The doc is back in and there are a lot of injuries with fantasy impacts. It’s hard to believe most leagues will be 1/3 of the way through the regular season after this week so injuries are quickly becoming more critical.
Let’s start with the running back situation in Buffalo. Fred Jackson says he is 75% likely to play this week despite suffering that sprained knee ligament a couple weeks ago. CJ Spiller has been back to practice after suffering an AC joint injury last week. Tashard Choice is healthy and finished off the last game for the Bills.
Spiller’s injury to his AC joint is mild in intensity but rather important for a running back. That joint is what is used to have you raise your hands over your head. If Spiller plays, watch how many pass plays he gets involved in. It won’t be many and I would look for him to be more of a rusher than a receiver.
Jackson (questionable) will play in week four unless he has a setback in the next couple days. Spiller is doubtful and Choice is chomping at the bit. Doc thinks Choice will be the lead back and Jackson will be the change of pace on Sunday against New England. Jackson will be more of the straight-ahead runner since the injured knee ligament assists with cutting and slashing. Choice will be the receiving back for Buffalo on Sunday.
In Atlanta, Julio Jones is dealing with a lacerated hand he suffered in San Diego. It’s kept him limited in practice and it bears watching against Carolina. Jones might drop a couple passes if it continues to effect him. Keep him in the lineup but remember his hand injury.
Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart is expected to play against Atlanta on Sunday after dealing with a foot injury. He’s been limited in practice as of late but would cut into the carries of Cam Newton and DeAngelo Williams should he play.
In Detroit, Matthew Stafford worked with the first-team offense Wednesday so his hip injury is not that serious. Doc’s apologies to everyone who raced out to get Shaun Hill on the waiver wire. The moderately serious injury is to running back Mikel Leshoure. He’s officially listed as questionable with a groin injury and has a poor matchup against Minnesota this week. Leshoure is a between-the-tackles runner and that’s where Minnesota is strong. Don’t expect him to put up the same numbers he did last week. Watch for his runs to be more linear meaning he’ll run in a straight line and not cut nor counter much.
In Houston, Andre Johnson (groin) and Arian Foster (knee) are both expected to play this week. Use them in your lineup as you normally would. The Titans take on the Texans this week and have Kenny Britt (ankle) and Jared Cook (shoulder) listed as questionable. If both of them are out, Nate Washington becomes a solid play since we know the Titans can’t run the ball.
Chiefs running back Peyton Hillis has been seen in a walking boot so Shaun Draughn gets the backup role behind Jamaal Charles. Other injured Chiefs include Dwyane Bowe, Steve Breaston, Dexter McCluster and Kevin Boss. Those injuries all warrant consideration up until game time. Keep in mind that Matt Cassel’s value will also be hurt, depending on how many of these Chiefs are hurt.
Darelle Revis is out for the season with a torn ACL and the Jets’ secondary looks less intimidating. Dustin Keller will be back in the lineup but remains a marginal fantasy play at best.
St. Louis running back Steven Jackson is questionable against Seattle with a groin injury. That muscle really helps with cutting and changing directions so look for S-Jax to be much more limited if he plays. If not, Daryl Richardson could be in line for another big day. Either way, the Rams are playing the Seahawks so it might be better to leave your Rams on the bench.
Miami running back Reggie Bush (knee) is looking more likely to play this week. It diminishes the value of Daniel Thomas a little bit but really drops Lamar Miller back to waiver wire fodder. Regardless of who runs the ball for Miami, they have to face a fierce Arizona defense so the upside is limited.
Arizona is also facing running back issues of its own with Beanie Wells going on IR with turf toe. Wells would be eligible to come back in late November so it’s going to be Ryan Williams for now. He’s coughed the ball twice already this season for an Arizona team that has struggled to generate any rushing attack.
In Oakland, Darrius Heyward-Bay is highly doubtful after getting his clock cleaned by Steelers DB Ryan Mundy. (Mundy was fined $21,000 for the hit.) Tight end Brandon Myers is questionable with a neck injury so Carson Palmer will have a tough go of things against Denver. Darren McFadden will play so at least he has something that resembles a ground game.
Denver looks to have Willis McGahee (ribs) available for Sunday so they will be able to try and get Oakland to bite on play action and open up deep routes into the secondary. Pittsburgh did that last week and torched the Raiders.
Jacksonville wide receiver Laurent Robinson passed his baseline concussion tests and will practice today. He should be able to go Sunday against a Bengals’ secondary that has been leaky at best.
In Green Bay, running back James Starks is probable to see his first action of the season against New Orleans when the Packers host the Saints. They may be without Greg Jennings as his groin continues to act up. Jennings has been limited in practice and is questionable for the Pack on Sunday afternoon so be ready with an alternative plan.
Ne Orleans (no “W” since they are 0-3) has taken Drew Brees (ankle) and Marques Colston (plantar fasicitis) off the injury lists. Colston is a boost to Brees. He was plagued by a condition that gives a painful inflammation to the arch of the foot. It impacted his ability to run with speed. If better, Colston can turn on the jets against the Green Bay secondary.
The Washington Redskins put Roy Helu on IR with turf toe and signed Ryan Grant to bolster a banged-up backfield. Evan Royster has been limited in practice with knee issues. Add to that the continued discomfort of Pierre Garcon (foot, questionable) and there’s a lot of black and blue for the Redskins.
Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) is probable for the game against the Eagles. Bradshaw suffered a disc injury in week two and isn’t experiencing problems with it now. It still merits checking on his status as you get closer to kickoff for SNF. Hakeem Nicks practiced yesterday and looks like a go for Sunday with his ongoing foot issues. Remember that he broke his foot back in May merely running routes. Perhaps he is still feeling the after-effects of that.
The Eagles will have Jeremy Maclin (hip) for Sunday night as he has been practicing the last couple days. LeSean McCoy was on the injury report with a rib issue but appears to be okay for the game with the Giants.
Chicago running back Matt Forte is not expected to play against Dallas, giving Michael Bush another start. Forte missed the last game with a sprained right ankle and could be back for their week 5 matchup at Jacksonville.
Indianapolis and Pittsburgh are on the bye this week. There are plenty of injuries this week and it serves a fantasy owner well to check on the inactives list which comes out about 90 minutes before kickoff.
Good luck to everyone on Week 4 and leave questions below.