2010 NFL Injury Notes: Week 2

17 September 2010


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Beanie Wells (knee) is headed to the dreaded game-time decision after being a limited participant in Arizona’s Friday practice. At this point I would make other plans for your roster. Tim Hightower can likely be used again.
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Percy Harvin (hip) is also a likely game-time decision, but all signs point to Harvin playing against Miami. Plan on using Percy, but check his status before kickoff.
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Kellen Winslow (knee) was listed as questionable for Tampa’s game against Carolina this week. Winslow has historically been able to play through pain so I would expect him to go. If you have a better option on your bench, I would use him, but I do expect Winslow to play.
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As expected Kevin Kolb (concussion) won’t play against Detroit this week. Michael Vick should be a strong play.
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Meanwhile, Matt Moore (concussion) was able to practice and will give it a go against Carolina. He wouldn’t be anywhere near my fantasy roster though.
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Hakeem Nicks (ankle) is making life difficult for his fantasy owners. It would be hard not to play him after his three-TD performance to open the season, but he’s also a game-time decision. The Giants don’t play until Sunday night so you’ll have to hope there is news before the early games. If you have another WR on the Giants, Colts, Saints, or 49ers that you can plug in if he doesn’t play, then you can gamble on Nicks. If not, and you don’t hear any positive news from Nicks’ camp, I would play it safe and leave him on your bench.


Image courtesy of Icon SMI

 

Hakeem Nicks had a solid rookie season for the Giants last year. He caught 47 passes for 790 yards (16.8 ypc) and 6 TDs. He had 411 yards after the catch, which is an impressive number given his relatively few receptions. He is big at 6’0″, 215 lbs with good speed, making him difficult to bring down. He should turn in another solid season, but are people drinking a little too much of the Giants’ Kool-Aid?

 

Nicks has an ADP of 53 (19th WR) according to Mock Draft Central. I have him as my 24th WR (click to see my WR rankings), but I wouldn’t be comfortable taking him quite so early. I prefer the likes of Dwyane Bowe, Percy Harvin, Vernon Davis, Jermichael Finley, Pierre Garcon, and others that have lower ADPs. If Nicks is on my team, it will be as a WR3. I don’t see that happening based on this scenario.

 

It’s not that I dislike him, but I am going to temper my expectations. I am predicting 65 catches for 950 yards and 6 TDs. Not bad numbers, but not numbers you expect out of the fifth pick of the fifth round in fantasy drafts either. Not unless they are coming from a tight end.


The problem is the Giants have a lot of options in the passing game. Steve Smith is the clear #1. Mario Manningham figures to see at least as many targets as Nicks. Kevin Boss and Ahmad Bradshaw, provided they can stay healthy, should also have decent roles in the passing attack.


I’m also expecting a more balanced attack this year. The Giants attempted 542 passes to just 443 running plays. I would expect fewer attempts from Manning and more carries from Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Andre Brown, if he can recover from his Achilles injury, could formulate the three-head monster the Giants used with great success in 2008.


If the Giants are running more and passing less, it stands to reason the G-men WRs will suffer, especially considering how many quality options they have. Throw in his injury history from last year, and I just can’t trust him quite at 53.


What are your thoughts on Hakeem Nicks?

 

The G-Men had question marks at WR and turned out three that had solid seasons. The running game took a step back. I see the running game bouncing back at the expense of the air attack.

Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:  Difficult
First they have to travel to Minnesota in Week 14. They return home to face the Eagles. Then they travel to Green Bay in the fantasy championship.

Five Star Fantasy Options
None

Four Star Fantasy Options
Eli Manning – Manning had an impressive season throwing for 4021 yards, 27 TDs, 14 INTs, a 62.3 completion percentage, and 93.1 passer rating. All of those numbers, except for the INTs, were career bests. He is a decent starting fantasy QB, but as I said, I expect the Giants to utilize the rushing attack more.

Steve Smith – Smith came out of nowhere to deliver for the G-Men in a big way. He had 107 catches for 1220 yards and 7 TDs. I expect a step back from Smith, but he still should be a solid WR2.

Three Star Fantasy Options
Brandon Jacobs – His 835 yards and 5 TDs were a far cry from the 1089 yards and 15 TDs he had in 2008. He suffered through injuries last year, which have been a problem most of his career. If he can stay healthy he can approach double-digit TDs. I wouldn’t bank on 1000 yards for him though.

Ahmad Bradshaw – Bradshaw almost certainly will have more total yards than Jacobs. Health could be a concern for Bradshaw as well, but he is very talented.

Hakeem Nicks – Nicks had fewer catches (47) and yards (790) than Steve Smith and Mario Manningham, but he offers the most upside. He has big play ability. Consistency could be an issue.

Giants Defense/Special Teams – They had a myriad of injuries in the secondary, but should be improved in that department. They are always a good bet to pile up the sacks.

Two Star Fantasy Options
Mario Manningham – Manningham was second in receptions and yardage last year, but is likely to be the third receiver this year. There will be times that you want to use him, but he’s more of a depth option at this point.

Kevin Boss – Boss had 567 yard and 5 TDs last year, which is solid, but I don’t seem much room for improvement. He’s a high-end TE2, but I wouldn’t want him as my starter.

One Star Fantasy Options
Andre Brown – What will Brown do for you? He’s coming off a serious Achilles injury so you will have to see his progress before you consider him. He’s probably at least a  year away (if he ever makes it at this level).

Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

The Chicago defense took a blow as LB Brian Urlacher was lost for the year with a wrist injury.  Not good news for a team that has to face Adrian Peterson twice.  They haven’t been the same defense for a while, but this is devastating news for the Bears.

The Eagles could be without Donovan McNabb, who cracked a rib, next week when they take on the New Orleans Saints.  If he’s unable to go, the Birds would turn to Kevin Kolb in what should be a shootout.  McNabb will try to tough it out.  Stay tuned to see how this turns out.

The Giants crowed WR corps got a little thinner as Rookie Hakeem Nicks will miss a couple games with a foot injury.  Look for Mario Manningham to benefit the most from Nicks’ injury.

The Colts will be without Anthony Gonzalez for 2 to 6 weeks because of a knee injury.  Rookie Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon’s will get extra snaps at WR, but neither are good fantasy plays.  Peyton will likely rely more on Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark while Gonzalez is out.

So Michael Vick will be able to play in Week 3, which seems like an adequate punishment considering the amount of time he already lost.  I’m not going to say money too, because if he didn’t break the law, he’d still be rolling in the dough.  I’m not going to pity someone for their own stupidity.  Vick has been a trendy last round pick in fantasy drafts.  If you’re just taking him for laughs and plan on dropping him for a Kicker, which to me is what the last round of fantasy drafts are reserved for, then I’m on board with you.  If you’re holding out hope that he’s going to make a fantasy impact this year, let me remind you that he barely had fantasy value when he was at the height of his career.  He’s not going to run for a ton of yards, which is what game him value.  He’s certainly not going to throw for a lot.  You’re basically hoping for some rushing TDs.  Unless he gains RB or WR eligibility in your fantasy league, he’s not even useful as a flex player.

David Clowney had a nice game for the Jets with 108 receiving yards, thanks to a 73-yard TD.  He’ll still be the Jets #3 WR so don’t get too excited.  Danny Woodhead had 158 yards on 18 carries (8.8 ypc) with 2 TDs.  Get in line though Woodhead.  The Jets are loaded at RB.

Maurice Jones-Drew left the Jags’ preseason game against Washington with a leg injury.  My question is why is your starting RB and best weapon even playing in the final preseason game?  Come on Del Rio.  You’re better than that.

It used to be all that Chris Henry did was get in trouble.  He’s seemed to put that nonsense behind him.  Now all he does is catch TDs.  Maybe he can give Pacman or Brandon Marshall a call.  Scratch that, Pacman is a lost cause.

Hakeem Nicks was a big play thread again with a 64-yard TD.  He’s left with a hip injury.  Hopefully it’s not serious.  Sinorice Moss must have felt the heat as he turned in a strong performance with 2 catches for 35 yards.  Both of his receptions were TDs. 

Benjarvus Green-Ellis made his case for a role in the Patriots rushing attack with 125 yards on 29 carries with 3 TDs.  He showed some versatily with four catches for 22 yards.  Sammy Morris could be the odd man out.

Vince Young played well again.  He’s not likely to take Kerry Collins job barring injury, but I’d like to see him get his life and career back on track.

Steve Slaton owners must have lost some of their swagger when they heard today’s news.  Turns out Chris Brown is taking over the goal line duties.  He’ll still get a ton of yardage, and receptions for you PPR players, but if he’s not reaching paydirt, he’s not really a legit RB1.

Here are some Wide Receivers and Tight Ends that have played well in the preseason.  Let’s evaluate them to see if they can translate their preseason production into fantasy worth when the season begins.

Wide Receivers
Troy Williamson, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Troy still leads the NFL in receiving yards with 232, but his one catch, 11 yard performance against Philadelphia is a reminder that he shouldn’t be counted on for fantasy production.  Yeah, he’ll catch the occasional deep ball, but consistency will be an issue.

Chris Henry, Cincinnati Bengals - Henry scored for the third straight preseason game.  He had 2 catches for 62 yards.  So far he has 13 grabs for 217 yards and 3 TDs.  If he can stay out of trouble, he could have double-digit TDs.  Considering he’s going in the later rounds, he should be a great value pick.

Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants – Nicks had a monster 6 catch, 144 yard, 2 TD performance against the Jets to put him on the fantasy radar.  That gives him 8 catches for 208 yards.  I don’t see him having much fantasy value as he’ll likely share split end duties with Domenik Hixon.

Robert Meachem, New Orleans Saints - Meachem caught one pass for 71 yards in the win over the Raiders giving him 177 yards on 6 catches for a ridiculous 29.5 yards per catch.  He also has competition for playing time, but has a much better QB and passing game with Drew Brees and the Saints.

Maurice Stovall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Stovall had 6 catches for 74 yards against Miami to bring him to 12 for 123 yards in the preseason.  He could earn a few starts based on Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton’s health, but I don’t see him being much of a factor.  I’d look elsewhere for WR depth.

Tight Ends
Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans – Jared continued to produce with 5 catches for 39 yards in a loss to Cleveland. He has 17 catches for 159 yards this preseason.  The Titans could be using a lot of two TE sets with Cook and Bo Scaife.  He’s a decent TE2 option.

Jonathan Stupar, Buffalo Bills – Stupar had 15 receptions for 155 yards and a score.  He went without a catch in their loss to Pittsburgh.  Look for other options for your TE2.
 

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RP4
Written by
Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

Hakeem Nicks training camp
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

New York Giants first round pick Hakeem Nicks walked into the perfect situation for a young player.  He joined a solid, professional franchise who many thought could challenge for a Super Bowl, yet was void of elite talent at the wide receiver position. 

They have endless options of players who could contribute:

  • Dominick Hixon
  • Steve Smith
  • Mario Manningham
  • Sinorice Moss

Even David Tyree and fellow 2009 draft pick Ramses Barden are in the mix.  Yet, through three weeks of preseason action, it is only Nicks who has stepped up and made an impression.

Obviously, you have to take into account that the majority of his work has come against second and third string defenses, but still his numbers against the Jets had to open eyes.  He had 6 catches for 144 yards and 2 TD, making him the only Giant receiver to have over 100 yards for the entire preseason (and he is now at 208).  He is also the only Giants receiver to have 2 TD (the rest of the receivers have just 2 TD between them).

Normally, when a player has this type of performance, you consider that he’s going to grab the #3 or 4 receiver job, since he wasn’t doing it against the top competition.  Not this time.  With the other WR seemingly coming up empty, letting big plays slip through their fingers (literally), Nicks performance could have wide ranging effects.

I’d look for him to get some reps with Eli Manning and the first string offense in next week’s final preseason game.  While he may not be dubbed a starter to open the season, the idea of him reaching that level by Week 3 or 4 are heavily increasing.

The past few seasons the Giants have been a franchise who gets the most out of their draft picks, so to see Nicks make a major impact sooner rather than later should not come as a surprise.  When I did my Top 5 Rookie WR (click here for the post), Nicks was buried at the #5 spot on the list.  That has changed dramatically now.

Michael Crabtree is still holding out, which would cause him to plummet down the list.  He doesn’t know the offense yet, so how could we expect him to make an impact in the first few weeks if he ever does sign?

Brian Robiskie, who was thought to be in an enviable position, has reportedly slipped a bit.  He is still a sleeper and is worth stashing, but I would slip him beneath Nicks at this point.  Nicks has the potential to make a bigger, more immediate impact.

That makes Nicks, at worst, the #3 rookie WR on the list, with Jeremy Maclin & Percy Harvin competing with him.  I’d probably rank Nicks at #3 currently, but you could easily interchange those three as they all have the potential to make an impact.

If Nicks is available and you are in need of some depth at the WR position, I wouldn’t hesitate to snatch him up now and stash him away.  By the time you need him as a bye week replacement, he could have emerged as a solid option in all formats.  That certainly makes him worth the sleeper selection, doesn’t it?

What are your thoughts on Nicks?  How good could he be this season?

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Jeremy Maclin is a talented Rookie WR from Missouri.  It may take an injury for him to make a major impact outside of the return game.  Still, he’s in a high-powered offense with a talented QB and should make some noise at some point in the year.  I think he’ll start off slow, but as he grasps the offense, he will take off.
Prediction:  45 catches for 600 yards and 4 TDs
Michael Crabtree is not endearing himself with NFL fans or fantasy owners.  I think he’s the most delusional person since our last President.  If he believes he can sit out a year and improve his draft status without working out for teams, that’s a whole new version of fantasy football.  I think he’ll eventually cave because you just can’t make the money back you’ll lose.  He’ll start slow, and possibly endure and injury (hamstring most likely).  Eventually he’ll make an impact though.
Prediction:  40 catches for 550 yards, 6 TDs
Brian Robiskie will start out slow because he’s falling behind Mohamed Massaquoi and Josh Cribbs on the depth chart.  I think he’s too talented to stay down long though, and should work his way into the rotation around the middle of the year.  He’ll have some solid games, but be very inconsistent.
Prediction:  36 catches for 450 yards, 4 TDs

Percy Harvin is going to see action all over the place.  In the slot, out wide, as a Running Back, a return man, and a Wildcat QB.  The Vikings will have to go against their standard and get creative to get the ball in his hands.  Once it’s there, look out.  He can score from anywhere on the football field.  He’ll be more exciting to watch than a valuable fantasy player to rely on, but that will come in time.
Prediction:  50 catches for 600 yards, 200 rushing yards, 7 total TDs

Hakeem Nicks was supposed to make one of the biggest splashes from the rookie WRs, but is not having a good preseason.  The Giants have plenty of options at WR (Domenik Hixon, Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, and Sinorice Moss) so if he doesn’t start turning heads, don’t look for much of an impact in 2009.
Prediction:  25 catches for 300 yards, 2 TDs

We wrap up my NFL Draft Wide Receiver preview with a look at the quartet of Darrius Heyward-Bey, Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks, and Brian Robiskie.

darrius-heyward-bey-maryland
Darrius Heyward-Bey
is the speedster of the draft running an electric 4.30 forty at the combine.  Plus, he has good size at 6’2″, 210 LBs.  Darrius is pretty raw having caught just 138 passes for 2089 yards and 13 TDs in his three years at Maryland.  He had just four 100+ yard games in his career.  He’s can help stretch the field and add some punch to the return game.

Here’s a look at where some of the experts have him pegged:
Scott Wright’s Draft Countdown:  #26 to the Baltimore Ravens
WalterFootball.com:  #40 to the Oakland Raiders
Consensus Draft Services:  #19 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Football Expert:  #26 to the Baltimore Ravens
War Room Report:  #17 to the New York Jets

NFL Draft Scout:  #3 ranked WR

SPORT COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Kenny Britt
has had put together two straight solid years for Rutgers.  In 2007 he caught 62 passes for 1232 yards and 8 TDs.  Last year he had 87 receptions for 1371 yards and 7 scores.  He has good size at 6’4″, 215 Lbs, but his 4.50 forty time doesn’t turn heads.  One of the knocks on him is his lack of focus. 

Here’s a look at where some of the experts have him pegged:
Scott Wright’s Draft Countdown:  #39 to the Jacksonville Jaguars
WalterFootball.com:  #28 to the Philadelphia Eagles
Consensus Draft Services:  #43 to the San Francisco 49ers
The Football Expert:  #35 to the St. Louis Rams
War Room Report:  #29 to the New York Giants

NFL Draft Scout:  #7 ranked WR
hakeem-nicks-unc
Hakeem Nicks
had a stellar year for North Carolina catching 68 passes for 1222 yards and 12 TDs.  He also gained fame with his behind-the-back grab.  Nicks isn’t overly impressive with his size (6’1″, 215 Lbs) or his speed (4.51).  He does have great hands though and isn’t afraid to go across the middle.  He has a questionable work ethic.

Here’s a look at where some of the experts have him pegged:
Scott Wright’s Draft Countdown:  #44 to the Miami Dolphins
WalterFootball.com:  #45 to the New York Giants
Consensus Draft Services:  #39 to the Jacksonville Jaguars
The Football Expert:  #45 to the New York Giants
War Room Report:  #26 to the Baltimore Ravens

NFL Draft Scout:  #5 ranked WR

brian-robiskie-osu
Finally, there’s Brian Robiskie.  Robiskie turned in a modest Senior year with 42 catches for 535 yards and 8 TDs, which is a step back from his solid 55 catch, 935 yard, 11 TD Junior season.  He reached the 100 mark just one time this year, in the Fiesta Bowl loss to Texas.  He’s good good size at 6’3″, 199 Lbs.  He showed OK speed with a 4.46 forty.  Though he didn’t put up gaudy numbers at the collegiate level, he is one of the more polished WRs in the draft.

Here’s a look at where some of the experts have him pegged:
Scott Wright’s Draft Countdown:  #35 to the St. Louis Rams
WalterFootball.com:  #44 to the Miami Dolphins

Consensus Draft Services:  #49 to the Chicago Bears
The Football Expert:  #49 to the Chicago Bears
War Room Report:  #51 to the Dallas Cowboys
NFL Draft Scout:  #6 ranked WR

Images courtesy of Icon SMI


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