October 28, 2011
Week 8 is another tricky partial session for fantasy owners, given that all six resting clubs have winning records. There's a lot of firepower on the sidelines, and we'll have to dig deep with some starting calls. Let's give the injury report a thorough audit here; we'll start with the receivers, then hit all the other positions in this order: RB, QB, TE, non-skill guys.
• Hines Ward(notes) (ankle) didn't practice Friday and although he's listed as questionable, context clues point to him not playing against New England. Given that it's a late game, I don't see how you can risk anything with Ward in Week 8. Emanuel Sanders is in line to start if Ward doesn't play, but I like Antonio Brown(notes) a little more, no matter how he's classified on the depth chart. New England's pass defense has been horrendous, as you know.
• Andre Johnson(notes) (hamstring) has been ruled out for Week 8, and while it's a pain that he's not back, at least we have early closure on the injury. Owen Daniels(notes) is your best bet in the Houston passing game; if you have to gamble on one of their wideouts against the underrated Jaguars, I'd go Jacoby Jones(notes) over Kevin Walter(notes).
• Percy Harvin(notes) (ribs) had limited practices Thursday and Friday and I'd do all you can to look away from him. The Vikings haven't really figured out how to best use Harvin, and he's clearly not healthy anyway. Michael Jenkins(notes) makes some sense as a Minnesota rental; while he doesn't have any special skills, Christian Ponder(notes) has been targeting him often the last two weeks.
• Early Doucet(notes) (quadriceps) had a full practice Friday, though he remains questionable on the injury report. The only Arizona player I'm willing to run with this week is receiver Larry Fitzgerald(notes).
• Lee Evans(notes) (ankle) isn't expected back anytime soon; he's definitely out for Week 8. Torrey Smith(notes) makes for an interesting play against a Cardinals secondary that's allowing all sorts of production (especially on the deep ball).
• Tarvaris Jackson(notes) (pectoral) had a full practice Friday and looks likely to start against Cincinnati (Seahawks beat writer Liz Mathews expects Jackson to play). While Jackson is no great fantasy shakes, his presence has a trickle-down effect on the rest of the Seattle offense: you can feel better about Sidney Rice(notes) and Doug Baldwin(notes).
• BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) (toe) had a week of partial practices and is listed as questionable for the 4 p.m. game at Pittsburgh. All logical signs point to the Law Firm playing, but you should have a late-game caddy available if at all possible.
• Daniel Thomas(notes) (hamstring) is questionable for yet another week. He had two days of limited work after sitting out Wednesday. Reggie Bush(notes) (neck) had a full day Friday. The Giants haven't been great against the run (4.5 YPC), though they might get Justin Tuck(notes) (neck/groin) back this week. Saturday PM Update: Thomas has been ruled out, which pushes the burden onto Bush and Lex Hilliard(notes).
• Jahvid Best(notes) (post concussion) won't be available at Denver. Maurice Morris(notes) isn't a bad spot play, and Keiland Williams(notes) could get some work at the goal and in the fourth quarter (assuming Detroit is ahead).
• Mark Ingram(notes) (heel) is off the board for Week 8, which could mean more work for Pierre Thomas(notes) and Darren Sproles(notes) against that awful St. Louis front seven. Beware that Christopher Ivory(notes) might also enter the rotation, and you know Sean Payton — he loves to give Jed Collins(notes) some goal-line looks now and again, just to mess with us.
• It's going to be a game-time decision for Beanie Wells(notes) (knee) at Baltimore. I can't imagine a happy ending for Wells, no matter if he plays or not. Alfonso Smith(notes) and LaRod Stephens-Howling(notes) are the fallback options if you're absolutely stuck in the backfield, but I have nothing optimistic to say on either player. I'll be surprised if this game isn't a cakewalk for the Ravens.
• Peyton Hillis(notes) (hamstring) looks like a long shot at best for Sunday's game against the Niners, though he hasn't been ruled out yet. Figure on Montario Hardesty(notes) to duplicate last week's effort: a ton of volume, nothing special on a per-play basis. Maybe he'll come through for you if the Browns find themselves at the goal line.
• Joseph Addai(notes) (hamstring) surprised everyone with a full practice Friday, not that I'd want my Week 8 status resting on Addai's shoulders. But if he dresses, it makes us less interested in Delone Carter(notes) and Donald Brown(notes). If I had to use one guy here, Carter is the pick.
• Mike Tolbert(notes) (hamstring/hand) didn't work Friday and looks unlikely to play at Kansas City. That means more work, in theory, for Ryan Mathews(notes) (thumb, probable), and maybe some scraps for Jacob Hester(notes) (probable, foot).
• Tashard Choice(notes) (hamstring) didn't practice Friday and Felix Jones(notes) (ankle) is out, which means the Cowboys will once again roll with DeMarco Murray(notes) and Phillip Tanner(notes) in the backfield against Philadelphia.
• With Willis McGahee(notes) (hand) out of the way for at least one week, Knowshon Moreno(notes) and Lance Ball(notes) get the work against Detroit. The Lions have been surprisingly weak against the run, handing out five yards per attempt.
• Cedric Benson(notes) (suspension) is finally set to take his week off, which means Bernard Scott(notes) gets a look for the Bengals. Be aware of two caveats here: Seattle has the best run-stopping unit in the league (3.1 YPC), and the Bengals also want to give some work to Brian Leonard(notes) and Cedric Peerman(notes).
• Adrian Peterson (ankle) is listed as probable, so go ahead and dial him up at Carolina.
• Benjamin Watson(notes) (post concussion) had a limited Friday after missing the two previous practice days. He's too risky to use at San Francisco. If you're in a pinch at tight end, consider Evan Moore(notes).
• Redskins left tackle Trent Williams(notes) (high ankle sprain) is out, which will make things a little tricky for the Washington offense. Mind you, Buffalo has no pass rush to speak of (four sacks, last in the league).
Images courtesy Associated Press