Matt Stroup

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Stafford Stalled

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sunday was not an especially fun day for running backs (more on C.J. Spiller, Reggie Bush and Willis McGahee in a minute), but we begin this infirmary report with the most significant QB injury of the day: the one sustained by Matthew Stafford.

The Detroit QB (33-of-42, 278 yds, TD on Sunday) is headed for an MRI on Monday after leaving in the fourth quarter with what’s being called a glute/hamstring pull. No word as of Sunday night on Stafford’s timetable, but with the Lions’ bye approaching in Week 5, it’s easy to envision Shaun Hill getting a start next week against Minnesota – a scenario that would give Stafford three weeks to heal while only missing one game. Hill threw for 172 yards and two touchdowns in relief on Sunday.

Meanwhile, fantasy’s No. 1 RB through two weeks (C.J. Spiller) was carted off in the first quarter with a shoulder injury. It looked bad initially, but it appears that Spiller – who’s slated for more tests Monday – may only miss 1-2 weeks. That’s the good news. The bad news is that with Fred Jackson due back soon – potentially as early as next week – Buffalo could be headed for a tough-to-predict platoon once both backs are healthy. If Jackson isn't back for Week 4, Tashard Choice (20 rush, 91 yds) is worth a look as a one-week fill-in against New England.

Reggie Bush has a knee injury, but apparently it’s not a serious one. Bush sent fantasy owners into panic mode when he left in the second quarter, but a source told ProFootballTalk that Bush’s injury “doesn’t look bad.” As is the case for Stafford and Spiller, we should know more after Bush undergoes tests Monday. Daniel Thomas (19 rush, 69 yds, TD, lost fumble) and Lamar Miller (9 rush, 48 yds) would both be in line for more work if Bush misses time, but neither would offer much upside in a tough Week 4 matchup with Arizona.

More RB unpleasantness: Willis McGahee (12 rush, 36 yds) left with a rib injury and didn’t return. McGahee had his helmet off while the Broncos were in comeback mode, and it certainly didn’t look like he was trying to talk his way back into a close game. If McGahee does end up missing Week 4, the Denver backfield looks like somewhat of a mess for fantasy purposes. Presumably, Denver would deploy some combo of Ronnie Hillman (2 rush, 7 yds), Lance Ball (7 rush, 16 yds) and Knowshon Moreno (healthy inactive in Week 3). Given those options, I would look elsewhere for a replacement and hope that McGahee doesn't miss much time.

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Beanie Wells (8 rush, 18 yds) left with a toe injury. And he has indicated that it could be the dreaded turf toe. Ryan Williams (13 rush, 83 yds; 1 rec, 12 yds) finally brought some life to the Arizona backfield in Wells’ absence, and is worth adding if a frustrated owner dropped him in your league. Just keep in mind that Miami’s vicious run D awaits the Cardinals next week.

Austin Collie finally made his season debut, but was carted off with a seemingly serious (and potentially season-ending) knee injury. We’ve already seen what the second Indianapolis WR spot looks like without Collie, and though Donnie Avery has shown some potential, I’m not yet sold on Avery (2 rec, 28 yds on Sunday) as a reliable option outside of deeper leagues. It's worth noting that rookie T.Y. Hilton did have a big game Sunday (4 rec, 113 yds, TD), but I’m not convinced it’s the start of anything consistent. The Colts have a bye in Week 4.

Darrius Heyward-Bey (2-14-1) was knocked unconscious, and eventually carted off, after taking a scary shot to the head. DHB gave a thumbs-up to the crowd on his way off the field, but he did suffer a concussion and spent Sunday night at the hospital for observation. As of Sunday night there was no word on how much time he might miss. Denarius Moore (5-45-1) is the clear favorite for targets among Oakland wide receivers right now.

WR Injury Notes: Kenny Britt (6 rec, 55 yds) sprained his ankle late in Sunday’s win over the Lions, but doesn’t think it’s “too serious”Julian Edelman left Sunday night’s game with a hand injury … Miles Austin (ribs) went to the locker room, but X-rays came back negative and he was able to return … FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported on Sunday morning that Marques Colston has been dealing with plantar fasciitis, but is “finally pain free.” Colston (3 rec, 40 yds) was quiet again on Sunday, but is an intriguing buy-low option … Julio Jones left early with a right hand injury, but returned and put up solid numbers (5-67-1) after X-rays came back negative … Laurent Robinson left with a concussion … Stephen Hill was knocked out with a hamstring injury … Leonard Hankerson (4 rec, 56 yds) started in place of Pierre Garcon (foot), but left with an apparently-not-too-serious back/neck injury.

TE Injuries: Jared Cook had his best game of the season (4-77-1), but is headed for an MRI on Monday after leaving with a shoulder injury … Jacob Tamme (3 rec, 31 yds) sustained a groin injury in the fourth quarter.

Defense/Offensive Line Injuries: Darrelle Revis left in the third quarter with what’s believed to be a torn ACL … Redskins LT Trent Williams was headed for an MRI after being carted off with a knee injury … The Cardinals lost DE Darnell Dockett – one of the key components of their rejuvenated defense – to a hamstring injury. Even if Dockett is out, I wouldn’t hesitate to start the Arizona D against Miami in Week 4.

Editor’s note: For a complete look at all the key happenings from Sunday, check out Chet Gresham’s The Morning After column on Monday. And on Tuesday, don’t miss Chris Wesseling’s Waiver Wired column, plus Evan Silva’s Season Pass Live Chat.

Other Injury Notes: On a day that Jamaal Charles went berserk (33 rush, 233 yds, TD; 6 rec, 55 yds), Peyton Hillis left with an ankle injury … In other Chiefs news, Dexter McCluster was helped off the field with what appeared to be a hyperextended elbow … Evan Royster left with a knee injury … Matt Schaub lost a chunk of his ear (yes, you read that correctly) after taking a huge hit in the third quarter, but somehow only missed one play. Schaub also had X-rays on his left (non-throwing shoulder), but said they came back "fine."

Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for You can find him on Twitter here .
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