Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lynch to Seattle, injury updates and the return of Big Ben

It's been a busy week so far.

Marshawn Lynch has been traded to Seattle for future draft picks. There's nothing surprising about this development, as Buffalo has been showcasing Lynch for weeks in anticipation of trading him.

This helps clear up the Bills' backfield situation, where Fred Jackson is currently locked in as the starter, while rookie C.J. Spiller tries to reclaim the feature back role he thought was his after a phenomenal preseason. Jackson has more short-term value, but despite his early struggles during the regular season, Spiller is destined to emerge as the better long-term fantasy performer. And given the fact that Buffalo (0-4) is already essentially out of the playoff picture, it only makes sense for them to give their No. 1 pick plenty of work as the season progresses.

In Seattle, I don't anticipate much change in the short term, as Justin Forsett remains the primary ballcarrier. But Lynch wasn't acquired as window dressing...he'll be worked into the offense as quickly as possible. The Seahawks, fittingly, operate a West Coast offense, which is new to Lynch, so it could take a couple of weeks. But the timing is perfect, as Seattle has their bye this week. Don't be a bonehead and release Forsett (as some sites have already suggested), but if you're still holding out hope for Leon Washington, it's time to say goodbye. He'll likely be relegated to return duties. Julius Jones is already looking for work.

On the injury front, Michael Vick says he will be out 1 or 2 weeks, or more. The Philadelphia Inquirer is speculating that it could be more like 6 weeks. You didn't come into the season counting on Vick, so hopefully you can manage without him while he recovers from his rib cartilage injury.

LeSean McCoy, currently the No. 3 RB in Fantasyland, fractured a rib in the same game in which Vick went down. He kept playing through it, though; and the Eagles are hoping he can tough it out this week, too. But you can bet this will come down to a game-time decision, which could be problematic since the Eagles-49ers contest is on Sunday night. Mike Bell will start if McCoy is unavailable.

Clinton Portis has hinted that he won't be able to play on his injured groin in the Week 5 matchup with Green Bay, which makes Ryan Torain an intriguing play, especially with several good RBs on bye and injured.

A sore hammy will probably keep Darren McFadden out of action for at least a week, giving Michael Bush a shot at the feature role against San Diego. The Raiders aren't yet a good team, but they aren't awful anymore either. Bruce Gradkowski is a legitimate passing threat, which helps open up the running lanes. Bush could be a solid bye-week filler this weekend.

And, in case you've been too busy watching Dancing With the Stars to notice, Big Ben is back with the Steelers preparing to torch the Browns when they visit in Week 6. Pittsburgh is one of four teams on bye this week (along with the Dolphins, Patriots and Seahawks).

Santonio Holmes will be on the field when the Jets host the Vikings on Monday Night Football. No telling how quickly Holmes will get into the groove with Sanchez, but I imagine Rex Ryan will be eager to see what his new toy can do.

Look for game-time decisions for both Andre Johnson and Jacoby Jones. You'd think that would be great news for Kevin Walter and his owners, but AJ's absence proved detrimental to Walter last weekend, when he drew Oakland's top CB, Nnamdi Asomugha. He should have an easier go of it in Week 5 against the Giants' secondary.

Carolina's Steve Smith will surely miss Sunday's contest due to his high ankle sprain.

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