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Fantasy Fix: Boo Boos and Handcuffs

The NFL season is about to kick off and already we find lingering injuries and injury rumors to be a factor in our Week 1 plans - and perhaps longer.

The most notable boo-boo belongs to Peyton Manning, who is not recovering from neck surgery as expected. In the span of a couple weeks, Manning has gone from being questionable for Week 1 to being likely to start to now being formally listed as doubtful.

His sub, Kerry Collins, is not a viable fantasy play. Alternative plays still more than 50% available in Yahoo! leagues: Donovan McNabb and Ryan Fitzpatrick, or if you really want to gamble, Colt McCoy and Cam Newton.

Next up, the overall top-ranked fantasy player of last season, Arian Foster, got in trouble for tweeting an image from an MRI on his hamstring that reportedly showed damage. Foster was trying to be lighthearted and reassure fans that he would play Week 1, but Houston management wasn't happy. The team has yet to change his status for Week 1, but now would be the time to congratulate yourself for handcuffing Foster to fellow Houston RB Ben Tate when you drafted your team.

If you didn't get Tate, you still might be able to grab him, as he is still available in 57% of Yahoo! leagues. Other options: James Starks, C.J. Spiller, Darren Sproles (the last two particularly if your league counts return yards).

Maurice Jones-Drew is recovering from last year's season-ending injury and is not expected to be affected this year - though he did fall in most drafts. However, his backup and potential handcuff mate for sensitive MJD owners has been Rashad Jennings, who landed on the IR last week. That led to the promotion of Southern Illinois University product and much-hyped return man Deji Karim. Karim could be a hot pick for Week 2 if he sees Week 1 action.

Finally, Ryan Grant, like MJD, is not injured, but he did miss most of last season with an injury. Though he has looked strong this preseason, taking more carries than fellow RB James Starks, the scuttlebutt is that Grant and Starks will share the load as the season starts. Grant wasn't among the top drafted RBs, so this isn't much of a scandal, but if you have him as a second or third RB, you may want to reassess or have him handcuffed with Starks if you have the roster space.

Expert Wire
* CNBC wonders if the Manning injury could cost fantasy football owners $65 million in potential winnings. Yes, Virginia, fantasy football has its own economy.

* Yahoo! Roto Arcade acknowledges the hype on Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit, but wonders if he's a smart Week 1 play.

* Bleacher Report thinks Kansas City QB Matt Cassel will be a bust. Not if WRs Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston have anything to say about it.

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Comments welcome.

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