SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 19, 2013

Fantasy forecast: Rough days for running backs

Fantasy Forecast
Andy Silva

---- — Week 2 of the NFL season was not a good week for running backs or their fantasy owners. A number of keys backs suffered injuries and thus their status for Week 3 is in doubt.

Whatever you do, however, don’t send your fantasy concerns and/or questions to Baltimore running back Ray Rice. After suffering a strained left hip flexor last week, Rice took to Twitter to say how he now hated fantasy football after apparently becoming the recipient of less than well wishes following his injury.

First, don’t be that guy or girl. No matter how much a player hurt your fantasy team by getting hurt, it’s no license to go spewing invectives at them on social media. I’m sure they would prefer they did not get hurt as well. It’s football, there’s nothing that can be done about the occasional injury. Grow up and move on. It makes all of us fantasy faithful look bad when people behave obnoxiously.

Now, as far as Rice’s prognosis for this week against Houston, it’s cloudy. Rice did not practice yesterday and coach John Harbaugh indicated that he would likely be a game-time decision. Bernard Pierce has already been breathing down Rice’s neck, so perhaps it would be best to look elsewhere for production if you can. At the very least keep a close eye on the pregame shows before making a final decision.

Meanwhile, Reggie Bush also suffered an injury in Week 2 and his prognosis is also uncertain. He also did not practice on Wednesday and coach Jim Schwartz declined to get into specifics beyond what was already provided in the injury report, but Bush was seen receiving treatment during practice. Schwartz had said on Monday that he didn’t see the injury as being a long-term situation and that tests were encouraging.

Bush has been one of Detroit’s key offensive weapons, so if he does play you should probably have him in your lineup. The cupboard is also fairly bare behind him, but it still seems less than guaranteed Bush will be out there.

Atlanta running back Steven Jackson is out for this week and, according to NFL.com, the next two to four weeks with an unspecified injury, believed to be a thigh injury. Coach Mike Smith seemed to echo that sentiment, saying “it’s short term. Don’t know if that’s two or three weeks”

Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling are expected to see more action in Jackson’s absence. Last week Rodgers received more playing time, but didn’t exactly come up big — he rushed for just 17 yards on 11 carries. Snelling only had two carries, but he did rush for 19 yards and a touchdown. So, it’s hard to tell who will be the primary back. It’s really somewhat hard to endorse either one of them at this point.

And in Green Bay rookie Eddie Lacy has been ruled out for Week 3 with a concussion suffered last week against Washington. James Starks stepped in and excelled for the Packers, rushing for 132 yards on 20 carries. That performance was Green Bay’s first 100-yard rushing performance since Oct. 10, 2010.

The Packers play the Bengals this week, who are ranked 26th vs. the run this season and were 21st in 2012. Starks is owned in 56 percent of Yahoo! leagues and could be a valuable waiver wire addition.

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After a week which saw Tom Brady look ready to pull fans out of the stands to see if they could catch passes better than his receiving corps, the Patriots appear likely to be without their top target for another week.

Media reports yesterday suggested that the Patriots were leaning toward holding Rob Gronkowski out at least another week following offseason back and forearm surgeries. It is believed that the team would like to see Gronkowski get some more practice time before putting him out there in a game.

The team is already without Wes Welker’s replacement, Danny Amendola. It has been reported that Amendola is suffering from torn adductors in his hips, but he wants to forgo surgery in an attempt to return to the field sooner. Either way, he won’t be out there this week and it could be another game of tepid offensive success for the normally vaunted Pats offense. Especially given that Tampa Bay’s Dashon Goldson saw his suspension overturned and will be on the field along with new Buc Darrell Revis this week.

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Finally, some good news — it appears that Texans wide out Andre Johnson will play this week despite suffering a concussion late in his team’s Week 2 overtime win.

Johnson did not practice yesterday, but coach Gary Kubiak said Johnson “should be ready to go” against the Rams.

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Andy Silva writes the Fantasy Forecast column for The Salem News. You can reach him at asilva@salemnews.com and can also follow Fantasy Forecast on Twitter at twitter.com/sn_fantasysport.