It's been several seasons since we've seen Chris Perry perform at a high level. He hasn't been an every-down back since college, and perhaps no player still in the league has been as injury prone as the former first-round pick out of Michigan over the last four years. During the preseason and in Week 1, Perry seemed to lack a second gear.
But it appears the rust is starting to wear off. Perry's now scored in each of his last two games and exhibited terrific quickness on a 25-yard touchdown run in Week 3 against the Giants. Most importantly, Perry is getting the rock. According to the Rotoworld Workload Report, Perry's 66 touches so far account for 35% of the Bengals' offense. That's despite them having faced opponents whose rush defenses rank in the top seven in each week so far.
Cincinnati's matchups get considerably easier from here on out, beginning Sunday versus Cleveland. The Browns are without run-stopping strong safety Sean Jones (knee) and OLB Kamerion Wimbley (groin) was a late add to the injury report as "questionable" Friday. Fellow OLB starter Willie McGinest won't play with a hamstring injury. RDE Robaire Smith is on injured reserve. The Browns' run defense ranks 25th in the NFL and has surrendered a league-high six rushing touchdowns to date.
Carson Palmer is dealing with elbow inflammation. While Palmer is likely to start, he admitted that overuse could be the cause of his injury. The Bengals may consider putting Palmer on a "pitch count" Sunday and continue feeding Perry in an ideal matchup. With third-down back Kenny Watson (hamstring) seeming unlikely to play, there is no obvious threat to Perry's touches.
Donovan McNabb - Count on McNabb facing his hometown Bears on SNF.
Carson Palmer - Late add to the injury report, but he's very likely to start.
Brett Favre - Even Eric Mangini admits that Favre will start vs. Cardinals.
Anquan Boldin - Will play, draw rising Jets CB Darrelle Revis in coverage.
Braylon Edwards - Due for better numbers against beatable Bengals DBs.
Laveranues Coles - "Questionable" tag getting old; he's plenty safe to use.
David Patten - Did very little in practice this week; Lance Moore may start.
Kevin Walter - Listed as probable and he will start against Jacksonville.
Kevin Curtis - Getting close, but Curtis is not expected to play this week.
Bryant Johnson - 49ers' split end very iffy, shouldn't be counted on @ NO.
Sidney Rice - Too risky to use; could be limited in game at Tennessee.
Donte' Stallworth - Doubtful with no timetable to make his Browns debut.
Jerry Porter - It wouldn't be a surprise if the Jags sit him one more week.
James Jones - Won't play, will be replaced as No. 3 WR by Jordy Nelson.
Brandon Lloyd - Questionable; shouldn't be in lineups even if he's active.
Justin McCareins - Will play, but Justin Gage a far superior fantasy option.
Devin Hester - Limited all week, a full blown game-time decision vs. PHI.
Terrance Copper - Could stand in as fourth receiver if David Patten's out.
Adrian Peterson - He's fully expected to start despite "questionable" tag.
LaDainian Tomlinson - Will start against Raiders D he's historically owned.
Steven Jackson - Workhorse should see 25 touches vs. Buffalo on Sunday.
Brian Westbrook - Don't bet on him being active on Sunday Night Football.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Fred Taylor - Both virtually certain to face Houston.
Darren McFadden - Game-time call and a risky bet after possible setback.
Jonathan Stewart - Confidently have him in your lineup against Falcons.
Willis McGahee - Probable and practiced fully Friday; he'll start on MNF.
LenDale White - Will play, but Chris Johnson likely to see more touches.
Chester Taylor - Likely to be active, back up Adrian Peterson against TEN.
LeRon McClain - With McGahee probable, McClain isn't much of a sleeper.
Kenny Watson - If he's out, Chris Perry will be backed up by DeDe Dorsey.
Ahman Green - If he is active on Sunday, it will only be as a third-stringer.
Tony Hunt - Will play, pose a threat to Correll Buckhalter on the goal line.
Aaron Stecker - Could be active to play special teams against the Niners.
Kregg Lumpkin - Look for Ryan Grant to get 20-25 carries at Tampa Bay.
Antonio Gates - Has two TDs through three games; will start at Oakland.
L.J. Smith - Listed as doubtful and very unlikely to play with a bad back.
Ben Utecht - Whether he plays will come down to a pain-tolerance issue.
Mark Campbell - Blocking backup isn't close to a fantasy option anyway.
Matt Bryant - Listed as questionable after loss of three-month-old son.
Marques Colston - Not practicing; don't expect him back before Week 7.
Joey Galloway - Out indefinitely with foot sprain, may not be back soon.
Chris Henry - Apparently not in good enough shape to return in Week 5.
Roscoe Parrish - Sidelined the next 4-6 weeks after procedure on thumb.
Laurent Robinson - Michael Jenkins a better play with Robinson injured.
Keenan Burton, Drew Bennett - Donnie Avery promoted to starting l/u.
Darrell Jackson - Should have been dropped by his owners 2 weeks ago.
Malcolm Kelly - Devin Thomas to be more involved in Skins' game plan.
Willie Parker - Rashard Mendenhall to be PIT's starter through Week 6.
Justin Fargas - Hasn't made any progress in recovery from pulled groin.
Ryan Torain - Broncos say he's on track to practice before Week 8 bye.
Antonio Pittman - NFL's most irrelevant backup is sidelined 4-6 weeks.
Jeremy Shockey - Saints now optimistic Shockey could return in Week 6.
Lance Moore vs. 49ers
Times: 1:00PM ET
David Patten (groin) is a game-time decision and was unable to put in a full practice all week, so don't look for him to play. Moore, coming off a seven-catch, 78-yard effort against Denver, is slated to draw the start Sunday across from Devery Henderson. While Nate Clements covers Henderson, Moore splits to the left side of the formation, where he will draw 34-year-old Walt Harris in coverage. Moore also will line up inside often, and with nickel corner Shawntae Spencer (torn ACL) out for the year, the Niners are thin defending the slot. Drew Brees is a huge fan of Moore, having targeted him more than any other healthy Saints wideout to date. Moore's 83% catch rate shows he's highly efficient. He's the perfect bye-week WR3 in points-per-reception leagues.
Ike Hilliard vs. Packers
Time: 1:00PM ET
Michael Clayton swore he'd start when Joey Galloway got hurt, but so far Hilliard has been running as Tampa Bay's first-team flanker. Hilliard lacks homerun speed, but his matchup against Packers CB Tramon Williams is ripe for the PPR picking. Williams, a former undrafted free agent who's been thrust into the lineup with Al Harris nursing a ruptured spleen, served up Miles Austin's 52-yard touchdown catch in Week 3 and is likely to struggle against a crafty veteran route runner like Hilliard. Ike could be good for 6-7 catches Sunday with Charles Woodson draped all over Antonio Bryant on the opposite side. Woodson is a blanket, proving so yet again last week against Terrell Owens (3-17-0).
Eddie Royal @ Chiefs
Time: 1:00PM ET
Chiefs LCB Patrick Surtain has been ruled out another week, so fifth-round rookie Brandon Carr will make his second straight start. The former Grand Valley State Laker would clearly be better utilized in sub-packages at this point in his career and was eaten alive by Roddy White (5-119-1) last Sunday. Royal has predictably returned to earth since Brandon Marshall came off suspension, but he isn't suddenly a fantasy non-factor by any stretch and may not face a better one-on-one matchup for the rest of the season.
Jason Witten vs. Redskins
Time: 4:15PM ET
With the Redskins slated to roll usual left corner Shawn Springs to Terrell Owens' side Sunday and free safety LaRon Landry shading to T.O. in help coverage, Washington could have a hard time containing the tight end. Depending on where Witten lines up, he is expected to be covered by one of Redskins outside linebackers Rocky McIntosh or Marcus Washington. McIntosh has chronically bad knees and Washington a chronically bad hip. Witten, who leads the NFL with eight third-down receptions, is very likely to add multiple more to his total Sunday and is a fair bet to find the end zone for the first time this year. Witten is on pace for a 107-catch, 1456-yard season and it's only a matter of time before the touchdowns start catching up.Week 4 Matchups to Avoid
Derek Anderson @ Bengals
Time: 1:00PM ET
Some might say "oh yeah, man, he goes against Cincinnati's defense. He'll light it up." But that's very unlikely. Anderson's preparation was cut in half because Brady Quinn's practice snaps were increased this week, and those reps are key for game planning. D.A. has a real chance to be pulled after the Browns' initial series if the offense goes three and out, Anderson's sacked, or worse, he turns the football over. Anderson may still be feeling the effects of his preseason concussion and admittedly lacks confidence. Executive team adviser Jim Brown certainly thinks it's time for the Quinn era to begin, and as one Cleveland writer put it, "Anderson looks less of a find than a fad" at this point. He shouldn't be in any lineups, and if you're looking for a better option here are just a few: Kerry Collins vs. MIN, Trent Edwards @ STL, Jake Delhomme vs. ATL, David Garrard vs. HOU, J.T. O'Sullivan @ NO,
Brady Quinn @ CIN.
David Patten vs. 49ers
Time: 1:00PM ET
Owners waiting to see if Patten is activated against San Francisco could be living on very shaky ground. The Saints' injury list is so long that they may have a hard time simply formulating a healthy 45-man roster Sunday. The definitely sidelined players:
Some of the questionable players will play, but it is possible that Patten will be declared "active" Sunday and used only in an extremely limited role or simply not play in the game. This prospect makes Patten totally hands-off for fantasy owners.
LenDale White vs. Vikings
Time: 1:00PM ET
The carry share between White and Chris Johnson has been even to this point but Sunday's bout with Minnesota will likely see Johnson take a sizable leap ahead in terms of offensive participation. The Vikings' big uglies inside, Pat and Kevin Williams, are best avoided by opposing rushing attacks and Johnson is easily Tennessee's best back in open space. While LenDale gets all of the Titans' goal-line carries, this is one of the rare weeks he's a bad bet to score and White shouldn't be counted on for more than 10-12 touches.
Brandon Lloyd vs. Eagles
Time: 8:15PM ET
Those expecting big things from Lloyd over the course of the season are likely to be disappointed. His six-catch, 124-yard effort in Week 3 was Lloyd's best in three years and veteran defensive coordinators like Philadelphia's Jim Johnson, who faced him while Lloyd was a Redskin in 2006 and 2007, realize that Chicago's "No. 1 receiver" is easily eliminated from games by physical coverage. Lloyd managed just three catches against the Eagles' press corners during his two years in D.C. It doesn't help that Lloyd is questionable on the injury report with a bum hip. Don't look for him to do much, if anything on Sunday.Reply Absolutely Not to the Following Questions
> Should Lane Kiffin hesitate to call an exorcist? (scroll down a bit, on the right)
> Should Al Davis be operating motor vehicles? Or NFL franchises, for that matter?
> Should Scott Linehan buy any more real estate in the state of Missouri?
> Has Charles Rogers ran a route, or on a treadmill..anything...in the last two months?
> Was last night's Obama-McCain debate compelling?
> Does Obama know McCain's first name?