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.
Pierre Garcon, WR and Evan Royster RB, Washington Redskins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pierre Garcon is still living off the 88-yard screen pass for a score he caught in Week 1 against the Saints. However, it is that play that has kept the Redskins’ big free-agent signing off the field for the last two games and is expected to do the same this week.
Rich Campbell of the Washington Times was told by a source that Garcon would “try to play” in today’s game at Tampa Bay. Of course, it is a late-afternoon game, so there is no try, only do.
Even a try could net Garcon points as the Buccaneers are second to only the Redskins in points allowed to fantasy receivers this season and Garcon caught two balls for 146 yards and two scores against Tampa Bay last season. So how about just those two plays, Pierre and then you can get back to the sidelines?
Evan Royster is dealing with a sprained patellar tendon but did return to a full practice on Friday. Roy Helu is on injured reserve and Ryan Grant just joined the team, so if Royster plays he should have the backup role to Alfred Morris.
In three games this season, Royster has just nine touches for 55 yards.
Since teams are having a field day on the Bucs’ pass defense in fantasy, the rush defense looks respectable — ranked sixth against fantasy running backs. They held Dallas’ DeMarco Murray to 38 yards and a score last week. Andre Brown had 71 yards and a touchdown a week earlier and Carolina rushed just seven times with its RBs in Week 1.
There is no way you are starting Royster in any capacity and Garcon is a WR2 if he plays. Yes, it is a late game for the Redskins-Bucs, but seven of the 14 remaining games in Week 4 are 4:05 starts or later. So there’s a chance that the debate between Garcon and another receiver in your starting lineup can be made without worrying about the 1 p.m. games.
Stephen Hill, WR, New York Jets vs. San Francisco 49ers
You weren’t thinking of starting Stephen Hill were you? He’s not even on your redraft-league roster anymore, right?
Well, just in case the answer is yes to either, the rookie receiver from Georgia Tech did not practice all week as he battles a hamstring injury and is listed as doubtful for today’s early game against San Francisco.
Hill is also battling not having any catches the last two weeks.
After his Week 1 statline read six targets, five catches, 89 yards and two scores he was one of the top waiver wire claims. Forgetting that Mark Sanchez was his quarterback, fantasy owners ran to the wire to grab Hill. The next two weeks have included nine targets, including seven last week, with no catches.
Jeremy Kerley, already a double-digit fantasy scorer in PPR leagues twice this season, will benefit from no Hill. San Francisco is ranked 14th against fantasy receivers but the Jets are ninth-best in the league when it comes to production from fantasy receivers.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter