News and Notes 10-16-12

Bye Weeks: Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego  


*-Kevin Kolb has a serious ribs injury and will miss several weeks. There is no exact timetable for his return. John Skelton steps back in as the Cardinals starting QB and considering he won the job coming out of preseason, it's a good bet that if he plays well and the Cardinals are winning, he'll remain the starting QB even when Kolb gets healthy. With weapons to throw to in Arizona, Skelton's worth considering from your available free agent QB's.

*-Matt Hasselbeck will start for Tennessee week 7. Jake Locker isn't ready to return from his shoulder injury yet and with Hasselbeck playing well enough, there's no need to hurry him back. As long as he continues to play well, expect the Titans to continue pushing back Locker's return date. Locker's shoulder can use all the rest and healing it can get.

*-Rumors continue to swirl in Philadelphia about a potential QB change from Michael Vick to rookie Nick Foles. Vick has been a turnover machine this season and while he'll be the QB when the Eagles come out of their week 7 bye, the leash is getting shorter.

*-It only took one week of Brady Quinn for the Chiefs to realize what the rest of us already knew: Matt Cassel is the better QB and gives them the best chance to win. Quinn was his usual checkdown self in week 6, killing Dwayne Bowe's fantasy value. Baring any setbacks in his recovery from a week 5 concussion, expect Cassel to be the Chiefs starting QB when they come out of their week 7 bye.

Running Backs

*-DeMarco Murray will miss at least one game because of a foot sprain suffered week 6. It could be something that sidelines Murray for a couple of weeks. Felix Jones will start in his place and while there is a lot of optimism about Jones after he showed well against Baltimore in relief of Murray this past weekend, it needs to be remembered that Jones has never been particularly effective as a starting RB. It also needs to be noted that the Ravens have been fairly bad against the run all season long. But Jones is the priority free agent RB add this week and while he will be the primary, we'll likely also see a bit of both Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar sprinkled in as well in the Cowboys backfield.

*-Trent Richardson is very uncertain to be able to play week 7 after suffering a ribs injury week 6. It's not a serious injury, but he may not be able to play with it week 7. If he can't, Montario Hardesty would start in his place and be backed up by Brandon Jackson. Hardesty looked good filling in for Richardson last week and the Browns face a weak Colts run defense in week 7, so Hardesty is a recommended handcuff to Richardson owners and a smart add by those who don't have Richardson but are looking to take a flier on someone at RB this week. Jackson would have fresh legs having been a healthy inactive since week 2 and would likely be the top rushing backup while Chris Ogbannaya would serve as the 3rd down RB.

*-I was going to say this would be a great time to sell high on Jets RB Shonn Greene, but injuries to both Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight have pushed Greene back into a full time feature role. Greene rolled the Colts week 6 and with Powell expected to miss at least one game and possibly more because of a dislocated shoulder injury, and McKnight likely out 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain, Greene will dominate the Jets backfield. The only other RB"s the Jets have on the roster are Jonathan Grimes and Lex Hilliard. They may get some token carries, but expect Greene to be the workhorse.

*-No word yet on whether the Steelers will have either of Rashard Mendenhall or Isaac Redman available week 7. Mendenhall has an inflamed Achilles tendon while Redman an ankle sprain. Neither injury is serious, but both could miss this week. We won't know for sure until probably Friday, so relying on either is a risky move. If they both can't play, expect Jonathan Dwyer and Baron Batch to split up the RB duties, with neither being a particularly strong fantasy option.

*-New England's Brandon Bolden aggravated his knee issue week 6 and his status for week 7 is very uncertain. Expect the ultra-secretive Patriots to keep us guessing on Bolden's status all thru the week and list Bolden as Questionable come Friday on the injury report and call him a game time decision. Even if active, I would shy away from Bolden this week as the history of the Patriots has always been to sit injured RB's and play healthy ones. Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead could end up being better fantasy bets this week from the Patriots RB stable, but both would be considered weak flex options behind Stevan Ridley. Ridley gets a great matchup this week and could dominate carries.

*-Green Bay lost backup Brandon Saine to a torn ACL week 6. His season is done. Alex Green wasn't special week 6 but solidified his spot as the top RB in the pecking order with James Starks playing sparingly. To provide depth, the Packers claimed former Buffalo cast-off Johnny White.

*-Detroit announced that they won't be bringing back Jahvid Best this week. The Lions still have a few weeks to decide whether to activate Best from the PUP list or place him on injured reserve. Considering that it's been nearly a full year since Best suffered his last known concussion, I don't think an extra couple of weeks is going to change his status. I expect in about 3 weeks, Best will go on IR and his season be done. His career could be over.

*-On another Lions' note, Kevin Smith was a healthy inactive week 6. He appears to have completely fallen out of favor in Detroit and would need an injury to climb the depth chart. Joique Bell has claimed the top backup spot to Mikel Leshoure and could be considered as a potential handcuff candidate to Leshoure.

Wide Receivers

*-Pierre Garcon continues to confound fantasy owners because of his foot injury. Garcon aggravated it in practice last Friday and then was inactive week 6. His status for week 7 has to be considered questionable at best and I would be planning on sitting Garcon until he shows that he is over the injury. Leonard Hankerson starts in his place when Garcon can't play.

*-Brandon Lloyd suffered a bruised shoulder injury week 6 and he is tentatively expected to be okay to play week 7. Expect the Patriots to be coy with Lloyd's status all the way up until game time. No one enjoys playing games with his injury report more than Bill Belichick.

*-Kenny Britt made it thru last Thursday night's game without aggravating any of the various injuries that have plagued him this season. As Britt gets healthy, expect better numbers to come. Also expect his playing time to increase and come at the expense of rookie Kendall Wright.

*-Even if Mohammed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin are able to return for the Browns this week after missing the last few games with hamstring injuries, I think rookie Josh Gordon has played his way into the Browns starting lineup. Gordon doesn't catch a lot of passes, but he's a big play machine that passing attack in Cleveland desperately needs to have on the field. Gordon is a prime free agent to add to fantasy benches. He'll be inconsistent, but has big time upside.

*-A WR who could be worth a free agent add as well is the Jets Stephen Hill. Hill made noise back in week 1, but injuries derailed his start to the season and he probably was dropped in many leagues. With a matchup this week against a Patriots pass defense that ranks 30th in fantasy points allowed per game, Hill could be in for prime fantasy football sleeper material this week.

*-Jerome Simpson was inactive week 6 again because of his troublesome back injury. Simpson is loaded with talent, but if he doesn't shake this soon you'd have to have a really deep bench to continue holding onto him. No word on whether he'll be able to play week 7 or not. For what it's worth, I'm not holding my breath.

*-Remember, Chicago's Alshon Jeffery is expected to miss 3 more weeks with a fractured hand. If Earl Bennett is finally over his own hand injury, and all reports say he should be, Bennett will take Jeffery's starting WR spot opposite Brandon Marshall.

Tight Ends

*-Aaron Hernandez came out week 6 without aggravating his ankle injury and he should be in for an increased role week 7. Hernandez played just under 50% of the offensive snaps in week 6 and still managed to catch 6 passes for 30 yards and a TD. Those who waited out his injury can expect better numbers coming and if he's available in your league, he should be targeted for acquisition.

*-Jermichael Finley played thru his shoulder injury week 6 but was predictably ineffectual on fantasy stat lines. A week 7 matchup against the Rams 3rd ranked fantasy pass defense isn't likely to be the cure for Finley's poor production.

*-Martellus Bennett made it thru week 6 without aggravating his knee injury, but he was rarely used as a receiving option. I really hope he can ramp up his practice reps without issue as the week 7 matchup against Washington's dead last ranked fantasy defense is an awfully nice matchup to have. We'll see what he does in practices this week.

*-Dustin Keller made it thru week 6 without aggravating the hamstring injury that has cost him most of the 2012 season. Expect Keller to start producing better stats and becoming fantasy relevant again as he puts the injury behind him in coming weeks. The TE desperate could add him this week as he does get the Patriots poor pass defense this week.