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Injury Wrap: Backfield bingo in Washington, New England

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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All too often the Injury Wrap starts with some Shanahanism, and this week is another one for the files.

• Tim Hightower (shoulder) had a limited practice week and is listed as questionable, though he's expected to play against Philadelphia. Who's the starting back for Washington? You'd expect it to be Ryan Torain after his excellent game at St. Louis two weeks back, but Mike Shanahan isn't saying. Ultimately the workload probably will come down to flow of the game, who gets hot versus who makes mistakes (anyone who fumbles could be banished to Virginia in 15 seconds). Torain's upside is too great for fantasy owners to ignore this week — especially with Philly's awful rushing defends on the other side — while Hightower and Roy Helu are essentially Hail Mary plays. But you know all the Shanahan risks, none of this comes with any sort of guarantee.

The rest of the report is fairly straightforward. Let's head to the clipboard, in this order: RB, QB, WR, TE, then defensive players.

• BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe) had a partial day Friday after sitting out all of Thursday's work. He's officially listed as questionable. Context clues point to him starting Sunday against Dallas, but it's a late start and it's certainly no guarantee. Be careful here; it's a Bill Belichick situation for one thing, and the Cowboys have stopped the run well all season (3.1 YPC). Stevan Ridley is the understudy to Green-Ellis, and Danny Woodhead (ankle, questionable) has a chance to dress as well.

• Brandon Jacobs (knee) won't go against the Bills, which means Ahmad Bradshaw probably gets more work against Buffalo's vulnerable rushing defense.

• Rashard Mendenhall (hamstring) was back at work this week and isn't on the injury report. He'll start against the Jaguars, though there's talk of the Steelers monitoring his workload. The Steelers are 12-point favorites at home against Jacksonville.

• Daniel Thomas (hamstring) had limited sessions Thursday and Friday and is listed as questionable for the Monday Nighter in New Jersey. The Dolphins will have another full practice Saturday (as they're one day behind the normal routine), so we'll see what we learn from that. The belief to this point is that he'll be able to start Monday.{ysp:more}

• LeGarrette Blount (knee) won't play Sunday and almost certainly will be out multiple weeks. Veteran Earnest Graham steps into the starting lineup with Blount out.

• Arian Foster (quadriceps) was held out of some Friday reps but he remains probable on the injury report. Barring an unexpected setback, he'll go at Baltimore. Ben Tate (groin) and Derrick Ward (ankle) are probable as well.

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• Joseph Addai (hamstring) hasn't been practicing and isn't expected to play against Cincinnati, though the always-tricky Colts are listing Addai as questionable. This chicanery dates back to the Dungy Days. Delone Carter and Donald Brown are the next options in line; if you needed to take a stab here, I'd go with Carter first.

• Felix Jones (shoulder) is expected to go at New England. He's probable. The Pokes should do what they can to get Jones involved in the passing game, as the Patriots linebackers are horrendous in coverage.

• LaDainian Tomlinson (calf) should play Monday, not that he's been used much lately (seven touches in two weeks).

• The Texans took it easy with Matt Schaub (shoulder) but he's listed as probable. He'll play at Baltimore.

• Miles Austin (hamstring) and Dez Bryant (thigh) are both listed as probable, so plug and play them at New England. The over/under for this game is 56.5 points and the Pats have given up the most league-wide production to receivers, so get your popcorn ready.

• Andre Johnson (hamstring) remains out. Jacoby Jones (knee) worked Friday and should play; he's listed as probable. Jones only landed one of the 11 passes aimed in his direction last week, though several of them weren't catchable.

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• Earl Bennett (chest) had a full practice Friday and has a chance to go Sunday night, though he's listed as questionable. The Bears could use a reliable receiver, not that Bennett has Pro Bowl upside.

• Lee Evans (ankle) is still out, even coming back from a bye week. Rookie deep threat Torrey Smith picks up another start.

• Julio Jones (hamstring) was scratched early in the week, pressing Harry Douglas into Atlanta's starting lineup. Roddy White (knee) has been nicked up for a while, though he's listed as probable and should go against Carolina.

• Percy Harvin (ribs) did some work Friday and although he's listed as questionable, he should play at Chicago. But based on recent returns, he's hard to trust.

• Greg Jennings (groin) is listed as probable and should be fine against the Rams.

• Devery Henderson (calf) is listed as probable and should get his normal reps at Tampa Bay.

• Donald Jones (ankle) is out, which means more work, in theory, for David Nelson.

• Joshua Cribbs (knee) had a limited week and is questionable for Sunday's game at Oakland. Cribbs will be missed more on special teams than he will on offense. If you have room for a Cleveland receiver, consider America's sleeper, new starter Greg Little (now settled in as the X receiver, the isolation wideout).

• Aaron Hernandez (knee) had an incomplete practice week and is listed as questionable. He's expected to play against Dallas.

• Chris Cooley (knee) is still banged up, not that you need to dig that deep. But Fred Davis has a good chance to do something against a Philly defense that routinely struggles to cover down the seam.

• Tony Scheffler (post concussion) won't dress against the Niners.

• Julius Peppers (knee) is considered doubtful for Sunday night against the Vikings.

• There's a chance Philly defensive end Trent Cole (calf) could miss the entire month. He's out for sure Sunday at Washington.

• John Abraham (groin) is a game-time decision for the division matchup against Carolina. Emerging Kroy Biermann is probably going to play a lot either way.

• Justin Tuck (neck/groin) won't go against the Bills, but Osi Umenyiora (knee) is considered probable.

• Cleveland cover ace Joe Haden (knee) is very questionable for the matinee in Oakland. It will be interesting to see if the Raiders try to take an extra deep shot or two. Darrius Heyward-Bey is coming off two strong games, and Denarius Moore had his moments in September.

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• Plenty of name Steelers are out on defense: linebacker James Harrison (eye), tackle Casey Hampton (shoulder) and end Aaron Smith (foot).

• Clay Matthews (quadriceps) is listed as probable and should have a fun run around the messy St. Louis offensive line.

• Aqib Talib (knee) is listed as probable and is desperately needed with New Orleans in town. The Bucs will be without DT Gerald McCoy (ankle), a key loss.

• Antoine Winfield (neck) isn't expected to play. The Vikings list him as doubtful. But sackmaster Jared Allen (eye) worked Friday and should play on Sunday. He should have a ball against Chicago's spotty offensive line and the design of the Mike Martz offense (hello, deep drops).

• Vontae Davis (hamstring) did some work Friday and looks on pace to play Monday against the Jets. The struggling Miami secondary will take all the help it can yet; this unit has allowed 1,228 passing yards and nine scores through four games.

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Shanahan and Harrison images courtesy US Presswire

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