Week 5 of the regular season is in the books. What are the latest roster shakeups and how will, or should, they affect your lineup? Let's take a look.
News: Eagles RB Brian Westbrookfractures two ribs Sunday against the Redskins
Views: Aren't NFL teams the best at suppressing injury news? When Westbrook left the Redskins game on Sunday, the Fox announcing crew had zero access to the real truth (perfectly understandable). And on Monday morning, while I was listening to a four-letter-network podcast, Westbrook's rib injury was being characterized as nothing more than a nuisance (gee, I bet the Eagles supplied that misleading info). It's all very comical, the cloak-and-dagger aspect of all this. However, I'm willing to give Philly some credit for finally coming clean on an injury that would be awful for quarterbacks or receivers ... but not earth-shattering for running backs.
Verdict: Let's go on the assumption that Westbrook takes an NFL-approved painkiller or two prior to Sunday's game at San Francisco. And let's also assume Westbrook is wearing not one, but two flak jackets -- designed to protect the ribs from any real danger when carrying the ball. Right here, right now, if Westbrook suits up and starts against the 49ers, who's to say he won't score a short-yardage TD even with limited reps? (Note: I sincerely doubt the Eagles would call one pass play -- eliminating any risk of Westbrook extending his body to make the play.) Here's the deal: If you have a comparable back on your fantasy roster, I suggest playing him over Westbrook; and I would recommend starting Philly backup Correll Buckhalter over Westbrook -- if you have that RB handcuff. But, if you only need Westbrook to rack up 50 total yards and 1 TD to satisfy a flex spot ... I say roll the dice! Just be ready to sub-out your lineups, if/when Westbrook is announced as a late scratch.
News: Reggie Bushscores two punt-return TDs in the Saints' loss to the Vikings
Views: This game, in a nutshell, explains why there is sooooooooo much love and hate for Bush in fantasyland. If you belong to a league that doesn't reward Points Per Reception or kick-return TDs ... Bush (93 yards from scrimmage) only yielded a pedestrian 9 points in Week 5. But in a PPR league that rewards kick-return TDs, Bush (seven catches, 2 return TDs) provided owners with a 28-point return. That's gold, baby!
Verdict: I'm going to stay consistent on this matter: Unless you already own Frank Gore, Steven Jackson and Michael Turner at running back, I suggest moving heaven and earth to acquire Bush (No. 1 in PPR leagues), via trade in the coming weeks. His electrifying presence and consistent numbers would stimulate any fantasy team -- no matter the scoring rules.
News: LaDainian Tomlinsonre-aggravates toe injury in the Bolts' loss to Dolphins
Views: From the reports, a Miami defender inadvertently stepped on LT's toe, with one of the cleats driving his foot into the Dolphins Stadium turf. Ouch!
Verdict: All that rehab progress on the toe ... gone! It seems LT will have to start from scratch with the medical trainers, which doesn't bode well for the Chargers or LT owners in fantasyland. Yes, he has four TDs on the season, better than most high draft picks combined (ahem, Ryan Grant and Adrian Peterson). But he has failed to rush for 68 yards in three of San Diego's five games -- and I'm not expecting that trend to be reversed with a damaged toe. Bottom line: It's time to "sell reasonably high" on LT -- even if you have the Darren Sproles handcuff -- and be happy with getting a Tier II running back AND wide receiver in return.
News: Kurt Warnercontemplated retirement after the Cards' Week 4 loss
Views: Let's get this straight: Warner was reportedly thinking about retiring out of feelings of guilt for Anquan Boldin's facial-fracture injury (Warner apparently threw the ball too high, leaving Boldin susceptible for New York safety Eric Smith's helmet-to-helmet hit) -- and not because he tossed three inexcusable interceptions in that game, paving the way for the Jets' 34-0 lead at halftime.
Verdict: With Boldin (fractured sinus membrane) slated to make a relatively speedy recovery, Warner bounced back in Week 5, throwing for 250 yards and two touchdowns in Arizona's surprisingly easy 41-17 victory over Buffalo. So, one can assume Warner's head is back in the right place. Even without Boldin, Warner (10 TDs, 1,072 yards in '08) has access to some amazing toys (WRs Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, Early Doucet, Jerheme Urban, TE Leonard Pope and RBs Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower), which explains why he's essentially a lock for 275 yards and 2 TDs against the Cowboys in Week 6.
News: Colts coach Tony Dungy expects WR Anthony Gonzalez to play in Week 6
Views: Gonzalez took a glancing blow to the head in the Colts' crazy game with the Texans on Sunday, but it appears he suffered no effects of a concussion.
Verdict: Of course, I'm happy to see Gonzo's doing well. But from a fantasy perspective, he has no real value when tight end Dallas Clark is in the lineup. Peyton Manning's order of passing preference goes 1) Reggie Wayne, 2) Marvin Harrison, 3) Clark and 4) Gonzalez ... which means Gonzo, on the whole, is resigned to more Sundays of four catches, 41 yards than his 9-catch, 137-yard day in Week 2 -- the only game Clark has missed all season.