Adam Levitan

Last Minute Decisions

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Week 1 Injury Questions

Saturday, September 08, 2012


One would think that Week 1 would mean fewer injuries, fewer game-time calls, fewer headaches for fantasy owners. Think again.

There are more key fantasy players banged up for Week 1 than any time in recent memory. It's a reminder that so much of fantasy football revolves around injuries and preparing for them. We don't whine and cry when injuries hit our team because we're ready for them. That means handcuffing, depth and being active on the waiver wire.

As we get set for Week 1, we'll keep you in the loop. The Rotoworld News Page will be humming all Sunday long to bring you the latest. We've got rankings from Chris Wesseling/Mike Clay here and Evan Silva's ridiculously mind-blowing Matchup Column here. Inside the Season Pass, you'll find flex rankings and exact projections for every player.

If you want to draft a new team just for this week, check SnapDraft. And if you don't have it already, you need the Rotoworld App for your iPhone/iPad. Badly.

OK, let's get to the hurt folks:

1PM GAMES
COLTS at BEARS
* Austin Collie (concussions) is headed for a game-time call. He's still needs clearance from doctors. The safe/smart play is to see Collie on the field for a week before putting him in starting lineups.

JAGUARS at VIKINGS
* Justin Blackmon rolled his ankle in Wednesday's practice but worked in full on Thursday and Friday. He's a full go.
* Adrian Peterson (knee) is being called a game-time decision. Even if he plays, we can't expect more than 5-10 carries as a change-of-pace option behind Toby Gerhart.

BILLS at JETS
* Stevie Johnson's groin issue is bothering him again, but he's on track to play through a questionable tag.
* Dustin Keller (hamstring) is expected to play, but will be at less than 100 percent. Owners can do better.

DOLPHINS at TEXANS
*Arian Foster popped up out of nowhere with a sore knee this week. He didn't practice on Friday, giving highly talented backup Ben Tate all the first-team reps. Foster says he'll be fine, but we have to consider him a true game-time call. Hopefully you practiced proper handcuffing strategy -- Tate was my No. 1 'cuff heading into the year.
* Brian Hartline (calf) finally got back in practice this week. He's still off the radar while playing behind Davone Bess and Legedu Naanee.

PATRIOTS at TITANS
* Shane Vereen (foot) is out. Danny Woodhead will handle passing-down duties behind enticing starter Stevan Ridley.

RAMS at LIONS
N/A

REDSKINS at SAINTS
* Marques Colston (foot) is questionable, but should be fine. He seems to play well through minor injuries.

EAGLES at BROWNS
* Trent Richardson (knee) practiced every day this week. He probably won't be unleashed for a full workload, but 15-18 touches are within reach.
* Dion Lewis (hamstring) is suddenly questionable. It looks like Bryce Brown will function as LeSean McCoy's backup for now.

FALCONS at CHIEFS
* Jason Snelling (leg) is finally back, but he's third behind Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers.
* Top Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers (heel) is a game-time call. Hello, Julio Jones.

4PM GAMES
49ERS at PACKERS
* Brandon Jacobs (knee) is not expected to play. Frank Gore will sustain a goal-line role for now.
* Ted Ginn (ankle) is also looking doubtful. Look for Kyle Williams to handle returns.
* James Starks (turf toe) is out. It's the Cedric Benson show anyway on early downs.

SEAHAWKS at CARDINALS
* Marshawn Lynch (back) is feeling better. But since back spasms are a tricky injury that come and go, he's officially a game-time call. Owners need to have Robert Turbin or other options available.
* Golden Tate (knee) is out. Braylon Edwards figures to see most of the split end snaps.
* Beanie Wells was a late addition to the injury report with a hamstring injury. Considering the bad matchup, Ryan Williams' presence and his history of playing at less than 100 percent, benching him is the play.

PANTHERS at BUCS
* Jonathan Stewart (ankle) is going to be a true game-time call, but you get the sense that the Panthers are going to lean on DeAngelo Williams/Mike Tolbert anyway. Why push Stewart, who didn't practice all week?
* Steve Smith (foot infection) is a full go.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
STEELERS at BRONCOS
* Rashard Mendenhall (knee) isn't going to play. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer will share the load.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
RAVENS at BENGALS
* Bernard Scott (hand) is out. BenJarvus Green-Ellis gets more work and Brian Leonard is the clear third-down option.
* Jermaine Gresham (knee) has been practicing in full all week.

CHARGERS at RAIDERS
* Ryan Mathews (collarbone) is targeting Week 2 for his return. Ronnie Brown is expected to dominate the backfield touches.
* Denarius Moore (hamstring) is trending in the right direction. It's just scary to play him considering he missed an entire month before returning to practice this week.


MY TOUGHEST DECISION OF THE WEEK
In a non-PPR league, my tight end spot came down to Jacob Tamme or Kyle Rudolph. I decided to roll with Rudolph.

Tamme's usage in the preseason was mildly concerning. Brandon Stokley was the primary slot receiver and Joel Dreessen was the red-zone tight end. That left precious few opportunities for Tamme to see the ball and even fewer for him to score.

Meanwhile, Rudolph was the star of Vikings' camp and John Carlson is playing through a knee injury. As Evan Silva pointed out in Matchups, the Jags play a Tampa-2 style defense that forces throws underneath. Rudolph has the potential to eat them up.

SURVIVOR PICK OF THE WEEK
A lot of early-season Survivor strategy has to do with the depth of your league.

For example, my league has 4,761 entrants. I know that in order to win, I'm going to have to make it for all 17 weeks. Therefore, I try to save some good teams.

If I was in a thin league, I would look at the Texans (home vs. Dolphins). But I'd like to save those Texans for home games later in the season with the Jaguars, Colts and Vikings.

So, I'm using the Lions this week. They will be without two starters in the secondary (Louis Delmas, Chris Houston), but the Rams aren't a threat in the passing game anyway. Look for them to run up the score in Ford Field.



Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
Email :Adam Levitan



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