December 10, 2011
It's Week 14 and everyone hurts. Let's get this wrap started.
• Adrian Peterson (ankle) is down to a game-time decision after partial practices on Thursday and Friday. Leslie Frazier seems to have a sense of what Peterson will do on game day, but the coach isn't telling us. Sometimes I'm really glad I'm not a Minnesota Vikings fan. Toby Gerhart figures to get some work in this game, with or without Peterson.
• Kevin Smith (ankle) took a few Friday reps after two empty days. He's another game-time call for Week 14. Maurice Morris isn't a bad play if Smith is scratched. At least the Lions and Vikings are kicking off early, so we can smooth everything out before the windows close.
• James Starks (ankle) won't go against Oakland, which means Ryan Grant and Brandon Saine will jockey for touches. I slightly prefer Saine there, given that he has the upside of the unknown. We know what Grant can and can't do.
• Willis McGahee (knee) did some work Friday after doing nothing the previous two days. The context clues point to him playing against Chicago, though he's officially tagged as questionable.
• Beanie Wells (various) had a modest practice Friday and the Cardinals don't seem too worried: he's listed as probable. He does get one break against the nasty 49ers defense: linebacker Patrick Willis (hamstring) isn't expected to play.
• Mark Ingram (toe) missed the full week and won't play at Tennessee, which means Christopher Ivory will dress. You know Sean Payton, he's not happy unless he has three running backs to jockey around with.
• Shonn Greene (rib) and LaDainian Tomlinson (knee) were active for the full practice week and should be fine against the Chiefs. Joe McKnight (elbow) is less certain. Tomlinson and McKnight hardly played last week after getting dinged up.
• Dallas fullback Tony Fiammetta (illness) had three partial practices this week and is listed as questionable, though he's expected to go against the Giants. DeMarco Murray's production has been much stronger when Fiammetta has been in the lineup.
• Michael Vick (ribs) took all first-team reps this week and is probable to start at Miami.
• Sam Bradford (ankle) and A.J. Feeley (thumb) haven't practiced all week, so Tom Brandstater will probably have to start Monday at Seattle. Josh McDaniels drafted Brandstater back in the Denver days, so he must like something about the Fresno State product. That established, the 27-year-old Brandstater has yet to throw a pass in a regular-season game, and the Rams are his fifth organization. In the meantime, get your hands on that Seahawks defense (this useful chart tells you all you need to know.)
• Christian Ponder (hip) had a light practice Friday after sitting the two previous days. He's a game-time decision for the game at Detroit. If Joe Webb is forced to start, you might want to move Percy Harvin down on your cheat sheet. And sorry, gamers, Webb no longer carries WR eligibility (don't look at me, I don't make the rules).
• Although Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) was able to gallantly finish against the Browns on Thursday, there's a good chance he'll be limited next week and perhaps held out of the Monday night affair at San Francisco. Start scouting for a replacement now.
• Colt McCoy appeared to suffer a concussion in the Thursday loss at Pittsburgh, which means we could see Seneca Wallace in Week 15. The Browns also have to explain why they let an obviously-woozy McCoy back in the Steelers game after he had his bell rung.
• Rex Grossman (shoulder) had a solid week and will start against New England. He's probable. Do you feel lucky?
• Although Jeremy Maclin (hamstring/shoulder) took all Friday reps, he's not out of the woods yet. The Eagles downgraded him to questionable Saturday, so apparently he had a setback of some sort. I'm not ranking Maclin in my Top 40 for week 14 — find a safer play, gamers.
• The Texans aren't going to take any chances with Andre Johnson's hamstring. He's already been ruled out for the trip to Cincinnati. Jacoby Jones could see some extra opportunities, but heads up with Kevin Walter (illness), who didn't practice Friday. Walter is listed as questionable.
• Miles Austin (hamstring) had a partial practice week and is listed as questionable, though all logical signs point to him playing Sunday night against the Giants. Laurent Robinson (shoulder) also wants to go, though he's somewhat iffy after missing the Wednesday and Thursday sessions. Robinson had a limited Friday practice.
• Mario Manningham (knee) had a limited week but the Giants don't seen concerned; they're listing him as probable.
• Jacoby Ford (foot) and Denarius Moore (foot) are both out for Week 14, which makes Darrius Heyward-Bey worth a look against the Packers. Green Bay's defense has been fine with takeaways this year, but everyone has been throwing on them (partly because of game flow, partly because of performance).
You can also look into Chaz Schilens (foot) if you like; he's probable. But you never known when the next injury is going to come with that cat. Why does everyone in Oakland have a foot injury?
• Percy Harvin has a torn ligament in his finger but apparently he'll play through it; he's listed as probable. I consider Harvin a must-play if Ponder starts, but I'll look at all options available if Webb gets the call.
• The Patriots took it easy on Wes Welker (knee) this week but he's listed as probable. Plug and play against the Redskins.
• Nate Washington (ankle) didn't do much this week, just some light running Friday, and looks unlikely to play against the Saints, though the Titans have him down as questionable. I'm not risking anything on this guy, not with a high-ankle sprain. Damian Williams might be worth a look in some leagues.
• Braylon Edwards (knee/shoulder) did some work this week but is no sure thing for the game at Arizona. You can do a lot better.
• With Fred Davis (suspension) down for the year, Logan Paulsen steps up on the Redskin depth chart. There's nothing special about Paulsen's pedigree, but Washington is up against a friendly closing schedule.
• Billy Cundiff (calf) didn't do any work in the final two days of the week and is very questionable for the Colts game. Shayne Graham would kick for the Ravens if Cundiff can't go. There's no way I'd risk my fantasy playoff game on Cundiff this week; pick up someone else.
• Detroit defensive tackle Nick Fairley (foot) missed the full practice week, a notable hit given that Ndamukong Suh (suspension) is out of the mix. The Lions have struggled against the run all year, giving up 4.8 yards a carry.
• Patrick Willis (hamstring) missed the full practice week and although he's tagged as questionable, he's not a good bet to play at Arizona.
• Ray Lewis (toe) didn't practice all week and it would be a shock if the Ravens risked him against Indianapolis.
• Tampa cornerback Aqib Talib (hamstring) is out. If only the Gabbert-led Jaguars had a way to take advantage of this.
Photos courtesy of US Presswire