News and Notes 10-02-12


*-Tennessee's Jake Locker is going to miss at least a couple of weeks with a shoulder injury. The non-throwing shoulder he separated back in week 1 popped out again this past Sunday and the team is hoping that with rest, Locker will be able to return in a few weeks. If it doesn't heal up, he could require season-ending surgery. Matt Hasselbeck steps in as the Titans starting QB in the interim.

*-Philadelphia's Michael Vick suffered a knee bruise Sunday night but he will be just fine to start week 5.

*-Matt Cassel is on the hot seat and his hold on the Chiefs starting QB job is slipping. There are reports coming out of Kansas City that if Cassel continues to struggle, he could get replaced by Brady Quinn. Luckily for Cassel, Quinn has proven to be one of the worst starting QB's when given the chance in the past and KC's third QB, Ricky Stanzi, would need to show marked improvement over what he did in preseason. The Chiefs may not like it, but Cassel is easily the best QB on their roster. But they may need to have that proven to them by starting Quinn and/or Stanzi a couple of games.

*-There's been some speculation that Russell Wilson's struggles in Seattle could mean Matt Flynn may be groomed to take over. Pete Carroll says he's sticking with Wilson, but if Wilson doesn't start improving don't be surprised if a move is made. Wilson has thrown for only 594 passing yards in 4 games so far this season; fewest of all 32 starting QB's in the league.

*-While Jets fans may not like it, Rex Ryan says he has no intention of benching Mark Sanchez in favor of Tim Tebow. But sooner or later, I expect Tebow will be given a chance to show how poorly he can fare in New York over Sanchez, but that's not going to happen until week 6 the earliest.

Running Backs

*-Ryan Mathews owners can breathe a sigh of relief. It appears that Jackie Battle's stint as the Chargers starting RB was a one game penalty applied to Mathews to send him a message about not fumbling. Battle scored twice in week 4, but averaged less than 3 yards per carry while Mathews averaged over 4. Mathews is fully expected to be back in the starting RB role week 5 and gets a juicy matchup against the Saints 31st ranked fantasy run defense. Battle could carve out a role though as goal line RB because of his power and north and south style. Battle's worth acquiring as a handcuff to Mathews if you have the bench space for it.

*-Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy suffered a minor knee injury Sunday night but he's expected to be just fine for week 5.

*-Both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller apparently emerged from week 4 without aggravating their respective injuries. But the presence of both on the field, coupled with the fact neither is fully recovered from their ailments makes for a dicey fantasy situation going forward. Both have great upside, but neither can be relied on as anything more than fantasy RB2's at best until the situation works itself out.

*-Barring any setbacks in practice this week, Rashard Mendenhall is fully expected to start week 5 for Pittsburgh. He still is less than 10 months removed from a torn ACL so expecting him to be great is unrealistic, but he should lead a RBBC that will include Isaac Redman and to a lesser degree Jonathan Dwyer. I liked Dwyer a few weeks ago, but his ability to seriously compete for the starting job was hindered by a minor turf toe injury.  

*-While Ahmad Bradshaw got the bulk of the load for the Giants week 4, he didn't look particularly impressive and I question whether the Giants should have used Andre Brown more. We'll see what happens this week, but for now, it appears Bradshaw will be the lead horse over Brown.

*-When Tampa Bay returns from their bye week, we could start seeing a little more of LeGarrette Blount. Doug Martin hasn't impressed as much as expected and Blount could carve out a role as goal line and change of pace RB.

*-Chicago's Matt Forte came out of last night's game without aggravating his ankle injury too bad. Forte did come off the field briefly in the 1st quarter to get the ankle re-taped, but was able to finish the game and looked pretty good. He may be rested some in practices this week but should be okay to start week 5 against Jacksonville's 30th ranked fantasy run defense.

*-Jonathan Stewart also apparently came out of week 4 without doing any more damage to his ailing ankle. Stewart should be fine going forward but all he does is cloud an already unreliable Carolina RB situation.

*-Reggie Bush also seemed to come out of week 4 without any issues with his suspect knee injury. Bush should be fine for week 5.

*-We had a Chris Johnson sighting this past week. Johnson had easily his best game of the year and surprisingly enough, it came against his toughest matchup on paper. I'm not ready to anoint Johnson being back to reliable status yet, but at least we know he isn't completely dead weight on a fantasy roster.

*-Steven Jackson may not practice much this week as the Rams play Thursday night, but he came out of week 4 without aggravating his lingering groin injury and should be good to consider as a RB2 this week.

*-Ben Tate has a minor toe injury. While there's been no official word about it, it's believed to not be anything that jeopardizes his status as Arian Foster's backup Monday night.

*-Brandon Jacobs says he's ready to return to game action for San Francisco. Jacobs has been out since preseason with a knee sprain. How his return impacts Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter is unknown. The 49ers really haven't needed Jacobs and it's doubtful he'd take that much away from either one.

*-I expect a mad dash will be made to waiver wires this week to acquire New England's Brandon Bolden. Bolden got extensive playing time Sunday. It's unclear if this was just an anomaly or if Bolden possibly has played his way into a RBBC with Stevan Ridley. Bolden's worth stashing on fantasy benches as a guy who is an injury away from having an increased role in the Patriots offense. We've seen the Patriots over the last few years get fantasy worthy production out of several RB's in their hard to predict platoon system. Ridley owners should consider Bolden as a handcuff for insurance.  

Wide Receivers

*-Greg Jennings aggravated his nagging groin injury week 4 and it appears that he and the Packers are in agreement to rest him a couple of weeks so it can heal up properly. This is actually the smart thing to do and will benefit patient fantasy owners who have Jennings as a healthy Jennings is a legitimate fantasy starting WR. No word on how many games Jennings may miss, but I set the over/under at 3. James Jones is expected to continue starting in Jennings place until Jennings can return and if available on your free agent wire, Jones makes a smart "handcuff" acquisition for the short term.  

*-No official word on Santonio Holmes yet. He's already been ruled OUT for week 5 and reports are that he could either miss several weeks with his foot injury, or he could end up missing the rest of the 2012 season. Holmes was scheduled to be examined by a foot specialist today and depending on the results of that, we'll know if Holmes is playing again anytime soon. I don't think Homes is worth waiting on myself and have no problem recommending you drop him to acquire a suitable replacement. With Stephen Hill's status for week 5 in question because of a hamstring injury, Chaz Schilens and Jeremy Kerley could end up starting Monday night for the Jets.  

*-No word yet on whether the Giants will have Hakeem Nicks back in week 5. Nicks developed swelling on his knee last Friday and was downgraded on the injury report to out for week 4. Right now I'd say Nicks is very questionable for week 5. Domenik Hixon started over Ramses Barden week 4 in Nicks place and showed well. But it's anyone's best guess week to week whether it will be Hixon or Barden who steps up until Nicks can return.

*-Calvin Johnson took a helmet to helmet hit week 4 but wasn't seriously injured. The Lions are on bye this week anyway and Megatron should be fine for week 6 when they return.

*-Pierre Garcon came out of this past weekend's game without aggravating his foot injury. His role in the offense should increase as he proves he's over whatever the undisclosed injury was.

*-No word yet on whether Tennessee will have Kenny Britt back week 5 or not. Britt missed last week with an ankle injury.

*-Danny Amendola was limited in practice today with a minor ankle injury. He's fully expected to be fine for Thursday night though.

*-Jacksonville's Laurent Robinson suffered what is believed to be his second concussion on the season in week 4 and he is likely to sit out week 5.

*-Buffalo's Donald Jones suffered a head injury week 4. It's not known if it was a concussion or not but his status for week 5 has to be considered questionable.

*-Miami's Brian Hartline is another guy who probably made fantasy owners run to the waiver wire after his week 4 performance. It's impressive that Hartline has 2 games with over 100 receiving yards and he clearly has demonstrated that he is the Dolphins top WR, but don't expect consistency from him on a week to week basis with Ryan Tannehill as the QB. There will be good weeks for Hartline, and there will be bad ones. And likely it will be hard to predict which week will be which. On a completely forgettable note, Miami released Legedu Naanee and signed Jabar Gaffney.

Tight Ends

*-Buffalo's Scott Chandler suffered a head injury week 4 and while the Bills say it was minor and he should be okay, I'll feel a lot better about recommending him a fantasy TE2 if he is cleared to practice and does so by Thursday.

*-Arizona's Todd Heap is still unable to practice because of his knee sprain. He seems unlikely to play Thursday night.


*-San Diego's Nate Kaeding pulled a groin muscle in practice last Friday and was unable to kick for the Chargers week 4. Kaeding is expected to be sidelined a few weeks with the injury and could eventually be placed on injured reserve if replacement Nick Novak performs well the next few games.

*-Washington says they aren't in the market for a new kicker despite Billy Cundiff missing 3 FG's week 4. But another bad game may make the Redskins revisit their current position. If Cundiff is your kicker, consider yourself warned.