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Fantasy Intelligence Report – Week 4

Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush had many fantasy owners gasping for air last week when he went down with a sprained left knee against the New York Jets. Less than a week later, Bush is insisting that he has recovered and will be ready to go come Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. However, according to the
Sun-Sentinel, ultimately Bush knows it will be up to head coach Joe Philbin to decide his status this week.

“… I’ll tell you right now I’m playing Sunday, but I’m sure that’s why I’m not the head coach,” Bush said. “I’m going to do everything I can from a physical and mental standpoint to prepare myself as if I’m playing Sunday and, if I get the call and it’s true that I can play, then I’ll be ready to go.”

It’s good to know that Bush is optimistic. However, Philbin will continue to evaluate his running back’s progress and make an informed logical decision that won’t allow for any setbacks.

“You just need to trust your eyes, watch the film and see where he’s at,” Philbin said. “Obviously, health and safety of the players is the No. 1 concern. It’s important. I’m sure if he’s healthy enough, he’ll play. If he’s not, he won’t.”

If Bush can’t go, Daniel Thomas will likely get the lion’s share of the carries. Rookie Lamar Miller was a hot waiver wire pickup this week due to Bush’s uncertain status, but may provide fantasy owners with more value than Thomas, regardless. Thus far, through the two games Miller has appeared in, he has averaged 5.9 yards per carry, and has already scored a touchdown.

The Dolphins’ opponent this week, the Arizona Cardinals, are one of four teams heading in to Week 4 that haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown and rank 17th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (106).

The big news out of New York this week comes via New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw. According to the
New York Daily News, Bradshaw revealed Thursday that he didn’t sprain his neck two weeks ago, but suffered a bulging inflamed disc. It’s the same type of injury that ended linebacker Antonio Pierce’s career back in 2009, and it’s an injury that doctors can do nothing for.

 “They can’t do anything,” Bradshaw said. “Just let it heal. It’s pretty much like an inflamed disc. It’s sitting right on my spinal cord, I guess. The swelling went down and I feel fine now. No setbacks, no problem.”

This isn’t the news Bradshaw owners were looking for long-term, but allows some injections in to starting lineups this week, as the Giants starter insists that he should be ready for the team’s divisional showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles. What about waiver wire darling Andre Brown? Well, according to offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, he will play “some” if Bradshaw is indeed a full go come game time Sunday night.

“(Brown) has really played well,” Gilbride said. “He’s gotten opportunities that probably would not have occurred if it wasn’t for the injury to Ahmad. He did just what you pray as a coach that a guy will do when a chance presents itself. He goes out and made some plays. He’s really changed the dynamic of our run game. So yeah, he’ll play some. It’s just a matter of us trying to get a feel what plays certain guys run a little more effectively than others. And you’re always hoping somebody gets hot and you feed the hot hand.”

This just doesn’t smell right at all. As a fantasy owner I have my questions.

Why would Bradshaw risk affecting his long-term health by coming back only after a few weeks? Why wouldn’t the Giants offensive coordinator want to just ride the hot wave that is Brown and allow Bradshaw to heal? And why would I want to start either one of them with the huge storm cloud above?

If I were to come right out and tell you that the only player in the NFL who has caught each and every one of his 15 targets is an Oakland Raider, you would probably laugh and go to the next article. I mean, let’s be honest here, over the past decade or more Oakland hasn’t exactly been a place filled with fantasy gold catching pigskins. That could all be changing, though.

Tight end Brandon Myers is a name that most fantasy owners are not familiar with. However, according to the
San Francisco Chronicle, after three weeks of next to flawless results – 15 catches on 15 targets – Myers is catching the eye and praise of his quarterback, and eventually could become a household name.

“He’s just a really good football player,” Carson Palmer said. “The guy was tackling him as he was running his route, and that happened a number of times. But Brandon has phenomenal hands. He catches everything you throw to him, and he dives and makes plays. That one is about as tough a catch as you have to make; it almost looked like he was getting horse-collared. Then to hold onto the ball when he got lit up. Great player, and we got a lot of plays for him in this offense.”

Myers suffered a concussion in last week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but indications are that he hasn’t been hampered by any side effects and should be available to play this week against the Denver Broncos.

It is also worthy to note here that Greg Knapp’s offensive system has featured good tight end play as a focal point in the past, so it really should come as no surprise to see Myers seeing this much success.

“He’s done an outstanding job,” head coach Dennis Allen said. “He was a guy that we identified fairly early in camp as a guy that we thought could be productive for us.”

Indeed he has been.

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