Fantasy News and Notes 10-01-13:
BYE WEEKS: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington
Jake Locker suffered both a sprained hip and a sprained knee in week 4. He's expected to miss several weeks and there is no exact timetable for his return, but I've pegged week 11 as a realistic starting point for him to come back. Ryan Fitzpatrick will start for the Titans until Locker can return.
Cleveland is sticking with Brian Hoyer as their starting QB despite Brandon Weeden being ready to return from a thumb injury on his throwing hand. Hoyer has won 2 games in a row for the Browns and it will take a string of bad games for him to relinquish the job now.
No word yet on whether Oakland's Terrelle Pryor will be able to start week 5 or not. Pryor apparently suffered a setback in his recovery from a concussion this past weekend and he was declared out for week 4. If Pryor doesn't get clearance this week it's expected that Matt Flynn would start again in his place. Flynn was fairly dismal though in week 4 and the Raiders may decide to give undrafted rookie Matt McGloin the start over Flynn.
Ben Roethlisberger suffered a dislocated finger this past weekend. He was able to play through it though and with Pittsburgh on the bye this week, Big Ben should be fine for week 6.
Minnesota has a QB controversy. Matt Cassel looked a lot better than expected in week 4 leading the Vikings to their first win of the season. While the team says that Christian Ponder remains their starting QB, it won't be a surprise at all that they will yank Ponder at the first sign of struggles when they return from their week 5 bye.
Buffalo's C.J. Spiller has been unable to practice and is looking like he'll be a game time decision for Thursday night's game against Cleveland. Spiller was unable to finish week 4's game because of an ankle injury. While Fred Jackson suffered a mild knee sprain week 4 himself, he is expected to be okay to play and likely will start and be the top RB for the Bills this week. If Spiller doesn't play, Tashard Choice would be the top backup and change of pace RB to Jackson.
Baltimore's Ray Rice got through week 4 without aggravating his hip injury and should be fine for week 5. His backup though, Bernard Pierce, suffered a calf injury week 4 and likely will be limited in practices and falls back to being little more than Rice's handcuff.
Well, we've been waiting for it to happen and it did in week 4. Darren McFadden suffered an injury and was unable to finish the game. McFadden suffered a hamstring pull and while the severity of it is unknown at this time, it's a good bet that he won't play week 5. McFadden is legendary for taking weeks to return from injuries and I expect this to be no different. With Marcel Reece suffering a knee injury, the severity of which is also unknown, but speculated to be bad enough that he isn't likely to play the next couple of games, you can expect Oakland to start Rashad Jennings this week. Jennings is an unspectacular RB, but with a full workload he can be a serviceable bye week or injury replacement filler on fantasy rosters. We also will likely see a bit of Taiwan Jones as Jennings' backup.
Alfred Morris will use Washington's week 5 bye to get a rib injury healed up. Morris says it isn't a big deal but he was unable to finish the game. If you own Morris, and Roy Helu is still available in your league, you really should strongly consider adding Helu as insurance.
Green Bay expected to have Eddie Lacy back this week. The bye week allowed Lacy to get over his week 2 concussion and he is expected to return as their featured RB week 5. His normal backup though, James Starks appears to be a bit dicier as he tries to recover from a knee injury. It's very likely Johnathan Franklin will be Lacy's top backup and change of pace RB this week.
In a surprise move, the New York Giants released Da'Rel Scott. Scott had been playing as the 3rd down RB and top change of pace guy to David Wilson. This one makes little sense to me but does bode well for David Wilson. Wilson is an underrated receiving RB and should get a bump up in potential fantasy value going forward as I can't believe the Giants cut Scott only to give lead footed Brandon Jacobs or raw rookie Michael Cox time. Buying low on Wilson now is a smart idea.
The Jets get Mike Goodson back this week. Goodson missed the first 4 games serving a 4 game suspension. While Bilal Powell is entrenched as the starter while Chris Ivory continues to miss games with a hamstring injury, don't be surprised if Goodson immediately assumes 3rd down RB duties. Goodson is someone to keep an eye on as Powell is unremarkable as a runner.
Santonio Homes is expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury. With fellow Jet WR Stephen Hill very uncertain to play next Monday night because of a concussion suffered Sunday, the team signed free agent David Nelson to provide depth behind Jeremy Kerley and Clyde Gates. Holmes is not worth holding onto in my opinion. In related useless news, the Jets released Ben Obomanu.
Houston's Andre Johnson made it through week 4 without aggravating his bruised shin injury. He should be fine for week 5 although I expect he'll be limited some in practices early in the week.
Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson suffered a minor knee injury this weekend. He was able to continue playing after it happened and he is expected to be fine for week 5.
Baltimore's Marlon Brown suffered a hamstring strain. While it's considered minor, I'll feel a lot better about him being able to play week 5 if he can get in some practice time this week.
New England is hopeful that Danny Amendola will be able to play this week. Amendola's been out the last few games because of a groin injury. His return could be timely too as it's unknown whether the neck injury Aaron Dobson suffered is serious enough to threaten his availability. Dobson got his head bent backwards trying to reel in a touchdown catch.
Jacksonville gets back Justin Blackmon this week. Blackmon missed the first four games serving a league imposed suspension. If Blackmon is available on your free agent wires, he's a fantasy WR3/4 with upside to become a regular fixture in starting lineups.
San Francisco has lost Quinton Patton because of a fractured foot injury suffered last Thursday night. There's been no timetable given how long Patton will be out, but it's expected to be several weeks at least. This could lead to Jonathan Baldwin getting increased playing time. Baldwin is a sleeper to keep an eye on going forward as the 49ers just don't have much talent at WR opposite Anquan Boldin and someone needs to step up. Baldwin at least has skills.
Tampa Bay cut Kevin Ogletree after he dropped a couple more passes this past weekend. Russell Shepard and soon to be signed Tiquan Underwood will compete to be the #3 WR in Tampa's offense.
No word yet on whether Dallas will get back Miles Austin this week or not. Austin missed week 4 with his annual hamstring injury.
San Diego placed Malcom Floyd on injured reserve today, ending his 2013 season. Floyd's been out since suffering a scary neck injury back in week 2. The Chargers signed free agent WR Lavelle Hawkins today.
Will this finally be the week New England's Rob Gronkowski gets back on the field? I don't know. Reports are that the Patriots think he's ready to return, but some in Gronk's inner circle want him to make sure he is fully recovered from off-season surgeries to both his arm and back. Gronk has been practicing in limited fashion for a few weeks now and while I'm just pissing in the wind with my opinion I think we will see him suit up this week. As for his teammate, Zac Sudfeld? It's time to give up on him if you haven't already. If he can barely get on the field with Gronk out, there's almost chance he does anything with Gronk coming back soon. The preseason super-hype has lost all luster.
It was hoped the bye was going to be enough time for Green Bay's Jermichael Finley to get over a concussion he suffered week 3 but he still hasn't been cleared to practice. Expect updates on Finley as we get through the week and for now consider him Questionable for week 5.
Marcedes Lewis lasted all of Jacksonville's first offensive drive of the game in week 4 before he aggravated the calf injury that had plagued him since training camp. Lewis is out indefinitely and if you have him, drop him.
Cleveland's Billy Cundiff was able to kick week 4 despite early week concerns about a quad injury. Barring any unknown setbacks he should be okay for week 5.
No word yet on whether Buffalo rookie Dustin Hopkins will be back this week or not. Hopkins has yet to be active for the regular season because of a groin injury. With it being a short week, I expect Dan Carpenter will kick Thursday night for the Bills.
Washington released John Potter today. This is a strong sign that Kai Forbath is just about completely over his groin injury. Washington has the bye this week and Forbath should be back in action week 6.