NFL Quick Hits: Bell finally tolls for Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell is scheduled to return this week from a three-game suspension and 2015 knee surgery. Fantasy owners who drafted Bell should have no hesitation about getting him back in their lineups for Sunday night's game against the Chiefs.
What about DeAngelo Williams, who has been fantasy's No. 2 running back over the season's first three weeks? Offensive coordinator Todd Haley talked last week about using both Bell and Williams, but Williams was also very productive while Bell was out early last season, and then got just 14 touches in the five full games that Bell played before injuring his knee. Actions speak louder than words, right?
Maybe Haley will get creative with two-back packages, but Williams seems like a risky fantasy start until we see that happen. Plan to bench him in most cases if you own him.
In other news ...
The Seahawks seem to think that QB Russell Wilson will play Sunday after spraining his knee in Week 3. However, playing and being effective -- which means being mobile for Wilson -- are two different things. I'd probably avoid him in a road game against the Jets. FYI, Wilson ranks as fantasy's No. 26 QB so far.
In other Seahawks' news, RB Thomas Rawls will miss "a few weeks" with what NFL Network reports is a hairline fracture to his fibula. The Christine Michael train will stay busy but might slow down a bit this week, since the Jets are allowing 3.3 yards per carry.
The Cowboys haven't announced results on the MRI of Dez Bryant's knee, which apparently suffered the same injury as Wilson's. We should know more today or tomorrow.
Remember that the Packers and Eagles have reached their bye weeks. Plan your lineups accordingly.
Bears RB Jeremy Langford suffered a sprained ankle Sunday night, and some reports suggest he'll miss 4-6 weeks. Rookie Jordan Howard (owned in 4.8 percent of FOXSports.com leagues) is the obvious replacement, starting with this week's matchup against a Lions' defense that has allowed 5.1 yards per carry so far. However, whenever Ka'Deem Carey returns from his hamstring injury, he could muck things up a bit.
Cardinals WR Michael Floyd is in the concussion protocol after suffering headaches on Monday. Stay tuned.
The Falcons and Saints scored 77 points on Monday night, but Julio Jones and Brandin Cooks combined for just three catches and 29 yards. Makes perfect sense, right? Anyway, the Falcons' running backs were the big story. Devonta Freeman had a 38-27 snap edge over Tevin Coleman, and had 207 yards from scrimmage to Coleman's 89. However, Coleman scored three touchdowns to Freeman's one. Freeman is still the better bet here, but not by much.
The Dolphins will be without RB Arian Foster (groin) and TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) for Thursday night's game at Cincinnati, so look for Miami to repeat its running back committee approach. Remember that even though Kenyan Drake was the Dolphins' busiest back on Sunday, he was on the field for just 40 percent of the snaps. This is a situation to avoid.
Two more Thursday night notes, on the Bengals: LB Vontaze Burfict returns from his suspension, and TE Tyler Eifert (ankle) might be ready to make his 2016 debut, though he's likely to be on a snap count if he does.
FYI, we've got no indication that RB Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) will return for the Panthers, who visit a Falcons team that has allowed 4.7 yards per carry. In last year's Week 16 matchup between the two teams, Cameron Artis-Payne ran five times for 49 yards, while Fozzy Whittaker had five carries for 32 yards.
The Redskins have lost safety DeAngelo Hall (knee) for the season, and might be without CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle) on Sunday. We should assume that Josh Norman will follow WR Terrelle Pryor (5.7 percent owned) around, but Norman can't really follow Pryor to quarterback. Pryor is a no-brainer fantasy free-agent target due to his new role.
It doesn't sound like Chargets TE Antonio Gates (hamstring) will be ready to go against the Saints on Sunday. With Gates out in Week 3, rookie Hunter Henry (3.7 percent owned) was on the field for every snap, and caught five passes for 76 yards.
With Shane Vereen (triceps) possibly done for the season, Bobby Rainey "figures to inherit many of Vereen's passing down snaps" according to both NJ.com and my dad, who has watched almost every Giants game since the late 1940s. Rookie Paul Perkins might be a trendy pickup because head coach Ben McAdoo says he's "ready to step up," but we're not sure if he can block.
Good luck with your pickups today - tweet me at @jhalpin37 if you have any questions.