The wide receiver position is a bit battered for Week 7, and our injury expert, Stephania Bell, handles the nuts and bolts of what is wrong with Anquan Boldin, Jerricho Cotchery and Percy Harvin pretty well in her blog, on the Fantasy Focus podcast and in her Friday chat. Bell certainly has been busy this season covering many injuries.
Earlier this week, I ranked Boldin in my top 20 at wide receiver, but you can tell a lot about a player's potential availability as the days go by and Friday approaches. When a player says early in the week that he's a game-time decision and doesn't simply announce that he'll be ready in time to play, that's when I lose confidence. Boldin is dealing with a sprained ankle, and let's face it, he's someone who misses games, having sat out eight in the past two seasons. Nobody ever thinks of him the way they do Matt Schaub, but why? Anyway, Boldin is out of my rankings as of Friday. It's just too risky, especially considering the Arizona Cardinals don't play until Sunday night. It's not like Kurt Warner is playing the Division II Tennessee Titans defense. It's an angry New York Giants unit.
I also removed Cotchery from the rankings, and the Jets officially annouced Friday that he will miss Sunday's game, so at least now you can look elsewhere for help. You can justify using a struggling player like Lee Evans or a mildly interesting one like Andre Caldwell to take Cotchery's spot in your lineup. They're healthy. Unless it's a clear-cut top player in a nice matchup and I have no other options, I don't sweat this stuff on Sunday mornings.
It's a Friday staple here that I discuss decisions for the weekend. Here we go.
My late-week rankings changes: I didn't make many adjustments at quarterback. There probably are 15 or 16 quarterbacks worthy of top-10 status in a strong week at the position, but my top 10 is the same. I did switch Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo, though. McNabb hasn't thrown a touchdown pass in three of the past four meetings against the Washington Redskins. I convinced myself during the week I was too high on McNabb and Romo is going to have a bigger day. He's No. 11 now, McNabb No. 13. At running back, LaDainian Tomlinson was a lightning rod for discussion this week -- which is good, by the way -- and I decided to switch him and Marion Barber. Now LT is 11, Barber is 14. I also bumped Cadillac Williams out of the top 20, but not far from it. My Donald Brown and Justin Fargas ranks seemed a bit harsh, so I moved them up. At wide receiver, Boldin and Cotchery are out, Steve Breaston is now in the top 20 and Sidney Rice just missed it. DeSean Jackson left my top 20, and Jeremy Maclin is now barely ranked.
My key lineup decisions: One of my teams is suffering at wide receiver, still dealing with the Anthony Gonzalez injury, now compounding the problem with Mike Sims-Walker and Derrick Mason being on bye. I see a few wide receivers I could make the case for owning on free agency, but I will not cut Gonzalez yet. I also can't part with Kyle Orton yet. My starter has had his bye week, but I feel like if I own McNabb, I'd better have a backup. I might be forced to use Michael Crabtree. Ugh. Look, I know he's talented. I think everyone knows that. But I barely ranked the guy in my top 50 at wide receiver because it's his first game with the San Francisco 49ers. We have no idea how he'll do. The 49ers seem confident, placing him in the starting lineup right away -- which ultimately doesn't mean much -- and I'd expect him to get targeted at least six or seven times. On TV this week, I waxed poetic about sitting Crabtree, but this team of mine doesn't have a choice. On another team, I needed to cut Brent Celek this week to make space for Miles Austin. Yep, I ranked the guy fifth at tight end. But I also own Dallas Clark. Nobody would trade for Celek. Why would they? There are easily 10 playable tight ends this and every week. I need the space, and Austin will start for me. Having six teams on bye really stinks. Two more weeks of this.
Decisions in our other fantasy games: The Indianapolis Colts are getting picked by nearly half the entrants in Eliminator Challenge, and while I'd like to save them for later in the season, I tend to do this every year, telling myself I'll worry about Week 14 when it comes. The St. Louis Rams aren't beating the Colts. In Pigskin Pick 'Em, I'm in the 92nd percentile, but to give you an idea of how many people are playing this game, I'm not in the top 10,000. Oh well. I'm heavy on favorites this week, but chose the Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons to cover the spread. As for Monday night, the Philadelphia Eagles are favored by more than a touchdown. Seems like a lot. I'll be at this game, but I expect so little scoring that a 13-10 result means a Washington Redskins cover. In Gridiron Challenge, I'm hanging in the 90th percentile, basically making few changes. Among the values I liked this week were Frank Gore, Laurence Maroney -- way too cheap too ignore, and I can drop him for Week 8! -- Donald Driver, New York Steve Smith and Heath Miller.
Best of luck to everyone in Week 7.