1. With news that Vick Ballard is out for the year with a torn ACL, fantasy owners will be heading to the waiver wire to add the previously forgotten Donald Brown. With Ahmad Bradshaw not yet ready to handle a heavy workload (and perhaps not ever), Brown figures to get 10-12 touches this week against the Dolphins. However, it won’t be a surprise if the Colts add a veteran running back to the roster since they were only carrying three players at the position. With Bradshaw’s health always in question and the inconsistent Brown not being relied upon, Indianapolis is likely to add veteran insurance at the position rather than a young street free agent.
2. In Atlanta, news broke after the Falcons Week 1 loss to the Saints that wide receiver Roddy White was suffering from a high ankle sprain. Fantasy owners weren’t likely expecting that little tidbit to surface and more than a few likely posted a loss due to White’s meagre stat line of two receptions for 19 yards. Since White isn’t practising this week, he will likely be a game time decision for Atlanta’s Week 2 home game against the Rams. Even if White goes, he will likely be used as a decoy once again since St. Louis has two solid corners in Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins. That makes diminutive slot receiver Harry Douglas a sneaky play in Week 2 and maybe longer. He is coming off a four-reception, 93-yard performance in Week 1.
3. Down in Dallas, Dez Bryant suffered a sprained foot late in the Cowboys Week 1 win over the Giants. With Bryant limited in practice this week, there is a chance he won’t get a full workload this Sunday against the Chiefs. With the Giants relegating his targets through the use of double teams, look for Tony Romo to make full use of Miles Austin and Jason Witten this week. There is also an outside chance that rookie 3rd round pick Terrance Williams could see his usage increased. Unfortunately for Williams, he displayed shaky hands and poor route running in Week 1. The Cowboys are high on him, however, so Dwayne Harris seems unlikely to supplant Williams, at least not so early in the season. If Bryant’s injury lingers, Williams could be worth an add in deeper leagues.
4. In St. Louis, Isaiah Pead returns to the line-up this week after serving a one-game suspension. While the Rams quickly installed him at number two on the depth chart ahead of rookie 5th round pick Zac Stacy, all indications are that Daryl Richardson has a stranglehold on the starting position. With St. Louis basing their offensive philosophy on having as much speed as possible at the skill positions, Richardson is a better fit than Pead, who displayed little playmaking ability as a rookie despite being taken in the 2nd round of the draft. While Richardson wasn’t stellar in the team’s Week 1 win over the Cardinals, he displayed plenty of speed in open space and a willingness to get the tough yards between the tackles.
5. After Geno Smith’s three interception performance in the Jets Thursday night loss to the Patriots and his uneven performance during the preseason, there is little wonder why former starter Mark Sanchez is delaying having surgery on the torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. While the Jets appear to be committed to Smith and he was reasonably solid in their Week 1 win over the Bucs, it is also abundantly clear that he is not currently an NFL calibre starting quarterback. Sanchez deserves kudos for sticking out to help the maturation process of the player that took his job, rather than mailing it in by having season-ending surgery, even though his career in New York will almost certainly end following the season. At just 26 years of age, Sanchez will have an opportunity to resurrect his career elsewhere in 2014 and it won’t be a huge shocker if that happens. His career floundered in New York as the quality of the players at the Jets skill positions decreased over the past few seasons.
6. Sticking with the Jets, it seems only a matter of time before Chris Ivory supplants Bilal Powell in the team’s starting line-up. While Powell has some shiftiness and is clearly a superior receiver, he can’t match Ivory’s explosiveness as a runner. Ivory is clearly a faster, more powerful runner and would appear to be exactly the type of threat the team needs to help open things up in the passing game. Look for Ivory to get more extensive work beginning in Week 3 against a Bills defense that has played poorly against the run for the past several seasons.
7. After a strong preseason, Christine Michael failed to get a single touch during the Seahawks Week 1 win over the Panthers. With Marshawn Lynch getting the early down work and Robert Turbin playing on passing downs, Michael was persona non grata in the Seattle game plan. While his inability to supplant Turbin as a receiving option isn’t a surprise and removes any chance of him being a solid flex option, Michael is likely the handcuff to own in the Seattle backfield. If Lynch were to go down, Michael would likely step into the role as the team’s early down back although he would not be likely to receive as many touches.