Fantasy Quick Hitters: Caddy, MBIII, Marshall and more

Bucs’ OC Greg Olson wants Caddy to be the featured back. Williams has been productive, but he’s injury-prone, and if the Bucs start giving him 25 touches a game, he’s probably going to break down. This is bad news for Derrick Ward in the short term, but in the long term, it might be a good thing. Ward could be the primary ballcarrier to close the season.

Brandon Marshall seems to be happy again. It’s amazing what a 4-0 start and a sick, game-winning TD catch will do for a guy. Marshall’s talent is undeniable, and it seems like he and HC Josh McDaniels have put the ill will behind them and have found a way to work together. Marshall’s upside is still limited somewhat by Kyle Orton (just ask Eddie Royal owners), but he has been productive of late and has worked his way back to being an every-week start in most formats.

Rashard Mendenhall should start this week. With Willie Parker likely out, look for another big game from Mendenhall as he faces the Lions’ 20th-ranked rush defense.

MBIII is back at practice. The Cowboys face the Chiefs this week, so it’s a nice matchup for the entire offense. Barber should be in most starting lineups, but Tashard Choice is likely to see a lot of work to keep Barber fresh. Choice has been productive, so there’s no reason not to use him.

Frank Gore on track to return in Week 7. The 49ers have a bye next week, so it looks like Sunday may be the last week that Glen Coffee is startable. He has a nice matchup with the 25th-ranked Falcons’ rush defense and should see plenty of work. Regardless, Gore owners should keep Coffee stashed as a handcuff.

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Fantasy Quick-Hitters: Westy, DeSean, Bowe, Bell, MBIII and more

DeSean Jackson, Brian Westbrook miss practice. Westy has a long history of not practicing during the week and then killing defenses on Sunday, so plan to use him in Week 3. The Eagles play in the early game, so you’ll have an opportunity to make an adjustment if he’s inactive. While tweaked ankles can clear up fast, I’m a little worried about Jackson’s groin injury. Muscle injuries don’t typically just go away, but he may be able to fight through it. One wonders if the Eagles will risk it against a Kansas City defense that hasn’t shown much in 2009.

Dwayne Bowe fighting a hamstring injury. He was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice, but the fact that he was out there is a good sign for Sunday. Again, the PHI/KC game is at 1 PM ET, so you should have time to make a move if he is a surprise scratch. He was practicing again on Friday, so that’s a good sign.

Giants lose SS Phillips for the season. This is a serious blow to a Giants DT that has looked strong thus far this season. The loss of Phillips will hurt both in the passing game and in run support, and given the team’s other injury problems on defense, don’t be afraid to start players facing the Giants this week (mainly Cadillac Williams, if healthy, and Derrick Ward).

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Marion Barber could miss time with quad injury

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Marion Barber suffered a quad strain in the Cowboys’ 33-31 loss to the Giants on Sunday and could be held out against the Panthers, whom Dallas plays on Monday night.

An MRI taken Monday morning confirmed Barber suffered a quad strain. When asked later in the afternoon if the injury could force the running back to miss some time, head coach Wade Phillips said, “We’ll have to wait and see on that.”

How the injury responds in the next few days will determine if he’s able to play against Carolina.

This is the second year in a row where Barber has come out of the gates like a bat out of hell, only to suffer an injury to slow him down. Last season, he scored nine touchdowns in the first 13 weeks before a toe injury severely limited his production for the rest of the year.

If Barber can’t play, Felix Jones would get the start and split carries with Tashard Choice.

NFL Week 14 Primer

Marion BarberSunday’s Best: Cowboys (8-4) at Steelers (9-3), 4:15 PM ET FOX
The Cowboys are fighting for their playoff lives while the Steelers are trying to stay ahead of the surprising Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. Dallas could be without running back Marion Barber (toe injury), which would be a massive blow going against the best defenses in the league. If the ‘Boys can’t run the ball, expect Dick Lebeau to dial up plenty of blitzes to force quarterback Tony Romo into mistakes. This essentially is a must-win for the Cowboys, who would be left on the outside looking in if the playoffs started today. A loss coupled with a Falcons win over the Saints and the Cowboys would need some help the rest of the way, with a remaining schedule that looks like this: vs. Giants, vs. Ravens, at Eagles. The Steelers, meanwhile, should be at full strength as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back Willie Parker are expected to play. We’ll see what the Cowboys are made of come 4:00 o’clock on Sunday. Steelers are a currently a 3-point favorite.

Upset Watch: Texans (5-7) at Packers (5-7), 1:00 PM ET CBS
Houston welcomes back quarterback Matt Schaub this week but he’s not the reason they could pull off a decent-sized upset in Week 14. Rookie running back Steve Slaton is. Slaton is coming off a 130-yard effort against the Jaguars on Monday night and racked up 156 yards three weeks ago against the Colts. Considering the Packers are allowing a whopping 141.2 yards a game on the ground this year, Slaton could be set up for another huge day. The Texans will need to find a way to get pressure on Aaron Rodgers, however, or else it’s going to be tough to win at Lambeau. The Texans’ pass defense is improving, but Rodgers and company are averaging 228.9 passing yards a game and could find success against a young Houston secondary. If the Texans don’t win outright, I say they cover the 6-point spread.

Gus FrerotteIntriguing Matchup: Vikings (7-5) at Lions (0-12), 1:00 PM ET FOX
There’s nothing intriguing about the winless Detroit Lions, but what is interesting is whether or not Kevin and Pat Williams will play for the Vikings. Minnesota needs a victory to stay at least one-game ahead of the Bears and Packers in the division, but without their interior defensive line, even the Lions are capable of finding some running room. The league suspended the Williamses on Tuesday morning, but a court ruling could change all that and allow the two mammoth d-tackles to play. If they don’t, could Detroit get its first win and turn the NFC North upside down yet again? Can Gus Frerotte keep this team afloat if the defense loses two key players?

Other notable games:

Eagles (6-5-1) at Giants (11-1), 1:00 PM ET FOX
Philly will try and keep its slim playoff hopes alive, while a win would crown the G-Men as NFC East champions and get them one step closer to claiming home field advantage throughout the postseason.

Redskins (7-5) at Ravens (8-4), 8:15 PM ET FOX
This Sunday night matchup is a great one. Both teams desperately need a win to stay within reach of a playoff berth. A loss for the ‘Skins could essentially knock them out of the postseason race.

Buccaneers (9-3) at Panthers (9-3), 8:30 PM ET ESPN
Finally a great Monday Night Football matchup after weeks of utter crap. The winner takes a one-game lead in the NFC South and holds an edge for the second spot in the NFC playoff picture, while the loser gets tossed into the Wild Card mix.

Falcons (8-4) at Saints (6-6), 1:00 PM ET FOX
Atlanta has been a nice story this year, but it can’t relax now. A win would go a long way in securing a playoff spot for the Falcons, who finish with a possibly depleted Vikings and a hapless Rams team in their final two games.

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