Who would have thought Brandon Weeden and the Browns would have given the Ravens a run for their money? Well, they did, and that just goes to show you that you really don’t know what to expect these days in the NFL. It’s probably no different in the fantasy football realm for most people, but there are still some constants we can rely on.
That’s why this last second decision column exists: to re-hash all the major injuries, break down role changes, and to take another look at those tasty matchups for the week. Because even in a crazy week in the NFL (and there’s been three of them), there are still some things you can rely on. Hopefully this article continues to be one of them. With that said, let’s jump right into it and make some decision we won’t soon regret:
John Skelton, QB, Arizona Cardinals (Ankle)
Ol’ Skelty is questionable, but I’m not seeing him playing this week. Kevin Kolb is on a roll and probably has the starting job locked away and the key is hidden somewhere in his belly. You don’t want to use Skelton, anyways.
Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams (Groin)
S-Jax hasn’t practice all week and is majorly doubtful for week four. He’s also majorly disappointing in general so far in 2012. But don’t go cutting bait just yet. I think he’ll turn it around very soon.
Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins (Knee)
Bush apparently didn’t hurt his knee all that bad last week, and is a near-lock to face the Cardinals in week four. I’m only rolling with him as Flex if I can help it, though, as AZ hasn’t given up over 100 yards or a score to a running back yet.
Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills (Knee)
F-Jax is about to make a startling comeback, as he’ll have missed just two full weeks with a sprained knee if he plays this week. It looks like he might, which would kill Tashard Choice’s temporarily interesting value, and could hinder C.J. Spiller’s too.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills (Shoulder)
But that’s if Spiller even plays. He looks to be on the mend from his shoulder injury, but is still not a lock to play. It looks like he’ll be splitting reps with Jackson (if he plays). This is shaping up to be a situation you don’t really want your hands tied to this week.
Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears (Ankle)
Forte is trying hard to make it back for Monday Night Football this week, but he’s got be a big risk. You don’t even know if he’ll for sure play, and even if he does he’s likely to be fairly limited with a healthy and willing Michael Bush standing by. He’s a Flex at best in his first game back.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants (Neck)
Bradshaw is totally fine and has been cleared to play. He’ll likely split carries with Andre Brown, however.
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Detroit Lions (Groin)
Leshoure is admittedly sore after his first NFL game – ever. I’m sure he’ll be fine for week two and he’ll still get a solid load. However, he faces a pretty solid Vikings run defense, so temper your expectations.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (Ankle)
Hillis has a bum ankle and has been in a walking boot all week. He’s extremely doubtful for week four. Stay away from him this week.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers (Toe)
Stewart is dealing with foot woes once again, and he’s going up against a tough Falcons defense. I’m staying away if I have anyone worth replacing him with.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants (Knee)
Nicks has swelling and soreness in his knee and is extremely doubtful to face the Eagles on Sunday Night Football. Something could change in the next 24 hours, but I’d just try to find a suitable replacement, instead of worry about his status.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (Groin)
Bowe has been limited in practice this week, but the rest should let him give it a go against the Chargers this week. The matchup isn’t ideal, but he’s hot right now and he should play.
Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans (Ankle)
Britt has a bum ankle and is already up against an elite Texans defense. I’m sure you can find a replacement for him this week, especially considering he hasn’t done anything for you yet, anyways.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Gronkowski has been plenty solid this year but will look to make up for a paltry week three outing. He’s on the injury report without a specific injury, so I’m guessing it’s nothing serious. Check his status, but he should be good to go and is an elite option against a weak Bills pass defense.
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers
Davis had his back give him issues in practice this week, but he could be listed just as a precaution. I think he’s fine, but backs can be tricky, so definitely stay on top of his status up until kickoff on Sunday.
There isn’t a lot to talk about in terms of role changes heading into week four, as guys have separated and made their cases in fantasy for the most part. However, there are definitely some situations to stay away from. Here’s a look at a few role notes:
Leonard Hankerson, WR, Washington Redskins
He was a super hot add late last week due to a starting nod, but he kind of fizzled out with just over 50 yards receiving. He may have come up short last week, but he’s locked in as a starter and could have a shot this week to pay off.
As seen above, both Spiller and F-Jax could be back. That almost certainly means a split load if they’re both back, while it probably means you can’t count on Tashard Choice for much in week four.
Reggie Bush is due back, but Daniel Thomas should get some action just to keep Bush fresh in this one. This matchup probably doesn’t condone you using Thoams or Lamar Miller, though.
Christian Ponder had five total touchdowns and no picks on the season, while he’s managed to complete over 70% of his passes on the year. That’s called efficient. He faces the Lions this week, who tend to stink it up against the pass. That’s called breakout potential.
The Bengals and Jaguars go to battle this week, and neither are particularly fond of playing good defense. That makes BenJarvus Green-Ellis a solid RB2, and Maurice Jones-Drew a guy even a straight man might hit on. I’d even go as far as to say Blaine Gabbert and so-far-pretty-quiet rookie Justin Blackmon make some nice noise in this one. Yeah, the Bengals defense is that bad. Oh, and Andre Hawkins is my favorite guy to watch in this one.
The Packers and Saints square off in a crazy week 4 game that could end with both teams going 1-3. That’s just nuts. Regardless of the outcome, though, everyone is expecting fireworks. That’s what you should be expecting, too. No big names Saints/Packers options should be sitting this week. I personally am extra high on Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley, who to this point have been pretty disappointing, overall.
RG3 has been sick. Like, really sick. Depending on your league, he’s popped off for well over 30+ points in every week so far in his young career. Many are saying he’ll do it again in week four, and who’s to go against that? He’s still ranked in my top-5 because I’d be crazy to rank him much lower, but here’s some food for thought: The Buccaneers rank dead last against the pass, but largely due to a crazy 510-yard outing by Eli Manning. They’ll give up yardage, to be sure, but otherwise have allowed just one passing score on the year.
Peyton Manning hasn’t really looked like himself lately, but I’m super high on him versus a terrible and also banged up Raiders pass defense. Manning should shred them. After all, Ryan Tannehill, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers have.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the Cowboys and Bears facing off on MNF this week. Sure, it could be an offensive explosion with both offenses stinking it up the past two weeks. They could be due and both go off at the same time. Or Tony Romo and Jay Cutler could both keep stinking it up and you’re stuck with a quality 10-point effort.
That does it for the last second decisions. Be sure to stay on top of the injuries and hit me up via all the many ways social media permits you to. You can find those nifty little gadgets in my bio below, or just hit me up in a comment below and I’ll try to help you with all of my He-Man might. Follow me on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin if I make you day, week or year.