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Fantasy Intelligence Report — Week 9

B.D.N. — Breaking Down News

In Philadelphia, according to
The Philadelphia Inquirer, Eagles head coach Andy Reid has confirmed that DeSean Jackson is likely to play on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Pair this news with the fact Michael Vick will be starting this week, and fantasy owners should be relieved that the Eagles explosive offense is back intact. 

This game is important for the team according to No. 7. “This is a big game for us,” Vick said. “We know the magnitude of it. We know what it can do for us as far as our confidence moving forward.”

From a fantasy perspective, Jackson and Vick will be key contributors not only if the Eagles fall behind, but if they want to run the ball effectively with LeSean McCoy. The Colts’ defense is 28th against the run, allowing 133.1 yards per game.  Start those Eagles if you them. 

In Arizona, according to
The Arizona Republic, Cardinals’ running back Chris “Beanie” Wells insists that he will play on Sunday against the Vikings in Minnesota after participating a lot more in practice on Friday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt confirmed this to be true, with one little wrinkle. 

“As long as there are no issues with any kind of swelling tomorrow … I would anticipate he will be fine,” Whisenhunt said. “It’s always good to have Beanie up.”

I don’t know if “Beanie” will be exactly “up” this week, unless of course he’s taking advice from one Brett Favre. The Vikings are allowing just 102.4 rushing yards per game, and Wells himself is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry this season. I think I’ll take my chances on Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals’ aerial attack before even think about putting Wells in my starting lineup. 

In Houston, according to
The Houston Chronicle, All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson continues to feel the pain of the high ankle sprain that has been bothering him since Week 2. Johnson insists though, that he has to grin and bear the pain. 

“I’ve pretty much got that mindset,” Johnson said when he was asked if he expected the ankle to be an irritant for the rest of the season. “It’s very aggravating, I can tell you that. But it’s just something you have to accept and roll with. I try to do everything I can to feel as good as I can. I’ve got to play through it.”

Tight end Owen Daniels may not be so lucky. Daniels remains listed as questionable for this week’s matchup with the Chargers due to a hamstring issue.  He just can’t catch a break, but knows he must be patient and cautious. 

“Never had one before,” Daniels said. “It’s kind of a new thing for me to deal with. I’m learning how to handle it. As a football player, you want to be out there playing for your guys, but a hamstring is something you’ve got to be careful with. You can re-injure it pretty easily.”

Both Johnson and Daniels are capable of being major fantasy contributors, but both have lacked the overall glamor they’ve had in recent years. That glamor is starting to come back for Johnson, who has had two big games in the last two weeks – 27 and 23 points-per-reception league points. Unfortunately though, the same can’t be said for Daniels, who is slowing creeping down in to the fantasy cellar. 

In Seattle, according to
The Seattle Times, regular starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will sit out this week against the New York Giants due to a recent concussion he suffered last Sunday in Oakland. 

“He needs another week to get right,” coach Pete Carroll said, announcing the decision before Thursday’s practice. “We need to do this to protect him and take care of him.”

Charlie Whitehurst will start in Hasselbeck’s place in what will be his first-ever NFL start. It’s not exactly against the team he may have envisioned or hoped for due to their colossal pass rush, but it is something that Whitehurst has been preparing for. 

“I’ve been preparing like this for not just this year, but in years past,” Whitehurst said. “So I feel like I’m ready to go.”

From a fantasy perspective I think this is exactly what Mike Williams owners don’t want, but what Deon Butler owners do need. What I mean by this is that  Whitehurst can throw a good deep ball, whereas Hasselbeck couldn’t, thus he resorted to short passes to big figures like Williams. 

Now, I think Butler excels because Carroll can open up the offensive playbook a little bit more because he has a quarterback who has the arm to go down the field.  This should also help open more running lanes for Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett, because it takes defenders out of the box. The big question remains – will Whitehurst rise to the occasion, or will he be swallowed up by the Giants’ pass rush?

O.K.I. — Other Key Injuries

The Arizona Cardinals’ Steve Breaston is listed as probable with a knee injury, and will most likely play against the Minnesota Vikings. Breaston has played in just four games this season, but has recorded 100-yard outings in two of those four. 

Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams will not play this week against the New Orleans Saints as he continues to recover from a foot injury. Jonathan Stewart will get the bulk of the work and is a worthy starter this week at home. 

Fred Taylor will be out when the New England Patriots play the Cleveland Browns. BenJarvus Green-Ellis will continue to get the bulk of the carries and is a good play this week. He has scored a touchdown in the each of the Patriots’ last five games, and recorded his first 100-yard game of the season last week against Minnesota. 

On the other side, the Browns will go with Colt McCoy at quarterback in place of the injured Seneca Wallace. This will be McCoy’s third start of the season.

The injury bug has struck the Chargers’ offense hard this week, as Legedu Naanee, Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates are all listed as doubtful heading in to Sunday’s matchup against the Houston Texans. This is on the heels of the team placing Buster Davis on Injured Reserve. It ultimately means that Patrick Crayton, rookie Seyi Ajirotutu, Randy McMichael and recently acquired Kelly Washington will be key contributors against a Texans’ defense ranked last in the NFL against the pass (299.4 yards per game). 

Colts’ running back Joseph Addai is doubtful with a neck injury. And Austin Collie participated this week at practice, but Anthony Gonzalez didn’t.  Collie is listed as questionable, but don’t be surprised if he starts. Gonzalez was just placed on Injured Reserve. 

Dwayne Bowe will be delighted to know that Oakland Raiders shutdown cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is doubtful this week with an ankle injury. This means that Matt Cassel can actually throw him the ball. 

Green Bay Packers’ wide receiver Donald Driver is out. However, I will caution fantasy owners that James Jones may not be the player to target this week. Jordy Nelson has come on strong in the last three weeks (21 targets), and right now seems to be the only receiver on the same page as his quarterback. 

F.T. — Final Thought

I would really like to know which NFL spokesperson said New England Patriots’ defensive lineman Marlon Pryor “unnecessarily struck the quarterback (Brett Favre) in the head and neck area.” 

Hey, go back to Roger Goodell and tell him to resign immediately. Then when he waives you like the Vikings did to Randy Moss, you can go get a job with the UFL and divulge all his secrets. 

What I saw was a clean football play. Sure it was unfortunate, but just because Favre is legendary, and is slipping cash under the table to the commissioner doesn’t mean that every time he gets hit there should be a fine. 

Besides, he’s the iron man. Remember? 

Thanks for reading!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for Fantasysharks.com. 

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