Week 3: Game Time Decisions - Injury Update
In this article we will profile some of the more fantasy relevant injuries that have cropped up and suggest which players are likely to benefit from increased playing time (some of the replacement players might be sitting on your waiver wire). Week 2 saw yet another top flight RB going down as Matt Forte suffered an ankle injury, which will vault Michael Bush to borderline must start territory as long as Forte remains sidelined. On a positive note, Ryan Mathews (collarbone) and Mikel Leshoure (suspension, ACL) are due to make their season debuts in week 3. Mathews should be in starting lineups, while Leshoure makes for a solid buy low / waiver wire pickup as the former first round pick could very well be the best RB on the Lion roster and should dominate red zone carries at the very least. The WR position has also seen its fair share of injuries as Jeremy Maclin played sparingly in the week 2 win over Baltimore, but seems less likely to suit up for the 4pm kickoff in Arizona. TE Aaron Hernandez was one of the bigger week 2 casualties as a severe ankle sprain will keep him sidelined for 4-6 weeks.
WR Hakeem Nicks and RB Ahmad Bradshaw (grab Andre Brown if available on your waiver wires) have already been ruled out for tonight's contest in Carolina while Steve Smith seems all but a lock to start despite missing practice earlier in the week.
JC Superstar wins the award as the disappointment of the week at the RB position as he faced a Bills defense that ranked among the league worst in 2011, yet finished the week 2 loss with just six carries for 3 yards and sustained a knee bruise that knocked him out for the 2nd half. Many fantasy owners feared the worst as Charles is coming off ACL surgery, but he has returned to practice and appears likely to get the start in week 3. Peyton Hillis will remain a factor, limiting Charles' upside to RB2 status. The week 3 matchup in New Orleans appears to be very favorable as the Saints are allowing the 3rd most fantasy PPG to opposing RBs and have yielded 4 touchdowns on the ground over the first two games.
In week 2, Steven Jackson appeared well on his way to a 100 yard performance against Washington until a groin injury and anunsportsmanlike penalty that resulted in a benching from coach Fisher ended his day before half time. Jackson missed Wednesday's practice, but is expected to be on the field when the Rams travel to the Windy City to face a Bears defense that has allowed just one rushing TD through 2 games. Daryl Richardson (rookie from Abilene Christian) stepped in during week 2 and was very impressive rushing for 83 yards on 15 carries while adding two catches for 19 yards. He's a must own handcuff at this point and has jumped ahead of rookie Isaiah Pead on the Rams depth chart.
Mathews is slowly earning a China Doll reputation, but remains one of the more elite RBs in the fantasy universe when he's on the field. After breaking his collarbone in the first preseason game, the Fresno State alum missed the first two games of the regular season, but has practiced in full this week and is expected to make his season debut when the Chargers host Atlanta in week 3. Ronnie Brown can be safely dropped if you need roster depth. In 14 games last season, Mathews averaged 78 YPG on the ground and gets a boost in PPR leagues as he hauled in 50 receptions for 455 yards in 2011.
In week 2, J-Stew performed admirably in his return from an ankle injury as he finished with 11 carries for 51 yards and a TD in the win over New Orleans. The short week (Thursday game against the Giants) is apparently not doing him any favors as Stewart is listed as a game time decision (battling toe and ankle injury). Deangelo Williams shouldered the workload in week 1, but failed to impress in the loss to Tampa and remains nothing more than a lower end RB2 (even if Stewart is ruled out tonight).
Frenchy missed the week 2 loss to St Louis with a foot injury and appears likely to be a game time decision for week 3 after turning in a limited Wednesday practice. The Redskins host a Bengals defense that has floundered over the first two games, allowing the 9th most fantasy PPG to opposing WRs. A potential matchup with CB Leon Hall could limit Garcon's upside even if he suits up. Leonard Hankerson and Santana Moss would gain some fantasy relevance if Garcon is forced to miss another week.