With all sports, there are injuries and you need to stay up to date on those injuries so you can give yourself the best chance possible to take home the league title at the end of the season. As if injuries weren't bad enough, starting in Week 4 you have to deal with teams on their bye. That being said, I'll give you a rundown this week of important injuries and I'll also start posting the bye week teams so you can make the best plays possible.
Jahvid Best: Best is dealing with a Grade 2 case of Turf Toe. The problem with this type of injury is that it is easily aggravated and has to be monitored carefully. He will be a wait-and-see this week, but my gut says you should just bench him if you can.
Steve Breaston: Breaston had meniscus surgery and the Cardinals are targeting a Week 7 return right now. Players have been known to struggle in their return from meniscus procedures, so Breaston isn't a good bet to help fantasy owners until late Oct/early Nov.
Ray Rice: Coach John Harbaugh referred to Ray Rice's knee injury as a "significant" contusion, but back-up Willis McGahee said Rice will play this week. Look for the Ravens to limit Rice's carries with the Steelers stifling run defense.
Knowshon Moreno: Moreno is dealing with a hamstring injury that is likely to keep him out for the second straight game this week. But, with the Broncos sporting the leagues #1 passing attack, I don't see the team rushing him back unless Kyle Orton remembers he is Kyle Orton.
Andre Johnson: Johnson is being listed as a game-time decision with a high ankle sprain. Johnson says he will play this weekend, but the Texans are likely to limit his reps and he will be covered by shut-down corner Nnamdi Asomugha. Even if he does play, I wouldn't stick him in the top 10 for WRs this week.
Fred Taylor: Taylor injured his toe last Sunday and is being listed as likely out this weekend. BenJarvis Green-Ellis is going to get the nod over him this weekend and you want to make sure he is on your bench.
Pierre Thomas: Thomas tweaked his ankle and was unable to return to a game that went into overtime. Coach Sean Payton said Wednesday that the Saints have considered re-signing DeShawn Wynn, but will wait to "see how Pierre progresses." Check back in with me on Friday if you own Thomas.
Byes: Cowboys, Chiefs, Vikings, Buccaneers
Kyle Orton: As I mentioned earlier, the Broncos average 350 passing YPG and Orton is #2 in the NFL with 1,078 passing yards heading into Week 4. This week the Broncos match up against the Titans 5th ranked pass defense. But, the Titans just allowed Eli Manning to throw for 386 yards, so I see no reason why Orton can't reach 300 on them as well.
Chad Henne: I'm not one of the bigger fans Henne has, but I also won't ignore the 363 yards and two TDs he threw against the Jets in Week 3. Brandon Marshall and Henne seem to have found their groove and the Patriots pass defense is ranked 25th in the NFL.
DeAngelo Williams: Williams has just 180 rushing yards through three games this season and has failed to score so far. But, he is averaging 4.2 YPC and the Saints give up the third most YPG on the ground at 145.0. I am going to stick my neck out one more time for Williams this season and give him a play this week as an RB1.
Beanie Wells: Wells missed the first two games because of knee problems, but he burst into the spotlight in Week 3 when he rushed 14 times for 75 yards (5.4 YPC). Coach Ken Whisenhunt showed his confidence in Wells by saying "When the big guy gets rolling, you can definitely feel it down there." I like Wells as a RB2 this week against the 9th ranked Chargers run defense.
Mark Clayton: Clayton has 228 receiving yards this season with 17 receptions and two touchdowns this season, and that is likely to improve this weekend against the Seahawks 30th ranked pass defense. I am really thinking Clayton could finish with WR1 numbers this week and would play him accordingly.
Austin Collie: Collie racked up 12 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns last week. But, what's more impressive is his 32 targets this season and team leading 25 percent thrown-to percentage. Collie is also catching 84 percent of the passes thrown his way, so I'd start him as a low-end WR1 this weekend.
Dustin Keller: Keller was the main target for Mark Sanchez last weekend with Braylon Edwards being punished. Keller was in my pre-season sleeper list for TEs and is tied for 4th in targets at TE with 24. I have no problems starting Keller in the top five TEs' for Week 4.
New York Jets Defense: After last weekend's 23 points allowed to the Dolphins, I've gotten more than a few emails wondering if the Jets defense should be played this weekend. They play the Bills, so this was an easy call to make and I have them in my top two defenses this weekend.
Joe Flacco: After last weekend's 262 yards and three touchdowns, Flacco went from a QB2 to someone worth starting in most formats. But, running into the Steelers defense takes you from a potential start, back down to a must-sit. Start whomever you were starting before and wait one more week before giving Flacco the nod.
Carson Palmer: Palmer got all kinds of new weapons this off-season with Terrell Owens and Jermaine Gresham. But, in the first three games of the season he has managed just 235.6 YPG passing with three TDs and three INTs. His wing doesn't look like it has the same zip it used to have and I am going to sit him this weekend against the Browns 12th ranked pass defense.
Justin Forsett: Forsett won the starting RB job with the Seahawks, but all he has been able to manage is 150 rushing yards on his 32 carries. This weekend the Seahawks go up against the Rams 25th ranked run defense, but I still would stay away from Forsett if at all possible.
Ahmad Bradshaw: Bradshaw has not broken 90 yards rushing in a single game this season and the Bears allow a league best 39.7 YPG on the ground. The secondary is the Achilles heel for the Bears, giving up the 5th most passing YPG at 279.3. Look for the Giants to air it out and leave the running game behind in this one.
Michael Crabtree: I had high hopes for Crabtree in his second year in the NFL. But, what happened was the exact opposite as he has just six catches for 81 yards and no touchdowns in the first three games of the season. He has been targeted 32 times with just six catches, which means he is sporting a 32 percent catch rating and a 16 percent thrown-to rating. The chances are there, but he simply isn't capitalizing on them and should be benched until he does.
Lance Moore: Some of the fantasy websites are falling in love with Moore after last weekend's 149 yards and two touchdowns. The truth is that last weekend is going to be Moore's best game of the season and if you pick him up and play him this weekend, you will be one week too late.
Chris Cooley: Cooley has 14 receptions for 197 yards and a TD this season, but that breaks down to just 4.6 catches-per-game and the Eagles are 12th in the NFL in pass defense and 4th in TDs allowed with four. If Cooley is your best option at TE, then you have to play the best player you've got… but I don't trust him this weekend.
Tennessee Titans Defense: The Titans have the 7th ranked defense is total yards allowed per game with 294.7. However, the Broncos are currently 2nd in the NFL in offensive yards with 417.0 total YPG. I don't really trust Kyle Orton for a whole season, but you've got to ride the bandwagon until the wheels fall off, and they haven't came off yet.
Question of the Week
Q: I'm seriously thinking starting Kyle Orton over Tom Brady... The Broncos are number one in passing and look really good. Am I stupid for thinking this? (Ryan Nearhood)
A: Did you know that the Broncos are 1st in the NFL for team passing? On the other hand, the Dolphins are ranked 9th in pass defense so far this season. You can't ever sit Tom Brady since he has Randy Moss and Wes Welker to throw to, not to mention the fact that Fred Taylor is out this week. But, I can't ignore what Orton is doing this season.
Personally, I'd start Brady because of his weapons and the fact that the Broncos face the Titans and they have the 5th best pass defense this season.
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