As Week 8 of the 2012 NFL season approaches, fantasy owners are scrambling to bolster their lineups given the rash of injuries and handful of byes this week.
Whether it's a bad matchup or a nagging injury, there are a few names this weekend that you should consider holding out of your lineup if you want to take another step toward league champion.
Here are three guys to monitor as the weekend approaches:
The New Orleans Saints tight end has missed the past two weeks due to a sprained ankle and was still limited in practice on Thursday, according to the Saints.
Jimmy Graham was limited at practice today. Sproles was excused from practice for a family matter #Saints— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) October 25, 2012
Obviously, when Graham is healthy, he's arguably the most dangerous tight end in the NFL, but an ankle injury will be tough for a guy who counts on his ankles to run and pivot, and of course, to dunk the football through the goal post after a touchdown.
As my colleague Jess Isner writes, it would be extremely beneficial to New Orleans if Graham could return in a Week 8 road game at the Denver Broncos, but fantasy owners should proceed with caution.
A backup plan is necessary if you're a Graham owner. You may want to look into adding someone like Chris Cooley or Anthony Fasano in case Graham is unable to go.
Earlier today I discussed Dwyer's fantasy impact in Week 8, and while I believe Dwyer will get the start in the Steelers' backfield, the Washington Redskins defense creates a tough matchup.
While Washington has surrendered five rushing TDs this season, they have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher. Combine that with the fact that Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman haven't technically been ruled out for Sunday's game and you've got a risky situation if you're a Dwyer owner.
On top of it all, the Redskins defense has been weak through the air, something the Steelers will likely take advantage of with guys like Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown stretching the field.
Don't be fooled by Dwyer's Week 7 production, as he rushed for more than 100 yards against a bottom-third defense against the run.
If you're really desperate, I think Dwyer is a flex option who has the potential to put some points up for you, but anything more than that is a dream not bound to come true.
For a potential Rookie of the Year candidate, Cleveland Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson has been disappointing to his owners.
Through seven games, Richardson has just 348 ground yards and four touchdowns and 24 receptions for 197 yards and a TD, much to the dismay of owners who thought Richardson would carry their team to the Shiva Bowl.
According to Browns' beat writer Jeff Schudel, Richardson hasn't been playing at 100 percent this season:
Schudel (@jsbrownsinsider) October 25, 2012
If his injury and lack of production doesn't scare you, then maybe his matchup against the No. 2-ranked San Diego Chargers defense this weekend will.
The Chargers have allowed just two rushing touchdowns this season, and playing against a struggling and ailing Richardson in Week 8, I don't expect that mark to increase on Sunday.
Richardson owners may think about adding Jacksonville's Rashad Jennings or Arizona's LaRod Stephens-Howling in place of Richardson.
Follow me on Twitter: @Pete_Schauer
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