Week 3 Fantasy Football: Injured NFL Stars You Should Bench This Weekend
The dreaded questionable status is hanging on your best fantasy player as Week 3 of the NFL season approaches, and you need advice on whether or not to bench him.
While injured players may end up suiting up on game day, sometimes it’s best to look for a replacement. Even if on the field, injuries can truly limit athletes by taking away the explosiveness that makes them special.
If you take a look around the league, there are some big-name players dealing with ailments who you should avoid deploying this weekend. We’ll break down three of these stars with the latest news and outlook for their Sunday matchups.
WR Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys wide receiver has been Tony Romo’s go-to guy in 2013, as expected. Romo has looked in his star’s direction 21 times already, and the pair has been pretty successful, hooking up 13 times for 163 yards and two scores—nine of those receptions and 141 yards came in Week 2 against Kansas City.
But Bryant tweaked his back during that impressive performance and has been limited in practice throughout the week. Reports from practice haven’t exactly been positive, per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Dez rehabbing slow and deliberate— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) September 19, 2013
The Cowboys have a tough matchup this weekend against the St. Louis Rams. If Bryant can’t shake the back pain, he’ll have a hard time against the Rams’ capable secondary, if he even plays. He’s a competitor, though, so there’s a good chance he sees the field. But back problems are known to linger, and he could see a limited amount of action even if he does make it out there.
RB Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
If anyone’s status is cloudier for Sunday than Baltimore’s Ray Rice, let me know. The star running back strained his hip flexor during the team’s Week 2 win over the Cleveland Browns. As a precaution, Rice has been held out of practice this week, but coach John Harbaugh labeled Rice as “day to day,” per Dan Hanzus of NFL.com.
Dr. Derek Ochiai, a hip specialist who’s not treating Rice’s injury, offered up his recommendation for the star in Week 3, per Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun:
The question comes if there are any issues around the hip or irritation or if he doesn't respond normally. If that's the case, if there are issues, then you look for the possibility of a labral tear or sports hernia. He may not be able to play this weekend because it usually takes a week or two to recover from hip flexor strains depending on the severity. If he deviates from that timeline, then you should probably get an MRI to see if there are any other existing issues with the hip.
Even when healthy to this point, Rice hasn’t looked like the dominant running back many spent top-10 picks on in their fantasy drafts. Bernard Pierce will likely commandeer a larger share of the workload even if Rice does see the field. You’re better off utilizing your bench or finding a waiver gem to fill Rice’s place this week—maybe even on a more consistent basis moving forward.
WR Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Up until Friday, Arizona Cardinals All-Pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been a non-participant in practice after leaving the team’s win over the Detroit Lions with a hamstring injury.
“He wants to practice; I’m not letting him,” head coach Bruce Arians said, per Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic. “I do not want him aggravating that again. We’ll take that day to day.”
Rest and time are the only cures for an aggravated hamstring. Time, though, is something NFL players rarely can afford given the crucial nature of every weekly matchup. If Fitz is rushed back too quickly, he might see poor results on the field or potentially hurt his hamstring even further. This is one injury that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
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