December 10, 2010
Ryan Torain(notes) has participated fully in back-to-back practices, prompting the Washington Post's Jason Reid to suggest that the oft-injured back is "on track to reclaim his position with the first-team offense this week."
So we'll see how that goes. The last time we thought Torain was going to be Washington's featured back, he rode a stationary bike on the sideline while Keiland Williams(notes) scored three touchdowns. And when we thought Keiland was obviously the guy to own, James Davis took over.
Clearly, the only thing that's guaranteed in a Mike Shanahan backfield is uncertainty. For years, he's been ruining imaginary teams during the fantasy playoffs.
Now, if you could promise me that Torain is healthy and set for a full workload against Tampa Bay — the league's 26th ranked run defense (128.5 YPG, 4.6 YPC, 12 TD) — then I'd rank him as a must-start fantasy asset. But you definitely cannot make any promises about Washington's backfield. Only Shanahan knows for sure, and he hates us.
• We were all quite excited for Vincent Jackson's(notes) regular season debut at Indianapolis in Week 12 … and it lasted exactly two plays. Jackson checked out with a calf injury, didn't play the rest of the game, then missed Week 13. But it sounds like V-Jax could be available to face the Chiefs. He practiced on Thursday, then told the San Diego Union-Tribune, "If I'm available and I'm healthy, of course, I'm gonna give it everything I've got." Most of us moved on from Jackson months ago, so he's available in a fair number of leagues (43 percent). The Chargers face San Francisco and Cincinnati in Weeks 15 and 16.
• Apparently Pierre Thomas(notes) still plays professional football. Hmmm. I could've sworn he was an analyst for the Big Ten Network, but apparently not. PT is expected to return in Week 14, but there's no reason to think that Christopher Ivory(notes) won't still have a significant role.
• The Giants reportedly won't have an official thumbs-up/thumbs-down ruling on Hakeem Nicks(notes) until Saturday. He's participated in practices this week, though, and stitches have been removed. There's reason to be cautiously optimistic. Be prepared to take evasive action in case he's ruled out, in keeping with his original recovery timeline.
• Percy Harvin's(notes) status for Sunday is far from clear, and interim head coach Leslie Frazier has indicated that the second-year receiver is "dealing with 'a little bit of an illness' related to the migraine headache" that kept him on the bench last week. Consider Percy a game time decision.
• In other Vikings news, Brett Favre(notes) was unable to throw on Thursday. His availability for Sunday's home match-up against the Giants isn't known. However, it's tough to believe that a 41-year-old Favre, with a damaged right shoulder, gives Minnesota a better chance to win than a healthy Tarvaris Jackson(notes).
• To no one's surprise, Matt Cassel(notes) (appendectomy) didn't practice on Thursday. The Chiefs declined to rule him out for Sunday's game against San Diego, but it would seem to require a minor gastrointestinal miracle for him to play. Brodie Croyle(notes), the stage is yours (on the road, against the league's top pass defense).
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