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Scott Pianowski

9-on-9: The Portis and the hare, Barber's back (probably)

Scott Pianowski
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It's all about injuries on a Football Friday, let's have a quick look around.

Clinton Portis(notes) (ankles, calf) missed Friday's work and looks very questionable for Sunday's friendly match against the Buccaneers (Tampa went tackling-optional against the Giants last week). Ladell Betts(notes) hasn't gotten a lot of rushing attempts so far this year but he showed some juice as a receiver last week; make sure he's not floating on your waiver wire, just in case. Jim Zorn is a man of percentages and he's calling Portis "50-50" at the moment. [Washington Post]

Marion Barber(notes) (quad) had a full workout again on Friday and is listed as probable. Look for him to get a start at Denver, albeit there are some fantasy flags here; the Broncos are mightily improved on defense and Tashard Choice(notes) is too good to ignore (figure that he'll get at least 10 touches). Nonetheless, I'm calling Barber a solid RB2 this week, what sayeth you? [Dallas Morning News]

Kevin Smith(notes) (shoulder) did most of the work Friday and he says he expects to play against the Bears. That said, head coach Jim Schwartz isn't going to make an official call until he absolutely has to - Smith will be a game-time decision - and just because Smith starts at Chicago doesn't mean he'll be well enough to finish. On the other side of the ball, Matt Forte(notes) (knee) had a good day of work Friday and looks fine for Week 4; he's listed as probable. [Mlive.com]

Willie Parker(notes) (toe) missed his third day of work and is doubtful for the prime-time game with the Chargers. It's a huge opportunity for Rashard Mendenhall(notes) (Brad Evans is here to tell you all about it), and don't forget about Mewelde Moore(notes), the sultan of the spread and an underrated pass blocker. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Jamal Lewis(notes) (hamstring) is considered doubtful after missing the full week of practice; don't look for him to go against the Bengals. James Davis is also dinged up (shoulder, questionable) which leaves Jerome Harrison(notes) as the last primary back standing. Give Harrison 15 touches against a defense not called the Baltimore Ravens and something reasonable might go up on the board. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

Randy Moss(notes) must be a heck of a quick healer because he was removed from the injury report Friday. Go ahead and play him against a Baltimore secondary that isn't as good as the name brand suggests. As for Wes Welker(notes) (knee), all we can do is play the waiting game; he did some work Friday but remains questionable. At least it's an early game; not even the Patriots can keep the truth from us come noontime Sunday. [Boston Herald]

LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) (ankle) had another good day and is considered probable for the Sunday night affair at Pittsburgh. How you feel about LT here depends on your depth and other options; even if Tomlinson is on the field, I still like Darren Sproles(notes) as a flex play against a Pittsburgh group that's not as imposing with Troy Polamalu(notes) out. On the other side for the Chargers, LB Shawne Merriman(notes) (groin) is listed as questionable. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

It's not fun looking at the train wreck known as the Kansas City Chiefs every week but we can't help it, Dwayne Bowe(notes) is that important to our numbers racket. Bowe (hamstring) is questionable on the injury report and it will come down to another game-day call for him. If Bowe can't go, see if you can slide Mark Bradley(notes) or Bobby Wade(notes) onto your WR3 or WR4 spot in a deeper group. [KC Star on Twitter]

Kyle Boller(notes) took all the first-team reps for the Rams this week so we'll be spared another look at Marc Bulger(notes) (shoulder, nerves). Boller probably won't do anything special against that underrated 49ers defense but at least he gives the St. Louis offense a fighting chance; Bulger is just a deer in the headlights in the pocket right now, his confidence is totally shot. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Other nicks of note: Brett Favre(notes) (foot) had a limited day Friday but do you really think he's going to miss the Packers on Monday? Get real. … Cedric Benson(notes) (ankle) had a good session Friday and is listed as probable. Obviously get him in there against Cleveland's leaky defense. … Lance Moore(notes) (hamstring) has made a quick recovery and is a surprising "probable" on the injury report but there's no guarantee he'll be thrown into a heavy rotation of snaps right away. We'll scout Moore closely this week, but I can't imagine why any fantasy owner would want to risk a start on him right now. … The Pats defense has serious issues with Jerod Mayo(notes) (knee) doubtful and Vince Wilfork(notes) (ankle) questionable. There's no reason to rest your key Ravens at Foxboro. Derrick Mason(notes) was held back Friday because of an illness but he should be okay on game day (check back before kickoff just to be sure). … Just what the struggling Titans don't need, a banged-up Cortland Finnegan(notes) (hamstring). He's listed as questionable. … Hakeem Nicks(notes) (foot) is probable and should be ready for a back-up role at Kansas City.

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