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The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 3: Dalvin Cook iffy, Christian McCaffrey less so

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The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 3: Dalvin Cook iffy, Christian McCaffrey less so

UPDATE: 1:02 p.m. Saturday
They were the consensus top two picks in fantasy drafts this summer, but the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook and Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey are not looking that well lately.

McCaffrey pulled a hamstring in Thursday night’s victory over Houston, and the No. 1 running back in the NFL will be out a “few” weeks, according to the team. That means Chuba Hubbard will move up for the Panthers, with Royce Freeman seeing some action. Only the former is worth rostering for now.

As for Cook, the Vikings haven’t updated his status since yesterday, when he missed another day of practice. So he is still listed as questionable with a sprained ankle.

Since the Vikings are playing at 3:25 tomorrow, you will NOT get to see their inactive list when you set your lineup in the morning. So you’ll have to keep an eye on the Twitter. If you’re counting on Cook, it might behoove you to have a backup plan ready with someone playing late Sunday or Monday. Or to have Alexander Mattison, which goes without saying …

In other Saturday headlines: it’s looking as though rookie Trey Sermon may finally get his first big workload with the 49ers. Elijah Mitchell is considered doubtful, so it will likely be Sermon on Sunday night in their big game against the Packers.

A few notables have been cleared to start. Dallas WR Amari Cooper and Cleveland wideout Odell Beckham Jr. are said to be good to go, as is Indy QB Carson Wentz, he of the double sprained ankles. You can certainly ignore the latter.

Ruled out for Week 3 are Tampa Bay WR Antonio Brown and Pittsburgh WR Diontae Johnson, and Bengals wideout Tee Higgins is doubtful.

Arizona star DeAndre Hopkins is listed as a game-time decision, as is another wideout, the Jets’ Jamison Crowder.

ORIGINAL POST: 9:30 a.m. Wednesday

From the moment the 2021 season began, it was only a matter of time. Just how long would it be before rookie Justin Fields replaced Andy Dalton as the starting quarterback for the oft-quarterback challenged Chicago Bears.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) passes the ball to running back David Montgomery (32) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

The answer proved to be about 76 minutes of game play. That’s when Dalton left last Sunday with a knee injury, and the Ohio State phenom headed into the game amid rousing cheers at Soldier Field.

How did he do? Not that well.

Sure, Fields made a nice run to help clinch the game in the fourth quarter. But that was about it for his heroics. He completed only 6 of 13 passes for 60 yards. Fulfilling the fantasy dreams of nobody.

But Dalton is said to be “week to week,” so Fields is in line to get his first NFL start Sunday against Cleveland. Not a great matchup. The Bears have to start the former Buckeye, but wise fantasy mavens should probably wait before taking that plunge.

Other quarterbacks and teams are feeling the Bears’ pain:

Carson Wentz (Colts) — Indy’s QB pulled off the rare double by spraining BOTH of his ankles. There’s no way either you nor the Colts should count on starting him this week in Tennessee. And if Jacob Eason has to replace him, you can forget about starting any Colts except, maybe, for Jonathan Taylor.

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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) is sacked by Los Angeles Rams’ Sebastian Joseph-Day during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins) — The Deshaun Watson trade buzz heated up again immediately after No. 1 went down with injured ribs in the shutout loss to Buffalo. Tagovailoa has been ruled out this week, and the Dolphins might be better off with Jacoby Brissett at the helm.

1632322874 804 The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 3 Fields of dreams
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) is sacked by Buffalo Bills strong safety Micah Hyde (23) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Tyrod Taylor (Texans) — Houston’s QB had been surprisingly sensational in the first game and a half, and now he’s on injured reserve with a bad hammy. The Texans will likely be starting rookie Davis Mills the next three weeks. So expect our preseason pick to be the NFL’s worst team to start playing like it. Immediately.

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Houston Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) rushes for a 15-yard touchdown against Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers) — Pittsburgh’s QB has had an assortment of issues through the years, and now he has a “pectoral issue.” While he’s certainly not a top 10 quarterback anymore, Big Ben could have been a decent streaming option for this week against the Bengals’ defense. But you can scratch that thought.

1632322874 228 The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 3 Fields of dreams
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) plays against the Las Vegas Raiders in an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Derek Carr (Raiders) — The early candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, Carr is questionable this week because of an ankle injury. But with 817 yards and four TD passes so far this season, Carr might still be worth grabbing off waivers and starting against a reeling Miami team.

1632322874 524 The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 3 Fields of dreams
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) plays against the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

SITTING STARS
Despite winning Monday night, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers was in a testy mood. That will be true Sunday night when they play the rugged 49ers defense. … Tom Brady is a must start, but the Buccaneers’ QB will cool off a bit against the Rams in what could be an NFC championship preview. … New England RB Damien Harris will find the going tougher against New Orleans than he did last week against the J-E-T-S … Two other running backs who will have a tough day: Washington’s Antonio Gibson vs. the Bills and the fumble-prone Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. the Chargers

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Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (25) runs the ball as Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White (27) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

MATCHUP GAME
Denver is a surprising 2-0, and QB Teddy Bridgewater and RB Javonte Williams will look almost unbeatable against the lowly Jets. … Same goes for Sam Darnold, the QB for 2-0 Carolina, against the Texans. … Philly QB Jalen Hurts has been up and down, but he’ll be very, very up vs. Dallas. … The Vikings’ meager pass defense will help Seattle’s D.K. Metcalf keep up with receiving partner Tyler Lockett. … Running backs we particularly like this week are Pittsburgh’s Najee Harris vs. Cincinnati, the Chargers’ Austin Ekeler vs. Kansas City’s poor run defense, and Arizona’s Chase Edmonds vs. Jacksonville.

1632322874 39 The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 3 Fields of dreams
Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws a pass during an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

INJURY WATCH
The ranks of running backs have taken a hit in the past week. Las Vegas’ Josh Jacobs (toe/ankle) is “very questionable” this week, according to Raiders coach Jon Gruden. So Kenyan Drake and Peyton Barber will see more duty. … San Francisco’s Elijah Mitchell has an ailing shoulder, but he might still be the 49ers’ healthiest runner. … The Rams’ Darrell Henderson has injured ribs, and his status will be up in the air until the weekend. So Sony Michel is getting warmed up. … Two prominent receivers are already out this week: Cleveland’s Jarvis Landry (knee) is on injured reserve and will miss at least three weeks, and Houston’s Danny Amendola (hamstring) will sit out Thursday night’s game against Carolina. … Players listed as questionable include Dallas WR Amari Cooper, Pittsburgh wideout Diontae Johnson, Cleveland WR Odell Beckham Jr., Jacksonville WR Laviska Shenault, Philly TE Zach Ertz and Giants tight end Evan Engram.

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Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

THE DEEPEST SLEEPER
This isn’t the deepest dive we’ve ever taken, but it’s obvious that former Viking Cordarrelle Patterson is becoming a solid dual threat for the Atlanta Falcons. The receiver turned running back had two touchdowns last Sunday against Tampa Bay, one rushing and one receiving, and he ran for 54 yards in the season opener against Philadelphia. And this week’s opponent, the New York Giants, has an average-at-best defense. The Falcons’ No. 1 back, Mike Davis, has been especially ordinary with 87 rushing yards over two games. So we’re guessing we’ll see more of No. 84 looking out of place in the Atlanta backfield.

1632322874 102 The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 3 Fields of dreams
Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs 10-yard for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

THE THURSDAY PICK
Panthers at Texans (+7½):
Pick: Panthers by 14

1632322874 132 The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 3 Fields of dreams
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, left, hands off to running back Christian McCaffrey against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

BREAKING NEWS
We’ll be updating our column, based on the latest injuries and innuendo, right up until Sunday’s kickoff. Go to TwinCities.com/theloop.

You can hear Kevin Cusick on Wednesdays on Bob Sansevere’s “BS Show” podcast on iTunes. You can follow Kevin on Twitter — @theloopnow. He can be reached at [email protected]

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