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12/06/2006 05:45:00 PM
Wednesday injury update
Chester Taylor nearly ran for 100 yards against the Bears, but a rib injury that limited him there could keep him out of a great matchup against the Lions.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
A number of big names hit the injury list with ailments that could keep them out at one of the most crucial weeks of the fantasy season. Here's the rundown of the top guys to watch:
-- Chester Taylor: Doubtful with bruised ribs. You'll likely see Ciatrick Fason and Mewelde Moore splitting carries, so you might want to consider either of them against the Lions this week.
-- Willis McGahee: He's listed as questionable with an ankle injury but he's itching to play against the Jets, against whom he's averaged 113 yards a game in his career.
-- Jake Delhomme: A thumb injury has Delhomme listed as questionable, although there's plenty of buzz that he won't play this week. Thus, Chris Weinke would get the start against the Giants. The ex-Heisman winner hasn't started a game since 2001.
-- DeShaun Foster: His elbow injury is improving and it's possible that he will start despite the decent play of rookie DeAngelo Williams the past couple of weeks.
-- Brad Johnson: It appears he will start this week against the Lions despite getting pulled in the loss to the Bears. A shoulder injury to backup Brooks Bollinger left the door open for Johnson, although rookie Tarvaris Jackson is waiting in the wings.
-- Cedrick Wilson: An ankle injury gives the Steelers two top wideouts out for Thursday's game (along with Hines Ward). Nate Washington and Santonio Holmes should be busy against the Browns.
Jeff Garcia overcame a slow start to put up his 300-yard game since 2004.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
First, some Monday night notes: After I complained about a lack of huge quarterback numbers in Sunday's games, Jeff Garcia caps off Week 13 with a 300-yard, three-TD game that reminded many of his days with the 49ers. At least for one week, Garcia appears to be a decent option for all of those Donovan McNabb owners still scrambling for a TD down the stretch. The good news is that both of Philly's top two wideouts, Donte Stallworth and Reggie Brown, scored touchdowns and were involved in the offense. The bad news is that L.J. Smith was shut out as Garcia was comfortable hitting the receivers.
On the other side, DeAngelo Williams got off to a slow start filling in for the injured DeShaun Foster but finished with 175 total yards and a touchdown. He's at least earning himself extra looks, even if Foster returns this week against the Giants. As for Jake Delhomme, he had his moments and put up some decent stats yet once again got burned with the interceptions. Right now, Delhomme is a main reason why Steve Smith just can't seem to put up bigger stats than you might expect.
Other early lineup notes for Week 14, just when you probably need it the most: -- Still no definitive word on Charlie Frye's wrist injury other than he's not likely to play Thursday. That would leave the job in the hands of Derek Anderson, who played well in relief last week.
-- The short week also likely means Hines Ward will miss his second straight game recovering from knee surgery. Plus, Cedrick Wilson's ankle is ailing, meaning Santonio Holmes could get the start and Nate Washington could be busy as well. Still, those injuries will hurt Ben Roethlisberger's value this week, even if the Browns gave up four TD passes to Trent Green.
-- It now looks like the Jets running back group has turned into a two-headed monster of Cedric Houston and Leon Washington. Houston seems to carry a heavier load, while Washington appears to be a third-down type of back, at least for now. Either might be an OK third running back/flex play against the Bills. However, the best running back option in that game is Willis McGahee, who's only 100-yard game this season was against the Jets.
-- Rex Grossman appears to be staying on as the Bears starting quarterback, but his woes lately probably have sunk many of his fantasy owners, not to mention those who have Bernard Berrian or Muhsin Muhammad. However, while Chicago has already clinched the division and is in good shape for home-field advantage, Grossman could use the extra snaps to build up confidence during the playoffs. As for the Chicago running back situation, Cedric Benson ran better than Thomas Jones against the tough Vikings ground defense and might get more looks to take the load off Jones for the postseason.
-- Speaking of another running back situation, Wali Lundy is still Houston's starting running back despite Ron Dayne somehow running for 95 yards on Sunday against the Raiders. The matchup against Tennessee is somewhat favorable, though.
-- If you haven't done so already, go ahead and cut Michael Clayton as the Bucs placed him on IR on Tuesday. He's been a huge disappointment after a big 2004 rookie season. It's hard to recommend anyone on the Bucs these days, so don't even think about looking for Tampa Bay's No. 3 and 4 wideouts to take his place
-- A couple of kicker notes: Jason Elam still looks to be on track to start on Sunday despite injuring his hamstring against the Seahawks. The Redskins cut Nick Novak and replaced him with former Cowboy Shaun Suisham.
While the Bears won despite Rex Grossman's horrible day, there's a good chance he sank your fantasy team.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
I'm changing things up again for this week. No game-by-game roundup, but just a handful of thoughts from this weekend's games.
-- Even though there were four quarterbacks to throw for 300 yards, it was a rather underwhelming day for fantasy signal callers if your league counts interceptions and fumbles. First off, Drew Brees' streak of 300-yard games ended at five. Secondly, all the 300-yard passers threw more picks than touchdowns. And Trent Green's four-touchdown day was offset by two turnovers. There were so-so fantasy games from guys like Matt Hasselbeck, Philip Rivers and Tony Romo (yet their teams all won their games). And finally, there were some truly miserable games from Rex Grossman, Brad Johnson and David Carr (Grossman and Carr actually won). Somehow a couple of the better fantasy games came from Vince Young and Michael Vick, and that's because they piled up decent rushing yards in addition to modest passing stats.
-- Related to the quarterback play, all the yards piled up did mean a number of wide receivers came up big, including a bunch of players who had been quiet in recent weeks (Torry Holt, Marvin Harrison, Santana Moss) or all season (Chris Chambers, Matt Jones, Derrick Mason). Even if you thought the matchups might've been good for them to shine, recent history was saying otherwise heading into the week. That fickle situation continues to make the wide receiver position the hardest to grasp for fantasy purposes.
-- LaDainian Tomlinson did his usual of scoring at least two touchdowns with a bunch of yards. However, there were three players to run for three scores on Sunday and Reggie Bush led that group in rushing with 37 yards (but he had 131 receiving yards and a receiving score to offset things). Corey Dillon only ran for 25 yards but maintained his status as New England's goal-line back and scored his three TDs. Marcel Shipp, all of a sudden, became Arizona's goal-line back and scored three times against the Rams on just 21 yards, even though Edgerrin James finally ran for his first 100-yard game for the Cardinals.
-- Continuing on the running back side, the Jones brothers (Thomas and Julius) saw their fantasy value take a hit on Sunday. Julius keeps on sliding as Marion Barber continues to take advantage of the extra looks, especially at the goal line. Meanwhile, Cedric Benson provided the Bears' only offense on Sunday, rushing for 60 yards and a score on just nine carries against Minnesota's top-ranked run defense, while Thomas Jones had just 32 yards on 12 carries.
-- So there have been two field goals of at least 60 yards this season, and they've come from two guys likely well off the fantasy radar heading into the season and even during it in Matt Bryant and now Rob Bironas. Speaking of kickers, Martin Gramatica missed his first field goal as a Cowboy but came through in the clutch with three others, including the late game-winner. In Dallas' offense, he's not a terrible option to have.
-- Jay Cutler was shaky in his first NFL start as he threw two TD passes but was picked off twice and lost a fumble as well. One of the interceptions was really bad as he heaved it in the air to avoid the sack and was picked off for a Seattle TD. And almost half of his 143 yards came on a 71-yard catch-and-run TD in the fourth quarter by Brandon Marshall, who shook off some bad Seahawks tackling for the score.
-- Injury report: The key players to get hurt Sunday include Charlie Frye, who suffered a wrist injury and was replaced by Derek Anderson; Joe Horn, who injured his groin and thus knocked out New Orleans' top two wideouts, which could explain why Bush got so many catches; Keenan McCardell re-injured his calf, but he hasn't been much of a fantasy factor this year anyways; Chester Taylor bruised his ribs in the third quarter against the Bears; Laurence Maroney was limited after suffering a helmet-to-helmet hit early.