November 04, 2011
We've got 28 teams in play this week and a boatload of key injuries to track. We'll start in the backfield, and then work through everyone else in this order: QB, WR, TE, leftovers. Hit it.
• Peyton Hillis(notes) aggravated his hamstring injury in Friday's practice and figures to miss multiple weeks. This makes Chris Ogbonnaya(notes) worth using as a deeper play in Week 9 (at Houston), and things are even more juicy at home in Week 10 against St. Louis. Work on your best Ogbonnaya nickname in the comments, and feel free to make fun of Hillis, too, while you're at it.
• Ahmad Bradshaw(notes) (foot) missed another practice Friday and is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game at New England, though surgery is not considered an option at this time. There's been enough craziness to this story — rumors, contradictions — that you might as well check back on Bradshaw on Sunday just in case, but I'd be surprised if he managed to play. Brandon Jacobs(notes) figures to be New York's lead back in Foxboro, with D.J. Ware(notes) the primary change-of-pace option. Saturday p.m. update: Bradshaw has officially been ruled out.
• Ryan Mathews(notes) (groin) missed the entire week of work, though he's still questionable on the injury report. Perhaps there's a slight chance of him going against Green Bay, though the Chargers have other options with Mike Tolbert(notes) (hamstring) looking good all week. Curtis Brinkley(notes) (post-concussion) also practiced Friday and is listed as probable.
• Joseph Addai(notes) (knee) missed Friday's practice and the always-helpful Colts are listing him as questionable. He had two full days of work earlier in the week, so we might see him go against Atlanta. I'm not going to rank him optimistically; he was just getting over a hamstring injury, and now it's a knee issue.
• Darren McFadden(notes) (foot) is officially out for Week 9's home game against Denver, which sets up Michael Bush(notes) nicely. The Broncos aren't a pushover against the run, mind you, but the game situation should allow for Oakland to collect a lot of attempts. Intriguing Taiwan Jones(notes) steps in as the backup. The Raiders hope to get McFadden back for Week 10, a Thursday-night special in San Diego.
• BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) (toe) is listed as questionable for another week. It raises the question about his role of late: has game flow hurt Green-Ellis's workload, or perhaps he's more nicked up than we realize? Rushing chances should be available against the Giants, as New York is likely to play a DB-heavy scheme similar to what Pittsburgh employed last week. I'm going to rank Green-Ellis in the 19-22 range at running back, for what it's worth. Kevin Faulk(notes) has a sore knee, perhaps because he's 63 years old. The Pats list him as questionable.
• Mark Ingram(notes) (heel) has been ruled out for Week 9, which pushes Christopher Ivory(notes) up the food chain. He's not as interesting as Darren Sproles(notes) or Pierre Thomas(notes), of course, but you know Sean Payton, he loves to show us different looks and packages, especially near the goal line. If you're in a super-deep league and need to gamble for a cheap touchdown, Ivory makes sense as a Hail Mary play.
• Daniel Thomas(notes) (hamstring) had a limited week and is a game-day call at Kansas City. Reggie Bush(notes) is a reasonable play if Thomas can't go; Bush was surprisingly effective in New Jersey last week.
• Ben Tate(notes) (ankle) is probable and should be ready for his usual workload against Cleveland. He's arguably the best backup runner in the league; I love him as a lottery ticket in case anything happens to Arian Foster(notes) (go look at Houston's juicy schedule again).
• Sam Bradford(notes) (ankle) had a limited day Friday and comes down to a game-time decision at Arizona. A.J. Feeley(notes), capable in the upset win over New Orleans last week, is the fallback. The Cardinals figure to be using their own backup (John Skelton(notes)), as Kevin Kolb(notes) (toe/foot) is listed as doubtful.
• Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) (chest), Josh Freeman(notes) (thumb), Tony Romo(notes) (ribs), Tarvaris Jackson(notes) (pectoral) and Matt Moore(notes) (ribs) are all listed as probable and should start for their respective clubs. The only name to worry about from this group is Jackson, simply because of what the Seahawks did to us last week. Jackson took most of the Friday reps.
• Hakeem Nicks(notes) (hamstring) is listed as doubtful and no one expects him to dress at New England. Victor Cruz(notes) picks up a start in Nicks's absence. Mario Manningham(notes) (illness) was at Friday's practice and looks fine; he's probable. Saturday p.m. update: Nicks has been downgraded to out. Keep him on your bench.
• Another week on the sidelines for Andre Johnson(notes) (hamstring). The Texans shouldn't need him against Cleveland anyway. Houston plays at Tampa Bay next week, then gets the bye in Week 11. Jacoby Jones(notes) and Kevin Walter(notes) are around if you're desperate for a deep-league wideout, though the Cleveland secondary is respectable.
• Emmanuel Sanders(notes) (knee) won't go this week, which means more work for Antonio Brown(notes). Hines Ward(notes) (ankle) looked good Friday and although he's tagged as questionable, he should go against Baltimore. You can't start him over Brown, however.
• Malcom Floyd(notes) (hip) sat out the full week and comes down to a game-time decision. He's listed as questionable, but I can't see why you'd want to risk anything on him. Patrick Crayton starts if Floyd can't play. Vincent Jackson(notes) (hamstring) is listed as probable.
• The Niners held Michael Crabtree(notes) (foot) out of some Friday reps but No. 15 is probable on the injury report. He should start. The story is the same with Braylon Edwards(notes) (knee); he missed some Friday work but remains probable. You can probably trust Crabtree on some level after a couple of nice games; Edwards is nowhere near the circle of trust.
• Seattle's Mike Williams (hamstring) should get back to work this week, not that the team misses him that much. Sidney Rice(notes), Doug Baldwin(notes) and Ben Obomanu(notes) all had their moments in the loss to Cincinnati. Even if Williams goes back to being a technical starter here, I'm not going to rank him highly until I see some production on the field.
• Antonio Gates(notes) (foot) won't be 100 percent at any point this year, but he's fully expected to play against Green Bay. He lost a score on Monday at Kansas City, getting hit by a ticky-tack pass interference call.
• Jermaine Gresham(notes) (hamstring) is listed as doubtful so scratch him from your Week 9 plans. Perhaps Gresham owners can swap him out for Brent Celek(notes); the Philly tight end has scored in two straight games and gets a good matchup against Chicago. Celek has a sore hip of his own, but he's listed as probable.
• Sebastian Janikowski(notes) (hamstring) was held out for the practice week, though he plans to do some Saturday work. Dave Rayner(notes) will return to the Raiders if Janikowski doesn't hold up. If anything moves on this Saturday, I'll post an update here. Saturday p.m. update: Janikowski did fine in his test drive and has been cleared to kick Sunday.
• The Giants have a host of injuries on their defensive line, though Justin Tuck(notes) and Osi Umenyiora(notes) are both probable. Jason Pierre-Paul(notes) (possible concussion) looks like a game-day call.
• The Steelers have issues at the linebacker spot, though they should get James Harrison(notes) (eye) back this week. James Farrior(notes) (calf) is a game-time call, but LaMarr Woodley(notes) (hamstring) is out.
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