Who's in and who's out of the early games in Week 3
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Who's in and who's out of the early games in Week 3

There were still a bunch of injuries this week, but this may not be a very long post today because there aren't a whole lot of big names who are game-time decisions in these early games. That mostly because so many players have already been ruled out. But two big names do remain: Marques Colston @MarquesColston and Steven Jackson @sj39. We'll have the latest news on them as it breaks as well as everything else to get you set for the Sunday start of Week 3.

Players who we know won't play today include Pierre Garcon, Matt Forte, Fred Jackson, Aaron Hernandez, Dustin Keller, Rashard Mendenhall and Jeremy Maclin. Check out the link below to the NFL's injury report for the status of every player who isn't absolutely 100 percent healthy.

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-- NFL Network's Stacey Dales has been told by the Rams' staff that Steven Jackson "is a go" for today's game in Chicago. I haven't heard anything about Jackson's carries being limited, and I think you've got to roll with him as a low-end RB2 or flex. I could definitely see some fantasy teams benching him in favor of safer alternatives, but -- Jackson should be worth the start if he gets enough touches.
-- Marques Colston is active and starting today. He has been nagged by a sore foot and has looked a little slow early on this season. But against the Chiefs in the dome? I still see Colston as a top-20 WR.
-- Cornerback Leon Hall is inactive for Bengals today. Good news for Robert Griffin III, but I'm not sure which receiver he will favorite. By the way, Leonard Hankerson will get the start in place of Pierre Garcon.
-- Jamaal Charles is active for the Chiefs. His bruised knee is fine. Get him in your lineup against the Saints, stat!
-- Calvin Johnson, of course, is playing despite being listed on the injury report. He'll be good.
-- Brandon Jacobs @gatorboyrb is inactive for the 49ers because of a knee injury. Frank Gore will continue to get all of those valuable goal-line touches. He is a strong RB2 versus the Vikings.
-- Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings @RashadJennings is inactive. Not that it matters much. Even if he played, Maurice Jones-Drew would still be a total must-start versus the Colts.
-- Shocking news from the Lions. Not only will Mikel Leshoure @MikelLeShoure25 play in today's game versus the Titans, he will start in place of Kevin Smith @kevinsmith34. Uh, wow. As far as I'm concerned, this changes everything. Leshoure might only get a few snaps still, but it's too much of a risk now. It's an outstanding matchup, but I ... I just don't know. I was all set to start Smith as my flex. I'm going to find other options.
-- Austin Collie is active for the Colts. I like him going forward, but not this week. Let's see if he can make it through a game without sustaining another concussion. Donnie Avery will start against the Jags and should be a decent WR3. But if Collie stays healthy, he'll be a major drain on Avery's value.
-- Tight end Kevin Boss is inactive for the Chiefs. He made a really nice touchdown grab in Week 1, but he's not a fantasy option.
-- Titans running back Javon Ringer is inactive for another game because of his elbow infection. Chris Johnson will remain the lone dog in Tennessee's backfield. Emphasis on "dog."
-- Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney is inactive, as expected, due to a high ankle sprain. That should make the going a little easier for Blaine Gabbert and Co., but the only Jaguar you should be starting is MJD.
-- Wide receiver Dexter McCluster @dextermccluster is active for the Chiefs despite a shoulder injury. That Chiefs-Saints game should be high-scoring, but McCluster is a risky flex. Although, because of the matchup, you could do worse.
-- Running back Bernard Scott is finally active for the Bengals after undergoing hand surgery in August. He might be a drain on BenJarvus Green-Ellis before long, but he's not going to be much of a factor right away. Green-Ellis is a solid RB2 versus the Redskins' injury-riddled front.
-- Running backs Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller are both active for the Dolphins. That might mean a couple of fewer snaps for Reggie Bush, but he remains a must-start.

Fantasy Analysis:

Garcon was doubtful on the injury report, but it was reported earlier today that his sore foot will keep him out of a second consecutive game. I don't really like any of the Redskins' other wideouts, but Leonard Hankerson has the most upside, for what it's worth.
Forte is making progress with his sprained ankle, but he's not close to being ready yet. Thus, Michael Bush will get a bunch of touches today and has a great matchup versus the Rams. He's a low-end RB1.
Jackson is also progressing well, and there was a report today that he might have a chance to play next week. I am pessimistic about that, but head coach Chan Gailey said Jackson will "for sure" play by Week 5. In the meantime, C.J. Spiller should have another big fantasy line today versus the Browns.
With Hernandez out, I think we will see more of Wes Welker, or at least more targets for Wes Welker. I'm not going to worry about the additions of Kellen Winslow Jr. or Deion Branch. Welker should put together a few nice games that will raise his trade value for when Hernandez comes back.
Keller still isn't healthy after suffering a hamstring injury about a month ago. He's not a fantasy option considering the quality depth at tight end this season.
The Steelers are on bye next week, so we'll see if Mendenhall will be able to play in Week 5. I don't want any part of that Isaac Redman-Jonathan Dwyer evenly split backfield, even against the Raiders. Either guy is a risky flex.
Maclin needs some time off to rest his hip. That leaves DeSean Jackson as the Eagles' clear No. 1 WR today versus Arizona. He has a tough one-on-one matchup against Patrick Peterson, but is a decent WR3 because of his deep-threat ability.

Source:
NFL.com

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Brian Murphy -
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Los Angeles, CA
FFToolbox Fantasy Football Writer since 2002
Follow me on Twitter: @Spokes_Murphy.

I have played fantasy sports since 2001, specializing in fantasy football and baseball. I wrote for FFToolbox from 2002-2005 and re-joined in 2009.

I am a journalism/mass communication grad student at Cal State University, Northridge. I am aiming to be a sports reporter for a website, newspaper, magazine, anything. I am a graduate from the University of Central Florida. I make my home in Long Beach, Calif.

While I grew up in California, my favorite football team has always been the New York Giants.
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