SABINO: Who should you start/sit in Week 2?CLEMONS: Last-minute lineup advice
Last week, a rumor shot out that Larry Fitzgerald was on the inactive list. This wasn't a wild rumor from some no-name, it was from a pre-game show. It was a simple mistake, the same that anyone could have made, but in a five-minute wave, it went from Fitzgerald owners panicking to ... nothing. Did it help anyone to have an update in those five minutes? Not really and that's why we're shifting back a bit here.
I want to make the effort to give the best information, not necessarily the first. You can follow me on Twitter (@injuryexpert) to get the speed, but the updates we'll do this week will be focused on usable, actionable information for the smart fantasy player. So let's get to this week's games and make sure to check back regularly on Sunday morning leading up to 1 p.m. kickoffs for updates:
UPGRADE: NoneDOWNGRADE: Donovan McNabbUPDATE: McNabb, Clinton Portis questionable (10:01 a.m.)
The Texans came out of Week 1 with a big win over their nemesis and a lot of bumps and bruises. They have a lot of issues on the defensive side, but the Official Injury Report (OIR) looks a lot worse than it actually is. Mario Williams played big despite a groin injury heading into Week 1 and he's no worse in Week 2. He'll play, which can't make DonovanMcNabb's ankle feel much better. There's bigger questions about Amobi Okoye, who wasn't able to practice on Thursday and will be at best a game time decision. The Texans are already at their DE2 opposite Williams after Connor Barwin suffered a devastating leg injury early in Week 1. The Redskins listed a lot of players on the OIR, but none of them are expected to miss Sunday's game. Clinton Portis has a minor wrist injury, McNabb has his lingering ankle issue, and Albert Haynesworth is, well, still a Redskin. It's a bit surprising that the Redskins listed Donovan McNabb as questionable again, but like last week, he's almost sure to play.
UPGRADE: Brandon JacksonDOWNGRADE: None
The Bills didn't provide much clarity for fantasy owners in Week 1. The team spread out the carries, but was that more the ineffectiveness of C.J. Spiller or a plan to keep Spiller healthy? Either way, Spiller was my biggest miss last week as an upgrade. Facing the Packers solid run defense isn't going to help clear things up much. On the defensive side, the Bills will be without Paul Posluszny, though they're getting used to that. The Packers only have Charles Woodson to worry about. His toe injury is problematic, but didn't seem to slow him at all during Week 1. He was held out of practice to make sure that the injury heals, but he'll play on Sunday. Ryan Grant, as you know by now, is done for the season,
UPGRADE: NoneDOWNGRADE: Dolphins D/STUPDATE: Percy Harvin wil play (11:45 a.m.)
Minnesota will head into Week 2 with only one major question on its list and we can honestly expect this to be there all season long. BrettFavre's ankle is going to be along the lines of TomBrady's shoulder, though the specter of this one actually costing him a game and ending the starting streak is a bit darker. Favre practiced fully, but let's be clear -- the Vikings don't tax Favre much during practice, rendering this concept a bit uninformative. Favre will play and should be fine after some extended rest. Percy Harvin is never a sure thing, but the hip injury he's dealt with late this week is concerning, especially with the long week. Harvin is the human GTD, so be ready for any changes. They'll be facing a Dolphins defense that is without both Channing Crowder and Jarid Odrick again. You could say that the Dolphins didn't miss those two last week, but here at the Med Check, we understand opponent strength. We expect Adrian Peterson to have a bigger role in attacking that defense than he was allowed in Week 1.
UPGRADE: Thomas JonesDOWNGRADE: NoneUPDATE: Jake Delhomme is out (10:01 a.m.)
The only significant issue for the Chiefs this week is Tamba Hali. Last week, Hali was a dominant inside force against the Chargers, forcing Philip Rivers to go to the air. His foot shouldn't be much more of an issue this week, as it's really more of a maintenance issue. Get used to seeing him on the OIR and then in the game. The Browns have a ton of issues, starting with Jake Delhomme. His ankle injury came towards the end of the game, so there wasn't much alert until he headed for an MRI. Delhomme is unlikely to play, though the Browns are holding out some hope. The Browns could go from a guy with mobility problems to a guy who's all about mobility if Seneca Wallace is pushed into the start. The Browns defense has a number of dings, focused on Shaun Rogers. With the speed that the Chiefs now feature, Rogers is needed to clog the middle, freeing the linebackers to go wide quickly. Rogers and D'Qwell Jackson are both GTDs, but without them, Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles both become solid fantasy plays.
UPGRADE: Chris JohnsonDOWNGRADE: Dennis Dixon, Steelers D/ST
If health decides games, this one's going to be a good test. The Steelers have an extensive injury listing, plus are without Ben Roethlisberger due to suspension. The Titans? Not much of any significance. They're a bit worried about Tony Brown in the middle of their defensive line, but his missing practice is more to protect him than a real sign he won't play. In black and gold, there's a lot more worries, though not as many as it looks. Several players, like Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward, were held out as precaution. The big worries are Max Starks, who's ankle sprain made some improvement, but is a GTD at best. The dropoff from Starks is, well, stark. The other major concern is Casey Hampton. Facing Chris Johnson, it's key that Hampton plug up the middle, leaving the linebackers to pursue laterally. If Hampton's hamstring keeps him out, the Titans will have a lot more options for freeing Johnson up, focusing on cutbacks and traps. It's hard to "upgrade" a must play No. 1 guy like Johnson, but without Hampton, the Pittsburgh defense should be avoided.
UPGRADE: Matt Forte, Tony RomoDOWNGRADE: None
The Bears OIR looks like Jay Cutler might be on an island, but despite the listings, Devin Aromashadu, Matt Forte and Earl Bennett are all expected to play on Sunday. Forte and Aromashadu should play without restriction, while Bennett is making progress with his strained hamstring. None of this should slow up MikeMartz's offense. Across the way, problems on the line had Tony Romo scrambling last week, but he could have some relief coming. Anything has to be better than last week, making it likely that both Marc Colombo and Kyle Kosier will play, even if they're under 100 percent. JasonGarrett's offense couldn't find its stride last Sunday and review of the tape shows that it was as much the quick rush, disrupting the complex reads, as it was anything. DeMarcus Ware returned to practice, with the Cowboys admitting his neck injury was actually more a concussion. He's expected to play after being cleared for practice.
UPGRADE: Michael Vick, Lions D/STDOWNGRADE: Calvin Johnson
The Eagles have finally officially said that Kevin Kolb would be out following his concussion in Week 1 ... but did they? It took until late Friday for the Eagles to finally rule him out for Sunday after a lot of speculation that Kolb might end up the backup or QB3. He has not yet been cleared for a return, though reviews of the NFL's documentation on return to play show loopholes big enough to drive a Madden Cruiser through. The defense is very banged up, with a series of minor injuries holding them back in practice, but only Stewart Bradley is unlikely to play on Sunday. Going 12 deep on the OIR is never a good sign, but the Lions aren't much better. Matthew Stafford is out for this week and 5-7 more with a sprained throwing shoulder, leaving Shaun Hill as the next target. That means a real downgrade for the receiving corps, though Calvin Johnson should still get his targets. Jahvid Best has made it through practice after being listed with a toe injury. Sources tell me it's very minor. Both C.C. Brown and Louis Delmas are again on the OIR and missing practice, but both are expected to play on Sunday. Detroit's D/ST isn't a bad play against Michael Vick, who's inconsistency as a starter was often created by his inability to read defenses. JimSchwartz's Lions hide their schemes with the best of them and will be working to free up Ndamakong Suh.
UPGRADE: Steve BreastonDOWNGRADE: Larry FitzgeraldUPDATE: Chris Wells is out (11:45 a.m.)
Was it the knee or the QB that made Larry Fitzgerald one of the worst WRs in the league last week. A 20 percent catch rate is an amazing stat and only the TD saved his owners from complete disaster. Sources I spoke with thought that Fitzgerald's knee was the issue, keeping the coverage tighter and leading to few open looks or uncontested chances. That type of number is tough to sustain and Fitzgerald has never been close to that bad. If the targets stay the same and the knee continues to improve, Fitzgerald can only get better. The Cards have lost Early Doucet for a while, who may need surgery to fix a sports hernia. That makes Steve Breaston the solid WR2 after a week where he had -- get this -- a 100 percent catch rate. It clearly wasn't DerekAnderson's ball that was the issue. Chris Wells will be a GTD on Sunday again, but as last week, even if he plays, he'll be the clear RB2. He's not a solid fantasy play until he can earn a bigger split of the carries. On the Falcons side, there are a lot of questions about Michael Turner, who's beginning to look like his one big season took everything he had. He's healthy and not going against a tough Steelers D this week, so maybe he'll get more chances to prove the doubters wrong. The only significant injury for the Falcons is to S Erik Coleman. He's a GTD but is unlikely to play. Coleman is more a run support guy, so that helps Tim Hightower.
UPGRADE: Jonathan StewartDOWNGRADE: NoneUPDATE: Kellen Winslow will play (11:45 a.m.)
Is there a connection between Jeff Otah being out and Matt Moore ending up with a brain injury? It's no coincidence that it was Osi Umeniyora coming from Moore's left that put him on the injury list. Moore is expected to play this week after being cleared earlier, but Otah's absence will continue to be felt. Jimmy Clausen will be at the ready, but don't make much of a reach there. The Panthers are going to run more this week, given their practices and the healthy showing of Jonathan Stewart in Week 1. Brandon LaFell has a mild hamstring strain, but is already sharing time with Dwayne Jarrett. Steve Smith is already getting most of the targets, so this isn't much of a downgrade. Tampa's only significant injury is Kellen Winslow, who'll be a GTD. His knees are acting up as usual, but it's gone from pain to soreness and the Bucs are going to watch him closely. If you have Winslow, you'd better already have a good backup.
UPGRADE: Knowshon Moreno, Justin ForsettDOWNGRADE: Matt Hasselbeck, Kyle Orton
People seem much more worried about Eddie Royal than they should be, especially considering his low ownership totals, which are well under 50 percent in most major leagues. Royal's minor groin strain is the type that's always held players out of practice. I think the new practice reporting, instituted last year, is actually turning out to be more of a confusing factor than a clarification for most fantasy owners. Wednesday and Thursday practices are filled with those sitting out and always have been. Even more confusing is the listing of new RB Laurence Maroney. It's unclear whether his leg injury is the real reason he was out or whether he's still behind on the playbook. Maroney's acquisition raises some real questions about Knowshon Moreno and the condition of his hamstring. Some sources think Maroney is "better insurance" than Correll Buckhalter, but an easy cut if his former Pats OC doesn't need him. This week won't give a true read on that, though any increase in touches for Moreno is a good sign this week. (He had 16 in Week 1.) The Broncos are still worried about both sides of their offensive line, where Ryan Harris is out and Ryan Clady is a step and a half slow. On the Seahawks side, they have the same problems at left tackle that they did last week and last year. Russell Okung is unlikely to play this week, leaving Matt Hasselbeck exposed. The Seahawks offense was a complete mishmash last week of distributed runs and passes, but it resulted in a win. Look for bit more clarity this week against a weaker defense.
UPGRADE: Sam BradfordDOWNGRADE: NoneUPDATE: Michael Bush's status unclear (10:01 a.m.)
The Rams came out of Week 1 with some significant injuries, which tells us a bit more about the Cardinals than it does the Rams. The most notable injury might be to Steven Jackson, who had no problems with his back, but needed an MRI on his inflamed knee. The knee appears to be a maintenance issue for the Rams and they expect Jackson to be ready to take a full load this week. Watch Jackson to see if weeks played at home or on turf (as he'll be in Weeks 3 through 6) are an issue for the knee. Jackson has another four game stretch of turf games in the final four weeks of the season, right at fantasy playoff time. If you were one of the 22 percent that went out and got Michael Hoomanawanui as your TE2, you have issues this week. He's out with an ankle sprain and could miss a couple weeks. The middle of the Rams defensive line is injured, with Clifton Ryan and Fred Robbins hurting. The team doesn't have much depth, which could push both out there at less than 100 percent. If Michael Bush is available, the Raiders are likely to test that middle. Bush will be a GTD on Sunday with others much more optimistic about his chances than I am. The Raiders defense will have several question marks, with Richard Seymour a GTD after injuring his hamstring and the defensive backfield banged up. Sam Bradford wasn't on a pitch count and will test the Raiders if he's given enough time. Back on the Rams side, Laurent Robinson will be listed as a GTD, but he'll play as he's shown little limitation in practice due to his ankle sprain.
UPGRADE: NoneDOWNGRADE: Randy MossUPDATE: Darrelle Revis expected to play (10:01 a.m.)
The Jets came out of a heavyweight Monday night match with a big loss, but a short injury report. Does that match up? The loss is, of course, Kris Jenkins, who blew out the same ACL that cost him last year. Jenkins didn't appear to be wearing a brace, which is questionable at best. The only notable listing is Darrelle Revis, who has a sore hamstring, but is thought to be just "getting into game shape." He'll play and should have no issues with a big matchup against Randy Moss. For the Pats, Tom Brady makes his weekly appearance on the OIR. The only real concern is Fred Taylor, who has a toe injury of some sort and could lose a couple carries to the various other backs. This isn't necessarily a negative, as Taylor would be likely to break down with a feature load. Julian Edelman is also listed, but carries little value while Wes Welker is healthy.
UPGRADE: Anquan BoldinDOWNGRADE: NoneUPDATE: Todd Heap will play; Brian Leonard is out (11:45 a.m.)
The Ravens have a lot of big names on the OIR heading into what's expected to be another physical matchup this week, but for the most part, all of those names will play. Anquan Boldin was limited with a thigh issue, Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain were nicked up, though the only change from last week is that Todd Heap is dinged. He landed on his shoulder in much the same fashion as Matthew Stafford did on a diving catch, likely with a similar result. Heap's shoulder isn't as serious a sprain, but a TE needs his shoulder for reaching and blocking. Heap's not durable, but he is talented, so look for him to play in spot duty. For Cincinnati, it's much the same -- big names who are dinged, but will play. There's no real concerns with Cedric Benson, who'll start and get his normal carries.
UPGRADE: David Garrard DOWNGRADE: None
DavidGarrard's back problem was a bit of a shock for people this week, but sources tell me this was more an issue of some soreness costing him practice time rather than an injury that might cost him some game time. Garrard's mobility isn't an issue, though taking less hits would help. Surprisingly, that could happen with the once hard-charging Chargers. Shawne Merriman isn't what he used to be and his Achilles remains a major issue, likely keeping him out of Week 2 as well. The Chargers got no push in Week 1, leaving them ranked 31st in the league according to advanced analysis. The Chargers are also keeping a close eye on Stephen Cooper, who got his knee caught in a pile and is still hobbling. Maurice Jones-Drew is a must-play anyway, but the dings on the defense could help him, especially in PPR leagues.