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How Fantasy Football Owners Should Approach 2012's Biggest NFL Injuries

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How Fantasy Football Owners Should Approach 2012's Biggest NFL Injuries
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers

There are a few players with fantasy value hobbling into the NFL season. I'll give you the rundown, or the limp-down, as the case may be.

 

Trent Richardson

Richardson has had knee trouble for a while now, so he knows the knee-scoping drill. His long-term knee problems are concerning, but it seems like he should be ready to start the season and make it through the season intact. He will most likely be eased into games, so don't expect a huge workload Week 1.

 

Ryan Mathews

Mathews may say differently, but it looks like he'll be back for Week 3. If you own him, I would almost prefer that he waits until then and comes back fully healthy.

I'd be happy taking him in the third round of most drafts, especially in points per reception leagues, and I'd add Ronnie Brown late to fill in.

 

Adrian Peterson

He's not injured, but he also hasn't played in a preseason game. He hadn't gotten hit in practice until this week, and of course he's not really getting hit in practice, so we just won't know much until the season starts.

It looks like he will be able to play Week 1 but in limited fashion. Don't rely on him early on.

 

Jay Drowns/Getty Images
Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

Marshawn Lynch

Lynch is having back spasms and has missed the last week of practice. He had the same problem last season and missed a game. Of course, he then went on an absolute tear the rest of the season.

I'm still drafting him as a high-end running back, but being careful to grab Robert Turbin later in the draft, who has looked great this preseason.

 

Jonathan Stewart

His ankle sprain seems to be minor, but with the crowded backfield in Carolina, any injury will lose you touches. But he is still the best all-around back on the team, so I'd rather own him than DeAngelo Williams.

 

Isaac Redman

He has hip soreness and a tweaked ankle, and Jonathan Dwyer is playing very well in preseason. All signs right now point to skipping on Redman because of injury and possible decrease in usage and grabbing Dwyer later in drafts.

 

Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers

Steve Smith

The Panthers receiver finally called up John Madden to get some ultra Tough Actin' Tinactin to take care of his foot infection, and BOOM!, it looks like he will return to practice on Sunday and be ready to go for Week 1.

 

Austin Collie

After yet another concussion, Collie amazingly has been cleared to exercise, and the Colts believe he will be cleared to resume football activities.

He is as risky as a fantasy football player can be, but at this point he has fallen far enough in drafts to be worth a flier.

 

Jason Witten

The last time I lacerated my spleen I was playing Tetris like two weeks later. Come on Witten, man up! I kid, I kid! Witten is listed as questionable and has a chance to play in the first game, but I believe they'll give him the 10 days between Week 1 and 2 to heal a little more.

 

Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys

Miles Austin

He hasn't done much of anything since injuring his hamstring early in training camp, but he's scheduled to start practicing this weekend and be ready to go for the opener.

He is risky since his hamstring continues to be a problem, but he has dropped so far in drafts that he's starting to be worth the risk.

 

Dez Bryant

It seems the Cowboys are just being extra cautious with their wide receivers. Bryant, like Austin, should practice this weekend and be ready to go Wednesday.

 

Kenny Britt

You really can't get much luckier than Kenny Britt just did with only a one-game suspension. He's been less lucky when it comes to his knee problems, but he just came off the PUP list and should be able to return in Week 2.

He will be eased back, but his upside is easily top-10 if he can stay healthy.

 

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions

Kevin Smith

The one-time director of Clerks and Jersey Girl managed to avoid a severe ankle sprain. He never needed a walking boot and just had some swelling. Wait, he's a different Smith? OK, well, he should be able to start Week 1 against the Rams anyway.

Of course, his injury history is riddled with, um, injuries, but he still has a lot of upside in Detroit's high-powered offense.

 

Hakeem Nicks

Nicks played in the last preseason game and looked healthy. All systems are go.

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