The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 8, 2012

Injuries take toll in week 5

By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor

MANKATO —  

The running backs took a hit in Week 5 of the NFL season and that means some players who were previously relegated to waiver wire purgatory may actually have some relevance in upcoming weeks.

New York Giants running Andre Brown suffered a concussion and his return is unknown. Ahmad Bradshaw had a monster day with Brown out of the lineup, but reserve David Wilson also made an appearance and scored a 40-yard touchdown. At this point, Wilson is Bradshaw’s handcuff and should be used accordingly.

Green Bay Packers running back Cedric Benson sustained a foot injury early Sunday and was replaced on the field by Alex Green. Green did little in Benson’s absence so don’t be surprised if James Starks gets a shot at the starting job next week. Either back is worth picking up but neither is worth starting until you see what he can do.

Arizona running back Ryan Williams injured his shoulder Sunday and has been ruled out for the rest of the season. That’s bad news for the Cardinals who had already lost Beanie Wells for all or most of 2012.

Some people may be trying to pick up Alfonso Smith this week but William Powell may actually be the better selection. Neither back is worth much since the Cardinals’ offensive line is, for lack of a better word, terrible.

By the way, if nobody picked up Brandon Bolden in your league last week, now would be a good time to get him. The Patriots are running the ball a lot more than they have the last few years and, while Stevan Ridley is the primary back, Bolden is getting his share of carries.

As far as receivers go, there are a few players on the wire who flashed over the weekend. Among them are Kendall Wright of Tennessee, Andrew Hawkins of Cincinnati, Devery Henderson of New Orleans and both Jordan Norwood and Josh Gordon of Cleveland.

Of that group, Hawkins and Henderson figure to have the most fantasy value going forward. Although Hawkins had only 47 yards receiving, he was targeted 13 times by quarterback Andy Dalton.

Henderson has value only as long as Lance Moore remains out. (The Saints have a bye this week). Henderson caught eight passes for 123 yards and touchdown Sunday night.

Wright had nine catches for 66 yards against the Vikings, but quarterback Matt Hasselbeck did not exactly inspire confidence in the Titans’ passing game. Wright should only be a desperation play.

The same goes for the two Browns receivers. Gordon caught two passes for two touchdowns which is likely a fluke performance. On the flip side, he was targeted eight times by quarterback Brandon Weeden so he may have value. Norwood caught nine passes from Weeden and finished with 81 yards worth of receiving.

Green Bay’s James Jones and Randall Cobb may be available in your league and could be worth a look. With Greg Jennings still a little gimpy and Jermichael Finley hurting, both could get more looks.

The Giants’ Reuben Randle and Domenik Hixon are in a similar situation. Hakeem Nicks is out and both seem to be playing quite a bit. The problem is, they seem to be canceling each other out.

Brandon Gibson of St. Louis should be considered since Danny Amendola broke his collarbone and is out for at least six weeks. Gibson won’t light up the fantasy scoreboard but could be an OK bye-week play.  

If you need quarterback help or just want to improve your depth at that position, both Minnesota’s Christian Ponder and Cleveland’s Weeden could help. Ponder threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans and, while he threw his first two interceptions of the season, appears to be on an upward spiral. 

Weeden airs the ball out a lot (at least 35 passes in every game). As long as he stays healthy, he should post respectable fantasy numbers.