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.
Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills RBs vs. New England Patriots
Both injured running backs practiced and both are listed as questionable for today’s game with the visiting New England Patriots.
Good news: It’s nice to see the two running backs, injured so early in the season, already back on the practice field. Jackson is battling a knee sprain suffered in Week 1, while Spiller went out early in last week’s game against Cleveland with a shoulder injury.
Bad news: We went from the thoughts of “Will Jackson get his starting job back when he returns?” to a return to the muddiness that is the Buffalo backfield situation.
Spiller could not have looked any better in Jackson’s sted — back-to-back 25-plus-point fantasy days and was already at 12.8 in a PPR when he was injured in the first quarter.
Jackson looks like he will go today, knee brace and all, but you have to question at what capacity will that be? Then there’s Tashard Choice, who ran for 91 yards on 20 carries in the absence of Spiller last week.
Whichever back goes, they get a Patriots defense that just allowed Ray Rice to post 150 all-purpose yards, five catches and a score — where was that Thursday night, Ray? But I digress. But it’s hard to trust anyone in the Bills’ backfield today or until either Jackson or Spiller is listed as fully healthy, and then we get to return to the decision that was: Do I start Spiller or Jackson?
Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins RB vs. Arizona Cardinals
Miami’s Reggie Bush says “I’m playing Sunday,” but acknowledged this week that is also a coach’s decision. The running back suffered a sprained left knee in the first half against the Jets in Week 3 and is listed as questionable for today’s late-afternoon start.
Gotta love it: A productive back who says he will play but also has a late game against a stingy defense. That’s not my kind of fantasy.
Here’s what the Dolphins and Bush, were he to suit up, face today: An Arizona team has not given up much in either the passing or running game.
The Cardinals have allowed just two touchdowns through the air and also snagged two interceptions. Only Tom Brady has a plus-15-point fantasy day (16.5) against them thus far. Think Miami rookie QB Ryan Tannehill will threaten that?
Then there’s the Arizona rush defense. No touchdowns have been surrendered to a tailback — on the ground or in the air — and in non-PPRs no back has reached double digits. Even in PPRs, Marshawn Lynch (10.7) and LeSean McCoy (11) just barely cracked the double-digit barrier.
I’m sorry, but if a semi-healthy Lynch and healthy McCoy didn’t get it done against Arizona, a questionable Bush with a knee injury in a late game is going nowhere near my lineup.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter