There were lots of cringe-worthy injuries in the NFL this week, and many that will have a lasting impact in fantasy football leagues. I could sit here and draw out the lede with some funny remarks that are linked to even funnier videos, but let’s face it, injuries aren’t very funny, and with so many guys to cover, let’s just get right into it!

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Fantasy football owners who drafted Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green can’t be too happy right now.  Both receivers were first round picks, and because of injuries, they’ll likely both be sitting out this week.

Johnson, a consensus top-five pick, has done nothing so far to justify his lofty preseason ranking.  Since exploding for 164 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1, the man known as “Megatron” has accumulated just 184 yards in the four games since, and he has zero scores to go with that paltry yardage total as well.  A high-ankle sprain has been the culprit over the last two games and fantasy owners everywhere can only hope he gets the rest he needs in order to get him to full strength.  He isn’t doing the Lions nor fantasy owners any favors by playing gimpy.  Johnson had just three catches for 19 yards while being used as a “decoy” vs. the Jets and Bills, and he clearly aggravated the injury on his lone reception last week.  Johnson “hopes” to play on Sunday vs. the Vikings, but the general sense is that he’ll sit this one out, and could possibly sit out through the Lions’ Week 9 bye.  Being 3-2 affords them some wiggle room.

Green is in a similar situation to Johnson, though he’s been all but ruled out this week.  The fourth-year pro aggravated his toe injury in Bengals’ practice on Wednesday and it looks like he could miss multiple games.  Green hurt the digit in the team’s Week 2 win over the Falcons, but came right back and played vs. the Titans the following week.  Choosing to play him there may come back to haunt the Bengals, because the way it sounded, his toe seems much worse this time around.  Back in Week 2, the team was calling it a “sprained ligament”, but now they’re saying it’s “a little bit more [than turf toe]”.  This is not what you want to hear if you’re the Bengals or own Green in any of your fantasy leagues.  Unlike Johnson, Green has already had his bye, so if he’s going to rest, it’s gonna be during a game week.  Green’s owners will just have to hope to hear some good news in the next few days.

With two big pass catchers on the mend, it puts owners in a real bind, so I’ve decided to do a wide receivers-only edition of “Start ’em and Sit ’em”…

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Back in March, ex-Denver Broncos’ running back Knowshon Moreno left the frigid air of the Rocky Mountains for the opportunity to spend this season in sunny South Beach, and believe me, he’s not crying about it.  His one-year deal didn’t take over the media the way another famous athlete did when he left a championship runner-up so he could play in Miami, but it did make his former backup with the Broncos a hot commodity in fantasy football drafts.

Despite gaining just 559 yards on 120 carries in 2013, Montee Ball was the 10th overall player taken in this year’s drafts (according to ADP).  The volume wasn’t there for the rookie out of Wisconsin (Moreno excelled as Peyton Manning‘s go-to back), but you could feel the electricity with Ball.  He had some early-season fumble issues in goal line situations (two in his first three games), but his 4.7 yards per carry was definitely something he could build on. Manning and the Broncos broke nearly every offensive record last year, and that’s a big reason why the second-year pro became such a popular draft pick — but Ball’s season is going down the drain faster than a goldfish with an irresponsible four-year-old for a parent.

Not only had Ball been downright awful in his first three games (165 yards, 3.37 YPC), but he left Sunday’s contest vs. the Cardinals with a groin strain.  News broke that the injury was “a significant one”, but that was later changed to a “two-week timetable”.  Based on what I’ve seen from injuries like this before, as well as his current conditioning (he missed nearly all of training camp after an emergency appendectomy), this has the makings of a much longer absence than what the Broncos are letting on.

So what do you do if you’re a Ball owner?

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“Start ’em and Sit ’em” was on hiatus last week as I made my way to Boston to catch Derek Jeter’s farewell game on Sunday.  Things went well.  Some random dude gave us a free parking pass when we were driving up to Fenway, Jeets got a hit in his last at bat, and I even caught a foul ball.

So did you miss me?  (You’re supposed to say, “yes”).  I’ll just assume you did, and we can all move on.  Fantasy football didn’t stop for me just because I didn’t put out a Week 4 column.  I never got off the saddle — well, maybe once to enjoy a warm bowl of chowdah.  Hopefully you survived that hectic week of byes, and let’s keep on, keepin’ on to Week 5…

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We should all consider Week 4 a success.  We escaped the quarter-season mark with nary a single catastrophic injury.  I’m sure I just jinxed us, but in the NFL, if you can play out an entire week’s worth of games and keep your fantasy roster away from the IR, you, my friends, have won at life itself. Of course, there were a few injuries (Cecil Shorts, Teddy Bridgewater, Niles Paul), but not enough to warrant a rant over.  So this week, we will discuss some previously injured players, who returned to the field or have made notable progress in their recoveries.

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Fantasy football ain’t for the faint of heart.  This is real sh*t right here.  Injuries happen.  You can’t avoid them.  I can’t remember the last time I owned a fantasy team, in any sport, that didn’t suffer a huge loss due to injury.  Part of being a successful fantasy football owner is how you handle those injuries.  You can’t sulk and say, “That’s it.  My season’s over.”  No way.  Get on the waiver wire.  Make some trades.  Fight till the end.  No one likes a quitter.  My boy DMX said it best: either put up or shut up!

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Football fans will get to see an offensive explosion of biblical proportions when the Green Bay Packers travel to Detroit to take on the Lions this Sunday — so what better way to describe this occasion than with an excerpt from a well-known psalm.  I’m Jewish (and a mostly non-practicing one for that matter), and even I know this phrase very well.  Of course, we have Quentin Tarantino to thank for that (Note: Although Samuel L. Jackson mentions “Ezekiel 25:17” in his immortal quote, he in fact uses lines from Psalm 23 as well).

Throughout time, there have been many interpretations of that verse, but when relating it to this week’s slate of NFL games, it can only mean one thing: start Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford with confidence.  Not only will those QBs give you some relative “comfort”, but so should their receivers.  As of now, I have Stafford No. 1 in my QB rankings, with Rodgers right behind him.  Calvin Johnson is my No. 1 WR (Julio Jones‘ TNF performance not included), which he’ll likely be in most matchups, and after a huge 206-yard performance vs. the Jets, Jordy Nelson checks in as this week’s No. 3 receiver.  The Packers’ “other” wideout, Randall Cobb, is also in my top 10, and in his third game with his new team, former Seahawk Golden Tate makes his way into the top 30.

Start all these players with the utmost confidence and take a look below for some more start/sits before you set your lineups prior to kickoff…

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Rarely do we see a week so overabundant in the injury department.  Millions of fantasy teams were brought to their knees (likely ‘cuz they have no ankles to support them) after the seemingly endless amounts of bones, ligaments and tendons that were demolished in Week 3’s slate of NFL games. Fantasy football owners are going to be racing to the wire this week to replace their fallen and it’s important that you are kept up-to-date with who to grab and who not to grab…

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Thank god I don’t do these posts till Saturday, because you wouldn’t have liked my advice had I included Thursday night’s players into my start/sits. Everyone knows that Thursday Night Football is a curse for fantasy players.  Even Peyton Manning has fallen victim to it.  In the final TNF game of the 2013 season, Manning had arguably his worst performance of the year, completing just 65.8 percent of his passes for 289 yards in the Broncos’ embarrassing 27-20 home loss to the Chargers.  Maybe it’s the short week coupled by the night game, or the fact that it’s on national television.  Who knows.  But it doesn’t bode well for good statistics.

I had Ben Roethlisberger and Torrey Smith pretty high up in my Week 2 rankings, but that was just stubborn of me.  You can’t get much worse than the nine fantasy points Big Ben put up, Owen Daniels vulturing Dennis Pitta every step of the way, or the one catch for 10 yards Torrey had — especially after Joe Flacco had said earlier in the day that he expects his top receiver to catch 100 balls this year.

Sunday should offer many more offensive fireworks than Thursday night’s dreadful affair.  There are plenty of matchups to exploit, including the Saints vs. Browns, Patriots vs. Vikings, Chiefs vs. Broncos, Jaguars vs. Washington Football Team, and Cowboys vs. Titans.  But none should be more exciting (and fantasy-team boosting) than the Eagles/Colts game. The high-flying Eagles (pun intended) travel to Indy to take on the 900 horsepower Colts (pun also intended).  You’re always gonna start Andrew Luck, Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy, but their supporting casts deserve a lot of attention this week and are all nearly must starts in most fantasy formats. Fringe fantasy starters like Darren Sproles, Riley Cooper, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Dwayne Allen are near automatic starts this week, and even Colts’ tight end Coby Fleener is worthy of consideration in deeper leagues.  The only guys I’d be hesitant to recommend are Hakeem Nicks and Trent Richardson, who have proven to be too untrustworthy. Not only will this game have a large effect on the outcome of your fantasy matchups, but we get to wait till Monday night to have it all play out.  Now, that, my friends, is what fantasy football is all about!

Please feel free to post your start/sit questions below. Until then, here are the rest of my starts and sits for Week 2…

(All recommendations are based on PPR formatted leagues)

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Week 1 in the NFL brought us a number of injuries, and it also brought us the (unnecessary) return of some of our favorite Saturday Night Live characters.  Reprising their Aaron Rodgers “Discount Double Check” series, State Farm graced us with a couple of new commercials featuring The Richmeister (Rob Schneider repeatedly saying “makin’ copies!”), and of course, Hans and Franz.  You remember those two lovable German steroid freaks?  All they cared about was getting us puny weaklings in shape… and at any cost.

Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin may need a little pumping up from Hans and Franz, ‘cuz a knee injury could sideline the Muscle Hamster for the Bucs’ matchup with the St. Louis Rams this Sunday.  Lovie Smith is downplaying the injury, but the fact that Martin got just nine carries, yet his knee injury was deemed “minor”, is a little bit concerning.  There could be other factors at play here (conspiracy theorists unite!).  Some NFL pundits have speculated that Martin may have been benched, and as a member of the old regime in Tampa, he doesn’t look to be a favorite of the Bucs’ new coach.  Either way, after a dismal and injury-shortened 2013, there is very little wiggle room for the Bucs back.  Fantasy owners in standard leagues would be wise to stash Bobby Rainey (4 carries, 12 yards; 2 catches, 8 yards, TD).  Mike James is also worth a look in much deeper leagues.

And, now to the rest of the forlorn…

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