Fantasy Quick-Hitters: Gonzalez, LT, Pierre and more

A. Gonzalez hopes to return Week 7. Well, it could have been worse. Fantasy owners who drafted Gonzalez in the 4th or 5th round expecting him to be a solid WR2 are going to have to weather the storm until he returns. Austin Collie is the Colts’ WR3 and figures to see the biggest jump in targets, though Pierre Garcon could eat into those as well. Neither player did much of anything against the Jaguars on Sunday. The Colts signed Hank Baskett as well. Gonzalez’s absence probably helps Dallas Clark the most since they both work the short game pretty well.

Tomlinson not practicing; ankle in a boot.
This is so demoralizing for LT2 owners who drafted him in the first round expecting a bounce-back season. It is especially demoralizing for owners who didn’t draft Darren Sproles in the middle rounds to back Tomlinson up. Regardless, the Chargers have a tough matchup against the Ravens this week, though if LT2 doesn’t play, Sproles is a solid start in PPR leagues due to his ability to rack up catches in the passing game.

Pierre Thomas practicing, still may not play. Fantasy owners that have both Thomas and Mike Bell would like to see Thomas sit until he’s healthy. Those owners who have Thomas but don’t have Bell are rooting for Thomas to return ASAP. The best thing for those owners might be for Thomas to sit out another week and hope Bell struggles against a very solid Eagles defense. The Saints offense is prolific, but I don’t know that it can support three starting fantasy RBs.

Jamal Lewis limited by neck injury. Don’t cut James Davis yet. Davis sat out of practice with a shoulder injury, but Lewis’s neck injury is pretty worrisome considering his age and mileage.

S. Smith tells Delhomme, “I never really liked you as a quarterback.”
Of course, the NFL has pulled the video from YouTube. Sigh.

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Fantasy Quick-Hitters: LT/Sproles, Pierre/Bell & Gonzalez’s knee

LaDainian Tomlinson limping after win in Oakland. LT2 was replaced for much of the second half by Darren Sproles, who played well in his place. Tomlinson was determined to have a bounce back season, but he’s off to a rough start. Even if his ankle is better heading into Week 2, the Chargers are going to utilize Sproles heavily to keep Tomlinson fresh. This is bad news for LT2 owners.

HC Sean Payton: Bell and P. Thomas are “competing for touches in a course of a game.” Bell’s big day against the Lions has earned him more playing time, much to the chagrin of Thomas owners who drafted him in the third or fourth round expecting RB1/RB2 production. Expect a committee going forward.

A. Gonzalez’s knee injury not year-ending. However, he has multiple sprained ligaments so he may be out a while. Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon and Dallas Clark will pick up the slack, though the Colts will look to add a veteran (but not Marvin Harrison) if Gonzalez’s knee injury will keep him out a month or more.

Fantasy Quick-Hitters: Boldin, Pierre, Berrian and more

Anquan Boldin returned to a limited practice. Boldin said, “It’s only week one. I’d rather sit out game one as opposed to sitting out four or five other games. You just have to use your discretion.” That doesn’t sound good for his prospects of playing in Week 1. Steve Breaston would be first in line to start, but he’s dealing with a sore knee, so Jerheme Urban could potentially eat into Breaston’s snaps.

Pierre Thomas has been officially ruled out for Week 1. Mike Bell, Mike Bell, Mike Bell. I wrote on Tuesday that Thomas owners (and even non-owners) should grab Bell. He’s a solid RB2/flex play against the hapless Detroit rush defense.

Cassel is questionable for Week 1. Not a big surprise here. Owners should probably keep Cassel on the bench even if he does play. The Ravens are a bad matchup for any passing game.

Bernard Berrian and Kevin Walter are both game-time decisions. It would be wise to sit both players even if they do play, assuming that you have a decent option to plug in. It’s tough to battle back from a hamstring injury and be effective right away.

Kyle Orton will start against the Bengals. It’s not a terrible matchup, but Orton’s preseason performance is not encouraging. Only use him if you’re desperate (or you’re in a 2 QB league). It does help that Brandon Marshall is behaving.

Raiders name Darren McFadden as their starting RB. He has had a very impressive preseason, so this is just a formality. Even if he didn’t start, he’s going to play a ton of snaps because he is easily the Raiders most explosive player. (And he better perform, because I started him over Santonio Holmes this week!)

Fantasy Quick-Hitters: Pierre’s knee, Boldin’s hammy, and more

Pierre Thomas practices, but Week 1 status still uncertain. Whoa! This is a surprise, as everything had been pointing to Thomas sitting out this week. The day after is crucial with knee injuries, so we’ll see if it flares up or if he’s able to go on Friday. If he goes, he’d be a solid start against a bad Lions defense.

Anquan Boldin doesn’t practice, but says he’ll play. Hammys are fickle, so use caution when inserting Boldin in your lineup. Steve Breaston looks like a solid WR2/flex play in Week 1 against a suspect 49ers defense.

Jonathan Stewart not listed on injury report. I expect that he’ll still be limited, but this is a great sign for Stewart owners (and not such a great sign for DeAngelo Williams owners).

Malcom Kelly named starting WR2 in Washington. This has been the general consensus for a couple of weeks now, but it still bears watching. Kelly is big, but isn’t terribly fast. Still, big receivers can thrive in the WCO due to their ability to overpower smaller DBs on slants, so Kelly could be a worthwhile pickup in big PPR leagues.

Antonio Bryant practices fully on Wednesday. The Bucs have downgraded at QB, so I wouldn’t expect Bryant to post the kind of numbers that he did last season, but the top 20 is certainly within reach.

Steven Jackson to be used like Brian Westbrook. This is good news for owners who have Jackson in PPR leagues. He’s a versatile pass catcher and the Rams would be smart to try to get him the ball in space so that he can avoid the constant pounding inherent in between-the-tackles rushing.

Fantasy Quick-Hitters: Brandon’s attitude, Pierre’s knee, Dallas RB split and more

HC McDaniels says that Brandon Marshall’s attitude has been “great” since returning from suspension. He went on to say that Marshall could “absolutely” contribute in Week 1. Marshall’s stock is still a little shaky, but this is exactly what his owners were looking for coming out of last week’s suspension. He’s a solid start against a traditionally bad Cincy defense.

Pierre Thomas misses Wednesday practice, likely out for Week 1. I wrote about this yesterday and suggested that owners pick up Mike Bell to start against the Lions on Sunday. It’s a great matchup and Bell proved in Denver that he is more than capable of posting good numbers.

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