Jackson, Best, Delhomme among notables for Week 4 med check
I'm no Chad Ochocinco, but after spending the weekend at the ConvergeSouth convention, discussing how new media like Twitter and the iPad have changed how I work, it makes a column like this even more interesting. Players are now -- to the chagrin of some teams -- breaking their own news, whispering about injuries, and plenty of other things, positive and negative. The use of Twitter alone is a big difference between how NFL-related information gets disseminated. The expectation is instant.
Last week, a Twitter follower asked about a player who had apparently injured his leg. I flipped over to see what was happening with that game and yes, the player was injured. He was actually still lying on the ground. There's pluses and minuses to quicker and ubiquitous information, especially from a fantasy context, but it's also built very interesting expectations. As we head into Week 4, keep in mind that there's something of an "injury calendar." We'll know instantly when someone is injured. On Monday and Tuesday, we get a bit more information. Wednesday and Thursday's practice reports add even more. By Friday, we usually have a very good idea whether a player will play or not. For Saturday and Sunday, let's focus down and get all but the pure GTDs. Let's get to the injuries:
SUNDAY UPDATE: Darrelle Revis is inactive.
UPGRADE: Lee Evans DOWNGRADE: none
The Jets will be without Darrelle Revis for the second week. His hamstring injury hasn't progressed as much as the Jets had expected. It's not so much a setback as it is Revis' healing coming in on the back end of the possible range. The defense is also going to be without Calvin Pace again, though Jason Taylor has been solid enough in a bigger role that originally planned. Combine those and the Bills' passing game gets a bit more breathing room. Buffalo doesn't have any significant injuries this week, aside from some continued absences.
SUNDAY UPDATE: Steven Jackson is active and will play. He may be limited. Mike Williams is active. Laurent Robinson is inactive. Julius Jones is inactive. Justin Forsett will start.
UPGRADE: Kenneth Darby DOWNGRADE: Steven Jackson, Mike Williams
Jackson is going to be a GTD this week, though the indications are that he'll be limited if he does play. The groin injury prevented him from practicing all week. Darby will get at least a big split, so he's a decent play if you're looking for a bye-week pickup. The Rams are shifting more to passing this week, which makes the absence of Laurent Robinson a bigger deal than most think. The Seahawks have a longer list on the OIR, but there's some improvement if you look harder. The offensive line is healing up and the offensive game plan has protected Matt Hasselbeck adequately. Mike Williams hasn't been great, but he's expected to play, despite a shoulder issue. You have to worry a bit about the Seahawks D, given injuries to Aaron Curry (hamstring) and Marcus Trufant (ankle). Both should play, but how they deal with their limitations could be exposed by Sam Bradford.
SUNDAY UPDATE: Michael Jenkins is inactive. Ten Ginn is inactive.
UPGRADE: none DOWNGRADE: none
The Niners will likely be without Ted Ginn again, which given the offense, isn't really a big deal. Takeo Spikes is very likely to play and shouldn't be too limited, just protected by the situation. The Falcons will be missing Michael Jenkins again, though Matt Ryan has been spreading the ball around more rather than doing the standard one-for-one replacement.
SUNDAY UPDATE: Jahvid Best is active and will start. Nate Burleson is inactive.
UPGRADE: none DOWNGRADE: Jahvid Best
The Lions head into the divisional matchup with two big injuries. That Matthew Stafford is out again should be no surprise, but the bigger question is what they'll be able to get from Best, whose turf-toe issue is serious enough to question whether he'll play at Lambeau. The Lions' medical staff will be working right up to game time and beyond to keep him comfortable. Best isn't going to be able to take on the full load and is a GTD to play at all. Turf toe injuries are hard to control; but beyond that, Best needs the quickness, which turf toe can sap. The Lions defense is banged up again, adding Kyle Vanden Bosch to the report, but they should be effective. The Packers have some issues on both sides of the ball, but not anything that should change the gameplan or your fantasy team.
SUNDAY UPDATE: Terrell Owens, Jordan Shipley and Cedric Benson are active for the Bengals. Jerome Harrison is active for the Browns. Jake Delhomme is the Browns third quarterback.
UPGRADE: Jake Delhomme DOWNGRADE: none
Delhomme is back to practice, but does that mean he'll play the game? It's a tough GTD for the Browns, who'll need different gameplans for two very different QBs. Indications are that Delhomme will play. He's not terribly mobile to begin with and the Browns have been adding protection this week during practice, giving us more hints. Either way, there's some weakness in the WR corps with both Josh Cribbs and Brian Robiskie limited, if they even play. The Bengals have some names on the list like Jordan Shipley and Terrell Owens, but neither changes the game plan. The same holds true for Adam Jones, who's well known, but not a significant player at this stage.
SUNDAY UPDATE: Knowshon Moreno is inactive. Brandon Lloyd is active.
UPGRADE: Chris Johnson DOWNGRADE: none
Knowshon Moreno is out again this week, leaving the RB situation in the same place as last week. Laurence Maroney appears to be healthy and ready to take on more of the load with Correll Buckhalter mixed in. Last week's breakout wide reciever, Brandon Lloyd, missed practice, but it looks like he'll start and get his normal targets. Brian Dawkins will play, which is a cruical part to the Broncos containing Chris Johnson. If Dawkins' ankle leaves him with any limitations, Johnson could find the edge more often than he has through the first three weeks. The Titans have no significant injuries this week.
SUNDAY UPDATE: RB Pierre Thomas is inactive. K Garrett Hartley is inactive. John Carney will kick.
UPGRADE: Drew Brees DOWNGRADE: Pierre Thomas
The news that Brees will wear a knee brace this week has been met with some panic in New Orleans, but mark this one on your calendar: He's fine. It might even be an opportunity to steal him if an owner in your league is on that frazzled edge. Brees' mild sprain will be stabilized and protected by the brace without any functional loss of mobility. The Saints will also be more conscious, perhaps covering the tackle or holding in a running back to keep Brees upright. Pierre Thomas is a much bigger issue. While his ankle injury is minor, the recurring tweaks leave him in healing limbo. He's not making it worse, but he's not getting better, leaving each play an opportunity to reinjure himself. The Saints don't have their bye until Week 10, making it tougher to find rest for him. It's going to take time for this to heal up, along with a little luck. The Saints defense has a bit of an injury stack at safety, but not so much that Jimmy Clausen's going to get much of a break. The Panthers have no new significant injuries.
SUNDAY UPDATE: Ray Rice is active and will start. Todd Heap is active and will start.
UPGRADE: Todd Heap DOWNGRADE: none
This game has to be a slobberknocker, right? The Ravens and Steelers build their identities on hard-hitting defenses, leaving some players on the turf at the end of the day. Ray Rice comes into the game with a bruised knee, but he looked solid enough in practice. He'll lose some touches, but retains some big-play ability. Across the line, the Ravens have some issues, especially with Matt Birk. That could create some real matchup problems for the running game and force more short throws. The problem for Joe Flacco is that big target Todd Heap is still dealing with a sprained shoulder and can't be counted on to take on full targets. He's worth playing in PPR leagues, but not in yardage only scoring. The defense has some depth issues, but nothing significant. For the Steelers, they come in relatively healthy, losing only Chris Hoke this week, but that doesn't hurt the defense much.
UPGRADE: Jacoby Jones DOWNGRADE: Andre Johnson
Johnson is a pure GTD, but sources tell me that even if he plays, he's going to be very limited. The ankle sprain is creating great difficulties for him on start-and-stop moves, as well as lateral moves. That's a bad mix. Johnson can run by DBs, but not hobble past them. Owen Daniels is also very questionable after injuring his hamstring. Following the knee surgery last year, this is a common cascade the Texans' medical staff is going to have to control. There's some key defensive players on the OIR, but all should play normally, including Mario Williams. The Raiders seem to be fighting with the Colts over who can put the most players on the OIR. The Raiders are losing again, with only 19 this week. Louis Murphy is a GTD, though the Raiders seem to think he'll play. Michael Bush will definitely be more in the mix for touches after proving himself over the last couple weeks.
UPGRADE: Mo Jones-Drew, Dallas Clark DOWNGRADE: Austin Collie
The Colts have an injury list that's pretty extensive, but a closer look shows the reality isn't quite as bad as it seems. Both RBs are listed, but both Joseph Addai (knee) and Donald Brown (hamstring) will play, getting their normal splits. Pierre Garcon is likely out with his strained hamstring, while Collie will be a game-time decision with a bruised heel. He did practice and with the game on grass, he's got a better chance to manage the injury. Collie remains an iffy start even if he does play, so Dallas Clark is a better option this week. There's another stack at LB, with the Colts worried enough to re-sign Tyjuan Hagler for depth. Look for Clint Session to play, but be spotted out depending on situation. The injuries might leave a bit more of an opening for Jones-Drew, a guy who's torched the Colts before. The Colts are also a bit concerned about Charlie Johnson, so look for some two TE sets, especially if Collie is unavailable. The Jaguars have no significant injuries.
UPGRADE: Ryan Torain DOWNGRADE: Brent Celek
When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. That's about where we are with Clinton Portis and Mike Shanahan. Shanahan's saying Portis' wrist is going to keep him out of all but third down situations, as if he can't hold on to the ball. Portis, for his part, says he's fine. Torain looks to be the latest recipient of the Shanahan Hates Fantasy Players world tour. The most problematic injury lies with the protectors of QB Donovan McNabb. Rookie O-tackle Trent Williams is once again questionable. His continued absence creates some issues on offense. He's a GTD. The Eagles have some minor dings, but only Celek's wrist bruise seems to affect his prospects for this game. Look for a few less targets, especially since Michael Vick has the option to run, when most QBs would need that last checkdown.
UPGRADE: Chris Wells DOWNGRADE: Ryan Mathews, Derek Anderson
While everyone is worried about Mathews, no one's watching the line in front of him. Both guards are questionable heading into the game, which could slow the running game. The Chargers went with an empty backfield at times, which was as much a response to the line's issues as it was Mathews' absence. Mathews practiced on Friday and looks to be 80-90% and is a solid enough start, but don't expect a feature load. The Cards have some real issues at receiver, with Steve Breaston and Early Doucet out. Breaston's out until Week 7 or 8 after surgery. Missing both of those (and Anquan Boldin) leaves Derek Anderson without much of an arsenal. Rookies Steven Williams or Max Komar could end up getting some targets, but figuring out which way Anderson will go when he's not looking for Larry Fitzgerald is tough. The Cards have a healthy Beanie Wells this week and will likely use him more, along with Tim Hightower.