News changes as the work week for normal people comes to an end on Friday, but for NFL players the work is just beginning. It seems to me the Arizona Cardinals' running back situation is one of the most interesting situations to watch leading to Sunday's games. Beanie Wells should be the clear-cut starter, as the team has made clear all summer, but he is dealing with a knee bruise and his availability for Week 1 is certainly in question. He might get 20 carries, he might not play at all.
As a result, the biggest change I made to my rankings as they were updated Friday morning (and will be each week) was that Tim Hightower made a huge jump at running back, even passing Wells and approaching top-20 status. I didn't go quite that far, but the fact is I expect Hightower to be a reasonable flex option, more so than Wells. Coach Ken Whisenhunt's recent quotes don't inspire confidence for Wells owners.
"What concerns me is I don't want this to be something in Week 12, or Week 13 or Week 14 that you're having issues with," Whisenhunt said Thursday. Hey, I agree. There is a bigger picture here, and Wells made most top-20 lists at running back, and he's going No. 31 overall in ESPN average live drafts. He matters, and one week isn't a big deal. By October many of us could have depth issues at running back, as options underperform and turn up injured, but it would be a bit surprising if you don't have a running back to plug in for Week 1! If you drafted Hightower to go with Wells, consider him.
As for down the line, I do not view Wells as potentially losing his starting role because he misses a game, if that were to happen. The Cardinals just happen to have a tasty matchup in St. Louis this week, so Hightower deserves attention. He really took a major step up in our Friday running back rankings, as he's 26th overall. Wells slipped to 33rd.
Here are three other situations that remain relatively fluid and open to discussion as we head into the first full weekend of another awesome season. I won't include Fred Taylor and the New England Patriots, as that carried an earlier Friday blog.
For Eric's take on three other job situations that are in flux, you must be an ESPN Insider.