Snap, crackle and pop

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Snap, Crackle & Pop Snap, Crackle and Pop is a weekly column that reviews the major injuries (Snap) and then projects both busts (Crackle) and sleepers (Pop) for the coming week.

This is the last week before scheduled byes begin. We had an unscheduled bye last week when the Houston-Baltimore game was postponed due to Hurricane Ike. A lot of people got stuck with Ravens and Texans in their lineups after league waiver deadlines had passed. We're back to a full schedule for week 3.

• The good news is that Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's injury is not a bad as feared. According to coach Mike Tomlin, Big Ben sprained his right (throwing) shoulder last week against the Browns, but it's not separated. Expect him to play against the Eagles on Sunday.

• Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson was pulled from last week's game against Denver after only 10 carries. A lingering toe injury limited his effectiveness. Is Antonio Gates' toe injury contagious? The Chargers play Monday night, so LT will get an extra day of rest. Pluck backup Darren Sproles off the waiver wire and keep him in reserve in case the LT situation worsens. Sproles was electric in relief of Tomlinson last week. He had two touchdowns: a 66-yard reception and a 103-yard kickoff return.

• If the Texans had played last week, they would have been without RB Ahman Green. Even with extra week of rest Green is still questionable with his foot injury. If he plays against the Jaguars, Green will probably split time with Steve Slaton.

• Both Oakland running backs are sitting out practice. Rookie Darren McFadden is resting a turf-toe injury, but he should be fine for Buffalo in Sunday. McFadden ran for 164 yards against the Chiefs after starter Justin Fargas went down with a groin injury. Fargas' injury is more serious than McFadden's and could keep him out against the Bills.

• Patriots RB Laurence Maroney is questionable with a shoulder injury sustained last week against the Jets. A running back by committee situation is emerging in New England, which further undermines Maroney's fantasy value. Sammy Morris could start for Maroney, though Kevin Faulk would see significant time in any event. None are good fantasy options, even against the Dolphins defense.

• Chicago WR Devin Hester left last week's game on a cart, holding his injured ribs. X-rays were negative, so he will probably play against Tampa Bay on Sunday. Hester has been a non-factor as a wide receiver this season. His line on the season is two receptions for 13 yards. However, as a kick/punt returner, Hester is very important for owners of the Bears' defense and special teams.

• Browns WR Donté Stallworth is doing what he does best: walk the sidelines in street clothes. Stallworth has not suited up the first two weeks and figures to keep the streak going against the Ravens.

• The Chiefs' quarterback carousel keeps turning. Damon Huard was knocked out of last week's loss to the Raiders with a head injury. This means that Tyler Thigpen will get the start against Atlanta. Kansas City will be starting a third quarterback in as many games.

• Colts TE Dallas Clark missed last week's Vikings game with a knee injury. He will likely miss the Jaguars game on Sunday as well. Rookie Tom Santi will play in Clark's place. Santi had five catches last week for 29 yards, but he should not be considered fantasy material.

• Who's playing wide receiver for the Seahawks? It won't be Deion Branch or Bobby Engram. Both will be out for another two weeks at least. Backup WR Logan Payne got a chance last week, but now he joins Nate Burelson on Injured Reserve. It looks like Matt Hasselbeck's primary target will be the immortal Courtney Taylor. The second-year receiver has nine catches in his career.

• In IDP news, Colts safety Bob Sanders (ankle) is out 4-6 weeks. Dallas safety Roy Williams (forearm) will miss 3-4 weeks. Chargers CB Antonio Cromartie (hip) will be a game-time decision against the Jets on Monday.

• The expected return of Eagles WR Reggie Brown means less playing time for Hank Baskett, Greg Lewis and to a lesser extent, rookie DeSean Jackson. Philly receivers will have a tough time against the Steelers' fourth ranked defense.

• The Browns start the season with a brutal schedule. The offense ranks 30th in the NFL after losses to Dallas and Pittsburgh. It won't get any easier this week against the Ravens. Baltimore has a superb defense and will be well-rested coming off the "Ike bye." RB Jamal Lewis and QB Derek Anderson will struggle again.

• I'm not a big fan of the Cincinnati running game. Chris Perrywon the starting job, but has averaged only 2.7 yards per carry in two games. Kenny Watson has barely seen the ball -- only six carries. Did I mention that I'm not a big fan of the Bengals' passing game either? Carson Palmer has been brutal with 0 TDs, 3 interceptions and a 37 QB rating. Palmer's dragged down the stats of T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Whats-his-name. The Bengals' fading stars will continue to flounder, facing a good Giants defense on Sunday.

• So far Carolina has split the rushing attempts between DeAngelo Williams and rookie Jonathan Stewart. Stewart may eventually pass Williams on the depth chart, and has the greater potential fantasy value. However, neither Williams nor Stewart should be starting for you this week against the Vikings' terrific run defense.

• The Colts will miss Sanders, but their pass defense will be more than a match for Jacksonville. QB David Garrard has struggled behind an injured offensive line, throwing to mediocre receivers. Neither Garrard nor any of the Jacksonville receivers (Matt Jones, Jerry Porter, etc.) are worth a fantasy start against Indianapolis.

• Niners QB J.T. O'Sullivan had a huge day last week, throwing for 321 yards and a TD against Seattle. He even rushed for 32 yards. O'Sullivan faces a very soft Detroit defense on Sunday. The Lions have surrendered 82 points in two games. Everyone on the San Francisco offense gets an automatic upgrade. Wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Bryant Johnson are both credible as a fantasy WR3 this week.

• Last week Colts WR Anthony Gonzalez filled the void left by the Dallas Clark injury. The second-year receiver hauled in nine catches for 137 yards against Minnesota. Gonzalez should continue to be in your starting lineup as long as Clark is out.

• Seattle RB Julius Jones made the most his opportunity last week with Maurice Morris sidelined. Jones ran for 127 yards against the 49ers. The Seahawks have so many injuries at wide receiver; they have no choice but to run the ball. That makes Jones a must-start against a bad Rams defense.

• Baltimore RB Willis McGahee will see his first action of the season Sunday against the Browns. He was out Week 1 with a sore knee and last week the hurricane postponed his week 2 game. McGahee loves playing against Cleveland. Last season he hung two 100-yard games on the Browns. The week off gives brittle TE Todd Heap a chance to rest his ... what is it this week? Oh yes, his sore wrist. Heap is a strong play, against the poor Cleveland defense, even with rookie Joe Flacco throwing him the ball.

• Giants RB Brandon Jacobs has opened the season with two strong games. Overall he has 209 rushing yards and a 5.8 yard average. Jacobs has a great match-up against the Bengals this Sunday at home.

• Falcons RB Michael Turner was fantastic Week 1 and lousy in Week 2. He has an excellent match-up against the Chiefs on Sunday.