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Injury Updates Week 4: Hakeem Nicks, Dwayne Bowe, Dexter McCluster

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.

Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday night)

We’ve gone from foot to knee with high draft pick Hakeem Nicks and the Giants receiver will miss his second straight game after being declared out on Saturday.

What a tease.

We should’ve been happy that he was out there for the Wednesday night kickoff in Week 1 and followed up a lukewarm opener with a 10-for-199 and a touchdown performance in Week 2. However, he injured his knee in that receiving clinic against Tampa Bay and now we start to get worried.

We heard he was close last week before not even traveling with the team to Carolina for last Thursday’s game Carolina. Then news started circulating on Friday he went from meh to doubtful to Saturday being listed as out for the Sunday night game against the Eagles.

Time to start worrying about Nicks?

Well, Eli Manning has a reliable tight end again in Martellus Bennett. I called Bennett a “value” in this year’s Athlon Sports Fantasy Magazine, noting that when Manning had a reliable tight end from 2005-10, that position averaged 49.7 catches, 607.5 yards and 5.5. TDs over those six seasons — or 143.5 points for a season in PPR, which is easily top-10 tight end material.

Manning has Victor Cruz still doing his thing. Manning has Ramses Barden stepping in for Nicks last week to the tune of 10 catches for 162 yards.

Nicks has yet to play 16 games in a season and injuries are becoming a concern. Barden is available in 74 percent of Yahoo leagues as of this writing and is at least a WR3 or flex play tonight.

Dwayne Bowe WR and Dexter McCluster, RB/WR, Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers

Dwayne Bowe is questionable with a groin injury but likely to play and Dexter McCluster is also questionable after suffering the nasty elbow injury last week against New Orleans.

Bowe appeared on the injury report Thursday and but did have a limited outing on Friday. McCluster, listed as a RB/WR in Yahoo leagues, a RB in ESPN leagues and a WR in CBS leagues, saw light work on Friday.

There’s a chance both are game-time decisions but can you start either against a San Diego defense that is fifth against fantasy receivers? The Chargers have allowed three touchdowns but no receiver has more than five catches of 67 yards and they have faced a pass-happy Carson Palmer, Jake Locker when the Titans were getting blown out and Matt Ryan, who spread 15 targets, 10 catches, 122 yards and a score to Julio Jones and Roddy White.

If Bowe goes you start him. He has 31 targets the last two games and 37 for the season. He has turned that into 18 catches for 234 yards and two scores — and he’s in a contract year.

McCluster, after receiving 10 targets the first week (six catches for 82 yards), he has received nine combined the last two weeks for seven catches and 60 yards.

— Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter