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Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice finally returned from a shoulder injury and made a big impact in his regular season debut. Rice finished the game with eight receptions for 109 yards and made key grabs on all three scoring drives as the Seahawks escaped with a 13-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Seattle had turned into a fantasy black hole through the first two weeks as the offense could get next to nothing going with Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback. However, Rice could be the cure for what ails the Seahawks offense. The Seahawks host a tough New York Giants team in week four so we'll see if this holds up for another week.
As it currently stands, I would actually argue your best bet is to try and unload Sidney Rice now. He'll likely have some more big games this season, but I'd argue his value is fairly high at this point. Some folks would be smart enough to wait until they see a few consistent performances, but there might be a sucker out there who would deal for Rice after one big game. That sucker might also happen to have Kenny Britt on their roster right now. I'm not saying you'll find a deal, but maybe throw out some bait and see what kind of response you get. Seattle is in an abysmal situation this season and even a big name like Sidney Rice is going to suffer over the course of the season.
The St. Louis Rams threw folks a bit of a curve ball on Sunday as they activated injured running back Steven Jackson for their game with the Baltimore Ravens. As a 4:05pm ET game many owners had already made up their minds on how to handle Jackson given the late start. If you didn't have enough late running back and flex options, you likely had him on your bench for the game.
If you had him on your bench for the game, there was a double-dose of good news. He only rushed for 23 yards and left the game not because of injury but because the score was already getting out of hand. The Rams went with Cadillac Williams the rest of the way rather than risk aggravating Jackson's quad. If you decided to start Jackson because of his active status, my apologies.
If Jackson is in fact healthy heading into the Rams matchup this Sunday with the Washington Redskins, he could be in line for a big workload. The Redskins are 2-0 heading into Monday Night Football, but this is a team with which the Rams can hang from whistle to whistle. Given that, it would mean a busy day for the running game. A healthy Steven Jackson would be quite the plus heading into that game.
At this point we'll keep an eye out for updates on Steven Jackson's status. Head coach Steve Spagnuolo will likely meet with the media on Monday and will hopefully provide an update on Jackson's quad.
Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden had a monster performance against the New York Jets, but the performance was dampened by the news that he suffered a groin injury in the fourth quarter. McFadden claims it is not serious, but groin injuries can always be a little touchy. McFadden finished the day with 171 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
When McFadden left the game with a little under five minutes left, Michael Bush filled in quite capably, capping off a solid day with a 28-yard reception. Bush finished with 22 rushing yards, 35 receiving yards and a touchdown. McFadden will likely be limited in practice this week, but it remains to be seen how this injury will impact him next week.
I would not be surprised to see Bush have a more prominent role even if McFadden plays next Sunday against the Patriots. The Raiders have developed a strong rushing attack and Bush has been a pivotal part of in the past. Bush remains a solid handcuff to McFadden throughout the season even if this injury proves to be nothing. McFadden has always had the talent to be great, but injuries have often been an issue. And as fantasy football tells you, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
A quarter after losing Michael Vick to a broken hand, the Philadelphia Eagles lost wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to a hamstring injury. Maclin was leading the Eagles with five receptions and 69 yards when his hamstring tightened up. The Eagles have not made an announcement on Maclin's availability for week four but Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane is already tweeting that Maclin is unlikely to play next week.
A hamstring injury is always tough for an athlete, but wide receivers in particular given how important their legs are. More importantly, a hamstring injury can linger if it is not allowed to completely heal. The Eagles will likely see what Maclin can do in practice this week before making a decision, but I would suspect he'll be no better than questionable when final injury reports are unveiled on Friday.
It's a shame for fantasy owners as Maclin had put together a monster effort in week two and looked solid in week three. He hauled in 13 receptions for 171 yards against Atlanta before his five catch day on Sunday. He was settling in as a solid WR2, but will now miss some time. More than likely you'll want to sit him this Sunday, but we'll wait and see how his hamstring responds to treatment and in practice. Check back for updates on Maclin throughout the week.
San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore reportedly suffered an ankle injury during the team's 13-8 vctory over the Cincinnati Bengals and his status is now questionable for week four against the Philadelphia Eagles. Gore battled through the ankle injury for much of the second half and eventually gave way to rookie Kendall Hunter for a sizable chunk of the fourth quarter. Gore finished the game with 17 rushes for 42 yards, while Hunter finished with nine rushes for 26 yards, a touchdown, and two receptions for twelve yards.
Gore has gotten off to a slow start in 2011 and has fantasy owners wondering what exactly is going on with him. Through three games he has rushed 42 times for 106 yards and one touchdown. His longest run is a 16-yard scamper, but otherwise he has been held in check. Possible reasons range from the idea that he is losing a step to the poor performance of the offensive line. Whatever the case, it is not pretty for Gore right now.
Kendall Hunter has emerged as Gore's primary backup, and if he is available in your league, I would recommend trying to grab him as your handcuff to Gore, or simply to have a guy with upside if you don't have Gore. Given Gore's history, there is an excellent chance Hunter starts a game before the end of the 2011 season and it could very well come this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
We'll have more on this injury as the 49ers prepare for their week four contest with the Eagles.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt injured his right knee in the second quarter of Sunday's 17-14 victory and the worst is feared from the injury. Britt will undergo an MRI on Monday but most people expect the results will show torn ligaments that would require season-ending surgery. ACL and MCL tears can't be 100% certain until the MRI is done, but Adam Schefter and the NFL Network have indicated those are the fears.
Britt was off to a strong start in 2011 with back-to-back 100+ yard receiving games and three touchdowns in those games. The loss is a huge blow to the Titans and fantasy owners alike. Britt slipped a bit in drafts due to some of his off-field issues, but rewarded those who did draft him.
In single season leagues you'll want to hold on to Britt until we get official word on the nature of the injury. Although most expect an ACL and/or MCL tear, it's remotely possible that Britt gets good news of a sprain. I'm not holding my breath for good news, but you might as well wait a day or two before releasing Britt.
If Britt is done for the year, Nate Washington becomes the number one receiver in Tennessee with Lavelle Hawkins, Damian Williams and Marc Mariani will battle for the second spot. None is worth a flier at this point so you'll want to see what is sitting on your waiver wire.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick made his return to the field a week after suffering a concussion and saw his luck go from bad to worse. After struggling through 16 of 23 for 176 yards and an interception, Vick took a hard hit that led to a break in his right (non-throwing) hand.
After the game, Vick stated that he wasn't sure if he'd be able to play next week and now it sounds like he'll be visiting a hand specialist on Monday for a CT scan. We should get an update from the Eagles coaching staff later in the day, but even then I would suspect they won't give away too much information for the 49ers game-planning. I suspect we'll hear that he's day-to-day and maybe if he has a brace or some kind of soft cast on his hand.
What does this mean for fantasy football owners? Much like last week you are stuck waiting through the week. Although the break is on his non-throwing hand, that still leaves question marks about taking the snap from center if he has any sort of brace on that hand.
If you don't have a backup quarterback I'd recommend grabbing one. And not the Eagles backup(s). The Eagles could go with either Vince Young or Mike Kafka, and neither is worth stashing on your roster. Even if Vick goes, it might be worth sitting him if you are concerned about any sort of brace or cast. Quarterbacks have played through broken bones in non-throwing hands, but it creates some issues. We'll have much more throughout the week on this injury.
The Tennessee Titans will have to do without Kenny Britt for at least the rest of Sunday. The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt reports that the Titans have officially ruled Britt out of the rest of their game against the Denver Broncos.
Britt injured his knee on a first half play that saw him fumble as his knee buckled, and he was carted off the field and originally listed as questionable to return. It's unclear where, specifically, Britt was hurt, but it's a safe assumption that the apparent knee injury and a nagging hamstring injury were at least enough to make his return not worth the risk for the Titans today.
Britt has been a star early in the 2011 NFL season, with 100-yard receiving games in each of his first two outings. He had three catches for 18 yards before leaving Sunday's game.
Here's the rest of the Week 3 NFL Schedule. For more on the Titans, head over to Music City Miracles. For more on the Broncos, check out Mile High Report. Follow all the Week 3 NFL action SB Nation NFL.
Tony Romo confirmed that he will play in Dallas’ Monday Night Football game against the Washington Redskins this week, broken rib and all. Romo confirmed his status on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown today. Here’s what he told broadcasters:
I’m getting better as the week goes on. I’ll deal with it over the course of the next month, but I’ll be good to go this week.
Romo suffered a broken rib and a punctured lung last week in a comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers. His status for this week’s game against the division rival Redskins has been the subject of much debate. He did not practice until yesterday, leading many to conclude that he was likely to play this week.
Look for plenty of hype leading up to this game.
St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson will be active today, according to Jay Glazer. Glazer claims a team source told him that they play to active Jackson against the Ravens today.
Here’s Glazer via Twitter:
The team confirmed Jackson’s status moments ago via Twitter. There is also no indication of just how much action Jackson will see today. Cadillac Williams will play today, and it is possible that Jackson will see his touches trimmed as the Rams proceed cautiously around his injury.
Jackson strained his quad on the first play from scrimmage against the Eagles in the Rams season opening loss. Limited or not, the Rams will be happy to have Jackson back. Earlier today, Jackson’s agent, Steve Caric, signaled a possible return for his client, noting that he had started him on his fantasy team (conflict of interest?). Jackson may see some targets as a passing option as well, giving the Rams a physical player to matchup with the Ravens’ linebackers.
Beanie Wells' status has been a topic of interest before the Cardinals' Week 3 match-up with the Seahawks, and it now looks like Arizona will be without its starting running back. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports:
Wells is nursing a hamstring injury, but is eighth in the NFL with 183 rushing yards, and contributed 93 yards and a touchdown in Arizona's Week 2 loss to the Redskins. Without Wells, the Cardinals look likely to turn to LaRod Stephens-Howling and Chester Taylor in their running game, and will probably try to win behind Kevin Kolb's arm.
Here's the rest of the Week 3 NFL Schedule. For more on the Cardinals head over to Revenge of the Birds. For more on the Seahawks, check out Field Gulls. Follow the rest of this week's NFL action in the Week 3 NFL StoryStream and at SB Nation NFL.
The St. Louis Rams would love to have running back Steven Jackson healthy for today’s game against a tough Baltimore Ravens defense. Jackson has been sitting out practice all week, and most think that he won’t play even though the team lists him as a game time decision. Jackson’s agent, Steve Caric, sent a signal today that his client’s status may be better than expected.
Jackson’s agent, obviously, has nothing to do with the final decision. Jackson himself will not make the final call either. The Rams coaches and training staff get to make that decision. If history is any guide, they may opt to be cautious with Jackson, as they’ll need him later in the season.
The real key here may be Cadillac Williams, Jackson’s primary backup. He was limited in Friday’s practice, and is said to be a game time decision himself. If Williams absolutely cannot play, they may opt to get Jackson dressed.
Arizona RB Beanie Wells has been a great story in this early season, but a hamstring injury is threatening that. He said he wanted to test it in pregame warmups, and he appears to be fired up to do just that:
Wells has no competition at RB when healthy. One of his competitors was traded, his other competition went down with an injury , and after having an awful season last year, this year was essentially sink or swim for the former Ohio State RB, and he's swum masterfully. He's tallied 183 yards and two touchdowns in his two games so far.
The Cardinals play the Seattle Seahawks at 4:15, so this is pretty much the most frustrating thing ever that you have to make the decision whether to start/bench him now. So, sorry.
"Jerome Simpson returned to team activites Friday afternoon and after evaluating his readiness, the coaching staff has determined he will be active for today’s game. Jerome’s legal situation with regards to events of the past week remains completely unresolved and the Bengals believe it is not appropriate to act on any presumption of what may transpire."
While the team appears to be giving Simpson the benefit of the doubt, head coach Marvin Lewis decided against giving him today’s start; instead, Andre Caldwell gets the nod, according to the team’s official site.
Simpson has four passes in each of the Bengals’ first two games, going for a monster 136 yards last week against the Broncos. Caldwell, meanwhile, has combined for just three catches for 27 yards. Don’t be surprised if Simpson is the more productive of the two, even if he’s not technically on the field for the first play of the game.
Have a ton of backup running backs on your fantasy team? You're going to need them, as Arian Foster and Peyton Hillis are among the inactive players for Sunday's games.
We already knew Arian Foster won't be playing today, thanks to multiple reports earlier this morning. But now it's officially set in stone, as the Houston Texans have announced their Week 3 inactives:
Note that Derrick Ward's ankle injury will keep him sidelined for the second week in a row. Like we've been saying, expect Ben Tate to carry a huge load -- the backup running back is worth starting in any fantasy format.
Peyton Hills has been ruled out for the Cleveland Browns today, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Hillis was a late addition to Cleveland's injury report on Friday due to strep throat. He was present at Browns Stadium earlier this morning, but multiple reports indicate he was sent home and will not be active. Backup Montario Hardesty is expected to start in Hillis' place, tweets Jay Glazer.
Hardesty hasn't seen much action this year -- he's tallied a grand total of eight carries for 19 yards in the first two games -- but he told reporters Friday that he's ready to fill in for his ill teammate. From the News-Herald:
"We had a guy down, today," Hardesty said. "I have to be ready to step in and play. I feel like I'm ready to perform. I've been preparing well the last few weeks. I'm excited to get out there and play some football on Sunday."
Hardesty, a second-round pick in 2010, was originally expected to be the Browns' feature back last year before an ACL injury in the preseason landed him on the IR. In his absence, Hillis enjoyed a breakout season. For at least one week, though, Hardesty will have a chance to prove himself in the role he expected to have coming out of college.
The second-year running back missed his entire rookie year with a broken ankle, giving Arian Foster the room to become the NFL's leading rusher. Now, Foster has a hamstring injury and Tate is the one taking advantage. From the AP:
The Houston Texans' running back is the 11th player in league history to open his career with back-to-back 100-yard games, a list that includes Earl Campbell, Billy Sims, Marshall Faulk and Edgerrin James.
"It's an awesome group to even just be mentioned with those guys, but it's just the start to my career," Tate said. "Honestly, I haven't taken time to really think about it, but I would have to say it's important. I guess it's a big thing that it happened."
Tate has rushed for 103 and 116 yards in those games, and at certain points in both of those contests, he was battling Derrick Ward and Foster for touches. This week, he gets the Saints, who are the seventh in the NFL in rushing defense, giving up just over 80 yards per contest.
Regardless, Tate is a great fantasy option this week. This is the same offense that allowed Foster to become the NFL's leader in rushing yards in his first starting season, and it features Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, so there are rarely going to be in eight men in the box.
For what Texans fans are saying before their game at the Saints, head to Battle Red Blog.
With Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno questionable with a hamstring injury, running back Willis McGahee will receive the bulk of the carries Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, reports Fox Sports' Jay Glazer.
Moreno missed last week's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, but said Thursday that he plans to be ready for Sunday. He has just eight carries for 22 yards this season. The Denver Post reports that Moreno is expected to play, but of course, with a lingering injury like the hamstring that is currently plaguing Moreno, his impact may be limited.
Meanwhile, the veteran McGahee has filled in admirably with 32 carries for 104 yards and one touchdown along with six receptions for 37 yards. All but four of those carries and three of those yards came last week against the Bengals.
The Titans' run defense ranks 14th in the NFL, so McGahee will have to work those yards.
To be fair, Simpson hasn't been convicted of anything, even if the evidence seems overwhelming. And as Mike Florio points out at Pro Football Talk, the NFL, not the Bengals, is ultimately responsible for deciding if Simpson will be suspended. Despite the potential distraction that his presence with the team may cause, it won't be a surprise if he evades any punishment by the league until his legal situation takes its course.
The Bengals haven't officially confirmed Simpson's status for the game, but word will come soon. From the team's official web site:
The Bengals wouldn't confirm an ESPN report Sunday morning that wide receiver Jerome Simpson is playing against the 49ers in Sunday's 1 p.m. game against the 49ers at Paul Brown Stadium. They are expected to announce his status before the inactve list comes down at 11:30 a.m.
It's believed that Simpson was at PBS Saturday after missing practices Thursday and Friday following reports that he's under investigation in a drug investigation.
The Dallas Cowboys officially ruled out wide receiver Miles Austin for Monday Night Football as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury suffered against the San Francisco 49ers. Austin had a monster performance against the 49ers but will be unable to capitalize on it on Monday Night Football against the Washington Redskins.
The Dallas Cowboys are filled with injury question marks beyond Austin, which could create some fantasy problems for Tony Romo. Of course, Tony Romo is one of those question marks as well. He is likely going to play, but removing Austin from the equation stings.
The Cowboys get Dez Bryant back, which will help Tony Romo. At the same time, I have to wonder if we see Romo look more towards Jesse Holley following his breakout game against the 49ers. He caught three passes for 96 yards. He rewarded Romo's faith in him with some monster catches last week so we'll see if Romo rewards him with the ball this week.
For more on the Cowboys, check out Blogging The Boys.
Marion Barber will miss the Chicago Bears' third game against the Green Bay Packers, according to NFL.com's Jason La Canfora, though the team expects him back for Week 4. WR Roy Williams will reportedly lace 'em up, too.
Barber and the Bears were hopeful in the days leading up to the game that he'd be able to overcome the calf injury that's plagued him for weeks, but it appears he's still not ready to tough it. Matt Forte has been superb early in the season, catching 15 passes for more than 200 yards in his first two games and averaging over 4.5 yards per carry. He's still a guy you need to lock up on fantasy rosters, now even more so that only Khalil Bell will be backing him up.
Roy Williams has been dealing with a groin injury in past weeks — he missed the Bears' game against the Saints last week — but he's reportedly a go, which should at worst boost Jay Cutler's passing options and at best, Williams will finally realize all that potential people saw in him and catch 15 passes for 270 yards and 6 touchdowns. Best case scenario for the Bears, right there.
For more updates on the Bears heading into their enormous rivalry game against the Packers, visit Windy City Gridiron.
Earlier this week Arizona Cardinals RB Beanie Wells suffered a hamstring injury which put his status for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks. Wells was limited in practice and listed as questionable for the Cards Week 3 game.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Wells does think he can play but will test his hamstring in pregame warmups. This meshes with reports that he'll be a game-time decision this weekend.
The Cardinals and Seahawks kick off at 4:15 p.m. (ET) which means the inactive list would come out at 2:45 p.m. (ET). If Wells isn't going to play, he'd be on that list. If he isn't on the inactive list, then it truly will be a game-time decision on him.
Update: Peyton Hills has been ruled out, Montario Hardesty to start.
Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis was a late addition to the injury report on Friday as he came down with strep throat and a fever. He missed practice and is now listed as questionable heading into Sunday's game against the 0-2 Dolphins. The Browns are hopefully Hillis will play, but given that he is contagious at the moment and likely weakened from the fever, it is looking like a game time call.
This is a situation you'll need to pay close attention to all the way up until the 1:00pm ET kickoff. If Hillis is unable to go Montario Hardesty becomes the go-to guy in Cleveland on Sunday. The more significant problem for fantasy football owners is if Hillis is active but loses a significant chunk of his carries to Hardesty. It turns into a roll of the dice type of situation.
We'll hear more about Hillis' status and at that point you may just have to trust your gut. If Hillis is active I think you have to start him unless there is a clear word that Hardesty will get a large chunk of the carries. If Hill is active, he's your guy.
For more on the Browns, check out Dawgs By Nature.
New England Patriots defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth has been ruled out for the game against the Buffalo Bills. Haynesworth injured his back last week against the San Diego Chargers and was limited all week in practice. Even if Haynesworth was healthy however, there is no telling how effective he would have been for the Patriots. Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe charted Haynesworth's defensive snaps last week and noted that he was handled one-on-one by Chargers guard Kris Dielman on at least 15 plays. Albert played only 22 plays however, so that was a big time problem.
In the week one matched up with the Miami Dolphins, Haynesworth looked like the Haynesworth of old, who was one of the most dominant interior defensive lineman in the league.
Without Haynesworth, the Patriots already thin defensive line will be even thinner. The Patriots will also be without defensive lineman Mike Wright and Myron Pryor.
With just hours to go before today’s NFL slate kicks off, a number of key players have already been ruled out of action, including tight end Antonio Gates and wide receivers Miles Austin and Mario Manningham. SB Nation Medical Expert Dr. Ali Mohamadi runs down other significant injuries affecting this weekend’s games and discusses how they might affect your fantasy rosters.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson appears to be getting past a nagging groin injury that threatened his production in week three. The Bills have listed Johnson as probable on the final injury report and he apparently is walking without any noticeable hitch in his step.
That last comment about walking is of significance because earlier in the week he said he was feeling the injury when he walked. Prior to Monday he had only felt the injury on the field but this week he was feeling it when he walked and it was apparently noticeable. If the injury is no longer noticeable, he would appear to be on the road to recovery.
For fantasy owners this means you should get him into your lineup with great haste. Johnson is off to a very strong start with 12 receptions, 162 yards and two touchdowns through two games. The Bills high octane offense is perfect for fantasy owners and I would suspect Johnson is in line for a monster season. Against the Patriots, the Bills could find themselves needing to continue with the pass-heavy offense, which bodes well for Johnson.
For more on the Bills, check out Buffalo Rumblings.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Kellen Winslow is listed as questionable on the team's injury report for Sunday afternoon against the Atlanta Falcons, but really this is just more of the same for Winslow. The prolific tight end has dealt with knee issues and is often listed on the injury report in a given week. Although he is listed as questionable for week three, he was a full participant in practice on Friday, which would seemingly guarantee he'll be active on Sunday.
Generally speaking, Kellen Winslow is more often than not going to be included on the Bucs injury report more as precaution than anything else. If something jumps out we'll make sure and let you know, but generally speaking, his inclusion on the injury list as probable or questionable is not a red flag.
Simply put, he remains a guy you should be starting every week. The Falcons are a tough matchup for the Bucs and I'd suspect Josh Freeman will be looking Winslow's way fairly frequently on Sunday.
For more on the Bucs, check out Bucs Nation.
Bob Holtzmann of ESPN reports that signs are pointing to Foster not playing at New Orleans. Separately, we've heard from a league source that Foster is not expected to play.
Foster, last season's rushing leader, has taken just 10 rushes this season for only 33 yards. Houston is 2-0 after a blowout victory over the Indianapolis Colts and last week's win over the Miami Dolphins. Yet, a Saints team that sacked Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler six times last week will look to wreak havoc once again on Matt Schaub and not having Foster in the backfield will only put more pressure on Schaub.
Ben Tate, who's racked up 10will take Foster's place at running back. If Tate rushes for 100 yards Sunday, he will become the second back in NFL history to rush for 100 yards in his first three starts.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is expected to start today against the New York Giants. Vick suffered a concussion in Sunday's loss to the Atlanta Falcons, but appears to have recovered and passed the necessary concussion baseline tests. Vick was required to be cleared by an independent physician as well as the Eagles physician. Vick is officially listed as questionable on the Eagles injury report, but all indications are that he will start the game.
If for some reason Vick cannot go, back up quarterback Mike Kafka would be the expected starter for the Eagles. Kafka finished last weeks game against the Falcons, posting some pretty impressive numbers. Kafka completed 7 of 9 of his pass attempts for 72 yards late in the fourth quarter.
A questionable status typically denotes a player has a "50-50" shot of playing in the game. If the Eagles were not going to start Vick on Sunday, I would think they'd have ruled him out already or listed him as a game time decision.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was upgraded to probable with a knee injury on the injury report after practicing in full on Friday. Being listed as probable, it's expected Ryan will start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and try to improve his record against the Bucs to 6-1 for his career.
While Ryan is sure to start against the Bucs, if there is another viable quarterback on your fantasy bench you might want to consider playing them over Matt Ryan. While Ryan is 5-1 in his career against the Buccaneers, he has thrown eight interceptions and only five touchdowns against them with a passer rating of 65.9. The Bucs are simply the bane of Matt Ryan, at least statistically.
On the season, Ryan is completing 64% of his passes, but has only four touchdowns and three interceptions so far. I wouldn't expect Ryan's typical type of game against the Buccaneers to change this week, given his mediocre start to the season.
New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes was limited in practice on Friday but is still only listed as probable for Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders. The Jets receiver has been dealing with a quad injury this season but seems to be getting by without too much trouble. More than likely the Jets will simply rest him as much as they can during the week until he feels he is back to 100%. He'll remain on the injury report each week during that time but it's nothing to get too worried about.
Holmes has gotten off to a solid enough start with 70 yards in week one and 42 yards and a touchdown in week two. Now he faces a Raiders defense that has gotten some great play from Stanford Routt and abysmal play from Chris Johnson. Given the scheming (or lack thereof) the Raiders showed last week against the Bills, Holmes looks like a solid WR2 option against Oakland.
For more on the Jets, check out Gang Green Nation.
The Oakland Raiders cut back running back Darren McFadden's practice reps this past week as the dynamic back has been used quite a bit in the first two games of the season. McFadden has been dealing with some shoulder soreness the first two weeks of the season but it has not limited during either game. He has 299 yards of total offense and a pair of touchdowns as he has been a key to the Raiders offense.
McFadden faces a tough Jets defense that has been a little stronger against the pass than the run. Given McFadden's use the first two weeks, it would not surprise me to see Michael Bush get a few more carries. He can be a bull in short yardage situations with the necessary burst to get some nice yards after that first broken tackle. While lost RB touches aren't high on a fantasy owner's wish list, for a back like McFadden, if it keeps him healthy, it might be worth modest loss from those touches if it keeps him on the field the entire season.
Whatever the case, McFadden remains a must-start as long as he is healthy. He is an incredibly dynamic back who adds tremendous value in the passing game. There's no reason to bench him for the foreseeable future. If you added Michael Bush thinking there would be some value there, you're just going to have to wait and see what happens with McFadden.
For more on the Raiders, check out Silver & Black Pride.
Jacksonville Jaguars Pro Bowl tight end Marcedes Lewis missed last weeks game against the New York Jets that saw the Jacksonville Jaguars blown out 32-3 and look totally inept on offense, passing for less than 130 total yards. Lewis strained his calf in the Jaguars week one victory over the Tennessee Titans. Originally thought the be cramps during the game, Lewis wound up limited all week and missed the game in week two.
This week however, Lewis was limited in Wednesday's practice, but practiced in full on both Thursday and Friday. Lewis is expected to start against the Carolina Panthers and be a factor in the passing game. On the Jaguars, Lewis is the second major target in the passing game that will now feature rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert. What is a better safety net for a rookie quarterback than a 6 foot 8 tight end who's a former basketball player?
Lewis looks like a good play in fantasy against a Panthers team missing two of their three starting linebackers, and who've gotten killed by tight ends in the first two weeks of the season.
For more on the Jags, head over to Big Cat Country.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark is officially listed as questionable on the injury report for the Colts Sunday night match up with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Clark sat out Wednesday's practice with a foot injury, but returned in a limited capacity on Thursday. Friday however, Clark once again sat out of practice. The Colts are notorious for playing with the injury report and the questionable designation. The Colts listed a total of 12 players as questionable for Sunday night.
Clark is likely to be a game time decision, but because he plays the Sunday night game nothing definitive will come until the late games are well in progress. Colts back up tight end Jacob Tamme is listed as questionable with a concussion, so if you're reliant on Colts tight ends in your fantasy league for this week's match up... I'm sorry. Even if Clark was healthy and for sure playing, having Kerry Collins as the guy throwing him the football doesn't bode well. On the season, Clark is averaging just 8.9 yards per catch, which is nearly 3 full yards lower than his career average.
For more on the Colts, head over to Stampede Blue.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant is listed as questionable on the injury update for today's match up with the San Francisco 49ers. Bryant missed week two with a thigh contusion and had not practiced all week until Saturday when Bryant did some light passing drills work. Bryant is likely to wind up a game time decision, but the Cowboys will need Bryant in the line up with Miles Austin already ruled out for the game. Bryant only has 3 catches so far on the season, but if he can play he'll significantly help the Cowboys offense.
If Bryant can't go, the onus of the Cowboys passing attack will likely go through tight end Jason Witten and wide receiver Kevin Ogletree. Outside of those two, last weeks hero and reality TV star Jesse Holley will likely see an increase in reps and production. It's likely the Cowboys also use a heavy dose of passes to Felix Jones out of the backfield.
For more on the Cowboys, head over to Blogging the Boys.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo suffered two cracked ribs and a punctured lung playing against the San Francisco 49ers. Romo left the game mid-way through, but returned to lead the Cowboys back to an overtime victory. Romo is listed as questionable on the injury report after practicing for the first time on Friday. Romo did some light throwing, but is still expected to start.
While Romo is showing his toughness by playing with the rib injury and planning to play this week, he'll be limited offensively without wide receiver Miles Austin and with receiver Dez Bryant being listed as questionable. The Redskins are giving up over 235 yards in the air per game so far, but they've sacked the opposing team's quarterbacks 7 times. How well the Cowboys offensive line pass protects for Romo will determine his effectiveness more so than his receivers. Romo, not matter how tough he is, won't be able to take many shots to the midsection.
For more on the Cowboys, head over to Blogging the Boys.
Barber suffered the injury during the preseason and has yet to make his debut with the Bears, who signed the former Dallas Cowboys' Pro Bowler to a two-year, $4.5 million contract to be the No. 2 back behind Matt Forte. After the release of veteran Chester Taylor, those duties have fallen to Kahlil Bell while Barber has been inactive. Bell has 23 yards on 11 carries in two games this season.
This week, Barber was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday before being a full participant in Friday's practice, putting him on target to back up Forte on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. Barber is considered to be a game-time decision.
During his six-year career with the Cowboys, Barber had 56 carries for 263 yards and a touchdown in four games against the Packers.
For more on the Bears, be sure to visit Windy City Gridiron.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson's status for the game against the San Francisco 49ers is still up in the air and a bit of a question mark. Simpson is listed on the injury report as questionable, yet the wide receiver has no actual injury. Simpson was held out of practice on both Thursday and Friday, mostly due to Simpson's legal situation. The wide receiver was questioned by authorities on Wednesday after two pounds of marijuana was delivered to his home. Another 6.5 pounds of marijuana was found inside his home following a search.
The Bengals have been relatively mum on Simpson's status for Sunday, but it's still possible the wide receiver will still play. "We're still taking to people and figuring out what the best thing is for Jerome," Lewis said, per Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Any decisions I make on it are going to be based on what people recommend is the best thing for him."
For more on the Bengals, head over to Cincy Jungle.
The seven-time Pro Bowler missed six of the final eight games of the 2010 season with foot injuries that ultimately landed Gates on injured reserve for the first time in his eight-year career. Gates also battled a foot injury during the 2008 season.
Gates caught eight passes for 74 yards in the Chargers' season-opening win over the Minnesota Vikings, but the New England Patriots double covered Gates throughout last week's 35-21 loss, effectively removing him from the offense. Gates was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and made an early exit from an attempt to practice on Friday.
According to a report from Pro Football Talk, Gates' foot injury will keep him on the sideline. If the report is correct, veteran Randy McMichael will be asked to step up in a starting role. McMichael has four receptions for 26 yards on the season.
For updates on Gates, and the four Chargers who are listed as "doubtful" for today's game, check out Bolts From The Blue.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt has been dealing with a hamstring injury, but is expected to play against the Denver Broncos. Britt was a full participant in practice on Friday and has been listed as probable for the game. Britt has been dealing with his hamstring injury since the preseason, but it hasn't stopped him from currently leading the AFC in receiving yards with 271. Britt is averaging 19.4 yards per catch with 3 touchdowns and 135+ yards in each of the first two games.
Players who are listed as probable generally have a "75-25" chance of playing and it's rare they do not. If you have Britt in your fantasy lineup, expect him to play and still be the Titans primary receiving target against a banged up Denver Broncos secondary. The Broncos are currently giving up over 200 yards passing per game, but look to be without Champ Bailey at cornerback.
For more on the Titans, head over to Music City Miracles.
Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson was a full participant in practice on Friday and is expected to start against the Denver Broncos. Johnson was listed as probable on the injury report with sore ribs. Even with sore ribs, Johnson should be licking his chops as he's set to face a Denver Broncos defense that has struggled to stop the run. The Broncos are currently ranked 28th against the run, allowing over 130 yards per game on the ground.
Johnson has had a frustratingly slow start to the season with just 33 carries for 77 yards with a dismal 2.3 yards per carry after missing the entire preseason while trying to get a new contract. While Johnson has struggled to get going, the match up with the Broncos is a fantastic opportunity for him to get going. If Johnson's ribs become a problem in the game, expect back up running backs Javon Ringer and Jamie Harper to get a lot of touches.
For more on the Titans, head over to Music City Miracles.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin's name has become just as synonymous with migraine headaches as it has with big plays in the passing and return game. So when the third-year pro out of Florida appeared on the team's Thursday injury report with an "illness", concern raised that Harvin's migraine issues had returned.
Turns out, the "illness" was a temporary stomach-related issue and Harvin returned to practice on Friday.
"Man, it was a stomachache...I'm fine, fine, fine. Anything else?," Harvin said on Friday via Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Harvin was a full participant during Friday's practice and is listed as "probable" on the team's final injury report of the week.
Despite not seeing as much playing time as starters Michael Jenkins and Bernard Berrian, Harvin leads the Vikings with nine receptions for 83 yards, ranks fourth on the team with 33 rushing yards and took one of his two kick returns back for a 103-yard kick return on the Vikings' first play of the 2011 season.
Harvin can be expected to fulfill all those duties against the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
For more of your Vikings needs, check out the Daily Norseman.
The 2009 first-round pick out of Georgia had just 22 yards on eight carries in the season-opener against the Oakland Raiders and missed last week's win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Moreno was limited throughout the week, but said on Thursday that he plans to be ready on Sunday.
"I feel really good. Went out there, practiced today, ran around, felt good," Moreno told The Denver Post. "But it all comes down to whatever the coaches want."
Should Moreno miss another week, veteran Willis McGahee would get the start and the bulk of the carries against a revamped Titans run defense that ranks 14th against the run through two weeks this season. The 29-year-old McGahee had 28 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals a week ago.
For more on the Broncos, visit Mile High Report.
Rice is officially listed as "Probable" on the Seahawks' final injury report of the week.
Signed to a five-year, $41 million contract that included $18.5 million in guaranteed money, Rice played sparingly in the preseason before missing the first two games of the regular season. Rice was expected to add a deep threat element to the Seahawks' offense, which ranks 32nd in the NFL entering Week 3.
During FOX's pregame show last Sunday, Jay Glazer reported that Rice had a torn labrum in his shoulder that the team hoped would not require season-ending surgery. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll confirmed that there's a labrum issue, but was adamant that Rice was close to returning to action.
"He’s going to play," Carroll said on Friday via Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune. "He’s still probable. We’ve got to make sure he wakes up right and all that. But he had a great week, and we’re excited to have him back."
A Pro Bowler in 2009, the 24-year-old Rice missed most of last season with a hip injury and is eager to get back on the field.
Officially listed as "questionable" on the injury report, Jackson suffered the injury on his first carry of the season, a 47-yard touchdown run against the Philadelphia Eagles. Jackson had one more carry against the Eagles, but spent the rest of the opener on the sidelines and was inactive for Monday night's loss to the New York Giants.
This week, Jackson did not practice on Wednesday before being limited on Thursday and Friday.
"At least he (Jackson) got some work today and we'll see where we're at tomorrow," Spagnuolo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It may be a game-time thing."
Update: Beanie Wells' optimistic tweet.
Wells, who ranks eighth in the NFL with 183 rushing yards through two weeks, suffered the injury during Thursday's practice and is regarded by head coach Ken Whisenhunt as a game-time decision.
"It’s doing well," Wells told the team's official website. "It got a little tight yesterday so we decided to let it calm down a little bit.
"I don’t think I’ll be limited at all if I play Sunday."
After trading restricted free agent Tim Hightower to the Washington Redskins and losing 2011 second-round pick Ryan Williams to a season-ending knee injury, running back depth is an issue for the Cardinals. In addition to Wells' hamstring No. 2 running back LaRod Stephens-Howling is listed as questionable with a hand injury. Those injuries could lead to more playing for 32-year-old Chester Taylor, who had one carry for zero yards in last week's loss to the Redskins.
For more Cardinals coverage, visit Revenge Of The Birds.
St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson declared that he will once again be a game-time decision this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson was a game-time decision against the Giants with his quad injury but was unable to get everything together in time for the game. According to Jackson, he was close to a guy but couldn't complete a 40-yard run prior to the game.
This is a tough call for fantasy football owners because he is a late start on Sunday. Playing in the 4:05pm ET game is better than his Monday Night Football game last week, but it still creates a tough decision. The team does not have to declare its inactive list until an hour before the game, which does you no good if you can't afford to wait that long for an announcement.
If you are stuck in that predicament, the best bet is to wait and see if anything happens before the 1:05pm starts. Beyond that, the Ravens do represent a tough matchup for Jackson. If Jackson were healthy he'd be a must-start no matter the matchup. But if he's slowed down at all by the quad injury, the safest play might just be sitting him on Sunday. Wait until Sunday morning in case news breaks early, but if you can afford to wait, do it.
It's worth noting that his primary backup Cadillac Williams missed the first two days of practice but thinks he can go on Sunday. If Jackson is inactive you might want to hold off on starting Cadillac for now as his status does remain up in the air.
Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick was back running the first team offense at practice once again on Friday. The Eagles subsequently released their official injury report and listed Vick as questionable. The Eagles QB suffered a concussion in Sunday's loss to the Atlanta Falcons but appears to have quickly recovered from any post-concussion symptoms. He was required to be cleared by the Eagles physician as well as an independent neurological physician.
Thus far Vick has been cleared to practice but the team has not specifically said he was cleared for Sunday's game. I would imagine Vick will get final clearance either Saturday or Sunday so the team can make sure symptoms do not creep up over the weekend. As it currently stands, however, Vick would seem likely to get that start on Sunday.
A "questionable" status is always a pain for fantasy owners since it means the player is basically 50-50 to play. However, in reality Vick is much more than 50% likely to play. He has passed all the post-concussion tests thus far and is practicing with the first team with no apparent setbacks. Barring the unexpected Saturday or Sunday morning when he wakes up, he's going to start. We'll keep a final eye out, but if you have to make a decision now due to lack of computer access Saturday or Sunday, start Vick.
The Cincinnati Bengals released their Thursday practice participation report and rookie wide receiver A.J. Green made an unexpected appearance. Green was listed as a limited participant in practice with a toe issue. He was not on Wednesday's report, which would indicate the injury likely occurred during Wednesday's practice or early during Thursday's practice.
Tomorrow we'll know a bit more about the extent of the injury, although I'd imagine at worst Green will be listed as probable on the Bengals injury report. The question is whether he's worth starting if healthy. The rookie receiver is off to a strong start, leading rookies in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He has found an early chemistry with Andy Dalton that could prove quite valuable the rest of this season.
For the purposes of week three, Green has a favorable matchup against a 49ers secondary that has been less than stellar through the first two weeks. The 49ers seem to mix and match their cornerbacks between the left and right side, with their best corner, Carlos Rogers, moving around against different receivers. If Green gets more time against Tarell Brown, he could be in line for a big day.
The Houston Texans announced that running back Arian Foster was a limited participant in practice Thursday, a day after he missed practice entirely. Foster remains a big question mark for Sunday, although his participation in practice on Thursday was a sizable step forward.
The Arian Foster/Ben Tate situation looks like it will come down to a bit of a game-time decision on Sunday. It would not surprise me at all if Foster was active for the game but operated as the clear number two to Tate. Through two games Ben Tate has shown he can handle the rushing load, which would seemingly make it easier for the Texans to either deactivate Foster or at least limit his carries.
For the Arian Foster owners out there (myself included), more than likely your best bet will be to sit him. Short of Gary Kubiak specifically saying Foster will be starting AND getting a lot of carries, it seems like too much of a gamble at this point. If you have Ben Tate and Arian Foster, you should plan on starting Tate, even if Foster is going to be active. We'll have more updates through the weekend, but that's the logical thought for now.
Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick was back on the practice field with the first team offense on Thursday after passing a round of concussion tests. While Vick was cleared to practice, the Eagles are taking a day-by-day approach with their quarterback describing the decision-making process as a constant ongoing process.
NFL teams seem to enjoy playing coy about injuries and returns, particularly when it comes to key members of the team. Coaches think that by playing coy they can force the coming week's opponent to waste time preparing for somebody (Mike Kafka in this example) that won't hit the playing field.
For your fantasy football starting lineup purposes, you have to assume that the odds of Michael Vick starting are pretty high. The Eagles are playing some games with this but it seems like we've reached a point where you can assume Vick will play. We'll have another update with the final injury report tomorrow but I wouldn't expect much to change. Vick will likely be listed as probable and Andy Reid will still be mum, electing to wait until Sunday to announce Vick. In that case, you'll need to keep an eye out before the 1:00 pm ET games.
Editor's Update: Vick will be listed as Did Not Participate In Practice. He threw around a football on the side, but Mike Kafka took the majority of first team reps. We'll have more on this following tomorrow's Eagles practice.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick took part in a Wednesday morning walkthrough, which is a positive sign as he continues his recovery from a concussion suffered during Sunday Night Football. The Eagles have begun their practice for the day but they have not yet released a practice participation report for the day. Those practice participation reports will be key pieces of information for fantasy football owners wondering what to do with Michael Vick this week.
Concussions are a tough injury for players and the timetable for clearing a player leaves a fantasy football owner waiting several days for word on the results. While the Eagles seem to think he'll play this Sunday, he must first be medically cleared after a battery of tests. The upside is you'll likely know by Friday what is up with Vick. The downside is you might be delayed in making a free agent decision at QB.
More than likely you've got a backup quarterback you can start on Sunday. While almost all fantasy leagues only start one quarterback, most everybody drafts two for bye and injury purposes. If you haven't added a second QB, I'd recommend doing that even if Vick is cleared to play. As a scrambling QB, you never know when he'll miss extended time after a tough hit. It is better to play it safe than sorry.
A day after sitting out Monday Night Football against the New York Giants, St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson's status remains day-to-day, although the Rams are hopeful he'll be able to play on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. He tried out his quad prior to Monday Night Football but there was enough pain to deactivate him. For the next few days we'll be keeping an eye on his participation in practice.
Although it sounds likely that Jackson will be back on Sunday, the Rams could use him all the more because backup running back Cadillac Williams is also listed as day-to-day with a hamstring injury. Cadillac exited Monday's game late with the injury and will likely be a bit limited in practice this week. For fantasy owners, Cadillac was likely already on the outs with the return of Steven Jackson. More than likely this further devalues Williams. We'll keep an eye on the practice participation reports for both backs this week.
Through two weeks of the 2011 NFL season, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson is off to a hot start, averaging six catches, 81 yards and a touchdown through two games. However, even as Johnson is emerging as a consistent fantasy performer, he is dealing with a nagging groin injury that could still derail his 2011 season.
On Monday, Johnson was walking gingerly in Buffalo and told reporters that he can feel the injury when he is walking, which is something that hadn't been an issue previously. Prior to Monday he felt the injury on the football field but not as much off the field. This would indicate the injury has gotten a little bit more serious. At the same time, Johnson has said he has no plans to miss any games.
As it currently stands, Johnson will likely miss one practice each week and end up on the injury report as a regular "probable." Until you hear otherwise, Johnson remains a starter every week. The Bills passing attack is looking pretty impressive and if they can maintain it, Johnson will be a huge beneficiary. Until the injury knocks him out of a game, stick with him.
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