has been targeted 12 times but only has 5 catches for 38 yards and no TD's. If Pettigrew doesn't start doing better I can where the more physically gifted Fauria may begin to get more playing time than just as a red zone target.  
 
Green Bay: The Packers are on bye this week. They'll use it to get both RB's Eddie Lacy (concussion) and James Starks (knee) healed up so they're ready for week 5. Also TE Jermichael Finley should have enough time to get over the concussion he suffered in week 3.
 
Minnesota: QB Christian Ponder has been ruled OUT with a broken rib injury. Matt Cassel will start in his place and if Cassel can look decent and throw the ball just efficiently, there is an excellent chance he'll remain the Vikings starting QB even when Ponder is healthy enough to return. Odds on that happening are an even 50/50 as Cassel is really a Ponder clone, only with a lot more experience at reading defenses poorly and underthrowing his WR's. However, he certainly can't be much worse for the fantasy potential of WR's Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, and Cordarelle Patterson; not to mention TE Kyle Rudolph. But I wouldn't trust any of them until we see how well Cassel does. And it doesn't help that the Steelers are the second best fantasy pass defense. The only Vikings player that you should be starting this week (and every week) is RB Adrian Peterson.
 
NFC SOUTH
 
Atlanta: RB Steven Jackson remains OUT with a quad injury. It's fully expected that Jackson will miss week 5 as well and with the Falcons having the bye in week 6, Jackson should return at full strength in week 7. Until then Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers will split up the duties where each has the upside to be fantasy worthy, but neither is a sure thing. Both are middling fantasy RB3's this week. The Falcons continue to list both WR's Julio Jones (knee) and Roddy White (ankle) as Questionable despite both fully being expected to play. Jones has been an elite fantasy WR this season while White's ankle has prevented him from being more than a mediocre WR3 consideration. The matchup on paper isn't good for QB Matt Ryan and his group of pass catchers as the Patriots have allowed the 3rd fewest fantasy points through the air. But when you then realize the Patriots have played the Bills, Jets, and Bucs their first 3 games, and you can see where that stat is misleading. Start Ryan and Jones as you normally would with confidence. And don't be surprised if this is finally the week TE Tony Gonzalez gets something going. He's been way too quiet through 3 games and is due.
 
Carolina: The bye this week will allow WR Steve Smith plenty of time to get over a minor hip injury he suffered in week 3. Latest word is that RB Jonathan Stewart (PUP list; ankle) is on track to return in week 7. I'm not holding my breath though As long as DeAngelo Williams continues to do well enough I doubt if Stewart gets thrown right back into a full blown time share.
 
New Orleans: RB Mark Ingram is expected to miss Monday night's game with a toe injury. Ingram is a poor fit for this offense anyway and it's very likely Pierre Thomas is taking the primary RB job away from him. I won't be surprised if the Saints would trade Ingram for as little as a 6th round pick before the trade deadline and then use Thomas as the primary RB with Darren Sproles as the primary pass catcher and undrafted rookie Khiry Robinson getting some action in the closer's role Ingram has failed to execute. Think of Thomas a being a decent fantasy RB3 and Sproles a strong fantasy RB2 in the ppr format. WR Lance Moore has a hand injury and is very questionable for Monday night. He's been a forgotten man in the Saints offense and probably can be dropped from rosters in favor of someone with more upside.
 
Tampa Bay: Although both WR's Vincent Jackson (ribs) and Mike Williams (hamstring) are listed as Questionable, both are expected to start against Arizona without issue. The bigger concern is that they both only got in one limited practice with new starting QB: rookie Mike Glennon. Glennon takes over for benched Josh Freeman. So much for one of my favorite sleeper QB's from summer. Tampa will try to trade him, but his salary is prohibitive. Glennon is a big pocket passer with a cannon for an arm, but not accurate. There's dynasty appeal with Glennon, but those expecting much in re-draft are likely to be disappointed, but at least he'll have a long leash so if you play in a 2 QB league, he's worth grabbing. But the real question is how will he affect Jackson and Williams? I think Jackson falls into fantasy WR2 territory while Williams drops to the WR4 area. Expect an even heavier dose of RB Doug Martin to be featured this week by the Bucs to take pressure off Glennon. Starting TE Luke Stocker was placed on injured reserve earlier in the week with a hip injury. With TE Tom Crabtree OUT this week, it will be Tim Wright starting at TE for the Bucs. I only mention this because Tampa's week 4 opponent (Arizona) has allowed the TE position to rip them apart through 3 games giving up an average of 115.3 receiving yards and 1.33 TD's per game.
 
NFC WEST
 
Arizona: It appears that Larry Fitzgerald has almost completely recovered from his hamstring strain. Fitz is Probable and will start without issue. RB Rashard Mendenhall also seems to have turned a corner and is Probable with his toe injury. It was expected that Bruce Arians was going to rely on one RB to be his bell cow but so far through 3 games it's been a committee with Mendy, Alfonso Smith, and Andre Ellington. Maybe the myriad of nagging injuries Mendenhall has had has led to more of a committee than Arians would have liked? If Mendenhall is truly healthy, we should know the answer to that soon as so far he's getting enough time to be a fantasy tease, and not enough to be fantasy trustworthy. Won't be easy for him this week though as the Bucs are one of three teams that has yet to allow a single rushing TD this season.
 
St. Louis: It should be abundantly clear now to even the Rams coaches that Daryl Richardson is a failure as a featured RB and that (at 5'11", 195 lbs) he simply is not big enough to bull his way between the tackles. I know the holes have been few and far between, but for 4 games? The excuse that Isaiah Pead was made a healthy inactive because they had planned to use Tavon Austin as a RB some Thursday night sounds ridiculous and I bet there's something more we weren't told. Sooner or later the Rams are going to have to give their most talented RB (rookie Zac Stacy, a bowling ball at 5'8", 216 lbs) a chance to run with the football. I don't know what Stacy did to make him drop all the way down the depth chart, but with Richardson averaging 2.7 yards per carry you would think we would see another RB get a chance. It's supposed to be Isaiah Pead next up after Richardson, then likely undrafted rookie Benny Cunningham, and then Stacy. And for the life of me I do not know why Stacy is so far down the pecking order. But one thing is certain, the Rams need a RB to step up and take some pressure off of Bradford. He is a sitting duck in that pocket for opponents to tee off on.  
 
San Francisco: With rookie WR Quinton Patton out indefinitely after suffering a fractured foot injury Thursday night, you can expect the development of Jonathan Baldwin into the offense to increase. Kyle Williams and Marlon Moore are mediocre talents and the 49ers need someone with more talent opposite Anquan Boldin. Otherwise this offense is pedestrian throwing the ball. There's a chance things get better but two things need to happen: Mario Manningham must be able to return off the PUP list in week 7 or 8 and be close to the WR he was before his injuries; Baldwin needs to take a step up in his play on the field. It's that or a trade. Otherwise you can expect the 49ers to follow the blueprint they used against the Rams going forward: run the ball a lot and have a controlled passing game. They lack the WR's to be a dynamic passing attack.
 
Seattle: The offensive line injuries are a concern but I'm not about to downgrade RB Marhsawn Lynch from RB1 status. Not even against a pretty good Houston run defense. I will however downgrade QB Russell Wilson to only being a mediocre QB2 and WR's Golden Tate and Sidney Rice to only being borderline WR3/4's or flex considerations against a Texans defense that allows the second fewest passing yards per game and the 10th fewest passing fantasy points.