News and Notes 10-04-11

Bye's week 5: Baltimore, Cleveland, Dallas, Miami, St. Louis, and Washington


*-Ben Roethlisberger has a sprained left foot and while he's likely to miss or be limited in practices this week he is currently expected to start week 5. It's not a good matchup though against a Tennessee pass defense that has allowed only 4 passing touchdowns thru 4 games so far and between that and his injury you will want to strongly consider other options this week. If Roethlisberger is unable to play, Charlie Batch would likely get the start.

*-Chad Henne suffered a separated left shoulder injury and his season could be over. Henne is getting a second opinion on the injury but there's a very good chance that he's done for the year. The Dolphins have the bye in week 5, but barring unexpected positive news, it's likely Matt Moore will start week 6 and beyond for Miami. Reports are the Dolphins are trying to lure David Garrard or Jake Delhomme to come in and back up Moore as the only other QB on the roster is Pat Devlin.

*-While the Colts haven't announced it yet, I suspect Curtis Painter performed just well enough Monday night to remain the Colts starting QB even if Kerry Collins gets over his concussion and is cleared to play. Officially, they're saying they haven't made up their minds yet on who will start.

*-Despite the recent statistical struggles of Rex Grossman, Washington isn't expected to make the switch John Beck any time soon. Washington has been winning games, but if Grossman continues to have mediocre performances, and the Redskins aren't winning games, the switch will happen pretty quick.

*-Minnesota insists they aren't contemplating a change from Donovan McNabb to rookie Christian Ponder yet. But at 0-4, it's a good bet that if they don't start getting some wins soon, they'll have nothing to lose by inserting Ponder and getting him some game experience in what is turning out to be a horribly lost season for the Vikings.

*-Denver is another team that isn't planning on making a switch at QB despite calls for Tim Tebow to get a chance. Kyle Orton hasn't been bad, but he hasn't been good either and the Broncos could cave to public pressure if they continue to lose.

Running Backs

*-I warned you last week that the Mike Shanahan RB carousel was coming and it happened sooner than expected. Using the post game excuse that Tim Hightower was beat up in practice last week, and suffered a shoulder injury during the game; Shanahan lifted Hightower as the primary rushing back week 4 against the Rams and inserted Ryan Torain. Torain then went off on his usual Ryan Torain-like great game that he has when he's healthy and now the Redskins say they have a full blown RBBC. Washington has the bye this week but it's a really good bet that when get back in week 6 that Torain will be the primary rushing down RB, Hightower the 3rd down receiving and blocking RB, and Roy Helu the change of pace to Torain. Torain is a hot free agent pickup this week, and for good reason. When he's been healthy, he produces. Problem is he has never been able to stay healthy and rest assured after a few games of him running like wild, he'll suffer an injury and be questionable to return at any further point during the season. That's the book on his career to date. So be warned: if you get Torain, be ready to peddle him after his first or second good game. I still would bet we'll see Roy Helu starting games for Washington before too long.

*-Rashard Mendenhall has a hamstring strain and his status for week 5 is very much in doubt. It's a good bet he misses this week's matchup and that Isaac Redman gets the start and the majority of the playing time. Pittsburgh other RB, Mewelde Moore has a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss a couple of weeks. This puts Redman in the driver's seat for at least one game and possibly longer to carve out extra playing time even when both Mendenhall and Moore get healthy. It's likely the Steelers will sign another RB for depth as behind Redman, there's only Jonathan Dwyer. Dwyer is another big RB who had a productive college career but hasn't gotten any chances in the pros, and in deep leagues, he could be a potential grab and stash candidate. As I mentioned in the SMART Alerts I sent out yesterday to Championship subscribers who are signed up for them " While Pittsburgh's offensive line is in shambles and deserves much of the blame for Mendenhall's struggles this season, it is curious to note that Redman has averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 22 attempts thru 4 games." Redman, if available is a definite priority acquisition for the short term and could turn out to be really solid in the long term.

*-No official word yet on whether Cedric Benson's appeal of a 3 game suspension will be ruled on this week or not. I expect that by tomorrow we'll know for sure, but reports right now say that he should be okay to play week 5. Looks like it will be another week for those who went out and grabbed Bernard Scott.

*-New England's Danny Woodhead suffered an ankle injury and is expected to miss at least one game and possibly more. This opens the door for impressive rookie Stevan Ridley to get more playing time. For the second week in a row, Ridley has outperformed BenJarvus Green-Ellis on fewer touches. Ridley is a power RB like BGE and has more speed to his game and it's looking like that it's just a matter of time before Ridley pushes past him to be the main power RB for the Patriots. New England's RB situation is very hard to rely on, but Ridley is worth owning in case he can wrestle a primary role to himself. You should also be aware of fellow Patriots rookie RB Shane Vereen. It's unknown how long Danny Woodhead's ankle injury will keep him out, and Vereen has a skill set more similar to Woodhead's and could start getting playing time this week. Vereen is behind Ridley in terms of fantasy potential, but he is definitely someone to keep an eye on going forward if he starts getting opportunities and performs well.

*-Frank Gore was supposed to gimpy and on a bad ankle week 4 but he certainly didn't show it as he had his best game of the year despite getting fewer touches than normal. He came out of the win over Philadelphia without aggravating it and while he may be rested some in practices this week he should be fine for week 5.

*-Also getting out week 4 without aggravation of a hamstring injury that had him considered suspect was Arizona's Beanie Wells. Wells looked anything but hindered by a hamstring injury as he tore up the Giants for 138 yards and 3 TD's this past week.

*-No word yet on whether or not Oakland's Michael Bush will be able to play this week or not. Bush suffered an ankle injury and if he misses this week, it just means Darren McFadden won't have any touchdowns vultured from him.

*-Ben Tate suffered a groin injury this past week and his status for week 5 is uncertain. But after Arian Foster ripped thru the Steelers stout run defense and showed no sign of the hamstring injury that allowed Tate to get starts in his absence, Tate goes back to being just the backup to Foster going forward. Tate is still a smart handcuff for Foster owners to have.

*-After getting beat by Baltimore Sunday night, Jets head coach Rex Ryan reportedly went on a tirade promising that the team will get back to running the football. That would be good news for Shonn Greene owners as Greene has been a supreme disappointment again so far in the Jets unexpected pass happy attack the first 4 weeks of the season.

*-Ryan Grant has been cleared to resume practicing and play in week 5. Grant missed last week with a kidney bruise. His return hurts the value of James Starks, but I still expect Starks to be the better fantasy RB from the Packers more weeks than Grant.

Wide Receivers

*-Andre Johnson suffered a hamstring injury and is expected to miss the next 3 weeks after having a minor surgical procedure done on it today. Jacoby Jones steps in as the starter until Johnson can return.

*-Vincent Jackson suffered a strained leg muscle week 4 and while he was able to continue playing thru it, he was clearly limited by it. The good news is that it's not expected to prevent him from playing week 5, but the bad news is that's just speculation and we'll need to see whether he can practice at all this week to be sure you can count on him for this week.

*-Danny Amendola supposedly suffered a triceps injury last week when trying to practice. Amendola was pushing himself to come back sooner than expected from a dislocated elbow injury and depending on the results of a second opinion he's getting this week, his season could be done if it requires surgery.

*-Donald Driver suffered a knee injury week 4 and while he avoided a serious injury, it's likely that between this and his declining production due to age that his days of fantasy worthiness are over. James Jones and Randall Cobb will get more opportunities going forward, but both are clearly behind Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson in the WR pecking order of fantasy importance.

*-Mario Manningham is expected to remain the Giants second starting WR despite being pulled from that capacity this past week in favor of Victor Cruz. Manningham had a poor game while Cruz did pretty well (except for leaving a ball on the ground, which I'm sure many Cardinals fans are still unhappy with the call the officials made). Cruz is worth adding, but unless he can force his way past Manningham, he's unlikely to have much potential.

*-Seattle's Mike Williams suffered a concussion and his status for week 5 is currently unknown. I wouldn't be counting on him.

*-Marques Colston made it thru week 4 without any reported issues with his broken collarbone. He was very limited in snaps and that will likely continue to be the case the next couple of weeks as they ease him back into the game plans, but his presence had the expected effect on Devery Henderson. Henderson had no catches this past game.

*-Cleveland's Mohamed Massaquoi suffered a sprained shoulder but it's hoped that with the Browns having the bye this week he'll be okay for week 6. We'll revisit him next week.

Tight Ends

*-Carolina's Jeremy Shockey suffered a concussion week 4 and his status for this week is uncertain.

*-St. Louis's Michael Hoomanawanui also suffered a concussion and his status is uncertain as well.

*-A week after intimating they were going to shut down Antonio Gates for a few weeks, the Chargers now say that Gates will attempt to do some running this week to see how his foot feels. I'm still not counting on seeing Gates active on a Sunday for a couple more weeks.

*-Still no word out of New England about whether Aaron Hernandez will be able to practice and play week 5. Hernandez has missed the last 2 games with a knee sprain.