Adam Levitan

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Handy Man

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Julio Jones was targeted eight times in Sunday’s narrow win over the Panthers. He caught one ball.

That alone is enough to make us start scratching our collective heads. So it’s almost a sigh of relief to hear that the Falcons are blaming Julio’s awful day on the hand laceration he suffered in Week 3.

“Julio’s hand is not 100 percent,” offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. “Credit him for playing and running his routes hard. … But there’s no doubt, [as] we’ve seen him in some earlier games this year, when he’s 100 percent he will be even more effective.”

The Falcons haven’t been very forthcoming with details about the injury. A laceration is a cut, but we don’t know exactly where it is or how deep. We don’t know if there’s any tenderness or swelling. Regardless, by the time Sunday rolls around Jones’ cut will have had two full weeks to heal. He’s also facing a Redskins secondary that ranks 31st in the league and is on their way to 32nd.

Jones is among the “buy lows” that are the theme of the week. If I could amass a team of underperforming guys like Jones, Darren McFadden, Ryan Mathews, Pierre Garcon and Brandon Lloyd, I’d feel pretty good about it.

There were no new developments with Rashard Mendenhall’s knee during the bye week. And that’s a good thing for owners that were stashing him.

Mendenhall remains on track to practice in full every day this week and play against the Eagles Sunday. He’ll likely start and play in an even timeshare with Isaac Redman, leaving Jonathan Dwyer without a role. Mendy’s touch count will depend on how effective he can be on that surgically-repaired knee.

Normally, I would brush off this comeback attempt as futile because he’s just nine months removed from surgery. But as Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles are showing us, we can no longer assume players won’t be themselves after an ACL tear. Mendenhall is definitely worth owning as a wait-and-see player at the ultra-thin running back spot.

Cedric Benson has gotten 91 percent of Green Bay’s running back carries through four weeks. Predictably, he’s averaging just 3.56 yards per carry.

Still, the Packers say they have no intention of giving Alex Green, James Starks or anyone else a chance.

“He’s a workhorse and when he touches the ball, the more he touches it, the better he gets,” said Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements. “We’d like to work those other guys in there if the opportunity presents itself but you try to get (Benson) the ball to get him going.”

The Ryan Mathews situation continues to captivate fantasy owners. If you’re of the belief that elite talent eventually rises to the top, it’s not really a concern. Mathews will be in a workhorse role shortly.

Coach Norv Turner hasn’t lost faith in Mathews. Here are some quotes from Norv since fumblegate/benchgate/JackieBattleGate:

“He understands the importance of taking care of the ball. He's not negligent. I don't think there's anyone that works any harder. He had a bad play in the Atlanta game, and I do believe that we're going to get past that.”

“You ask about the confidence I have in him. We're trying to put the game away, and he's the guy handling the ball, so I think that answers that question.”

Ryan Williams actually played less snaps than William Powell last week. Powell is the hurry-up back and Williams is the runner. Expect more runs against the Rams Thursday. … The Dolphins cut Legedu Naanee and signed Jabar Gaffney. Yawn. … Pete Carroll said he’s sticking with Russell Wilson for now even though Matt Flynn (elbow) says he’s ready and waiting. … The Chiefs have opened the door for Brady Quinn to get on the field if Matt Cassel’s woes continue.

Santonio Holmes (foot) is probably done for the year. Jeremy Kerley isn’t worth an add in this brutal passing attack. … Greg Jennings (groin) said he’s going to err on the side of caution. Expect a 1-2 week absence, with James Jones filling in. … Jake Locker (shoulder) isn’t going to play Sunday. It’s the Matt Hasselbeck show. … Darrius Heyward-Bey (concussion) practiced Tuesday. He should be fine to play after the bye. … Vincent Brown (ankle) is on schedule to return sometime around Week 8. …

Matt Forte (ankle) was clearly at less than 100 percent on Monday night, but appeared to come out of the game OK. … Brandon Jacobs (knee) says he’s fully healthy now. … Jonathan Stewart (toe) emerged from his return setback-free. Expect another 10-13 touches this week. … Steven Jackson (groin) practiced Tuesday, a great sign that he’ll be ready to rock on a short week.  
Adding a different D/ST each week based on matchups is a fine strategy. Here are three units that might be on waivers to consider for streaming purposes:

* For more waiver thoughts at all positions, check out Chris Wesseling’s latest here.

1. BEARS at Jaguars - This Bears unit should really be owned in all formats. They’ve already forced a league-leading 14 turnovers and are third in the league with 15 sacks. Blaine Gabbert doesn’t have a prayer.

2. BENGALS vs. Dolphins - Tough spot for the Dolphins here. They drop an overtime heartbreaker in Arizona, fly back to Miami and then have to travel to Cincy. Ryan Tannehill can definitely play, but he has thrown six picks against two touchdowns in four games.

3. VIKINGS vs. Titans - Matt Hasselbeck isn’t going to threaten this secondary deep, allowing them to play more aggressively. The ace in the hole here is having Percy Harvin back on returns. He brought back a kickoff for a score last week and Marcus Sherels took a punt to the house.

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.
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