Last minute pre-draft news

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - As we head to the final few days before the 2011 NFL Fantasy season gets underway, those leagues which are holding their player draft this week have the benefit of the most information. Teams have cut their rosters to the 53-man limit and placed players on the PUP and IR lists.

So to those leagues and fantasy owners who waited to the last minute, here are some bits of information which could help you.

The latest in the Peyton Manning saga is that the Colts' signal caller has been told to stop practicing. He's considered doubtful for Week 1. Management called it "a complicated neurological recovery, the end date of which is unpredictable." With this new information you must devalue all of the Indianapolis receiving corps - Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon and Dallas Clark.

Just in case you missed the news, Maurice Jones-Drew's backup, Rashad Jennings is out for the season. Deji Karim is now the backup for "MJD" and a necessary "handcuff" considering Jones-Drew's knee problems.

Kendall Hunter looked great in preseason rushing for a league-leading 231 yards on just 35 carries. He made it impossible for the 49ers to ignore and is now ahead of Anthony Dixon on the depth chart. Since starter Frank Gore hasn't played a complete 16-game schedule in five years, Hunter should have starter- worthy fantasy value at some point this season.

Delone Carter overtook Donald Brown for the backup running back role in Indianapolis. The fragile Joseph Addai is now the only thing keeping Carter from a starting role and considering the additional workload with Manning sidelined for the first portion of the season, it won't be long before Carter is the No.1 back. Carter would make a perfect late-round flier.

Tashard Choice held off DeMarco Murray for the backup role to Felix Jones. Since Jones has only played in 36 of a possible 48 regular season games over his three-year career (75%), and that was as a backup to Marion Barber not taking the pounding of a starter, you can see why knowing his replacement is important. However, this situation continues to be fluid.

Tim Hightower will start over Ryan Torain, but given Hightower's propensity for dropping the ball on the carpet and Mike Shanahan's lack of loyalty to any running back since Terrell Davis, this situation can turn on a dime. If you have Hightower on your roster, you better handcuff them together.

Fred Jackson should be the starter in Buffalo, though head coach Chan Gailey has yet to officially name him as such. Jackson has been a solid performer, even last season in a crowded three-man backfield with Marshawn Lynch and C.J. Spiller. With Lynch in Seattle, Jackson should be the primary back with Spiller as the third-down and change-of-pace option.

Despite signing a sizable one-year contract, Mike Sims-Walker looks like he is the No.3 receiver in St. Louis behind Danny Amendola and Danario Alexander. In the fantasy world, however, word apparently hasn't gotten out because he's still being picked ahead of the two guys.

Andre Roberts held off Early Doucet for the No.2 spot opposite Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona. Roberts has the better fantasy value, but head coach Ken Whisenhunt likes Doucet, who is finally healthy after three injury-filled seasons, and both are likely to split the "non-Fitz" targets this season.

In the latest shuffling of kickers, there are new starters in Dallas (Dan Bailey), New Orleans (John Kasay) and Seattle (Steven Hauschka).

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at

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