Fantasy football news and views

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NFL Week 3 is closing in, and to get you ready, we bring you the latest fantasy news. Also, we will avoid the temptation to bring you the new while using our pirate voice, even though today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day.

News: Vikings running back Adrian Petersonmisses practice on Thursday because of a hamstring injury.

Views: Peterson suffered the injury during Sunday's loss the Colts. He told reporters he hopes to play Sunday against the 2-0 Panthers.

Verdict: Missing practice this late in the week is never a good sign. Peterson leads the NFL with 263 rushing yards, and he would be a huge loss to both the Vikings and his fantasy owners. Keep your eye on Friday's reports out of Minnesota to see if Peterson puts in a full practice -- or any practice at all. In a worst-case scenario, fantasy owners who stashed away Chester Taylor might get a chance to utilize the Vikings backup this weekend.

News: The solicitor's office in Fulton County, Ga., has filed misdemeanor battery charges against Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall for an alleged incident on March 4 of this year.

Views: Marshall's Week 2 performance against the Chargers -- 18 catches, 166 yards, one TD -- was phenomenal, but his off-field issues continue to linger. (Last week Marshall pled guilty to driving while impaired, and was sentenced to one year probation.) The receiver was fortunate to have his league-imposed suspension to start the season reduced from three games to one. Any new transgressions, and it's likely that commissioner Roger Goodell would waste little time in dropping the hammer with a more lengthy suspension.

Verdict: The alleged Atlanta incident occurred on March 8, so this is merely a new development to an old problem, rather than a fresh offense. Still, there's a chance Marshall could face additional suspension pending the outcome of the case.

News: The Vikings have benched quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and will start 15-year veteran Gus Frerotte on Sunday against the Panthers.

Views: Wow, that was fast. We knew Jackson was still a work in progress, and a preseason knee injury cost him some snaps and a chance to get more comfortable with the offense. Two games is still pretty quick hook. Jackson completed 51 percent of his passes through two games, both Vikings losses.

Verdict: It's a bold move, but the Vikes already trail the unbeaten Packers in the NFC North by two games, so the roll of the dice is justifiable. The 37-year-old Frerotte will probably be asked to play a game manager-type of role, with plenty of hand-offs to running back Adrian Peterson (or Chester Taylor). If Frerotte can limit turnovers and keep defenses honest with even the modest threat of a competent passing game, Peterson's fantasy value could climb even higher. As for Frerotte, he might be worth a flyer on your fantasy roster if you're desperate at quarterback. Those who can afford to wait should tune in on Sunday to see how he performs in his first start of the season.

News: Bears receiver/returner Devin Hester has torn cartilage in his ribs and may not play this Sunday against the Buccaneers.

Views: Hester said he suffered the injury while trying to avoid a tackle in last week's loss to Carolina and couldn't breathe normally for two days.

Verdict: Surprisingly, Hester hasn't done much as a receiver this year (two receptions, 13 yards). His loss would mostly affect the Bears' special teams unit, which is almost always a threat to score with Hester in the lineup.

News: Steve Smith returns to the Panthers' lineup after serving a two-game league suspension.

Views: Smith was suspended by the NFL for sucker-punching teammate Ken Lucas in training camp. Lucas suffered a broken nose that required surgery.

Verdict: It's never wise to trash talk Steve Smith. Also, Fantasy owners who had Smith stashed on their bench will want to activate the explosive receiver this week as he plays on the artificial turf in Minnesota.