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Saturday, October 26, 2013
Excerpts from 4th & Long, plus injury updates
Here are a few snippets from yesterday's 4th & Long column for Sporting News' Fantasy Source, plus some injury updates from around the NFL.
THE WALKING WOUNDED
Peyton Manning sat out Wednesday's practice with a sore ankle. That is horrible news and obviously means you should bench him Sunday.
[The above lines are intended solely for Mark, my Week 8 opponent in our neighborhood league. Everyone else, move along. Nothing to see here.]
I know I'll never get back the three hours I wasted watching the Monday nighter between the Giants and Vikings. But Josh Freeman's misfortune (concussion) is Adrian Peterson's redemption. At least we knowChristian Ponder understands his limitations and actually puts the ball in AP's hands on a regular basis.
I was surprised when I saw Mike James' final stats from his Thursday night starting debut (only 39 rushing yards plus four receptions for 25 yards). It seemed like he was having a more productive outing than that against the stout Panthers defense. The rookie has good power but lacks game-breaking speed. James isn't going to save your season, but he's certainly worth a pickup as the best Tampa Bay has to offer with Martin sidelined.
Don't count on Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) returning Sunday against the Eagles. Peyton Hillis was surprisingly effective against the Vikings on Monday night, suggesting that with another week of practice under his belt, he could be a decent play for those needing a short-term fill-in for their backfield. [Update: Jacobs has been listed as doubtful.]
A toe injury could sideline Rashard Mendenhall against the Falcons this week. If he's inactive -- and only in that scenario -- Andre Ellington merits starting consideration. Remember, try as they may, the Cardinals are hopelessly inept in the rushing department. Carson Palmer's continued woes aren't helping. [Update: Mendenhall is officially doubtful.]
On the other side of the field, Steven Jackson is pushing hard to return Sunday from his hamstring injury, though he admits to being less than 100 percent. If he suits up, Jackson would likely be on a limited snap count. And given that Jacquizz Rodgers has scored twice as a receiver and twice as a rusher in consecutive weeks, I'd put my cards on the backup over Jackson in this one. Jason Snelling (ankle) will probably be inactive. [Update: S-Jax is probable; Snelling ruled out.]
Meanwhile, the Bucs fear Mike Williams has a torn hamstring. If that proves true, he is all but certain to land on IR. The news just keeps getting worse in Tampa Bay.
All you need to know about C.J. Spiller is that the team is considering shutting him down for a week to allow his ankle to fully heal. In retrospect, this should have happened weeks ago. Spiller says his ankle has improved significantly this week, but given the strong play of Fred Jackson (despite a sprained MCL) and continued touches from Tashard Choice, he doesn't belong in any starting lineup Sunday. [Spiller is doubtful and will be a game-time decision.]
All signs point to DeMarco Murray reclaiming his starting job against the Lions. This should be a high-scoring affair, but didn't we think that last week when the Cowboys visited Philly? An active Murray would be a promising option given his heavy role in the passing game and the likelihood of a goal-line plunge or two. Barring a setback, Joseph Randle's fantasy value is now kaput, especially with Lance Dunbar (hamstring) also expected to return.
It's probably wishful thinking, but if you can find a sucker -- I mean, RB-starved competitor -- it's time to unload DeAngelo Williams. Not only is Mike Tolbert poaching touches and short TD plunges, but Jonathan Stewart (ankle) is poised to re-join Carolina's crowded backfield as soon as Week 9. Williams ran well against the Bucs, so you just might be able to find a willing trade partner.
Even if James Jones (knee) returns -- which appears less and less likely as Sunday approaches -- Jarrett Boykin will continue to see plenty of targets with Finley now out of action. Minnesota's secondary is no match for Aaron Rodgers, who isn't slowing down just because his receiving corps is in shambles. [Update: Jones is officially doubtful.]
It looks like another week of the Harry Douglas Show, with Roddy White (ankle, hamstring) on pace for his second straight week of inactivity. [Update: Roddy has already been ruled out.]
Danny Amendola (concussion) appears to be on track to return Sunday, which when combined with Rob Gronkowski's presence, makes Julian Edelman expendable. Then again, how long can you count on Amendola hanging around?
With Reggie Wayne out for the duration, T.Y. Hilton's value just soared. But I have a hard time getting excited about Darrius Heyward-Bey, who still hasn't shed his butter-fingers reputation. He'll obviously draw more targets from Andrew Luck now, but I won't be inviting him onto any of my rosters.
Percy Harvin is back at practice for the Seahawks, and yet he's still available in roughly two-thirds of all fantasy leagues. I don't get it. While there's little reason for the team to rush him back onto the field Monday night, it won't be long before the multi-purpose playmaker makes his Seattle debut. What are you waiting for?
Meanwhile,Miles "Hamstrung" Austinis still owned in nearly 80 percent of all leagues, andLance Moore(wrist) is rostered in nearly 70 percent. Can someone please explain?
TO MATT RYAN: My apologies for not believing in you last week. Apparently you don't need Julio and Roddy to be the bomb.
TO MIKE WALLACE: My son gave me your jersey as a birthday present. (Sadly, we hopeless Dolfans have limited options.) It was a nice gesture, but it would help if you did it more justice.
TO WES WELKER: It's official. Your commercials are funnier than Peyton's.
Ladd Biro was named 2010 "Football Writer of the Year" by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association -- the most prestigious recognition in the biz. In 2011, he won again -- the only two-time winner in the FSWA's history. He also won for "Best Humor Column of 2011," across all sports. He was a finalist for the FFWOY Award again in 2013 and 2014, but was denied the threepeat in the kind of bribery/shakedown/ payola scandal more commonly associated with FIFA. Ladd's nationally syndicated columns have appeared in more than 20 publications -- including the Dallas Morning News, San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Sun-Times and Sporting News magazine -- since 2003. Since 2009, all his written fantasy content can be found on the Fantasy Fools blog.