Where does the time go? We are now in Week 8 of the NFL season and the calendar will be turning to November. It feels like just yesterday we were obsessing over what order Arian Foster, Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy would get drafted. Now two months into the season, your fantasy teams are probably in turmoil with injuries and bye weeks. The hits just keep on coming as more key players could be missing time and sending your roster into a frenzy. So without further adieu, here is the Week 8 edition of the walking wounded for fantasy football.
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1. Maurice Jones-Drew (RB-JAX). Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has been diagnosed with a sprained foot and has already been ruled out of this week’s game against Green Bay. This injury will not cost him the season but he is all but assured to miss a few weeks at the least. It is never good news for fantasy owners when a star running back goes down with an injury, but it presents an opportunity for backup Rashad Jennings to get a shot. If he is still available on your league’s waiver wire, run out right now and pick Jennings up. But don’t drop MJD because he will be back and is worth using one of your bench spots to hold onto him.
2. DeMarco Murray (RB-DAL). Speaking of running backs with foot problems (hey Rex Ryan, have at it!) DeMarco Murray of the Cowboys still hasn’t practiced this week and will likely miss the upcoming game against the Giants. It is highly likely that Dallas will be cautious with Murray which is unfortunate because he had a good matchup against the Super Bowl champions who have a suspect run defense. Felix Jones would be in line for the start again, but as you will read later, he is dealing with an injury as well. Maybe Emmitt Smith can take a day off from dancing and suit up one more time.
3. Trent Richardson (RB-CLE). Continuing the trend of ailing running backs, Browns rookie Trent Richardson is still dealing with injuries to his chest and ribs. He played last week against the Colts and was limited in his carries. The same scenario will likely play out this week as well which could affect your decision whether to play him or not. But with other injuries, bye weeks, mediocre backups (hi Montario Hardesty) and a lack of depth on the waiver wire, you may just have to go with whatever you can get from Richardson this week which could be a better option than anything else you have available.
4. Jimmy Graham (TE-NO). Those brave fantasy owners who went against the grain and drafted Saints tight end Jimmy Graham in the first or second round were in agony last week when he missed a game due to an ankle injury. It is still up in the air whether that agony will linger into this week as Graham has been very limited in practice this week. But the fact he is doing some drills is a good sign that he will suit up and play. Keep a close eye on his status as we approach the weekend because if he plays he should clearly be in your lineup.
5. Felix Jones (RB-DAL). Just when you think you are ready to believe in Felix Jones again you are forced to hold your breath and say a prayer. Jones was filling in for the injured DeMarco Murray trying to reclaim his role as the Cowboys’ featured rusher. But he has been dealing with a bruised knee this week which could limit his carries against the Giants. There is no reason to think that Jones won’t play, but he may have to share time with third-string running back Phillip Tanner. Jones is a solid option to start this week even if he splits time with Tanner.
6. Greg Jennings (WR-GB). Finally, Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings has decided that he will have surgery on his injured groin which has cost him most of the entire season thus far. There is no exact timetable on when Jennings will return, but all indications are that Green Bay expects him back at some point later in the season. It is anybody’s guess when that will be, but consider when your league starts its playoffs and whether you want to waste a roster spot holding out hope that Jennings makes an impact. This decision only increases the value of Randall Cobb and James Jones who have more than made up for Jennings absence.
7. Rashard Mendenhall (RB-PIT). It has been a rough road for Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall who is now dealing with an Achilles injury. After missing the first few weeks of the season recovering from a torn ACL, he returned during Week 5 only to get hurt again. He hasn’t been ruled out yet, but because he was already fragile the Steelers will want to limit his carries if he does go out and play. With a running back by committee mentality, Mendenhall may not be a great option this week except as a RB2 or Flex in deep leagues.
8. Jay Cutler (QB-CHI). One of the finalists for Biggest Douche in the NFL, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler suffered bruised ribs in last week’s Monday night game against the Lions. Despite that, Cutler expects to play but that doesn’t mean he should be playing on your team. He has been very inconsistent and should only be considered a fantasy option if your starter is injured or has a bye week. It’s not like Cutler doesn’t have the talent or the offensive weapons at his disposal. He just can’t seem to put it together on a consistent basis which renders him barely relevant from a fantasy perspective.
9. Pierre Garcon (WR-WAS). One of the biggest storylines of the first half of the 2012 NFL season has been the play of rookie Robert Griffin III with the Redskins. He immediately developed a rapport with wide receiver Pierre Garcon who learned his craft with Peyton Manning during their time with the Colts. It looked like Garcon was on his way to a great year but a foot injury has sidelined him for weeks. Now it is being reported that Garcon was diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right foot. Surgery is an option but it would effectively end his season. He and the Redskins will likely give it some time to rest and heal, but if he doesn’t make progress in the next couple weeks the chances are good that he will undergo surgery shortly thereafter. For now, keep him on your bench.
10. Danny Amendola (WR-STL). Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola suffered a separated SC joint in his shoulder a few weeks ago and was projected to miss up to six weeks. However, he has been practicing in a limited capacity and is at least a candidate to play this weekend against New England in England. Amendola thinks there is a chance he could play which would be great for fantasy owners since the Patriots are horrendous on pass defense. Keep an eye on him into the weekend, but chances are he will sit out one more week with the Rams on a bye during Week 9.
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