Should you start or sit them?
There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of injury question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 4 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these three and what you should consider.
Jared Cook, TE and Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans
Jared Cook is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury that forced an early exit from the Week 3 win over Detroit, which included a 61-yard touchdown for the inconsistent tight end. Kenny Britt, playing in his second game since last year’s season-ending knee injury, also lasted just one half before an ankle injury sent him to the sidelines. He too is listed as questionable.
After not practicing on Wednesday, Cook returned on Thursday and Friday. Now he gets a Texans team that is third best against tight ends, having allowed nine catches for 90 yards and a score through three games. Jacob Tamme had 10 targets for the Broncos against the Texans last week and finished the game with three catches for 31 yards.
And if a three-game sample’s not enough, the Texans were third best in 2011 as well. Cook went 4-for-63 on seven targets in the Week 17 meeting and 2-for-22 and a TD in the Week 7 meeting.
Six targets is the high for Cook this season and he received that number each of the first two weeks. The first week he turned it into four catches for 64 yards and he followed with a 3-for-23 performance in Week 2. Last week, he caught all four of his targets before the injury, finishing with 77 yards and the 61-yard touchdown.
Britt did not practice all week with the bum ankle and is not expected to play. And as they are doing to the tight end position, the Texans are not giving up much to fantasy receivers — also third best against the position. They have allowed just one receiving score to receivers and only 30 of 64 targets have been completed for 402 yards.
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings
What an NFL debut Mikel Leshoure had against the Titans last week. Yes, it was the Titans and their miserable run defense — fourth worst against fantasy running backs this year — but it was still his first full-speed, regular-season game since college.
However, following the 26-carry, 100-yard, one-touchdown and four-catch, 34-yard effort, Leshoure enters the Vikings game off of three straight limited practices with a groin injury. He is listed as questionable but is expected to play.
The Lions had no problem with Leshoure being the bellcow against the Titans as Kevin Smith, who had 35 touches the first two weeks, did not touch the ball against Tennessee.
The matchup today for Leshoure is not necessarily favorable. The Vikings are tops in the NFL against fantasy running backs, having allowed no scores and no rusher to eclipse Maurice Jones-Drew’s 77 yards in Week 1. And no back has more than MJD’s three Week 1 receptions.
Conversely, Minnesota is ranked 18th and 20th against fantasy QBs and WRs and Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford enters with a bum hip. Perhaps they rely more on Leshoure, but it is likely you have better options in the running game this week.
It is an early game so you will know the status of all involved.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter