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The Oakland Raiders escaped from Denver with a hard-fought 23-20 victory over the Broncos. Unfortunately the victory came with what appears for now to be a modest price. Wide receiver Jacoby Ford left the game in the third quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return. The Raiders will likely have an update on Tuesday as to the seriousness of the injury. Hamstring injuries can be tricky for speedsters since they can be tweaked so quickly.
Hopefully the injury does not keep him out too long as the Raiders game plan would indicate Ford will be a focal point. Oakland's offense struggled to get going, but Ford did get his chances early on. Ford caught three receptions for 22 yards, remained back as the kick returner, and was even mixed in to a pistol formation with Darren McFadden.
The Raiders lined up McFadden at the QB position and Ford in the running back position behind McFadden. Although Ford could not catch the McFadden pitch on the option, it shows the Raiders are intent on figuring out ways to get Ford more involved in the offense.
Ford is a good buy low option at this point either via the waiver wire or in a trade. If he is on the waiver wire, it might be worth saving your waiver priority and waiting to see if he hits free agency. If he makes it to free agency you can scoop him up and not have wasted potentially important waiver priority. Just a thought.
St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo announced Monday afternoon that running back Steven Jackson is probably not going to play week two against the New York Giants. This follows Jackson suffering a quad injury in the first quarter of the Rams 31-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Dr. Ali Mohamadi discussed the injury briefly and described his return in week two as questionable. As Dr. Mohamadi stated, if you're short at running back, Cadillac Williams would appear to be a smart addition for this week and as a general handcuff moving forward. Cadillac had a strong performance in place of Jackson and will get the start next Monday if Jackson has to sit.
The Giants defense struggled against the Redskins, although they did hold Tim Hightower to a low yard per carry total. If the Giants defense is going to continue struggling, Cadillac could prove to be a very solid option this weekend. As for the rest of the season, Jackson gets banged up a decent amount but usually battles through it. Cadillac will remain the handcuff to Jackson and is probably worth a pick-up as the quad strain does not leave a definite time-table for return at this point.
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio told the media Monday morning that tight end Marcedes Lewis would not miss extended time with his calf injury. Lewis left the Jaguars victory over Tennessee early in the third quarter with what appeared to be cramps. Following the game, the Jaguars described it as a calf strain, which opened up speculation that it could lead to missed games. Del Rio’s update is not all that specific, but would seem to indicate it’s not serious.
Lewis is coming off a career year in 2010 in which he had career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He become a fantasy monster thanks in large part to his ten receiving touchdowns. The Jaguars had a lot of question marks entering 2011, particularly with the release of David Garrard.
Although the passing offense didn’t exactly blow the doors out on Sunday, tight ends are often fairly valuable to a new quarterback. McCown has some years under his belt, but limited starting experience, which might get him to rely a bit on his tight end a bit more. If Lewis is healthy, his value remains solid even in the Jaguars questionable offense.
The San Diego Chargers battled back from an early deficit on Sunday to defeat the Minnesota Vikings 24-17. The Chargers were forced to rely primarily on their passing attack as the duo of Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert could not get much going on the ground. Mathews and Tolbert combined for 80 yards on 24 carries. Of course, they also combined on 12 receptions for 131 yards, so they weren't all bad.
In bad news for the Chargers, Tolbert limped off the field in the fourth quarter and will undergo a precautionary MRI on his knee. For now the injury looks to be minor, but if it restricts him in week two against the Patriots, Ryan Mathews could benefit with some more consistent carries. For some running backs, having to split carries does not allow them to gain the kind of momentum that can lead to breaking off big runs. Mathews has plenty of question marks around him, so it would be nice to see him get a shot as the work horse to see if he can handle the role.
As the coming week progresses we'll see how active Tolbert is in practice. Overall, the Chargers running back situation is messy enough that hopefully you have a bit of depth at the position. Mathews would seem to be the starter but Tolbert takes away too many carries to make either one wildly effective at this point on a regular, consistent basis.
49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree had a modest impact on Sunday as he was only targeted twice and ended the day with one reception for four yards. Crabtree ended up leaving midway through the game due to soreness in his left foot. That is the same foot where Crabtree has now suffered two fractures since 2009. Crabtree had x-rays taken and they came up negative.
After the game Crabtree stated that he thought he would be able to play next week, but he will likely miss some practice time as he recovers from the injury. Crabtree missed all of training camp with a fracture in that left foot and thus finds himself a bit behind the rest of the receiving corps in terms of on-field work.
That leaves him as a significant question mark in fantasy football. He was likely drafted in most leagues and now people are likely questioning what to do with him. Until by weeks hit most folks can afford to stash a player on their bench. Bye weeks are still a ways away so for now it's just a matter of sitting him until he gets back on the field consistently. As it currently stands, when healthy he is a flex option at best while he tries to establish some manner of consistency in the NFL.
St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola suffered a gruesome injury (pretty gruesome looking picture) Sunday afternoon as he dislocated his left elbow while making his fifth catch of the game. Amendola had five catches for 45 yards at the time of the injury and seemed to be picking up right where he left off in 2010. In just his second season, Amendola had 85 receptions for 689 yards and had emerged as a favorite target of rookie QB Sam Bradford.
The injury cuts short what was looking to be a promising third year in the NFL as Amendola is likely going to end up on injured reserve. John Clayton initially estimated he would miss eight to ten weeks, but subsequent reports look at it as a likely season-ending injury.
In Amendola's absence, the Rams will consider a variety of options from their current rookies to the numerous veterans available in free agency. That list includes anybody from Brandon Stokley to Randy Moss to even Terrell Owens once his knee is better. For Sam Bradford, losing such a big weapon hurts given how frequently he targeted Amendola in 2010. Bradford was already more of a bye-week and injury fill-in and this loss would likely downgrade him just a bit.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant started off Sunday Night Football with a dominant first quarter as he hauled in three passes for 71 yards and a touchdown, but unfortunately for Bryant and his fantasy football owners, the good times would not roll on. Bryant appeared to come up with cramps on a first quarter punt return, but now it appears as though it might be a bruised quad. The Cowboys will likely update the situation Monday morning.
Although the situation could get worse, Bryant is likely looking at nothing more than some missed practice time. If he does miss practice time, you'll see his name on injury reports Wednesday and possibly Thursday. Do not panic. I would also predict that he will likely be a simply "Probable" on the injury report.
It's only one quarter of one game, but if we're lucky, Dez Bryant is getting locked in for a breakout season in just his second year in the league. The Cowboys have several big receiving weapons, but Bryant would appear to be the most explosive.
The biggest injury of the day for fantasy football purposes saw St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson strain his quad muscle early in the first quarter of the Rams 31-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Jackson broke things open early with a 47-yard touchdown run on the Rams first offensive play from scrimmage. On their next drive he rushed for nine yards on the first play, at which point he left the game with the quad strain.
Following the game, the Rams stated that Jackson had undergone an MRI and results would be available on Monday. Even if there is no significant damage, Jackson will likely take it fairly easy in practice this week. The Rams week two game is Monday night against the New York Giants, which gives Jackson an extra day to get healthy.
If Jackson were unable to go next Monday, Cadillac Williams would likely get the start. Even if Jackson can go on Monday, Cadillac may have earned himself a few extra carries with a throw-back performance against the Eagles as he finished the game with 91 yards on 19 carries.
The NFL wrapped up its Sunday morning and afternoon slate of games and as Sunday Night Football roars on, there are several notable injuries to report from a fantasy perspective. We'll have more on each injury later, but for now here is a quick rundown of some of the notable injuries:
Rams RB Steven Jackson: Shortly after breaking off a huge run to give the Rams a 7-0 lead against the Eagles, Jackson came up lame with a quad injury and missed the rest of the game. The Rams expect to have a status update on Monday as to Jackson's status for week two.
Rams QB Sam Bradford: Hurt his right index finger on a follow through and while he reportedly didn't break any bones, there is some concern about nerve damage in the finger.
49ers WR Michael Crabtree: The receiver came off the bench early in the 49ers-Seahawks game but after two targets netted him one reception and four yards, Crabtree left due to pain in his left foot. This is the same foot he has twice fractured since 2009. X-Rays came back negative but Crabtree was not going to head back on the field with the extreme soreness in a notorious part of his body. No word on his status for week two.
Texans RB Derrick Ward: In the Texans blowout of Indianapolis, Ward left the game as a precaution with an ankle injury. He says he'll be ready for week two, but if Arian Foster is out again, it will be interesting to see what kind of reps Ward gets. Backup running back Ben Tate was a beast in place of Ward with 24 rushes for 116 yards. It was an easy game to roll up yardage, but they might get another chance against Miami.
Chargers RB Mike Tolbert: The Chargers backup running back split carries evenly with Ryan Mathews, but Tolbert was the much bigger play in the passing game as he finished nine receptions and two touchdowns. Tolbert left the game with a right leg injury, but now it sounds like it is at most a tweak or a strain. He would appear to be the red-zone guy and the passing down guy in San Diego if healthy.
Texans TE Marcedes Lewis: The Jaguars tight end caught two passes for 28 yards before leaving the game in the third quarter with what seemed like cramps. The Jaguars are now saying it might be a calf strain, which would leave Lewis in doubt for week two.
We'll be back later with more specific breakdowns of the fantasy impact of these injuries.
The Seattle Seahawks injury report listed wide receiver Sidney Rice as doubtful for week one with a shoulder injury. A doubtful player is a player with at best a 25% chance of playing on Sunday. The Seattle Seahawks have limited fantasy options outside of Rice and tight end Zach Miller and this would seem to further limit them.
The situation is further compounded by the uncertainty surrounding Rice's shoulder. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll does not believe the injury is as serious as the one that landed John Carlson on injured reserve, but he won't know more until next week.
"Probably by the end of next week we'll know if he's really responding," Carroll said. "He feels way better."
The absence of Rice likely means more looks for Miller as Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu are not exactly fantasy stalwarts. Miller has always been a very solid tight end, but this injury could benefit him quite a bit, particularly given the question marks surrounding Tarvaris Jackson. I would expect Jackson to look to his veteran tight end frequently, even when Rice is healthy again.
Lost amidst the tough loss Thursday night was news that Marques Colston reportedly suffered a shoulder injury in the loss. Head coach Sean Payton did not reveal the extent of it but news reports are now indicating it could be moderately serious. According to a tweet from Jay Glazer, Colston suffered a broken collarbone and will miss approximately four weeks. We're still waiting on further confirmation of the injury and the timeline, but if it is in fact a broken collarbone, four weeks might be on the optimistic side.
The Saints receiving corps has taken some serious hits lately with Colston's injury following a nagging groin innjury to Lance Moore. After not playing Thursday night, it sounds like Moore is likely questionable for the Saints week two contest against the Chicago Bears.
Saints QB Drew Brees might be losing weapons a little too quickly, but he did excellent work spreading the wealth Thursday night as he completed passes to six players, with five of those players having 50 or more yards. It is tough to lose two of your top receiving options, but until Brees proves otherwise, fantasy owners should not get too concerned.
For WRs Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem and TE Jimmy Graham this means more looks in the short term. They need to prove they can consistently come down with the ball, but Meachem and Henderson are both looking like excellent flex options until Moore and Colston get back. Graham was developing into a starting option prior to the opener and these receiver injuries make it that much more reasonable to start him for the foreseeable future.
The Arian Foster injury situation remains a bit sketchy as John Clayton reported Friday on Sportscenter that Foster is not looking likely to play on Sunday. More importantly, Clayton believes the hamstring injury could be a three to four week injury, which would be a tough loss for fantasy owners given his status as one of the best running backs in the league.
On Thursday, Clayton tweeted that Derrick Ward would be expected to start on Sunday with Ben Tate operating as the number two back. In the leagues I've been in, Tate has often been drafted ahead of Ward, if Ward is drafted at all.
This is a tricky situation week one because of the injury and the opponent. I would expect both backs to get a decent number of carries unless one back explodes out of the gates. That would make it a tough start week one since we don't know how Kubiak will use the backs. And yet, with the Texans hosted a highly questionable Colts team, a big early lead could mean both backs get plenty of carries.
For now, depending on game-time news, the safest play would be using one of the other running backs on your bench. It might be worth a roll of the dice on Tate or Ward, but if you've got another running back with a bit more certainty, I'd recommend looking at him.
The big news out of Indianapolis today is that Colts QB Peyton Manning had surgery Thursday morning that could potentially put him on the shelf for two-to-three months. We wish Manning the best of luck in his recovery, but the implications of this surgery are extensive. The folks at Stampede Blue are discussing Manning's future, but we're going to focus in on the impact this will have on fantasy football.
Whether or not Manning is placed on injured reserve, this surgery means he is likely done for the fantasy football season. Even if he returns in early December, league playoffs would be getting underway and it is unlikely someone would want to roll the dice with a recovering Manning at that point. It is a tough call whether to cut Manning but I would say, if you've got an injury slot on your roster, stash him there if you don't have any other injured players.
As for the rest of the Indianapolis Colts players, the implications for this Sunday's Texans game expand out for much of the season. There are a lot of question marks that make it hard to assess where players stand. In reality, Sunday will give us a slightly better idea of things, but even then it may take two or three weeks before we recognize the full fantasy impact of the Manning's injury.
Kerry Collins takes over as starting QB for the Colts and as we've said, he is a serviceable quarterback that I actually think will keep the team competitive, albeit not at the level of Manning. However, for fantasy purposes, he is likely still wrapping his head around the Colts playbook and still developing chemistry and timing with the rest of the Colts offense. It could take a few weeks to get completely in sync, assuming he is able to get in sync at all.
Among the Colts skill position players, one could argue Joseph Addai could be the primary beneficiary. The Colts were more of a passing team with Manning at the helm, but it's possible they start to emphasize the run a bit more with Collins at QB. Addai would need to hold up under the load, but after struggles last year, he could be due for a serious bounce-back year.
Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark are likely going to be guys Collins leans on early while he is figuring things out. Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon and others are going to get their looks, but I sense that a veteran QB like Collins will take advantage of the great veterans at his disposal. For now, Wayne and Clark remain every day starts until Collins and the Colts prove otherwise.
As for the younger players? I honestly don't know. I think you have to take a wait and see approach with Collie at this point. He's a very talented receiver, but who knows what will happen for now.
The news on Houston Texans running back Arian Foster's status for Sunday continues to remain murky at best. The hamstring injury threatens to leave Foster on the sideline or limited in his carries. Foster was asked yesterday if he'll play on Sunday and he said "I don't know." Adam Schefter has since suggested on ESPN that Foster may play in a bit of a part time role against the Colts.
Naturally this raises a host of concerns for fantasy football owners. Foster is a number one running back when healthy and a guy you start every single week no matter the matchup. We'll wait to see if he takes part in practice today, but even if he does practice today and tomorrow, odds are high that you will still need to double-check his status on Sunday morning.
The big question is what to do if he's going to start but might end up only getting a limited number of carries. It's possible he feels completely healthy after a few runs and gets his normal dose of carries. Or, he gets four or five carries and has to call it a day. It's a role of the dice that will depend on what we hear on Sunday. If reports are a possible time-share, it might just be best to start another back in his place. We'll see what comes down Sunday morning before the game.
Wednesday afternoon is a big day in the world of fantasy football and NFL gambling. Wednesday is the day teams playing on Sunday release their first practice participation reports. Teams list players as Out, Did Not Participate In Practice, Limited Participation In Practice, Full Participation In Practice. The last category is for banged up guys that ended up getting through a full practice, as opposed to every healthy person on the roster.
The Houston Texans released their report and running back Arian Foster did not participate in Wednesday's practice due to his hamstring injury. Foster has been relatively confident on Twitter about playing Sunday against the Colts, but we've seen some contrasting opinions from medical experts.
The Texans will release their final injury report on Friday and it would not be surprising to see Foster listed as questionable for Sunday. Head coach Gary Kubiak indicate there has been solid progress the last couple days and the team is hoping he'll be able to practice on Thursday.
For now, owners are simply going to have to sit tight. I'd suspect you might find yourself scouring for news Sunday morning before the Texans-Colts as I don't think we'll get a definitive answer until game day. Nothing like a little stress to kick off the fantasy football season.
Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian officially ruled Peyton Manning out for Sunday's season opener against the Houston Texans. It's safe to say there is Panic on the streets of Indianapolis as the Colts will start a quarterback other than Manning for the first time since Jim Harbaugh took the reins Week 17 of the 1997 NFL season.
Kerry Collins has been a solid QB in years past, but his glory days are in the rear view mirror for the most part. Nobody will be starting Kerry Collins in a fantasy league anytime soon. If you drafted Peyton Manning with the hopes that he'll be healthy, you better have a viable backup because it could be a fairly long and bumpy ride before Manning is healthy enough to start again this season.
The question of fantasy impact goes beyond needing a short term quarterback option (other than Kerry Collins). The Colts roster of skill position players suddenly faces numerous question marks without ol' reliable at the helm. Whether we're talking about Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon, Joseph Addai, or just about anybody, there are numerous question marks.
For the most part I'd imagine most people will continue starting Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and probably Joseph Addai. Since it's only week one, you might as well stick with the guys you expected to start and hope for the best. Collins can chuck the ball with the best of them, but we don't know who he'll warm to in the coming weeks if Manning is out more than just this week. It's entirely possible Collins develops an unexplained attachment to backup tight end Jacob Tamme. It's doubtful, but with no prior relationships, anything is possible.
For now, stick with the guys you expected to start with Manning this week. Any other choices would be nothing more than pure conjecture at this point. This is a situation that will have to be re-assessed following Sunday's game.
The preseason claimed one final victim on Thursday as Kansas City Chiefs tight end Tony Moeaki suffered a torn ACL in the second quarter and has been placed on injured reserve. The move ends his season and the chances of a monster breakout year from the second year tight end.
Moeaki put together an impressive rookie season in which he had 47 receptions for 556 yards and three touchdowns. Reports out of Kansas City indicated the Chiefs offense was looking to use Moeaki in a role similar to Dallas Clark in Indianapolis. Instead, the Chiefs will start Leonard Pope at tight end, which means you will not be starting the Kansas City Chiefs tight end in fantasy football this season.
The move also hurts Matt Cassel a bit as it takes away his second leading receiver from 2010. Cassel will still put up solid numbers, but expect him to take a bit of a hit without Moeaki on the field.
The Indianapolis Colts find themselves in a difficult situation this week as Peyton Manning's injured neck has them wondering just what his status is for week one against the Houston Texans. The latest report via Stampede Blue indicates even if Manning does not have surgery, he is likely to miss the opener and could miss as much as five weeks. Reports were pouring in Sunday evening that ranged from Manning needing a second surgery to the neck simply being slow in healing.
The fantasy football impact of any sort of extended Manning absence is sizable. If you drafted Manning you hopefully added did not wait too late to add a backup quarterback. If you did wait, you may find yourselves rolling the dice. If you have not yet drafted, Manning is going to be downgraded across the board. Over the next three days it will be interesting to see what kind of average draft position Manning is at. Teams with injury spots or extra bench spots can stash him for a bit, but even still, if Manning could miss multiple weeks, that could be enough to drop him several rounds.
The Peyton Manning neck injury goes a step further in that it affects virtually the entire Colts roster of skill position players. Kerry Collins was brought in to fill in for Manning if the injury resulted in an extended absence and that could very well be the case at this point. Collins has a live arm but is obviously no Peyton Manning. The question is what he'll be able to do with this offense. Can he distribute the ball to Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Dallas Clark and the rest?
And let's not forget the running game. Peyton Manning can keep any defense honest against the run, even when it's the questionable Joseph Addai/Donald Brown combination. This makes that duo all the more questionable for fantasy purposes.
To be perfectly honest, much like the Las Vegas sports books will be taking the Colts off the board for various wagers, the safest bet might just be taking them off your draft board. Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark will likely get their numbers, but even though you aren't drafting Kerry Collins, are you prepared to base some of your higher draft picks on Collins coming through? It may only be a few weeks, but a few weeks is all it takes to fall completely out of the playoff chase in your fantasy league. Consider yourself warned.
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