49’s (v. Rams): I hate to keep picking on the Rams but until they demonstrate that they are anything but offensively inept, I’m going to consider anyone playing against them as a solid pick. However, this selection isn’t solely based on the Rams horrendous play, the 49’s have turned in solid performances in the first three weeks of the season against much tougher opponents and only seem to be getting better.
Bengals (v. Browns): With a solid scores against the Vikings and Packers as well as a man-handling of the Steelers under their belt, the Bengals are proving to be a force to be reckoned with this season. Conversely, the Browns are embroiled in a quarterback controversy focused on figuring out with which quarterback, Quinn or Anderson, do the Browns suck less. This really shouldn’t be a challenge for Cincy.
INJURIES AND IMPACT
Justin Bannan(DT)Knee-Questionable, Limited practice.
*Tavares Gooden(LB)Shoulder& head- Questionable, Limited practice.
*Jarret Johnson(LB)Shoulder-Questionable, Limited practice
*Ray Lewis(LB)Head –Questionable, Limited practice
*Trevor Pryce(DT)Sick-Questionable, Did not practice.
Impact: While the Patriots have yet to find their usual swagger this season, they should not be taken lightly. Tom Brady & Co. still have all the weapons to make a fantasy defense owner weep and one of these weeks things are going to start clicking for them again. So, if I owned the Baltimore Defense this week, I would be a little weary, especially given that my three starting linebackers are listed as questionable. Keep your eye on this situation, if Gooden, Johnson and Lewis are not upgraded by Sunday morning, you might want to consider picking up one of the sleeper defenses listed above.
Michael Hamlin (S)Wrist- Questionable, Did not practice.
Curtis Johnson(LB)Hamstring- Questionable, Did not practice.
*DeMarcus Ware(LB)Neck- Probable
Impact: The only starter listed is classified as probable so, no major impact.
Spencer Larsen(LB) Shoulder - Questionable, Did not practice.
Impact: No major impact
New England Patriots
Darius Butler (CB)Thigh- Questionable, Limited practice
*Jerod Mayo(LB)Knee - Questionable, Did not practice (Has missed past two games)
*Shawn Springs(CB)Knee- Questionable, Limited practice.
*Vince Wilfork(DT)Ankle - Questionable, Did not practice
Jonathan Wilhite(CB)Groin- Questionable, Limited practice
Mike Wright(DT)Shoulder- Questionable, Limited practice
Impact: I’m going to skip the actual impact part of this analysis and just advise you not to start the Patriot’s Defense this week. The Patriots Defense, though respectable, has yet to assert themselves as the top tier defense we expect them to be, while the Ravens Offense has seemingly abandoned the low scoring, win it with defense mentality of the AFC North. (Granted two of their wins came against KC and Cleveland) Given their performances thus far this season, this week’s matchup between the Patriots and Ravens is shaping up to be a much closer and much more of a shootout than would normally be expected and this does not bode well for fantasy defense owners.
New Orleans Saints
*Kendrick Clancy(DT) –Knee-Questionable, Did not practice.
Bobby McCray(DE)-Back- Questionable, Did not practice.
Impact: No major impact
New York Giants
Chris Canty (DT)-Calf-Questionable, did not practice
Kevin Dockery (CB)- Hamstring-Questionable,Limited practice
Aaron Ross (CB)-Hamstring-Questionable, Limited practice
Clint Sintim(LB)-Groin-Questionable, Limited practice
*Justin Tuck (DE)-Shoulder-Questionable,Did not practice
Impact: Tuck is a key player, but given the strength of the Giant’s Defense and the not-so-hot performance of the Chiefs thus far, the absence of Tuck won’t be a major impact on the overall performance of the Defense.
New York Jets
*Darrelle Revis (CB)-Hamstring-Probable
Larry Izzo (LB)-Hamstring- Questionable, did not practice
*Kris Jenkins(DT)-Groin- Probable
*Jim Leonhard(S)Knee-Questionable, did not practice
*Kerry Rhodes(S) Knee-Questionable, limited practice
*Lito Sheppard(CB)-Quadricep-Questionable, did not practice
Donald Strickland(CB)-Ankle-Questionable, did not practice
Calvin Pace(LB) Suspension
Impact: Holy secondary issues! Let’s see, both starting safeties, a starting cornerback and a second-string cornerback who would be filling in, are all listed as questionable. And, just to sprinkle on a little more fun, the other starting cornerback is listed as probable and one of the team’s top linebackers is still suspended. This seems like the perfect scenario for the Jets to face the top fantasy scoring quarterback with one of the best passing offenses in the league.( If you’re not picking up on the sarcasm please re-read the previous sentence substituting “the perfect” with “a horrendous”. ) Ok, enough of the doom and gloom because in reality, the majority, if not all of these players will see the field this week. However, this doesn’t mean you should be waiting this one out before deciding to go with another defense Sunday morning. Given the Saints ability to put up big numbers and offensive dominance this season thus far, even at their healthiest, I would be extremely nervous about starting the Jets this week against New Orleans.
*Troy Polamalu (S):Knee-Questionable, Did not practice.
Impact: Usually I would say that the loss of one starter on a solid defense is, while unfavorable, not a major deal. However, without Troy in the lineup the Steelers Defense has been struggling, especially in the secondary. While these woes can’t be completely attributed to the absence of the “Flyin’ Hawaiian” (note: he’s Samoan, not Hawaiian), the Steelers definitely feel the loss of a player who, in the few minutes he played in the first game of the season, substantiated his status of a five-time Pro-Bowler.