Fantasy Adviser: Owners must read (injury report) and react

Often, the key to a successful fantasy football season is simply avoiding injury. And that's luck of the draw.

But skill comes into play in reacting to NFL injuries and trades. When a running back is ruled out for the week, rush to your computer and pick up his capable backup.

The same goes for trades. When a starter is traded midseason -- as we saw with Randy Moss and Marshawn Lynch this week -- figure out who will step into the starting role and examine the waiver wire.

Here are more thoughts on how to manage your team in Week 5:


  • Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City -- If you drafted Charles based on his production from the last nine games in 2009, here is where you begin to get your money's worth. The undefeated Chiefs play in Indianapolis today as the NFL's biggest underdogs this week. Todd Haley's team will try to control the clock with its third-ranked run game against the league's fourth-worst run defense. Charles, who leads the NFL with 7.0 yards per carry, should see plenty of touches, as should Thomas Jones.
  • Michael Bush, RB, Oakland -- There aren't many good fantasy options stashed in Oakland, but Bush is one this week. Darren McFadden has been ruled out today, leaving Bush as the workhorse against San Diego. As many as 20-25 carries is a legitimate possibility for Bush, who, let's not forget, is a quality running back himself when healthy.

  • Braylon Edwards, WR, New York Jets -- It can be difficult to sit a guy who has scored touchdowns in three consecutive games, but I simply don't like Edwards as a WR2 play this week unless you have no other options. Santonio Holmes returns from his suspension to join the Jets on Monday night against Minnesota, a team which has a mean pass rush that will make it difficult for Mark Sanchez to look downfield.
  • Marion Barber, RB, Dallas -- Marion the Barbarian isn't what he once was, and it appears the Cowboys organization finally realizes it, too. Owner Jerry Jones was quoted this week as saying he wants Felix Jones to get a lot more touches, which obviously means less playing time for Barber. Unless Jones suffers an injury, keep Barber on your bench, and you may even need to consider dropping him in a few weeks.

  • Brandon Tate, WR, New England -- Hey, somebody has to catch Tom Brady passes in New England. I expect Wes Welker to see a constant double-team until the Patriots show they have more options. Tate has proved himself as a playmaker on special teams, and now he will get the chance to contribute to the offense. Pick him up and see what he does.

  • Brandon Lloyd, WR, Denver -- In one of the more surprising developments this year, Lloyd has tallied 454 yards in four games. But I just can't see it lasting for a guy who has played for four teams in five years. Although he is slated to miss his third straight week, Knowshon Moreno eventually will return and give the Broncos a reason to keep Kyle Orton from having to pass 50 times every Sunday.

  • Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans -- Colston has been nothing short of a bust through four weeks. He has no touchdowns and fewer than 200 receiving yards. It would be a risk to trade for him, but I think Colston will bounce back. The Saints' offense hasn't found the rhythm it did last year, but eventually Drew Brees will look downfield more often and get Colston involved.
  • If you have questions you would like to see answered in an upcoming column or blogpost, e-mail Sam McDowell at