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.
Is this the beginning of the end for LaDainian Tomlinson? San Diego's star running back watched in street clothes last week as Darren Sproles racked up 150 total yards against the Ravens. It looks like LT needs at least another week to rehab the ankle. When he returns, will Tomlinson be the second-best fantasy running back on the Chargers? And San Diego's fifth-best fantasy player?! One thing is for certain -- Sproles is a must-start this week against Miami.
Marion Barber owners can relax. The Dallas running back practiced on Wednesday and should be fine for Monday night's game against the Panthers. Barber hurt his quadriceps muscle last week against the Giants. In that game he totaled 155 yards against a premier defense.
Three Eagles stars skipped practice on Wednesday: RB Brian Westbrook (ankle), WR DeSean Jackson (groin) and QB Donovan McNabb (ribs). Westbrook and Jackson figure to play against the Chiefs as long as they practice this Friday. You might want to have your handcuffs (RB Lesean McCoy and WR Jeremy Maclin) ready just in case. Kevin Kolb will start at quarterback once again and freshly reinstated Michael Vick will backup.
Patriots WR Wes Welker was a late scratch last week due to a knee injury. Welker will likely be a dreaded game-time decision this Sunday. New England hosts Atlanta in an early game on Sunday, so check the Sunday morning updates.
Saints RB Mike Bell has been tremendous so far this season with 229 rushing yards and a TD. However, his charmed run could end after only two games. Bell has a sprained MCL and is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Bills.
Cleveland RB Jamal Lewis skipped practice on Wednesday with a sore hamstring. He is listed as questionable for Sunday. Backups James Davis and Jerome Harrison could end up splitting time in Lewis' place. The match-up is a killer, however. Cleveland faces the NFL's top run defense, Baltimore's. None of their runningbacks, healthy or not, are fantasy plays against the Ravens.
Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck will sit this week to rest his sore ribs. Seneca Wallace gets the start against the Bears. Wallace played competently last season in eight starts, but is not fantasy material.
Jets coach Rex Ryan is backing up the bold talk. New York is undefeated and leads the NFL in defense. Though they didn't sack him, they pressured Tom Brady consistently in last Sunday's 16-9 victory. Tennessee does not have many fantasy options; basically it's just the running backs Chris Johnson and LenDale White. Against the Jets, both get downgraded. White is not startable against New York.
Please don't get carried away with Broncos RB Correll Buckhalter. True, he's been the best in a crowded Denver backfield, but Denver is not going to keep Knowshon Moreno on the bench in favor of a career backup. Moreno's knee is not 100% yet, but he should get the lion's share of the carries this week in Oakland. Although the match-up is tempting, wait until Moreno puts in a quality game before taking a chance with him in your lineup. Buckhalter is bye-week filler at best.
The Broncos have to be the most surprising 2-0 team in the NFL. They are second only to the Jets in defense. They should go to 3-0 this week against the Raiders. Oakland runners Darren McFadden and Michael Bush should not be anywhere near your fantasy lineups this week.
The Giants wide receiver situation is sorting itself out. Steve Smith (16-214-1) is the go-to guy for Eli Manning. Injuries to Domenik Hixon and Hakeem Nicks clear the way for Mario Manningham this Sunday. Manningham (13-208-2) is an attractive sleeper pick against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are next-to-last in the NFL in defense.
I didn't intend to make this an ode to the Jets, but I can't help it. QB Mark Sanchez is an attractive option for Hasselbeck owners looking for a replacement -- Tennessee has the worst pass defense in the NFL.
A knee injury kept Saints RB Pierre Thomas out for Week 1 and kept him the sidelines for most of Week 2. The knee is a lot better now and Thomas is practicing without limitations. The injury to Bell removes any doubt about whether or not to play Thomas. He is a strong play against the Bills' 28th ranked defense.
Arizona's running-back-by-committee has tilted in favor of Tim Hightower thus far. Hightower has 38 touches to Beanie Wells' 14. This week they face a Colts defense that's very soft against the run. Hightower is a strong play against Indianapolis.