A couple injuries headline the fantasy football world following Week 4. Their backups and how quickly you identify and then pick them up are the keys to success and what separates the winners and losers. Here’s a look at a few who are troubled and who likely will be the one to take the reigns.
Carnell Williams (Bucs) is out for the season. Tampa has had a great defensive game plan, enabling the offense to control the ball on the ground. Williams was terrific, but now Michael Pittman will carry the bulk of offensive load, or at least until they get to the goal line where Earnest Graham will get the carries.
Lamont Jordan (Raiders) has been one of the best fantasy backs of the season. He was on his way to a monster day against the Dolphins before aggravating an old back injury. Justin Fargas stepped in nicely with a big day. Following a bye week, Dominic Rhodes will be available after serving his suspension. He might be worth a quick grab just in case.
The Broncos-Colts game saw both of the star RB’s get hurt and give way to backs who did very well. Selvin Young put up 100 total yards of offense in the span Travis Henry was out. Kenton Keith gave 80 yards of production filling in for Joseph Addai. Both starters injuries didn’t appear too threatening. Of the two, Young looks to have the possibilities because of his style, Shanahan likes him, and Henry usually gets hurt.
Week 5 surprises: Edgerrin James (AZ at STL): "The Edge" has scored in three of the Cardinals four games with the lone exception being against a tough Ravens rush defense. Although Leinart and Warner are creating a cloudy QB situation nothing remains in question in the backfield. Look for James and the Cardinals to focus on the running game and dominate in time of possession against the winless Rams.
Reggie Bush (NO vs CAR): Deuce McAllister’s season ending injury will no doubt increase Reggie’s looks and touches. Bush hit paydirt twice last week in the loss to Tennessee in short yardage situations usually reserved for the Deuce. Be reminded that the Saints are coming off their bye week and are steaming over their 0-3 record. Three straight weeks of red beans, rice, and gumbo will be just the type of home cookin’ the Saints need.
Dwayne Bowe (KC vs JAX): Don’t look now, but the Chiefs have found a playmaker other than Larry Johnson. Bowe, a rookie out of LSU, has turned in TD’s each of his last three games. He has become Huard’s go to guy and turned in a breakout 8 catch, 164-yard game in the win vs San Diego last week. The Jaguars will be sure to focus on him this week but pick him up now and use him as a bye week helper.
Jason Campbell (DET vs WASH): The Redskins will also be coming off their bye week this week preceded by a disappointing loss at home to the Giants. Campbell and the Redskins watched loads of film showing how the Eagles and McNabb lit up the Lions for 56 points two weeks ago. Look for WR’s Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El to successfully stretch the field and TE Chris Cooley and RB Clinton Portis to make some big plays on short passes.
Andre Davis (HOU vs MIA): Andre Johnson’s misfortune is Andre Davis’ gain. The big receiver is just about the only quality WR the Texans have left thanks to injuries. What once was a strength on the team has now forced them to alter offensive schemes to hide the fact they have no depth of threat. When they do attempt to go deep, it will be Davis. Look for both he and smart QB, Matt Schaub, to have a good day against Miami.
Marshawn Lynch (BUF vs DAL): The Bills have not had much to be proud of this season other than the rookie RB. The Monday Night home game should give the Bills a little something extra that will allow them to stay close, at least for a few quarters. Look for him to excel in the Orchard Park spotlight before Tony Romo waves his magic wand and magic appears again.
Brandon Marshall (DEN vs SD): Jay Cutler wanted to get the ball to Marshall more last week against the Colts and let him use his athletic skills to get lots of YAC (yards after catch). So far the big kid has us reminded of a young Terrell Owens without the baggage. His stock goes up even more if Javon Walker plays because he’ll be keyed on less. Last week the Colts focused on stopping him and he still caught a TD pass.
Steve McNair (BLT at SF): Air McNair put up serviceable numbers in last week’s loss to the Browns. He has some nice weapons with WR Derrick Mason and TE Todd Heap but the 49ers secondary has been very good vs some talented offenses. Don’t look McNair’s way as a replacement for Palmer or McNabb this week.
Philip Rivers — SD at DEN: Last year he had everyone forgetting about Drew Brees. This season he has everyone reminding themselves that Schottzy wasn’t so bad and that Norv Turner never has been successful in the head spot. The no-name WR corp just isn’t getting it done and Gates is being keyed on more than ever. LT will have to save the day again for SD if they are to win.