Maybe London will get a better football game this time around?
The NFL kicks off their second game across the pond this year, as the Detroit Lions square off against the Atlanta Falcons. Fantasy owners have plenty of injury situations to monitor in just that game alone, which, by the way, kicks off at 9:30 AM EST, so make sure you’re awake and monitoring lineups. As for the other games, let’s play doctor again.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (ankle)- It couldn’t be an injury report without Calvin, who is still nursing that bothersome ankle. However, there are signs of optimism, as Johnson saw limited action in practice during the final three days of the week, and is officially listed as questionable for this contest. However, reports are that head coach Jim Caldwell is thinking bigger picture, and with Detroit having a bye next week, it may seem more logical to rest Calvin and not risk him suffering another setback. If Calvin can’t go, once again look for Golden Tate to be a top-10 fantasy wideout. He’s been showing his best Antonio Brown impression this year, catching at least five balls for 50 yards in every single game this year, and over the last three games, he’s averaging a whopping 11 targets per game.
Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions (ankle)- Staying in Detroit, despite not practicing, Reggie Bush stated that he still expects to play on Sunday morning. However, that seems very unlikely, as he is now officially listed as doubtful. Detroit is using the same logic with Bush that they are with Calvin, so it’s not very surprising. Joique Bell makes as a top-12 running back play (at the least), and Theo Riddick, especially in PPR formats, makes for a good sneaky play. Atlanta is surrendering nearly 28 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields, easily the most in football. Both backs should have good opportunity, as the Falcons have coughed up big days to both backs in a system four times this year (NO, MIN, CIN, BAL).
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (toe)- Green doesn’t appear to be ready to roll just yet, and will be listed as doubtful for this divisional game against Baltimore. He didn’t practice all week and Bengals’ beat reporter Paul Dehner stated that he doesn’t expect Green to be 100 percent at any point this season. It’s a tough matchup, but Mohamed Sanu will draw all of the targets once again.
Owen Daniels, Baltimore Ravens (knee)- After undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, Daniels will miss at least this contest on Sunday, and it’s tough, because he was easily a top-seven fantasy tight end heading into this week. With Dennis Pitta obviously out for the year, rookie Crockett Gilmore (sweet name) will get the start, with Kyle Juszczyk will get some looks at tight end. Gilmore is a sneaky good play this week, as the Bengals have allowed a tight end to find the end zone in three straight games, and are coughing up the most fantasy points per game to the position this year.
Shane Vereen, New England Patriots (illness)- Vereen was a surprise no-show at practice, causing a frenzy in fantasy land. Luckily, it was just an illness for Vereen, but he is listed as questionable for this game. Fortunate for fantasy owners, this is an early game, so we’ll know ahead of time. If for some reason Vereen can’t go, look for Jonas Gray to serve as the number one back, while Brandon Bolden and possibly James White mix in as well.
Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans (hamstring)- The Bishop Sankey experience may be over, as Greene has been practicing and is officially listed as probable for this game. Look for Sankey to still be the lead back, but I doubt he sees goal line work, especially considering he already wasn’t seeing such work when Greene was inactive.
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts (elbow)- Wayne has been ruled out with an elbow injury. Look for either Hakeem Nicks or 21-year old Donte Moncrief to get the start in his absence. It is worth noting, however, that about 62 percent of Wayne’s routes this season have come from the slot. The fact that the Colts didn’t instantly name Nicks the starter is a bad sign. Keep Moncrief on radars, especially in dynasty formats.
Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts (hamstring)- Richardson is dealing with a hamstring and is listed as questionable for the Colts. He’ll likely be a game-time call, but many beat reporters say they wouldn’t count on him being out there. If that’s the case, Ahmad Bradshaw (your number-five fantasy back) would make for an elite option against a Pittsburgh run defense that hasn’t been good. Dan “Boom” Herron will likely back Bradshaw up, who was PFF’s number five ranked running back during the preseason.
Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints (rib, shoulder)- Both Thomas and Khiry Robinson have been ruled out for this game, making Mark Ingram a top-20 fantasy back for the week, at the least. He’s going to get all of the goal line work, as Travaris Cadet is going to be their passing downs back, for sure. Meanwhile, only Cleveland is allowing more rushing yards per game than Green Bay this season, and with the highest over/under of the week, expect both backs to have a very solid showing on Sunday night.