Anyone who’s been at this for longer than a minute knows that fantasy football fates are often, if not always, decided by injury. Invariably, there will be a stretch of the season that’s more about “who has the most warm competent bodies” than “who has the most talent.” It’s just that, typically, it doesn’t get here until about Week 9 or 10, not Week 3. Alas, here we are with the fantasy football ocean already littered with “questionable” or “game-time decision” icebergs.
Among the walking wounded are Ray Rice, Steven Jackson (out), Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Eddie Lacy(out), Maurice Jones-Drew, Reggie Bush and Roddy White, just to name a few. That means “hard-decision time” is here less than two weeks after the season’s first Sunday.
Rice is shaping up as the toughest call of all. “Day to day” with a left hip flexor strain, Rice isn’t going to practice this week, and will likely come down to a Sunday morning decision. If he’s active, he’ll be an extremely dicey play, and almost certainly on a snap count. If he sits? Things actually get far less complicated. Rice, bench. Bernard Pierce, RB2.
We’ve been talking Pierce up as one of the league’s top handcuffs since the middle of last season, but Sunday would be the first chance he’s had to really stretch his legs outside of last Week 17, where the Ravens rested their starters after two series. Although Pierce is averaging just 2.8 yards per carry, that number remains an extremely healthy 4.64 when expanded to include all 175 of his career totes. Film study reveals a player who hasn’t necessarily struggled this season, but has simply run into brick walls. The Broncos zeroed in on the box after Baltimore lost deep threat Jacoby Jones in Week 1, while the Browns have one of the league’s most talented front sevens. The yardage is going to come.
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