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Fantasy 411: Bumped and Bruised

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Did one of your key contributors get banged up this week? Here is an early rundown of the key injuries and how you should proceed.  

 

Several early reports suggest that Aaron Hernandez suffered a dreaded high ankle sprain and he could miss an extended period of time. Many owners who drafted the Patriots’ multi-talented tight end probably did not make a quality backup a high priority and may find themselves combing through the waiver wire for a replacement. The Ravens’ Dennis Pitta would be a nice add if you find yourself with lingering questions at tight end.   Pitta turned in his second straight impressive game on Sunday and has displaced Ed Dickson as the No. 1 tight end option in Baltimore.  

 

Wes Welker owners can hope that the injury means more looks for the crafty slot receiver, who saw an increased role racking up nearly 100 yards in Week 2 against the Cardinals after an abysmal performance in Week 1.  

 

Steven Jackson is no longer the elite back that requires a handcuff pick to cover an injury, but his annual tradition of being habitually banged up may have lead many owners to add his backup later in their draft. During most drafts Isaiah Pead was the backup Jackson owners targeted. Pead who was drafted in the second round out of Cincinnati was expected to be a nice change of pace compliment for Jackson. After two games Pead has yet to receive a carry and has been supplanted as the back-up by fellow rookie Daryl Richardson. Richardson tallied fifteen carries while Jackson was out in Week 2 and should warrant your attention if you have Jackson. Don’t expect much from Richardson unless Jackson is injured, but if you are looking to solidify your backfield with the handcuff pick, he is the guy for now.  

 

Ahmad Bradshaw left Sunday’s game with what is being described as a neck sprain. The injury itself is concerning for a player who many predicted would lose his grip on the starting job this season, but in the short term the concern lies in the short week. Bradshaw and the Giants are preparing to face off with the Panthers in this week’s Thursday night game and the short week may be enough to sideline him at least for this week. David Wilson was the anointed heir apparent, but after a fumble in his first carry in Week 1, he has found a cozy spot in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse. Against the Bucs on Sunday, the Giants elected to rely on Andre Brown down the stretch to close the game out. Brown carried the ball 17 times compared to only three for Wilson. Brown deserves consideration for owners of Bradshaw and others who may be thin at running back. In the short term Wilson may be a long shot, but don’t get bogged down by a fumble. Remember, Coughlin was able to correct Tiki Barber’s fumbulitis years ago and turn him into a reliable back.  

 

Denarius Moore was having a nice outing Sunday, hauling in three catches for sixty-seven yards on eight targets before he left the game with cramps in the third quarter. The Raiders have not elaborated on the issue, but on the heels of being a Week 1 scratch with a sore hamstring, fantasy owners have to exercise both caution and concern for the long term outlook. Keep an eye on the reports out of Oakland to see if Moore is actually fully recovered from the hamstring that plagued him through the preseason before you decide to use him in your lineup for the Raiders matchup with the Steelers this week.  

 

Preseason reports out of Kansas City lead owners to take a chance on both Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis expecting a timeshare where both backs would be positioned to exploit their talents. After two weeks no one would have predicted that the running back tandem of Shaun Draughn and Dexter McCluster would have the same amount of fantasy points as Charles and Hillis in many formats. I know McCluster doesn’t have a carry on the season, but in many leagues he has multiple position eligibility allowing him to be used as a running back. Charles re-injured his knee on Sunday and he just hasn’t looked like himself only twelve months removed from reconstructive knee surgery. Given the muddled situation, McCluster has never been more valuable. His ability to catch the ball and the Chiefs commitment to getting him involved made him a suitable bye week fill-in, but with the Chiefs' problems moving the ball on the ground, McCluster may even get some carries in the coming weeks and increase his value.  

 

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