October 23, 2009

For the second straight week, it was a relatively clean weekend in terms of significant fantasy injuries, which means, of course, that next Sunday is sure to be a bloodbath. It's Murphy's Law. Here's a look at the ailments concerning owners heading into Week 7.

Anquan Boldin: Right ankle sprain

Boldin left Sunday's trouncing of the Seahawks with an ankle injury, and he was a no-show at practice on Wednesday. X-Rays came back negative, but when asked about his status for the upcoming tussle with the Giants, Boldin offered up a grim "It's up in the air right now."

His lack of practice participation is very worrisome, especially considering Boldin has played all 16 games twice in his seven-year career. If he's unable to go, Steve Breaston would start opposite Larry Fitzgerald (plug and play alert!), with "Country Music Superstar Jerheme Urban" sliding into Breaston's slot role. Not only has Urban sold out every country-western bar in southeast Arizona and western New Mexico, but he also posted more receiving yards than both Fitzgerald and Boldin when he filled in for Breaston in Week 1 (74 yards on five catches).

Trent Edwards: Concussion

Edwards couldn't even make it to the team facility on Wednesday after sustaining his second concussion in as many years this past Sunday. Dick Jauron refuses to rule him out against Carolina, but then again, Jauron refuses to do a lot of things these days: like win football games or appeal to Bills fans.

When Edwards left early in the second quarter last week, Ryan Fitzpatrick and his absurdly large cranium came into the game and provided just enough downfield passing for Terrell Owens and Lee Evans owners to be slightly excited about Edwards' probable absence this Sunday.

The duo combined for 15 targets (8 to Evans and 7 to Owens), which is much more than they were receiving prior to ol' Big Head's appearance. Anyway, don't go crazy with your projections, but in any league where you're allowed to start three wideouts, I'd be playing both Evans and Owens if Fitzy's behind center.

Sammy Morris: Leg

Morris "was not present for the media portion of Wednesday's practice," which is the Patriots' way of saying that he probably injured something significantly. When asked if he was confident Morris would return this year, Belichick responded in typical smarmy fashion, "Sure. If the player wasn't going to be back during the season, we'd place him on IR."

Whatever. He's not going to play this week; that much is obvious. Consequently, Laurence Maroney, one of fantasy's most verbally abused players, is set to be the primary back against Tampa Bay's 31st-ranked rush defense. Counting on 10-plus fantasy points shouldn't be an unrealistic expectation (although I'd throw a few extra Hail Marys in the direction of the Fantasy Gods if you're starting him).

Percy Harvin: Sore left shoulder

Harvin entered last week with a shoulder issue and appeared to re-injure it in Minnesota's win over the Ravens. The scintillating rookie was seen exiting the Metrodome with his arm in a sling, but Brad Childress indicated the shoulder was no worse for wear when asked about his level of concern regarding Harvin's status. Either way, Harvin is third on the Minnesota depth chart, and benchable in the hearts of nearly all fantasy owners.

Jerricho Cotchery: Left hamstring strain

I hate to knock a guy for trying to play through an injury, but suiting up against the Dolphins after injuring his hamstring four days earlier was not one of Jerricho's better ideas. He missed last weekend's debacle in the Meadowlands and was held out of team drills on Wednesday, casting doubt on his availability. Keep your telescope trained on Cotchery's progress throughout the week, because a game against Oakland is still something fantasy owners should want to be a part of (regardless of the shenanigans they pulled against Philadelphia).

Felix Jones: Partially torn PCL

After partially tearing his PCL nearly a month ago, Jones has returned to practice, although not at 100-percent:

"It's still there," Jones said about the pain in his knee. "One day at a time is all I can do."

With the return of Marion Barber and the continued excellence of Tashard Choice, I don't see any reason why the Cowboys would rush Jones back if his knee isn't fully healthy. Even if he is active, "head coach" Jerry Jones has already stated Choice is "going to get a big part of the load."

If you're not catching the drift, I'm recommending you keep Jones benched for at least one more week. If he somehow ends up with three touches for 150 yards and two scores, I apologize in advance. Jones does more with less than any player in recent memory.

Frank Gore: Sprained right ankle/foot

Gore spent the 49ers' bye week at the team facility working out alongside newly minted starting receiver Michael Crabtree and receiving treatment on his injured ankle and foot. The week off helped immensely, and Gore's expected to regain his starting role when San Francisco travels to Houston this weekend. The Texans currently rank 24th in rush defense and they've surrendered a league-high 10 touchdowns on the ground, so owners shouldn't have any second thoughts about starting Franklin after his three-week absence. I wouldn't drop Glen Coffee just yet, but he's definitely been relegated to "insurance" status.

Clinton Portis: Sprained ankle

On the surface, Portis' numbers looked very serviceable last week, but take away his 78 yard scamper, and the stats don't look so appealing (14 carries for 31 yards). Throw in the fact that he sprained one of his bothersome ankles (he's been dealing with bone spurs all year), and it's obvious that Portis isn't necessarily a must-start against an angry Philadelphia defense.

The outspoken back was held out of practice on Wednesday, but according to Jim Zorn -- who may or may not have any authority left -- Portis is expected to be ready for his appearance on Monday Night Football. Most likely, you have no other option than to trust the runner with multiple personalities, but if you're playing shallow, I'd take a pass on "Coach Janky Spanky."

Roy Williams: Torn rib cartilage

Much to the dismay of Cowboys fans, Williams practiced fully this week and managed to retain his starting status despite Miles Austin's full fledged freak out two weeks ago. Instead, Patrick Crayton received the boot despite having more catches and yards than Williams. He still has cartilage damage in three of his ribs, meaning a hard hit could easily send him to the training room, thus causing a fantasy week to deteriorate faster than a story concocted by "Balloon Boy's" father. If I've said it once, I've said it 19 times, please make Roy earn his starting spot before trusting him in a meaningful role.

Chris Ryan is a staff writer at RotoExperts.com. Check out RotoExperts' Game Day Chats every Sunday morning from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. Our team of Experts will answer all of your last-minute lineup questions, including for IDP leagues.

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