There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of injury question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 5 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these players and what you should consider.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Redskins
Julio Jones played in Week 4 with a lacerated hand and it resulted in a one-catch, 30-yard performance on eight targets against Carolina. He said the hand had little to do with the production, or lack thereof last week, and that he’s “ready to go” this week against Washington. And what a matchup it is. The Redskins are the worst in the NFL in points allowed to fantasy receivers. Two Tampa Bay receivers went over 100 yards last week; Two Cincinnati receivers went over 60 and a touchdown and A.J. Green added 183 and a score to weeks ago. The Rams got 160 yards and a touchdown from Danny Amendola and 53 yards and a score from Brandon Gibson in Week 2. And the Saints opened with 191 yards and two scores from Lance Moore and Marques Colston. The Redskins have no pass rush, and Matt Ryan should have time to sling it all across the gridiron with Jones and Roddy White.
Hakeem Nicks and Domenik Hixon, WRs, New York Giants vs. Cleveland Browns
Oh, if Hakeem Nicks could have suited up today against Cleveland, his matchup is just as tasty as the Falcons’ receivers. But a knee injury continues to keep Nicks on the shelf after battling a foot injury. Ramses Barden was the pick up to have a few weeks ago when he stepped in for Nicks and caught nine balls for 138 yards against Carolina. But Domenik Hixon was out with a concussion for that game and he returned last week and supplanted Barden as the No. 2 receiver. Hixon finished with six catches for 114 yards on 11 targets; Barden had two catches for 36 yards on four targets. And Barden is now out with a concussion for today’s game. The job is all Hixon’s and he should not disappoint. The Browns are second-to-last in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to receivers, having given up 228 yards and a touchdown to Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin last week and having allowed at least 60 yards and a score to at least one receiver in all four games this season.
Jordan Norwood and Josh Gordon WRs, Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants
Seemingly ever Browns receiver that has logged meaningful minutes opposite Greg Little this season is injured and it might be up to Jordan Norwood and rookie Josh Gordon to try and take advantage of a friendly New York pass defense. Norwood had 10 targets and caught four of them for 56 yards last week at Baltimore. Gordon, a project from Baylor, has seven catches for 93 yards in four games thus far. The Browns can have success in the air against the Giants’ 20th-ranked pass defense (254 ypg) but might try to keep it on the ground since their own pass defense is not any better. Cleveland is 28th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (286.0). New York is 22nd against the run at 118.2 yards per game. It is probably not advised to play either Norwood or Gordon, but it is a bye week, you might be looking for a flier and the Giants, at 8.5-point favorites at home, should mean more passing opportunities. If you take said flier, take it on Gordon, who is slated to start today.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter