Patrick Daugherty

Last Minute Decisions

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Week 2 Injury Questions

Saturday, September 17, 2011

So much for the afterglow.

Although Week 1 had one towering injury concern in Arian Foster, he headlined a mercifully small list of banged up star players heading into the season’s first week.

We have no such quiet in Week 2, where Foster finds himself joined by another RB1 in Steven Jackson and a trio of elite wideouts in Hakeem Nicks, Santonio Holmes, Dez Bryant.

They are joined by a host of other notables, including Brandon Lloyd, Steve Johnson, Sam Bradford, Knowshon Moreno, Danny Amendola, Sidney Rice and Jacoby Ford.

It’s going to be tough sledding for a number of fantasy owners this week, but the blow can be lessened if you know which gambles to take and which to leave to someone else.

Before we get going, here are a few invaluable links for your Sunday morning decision making: Rotoworld News Page, Week 2 rankings from Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling and Evan Silva’s almost impossibly great Matchup Column.

And if you want to draft a new team just for this week, check out SnapDraft here.

* Jacoby Ford (hamstring) has been ruled out for Week 2, and his Week 3 status is looking iffy at best.
* Darrius Heyward-Bey (knee) finds himself sidelined right when it appeared he might finally be on the verge of becoming a (small) factor in Oakland’s receiver corps. He’s 50/50 to play, but should remain benched in all formats.
* Darren McFadden (shoulder) practiced in full on Friday and is ready to test a Bills’ run defense that looked much improved in Week 1.
* Steve Johnson (groin) gave fantasy owners a scare when he missed practice on Thursday, but was back to full participation on Friday, and is ready to serve as the Bills’ WR1 and your high-end WR2.

* Calvin Johnson (ankle) will be active and ready to go off against a Chiefs secondary adjusting to life without Eric Berry.

* Marion Barber (calf) is doubtful. Kahlil Bell should serve as Matt Forte’s backup for the second straight week.
* Roy Williams (groin) is looking dicey after two no-shows and one limited practice this week. Hopefully for both the Bears and fantasy owners’ sake, Williams is inactive, paving the way for a far more dynamic player in Johnny Knox to start.
* Lance Moore (groin) appears set to play despite being limited on Friday. Unless you have no other options for your WR3, he’s probably best left on your bench for another week.  

* Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring) will start against the Colts, but is off the fantasy radar until the Browns prove their passing game isn’t the chicken with its head cut off it appeared to be in Week 1.
* Anthony Gonzalez (hamstring) has resumed practicing in full, but won’t be a factor if he’s active tomorrow.
* Blair White (back) remains sidelined. He has next to go value without Peyton Manning under center in Indy.

*Michael Jenkins (groin) will play. The touchdown he scored in Week 1 was 50 percent of his 2010 total.

* Jermichael Finley (ankle) was limited all week in practice, but is listed as probable and almost certainly ready to dominate a Panthers defense that’s going to allow a lot of week-winning fantasy performances this season.  
* Kealoha Pilares (ankle) is expected to make his NFL debut, but won’t be a fantasy factor this season.  

* Sidney Rice (shoulder) is out again for Week 2, but supposedly a good bet to be ready for Week 3. Ben Obomanu will start opposite Big Mike Williams.
* Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring) is out for the second straight week. The veteran isn’t worth holding onto in any format.

* Lee Evans (ankle) is close to 100 percent after turning in a full week of practice, but is probably best left on your bench until he proves he’s going to be a contributor in Baltimore.
* Javon Ringer (hip, back) practiced without restriction this week, and should be in line for 3-to-4 carries behind Chris Johnson.  

* LaRod Stephens-Howling (hand, biceps) is questionable, but likely to serve as Arizona’s third-string back with Chester Taylor finally up to speed on the offense.
* Chris Cooley (knee) should suit up after putting in a full week of practice, but has been left in the dust by Fred Davis. He’s no longer the tight end to own in Washington.

* Marcedes Lewis (calf) is doubtful, and expected to be spelled by the “other” Zach Miller, an intriguing athlete who’s flashed decent pass-catching ability the past two seasons. If you’re a Lewis owner in a deeper league, it’s not outside the realm of possibility Miller could get you a few points.
* Santonio Holmes (knee, quad) will be a game-time decision, with there being a real possibility he doesn’t go. If he’s active, however, he’ll still be a solid play against a woefully thin Jaguars secondary.  

* Dez Bryant (quad) will be a true game-time decision, and is unlikely to go according to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King. Bryant, of course, played through the same injury for three quarters last Sunday, but was ineffective in doing so. He’s an extremely risky start with the game coming at 4 ET. If you have depth at wideout, this is the week to use it.
* Miles Austin (hamstring) was only a limited participant in practice on Friday after participating in full on Wednesday and Thursday, but is fully expected to play and shoulder a big load with Bryant appearing ever less likely to play.
* Martellus Bennett (ankle) will be a game-time call after not playing in Week 1.
* Michael Crabtree (foot) is a game-time decision, and you’re best off looking elsewhere for the two fantasy points Crabtree will provide if active.

* Andy Dalton (wrist) will start at quarterback barring a last-minute setback in warmups.
* Brandon Lloyd (groin) practiced in a limited fashion on Friday, but is no slam dunk to be active. Playing in the afternoon, he could be a zero waiting to happen if you roll the dice and start him.
* Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) is officially questionable, but widely expected to sit. Jalopy Willis McGahee will start in his place and is a good bet to find the end zone at least once.   

* Patrick Crayton (ankle) practiced in full this week, and will be in the slot against a Patriots’ pass defense that surrendered 416 yards to Chad Henne in Week 1.

* Arian Foster (hamstring) is healthy, starting and reportedly in line for the neighborhood of 20 touches. Ben Tate (quad) will spell him off the bench to the tune of 10 or so touches. Foster is the only clear play in the Texans’ backfield this weekend.
* Derrick Ward (ankle, shoulder) is out one week after taking the ball 11 times for 39 yards. Unless you’re a Foster owner who missed out on Tate in a deeper league, Ward can be safely dropped in all formats.
* Kevin Walter (shoulder, quad) is a game-time decision who won’t be active unless he’s miraculously pain-free in pregame warmups. Jacoby Jones will start opposite Andre Johnson in his absence.
* Daniel Thomas (hamstring) will make his NFL debut, and should be in line for roughly 5-to-6 carries behind Reggie Bush’s 15-to-18. He’s ignorable in all formats until further notice.

* Vince Young (hamstring) will be available if Michael Vick goes down in his return to Atlanta.
* Steve Smith (knee) will be active, but won’t make an impact one week after a limited-snap, zero-target performance against the Rams.
* Harry Douglas (concussion) is set to go just seven days after getting his bell rung against the Bears, but is a shaky play coming off a four-target performance.

* Danny Amendola (elbow) is doubtful, but almost certain not to play. Rookie Greg Salas will get the start in the slot for St. Louis.
* Steven Jackson (quad) is a true-game decision, but all signs are pointing toward Cadillac Williams making his first start as a Ram. Caddy’s the fantasy play in the Rams’ backfield this week.
* Sam Bradford (finger) will play, though the absence of his favorite target Amendola could make it a long night for the second-year signal caller against a defense that’s not going to skimp on pressure.
* Michael Hoomanawanui (calf) is questionable, but will be used primarily as a blocker if active.
* Hakeem Nicks (knee) is officially questionable, but is trending toward being a game-time decision for Monday Night Football despite his Friday guarantee that he’ll play. If you have options at receiver, it could be a good week to keep your WR1 benched.
* Travis Beckum (hamstring) is out for the second straight week. Jake Ballard will again start in his place, and could be asserting himself as the Giants’ TE1.

Did you see the Chiefs play last week? It’s never prudent to declare a team done after just one bad performance, but if you saw Todd Haley’s gang get throttled at home by the fourth best team in the AFC East, you probably realized they’re going to be in for another long day against the Lions.

If Matthew Stafford was able to throw for 265 yards against the Bucs in the first half last Sunday, what’s he going to do to a Chiefs secondary that’s now minus Eric Berry?

Throw in the fact that the game is on the fast track in Detroit, and you have all the makings of a game that could get ugly before the first T.V. timeout. The question is not if the Lions will win, but by how much they will win.

At the flex spot in my 14-team full PPR league, I was faced with starting the remains of what used to be Joseph Addai for another weekend or going with one of my many WR 4/5s, Randall Cobb, Chaz Schilens, Greg Little or Harry Douglas. Instead of trying to guess which wideout might score a lucky touchdown (and between the four of them, one of them will), I decided to abide by one of my guiding fantasy football principles: running back over receiver.

Yes, it’s a PPR league, but yes Addai is still the most likely to find the end zone. In a league this deep, that’s often all you can hope for from your flex. I’m well aware Delone Carter is the new short-yardage sheriff in Indianapolis, but I’m also aware the Colts are going to have to run to have any shot at winning. Addai is still in line for carries, and his chances of reaching pay-dirt are greater than you might think.

Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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