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Wed, October 24, 2012

Buffalo Wild Wings Fantasy Football Bites: Injuries and Pickups

This is a brutal week for running backs on bye, but there is virtually no hit to the QB position unless you've been leaning on the unimpressive services of Schaub or Fitzpatrick (eeessshhh!!!)

Given the shortage of backs and the recent injuries, the backs we like as bye-week stop gap fill ins are:
Vick Ballard - good matchup, and was productive last week getting lots of rushes and a little work in the passing game. 
Rashad Jennings - great pickup for the coming weeks, we are still uncertain about Jones Drew's injury, but this could be the kind of season changing addition to your lineup that we've seen in years past.  If you've played for awhile, you know what it was like to watch Earnest Graham, Peyton Hillis, Michael Bush, and Jamaal Charles step in and take your team to the next level when their starter went down, this has potential to be just as effective.  He's an OK play this week vs. the Packers as he is still involved in the passing game.
LaRod Stephens Howling busted out unexpectedly last week vs. the Vikings.  He's worth rostering, but a risky start this week behind a leaky Cardinals offensive line going up against the imposing 49'ers front seven.  Word out of Arizona also indicates they'll be cutting back from 24 touches (shocker!)
Phillip Tanner - Many people wasted their #1 Waiver on Jones, and he again was a tease as he's been his whole career.  He came out with an injury almost instantly before returning to the game.  Given his history, we like Tanner to have a crack at more carries this week with potential for more if Jones struggles with his injury.
Steelers roullette - Taking your chances here, but Dwyer looked good and came out healthy, no reason the Steelers go away from him, but there's a chance they roll with Redman this week, you could do worse!
For speculative pickups - Shane Vereen looked good with the work he got, Montario Hardesty will get work but it could be ugly, and if you're desperate, Peyton Hillis should be back soon.
WR
Cobb is an obvious one, and given we are posting from Wisconsin, he is owned in 100% of leagues.  But if you're elsewhere, his ownership was only 50% going into last week.  Evan declared him a MUST START on last week's show, and there is reason to believe he'll continue to be effective even when Jennings comes back.
Josh Gordon - the homerun hitter we talked about in the preseason has proven his worth, in standard leagues he's a #3 receiver with upside in bye-weeks.  In PPR his value takes a hit but he's still worth having.
Vincent Brown - His recovery from a broken leg is on schedule, we expect him back in three weeks, it may be worth considering picking him up as a free agent NEXT WEEK after waivers clear.  The San Diego passing game is missing something, and it may just be this guy.
Jerome Simpson - Going back to the well here, he was probably dropped in your league, but considering he was still getting the swing of the offense, he's been effective getting deep and drawing pass interference calls, now it's time to connect on some deep balls.  He's worth a flier this week against a Tampa Bay pass defense that just gave up 4 TD's (most deep) to the Saints. 
Mike Williams - pick him up and play him this Thursday.  The Vikings do a remarkable job shutting down the #1 receiver (see Johnson, Calvin and Fitzgerald, Larry), but have given way to the #2 receivers like Nate Burleson and Andre Roberts.  We like him to break loose against the Vikings Cover 2 and get some good looks.
Titus Young - Burleson broke his leg, and with Johnson drawing all the attention from the Chicago defense, Young stepped in with 6 catches and 80 yards.  He'll be more involved from here on out in an offense that we still like to bounce back and perhaps fulfill some of the potential that so many saw prior to the 2012 season.

QB
Josh Freeman - If your QB's bye is coming up in week 9 or 10, Freeman looks to be gelling with his targets and depending on matchup is worth filling in for your stud QB.  Newton and Stafford owners may want to consider him as a viable alternative as well depending on matchup.
Brandon Weeden? - Not sure about this guy, but he's had a good run since week 1, in a keeper league he should be owned, and you could do worse filling in on your bye week. 

INJURIES:
Last week, Trent Richardson gave it a go, but got benched after he was clearly not effective with his rib injury.  They are talking the talk in Cleveland again this week, but we're not buying it, if you have other options, don't listen to the talk about Richardson, he's not worth starting until he gets the rest he needs.

Greg Jennings is seeing a specialist about his groin, not very good news as it indicates things are NOT progressing naturally.  This is good news for the REST of the Packers though, Cobb broke out last week thanks to the Packers gameplan to attack underneath and over the middle rather than challenging the physical Rams corners.  This week looks like a good bet for Jones and Nelson to dominate against the weak and hopeless Jaguars.

Jones Drew's injury paved the way for long time fantasy darling Rashad Jennings.  Fantasy players have wished for an opportunity for this guy for a long time, and now they get their chance.  He was productive last week, involved in the passing game (a plus this week as they will be behind vs. the Packers), and looks like he'll have at least 2 or 3 weeks while Jones Drew's ankle heals up. 

The Cowboys seem to be leaning toward another week of Felix Jones and Phillip Tanner.  As a sneaky pickup this week, Tanner is worth a shot.  Jones got dinged up IMMEDIATELY last week, and while the Cowboys say he'll get the start again, we've seen enough of Jones's history to know better...

Jimmy Graham will try out his leg today, we are guessing he is cleared and healthy going against Denver in an inevitable shootout.  He'll be back in your lineup and back in our hearts as the #1 fantasy tight end.

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