The National Football League regular season reaches the quarter pole this weekend, and for fantasy players the regular season is almost a third of the way completed. Hopefully your season is off to a strong start and you’re not playing catch-up. However, there have been plenty of big-time injuries to ruin the plans for many well-drafted teams. A few big names are done for the season, and a few other names are re-emerging as useful fantasy options once again.


Chris Johnson to remain starter


It was announced on Wednesday that Arizona’s Chris Johnson will remain the starting tailback for head coach Bruce Arians heading into Week 4, although fantasy owners shouldn’t be terribly excited about that. Despite the fact he was used in early-down situations on Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys, it was actually Andre Ellington who gained way more yards from scrimmage, as CJ2K was bottled up most of the evening.

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In Monday’s 28-17 loss against the Cowboys, Arians tried to use Johnson early and often. The results weren’t very good, as he rushed 12 times for just 17 yards and his longest play was a five-yard scamper. He also hauled in a four-yard reception, but fantasy owners are going to want a lot more. They just might get it from Ellington, who looked like the more capable back. He rushed five times for 22 yards, a much more respectable 4.4 yards per carry and he hauled in five receptions for 59 yards to make fantasy owners in PPR leagues happy, too. Despite the poor numbers, Johnson is likely to be available off the waiver wire and he is worth adding since he’ll see early-down work. Ellington is a better addition in PPR leagues.


Fantasy owners who weren’t particularly happy were those who own stock in Kerwynn Williams. He was a hot add off the waiver wire following the Week 1 injury to David Johnson, especially after he punched in a touchdown in Detroit. Still, in Week 2 he managed just 22 yards on nine totes for an average of 2.4 yards per carry, and he amassed one total touch in Monday’s game, a shocking development for those who invested a chunk of their FAAB in the former Utah State standout. It’s not to say that Williams is done as an option in Arians’ backfield, but for now he appears to trust the veteran combination of Johnson and Ellington much more.


The lack of a run game was good news for fantasy owners of Carson Palmer, as he launched 48 pass attempts for the second time in three outings, posting his second consecutive 300-yard performance. While he has tossed four picks with just four touchdown passes, things are certainly looking up heading into Week 4 against a San Francisco 49ers defense which was dinged for 41 points by the Los Angeles Rams last Thursday. One thing is clear, Palmer is going to be throwing frequently in Week 4, and veteran Larry Fitzgerald just keeps on ticking. The 34-year-old blew up for 13 receptions, 149 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets. He posted six grabs for 81 yards and two touchdowns in San Francisco on Oct. 6, 2016 last season, and he followed that up with season highs of 12 catches, 18 targets and 132 yards in the rematch on Nov. 13. Look for Fitz to keep rolling in Week 4.


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Go Ahead, Mr. Wendell


Mr. Wendell has freedom, and he is certainly no bum. Go ahead, Mr. Wendell. Wendell Smallwood, that is. You can queue that Arrested Development hit up on YouTube or Spotify while you’re watching highlights this weekend of the Eagles-Chargers game when Smallwood is gouging the Bolts to benefit your fantasy team. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said Smallwood will be in line for an increased role following the season-ending injury to Darren Sproles.


Smallwood and LeGarrette Blount split the carries down the middle last week, with Smallwood outgaining Blount slightly. Smallwood had 12 carries for a game-high 71 yards while adding a nine-yard grab, and Blount finished with 67 yards. Both backs each had a long run of 20 yards, too. Corey Clement also jumped into the mix with six carries for 22 yards and a touchdown, and the team added Kenjon Barner back to the fold to help out on special teams. Blount has two touchdowns through three games and is worthy of low-end RB2 status this week, but Smallwood is also a solid flex play, with low-end RB2 status in PPR formats. If you have the roster flexibility, Clement also showed some nice burst last week and isn’t a bad guy to stash away just in case of further injuries.


Quick Hits: Orleans Darkwa of the Giants is nursing a back injury, and his status is uncertain for Week 4 against the Buccaneers. Neither he, Paul Perkins nor Shane Vereen has been able to seize the No. 1 tailback job with the G-Men. Darkwa is a fan favorite, but he is a risky play even in the deepest of fantasy leagues due to his back. … Cairo Santos of the Chiefs landed on the Reserve/Injured list due to an undisclosed injury, so the team has turned to Harrison Butker to take over kicking chores. It’s a tough blow for fantasy, but kickers are a dime a dozen off the waiver wire. … Randall Cobb was able to take part in a full practice session on Tuesday, so it appears his chest injury will not keep him from playing on Thursday night against the Bears. It’s great news for fantasy owners of Cobb, but it splashes cold water on the potential of Geronimo Allison after his big day as Cobb’s replacement. … The Jets worked out Travaris Cadet and Knile Davis with veteran Matt Forte nursing a toe injury, and it was Cadet who impressed the brass the most. He has a history with Jets offensive coordinator John Morton, and could emerge as a PPR option at some point. … How about this blast from the past? Trent Richardson inked a deal to join the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. The Riders needed some depth with former Arizona State standout and team leading rusher Cameron Marshall still on the mend.

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