Two weeks are in the books; hopefully, your team is on a roll and unaffected by the myriad injuries that are already piling up and changing the Fantasy landscape. You should definitely be keeping a close eye on Mike Cardano’s waiver wire recommendations (as well as my waiver post from yesterday, just scroll down) and all the news so you can improve your team and make smart decisions. Today, The Xpert Eye will focus in on some of the news and make some observations that might help.
Welker Reinstatement to Happen for Week 3
The agreement between the NFL and the Player’s Association that will alter the collective bargaining agreement policies for drug policy violations and add HGH testing protocols is close to being done. A vote was taken last Friday that approved the agreement in principle but the two sides have continued negotiations on several points that were not yet hammered out. A report from ESPNs Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen yesterday confirmed that final approval should come within 24 hours and that Wes Welker, along with up to 20 other players, will be reinstated and should be able to play the Week 3 game. Josh Gordon’s suspension will be reduced to 10 games, in keeping with the new rules of the agreement. Keep this in mind as you make your waiver and lineup decisions this week.
Welker has been medically cleared to play following the concussion he suffered during the preseason, his third in the past 10 months. How much Welker will play is an open question. The Broncos may choose to move slowly with him and limit the number of snaps he plays, especially with the tough matchup against the Seattle Seahawks at Centurylink Stadium, a virtual house of horrors for visiting teams. Fantasy team managers should expect no more than a half dozen targets for Welker, which should result in 4-5 receptions and 40-50 yards. A touchdown might be too much to ask for.
Injuries to Plan For
Wow! The list of injured players that will be out long-term is staggering. Here are some of the more prominent players you’ll need to plan on potentially being without for Week 3, some longer:
Carson Palmer – There is significant nerve damage in Palmer’s shoulder that could worsen if he plays, so it appears he won’t be slinging the pigskin any time soon. That opens the door for Drew Stanton to helm the offense against a formidable 49ers defense in Week 3. Stanton was more of a game manager than anything else against the Giants, completing just 48 percent of his passes for 167 yards against a lost defense. This could spell trouble for Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd’s production, who were expected to battle for WR1 targets from Palmer and are now left with Stanton under center.
Kirk Cousins – Reports vary but all agree that Robert Griffin III won’t be playing for at least a few weeks. This may be the best thing that could have happened for the Redskins since Cousins looked far better and more comfortable in the pocket that Griffin. That bodes well for the Redskins receiver corps going forward. In fact, I’m willing to wager that RGIII doesn’t take another snap this season.
Ben Tate – His recovery from a knee injury is progressing, albeit slowly. Word is that he won’t play Week 3 and that the Browns will again go with Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell in a committee approach. Look for West to get a solid 15-20 touches between run and pass plays, while Crowell gets somewhere around a dozen touches altogether.
Mark Ingram – Ingram broke his hand and needed surgery, so he’s out of the picture for several weeks. Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas will likely split up Ingram’s touches, making them both solid Flex plays going forward.
Ryan Mathews – Mathews’ knee injury will likely keep him sidelined this week, so Donald Brown is looking like the bell cow for the Chargers, who face the Bills this week. Brown isn’t a stud by any measure and he certainly won’t approach anything higher than RB3 value, but since he can catch passes out of the backfield as well as tote the rock, he’ll have some value as a Flex play in PPR formats.
A.J. Green – We’re hearing mixed reports here that the injury is not severe but might keep him sidelined for this week. The smart money says he sits this week so he ends up with three weeks of rest since the Bengals have a Week 4 bye. If he’s out, then Mohamed Sanu becomes the go-to receiver for the Bengals again.
Eric Decker – Decker has an injured hamstring but we don’t know the severity of the injury just yet, as the Jets have been mum about the results of his MRI. Since the Jets play on Monday night, the best advice here is to forget about Decker this week, especially if it comes down to being a game time decision. You simply cannot wait until the very last game of the week and risk a goose egg.
DeSean Jackson – Jackson shoulder injury is a sprained AC joint, so there is a good chance he’ll be able to play if the pain isn’t too severe. He is going to want to be in the lineup against his former team, the Eagles. Football is a game of emotion and I’m willing to wager that if he plays, he has a huge game.
Marcedes Lewis – Lewis will be gone 6-8 weeks with a high ankle sprain. There are several solid free agent TEs available. Just scroll down!
Jordan Cameron – Cameron’s status is up in the air just now, but it will be important to monitor as the week goes on. If he plays, the target distribution to Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins will definitely be affected. Cameron would also take scoring opportunities away from the less experienced running backs.
Changes Are a Comin’
There is no word yet either way on any of the prominent rookie quarterbacks taking over the starting roles for their teams. However, there are whispers that Chad Henne might be replaced by Blake Bortles, and Matt Cassel was just brutal against his former employer, the Patriots, making it all the more possible that Teddy Bridgewater gets a shot soon. Both Bortles and Bridgewater should be stashed away, as one never knows when their opportunity will arrive. Johnny Manziel made his NFL debut this past week, which looked like the Browns trying to get his feet wet. Still, it could be a sign that Brian Hoyer is on a short leash and could be replaced at any time. That time could still be right after the Browns’ Week 4 bye, so look for Manziel to get a few more snaps this week.