Roto Arcade - Fantasy

Every Friday the Noise transforms into Ferdinand Magellan, traveling to the far corners of the fantasy football world in an attempt to uncover the latest nuggets. Although we’re adept at dodging bamboo spears, pray we make it through the Philippines unscathed.

Beanie Wells(notes) must be composed of 60-percent muscle, 40-percent marshmallow. The dinged back, who suffered what was originally diagnosed as a minor knee setback in the final week of the preseason, has missed practice everyday this week, endangering his Week 1 availability. Ken Whisenhunt noted Thursday the over-drafted rusher will be a full-blown game-time decision. Arizona Republic beat writer Kent Somers believes Beanie is “doubtful” to play, citing Whisenhunt’s comfort level with Tim Hightower(notes) and LaRod Stephens-Howling(notes) and desire to keep Wells healthy deep into the season.

Beanie’s increasingly likely absence boosts Hightower’s short-term value tenfold. As we discussed in this week’s Flames, the Rams' outpouring of generosity to opposing rushers in recent years tabs the veteran must start material. Last season, RBs averaged 157.2 total yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game against them. In fact, Hightower’s only 100-yard performance a year ago came against the division rival.

Because Derek Anderson(notes) could miss T-Rex on simple post, the Cardinals coaching staff will lean heavily on Hightower via ground and air. Anticipate approximately 18-22 total touches on Sunday. If the tap-dancing back runs with the assertiveness he displayed during the preseason, he’ll easily accumulate formidable RB2 numbers given the expanded workload. At this point, he’s a smarter play than Michael Turner(notes) (at Pit), Ryan Grant(notes) (at Phi) and Shonn Greene(notes) (vs. Bal).

In a similar boat as Beanie, Michael Bush(notes) has also been slapped with the dreaded game-time decision label. After stating earlier this week he would be “shocked” the bruising back didn’t suit up, Tom Cable backtracked after Bush missed practice on Thursday. The rusher is expected to get a few reps in on Friday, but his status for Sunday’s opener in Tennessee is very cloudy.

Regardless if the former Louisville standout dons a helmet, owners should stay far away from any running Raiders this week. Last season, only Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) surpassed the 90-yard mark against the Titans in Nashville. And the injury imp wreaked havoc in Tennessee last year. Doughboy-soft Darren McFadden(notes) nor Bush should be trusted except in the deepest of leagues. Al Davis would have better odds of making a fantasy impact behind the joystick of a motorized wheelchair.

Rashard Mendenhall(notes) owners have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions over the past few days. Earlier this week, Mike Tomlin stripped the young rusher’s short-yardage duties, transforming Isaac Redman(notes) into a certified goal-line gremlin. After scoring five of his seven touchdowns inside the 4-yard line last season, the demotion was damning. Fortunately, for those who invested heavy coin in the Illinois product, the move was only temporary. Thursday offensive coordinator Bruce Arians declared Mendenhall will be deployed at the goal-line after all, largely because of his superior pass-catching ability.

Because of Pittsburgh’s challenging schedule, we’re still bearish on Rashard. Remember from Weeks 13-15, the Steelers face a daunting string of stout rush defenses – at Bal, NYJ and Cin. For now, those who grabbed him in the late-first can breathe a big sigh of relief, but dealing him down the road would be a sage move.

Owners who still house slight concerns over the Oompah-Loompah’s (MJD) tender meniscus should seriously contemplate snatching up vice-back Rashad Jennings(notes). Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter outright refused to install the junior rusher as a rookie a season ago, but the stubborn coach appears to have changed course. After an impressive camp and preseason and due to lingering concerns over Mo-Jo’s knee, Jennings is slated to shoulder an increased load this season. Koetter didn’t disclose exactly how many touches, but it’s fathomable the former seventh-rounder could rack roughly 8-10 carries per game.

Equipped with plus size, adequate speed and considerable versatility, Jennings could be very useful if thrust into every down duties. Keep in mind Jones-Drew is coming off the first 300-carry campaign of his four-year career. Durability could become a problem.

Though “The Situation,” Greg Camarillo(notes), fell miserably short of our Shocker Special forecast, don’t toss him into the free agent pool anytime soon. The recently acquired receiver didn’t trot onto the field until the fourth quarter and only saw three snaps total in New Orleans. However, when he did enter the game, Brett Favre(notes) immediately looked his direction, connecting on an explosive 29-yard pass play. Expect his role to grow rapidly in the coming weeks. With his polished routes and tacky hands, he could eclipse 70 catches this year, a quality output in PPR formats.

After Thursday’s Bore on the Bayou, Brett Favre admitted his timing was clearly off. Chemistry issues sparked by a prolonged absence during training camp and most of the preseason were evident. Inevitably, Barbra will get things going, but any person who prognosticated a 30-TD repeat was obviously swigging grape Mad Dog from Ragnar's horn. He’s still a low-tiered QB1, but a 24-26 TD projection seems more appropriate.

Sans Sidney Rice(notes), it appears Visanthe Shiancoe(notes), Percy Harvin(notes) and eventually Camarillo – in that order – will be Favre’s most trusted targets. Bernard Berrian’s(notes) lack of versatility will make him wildly inconsistent. Thoughts of the BB Gun surpassing 900 yards with 6-8 TDs is a giant stretch. Essentially, he's a fringe WR3 in 12-team leagues who should only be relied upon when the matchup warrants. 

Red Scare (Additional injury notes): Oversized weapon Owen Daniels(notes) (knee) has been limited in practice this week. A matchup against the Colts’ Cover 2 is enticing, but he remains a very risky option. Gary Kubiak wants to limit his snap-count to 25. … Knowshon Moreno(notes) (hammy) practiced in full on Thursday. Expected to split time with Correll Buckhalter(notes), he should net roughly 12-15 totes against the Jags, making him a flex-only play in 12-teamers. Jacksonville will have its problems on pass defense, but will be fairly stiff up front. Last season, Jack Del Rio’s bunch didn’t allow a rusher to reach 90 yards in eight home games. hellip; Laurence Maroney’s(notes) chances of seeing action against Cincinnati appear to be dwindling. The perennial tease, dealing with a groin setback, was limited in practice again on Thursday. Jurassic-aged Fred Taylor(notes) is slated to start against an unyielding Bengals front that held rushers to just 3.8 yards per carry in ’09. … Lineup staples Tom Brady(notes) (shoulder), Donovan McNabb(notes) (ankle), Larry Fitzgerald(notes) (knee) and Brandon Marshall(notes) (ankle) are ready to roll. Pencil them in accordingly.


Images courtesy of US Presswire

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