|ESPN.com: Bell||[Print without images]|
LaDainain Tomlinson, RB, San Diego Chargers: Tomlinson remains a game-time decision. The question appears to be not so much whether he will, in fact, play but rather how much he will be able to contribute. Once again this week, Tomlinson did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and then returned on a limited basis Friday. He does get the extra day of rest with the game on Monday night, but even then he will not be 100 percent.
This is one of the toughest calls of the week for fantasy owners who watched LT get tended to on the sidelines during the second half after contributing very little in the first half. He has a very positive attitude and clearly wants to be out on the field as much as he can, but it takes more than an upbeat tone to heal an injured big toe. He will likely play, but not at full strength, and the degree to which he is utilized will ultimately come down to how he feels as the game progresses.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings: This is the second-toughest call of the week for fantasy owners. Peterson is listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision. Working in the favor of fantasy owners is the fact that AP plays at 1 p.m. Heading into Sunday, Peterson's odds don't look so good. Peterson practiced on a limited basis Wednesday but then did not practice Thursday. He did some limited work Friday, but according to ESPN's John Clayton, was not able to do much and spent most of his time in the training room.
Peterson has an ailing hamstring, never good for running backs because they depend on their hamstrings not only for speed and explosiveness but for strength when trying to power through a line of would-be tacklers. Peterson's description of tightness and soreness that he has experienced throughout the week raises enough concern to consider resting him this weekend. The team will determine his status based upon how the leg feels during warm-ups, but bear in mind that he will not be at full tilt, even if he does start. Chester Taylor is likely to see some increased carries as a result.
Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders: Run DMC, as he is called, is listed as probable and is expected to get the start with an ailing Fargas (doubtful with a groin injury that could sideline him for a few weeks) not likely to play. McFadden played well in Week 2 after Fargas' departure, but injured his big toe, the NFL ailment du jour, late in the game.
He sat out practice Wednesday, trading in his cleats for a walking boot to minimize motion at the great toe. McFadden returned to practice Thursday and, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee, was able to take about 70 percent of his normal reps. McFadden complained of feeling flat-footed when he was outfitted with a steel plate to reinforce the cleat. The plate helps decrease stress on the big toe by limiting the flexibility of the shoe, but by doing that very thing, does not allow the runner to push off normally, hence the flat-footed feeling. McFadden also indicated the toe was sore, but seemed to adapt as practice went on. On the encouraging side, he was a full participant in Friday's practice, and that, along with his probable status, makes him a likely start. A word of caution to fantasy owners: He will not be at 100 percent strength or speed, and may yield some opportunities to Michael Bush, especially as the game progresses if the soreness in the toe becomes limiting.
Devin Hester, WR, Chicago Bears: No matter what you want to call Hester's injury -- torn cartilage, bruised ribs -- the bottom line is that it is a painful one that has kept him out of practice all week and will no doubt limit him greatly if he does play Sunday. In fact, I will be surprised if he is active given how uncomfortable and limited he has been thus far.
Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune reported that Hester originally described his injury as torn cartilage, only to later refer to it as "bruised ribs." Originally Hester injured himself Sunday when maneuvering to get out of bounds. The injury was not a result of contact, but apparently the result of Hester trying to extend his body to avoid contact. McClure also reported that Hester heard a "pop," which is typical when the cartilage separates from the bone. In addition to cartilage, there are numerous small muscles that attach between, over and across the ribs that contribute to rib and trunk motion, all of which can bleed in the event of an injury, adding to pain and swelling in the area. Hester's difficulty breathing for the first few days post-injury is very typical of any rib problem, because anything that causes movement, including breathing, stresses the injured area while it is trying to heal. Fast running, something Hester is noted for, means harder breathing, which translates to increased pain. Reaching, twisting, and, oh yes, taking hits from large humans running at full speed in your direction, can all compound the problem. Another week of rest can go a long way toward full recuperation. Hester may very well be watching from the sidelines this week.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: An AC sprain, a separated shoulder and a sore shoulder all mean the same thing when it comes to Roethlisberger: no big deal. He showed that he could play through the pain in Week 2. As long as he spends more time upright than landing on that shoulder, Roethlisberger, currently listed as probable, should start and perform without much problem.
Dallas Clark, TE, Indianapolis Colts: What a difference a week makes. Clark, who sat out last week with a sprained knee, returned to full practice this week and was not even on Friday's injury report. He is expected to start and contribute this week. Complementing the offense will be the addition of Jeff Saturday, who returns several weeks early from an MCL sprain. Saturday has had more than a week of solid practice and is looking forward to his return. Guess what, Jeff? So is Peyton Manning.
Ryan Grant, RB, Green Bay Packers: This is why teams worry about hamstring injuries: they linger. Grant has been well managed by the Packers and has been able to play, but his limited performance this past week reflects the challenges presented by trying to push through these injuries. Grant, listed as probable, is expected to play again this week, and he was able to fully practice Friday despite being limited earlier in the week. But he's not yet 100 percent, so be guardedly optimistic.
Reggie Brown, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: Brown has been upgraded to probable this week and is likely to see his first action of the season. He may not start and may be used only in specific situations, according to Clayton. Might be best to watch him from a distance to see how he performs his first week back.
Justin Gage, WR, Tennessee Titans: It's not looking so good for Gage. He suffered a groin injury Sunday and was not really able to practice all week. Friday he performed only straight-line running, and with the groin or adductor muscles being so critical for directional changes, this suggests that he is still hurting. He is listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision, but don't be surprised if Gage sits this one out.
Laurence Maroney, RB, New England Patriots: Do you really think we have been given any hint as to what the problem is with Maroney's shoulder? Of course not, as per the Patriots' standard veil of secrecy. But we do know that he did not practice Wednesday or Thursday, although he was able to do some limited work Friday. With teammate Jordan listed as doubtful with a foot injury and Maroney's status questionable, expect Sammy Morris to see some more work, as might Kevin Faulk. Of note, tight end Benjamin Watson may also see his first action of the year Sunday.
Braylon Edwards, WR, Cleveland Browns: This sort of snuck up on us. Edwards was limited all week in practice with a shoulder injury and is listed as questionable for Sunday. Clayton says there is a good chance he will still play, but it's unclear how much Edwards will look like himself this week. Teammate Jamal Lewis was limited all week with an ankle injury also, but his probable status is far more encouraging.
Charles Woodson, CB, Green Bay Packers: The toe that was bothering him last week appears to be improving. He is listed as probable and is expected to play.
Antonio Cromartie, CB, San Diego Chargers: The hip is better and so is his attitude. There will be less pain and hopefully fewer penalties.
Out: This is a list of key fantasy players, not including those who have been moved to Injured Reserve status, who are officially listed as "out" for Week 2.
Bob Sanders, CB, Indianapolis Colts: The punishment he inflicts on others makes itself felt on his body. Sanders has a high ankle sprain that will keep him out for four to six weeks and he may take advantage of the time to get his knee scoped as well. Bummer.
Joey Galloway, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A foot injury. He's 37 this year. Bad combination.
Be sure to check out our site Sunday for pregame chats and "Fantasy Football Now" at noon ET. Good luck in Week 3!