We have reached the point of the NFL schedule where bye weeks start to take place. This means you must expertly scour the waiver wire and make sure you have adequate backups or replacements (not referees…sorry, too soon?). However, this is on top of also dealing with potentially devastating injuries to key players. As with every week, this week’s list of injuries is significant in terms of fantasy implications. So without further adieu, here is the Week 4 edition of the walking wounded for fantasy football.
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1. Darrelle Revis (CB-NYJ). It is rare that a defensive player would be the most significant injury in terms of fantasy football. But when you are talking about the best cornerback in all of football, this injury will have an impact on several fronts. Darrelle Revis sustained a torn ACL which will require season-ending surgery. Obviously this renders him useless in IDP leagues and diminishes the value of the Jets D/ST since they will likely give up more points and yards to opponents. But this now means that opposing offensive players will have much more value when playing against the Jets. Look to start WR’s that play against New York as much as possible.
2. Matthew Stafford (QB-DET). In the midst of Week 3’s classic shootout between the Lions and Titans, quarterback Matthew Stafford sustained a leg injury which forced him out of the game. He hasn’t practiced through Wednesday thus far, but that doesn’t mean he won’t play. You will need to keep a close eye on his progress because if he doesn’t practice by Thursday or Friday then you will have to make alternate plans such as picking up his backup, Shaun Hill.
3. C.J. Spiller (RB-BUF). Bills running back C.J. Spiller has emerged as a fantasy phenom the past couple weeks while filling in for Fred Jackson. But he sustained what looked like a serious shoulder injury in Week 3. It now appears that Spiller may play as the injury doesn’t appear as serious as once believed. However, it is also possible that Jackson could return this week which would limit Spiller’s carriers. In addition, Tashard Choice could be in the mix as well. Even if Spiller plays, you should still consider better options for this week.
4. Fred Jackson (RB-BUF). Fred Jackson has missed the last two games with a knee injury he sustained during the Bills’ opening game against the Jets. It looked like he might be out at least three weeks, but now it appears he could suit up this weekend against New England. Jackson returned to practice already which is a good sign he will play. With C.J. Spiller also recently banged up, Jackson could be worth the risk of putting back in your lineup this weekend.
5. Reggie Bush (RB-MIA). Dolphins running back Reggie Bush suffered a knee injury last week and has been limited to doing exercises this week in practice. He still has stiffness and swelling in his knee, but there is a chance he could return to practice and even play this weekend. If he doesn’t play, Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller would share the carries in his absence. Neither are great options. If Bush is going to play, he is a decent RB2 or Flex option.
6. Jonathan Stewart (RB-CAR). After missing last week’s game against the Giants with a foot injury, Jonathan Stewart has been cleared to return to practice for the Panthers. Carolina has a three-headed monster at running back which does limit Stewart’s carries, but he usually makes the most of them with tremendous YPC and breakaway speed. Since it looks like he will suit up this weekend, he is a viable option as a RB2 or Flex in your fantasy lineup.
7. Willis McGahee (RB-DEN). Denver running back Willis McGahee left last week’s game early with a neck injury that involved some cartilage damage according to head coach John Fox. He is being called day-to-day which isn’t helpful for fantasy owners, so you will need to monitor his progress throughout the week. If he plays then he is a solid option to start on your fantasy team with a favorable matchup against Oakland this weekend.
8. Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR-OAK). It was a scary moment when Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was carted off the field last week after a violent helmet to helmet hit which caused a concussion. Heyward-Bey was released from the hospital on Monday and is on his way to recovery. However, given his concussion, he likely won’t play this weekend, especially given that Oakland has a bye week next week and this could give him sufficient time to fully recover. Plan on keeping him on your bench this week.
9. Pierre Garcon (WR-WAS). Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said that wide receiver Pierre Garcon has been receiving treatment and is feeling better after suffering from a foot injury that has kept him out of the past two games. It still isn’t know whether Garcon will play this weekend against Tampa Bay so you will need to keep monitoring his progress throughout the week. In his only game, Garcon established a nice rapport with Robert Griffin III so he should be in your lineup if he is active.
10. Chris Johnson (RB-TEN). Former 2,000 yard rusher Chris Johnson isn’t on this week’s NFL Injury Report, but there is no doubt that he has been suffering from a chronic case of suck. Johnson’s awful 2011 season could be attributed to the NFL lockout and his own contract holdout where he missed the entire pre-season. He doesn’t have the same excuses for this year as he is making the Titans regret that contract more and more every day. Johnson hasn’t amassed 50 yards total during the first three weeks, so he is a candidate to be benched or traded. But do it soon before you can’t even get a replacement referee for him.
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