NFL Week 4 Injury Report: Forecasting Impact on Fantasy Football

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IISeptember 27, 2012

NFL Week 4 Injury Report: Forecasting Impact on Fantasy Football

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    For the third straight week, we've had an incredibly high number of injuries take place throughout the NFL. In fact, the injuries sustained this week seemed to happen to more crucial players in fantasy football than in any other week.

    Since we know it can be difficult to sift through all the information regarding players' injuries, we've put together this NFL injury report. We'll also forecast how these injuries will impact fantasy football for Week 4 and moving forward.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

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    Matthew Stafford was forced out of his Week 3 matchup with a hip injury that he is still recovering from. According to Chris McCosky of The Detroit News, Stafford didn't practice on Wednesday.

    Impact on Fantasy Football

    Even though Stafford hasn't been nearly as productive this year as many predicted, he is still one of the top fantasy football quarterbacks. While this injury doesn't appear to be overly serious, we could still see a drop in Stafford's play for the next few weeks until he has fully recovered.

    If Stafford can't play, Shaun Hill should be a serviceable option until he returns. He played very well when Stafford left Sunday's game and could possibly have a huge week if he plays a full game.

    What To Do If He Is on Your Team

    You'll need to keep an eye on the injury reports. The good news if he is on your team is that Stafford has proven he can fight through injuries and get on the field even when he is hurting.

    If you have a roster spot to pick up Hill just in case, that would be a wise decision.

Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins

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    Reggie Bush was also held out of practice on Wednesday due to a knee injury, reports Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald. However, Salguero feels that this was more cautionary and that Bush shouldn't miss a significant amount of time.

    Impact on Fantasy Football

    Bush has been more than a pleasant surprise this year for his fantasy football owners. Unfortunately, his proneness to injuries came back to haunt owners, and even though the injury doesn't appear serious, there needs to be some concern if he is on your team.

    Should Bush miss a few games, both Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller become viable options to pick up off the waiver wire. While neither may be worthy of starting at running back, they both should make quality options at the flex position.

    What To Do If He Is on Your Team

    There certainly isn't reason to panic about this knee injury, but if Bush misses more than a game or two, red flags should rise. Continue to watch reports coming out of Miami to see how Bush is progressing for the rest of the week.

    If he practices before the weekend, he should be a great start for Week 4.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills

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    After being forced out of Sunday's game, it looked as if C.J. Spiller could miss a major chunk of time with a shoulder injury. However, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reports that Spiller could end up returning to practice this week.

    Impact on Fantasy Football

    No running back has been as impressive this season as Spiller, so the possibility of him missing time is a huge hit to fantasy football. However, with the reports that he's healing more quickly than expected, Spiller should get back to dominating teams as soon as this week.

    The only issue with Spiller potentially missing time is that it gives Fred Jackson the opportunity to take away some carries as the season progresses.

    What To Do If He Is on Your Team

    Even if Spiller can't play for a week or two and Jackson comes back, there is still plenty of value in Spiller. While he'll no longer be worthy of starting at running back if he is splitting carries, he'll still be one of the premier flex options in fantasy football.

Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants

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    After missing last week's game, it appears as if Ahmad Bradshaw is set to start this week for the New York Giants (via Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger)

    Impact on Fantasy Football

    For starters, Bradshaw's return puts a major hamper on Week 3's darling, Andre Brown. The best case for Brown now is splitting carries with Bradshaw, so another 113-yard, two-touchdown performance is unlikely.

    As for Bradshaw's impact this week, as long as he is healthy he should be considered a viable starting option in nearly every league.

    What To Do If He Is on Your Team

    If Bradshaw is really set to play on Sunday, you have to start him. While you may want to be cautious and only start him at your flex position for a week or two, Bradshaw still has the potential of putting up huge points if he is the featured back for New York.

Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals

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    Still dealing with turf toe, Beanie Wells has been placed on designated injured reserve, according to Darren Urban of the Arizona Cardinals' official website.

    Impact on Fantasy Football

    With November 25th being the earliest that Wells could return, he becomes completely irrelevant in every fantasy football league. Without Wells, the Cardinals will give the majority of carries to second-year running back Ryan Williams.

    Williams was a sleeper pick heading into many drafts, but he has failed to do anything positive so far this year. This will be a huge opportunity for him, and if he takes full advantage, he could become quite the starter in fantasy football.

    What To Do If He Is on Your Team

    The only option with Wells right now is to drop him. You can't keep him on your roster for the next two months, and even if he does return this season, it is likely that he'll have lost his starting job to Williams or another back on the roster.

Austin Collie, WR, Indianapolis Colts

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    With a ruptured right patella tendon, Austin Collie is going to miss the remainder of the 2012 season, according to Tom James of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star.

    Impact on Fantasy Football

    The biggest impact from Collie's injury is to the wide receivers that were backing him up. With Collie gone, both T.Y. Hilton and Donnie Avery become options to grab off the waiver wire.

    We've seen that the Indianapolis Colts are committed to the pass this year, which means that both Hilton and Avery have the potential for some rather potent weeks in fantasy football.

    What To Do If He Is on Your Team

    The fact that you drafted the incredibly injury-prone Collie in the first place is a little unsettling, However, if he is still on your roster, you need to drop him and run far, far away.

    Oh yeah, and never come back to him again.

Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

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    After struggling with a hip injury that kept him out of Week 3, Jeremy Maclin returned to practice on Wednesday . He is expecting to play on Sunday against the New York Giants, according to Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Impact on Fantasy Football

    When healthy, Maclin is easily a No. 2 receiver in all fantasy football leagues. The problem is that Maclin has yet to be healthy in 2012, and this nagging hip injury is a major concern.

    However, the bigger issue is how much Michael Vick's poor play will bring down Maclin's production. If Maclin and Vick can get on the same page, he has the potential to put up huge points in fantasy football.

    What To Do If He Is on Your Team

    Maclin says he is playing on Sunday, and him practicing on Wednesday is a good indication that it will happen. While I wouldn't depend on him carrying your team to victory this week, you should definitely start him and expect some solid output in Week 4 and moving forward.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Oakland Raiders

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    After a brutal hit in Sunday's game sent Darrius Heyward-Bey to the hospital, it appears that his injury is less serious than it was originally thought to be. However, according to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, there is no timetable for his return from a strained neck and concussion.

    Impact on Fantasy Football

    Heyward-Bey was expected to have a breakout season of sorts in fantasy football. While he wasn't putting up many points in the first two weeks of the season, he did catch his first touchdown reception of the 2012 season on Sunday before leaving the game.

    With him gone, both Denarius Moore and Rod Streater get a bump in their rankings moving forward. While neither of those players are worthy of being your top receiver option, Moore could be a solid No. 2 receiver and Streater could be a great flex option.

    What To Do If He Is on Your Team

    Without knowing when Heyward-Bey is going to return, it is hard to keep him on your roster while he is recovering. We've seen concussions keep players out for months, so the smart move here is to simply drop him from your team.

Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

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    Julian Edelman was forced out of Sunday night's game with an injury to his hand. Mike Reiss of is reporting that Edelman didn't practice on Wednesday.

    Impact on Fantasy Football

    While Edelman hasn't been a huge target for the New England Patriots, he did have four receptions, 28 yards and a touchdown in Week 3 before leaving the game.

    Should he be forced to sit out a game, those targets will likely be split between Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd, giving them a slight increase in production for Week 4. 

    What To Do If He Is on Your Team

    The only way that Edelman would be on your team would be if you were using him as a flex option, and there are plenty of other options. Drop Edelman and look to pick up a player like Andrew Hawkins of the Cincinnati Bengals or Jerome Simpson of the Minnesota Vikings.

Darrelle Revis, CB, New York Jets

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    Darrelle Revis tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the 2012 season, as Mike Garafolo of USA Today reported early on Wednesday.

    Impact on Fantasy Football

    No injury this week was as huge as the New York Jets losing Revis for the year. One of the big reasons that New York is so successful on defense is because Revis can literally take away half the field from opposing quarterbacks.

    Since that is no longer the case, the Jets defense becomes much less attractive to fantasy owners. However, the biggest impact from this injury is to the wide receivers that Revis would usually cover.

    Instead of automatically benching whoever was lining up across from Revis, that player now becomes a "must start" against a much weaker secondary.

    What To Do If He Is on Your Team

    It isn't time to drop the Jets defense because Rex Ryan is still a defensive mastermind. See how they do for another week; if they completely fail, then start looking for a new defense.