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The perfect injury replacements
Pick up these fantasy free agents ASAP
Published 9/23/2011
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Injuries continue to plague many teams around the NFL as we head into the third week of the season.

Last week, Kansas City chief running back Jamaal Charles suffered a season-ending injury along with Green Bay Packer safety Nick Collins. This last injury could heavily impact the Packer defense considering what the veteran Collins brings to an already shaky secondary (Green Bay allowed their second 400+ yard passing game of the season last week). Dallas' Miles Austin was also injured this week along with his quarterbacks Tony Romo and Michael Vick of Philadelphia.

So with all the recent injury news, there are several players you may consider adding or starting, which is why this week’s column only contains players on the rise.

­Thomas Jones, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

With the season-ending injury to Charles last week, the veteran Jones will be the new workhorse in this backfield, a role he is used to filling. Jones is one of those ageless wonders in the NFL at 33 years old. While he may be a step or two slower than he was a few years ago, he can still be a consistent producer. So if you are in need of a quality bye-week filler or thin at running back, Jones is a great pickup, and he will be available in many leagues.

­Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

While it doesn’t look like the injury to Miles Austin will keep him out for too long, he could be hampered with this hamstring injury through the course of the season. This leaves room for the super talented second-year receiver to shine. The 6-foot-2, 218-pound wideout flashed signs of greatness as a rookie and has loads of potential. It looks like Bryant will be fully healthy for week three. He’ll be needed against a hot Redskins team.

­Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins

Thomas was very impressive in his rookie debut against Houston on Sunday. He carried the ball 18 times for 107 yards but did lose a fumble late in the game. Other than that mishap, Thomas looked like an NFL-ready back that could become a week-in, week-out performer in an offense that enjoys running the ball for Head Coach Tony Sparano. With Miami playing a shaky Cleveland defense this week, Thomas could have a breakout game this Sunday.

­Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Tennessee Titans

As a diehard Hawks and Hasselbeck fan, it is bittersweet seeing old No. 8 performing so well with the Titans. With the quarterback play Tarvaris Jackson displayed against Pittsburgh Sunday, it leaves even the biggest Hasselbeck hater yearning to see his bald head on that Seahawks sideline on Sundays. Last week, the 13-year veteran ripped Baltimore’s ferocious defense for 358 yards and a touchdown in a win against the Ravens. With his newfound chemistry with the young and ultra-talented wideout Kenny Britt, Hasselbeck is suddenly a not-so-bad option as a backup quarterback or even starter if you’re in a pinch, as he is available in most leagues. He is a guy to definitely pay attention to as he has some favorable matchups on the horizon and no sign of rookie first-rounder Jake Locker to steal the show just yet.

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