Fantasyland: Injuries and where each player stands

Posted Sept. 01, 2011 @ 7:29 p.m.
Posted By William Del Pilar

I find it surprising there aren't so many injuries with players coming into camp late because of the lockout. I was positive many would come in fat and out of shape. Outside of Bears WR Roy Williams and a few others, that's not the case. Let's take a look before most of the preseason games kick off and see where they stand.

Social networking has its pros and cons, and former LB Tedy Bruschi pointed out a huge con. Players now know the exact location of Arian Foster's injury, and in a breath of fresh air, Bruschi was honest by stating a defensive player would go after that location. Veteran writer and Houston Chronicle columnist John McClain says Foster will be ready to play as he can walk and jog normally. We still don't know about Week One, but if he's now day-to-day, that's a big positive. Regardless, I recommend drafting Vikings RB Adrian Peterson as the top overall pick anyway.

The Cowboys are being cautious with No. 2 RB Tashard Choice. He didn't make the trip with the team for its final preseason game because of a bruise on his knee. Choice technically is No. 2 on the depth chart, but I expect Demarco Murray to see touches, too. Still, Choice is the handcuff if Felix Jones goes down. Both players are late-round fliers because the offense is so potent. If Choice was in any danger of being cut, he would have made the trip, but teams do hold players out to avoid injury as they try to trade them. I'm just speculating, but scuttlebutt has said the team could trade him.

Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch has not seen the field in a week with an ankle injury. However, he's moving well and ran on the sideline in midweek. Like most other injured players and veterans, he'll sit out the final preseason game but will be ready for Week One. I'm not a big fan of Lynch, and when you add the QB problems and new offense to learn, I'd let someone else take him. He's not shown much in consistency or greatness in his NFL tenure, and I don't expect it to happen this year.

Saints WR Lance Moore is back practicing but will not play in the final week of preseason, a week where teams focus on younger players or position battles, and Moore's locked in to see starter numbers. We'll see a transition with Devery Henderson falling down the depth chart. While Moore is a favorite target of QB Drew Brees, WR Robert Meachem will also make a jump in targets. Henderson's no longer draftable outside a flier pick.

Earlier this week I said don't worry about newly signed Rams WR Mark Clayton if you owned Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson or Mike Sims-Walker. I was correct. The team put him on the PUP list and now will have until the weekend to remove him or put him on the PUP/reserve list. If on the latter, he'll miss the first six weeks. His knee is not 100 percent, so I see him out six weeks. He's not a draft-and-stash player with that injury and that deep of a WR corps.

Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders may get on the field for the final preseason game. He's been recovering from a broken foot. However, I expect Antonio Brown to start the season as the team's slot receiver. We should assume Sanders is not in game shape and is rusty. He'll play his way back into the lineup, but if Brown wins the job, having double coverage on stud receiver Mike Wallace will open up big-play potential for Brown. Hines Ward is no longer the primary target and is a possession receiver more than a playmaker. During the preseason, Big Ben has gone to Brown, who's averaging 25.6 yards per catch, and Big Ben says he has a chance to be special. Brown could be a late-round flier.

The Bills love WR Roscoe Parrish and his role in the slot. That's no secret, and they're ramping up contract talks. Parrish is a fantasy tease because he makes highlight-reel catches but has never been consistent or seen enough touches to make fantasy owners happy. I don't find him draftable.

Raiders TE Kevin Boss believes he'll play in Week One as his MCL sprain is good enough for him to do light jogging on the sideline. Boss is on a new team, has to learn a new playbook and has not been on the field since the second preseason game. Right now he's not worth a draft spot. He has the talent to learn the playbook and develop chemistry with his quarterback to have matchup value down the road. He's not good enough to be a No. 1 fantasy tight end, but QB Jason Campbell has a track of record of going to the tight end — first, Chris Cooley in Washington and then Zach Miller in Oakland.


Around the league

The Bears will keep RB Marion Barber out of the final preseason game as he heals from a minor calf injury that is not serious. He'll be ready for Week One. ... Packers WRs Randall Cobb and James Jones are healing from bruised knees and will not play in the final preseason game. Jones should be ready for Week One, but Cobb is not a given. ... Packers TE Jermichael Finley will sit out the team's final preseason game because of an ankle injury, and that's why he's not an elite tight end yet. He has to show he can stay healthy. ... TE Bo Scaife isn't going to I.R. yet, as he's consulting a specialist about his shoulder injury. Jermaine Gresham is the team's top TE, anyway. ... Did you know Cowboys PK David Buehler has a hip flexor and Shayne Graham and Dan Bailey are competing for his job and not looking bad? Don't forget kickers, and watch who wins the battle as Graham is intriguing as the Cowboys' kicker.