Each week, this space will take a look at the key players in the news that will have some sort of impact on your fantasy decisions. That impact could be upgrading a passing game, a player missing due to a suspension or injury, or notes about key happenings in practice. Whatever the news, come here each Wednesday to take stock of what happened and what the good word is as the next weekend’s games approach.
- There has to be some concern regarding Hakeem Nicks. Nicks missed the game this week with a knee injury that is in addition to other ailments that have kept him off the field. Reports from Monday indicated that the knee was not much better and that should certainly worry owners. That diagnosis likely assures Nicks of missing practice time this week and will make him a question heading into the weekend.
- The Packers do not plan to abandon handing the ball to Cedric Benson. While his production has not been stellar, Benson is doing what he can on the ground. Green Bay is simply not running as much as last season given the way that scores have been playing out. Add in that it gets very thin very quickly behind him and you can understand why he has lockdown on the job.
- The Steelers expect to get both James Harrison and Troy Polamalu back against the Eagles this weekend. Pittsburgh has had problems defending the pass and Polamalu will be a welcome return to help that issue. Teams seemed to take advantage as the Steelers missed coverages and assignments.
- The return of Rashard Mendenhall should also help the Steelers. Given the lack of production seen from both Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman, there is a need to make some plays on the ground and take the pressure off the pass. How effective Mendenhall can be is certainly an early question. Still, this is a major step for the offense and further eliminates the value of the other backs in Pittsburgh.
- There is already talk that Russell Wilson is on the hot-seat in Seattle. His three interception performance over the weekend certainly did not help his cause, but many believe there are more issues than the manner in which he threw the football. Many writers are pointing to the overall offense and the fact it is being held back to let Wilson develop more slowly. This is a delicate balance, but one that should pay off longer term. But now we are looking at a team on pace for less than 2,500 yards through the air. That could hurt.
- If their passing attack was not already inept on a good day, the Jets will now be without Santonio Holmes for what the team is saying should be multiple games. While the lack of a single touchdown in the preseason was bad, they have now have just two in their last three games during the regular season. Holmes is a problem, but this goes beyond having a guy to throw the ball to and, according to the media, is now about having a guy who can throw the ball period.
- Interesting news on the receiver front. First we hear that Julio Jones was bothered by a hand injury that limited him on Sunday. Given his performance, at least there is a reason. Next, Darius Heyward-Bey has returned to practice for the Raiders. With a bye week coming up, that should give him time to prepare and be ready to go for Week Six. Finally, the Dolphins have signed Jabar Gaffney this week. Gaffney was recovering from a leg injury and his signing in Miami has interesting potential. Ryan Tannehill certainly found use for Brian Hartline after all.