There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of injury question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 3 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these three and what you should consider.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego vs. Atlanta Falcons
Today should be the debut for San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews. His first 2012 debut lasted just one play as he broke his clavicle on his first preseason carry.
He gets an Atlanta Falcons defense that has already allowed two 85-yard-plus rushers and three scores on the ground to running backs. Jamaal Charles ran for 87 yards in the opener. Willis McGahee ran for 113 yards and two scores last week. Atlanta has also given up nine catches for 60 yards to running backs.
In a game where the Chargers will want to try and limit the snaps Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Julio Jones get to work with, Mathews could help that along. He also could be eased back into his role as the team’s lead ball carrier.
It’s hard to gauge what Mathews can do in his return when the already injury-prone back was hurt on his first preseason play. But the matchup, the need for him in this offense makes him at least an RB2 and certainly a flex play.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins vs. Cincinnati Bengals
We want more of those 88-yard touchdown passes — screen pass or not. It is evident Robert Griffin III gets to air it out just as he did at Baylor and Garcon, the big free-agent acquisition for the team, is the one that will benefit the most on the other end of those deep passes.
However, he injured his foot in the opener against New Orleans — on that 88-yard TD. He missed last week against St. Louis and is not expected to play today against a pass-friendly Cincinnati Bengals defense.
Garcon was limited in practice on Friday and coach Mike Shanahan said earlier in the week the injury is “nagging a little bit more than I thought it would.” Even if Garcon were to miraculously be active, it is not suggested you start him. You likely got him in the later rounds, so plug in one of your higher picks.
Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Oakland Raiders
Heath Miller (ribs) returned to practice Friday and has a pretty good matchup against the host Oakland Raiders today.
Miller, who has been used more as a blocker in previous years, is actually a top-10 tight end currently. And he joins a top-10 list that currently includes Martellus Bennett, Scott Chandler, Dante Rosario and Dennis Pitta.
Miller has seven catches for 69 yards and two scores on 10 targets. He gets an Oakland team that held Antonio Gates to four catches for 43 yards in Week 1, gave up a TD to Anthony Fasano last week and surrendered 65 catches for 826 yards and seven scores to the position last season — ninth-worst in fantasy.