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News » Injury updates: Branch practicing again

Injury updates: Branch practicing again

Injury updates: Branch practicing again
Fantasy owners have been tracking player news, depth chart changes and injury notes since the final gun sounded in Glendale last February.

All the shuffling of positional rankings, the exhaustive research and snooze-fest preseason action has now come to an end.

FOX Fantasy Football

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports Jamal Lewis returned to practice on Wednesday and ran well in limited work. He's expected to get the starting nod, although running room may be sparse against the tough Dallas defense.

Impact: Barring a late change (keep it locked onto FOXSports.com for the latest information), Lewis is still worthy of a start as a RB2 or Flex play. Derek Anderson's recovered sufficiently from his concussion and will lead a passing parade that'll try to keep pace with the Dallas juggernaut. However, Lewis is still there for the touchdown glory.

Also in Cleveland, linebacker Antwan Peek was lost for the year on Wednesday with a ruptured patellar tendon. Shantee Orr was re-signed by the squad and will split time with rookie Alex Hall.

Impact: There's absolutely no rational being who would be tempted to start the Browns this weekend. Even the most ardent Browns supporters couldn't be swayed (unless you have a scoring system that makes Josh Cribbs, who is also injured, a fantasy legend in return yardage).

The Washington Post reports defensive end Jason Taylor returned to practice on a limited basis earlier this week and remains a game-time decision as he recovers from a sprained knee. Additionally, receiver Antwaan Randle El has actually been recovering from a broken hand for the past several weeks. He's expected to play with a protective brace in the opener against the Giants, but one has to wonder how well he'll be able to create space from opposing cornerbacks.

Impact: Taylor's availability would help to slow the dual backfield of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw and force Eli Manning to get the ball out more quickly. If Taylor is unavailable, Manning will see more time in the pocket to make use of his full complement of receivers (Kevin Boss, anyone?). Either way, I believe I'd be sitting the Redskins for the opener, as the Giants will ride a wave of emotion from the pre-game ceremonies.

As for Randle El, he doesn't rank highly on fantasy charts this week, but it will be interesting to see how he's utilized in Jim Zorn's offense. Remember, he's one of just several experienced receivers available to Jason Campbell, and highly-touted rookies just aren't ready. Sit him, but put him on your watch list.

The Seattle Times reports Deion Branch appeared at practice in full uniform on Wednesday. I caution against getting overly optimistic here, as he's now just seven months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL and reportedly spent most of his time catching balls off the Juggs gun. He told reporters he's been running, but was non-committal to a question about running routes. I don't believe we'll see him until after the Week 4 bye.

Impact: With Branch and Bobby Engram (shoulder) shelved with injuries, you're looking at Nate Burleson, John Carlson and Courtney Taylor as the top options for Matt Hasselbeck. Burleson will see a high target number against the Bills, although his ability to produce as a No. 1 receiver remains a huge question mark. Carlson's a nice sleeper candidate this weekend, while Taylor and my deep, deep sleeper, Jordan Kent, will make modest dents in the boxscore.

Keep it locked onto the pages of FOXSports.com for all of the breaking news and injury updates as we countdown to the glory of fantasy football 2008.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 5, 2008

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Trevor Pryce Name: Trevor Pryce
Position: DE
Age: 32
Experience: 12 years
College: Clemson
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