Sunday AM Notes and Fantasy Recommendations (W4)

Reggie Bush traveled with the team to Arizona and at least one beat writer is expecting him to play. The news on Bush’s MRI was cryptic. “No structural damage” doesn’t necessarily rule out low grade ligament sprains or significant bone bruises. Bush is a game-time decision despite limited practices Thursday and Friday. There’s no guarantee that Bush gets 20+ touches or finishes the game if he’s active. It’s also a very tough matchup in Arizona. Fantasy recommendation: Consider Bush as a RB2 if he’s active, but temper expectations. Neither Daniel Thomas nor Lamar Miller is a great play against Arizona if Bush is out.

The Patriots added Rob Gronkowski to the injury report with a hip injury on Friday.  We won’t get any details about his injury, but he’ll reportedly play. Fantasy recommendation: Barring a concerning pre-game report, use Gronkowski as you normally would.

Most reports have Matt Forte playing Monday night, but Michael Bush is off the injury report and healthy. It’s likely that Bush sees a heavier rotation than usual as they ease Forte back into game shape. There’s a chance Forte could see 18-25+ touches, but it’s a risky bet. Fantasy recommendation: Unless you have a ready hedge, it’s hard to see Forte as more than a high upside flex play / risky RB2.

Julio Jones will play through the cut on his hand today. It should not limit him much, if at all, unless it re-opens. That’s unlikely, since it’s been seven days since the injury. Fantasy recommendation: Trust Jones as your WR1.

All indications point to Fred Jackson playing today against New England, but his early week post-practice interviews and a tweet yesterday that suggested that he’ll be playing on heart rather than reason certainly calls into question how healthy he may be. His recovery from an LCL sprain has been more rapid than anyone expected and there’s no guarantee his knee will hold up as the primary running back. C.J. Spiller is less likely to play, but hasn’t yet been ruled out. Fantasy recommendation: Consider Jackson and Spiller as flex plays at best today and I’d stay away from both players if possible. If I had either (or both) rostered, I’d be hoping that both are not any worse for wear after today’s game.

Darren McFadden was limited this week in practice with a shoulder injury. The matchup on the road in Denver isn’t the greatest, but there’s no indication that the shoulder should be a major concern. Expect the Raiders to get McFadden as many touches as the flow of the game allows. Fantasy recommendation: McFadden is safe to start this week.

Though reports about Hakeem Nicks’ knee swelling didn’t break until late week, something smelled funny about this situation last week. Though my spidey senses were suggesting that we should be questioning his status for Week 4 and beyond after he was ruled out so early last week, his comments after last Thursday’s game were positive enough that I said folks should give him the benefit of the doubt this week. Now, I’m again not so sure. Nicks hasn’t practiced in two weeks, so the knee swelling is either a cascade issue related to the foot soreness he’s had or something that occurred in Week 2 that we’re just now hearing about. Either way, consider Nicks week-to-week at best until we see him back on the practice field.

Mikel Leshoure has been limited all week with a groin injury. Jim Schwartz said Leshoure was just fatigued after the game, but is notorious for his misinformation campaigns on player injuries. Leshoure’s limited practice time could be part of a normal maintenance plan in his ongoing recovery from last season’s Achilles tear, but I think it’s more likely that the groin is a significant issue and that he’s more questionable to play than the local writers have suggested. Detroit has a bye week in Week 5. If there’s any concern in pre-game warmups, I think Leshoure sits. If he’s able to go, I expect the Lions will try to lean on him heavily, but he’s a risky fantasy play. Fantasy recommendation: Use Leshoure as a RB2 if active, but not at the expense of another RB2 or better option.

Greg Jennings has yet to recover from his groin injury, but he’ll play this week. There remains a risk of re-aggravation, but he looked comfortable enough last week to expect that he’ll see a full complement of snaps today. Fantasy recommendation: Use Jennings as you normally would today.

Dwayne Bowe was added to the injury report on Thursday with a groin injury. It’s a positive sign that he was able to practice some on Friday and Romeo Crennel comes from the Bill Belichick school of listing most of his players questionable. Still, mid-week muscle strains should be considered serious injuries until we see otherwise. Fantasy recommendation: Make sure Bowe is active. If he is, he’ll have WR2+ upside against San Diego.

Kenny Britt didn’t practice all week and reports got less and less optimistic on his playing status as the week progressed. He’s listed questionable, but you should consider him extremely doubtful. Britt was increasing his snap count last week, so it’s possible that he could see enough playing time to have fantasy value if he’s active. I suspect it’ll be a non-issue when he’s on the inactive list. Fantasy recommendation: Keep Britt on your bench this week if he’s a surprise active.

Steven Jackson was again severely limited in practice with his groin injury. On the sidelines at one point last week icing his injury for a full series, Jackson gets tough-guy points for playing through pain but that underscores the risk of allowing him to play. Still at risk of aggravating the injury this week, Jackson also has to face a very tough Seattle front seven. It’s hard to see him getting 20 touches, even at home. Fantasy recommendation: Jackson is a risky flex play at best.

The bulging cervical disc that Ahmad Bradshaw is suffering from may have been there for some time, with the symptoms (pain, weakness, loss of range of motion) caused by a hit that aggravated the disc and inflamed the surrounding nerve tissue. Bradshaw can play with the bulging disc, but it’s often something that takes months to heal (if it does at all) and his symptoms could recur. It could be a non-issue, however. With Andre Brown playing well, there’s little reason to expect that Bradshaw gets the majority of the backfield touches whether he has a recurrence of symptoms or not. Fantasy recommendation: Bradshaw is a flex RB / bye week replacement until/unless he’s re-established as the Giants’ lead back.

Pierre Garcon will try to go on his injured foot this week, but there’s been nothing to suggest he’ll be full speed. Until he can practice fully and prove he can separate and run the route tree effectively, he’s not a good fantasy option. Fantasy recommendation: Sit Garcon unless you’re desperate for a flex WR.

Jonathan Stewart is expected back this week, but now has a toe injury in addition to the ankle problem that’s been limiting him. The nature of the toe injury remains unclear, but most injuries in that area will limit a skill position player, especially a running back. It’s reassuring, however, that Stewart was able to practice fully on Friday. Stewart isn’t likely to see more than ten carries, but the Falcons’ matchup could provide him with enough touches in the passing game to be worth the risk. Fantasy recommendation: Consider Stewart as a flex play in PPR leagues.

Ron Rivera said he expects Jon Beason to play today, despite the very limited practice time Beason saw this week. I think he’s a game time decision at best given Rivera’s comments from earlier in the week, however. Rivera also hinted that it could be Luke Kuechly who takes Beason’s snaps in some subpackage situations if Beason is unable to go. Fantasy recommendation: Avoid Beason this week unless you’re desperate for a LB3. If Beason is out, consider Kuechly a risk-reward LB3.

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Categories: Sunday Expectations

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