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.
San Francisco RB Frank Gore is on schedule for returning to action this Sunday. Gore has not played since injuring his ankle against the Vikings in Week 3. Glen Coffee did not distinguish himself during Gore's convalescence. Coffey had only a 2.6-yard rush average and 1 TD. Coffee has little value: a Gore handcuff, nothing more.
Bills QB Trent Edwards missed practice on Wednesday, still woozy from a concussion on Sunday. Team doctors are unlikely to clear Edwards to play so expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to get the start in Carolina.
Colts K Adam Vinatieri has cartilage damage in his right (kicking) knee. He will be out 1-2 months. Indianapolis signed Matt Stover for Sunday's game in St. Louis. This could be the week we see the 2009 debut of Colts SS Bob Sanders. The oft-injured Sanders is worth a waiver pick-up even if he doesn't play until next week.
More IDP news: Cincinnati placed DE Antwan Odom on Injured Reserve. Odom racked up an insane seven sacks after two weeks of action, but unfortunately a ruptured Achilles' ends his 2009 season.
The injury news is a moving target. Be sure follow the practice reports and the up-to-the-minute advice from our super computer Mighty Max.
How bad are the Redskins? They lost to both the Lions and the Chiefs. The offense is to blame, scoring barely over 13 points per game. In a desperate and humiliating move, head coach Jim Zorn was stripped of play-calling duties in favor of offensive consultant Sherm Lewis. Lewis will try to get something out of QB Jason Campbell. Campbell was pulled from last week's debacle against the Chiefs in favor of Todd Collins. Campbell could get the hook again this Monday against a very tough Eagles' defense. The QB controversy, coaching turmoil and match-up spell trouble for Redskins stars Clinton Portis and Santana Moss.
In the Jets' first three games, all wins, rookie QB Mark Sanchez threw 4 TD against only 1 INT. In the last three games, all losses, Sanchez has an ugly 1:8 ratio. The Jets ran all over the Bills last week with Thomas Jones (22 for 210 yards) and Leon Washington (15 for 99). They lost anyway because of Sanchez. Expect a lot more Jones and Washington and a lot less Sanchez this week against the Raiders. That will hurt all the Jets receivers, including Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller.
The bye weeks are in high gear at this point of the season. Six teams will be off in each of the next three weeks. This week it's Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, Seattle and Tennessee taking a breather.
Patriots RB Laurence Maroney started the season buried behind Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris on the New England depth chart. Taylor is out and Morris is hurt so now it's Maroney's turn. The enigmatic running back replaced Morris last week in the first quarter and rushed for 123 yards against Tennessee. It was his best game since Week 16 of the 2007 season. Maroney has a terrific match-up against the Tampa Bay defense -- it's ranked 31st in the NFL. I also like WR Sam Aiken against the Buccaneers. Aiken will replace Julian Edelman (broken arm) in the Patriots three wide receiver formations.
Buffalo RB Marshawn Lynch had 21 touches last week, compared to 15 for Fred Jackson. That's enough to justify starting Lynch against a terrible Panthers run defense. The Bills also figure to run a lot with Edwards injured.
Green Bay RB Ryan Grant has been disappointing in 2009: 347 rush yards, 3.8 average and 2 TD. Grant is still looking for his first 100-yard game, but he has a good chance this Sunday. Cleveland has the NFL's worst defense.
Arizona's defense has been very tough to run on, but very easy to pass against this season. It's a great match-up for QB Eli Manning and WRs Steve Smith and Mario Manningham but not so great for RBs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.
Stick with the young Colts receivers, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. Garcon starts (for the injured Anthony Gonzalez) but Collie is the hotter receiver. Collie has three TD in his last two games. Both are good plays against the terrible Rams defense. In fact, everyone on the Colts is fantasy play, ranging from sleepers like Collie, to good plays like RB Joseph Addai to outrageously good plays like Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne.
Rookie WR Jeremy Maclin has cemented his spot in the Eagles' starting lineup. Kevin Curtis probably could have played last week, but he was inactive. The Eagles didn't see any reason to rush him back. When Curtis does return he will be no better than a third wide receiver, if that. Though Maclin didn't exactly shine last week (1 reception), nobody on the Eagles did. Nevertheless, they should have plenty of motivation against a hated rival (Washington) on Monday night that has its share of problems.
John Rakowski is a senior writer for SportsGrumblings.com, a fantasy sports portal. John is a 2007 winner of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for journalistic excellence, for his "Snap, Crackle and Pop" column. Please visit Sports Grumblings for all your fantasy football needs, so you can DOMINATE your league this season!