News and Notes 9-5-12

Running Backs

*-Things continue to be interesting with the Steelers. Rashard Mendenhall was able to practice in full today. While this leads credence to yesterday's report that Mendenhall may be able to play week 1, I still have doubts about that. It's more likely the team put him thru a full practice to see how his surgically repaired knee responds tomorrow and Friday. But if he's able to practice both of those days, it could mean Mendenhall is back much sooner than anyone believed just 2 weeks ago.

*-Staying with Pittsburgh, Isaac Redman was able to practice in full today despite his ankle injury. Redman is expected to start this week, but share carries with Jonathan Dwyer. Of course, that is all dependent on Rashard Mendenhall not playing. This is shaping up to be a serious headache for fantasy owners to figure out week 1 since Pittsburgh plays in the Sunday night game. Just do yourself the favor of keeping any Steelers RB on your fantasy benches.

*-Trent Richardson practiced today and has declared himself ready for week 1 despite some lingering issues from a preseason knee scope. It's likely Richardson starts this week, but he could share more carries with Brandon Jackson than he normally would. Richardson is a low end RB2 this week if he has no setbacks before Sunday.

*-Marshawn Lynch was unable to practice again today because of his back spasms. He needs to practice by Friday for me to feel comfortable that he will be able to play this week against Arizona. If he doesn't practice by then, I'd say he would be more likely than not to sit out this week. Robert Turbin would get the start in his place.

*-Darren Sproles is not on the mid-week injury reports at all despite missing the last couple of preseason games with a minor knee injury. This just reaffirms my belief that the Saints were being very cautious with their multi-dimensional RB. Sproles is fine to start as a borderline RB 1/2 this week. In ppr formats, he's a strong RB1.

*-Carolina's Jonathan Stewart continues to miss practices because of ankle sprain, but continues to also insist he'll be fine to play week 1. As I said yesterday, there's no reason to chance it when even if healthy, he was going to split time with DeAngelo Williams.

*-New England's Shane Vereen has been unable to practice because of a preseason foot injury. It now appears that Vereen could be in danger of missing week 1. The Patriots did sign former Dolphins and Vikings RB Lex Hilliard earlier in the week and that supports the idea of Vereen being inactive week 1. This just means that Stevan Ridley will be relied on more (which is a good thing for Ridley owners) and Danny Woodhead could see some increased playing time as the 3rd down RB. Woodhead though is a poor fantasy bet.

*-James Starks has been ruled OUT for week 1 because of a lingering turf toe injury. Starks value has plummeted since suffering the injury in training camp. Alex Green should be the top backup and 3rd down RB behind starter Cedric Benson for the Packers this week

*-Cincinnati's Bernard Scott is expected to miss Monday night's game against Baltimore. Scott is still recovering from a preseason hand injury. Brian Leonard is likely to pick up some time as the 3rd down RB for the Bengals in Scott's absence, but he isn't likely to be a fantasy option.

Wide Receivers

*-Marques Colston sat out practice today with a minor foot injury. It's not believed to be serious and Colston is fully expected to start and be fine for the Saints in week 1.

*-Andre Johnson appears to be fully over the minor groin injury he had early in training camp. He's a sure fire WR1 this week for fantasy starting lineups.

*-Buffalo's Steve Johnson (I just have a hard time calling a grown man "Stevie" as I know a couple of women who go by that) was limited in practice today because of the groin injury he had surgery on back in May. Johnson has said he is still feeling some soreness, and that he's about 90% recovered, but is still expected to be fine for this week's game against the Jets.

*-Austin Collie practiced today and appears to be on track to start week 1 for the Colts. Collie scared everyone with a preseason concussion, but he's been cleared and all reports say he will play. I'd feel better about waiting a week before trusting him in a fantasy lineup though.

*-Jacksonville rookie Justin Blackmon was limited in practice today because of a minor hamstring issue. It's the first I've heard of him having any hamstring issues and while these are usually bad injuries for WR's, the fact he was at least able to practice some is a good sign that he will be available week 1. But I seriously hope you have better options than relying on Blackmon for your starting fantasy WR's this week.

*-Seattle says they expect to have Doug Baldwin back for week 1. Baldwin missed all of preseason with a hamstring injury and had to have surgery on it a couple of weeks ago. Baldwin led Seattle in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TD's in 2011, but he is slated for the slot WR role in 2012 and probably offers little fantasy upside while being limited at all with this injury.

*-With both Denarius Moore (hamstring) and Jacoby Ford (foot) sounding unlikely to play Monday night, undrafted rookie Rod Streater could end up starting for the Raiders against San Diego. Streater was impressive in preseason leading all WR's in receptions during this preseason. But he averaged only 9.2 yards per catch so even if called upon, he might not have explosive impact.

Tight Ends

*-Dustin Keller continues to miss practices this week because of a hamstring injury. While there's been no word about him potentially missing week 1, it's not a good sign and Keller has to be deemed to be a very risky fantasy play this week. I'd recommend playing it safe and finding another TE to start if you were counting on Keller.

*-Cincinnati expects to have Jermaine Gresham back for Monday night's game against Baltimore. Gresham hasn't been able to practice since sustaining a knee injury early in preseason but he appears to almost be over it. Tough matchup though and between that and the injury, it's pretty easy to see keeping Gresham on fantasy benches week 1.

*-Kellen Winslow failed his physical with the Patriots today. New England signed former Rams TE Michael Hoomanawanui to replace Visanthe Shiancoe as their 4th TE. Shiancoe has been placed on the "designated for return" type of injured reserve, meaning he could be called back up after six weeks.