Time to track injured stars
You know what you are at this point in the season. You’re either a loaded team that can afford to use some bench spots on injured players, or you’re a guy that’s scuffling for each win.
If you’re among the lucky ones that can comfortably look down the line, there are a lot of options out there for you. Some studs will be coming back and project to help us in crunch time.
» The sooner, the better:Everyone — and I mean everyone — needs help at running back these days. So even though Jonathan Stewart will return to a timeshare in Week 7 and has chronically damaged ankles, he’s someone to consider. If you can wait a little longer, Andre Brown (leg) is going to have a big role come Week 10. David Wilson is a disaster and Brandon Jacobs/Da’Rel Scott shouldn’t be in the NFL. The big prize comes back in Week 11, as Shane Vereen (wrist) should be ready. He’ll play the “joker” role in New England’s offense, making him a candidate for 10 carries and five catches weekly.
» Looking on the up and up:Percy Harvin is the NFL’s best player once he gets the ball in his hands. He’s currently rehabbing from hip surgery, but has resumed running and has hinted he’s ahead of schedule. Perhaps he’ll be back by Week 9 or 10 — and if that’s the case, Harvin is going to make a big impact in fantasy playoff time. Meanwhile, the status of Michael Crabtree is shakier. He’s coming off a more serious injury (Achilles’ tear) and he’s not nearly as explosive as Harvin. There’s more short-term appeal in Mario Manningham, who is almost ready to go and will start across from Anquan Boldin until Crabby is ready.
Play these Week 3 match-ups
Avoid getting these borderline wideouts in your lineups this week:
1. Stevie Johnson, Bills: Thaddeus Lewis is starting for Buffalo, Johnson is nursing a sore back and Leon Hall should be back for Cincy.
2. Marques Colston, Saints: Look for dominant Patriots corner Aqib Talib to match-up with Colston, who is taking a major backseat to Jimmy Graham.
3. Michael Floyd, Cardinals: The Cards are going to have real trouble protecting Carson Palmer in a road spot at San Francisco.
NFL News to Know
Rashard Mendenhall has predictably scuffled as the lead back in Arizona, while rookie Andre Ellington has shined. So what now? Coach Bruce Arians says he loves what Ellington is doing, but doesn’t see the 199-pounder as anything more than a 30-snap player. That’s enough for about 5-7 carries and 3-4 catches weekly, but not much more.
Pickups of the Week
» Zac Stacy, RB, Rams: Impressive in his first NFL start in Week 5, Stacy did more than enough to run with the gig.
» Harry Douglas, WR, Falcons: Julio Jones is likely done for the season and Roddy White is out a few weeks. Douglas is the new No. 1.
» Garrett Graham, TE, Texans: Owen Daniels is out eight weeks. Graham is now an every-down TE and red-zone threat.