NFL Game Picks and Survivor Pool Lock: Week 9

Russ Bliss Predicts the Winners of each NFL Game this week

I almost went 11-2 last week but instead of my prediction of Dallas beating Detroit 31-30; it was the other way around. Still, 10-3 is not bad and brings my season record to 77-43. With only 9 weeks left in the regular season I'll need to get 11-12 right on average to get the annual goal of 180 correct. That's not an easy average to attain, but it's also not impossible. Let's see if I help, or hurt, the cause this week.
 
Here are my Week 9 NFL Game Predictions:
 
Cincinnati 28, Miami 20
Carolina 24, Atlanta 17
Kansas City 23, Buffalo 16
Dallas 35, Minnesota 21
New Orleans 27, NY Jets 23
San Diego 30, Washington 24
St. Louis 23, Tennessee 21
Oakland 26, Philadelphia 23
Seattle 34, Tampa Bay 17
Baltimore 20, Cleveland 17
New England 27, Pittsburgh 20
Indianapolis 24, Houston 20
Green Bay 31, Chicago 21
 
There you have them: my week 9 NFL game picks.
 
San Francisco clobbered Jacksonville (42-10) even worse than I had predicted (38-10) to nail the lock in week 8. That brings me to 6-2 in the Survivor Pool Locks for the season. Here are the picks from the prior weeks and the results:
 
Week 1 (W; 21-17) Indianapolis over Oakland
Week 2 (L; 30-33) Philadelphia over San Diego
Week 3 (W; 45-17) Seattle over Jacksonville
Week 4 (W; 52-20) Denver over Philadelphia
Week 5 (W; 34-20) St. Louis over Jacksonville
Week 6 (W; 24-7) Kansas City over Oakland
Week 7 (L; 27-30) New England over NY Jets
Week 8 (W; 42-10) San Francisco over Jacksonville
 
Jacksonville is on bye this week so I don't have the luxury of taking their opponent in week 9. But there's still a great pick for this week that I see. Only problem is that in prior years when I've taken this team, it's either been a loss, or the game has been a lot closer than I thought it would be. I hope that won't be the case again this season. I don't anticipate it will be as the opponent this season is a mess at QB and has been a mess more often than not on defense having allowed their opponents to score 31 points or more in 5 of 7 games. As long as Tony Romo doesn't turn the ball over late and the defense can get pressure on whoever starts at QB for the Vikings this week, this game shouldn't really be close.
 
My Survivor Pool Lock for Week 9 is: the Dallas Cowboys over the Minnesota Vikings.
 
Best of luck to all in your own picks this week!
 

 

Fantasy Football News and Notes 10-30-13

News and Notes from Wednesday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Program

Fantasy News and Notes 10-30-13:
 
BYE WEEKS: Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, NY Giants, San Francisco
 
Quarterbacks
 
Nick Foles has passed all of his concussion tests and will start week 9 for Philadelphia. Michael Vick is OUT with a hamstring injury and probably will miss a couple of weeks.  
 
As expected, Robert Griffin III was able to practice today. He'll be fine for week 9 despite having had a minor knee scare in week 8.
 
Buffalo's Thaddeus Lewis missed practice today because of a ribs injury he suffered in week 8. Lewis is uncertain to be able to play week 9. Jeff Tuel and Matt Flynn split up first team reps today and it's believed that Tuel would start if Lewis can't go. At least Buffalo got some good news. E.J. Manuel took part in some drills today. That's the first time he has practiced since suffering his knee injury a few weeks ago. Manuel is not expected to return to game action though until either week 11 or week 13. Buffalo has the bye in week 12.
 
No update yet on who the Vikings are going to start this week. It may be Christian Ponder; it may be Josh Freeman. No matter who it is, they're likely to stink and you shouldn't be considering him.
 
 
Running Backs
 
Arian Foster was listed as practicing in limited fashion today despite his hamstring injury. It's too early to tell if he'll be able to play through it or not week 9. Teammate Ben Tate was also able to practice and if Foster doesn't play, Tate likely will start in his place. Tate has cracked ribs, but would wear extra padding and possibly a vest to help protect the ribs. That said, I'd also expect he would be limited and share time with Ray Graham and Deji Karim.
 
Zac Stacy was listed as limited in practice today, but reports say he was very limited in what he could do because of his ankle injury. His status for week 9 is very uncertain. Those with the luxury of having the bench space can consider acquiring Daryl Richardson for the insurance as Richardson will start if Stacy can't play.
 
As expected, Jamaal Charles sat out practice today to rest up the minor knee injury he sustained week 8. Charles is expected to be return to practice no later than Friday and be fine for week 9.
 
Marshawn Lynch sat out practice today with a listed knee issue. Lynch is expected to be fine for week 9 though and this was probably just a day of rest.
 
C.J. Spiller was able to practice in limited fashion today. Spiller didn't practice at all last week and sat out week 8 with his ankle injury so this is a positive sign, but I'm still dubious about his chances of playing this week. I think it would do both Spiller and the Bills a lot more good if they allowed him to get healthy as he has been clearly hobbled by it in games. Fred Jackson didn't practice today, but it's believed to be just a day for him to rest up the knee injury he's been playing through. Jackson is still expected to start and be okay for week 9.  
 
DeAngelo Williams was held out of practice today. DW suffered a quad injury week 8 and while it's not thought to be serious, if he doesn't practice by Friday, I'll be concerned about him potentially missing this week. On the good news front for the Panthers, Jonathan Stewart took part in practice again today and he has said he expects to be ready to play this Sunday. Barring any setbacks, Carolina likely will activate him from the PUP list by Friday afternoon. It's likely he'll be limited some in his first game action and as long as Williams isn't more hurt than currently believed Stewart has little fantasy value right away. We could see a lot more of Mike Tolbert this week than Stewart if Williams can't play.
 
DeMarco Murray put in a full practice today and it's looking likely he will be okay for week 9. It's a great matchup for him and if he's really close to 100% he could have a big game. His expected return pushes Joseph Randle back to the bench.
 
Steven Jackson isn't on the Falcons practice report injury lists and hopefully this is a sign he's over his hamstring and quad injuries and will perform better than he did in week 8.
 
Mark Ingram practiced in full today. He could be soon to returning for the Saints. All his return would really do is tempt fantasy owners into making a bad decision and start him. I have little hope of him having any fantasy impact.
 
 
Wide Receivers
 
Cincinnati's Mohamed Sanu is Questionable for tomorrow night's game. Sanu has been bypassed by Marvin Jones in fantasy importance on the Bengals and probably wasn't in your plans to begin with.
 
Roddy White didn't practice today and while there's still two more days of practice this week, I would expect that if White was close to getting back on the field he'd be practicing all 3 days of the week. I am not expecting White to play week 9.
 
Percy Harvin didn't practice today. It was reported that he suffered a setback in his recovery from his hip surgery last week and it's likely that the Seahawks are going to be very careful with him. It's sounding very iffy he'll be able to play this week and a week 10 return seems a little more likely. Jermaine Kearse probably will start for Seattle this week in place of Sidney Rice.
 
Steve Johnson sat out practice today with a hip issue. He's fully expected to practice tomorrow and be fine for week 9.
 
Greg Jennings sat out practice today with a knee injury. It's believed to be minor though and Jennings should be okay for week 9.
 
Marques Colston sat out practice today with a knee injury. It's not believed to be serious and he should be okay for week 9. Teammate Kenny Stills was limited with a knee issue as well and he too is expected to be fine.
 
Eddie Royal sat out practice today with a toe injury. Royal missed practices last week because of the injury but was still able to play week 8 and be fine. I expect he'll do so again this week.
 
 
Tight Ends
 
Jimmy Graham was limited in practice but after he got through week 8 without aggravating his foot injury, I would expect he'll be okay for this week
 
Jeff Cumberland is now considered to be Questionable for week 9 because of the concussion he suffered week 8. 
 
Rob Gronkowski was limited in today's practice. Normally I wouldn't bother mentioning this now that he's returned to action but the Patriots have added a hamstring to the list of ailments Gronk supposedly has. I'm sure finger and runny nose are going to be listed in coming weeks. 

 

Fantasy Football News and Notes 10-29-13

News and Notes from Tuesday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Program

Fantasy News and Notes 10-29-13:
 
BYE WEEKS: Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, NY Giants, San Francisco
 
Quarterbacks
 
Michael Vick aggravated his hamstring injury early in week 8 and he's out for week 9. Thankfully, Nick Foles has been cleared to return to practices after sitting out week 8 with a concussion so we won't have to see any more of Matt Barkley barring a Foles setback.
 
Robert Griffin III is expected to be okay for this week. RG3 suffered a minor knee injury and while he came out of the game, the Redskins say it was because the game was out of hand and there was no reason to risk him to further injury. He may be limited some in practices this week, but barring unexpected bad news, RG3 will start week 9.
 
Cleveland will start Jason Campbell again week 9 after he was better than expected week 8. It's likely a permanent move as the team has given every indication that they don't want Brandon Weeden as their starting QB
 
Houston is going to start Case Keenum this week despite Matt Schaub being recovered enough from a foot injury to play. Keenum did well in his one game so far and the team wants to see if he can do it again. Schaub, while recovered enough from his foot injury to play, would be limited in his mobility because of it if he were to get back into game action.
 
Minnesota is mulling their options for a week 9 starter at QB. Christian Ponder blew a golden opportunity to reclaim the job with a horrible week 8 performance. Josh Freeman is uncertain to be cleared from his concussion and even if he is he may not be any better than he was in week 7 when he stank. Matt Cassel supposedly isn't in the conversation. My guess would be Ponder, but it's really uncertain who they will pick.
 
Remember, Josh McCown starts for Chicago this week, and probably the two games after that as well. Jay Cutler is hopeful to return sooner than week 12 from his groin tear, but players are always more hopeful than realistic.
 
 
Running Backs
 
The ankle injury suffered by the Rams Zac Stacy is reportedly not a high ankle sprain. That's the good news. The bad news is that we have no idea if Stacy will be able to play week 9 or not. Hopefully we get an update tomorrow as Stacy was tearing through Seattle's defense last night and looking very much the part of a featured RB before the injury. If he isn't able to play, Daryl Richardson would start in his place.
 
Jamaal Charles is expected to be fine despite having suffered a minor knee injury week 8. Charles was able to finish out the game and should be fine for week 9.
 
It's uncertain whether Houston will have either of Arian Foster or Ben Tate this week. Foster is nursing a hamstring injury while Tate has cracked ribs. Both players have said they want to play, but neither is a sure thing. Houston called up practice squad RB Ray Graham, and also added Deji Karim and Dennis Johnson to add depth in case neither Foster nor Tate is able to play. Graham most likely would be the primary but that's just a guess.
 
Also uncertain for week 9 is Buffalo's C.J. Spiller. Spiller was held out of week 8 to rest a lingering ankle injury and I wouldn't be surprised if the Bills decided to do it again this week. Fred Jackson should be the lead RB again.
 
Baltimore signed Bernard Scott Monday. The Ravens only had Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce on their roster at the position and Pierce has a hamstring injury that has his status for week 9 uncertain.
 
No official word yet on whether DeMarco Murray will be able to play week 9 or not. Murray sat out week 8 with his knee sprain despite getting in limited practices all last week. If Murray can return, he'll push Joseph Randle back to just being a backup.
 
 
Wide Receivers
 
Sidney Rice suffered a torn ACL in last night's game and his season is done. Percy Harvin is tentatively expected to return from the PUP list this week and probably would step right into the starting lineup opposite Golden Tate. If Harvin isn't quite ready to return yet, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse would see increased playing time. We should know more later in the week.
 
Tampa Bay placed Mike Williams on injured reserve because of a hamstring injury. Tiquan Underwood takes over as the starter opposite Vincent Jackson. Underwood is an underwhelming talent, but he is a name to keep an eye on in case he surprises.
 
Miami placed Brandon Gibson on injured reserve today. Gibson tore the patellar tendon in his left knee Sunday. Rishard Matthews takes over as Miami's #3 WR but I doubt if you'll get as good production out of him as you were surprisingly getting from Gibson.
 
Completing the IR trifecta is Detroit's Ryan Broyles. Broyles tore his Achilles tendon Sunday and he is done for the year. Broyles has a long list of serious injuries dating back to college and I wouldn't be surprised if he never plays a down again in the NFL. The Lions are tentatively expecting to get Nate Burleson back when they return from their bye and if so, he probably steps right back in as a starter with Kris Durham moving to the #3 WR role.  
 
It's uncertain again this week if James Jones will be able to play week 9 or not. Jones has missed the last 2 games with his knee injury. It was originally speculated to be a 2-3 week injury so there is a chance he comes back. But there's also the chance he doesn't.
 
There's been no word on whether Atlanta's Roddy White is close to returning or not. White's missed the last 2 games because of ankle and hamstring injuries. Unless he practices I don't expect him to play.
 
Cleveland WR/KR Travis Benjamin tore his ACL this past Sunday and he is done for the year. I mention him for those of you who pay in leagues where special teams yardage gets counted as I doubt anyone else would have him on a roster.
 
Tight Ends
 
Jimmy Graham was able to play week 8 despite his partially torn plantar fascia injury. While Graham was used sparingly, his usage was very strategic and he remains a prime TD scorer even if his yardage numbers take a hit. Expect that to be the way the Saints use him going forward. His limited usage though drops him from the "must start" category to the "strong starting consideration" list.
 
Denver's Julius Thomas will use the bye this week to rest an ankle injury suffered week 8. Reports are that it isn't a high ankle sprain and it's hoped he'll be fine for week 10 when Denver returns.
 
Jeff Cumberland suffered a concussion week 8. The Jets say it's a mild concussion and tentatively, he is expected to be okay for week 9.
 
Washington made Fred Davis a healthy inactive for a second game in a row week 8. With the trade deadline having come and gone and Davis not having been traded, it's time to give up on him. It would take a Jordan Reed injury for Davis to get back into game action.
 

 

2013 Defensive Fantasy Points Allowed per Game thru Week 8

FP/PG for all 32 NFL teams against both the Run and Pass

2013 Rushing Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
 
Thru Week 8
 
Rk
Yd-Rk
Team
G
Yds
TD
FP/PG
Yds/G
1
2
Carolina Panthers
7
555
2
9.64
79.3
2
5
Arizona Cardinals
8
706
3
11.08
88.2
3
13
Baltimore Ravens
7
730
1
11.29
104.3
4
1
New York Jets
8
623
5
11.54
77.9
5
11
Kansas City Chiefs
8
826
2
11.83
103.2
6
8
Cincinnati Bengals
8
778
3
11.98
97.2
7
7
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7
662
3
12.03
94.6
8
16
San Diego Chargers
7
738
2
12.26
105.4
9
26
Buffalo Bills
8
942
2
13.28
117.8
10
4
Green Bay Packers
7
585
6
13.5
83.6
11
15
Seattle Seahawks
8
841
4
13.51
105.1
12
9
Philadelphia Eagles
8
796
5
13.7
99.5
13
10
New York Giants
8
818
5
13.98
102.2
14
22
Atlanta Falcons
7
799
3
13.99
114.1
15
6
Oakland Raiders
7
629
6
14.13
89.9
16
3
Denver Broncos
8
652
8
14.15
81.5
17
18
Detroit Lions
8
868
5
14.6
108.5
18
17
Dallas Cowboys
8
857
6
15.21
107.1
19
20
New Orleans Saints
7
772
5
15.31
110.3
20
14
San Francisco 49ers
8
837
7
15.71
104.6
21
31
New England Patriots
8
1046
4
16.08
130.8
22
29
Indianapolis Colts
7
856
5
16.51
122.3
23
23
St. Louis Rams
8
929
7
16.86
116.1
24
19
Miami Dolphins
7
769
7
16.99
109.9
25
12
Cleveland Browns
8
829
9
17.11
103.6
26
28
Houston Texans
7
855
6
17.36
122.1
27
24
Tennessee Titans
7
820
8
18.57
117.1
28
25
Chicago Bears
7
821
8
18.59
117.3
29
21
Minnesota Vikings
7
796
9
19.09
113.7
30
27
Pittsburgh Steelers
7
853
9
19.9
121.9
31
30
Washington Redskins
7
864
10
20.91
123.4
32
32
Jacksonville Jaguars
8
1294
13
25.93
161.8
 
Remember the generic formula:
 
*-Total Yards allowed divided by 10 (representing 1 point for every 10 rushing yards allowed)

*-Rushing TD's allowed multiplied by 6 (representing 6 points for every TD allowed)

*-Add the two totals together and divide by number of games played
 
2013 Receiving Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
 
Thru Week 8
 
Rk
Yd-Rk
Team
G
Yds
TD
FP/PG
Yds/G
1
2
Pittsburgh Steelers
7
1316
5
23.09
188
2
1
Houston Texans
7
1107
10
24.39
158.1
3
3
Seattle Seahawks
8
1658
6
25.23
207.2
4
8
Tennessee Titans
7
1663
6
28.9
237.6
5
12
Carolina Panthers
7
1716
6
29.66
245.1
6
7
Kansas City Chiefs
8
1900
8
29.75
237.5
7
6
New England Patriots
8
1894
9
30.43
236.8
8
5
San Francisco 49ers
8
1876
10
30.95
234.5
9
10
Indianapolis Colts
7
1698
8
31.11
242.6
10
4
Cleveland Browns
8
1859
11
31.49
232.4
11
13
New Orleans Saints
7
1726
8
31.51
246.6
12
11
Cincinnati Bengals
8
1952
11
32.65
244
13
19t
Miami Dolphins
7
1841
9
34.01
263
14
17
Oakland Raiders
7
1834
10
34.77
262
15
14
St. Louis Rams
8
1975
14
35.19
246.9
16
18
Baltimore Ravens
7
1838
11
35.69
262.6
17t
9
Jacksonville Jaguars
8
1903
16
35.79
237.9
17t
15
New York Giants
8
2023
14
35.79
252.9
19
16
New York Jets
8
2038
15
36.73
254.8
20
21
Green Bay Packers
7
1865
12
36.93
266.4
21
19t
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7
1841
13
37.44
263
22
24
Chicago Bears
7
1982
11
37.74
283.1
23
28
San Diego Chargers
7
2060
10
38
294.3
24
23
Arizona Cardinals
8
2208
14
38.1
276
25
26
Detroit Lions
8
2288
13
38.35
286
26
22
Atlanta Falcons
7
1888
16
40.69
269.7
27
30
Philadelphia Eagles
8
2528
14
42.1
316
28
27
Washington Redskins
7
2051
15
42.16
293
29
31
Denver Broncos
8
2554
15
43.18
319.2
30
25
Buffalo Bills
8
2280
20
43.5
285
31
29
Minnesota Vikings
7
2091
16
43.59
298.7
32
32
Dallas Cowboys
8
2671
15
44.64
333.9
 
Remember the generic formula:

*-Total Yards allowed divided by 10 (representing 1 point for every 10 receiving yards allowed)

*-Receiving TD's allowed multiplied by 6 (representing 6 points for every TD allowed)

*-Add the two totals together and divide by number of games played
 

 

2013 Fantasy Football News and Notes: Week 8

Up to Date Player Injuries and Relevant News from All 32 NFL Teams Heading into Week 8

AFC EAST
 
Buffalo: C.J. Spiller is Doubtful and won't play because of his ankle injury. This is actually a good thing for Spiller as he has clearly been affected by it while trying to play through it the last few weeks and resting in practices all week and not playing will only help it heal up. Fred Jackson, while Probable and not completely over his own knee issues, will be the primary RB and we'll likely see enough of Tashard Choice for him to be a fantasy RB3 or flex consideration. QB Thaddeus Lewis gets the start again with E.J. Manuel still OUT with a knee injury. WR Steve Johnson is not on the injury report at all and it's hoped his back injury is behind him now.
 
Miami: Brandon Gibson is Probable and will be fine despite having some minor issues with a shoulder injury. The split between RB's Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas has gotten so unpredictable on a week to week basis that it is a risk to trust either for fantasy purposes. Miller continues to be thought of having the higher upside but sooner or later we're going to need see consistent production on the field or he's just going to be another unfulfilled fantasy promise. QB Ryan Tannehill's shoulder injury is minor and he is Probable. It remains to be seen if recently acquired LT Bryant McKinnie will provide any better protection for Tannehill (the league's most sacked QB) than what he's had so far.
 
New England: WR Danny Amendola reportedly has passed all of his concussion tests and while listed as Questionable, is tentatively expected to play week 8. Teammate Julian Edelman will play without issue despite also being listed as Questionable with a thigh injury. Edelman's played through this injury the last few weeks. RB Brandon Bolden will also be fine despite again being ridiculously listed as Questionable with the preseason knee injury he's played through since week 2. TE Rob Gronkowski is listed as Probable and should be expected to resume being a top 2 fantasy TE. QB Tom Brady was added to the injury report as Probable with a shoulder issue. If you remember correctly, Brady spent nearly 2 years as a regular on the injury report as Probable with a shoulder issue and never missed a game.
 
New York Jets: It's unknown if last week was an indication that Chris Ivory has supplanted Bilal Powell as the Jets top RB or if it was just a case of riding a hot hand. Personally, I think Ivory will be the top RB again with Powell working in as the change of pace and 3rd down RB. Santonio Holmes remains out with a hamstring injury leaving the top WR duties to Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, and David Nelson. Kerley is the only legitimate WR consideration and even then only as a borderline WR3/4. TE Jeff Cumberland is Probable despite being limited some by a hamstring injury. He's a low end fantasy TE2.
 
AFC NORTH
 
Baltimore: Hopefully the bye week will allow the Ravens enough time to figure out what they need to do to get Ray Rice back to being a productive RB. Rice has been killing fantasy teams and the Ravens offensive line woes can only be blamed so much.
 
Cincinnati: WR Marvin Jones has been performing well of late and is worth considering for acquisition if your WR options are weak. Jones is Probable for week 8 despite a shoulder injury. He's pushing Mohamed Sanu to the side in order of fantasy importance opposite A.J. Green. While Tyler Eifert finally got in the end zone last week, the split between him and Jermaine Gresham still exists and still makes Eifert untrustworthy as a fantasy consideration.
 
Cleveland: With Brandon Weeden benched for ineffectiveness, Jason Campbell starts at QB. After failing to capitalize on previous opportunities to prove himself an effective starting QB this is likely to be his last chance in his career. Campbell could go either way: prove solid enough to continue starting or be miserable enough for the Browns to go back to Weeden. Given the uncertainty at QB and the matchup against a strong Chiefs defense, Josh Gordon falls from the ranks of being a fantasy WR 1/2 to being a WR2/3 and Jordan Cameron falls to a low end fantasy TE1.  
 
Pittsburgh: WR Antonio Brown is due for a big game and it likely comes this week against Oakland. TE Heath Miller has been producing well, but big games are going to elude him. Starting WR Emmanuel Sanders was again out-produced by 3rd WR Jerricho Cotchery last week. That's becoming a regular occurrence. Sanders has been proving to be incapable of handling a prominent offensive role and is running out of chances. If rookie Markus Wheaton can get over his broken finger injury he could push Sanders for that starting role.
 
AFC SOUTH
 
Houston: IT's hoped that the bye this week will allow Arian Foster enough time to get a hamstring injury healed up to where he can play week 9. If not, it's unknown if Ben Tate will be able to play or not. Tate played through 4 cracked ribs week 7 and his status going forward is undetermined. With Cierre Wood having been cut for allegedly smoking marijuana at the team's Kansas City hotel in week 7, the only other RB the Texans have on the roster currently is FB Greg Jones. Otherwise they have Ray Graham on the practice squad. It's likely they will sign one this week to provide depth. At QB, it's unknown if Matt Schaub will be healed up enough to be the starting QB or not week 9. I won't be surprised if after Case Keenum handled himself well last week that the Texans use the ankle injury Schaub has an excuse to give Keenum a second start to see if he can be good a second time. They certainly have little to lose.
 
Indianapolis: With Reggie Wayne's season (and quite possibly, career) over because of a torn ACL, the Colts will roll with T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey as their starting WR's. LaVon Brazill and David Reed will likely vie for the #3 WR spot and the Colts will likely promote either Da'Rick Rogers or Griff Whalen from the practice squad to give them depth.
 
Jacksonville: Even though Blaine Gabbert is healthy enough to start the Jags are sticking with Chad Henne as the starter week 8. Neither QB is good though and their only purpose is to make sure both WR's Justin Blackmon (Probable; hamstring) and Cecil Shorts (Probable; shoulder/clavicle) retain fantasy value. Both Blackmon and Shorts are battling through their injuries and are the only players worth considering again from this team. RB Maurice Jones-Drew is barely worthy of being a fantasy RB3.  
 
Tennessee: Jake Locker made it through week 7 without any aggravation of his hip and knee injuries and should be okay going forward. With the trading deadline approaching, it's a little surprising the Titans aren't even getting a conditional 7th round pick for WR Kenny Britt. There's still time for a deal to get done, but it's running out.
 
AFC WEST
 
Denver: Peyton Manning's ankle injury is very minor and he is Probable and will play without issue. Also Probable and playing without issue are WR's Eric Decker (toe) and Wes Welker (ankle). Ronnie Hillman is expected to be made inactive week 8 and possibly the rest of the season after he lost a costly 4th quarter at the 2 yard line week 7. His demotion should mean that Montee Ball finally gets a chance to touch the football 7-12 times per game behind starter Knowshon Moreno. Moreno is locked in as a fantasy RB1 while Ball is a low end RB3 with upside.
 
Kansas City: WR Dwayne Bowe is Questionable and will be a game time decision because of a groin injury suffered in Thursday's practice. Tentatively he is expected to play but shouldn't be near any fantasy starting lineups. Dexter McCluster and Junior Hemingway would pick up the slack if Bowe doesn't play. Even though it's not a bad matchup this week, the only Chiefs really worth considering for fantasy are RB Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs defense.
 
Oakland: Darren McFadden isn't on the injury report at all and hopefully this means the bye was enough time for him to get completely over the hamstring he suffered back a few weeks ago. If McFadden is finally healthy, and can stay that way, fantasy owners will be rewarded for their patience. But that's a pretty big "if" to believe in.
 
San Diego: It's expected that the bye will give rookie WR Keenan Allen enough time to get a minor shoulder injury suffered week 7 healed. Allen as emerged as the Chargers top WR in 2013. We'll revisit the Chargers next week as they entered the bye with few issues beyond Ale's minor shoulder injury.
 
NFC EAST
 
Dallas: RB DeMarco Murray is expected to play despite being listed as Questionable with a knee injury that caused him to miss week 7. Murray won't be 100% though and we could see him split more time with rookie Joseph Randle. Murray is still the better fantasy play though as a low end RB2. WR Miles Austin is Questionable and considered a game time decision. It was said earlier in the week that the Cowboys were considering shutting Austin down for a week or two to allow his lingering hamstring injury to heal up, but then they allowed him to practice in limited fashion each day this week. That's not "shutting him down" and it's not resting him the way he needs to be. Austin didn't notch a single reception in either of the last 2 games playing through the injury and has clearly been hobbled with it. Rookie Terrence Williams has been impressive and likely will supplant Austin as a starter in 2 WR sets very soon while Cole Beasley has done very well as the #3 WR. Simply put: Austin's been a liability and the sooner the Cowboys recognize it, the better off they'll be. Resting him now so he's healthy for the last stage of the season just makes way too much sense for them to not see it sooner or later.  
 
New York Giants: Peyton Hillis is expected to start at RB and be the lead over rookie Michael Cox again this week with Brandon Jacobs Doubtful with a hamstring injury. Hillis actually makes a low end fantasy RB2 or high end RB3 with a good matchup and so many teams having health issues at the position or being on bye. The Giants are on bye week 9 and Andre Brown stands a good chance of returning from the IR/Designated for return in week 10 so Jacobs has little chance of having future fantasy value and Hillis likely only has this one last week of it. Still no word on when David Wilson will return from his neck injury but it shouldn't be too much longer. WR Hakeem Nicks is starting to wear out my patience. His constant dropping of catchable passes is maddening and even in a plus matchup like this week against the Eagles I consider him as no more than an upside WR3. Reuben Randle has been outplaying Nicks most weeks and likely will do so again this week.
 
Philadelphia: Michael Vick returns as the starting QB. Even if Nick Foles didn't suffer a concussion I doubt he would have been starting this week after looking awful last week. Matt Barkley took over after Foles suffered the injury last week and was even worse. Vick's hamstring isn't completely healed up so he may not run as much as he normally would, but he still makes a strong play with a matchup against the Giants. LeSean McCoy hasn't produced great numbers the last few games but should find it a lot easier to have quality numbers this week. WR DeSean Jackson suffered a foot injury last week but it must have been very minor as he was never even listed on the practice report injury lists this week.
 
Washington: TE Fred Davis was a healthy inactive last week and rookie TE Jordan Reed had a career game so it won't be a surprise if Davis is inactive going forward. The Redskins should really try trading Davis if they aren't going to use him. Reed projects forward as a middle/low end fantasy TE1 most weeks. WR Leonard Hankerson is expected to play despite being listed as Questionable with a foot injury. He, Josh Morgan, and Aldrick Robinson all seem to be taking turns as being relevant opposite Pierre Garcon making none of them trustworthy. RG3 finally seemed to have the shackles removed from him using his legs last week and he responded with a great game. RG3 may finally be back to being a middle to high end fantasy QB1 the rest of the season if he can stay healthy. Those expecting RB Roy Helu to have big games consistently are fooling themselves. Helu is a fine addition as insurance for Alfred Morris or as a desperation play, but to chase his 3 TD performance last week as being an indication he is going to produce regularly going forward is going to lose people fantasy games.  
 
NFC NORTH
 
Chicago: With Jay Cutler not expected to return until week 12 at the earliest because of a torn groin, the Bears are sure to use the bye week to get in as much time with Josh McCown as possible so he is ready to hit the ground running in week 9. McCown is not a special talent but he's in a QB friendly offensive system and is an adequate QB with plenty of starting experience. While there may be a drop in fantasy outlooks for Bears pass catchers, I wouldn't downgrade them that much.
 
Detroit: Reggie Bush is Probable and will be fine despite sitting out Friday's practice to rest a sore knee. Bush is a top 10 fantasy RB play this week. Calvin Johnson is also Probable and will be fine despite his own lingering knee issues. Last week's 155 yards and 2 TD's proved why you never sit Megatron even though he may have some minor issues. TE Brandon Pettigrew is Probable despite having a hamstring issue. But between that and the Lions having released TE Tony Scheffler, it may be that we finally see more of undrafted rookie TE Joseph Fauria getting increased playing time. Fauria is definitely worth a speculative grab at the position for those who have a mediocre starter.
 
Green Bay: WR James Jones is Doubtful and not going to play. Jarrett Boykin starts in his place and makes for a solid fantasy WR2. TE Jermichael Finley suffered a bruised spinal cord injury and he is out indefinitely. He may not play again in 2013 as it was a scary injury. Andrew Quarless will be the "starting" TE but he is a better blocker than receiver. Brandon Bostick likely will be used as the receiving TE and while unproven, there could be some upside there for those who lack quality TE options. Just as likely to bust as boom, but what do you have to lose if you don't have anything special currently on your roster? RB James Starks practiced in full al week and returns as Eddie Lacy's top backup and handcuff. This pushes Johnathan Franklin down to being a special teams player.
 
Minnesota: RB Adrian Peterson is Probable despite a lingering hamstring injury. He's fine to consider as you always do. Josh Freeman is OUT with a concussion that must have happened Tuesday after he watched tape of himself throwing the ball last Monday night. I felt woozy and dazed after watching that game myself. The concussion is a convenient excuse to make sure he sits until he gets to know the playbook better. Christian Ponder returns to the starting lineup with Matt Cassel as his backup, at least week 8 and I would guess week 9 as well. It's Ponder's last chance to reclaim the job and if he fails, he'll likely be benched the rest of the year. K Blair Walsh is Probable and will kick despite having a hamstring issue on his non-kicking leg. It prevented the Vikings from trying a long FG last week and since one of the things that make Walsh an attractive fantasy kicker is his range, you may find better options on the free agent wire.
 
NFC SOUTH
 
Atlanta: RB Steven Jackson is Probable and returns as the starting RB despite not being fully over a hamstring injury that has kept him out since week 2. Jackson will handle most running down duties and some passing down duties with Jacquizz as his top backup and change of pace. RB Jason Snelling is OUT with an ankle injury. WR Roddy White is also OUT with his hamstring and ankle injuries. Drew Davis will start opposite Harry Douglas. Expect a solid game from TE Tony Gonzalez this week. The Cardinals have been the worst team covering opposing TE's.
 
Carolina: The team has 3 weeks to determine whether to activate RB Jonathan Stewart to the active roster or place him on injured reserve. It's believed they will activate him possibly in time for him to be available for week 9. Stewart has been bothered by issues in his recovery from offseason surgeries to both of his ankles. One of the ankles healed up fine; the other hasn't. It's believed once he's activated, he'll be worked in slowly as the #3 RB behind DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert.
 
New Orleans: TE Jimmy Graham is Questionable and considered a game time decision because of his foot injury. Graham was able to put in a limited practice on Friday after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday so there is some hope he'll be active. But it's also possible that even if active he will be limited in game action. If you have another high quality TE option available, you may want to consider sitting Graham even if he plays. Ben Watson would start if Graham is made inactive. RB Mark Ingram also finally got in a limited practice Friday and this was his first practice in several weeks because of a toe injury. Ingram wasn't producing when he was healthy so even if active, I don't expect a gimpy Ingram to be much a fantasy consideration. Khiry Robinson is likely to be the sledgehammer RB behind both Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. Sproles and Thomas are both likely to be risky, but potentially high end fantasy RB2's. WR Lance Moore is Probable after having missed the last several games with a hand injury. Moore needs to show something on the field though before he can be thought of as a potential fantasy consideration as he was doing nothing before getting injured. Graham's injury quite possibly means a strong possibility for a big game by WR Marques Colston.
 
Tampa Bay: The Bucs plan on resting RB Doug Martin the next couple of weeks to see if he can strengthen the shoulder injury enough for him to be able to play. It's a dumb idea as he needs surgery and with a 6 month recovery time for surgery to repair a torn labrum the sooner he has it, the sooner he's back for OTA's next season and a full go by training camp. This waiting is just Greg Schiano's last gasp effort to try to get Martin back and save his job. Mike James was okay Thursday night but was exactly what I thought: nothing special. WR Mike Williams is feared to have a torn hamstring and his season could be in serious doubt. His loss would just mean Vincent Jackson and TE Anthony Wright become even bigger target monsters. Potential Williams replacements would be Tiquan Underwood and Chris Owusu. Neither would be good fantasy bets.
 
NFC WEST
 
Arizona: With Rashard Mendenhall Doubtful with a toe injury, Andre Ellington is expected to be the lead RB for the Cardinals. Ellington makes a low end RB2 for fantasy this week. Alfonso Smith and Stepfan Taylor are expected to get mixed in at RB as well, but neither is much of a fantasy consideration. It's possible Ryan Williams will be active for the first time this season but whether he'll see the field is uncertain. Larry Fitzgerald is Probable despite still being bothered some by his lingering hamstring injury. While Cardinals coach Bruce Arians denies it, it's believed that if Carson Palmer has another poor game this week against a soft Falcons pass defense, we could see a change at QB and Drew Stanton could get a start in week 10. Arizona has the bye in week 9.
 
St. Louis: The loss of Sam Bradford to a torn ACL last week leaves the Rams with Kellen Clemens at QB. Clemens knows the offense well but he is a mediocre NFL talent and his presence won't help anyone. It's hoped that the Rams will rely even more heavily on impressive rookie RB Zac Stacy. I am so glad to be proven right about Stacy since I have been clamoring for him since the team drafted him. Stacy is about the only Rams player I would want in a starting fantasy lineup this week going against Seattle. There's no way to trust anyone else until we see how Clemens does.
 
San Francisco: Frank Gore (Probable; ankle) should be a top 5 fantasy RB this week against Jacksonville. WR Quinton Patton remains out with a foot injury and WR Jon Baldwin is Questionable with an illness. The WR situation is getting so bad that the return of Mario Manningham in a couple of games from the PUP list is being looked forward to as a potential saving for the 49ers struggling passing game. It's really been a shame the 49ers haven't been more involved in trying to acquire a WR via trade as it's the only thing missing from their offense.
 
Seattle: Percy Harvin has been ruled OUT for Monday night so speculation about him coming back this week can be put to rest. But it's very possible he'll be active week 9 after he practiced this past week. Seattle's just being smart with Harvin as it's much more important he get close to 100% and be there for their playoffs run than it is for him to hurry back and have a higher risk of aggravation of his hip injury. His likely return in the week or two will likely bring Golden Tate's shaky fantasy value to an end. Tate just didn't live up to expectations despite opportunities. Russell Wilson could feast on a weak Rams secondary and Marshawn Lynch will definitely find running lanes against a poor Rams run defense.  

 

Fantasy Football News and Notes 10-24-13

News and Notes from Thursday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Show

Fantasy News and Notes 10-24-13:
 
BYE WEEKS: Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, San Diego, Tennessee
 
Quarterbacks
 
As expected, Peyton Manning returned to practice today. His ankle injury is a non-issue.
 
Tom Brady was added to the practice report injury list today as having been limited with a shoulder injury. If you remember, Brady spent all of 2012 and I think 2011 and 2010 as being listed as Probable with a shoulder injury and never missed a game. Brady should be fine for week 8.
 
Michael Vick is practicing in full this week and barring any setbacks by Sunday will start week 8 without issue. He may not run as much as he normally would because of a tender hamstring, but he's still a top 6 fantasy play this week.
 
Ryan Tannehill was limited for a second straight day because of a shoulder injury but there's a lack of concern coming out of Miami so I guess the Dolphins are just managing his reps. He should be fine for week 8.
 
 
Running Backs
 
Adrian Peterson returned to practice today after sitting out yesterday to rest a hamstring strain. Peterson may not be 100% but as long he plays, he starts in fantasy leagues.  
 
Steven Jackson put in a second consecutive practice today and is on track to play week 8 and handle the bulk of the rushing load. Jacquizz Rodgers will be his backup and change of pace while Jason Snelling is sounding unlikely to play because of an ankle injury that's preventing him from being able to practice so far this week.
 
DeMarco Murray practiced again today and it now appears he is going to play week 8 for Dallas. He may be limited some because of the knee injury that caused him to miss week 7 but Murray is likely to be the Cowboys top RB this week. His return pushes Joseph Randle down to being a change of pace backup. Duties he likely will share with Lance Dunbar. Murray is the only fantasy play here as long as he suffers no setbacks by the weekend.
 
Darren McFadden isn't on the practice report injury listings and should be close to 100% now that the bye week helped him rest up a hamstring injury. McFadden is a low end fantasy RB1 this week with a plus matchup against Pittsburgh.
 
Fred Jackson returned to practice today and is on track to start week 8. He won't be 100% because of the knee injury, but he'll be the top fantasy option for Buffalo. Especially since C.J. Spiller stands a chance of being inactive week 8. Spiller's been playing through his ankle injury, but it's clearly affecting him and the Bills are thinking about resting him this week to help it heal up. If they do that, Tashard Choice would have an expanded offensive role and might be worth acquiring as a desperation play this week.
 
Brandon Jacobs didn't practice again today and is now considered very unlikely to play week 8 because of his hamstring injury. It looks like Peyton Hillis will be the lead RB again this week with rookie Michael Cox also getting some playing time. Hillis is brutally slow, but has a decent enough matchup to be considered as a RB3 if Jacobs is indeed inactive.  
 
Mark Ingram was unable to practice again today and he's looking unlikely to play week 8 because of a toe injury that has plagued since week 2. Khiry Robinson is likely to be the grinder RB for the Saints this week behind Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles.  
 
Rashard Mendenhall missed a second consecutive practice today because of a toe injury. Mendenhall is very questionable for week 8. If he misses the game, it's likely Alfonso Smith would handle primary RB duties, but we could also see some of Stepfan Taylor, and maybe even Ryan Williams too. Williams has been inactive every game this season as he papeared to fallen out of favor. Andre Ellington could get an increase in playing time too, but the Cardinals are said to be unsure if he'd hold up being in a more prominently featured role in the offense because of his lack of size.
 
Willis McGahee was rested in practice today. This is becoming the weekly norm for McGahee where he sits out Thursday's. He practiced in full yesterday and should be fine to plod his way through week 8 without issue.
 
And while Doug Martin is sitting out tonight's game, there's an actual plan of action on him going forward. Latest word is that Martin will be given a couple of weeks to see if he can strengthen his shoulder to the point where he can return sometime around week 12. If he has any setbacks, he'll go on injured reserve. I'll reiterate what I've said before: once the Bucs are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, or Greg Schiano gets fired and the interim head coach replacing him has some common sense, I expect Martin to go to injured reserve. But that's just my guess.
 
 
Wide Receivers
 
Calvin Johnson returned to a limited practice today. He was just being rested yesterday. The Wednesday rest and Thursday limited routine has pretty much been the norm for Megatron the last two seasons and with the exception of a couple of weeks ago, he has always managed to play on Sunday's. He should be fine for week 8.
 
Dez Bryant returned to a full practice today after sitting out yesterday. His hamstring and wrist issues are minor and he'll be fine for week 8.
 
Eric Decker (toe) and Wes Welker (ankle) also both returned to practice today both are fine for week 8. Officially, Decker practiced in full while Welker was listed as limited.
 
Returning to limited practices today were Jacksonville's duo of Justin Blackmon (hamstring) and Cecil Shorts (clavicle). They played through their respective injuries week 7 and will do so again week 8.  
 
Danny Amendola got in a second consecutive practice today. He was limited, but it's looking like he stands a good chance of returning to the field this week after sitting out last week because of a concussion.
 
Amendola's Patriots teammate Julian Edelman has been limited all week because of a thigh injury but he is in no danger of not playing week 8 even if he is listed as Questionable again this week on tomorrow's injury report.
 
James Jones missed practice again today because of his knee injury. He is not expected to play Sunday night.
 
Roddy White also sat out practice again today. He's not expected to play week 8 either.
 
Miles Austin was limited again today in practice. Media speculation continues though that the Cowboys may sit Austin this week so he can try getting his hamstring injury healed up. He's been totally ineffective the last two weeks playing through it and probably would be again this week if he plays.
 
Kansas City added Dwayne Bowe to their injury list today as being limited with a groin injury. No word if it's serious or not but considering how poorly he's produced this season I expect you weren't considering starting him anyway.
 
Lance Moore has been practicing in full this week and looks to finally be on track to play week 8 after missing the last several games with a wrist injury. Moore's not much of a fantasy consideration though.
 
Jeremy Kerley was added to the Jets practice report injury list today as having been limited because of a hamstring strain. Kerley is tentatively expected to be okay for week 8.
 
Leonard Hankerson returned to a limited practice today after sitting out yesterday with a foot injury. He should be okay for week 8.
 
Cincinnati's Marvin Jones sat out practice again today and his status for week 8 is now uncertain because of a shoulder injury. Jones had started gaining some momentum in recent weeks as a potential fantasy option but this derails him for the short term.
 
 
Tight Ends
 
Jimmy Graham sat out practice again today because of his foot injury. It's sounding like Graham is closer to the "no" side of playing week 8 than the "yes". Do yourself an incredible favor and have a backup plan ready to go in case Graham is unable to play. If there are no attractive options on your free agent wire, grab Ben Watson. Watson will start for the Saints if Graham doesn't play.
 
Jeff Cumberland retired to Jets practice today getting in a limited session. Cumberland has a hamstring injury and I hope you have better options to consider starting anyway.
 
Detroit's Brandon Pettigrew was added to the injury list today as having been limited because of a hamstring issue. It's not known if this is a serious injury or not, but this could open the door for more playing time for Joseph Fauria. I've been saying it for weeks that I'd like to see what Fauria can do if they used him more between the 20's instead of just having him be a red zone target.
 
You can scratch Ryan Taylor from the list of TE's who could have increased roles for the Packers in place of Jermichael Finley. Taylor's been unable to practice this week because of a knee injury. Andrew Quarless and Brandon Bostick will be the Packers TE's with Quarless expected more in a blocking role and Bostick as a receiving weapon. But that's just speculation. 

 

NFL Game Picks and Survivor Pool Lock: Week 8

Russ Bliss Predicts the Winners of each NFL Game this week

Sometimes I think a dartboard would suit me better when it comes to making my weekly NFL picks. I always feel good about them on Thursday only to feel like an idiot come Tuesday morning. I went 9-6 in week 7 and that brings me to a sloppy 67-40 overall record for the 2013 season. If I don't get this corrected soon the hole will be too big to climb out of. With that in mind I'm giving it another try week 8. We'll see how I feel next Tuesday morning.
 
Here are my Week 8 NFL Game Predictions:
 
Carolina 20, Tampa Bay 13
New Orleans 31, Buffalo 20
Kansas City 23, Cleveland 16
Dallas 31, Detroit 30
New England 28, Miami 21
Philadelphia 27, NY Giants 17
San Francisco 38, Jacksonville 10
Cincinnati 20, NY Jets 17
Oakland 19, Pittsburgh 17
Atlanta 24, Arizona 23
Denver 41, Washington 34
Green Bay 34, Minnesota 21
Seattle 27, St. Louis 10
 
There you have them: my week 8 NFL game picks.
 
I said it last week I hate taking road teams playing in divisional games and it came back to bite me. The Patriots lost to the Jets and that dropped me to 5-2 on the weekly Survivor Pool Lock. It is like a microcosm of my season picking games. Here are the results through the first 7 weeks:
 
Week 1 (W; 21-17) Indianapolis over Oakland
Week 2 (L; 30-33) Philadelphia over San Diego
Week 3 (W; 45-17) Seattle over Jacksonville
Week 4 (W; 52-20) Denver over Philadelphia
Week 5 (W; 34-20) St. Louis over Jacksonville
Week 6 (W; 24-7) Kansas City over Oakland
Week 7 (L; 27-30) New England over NY Jets
 
Week 8 has some easy games to take for a lock. I'd be happy with Green Bay or New Orleans, but there is one game that just jumps off the page as being a slam dunk. As you can see from the results, 2 of my 5 hits have been taking NFC West teams over Jacksonville. The game this week between the 49ers and Jags is being played in London, but it could be played on Mars and still 95% of the time San Francisco would win. I fully expect that Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, and Anquan Boldin (and maybe even Kendall Hunter) are going to have strong games and the 49ers defense is going to overwhelm Chad Henne. It'll be close until the opening kickoff and then the slaughter begins.
 
My Survivor Pool Lock for Week 8 is: the San Francisco 49ers over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
 
Best of luck to all in your own picks this week!
 

 

Fantasy Football News and Notes 10-23-13

News and Notes from Wednesday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Program

Fantasy News and Notes 10-23-13:
 
BYE WEEKS: Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, San Diego, Tennessee
 
Quarterbacks
 
Cleveland has benched Brandon Weeden and have decided to go with Jason Campbell as their starting QB week 8. Campbell has been nothing special the last few seasons (or really at any time of his career) despite opportunities so whether this is a permanent move, or a trial period remains to be seen. At the very least the Browns know they can turn to 43 year old Jeff Garcia if necessary.
 
The Vikings announced today that Josh Freeman is experiencing concussion like symptoms. Since I came away from Monday's night's game feeling a little woozy and dazed and confused myself, I can only imagine what it was like from his perspective. But seriously, he isn't likely to get clearance to play this week so the Vikings are turning back to Christian Ponder as their starting QB this week. I have to believe that this is a blessing for the Vikings as it gives them an excuse to sit Freeman and let him get better acquainted with the playbook before shuffling him back into the lineup for another try. For Ponder, this is truly a last chance to either reclaim the job, or show potential 2014 suitors he deserves a shot.
 
Peyton Manning sat out practice today to rest an ankle injury he originally suffered back in week 6 against Jacksonville. It's minor and Manning is not believed to be in any danger of not playing this week.
 
Miami's Ryan Tannehill was listed as limited today because of a shoulder injury. Tannehill is expected to be fine for week 8 though.
 
Even though Blaine Gabbert has been cleared to practice and return to game action after missing the last few games with a hamstring injury, the Jaguars are sticking with Chad Henne as their starting QB week 8.
 
 
Running Backs
Here's news you already knew to expect: Tampa Bay has officially ruled Doug Martin out for Thursday night. The Bucs and Martin are still holding out hope he'll be able to play later this season. HIs shoulder injury has a timetable of 4-6 weeks for recovery to the point he could possibly play despite it, but he's going to likely need surgery and with a 6 month recovery time for that, I'd think the team might want to do that sooner rather than later. At 0-6, I'd have to imagine saner heads will prevail and Martin will go to injured reserve once the last shred of mathematical possibility of the playoffs have been stripped away. Mike James  will start tomorrow night in Martin's place.
 
Adrian Peterson sat out practice today because of the hamstring strain he played through Monday night. Peterson is currently expected to be fine and start without issue.
 
Steven Jackson was able to practice in limited fashion today and barring any setbacks between now and the weekend he is expected to play. He probably won't be at full strength, but he should be the lead RB. Jacquizz Rodgers likely will handle much of the passing down duties though as he has excelled in that capacity the last 3 weeks. Jason Snelling projects to be the odd man out. Snelling sat out practice today with an ankle injury anyway.
 
DeMarco Murray was able to practice in very limited fashion today for Dallas. While this is good news in that his knee injury isn't serious, it's still expected that the Cowboys will exercise caution with him and I doubt he'll play this week. Joseph Randle did well enough as his replacement week 7 and unless Murray surprises me by being able to play, Randle will start again this week.
 
Neither Fred Jackson nor C.J. Spiller practiced today. Jackson is nursing the knee injury he aggravated week 7 and Spiller is still hobbled by an ankle injury. Both players are tentatively expected to play week 8 though.
 
Brandon Jacobs was unable to practice today because of his hamstring injury. If he doesn't practice by Friday he's not going to play. Even if active, it's likely to be a 3 headed committee with him, Peyton Hillis and rookie Michael Cox at RB, rendering none of them viable options.
 
There was hope Mark Ingram was going to be able to play week 8 after missing the last several weeks with a toe injury, but he was unable to practice today and has to be considered very questionable at this point. This just means more playing time for Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas, which is good for their fantasy outlooks.  
 
Frank Gore was limited in practice today with a listed ankle injury. It's not believed to be anything serious and Gore should be just fine to steamroll Jacksonville's dead last ranked fantasy run defense in London this week.
 
Rashard Mendenhall sat out practice today with a toe injury. It's unknown if this was really just a day of rest for him or whether it's an aggravation of the toe injury he played through earlier in the season. Currently, if I had to start an Arizona RB, I'd be more inclined to start Andre Ellington over Mendenhall.
 
Green Bay's James Starks was able to practice in full today and it now looks like he stands a good chance of being active week 8. Starks has missed the last several games with a knee injury, but he's nothing more than a handcuff for Eddie Lacy owners.
 
 
Wide Receivers
 
Although Tampa Bay listed Mike Williams as Questionable for tomorrow night's game with his hamstring injury, he did practice in full today and is expected to play. It's not a particularly good matchup though against Carolina's 6th best fantasy pass defense so you may want to think about keeping him benched.
 
Carolina's Steve Smith is listed as Probable for tomorrow night. Smith has a minor ankle issue but is expected to be fine.
 
Roddy White sat out practice today. If he doesn't practice by Friday I would expect that the Falcons would sit him week 8 so he can continue to try healing up the hamstring and ankle injuries he's dealing with.
 
Calvin Johnson sat out practice today. Looks like we're back to the normal routine for Megatron where he sits out Wednesday practices, and sometimes Thursday as well, but returns on Friday and is a stud on Sunday. He certainly was his stud self week 7.  
 
Jacksonville's duo of Justin Blackmon (hamstring) and Cecil Shorts (clavicle) both were held out of practice today. They played their respective injuries week 7 and there's been no reported setbacks so I assume they are just getting some days of rest. Both are expected to play without issue week 8.  
 
DeSean Jackson is not on the practice report injury list for the Eagles. It looks like his foot injury is very minor and he should be fine for week 8.
 
James Jones missed practice today because of his knee injury and his status for Sunday night is very questionable. If he doesn’t practice by Friday I would expect he would sit out this week. Tentatively expect Jarrett Boykin to start again in his place.
 
Larry Fitzgerald was listed as a full participant in practice today. It's hoped that Fitz is finally getting closer to 100% as he tries to recover from his lingering hamstring injury.
 
Danny Amendola took part in a limited practice today. How limited is unknown but it's a good sign he's at least been cleared to do that as he tries to return from a concussion. Hopefully the tight-lipped Patriots let some information leak about him by Friday.
 
Miles Austin was limited in practice today. There is talk in Dallas that the team may decide to shut down Austin so he can get his hamstring healed up 100%. Austin isn't producing on the field and the emergence of rookie Terrence Williams and second year player Cole Beasley makes it a viable option.
 
Leonard Hankerson sat out Redskins practice with a foot injury. No word if it's serious enough to put his status for week 8 in jeopardy. If he misses practice tomorrow I'd recommend not trusting him.
 
Cincinnati's Marvin Jones sat out practice today with a shoulder injury he suffered week 7. He played through it though and tentatively should be okay for week 8.
 
Among WR's who were either limited in practice or did not participate but are fully expected to be fine for week 8, the list includes the Cowboys Dez Bryant (hamstring; wrist), Denver's duo of Eric Decker (toe) and Wes Welker (ankle), and New England's Julian Edelman.
 
 
Tight Ends
 
Jimmy Graham sat out practice today because of his foot injury. This is sounding like Graham is going to questionable and be the dreaded "game time decision". Graham owners should have another option ready to go as a precaution. Ben Watson would start for New Orleans if Graham can't play.
 
And I was right about Rob Gronkowski. He was limited in practice today. Few teams play as many games with their injury report than the Patriots so even though I expect he's going to be limited each day, and then listed as Questionable come Friday, I am fairly confident he'll play week 8 without issue. He appeared to have emerged from playing week 7 without aggravating his arm or back injuries.
 
Greg Olsen is listed as Probable for tomorrow night's game and is fine to consider as you normally would despite his lingering foot injury.
 
Washington's Jordan Reed practiced in full today and is expected to be fine for week 8 despite having a hip injury.
 
The 49ers Vernon Davis practiced in full. Davis has been playing through a minor hamstring strain and is fully expected to be fine for this week.
 
The Jets Jeff Cumberland sat out practice with a hamstring injury. It's uncertain whether this is serious enough to put his week 8 status in doubt or not. We should know more tomorrow.
 
Kansas City's Anthony Fasano was limited because of knee and ankle injuries. Fasano played through them week 7 and is expected to do so again week 8.
 
 
Kickers
 
Blair Walsh was listed as limited for Minnesota because of the hamstring strain he has in his non-kicking leg. Walsh is expected to be okay for this week though.
 

 

Fantasy Football News and Notes 10-22-13

News and Notes from Tuesday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Program

Fantasy News and Notes 10-22-13:
 
BYE WEEKS: Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, San Diego, Tennessee
 
Quarterbacks
 
Chicago's Jay Cutler will miss at least 4 weeks because of a torn groin muscle injury. The earliest Cutler will return is week 12, and there's no guarantee he'll be ready that soon. Josh McCown will start in his place and is worth considering by those who need a QB as McCown is a semi-decent QB and there are plenty of quality weapons around him to throw to. Jordan Palmer was signed today to be McCown's backup.
 
Sam Bradford tore an ACL and his 2013 season is over. Kellen Clemens steps in as the Rams starter the remainder of the season. Clemens is a mediocre QB at best and would be an emergency only pickup. The Rams signed Austin Davis and Brady Quinn to provide depth behind Clemens.
 
With Nick Foles having sustained a concussion week 7, the Eagles are expected to start Michael Vick week 8. Vick isn't completely over his hamstring injury, but he certainly is a better QB than Matt Barkley. Barkley hype ended as soon as he went into the game this weekend replacing Foles. Even if Foles passes his concussion protocols, he was so bad that I doubt he'll start another game as long as Vick can stand.
 
Despite making my eyes bleed for 3 hours last night, Josh Freeman will remain the Vikings starting QB week 8. Freeman was beyond inaccurate but the Vikings must think he'll be better as he gets more time. I agree with them since their only other options are Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel. But I would also agree with the vast majority of the media in saying Freeman was rushed into action too soon.  
 
Cleveland is expected to stick with Brandon Weeden as their starting QB week 8 despite Weeden having played awful week 7. Their only other option is Jason Campbell. That tells you all you need to know about how bad Weeden has played. They may change their minds, but I think they'll give Weeden one more chance before turning to Campbell.
 
After Case Keenum looked better than a Texans QB has looked since week 2, Houston gets the bye to mull their options. Matt Schaub may be recovered enough from a foot injury to play when they return week 9, but then again; he may not. We'll see how this plays out next week.  
 
 
Running Backs
 
Doug Martin reportedly suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder this weekend and his season is in jeopardy. There's been no word about the Bucs putting him on injured reserve yet so those of you with Martin need to hold onto him and see how this plays out. While it's likely he's going to end up on injured reserve, it hasn't been decided yet. What has been decided is that Martin won't play Thursday night, probably has no chance to play week 9 either. Mike James takes over as the primary RB for the Bucs and should be grabbed in all fantasy leagues. It's not that James is a special talent, but he's going to be the workhorse going forward. James is a power RB who also catches the ball fairly well. RB's who are likely to get 14+ carries regularly are rare on waiver wires and there's always the chance a fresh set of legs can produce in the middle of a season. James should be a top free agent add this week in all fantasy formats. Brian Leonard will be his backup and Bobby Rainey, who was released by Cleveland last week, will be the #3.
 
The Falcons say they are expecting Steven Jackson will be able to practice Wednesday despite being a slow healer from quad and hamstring injuries. Jackson has had a lot of time off to recover and as long as he can get in a couple of practices without setbacks, he's likely to return to game action this week. Tentatively expect to have Jackson back this week.
 
No word if DeMarco Murray will be able to play week 8 or not. Murray probably will sit out with his knee sprain as it's usually a 2-3 week recovery from his injury. We'll know more later in the week but for now, I'd be planning on keeping Murray on the bench. Joseph Randle did well enough as his replacement week 7 and probably would start again if Murray doesn't play. Randle may have some competition for carries though as Lance Dunbar is tentatively expected to finally return from a hamstring injury that has held him out the last few weeks.
 
Fred Jackson aggravated his sprained knee in week 7 and while he was able to finish the game, he likely will be rested in practices this week. With C.J. Spiller also struggling with his ankle injury we could see a little more of Tashard Choice in Buffalo's backfield week 8. Jackson is a tough guy though and will still be the best fantasy bet as long as he can play.
 
It's hoped that the bye week will be enough time for Arian Foster to recover from an aggravation of his hamstring injury. Foster left Sunday's game early with the injury and never returned. If Foster is still having issues next week, Ben Tate likely would be the Texans starting RB if a couple of cracked ribs in week 7 don't prevent him. Tate played through the injury week 7 so I would expect he should be okay to wear a flak jacket and play in week 9, but that's just speculation. Houston may look to sign a RB after they waived 3rd stringer Cierre Wood Monday. Wood blew a major potential opportunity when he and a couple of teammates were released for reportedly smoking marijuana at the team's hotel. Practice squad RB Ray Graham could be called up next week if Foster or Tate aren't expected to play.  
 
The Giants hope Brandon Jacobs will be back week 8 after he missed last night with a hamstring injury. But early week reports sound iffy at best for Jacobs and it could be another week of molasses man Peyton Hillis and stutter stepping rookie Michael Cox at RB for the Giants.
 
Pittsburgh released Isaac Redman on Monday. Redman failed to capitalize on opportunities to prove himself capable of being a good RB both last year and this year and had been inactive since Le'Veon Bell returned healthy. While there is a chance some RB needy team will acquire him there's little chance he'd be much of a fantasy factor.
 
Carolina's Jonathan Stewart practiced today and the team now will have 3 weeks to decide if they want to activate him to the active roster, or place him on injured reserve. Stewart is not expected to play week 8 but could be ready by week 9 if he suffers no setbacks. DeAngelo Williams owners need to pay attention as if Stewart does return to game action, it will cut into DW's playing time.
 
 
Wide Receivers
 
The Colts placed Reggie Wayne on injured reserve today. Wayne suffered a torn ACL week 7 and his 2013 season is done. Wayne will be 35 in November and as an older WR it's very possible this injury will end his career. It's difficult to see the upside of holding onto Wayne even in dynasty leagues. T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey will be the Colts starters going forward and both would be considerations for acquisition if available on your free agent wire.
 
Percy Harvin practiced today and now the Seahawks have 3 weeks to activate him to their active roster. There's a chance Harvin could be activated as soon as this week and then play Monday night against the Rams. But as of right now, I would expect week 9 as a more likely return date.
 
DeSean Jackson suffered a foot injury week 7 but he was able to play through it and finish the game. It's something I'm keeping track of during the week as originally I thought it looked pretty bad. Tentatively, I expect Jackson will be okay for week 8.
 
Brandon Marshall suffered a wrist injury week 7 but it's considered minor and he is expected to be fine for when the Bears return from their week 8 bye.
 
It's uncertain if James Jones will be able to play week 8 or not for Green Bay. Tentatively I am not expecting him to play but we'll hopefully have a better idea later in the week. Jarrett Boykin would start again if Jones can't play. If you are needy at WR and Boykin is still available in your league, you should snatch him up. Packers WR's in prominent offensive roles produce points.  
 
Also uncertain for week 8 is Atlanta's Roddy White. White missed week 7 because of hamstring and ankle injuries and may not be ready to return. Even if active, I would expect him to be just as limited as he was earlier in the season when he was a huge disappointment. Harry Douglas is a must add to fantasy rosters if he's still available. Drew Davis stepped in as the definite starter opposite Douglas last week over Kevin Cone but Davis is not an attractive fantasy option even if White misses week 8.
 
Tampa Bay's Mike Williams is tentatively expected to play Thursday night. Williams played through his hamstring injury Sunday but with it being a short week, he's not a lock to be active Thursday night. We should know more tomorrow.
 
Also unsure for week 8 is New England's Danny Amendola because of his concussion. There's been no word from the Patriots but we should get an indication of how things are going with him if he's able to practice this week.
 
 
Tight Ends
 
Green Bay's Jermichael Finley is very uncertain to play again in 2013 after suffering a bruised spinal cord injury week 7. While it's great news he didn't suffer any lengthy paralysis, he's not going to play any time soon and word is that the Packers are likely to place him on injured reserve rather than put him at any further risk this season. That hasn't happened yet though and may be more media speculation than anything based in fact. But it's clear at least Finley won't play week 8. Andrew Quarless will be the Packers starting TE, with Brandon Bostick likely to be the primary pass catching TE. We could also see an increase of playing time for Ryan Taylor. Quarless is a better blocker than receiver so I would say for those who like to speculate, Bostick is likely the better speculative grab.
 
It's too early in the week to know whether the week 7 bye was enough time for Jimmy Graham to recover from a foot injury suffered week 6. There seems to be a lot of early week speculation that Graham won't be ready to return. Expect this to come down to the wire and for Graham to be considered a game time decision. If he can't play, Ben Watson would step in as the Saints starter but Watson isn't near the receiver Graham is.  
 
Although I'm sure we're going to get a week of practice reports saying Rob Gronkowski is limited, he appeared to have emerged from playing week 7 without aggravating his arm or back injuries ad should be fine for week 8. I'll let you know if that changes.
 
Detroit released Tony Scheffler today. This should mean more opportunities for Joseph Fauria to take on a bigger role in the Lions passing attack.
 
 

 

2013 Defensive Fantasy Points Allowed per Game thru Week 7

FP/PG for all 32 NFL teams Against both the Run and Pass

2013 Rushing Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
 
Thru Week 7
 
Rk
Yd-Rk
Team
G
Yds
TD
FP/PG
Yds/G
1
5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6
533
1
9.88
88.8
2
4
Carolina Panthers
6
507
2
10.45
84.5
3
3
Green Bay Packers
6
474
3
10.9
79
4
16
Baltimore Ravens
7
730
1
11.29
104.3
5
11
Atlanta Falcons
6
598
2
11.97
99.7
6
2
New York Jets
7
544
5
12.06
77.7
7
17
San Diego Chargers
7
738
2
12.26
105.4
8
7
Arizona Cardinals
7
679
3
12.27
97
9
8
Cincinnati Bengals
7
685
3
12.36
97.9
9
6
Seattle Seahawks
7
641
4
12.59
91.6
11
20
Kansas City Chiefs
7
769
2
12.7
109.9
12
13
Dallas Cowboys
7
714
3
12.77
102
13
1
Denver Broncos
7
540
7
13.71
77.1
14
28
Buffalo Bills
7
865
2
14.07
123.6
15
12
Philadelphia Eagles
7
708
5
14.4
101.1
16
9
Oakland Raiders
6
594
5
14.9
99
17
15
Miami Dolphins
6
617
5
15.28
102.8
18
21
New York Giants
7
770
5
15.29
110
19
22
New Orleans Saints
6
684
4
15.4
114
20
23
Detroit Lions
7
806
5
15.8
115.1
21
31
New England Patriots
7
890
4
16.14
127.1
22
27
Indianapolis Colts
7
856
5
16.51
122.3
23
18
San Francisco 49ers
7
747
7
16.67
106.7
24
19
Pittsburgh Steelers
6
656
6
16.93
109.3
25
14
Minnesota Vikings
6
614
7
17.23
102.3
26
26
Houston Texans
7
855
6
17.36
122.1
27
9
Cleveland Browns
7
693
9
17.61
99
28
24
Tennessee Titans
7
820
8
18.57
117.1
29
25
Chicago Bears
7
821
8
18.58
117.3
30
30
St. Louis Rams
7
885
7
18.64
126.4
31
29
Washington Redskins
6
757
9
21.62
126.2
32
32
Jacksonville Jaguars
7
1073
9
23.04
153.3
 
Remember the generic formula:
 
*-Total Yards allowed divided by 10 (representing 1 point for every 10 rushing yards allowed)

*-Rushing TD's allowed multiplied by 6 (representing 6 points for every TD allowed)

*-Add the two totals together and divide by number of games played
 
2013 Receiving Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
 
Thru Week 7
 
Rk
Yd-Rk
Team
G
Yds
TD
FP/PG
Yds/G
1
1
Houston Texans
7
1107
10
24.39
158.1
2
2
Pittsburgh Steelers
6
1228
5
25.47
204.7
3
3
Seattle Seahawks
7
1500
6
26.57
214.3
4
4
Kansas City Chiefs
7
1607
6
28.1
229.6
5
7
Tennessee Titans
7
1663
6
28.9
237.6
6
8
Carolina Panthers
6
1441
5
29.02
240.2
7
10
New England Patriots
7
1702
7
30.31
243.1
8
5
Cleveland Browns
7
1634
9
31.06
233.4
9
9
Indianapolis Colts
7
1698
8
31.11
242.6
10
6
San Francisco 49ers
7
1648
9
31.26
235.4
11
13
New Orleans Saints
6
1492
7
31.87
248.7
12
11
New York Jets
7
1713
10
33.04
244.7
13
14
Cincinnati Bengals
7
1776
11
34.8
253.7
14
15
Oakland Raiders
6
1559
9
34.98
259.8
15
18
Baltimore Ravens
7
1838
11
35.69
262.6
16
17
St. Louis Rams
7
1836
12
36.51
262.3
17
26
Miami Dolphins
6
1725
8
36.75
287.5
18
12
Jacksonville Jaguars
7
1726
15
37.51
246.6
19
23
Chicago Bears
7
1982
11
37.74
283.1
20t
19
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6
1620
11
38
270
20t
27
San Diego Chargers
7
2060
10
38
294.3
22
16
New York Giants
7
1835
14
38.21
262.1
23
28
Detroit Lions
7
2082
10
38.31
297.4
24
20
Arizona Cardinals
7
1907
13
38.39
272.4
25
22
Washington Redskins
6
1697
11
39.28
282.8
26
25
Green Bay Packers
6
1720
12
40.67
286.7
27
21
Buffalo Bills
7
1948
15
40.69
278.3
28
24
Atlanta Falcons
6
1716
14
42.6
286
29
30
Dallas Cowboys
7
2183
14
43.19
311.9
30
29
Minnesota Vikings
6
1806
14
44.1
301
31
31
Philadelphia Eagles
7
2282
14
44.6
326
32
32
Denver Broncos
7
2374
14
45.91
339.1
 
Remember the generic formula:

*-Total Yards allowed divided by 10 (representing 1 point for every 10 receiving yards allowed)

*-Receiving TD's allowed multiplied by 6 (representing 6 points for every TD allowed)

*-Add the two totals together and divide by number of games played
 

 

2013 Fantasy Football News and Notes: Week 7

AFC EAST
 
Buffalo: Rookie QB E.J. Manuel remains OUT with a knee injury and won't be back until around week 12. Thaddeus Lewis suffered a foot injury week 6 as his replacement but is Probable and will start again this week. Matt Flynn was signed to be his backup as the Bills have no faith in Jeff Tuel being effective if needed. RB C.J. Spiller is Probable despite being hobbled by an ankle injury. Spiller has explosive potential any time he touches the ball even with the ankle issue, but he's on the wrong side of the time share with surprising Fred Jackson. Jackson's playing like a strong fantasy RB2 while Spiller more often than not is a mediocre RB3. But it's hard to not have his big play ability in fantasy lineups. WR Steve Johnson is also Probable and will play this week after missing last week with a back injury.
 
Miami: Brandon Gibson is Questionable with a hip injury and will be a game time decision. This could be a good week for WR Mike Wallace as the Bills have allowed 9 passing plays of 40+ yards (second most in the league). Both he and teammate Brian Hartline make good considerations for fantasy WR2/3's or flex options. RB Lamar Miller should be able to get some good yards this week as the Bills run defense ranks 28th in rush yards allowed. Hopefully he does enough to push Daniel Thomas into a backup role instead of the inexplicable timeshare the two still get.
 
New England: After being cleared by his own independent doctors on Friday, Rob Gronkowski is expected to make his 2013 debut and play this week. Gronkowski is officially listed as Questionable, but all reports say he will play. It's considered likely he won't be limited at all and if you've been holding onto him, you can finally start him. WR Danny Amendola is OUT with a concussion. It's unknown if this is a one week concussion, or it's a multiple week concussion. Even though Julian Edelman is listed as Questionable with a thigh injury, he is expected to play and be fine. Expect Edelman to be an oft-targeted WR this week, but likely to be only better than fellow WR's Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson in the ppr format. RB Brandon Bolden is expected to be fine for his normal role as 3rd down RB and change of pace despite being listed again as Questionable with a knee injury. Stevan Ridley finally had a great game last week and if he can have a repeat against a strong Jets run defense this week, he'll clearly be back in the good graces of both the Patriots, and fantasy owners.
 
New York Jets: With Mike Goodson OUT the rest of the season with a torn ACL, Bilal Powell (Probable; neck) and Chris Ivory (Probable; hamstring) are going to split up RB duties. Powell has been operating as the top in the RBBC, but if Ivory can stay healthy, it's likely Powell will move into the 3rd down and complimentary role with Ivory in the lead. It hasn't happened yet, but probably is coming in a couple of weeks. WR Santonio Holmes is expected to miss a couple more weeks because of a hamstring injury. TE Kellen Winslow was suspended 4 games by the NFL for violating the league's ban on PED's. Jeff Cumberland is the Jets starting TE.
 
AFC NORTH
 
Baltimore: With the exception of Brandon Stokley (Doubtful; thigh), the Ravens are finally healthy at WR. Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones aren't on the injury report at all. The rotation opposite Torrey Smith will be interesting to watch over the next few games as Jones adds an element of speed Brown and Doss lack, but Doss has had strong performances while those two were battling injuries. Ray Rice also isn't on the injury report either but he needs to get on track. He's only got 284 total yards and 3 TD's in 5 games played. Maybe now that he's healthy he'll start doing something.
 
Cincinnati: Despite the timeshare going on between Giovani Bernard and Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Bernard is producing like a high end fantasy RB2. The Lions give up nearly 125 rushing yards per game on average so there should be more good stats coming from Bernard (and maybe BGE, too). Andy Dalton had his best game of the year in week 6, but there's clearly some disconnect going on as that was his first 300+ yard game of the year and the first time he's thrown for 3 TD's. Last year through 6 weeks, Dalton had three 300+ yard games and three games with 3 passing TD's. Rookie TE Tyler Eifert and veteran TE Jermaine Gresham continue to cancel each other out in games. Combined, their 43 receptions for 435 yards would be pretty good (although neither has scored a TD yet). But those split up almost evenly between the two of them barely makes each a fantasy TE3.
 
Cleveland: Willis McGahee is Probable and will start and be fine despite a minor knee injury. It's a tough matchup against a surprisingly strong Green Bay run defense though and McG can't be counted as anything more than a RB3. The Browns released backup RB Bobby Rainey this week, leaving the backup spot to Chris Ogbonnaya. Ogbonnaya isn't special, but he dominates passing downs as he is a much better pass catcher and blocker than McGahee. While the Browns deny shopping WR Josh Gordon I bet they'd jump on the chance to get a second round pick for him if offered. I won't be surprised if that happens before the trade deadline October 29th. Brandon Weeden continues to get criticized and it's a good bet that if the Browns had a better backup QB than Jason Campbell, they'd be sitting Weeden, even if he hasn't played too poorly. You gotta feel for a guy who was so highly believed in by the former regime last year and was willing to let him go throw growing pains, to a regime that doesn't hide the fact they wished they didn't have you.
 
Pittsburgh: With rookie Markus Wheaton OUT (finger) Jerricho Cotchery is the #3 WR. Cotchery has been surprisingly effective this season as in 4 games played, he's managed to put up a 15-248-2 stat line. The desperate at WR could do worse as while he lacks big play ability, he just seems to get passes thrown his way. From a fantasy perspective, he's out producing Emmanuel Sanders (23-301-1 in 5 games). Rookie RB Le'Veon Bell struggled last week against a strong Jets run defense but should find it easier against the Ravens. The Ravens were gashed by Packers rookie RB Eddie Lacy last week and Bell is very similar to Lacy in terms of being a power RB.
 
AFC SOUTH
 
Houston: With Matt Schaub OUT with ankle and foot injuries, and T.J. Yates having been so bad last week replacing him after he got injured, Case Keenum will start for Houston. Keenum lacks an NFL arm and stands barely over 6'0" tall, so this could very well be a case of "be careful of what you wish for" Texans fans. But we don't know whether Keenum will be better than expected or flop terribly. At least he has a strong running game and one of the game's best WR's to throw to. Expect a heavy dose of Arian Foster (Probable; thumb, chest, and hamstring) and probably a bit more of Ben Tate as well. I also would expect that Keenum will be looking a lot for Andre Johnson. Johnson will either be big or a big bust this week. The severity of Schaub's injuries is unknown so we don't know if he'll be available next week or not.
 
Indianapolis: Trent Richardson is still struggling despite having had over a month now to get in rhythm with his new offense. Richardson has run hard and been elusive, but either the Colts aren't giving him enough carries (only 10 last week) or he is missing something in his game. Expect the Colts to score points n Denver, but not enough to win the game. Luck, Wayne, Hilton, and Richardson should score plenty enough to be strong fantasy players though.
 
Jacksonville: Both starting WR's, Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts, are Questionable and both are considered to be game time decisions. Blackmon has a hamstring injury while Shorts has a sternoclavicular joint sprain. Both players have said they are going to play, but it's hard to trust they will be effective. I think the reason they'll both be active is because WR's Ace Sanders and Stephen Burton are OUT week 7 with concussions. This leaves Blackmon, Shorts, Mike Brown, and Stephen Williams as the only remaining WR's on the roster. Blackmon is still likely to prove good enough to be considered a fantasy WR2/3, but I have little hope for any of the others. TE Marcedes Lewis is expected to play. He's Probable and should be able to play through a calf injury he's struggled all season with. Blackmon and Shorts would have both been good fantasy bets if healthy given a nice matchup against San Diego, but now it's hard to trust either.
 
Tennessee: Latest reports say that barring any setbacks in pregame warmups tomorrow that Jake Locker will start at QB this week. Locker has only missed 2 games because of hip and knee injuries suffered 3 weeks ago. It's doubtful he'll be near 100% effective, but as of now, it looks like Ryan Fitzpatrick will go back to the bench. RB Shonn Greene is supposed to return this week and play for the first time since week 1 when he suffered a minor knee injury. Greene will move back into the top backup and short yardage/goal line RB role behind Chris Johnson. WR Kenny Britt could likely be had for a 7th round pick and it's a tribute to how screwed up he is off the field that no team is willing to part with a low draft pick for him despite his immense natural talent.
 
AFC WEST
 
Denver: Peyton Manning returns to Indianapolis for the first time since the Colts released him. After Colts owner Jim Irsay had some questionable remarks about the lack of championships Manning won in Indy earlier in the week, I have every expectation that Manning will throw for several TD's, and probably run up a score without trying too much. The difference in talent between the two teams is striking and throwing gasoline on the fireball that is the Broncos  offense was just dumb.
 
Kansas City: Rookie TE Travis Kelce was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. He has dynasty potential but re-draft leaguers should have given up hope a while ago. TE Anthony Fasano is finally expected to play after missing a few games with knee and ankle injuries. His return isn't fantasy impactful other than it likely ends Sean McGrath's reign as a middling fantasy TE2. Alex Smith might think he's in heaven this week as he doesn't throw for a lot of yards and the Texans don't allow opponents to throw for a lot of yards. It's a match for both sides. Smith doesn't put up great numbers when he has great matchups so he should be avoided this week. I think I saw Dwayne Bowe on the side of a milk carton this week.
 
Oakland: The Raiders are on bye this week and we'll revisit them next week.
 
San Diego: There was a Ryan Mathews sighting week 6 and with another great matchup this week, Mathews has a good chance for a second consecutive strong performance. Danny Woodhead has really taken on a strong offensive presence and is being even better utilized now than he was in New England. WR Eddie Royal is Questionable after not practicing all week because of a toe injury. Even if active, he's been bypassed by impressive rookie Keenan Allen. Allen appears to have earned Philip Rivers' trust and Allen is a strong fantasy WR2 with a matchup against Jacksonville this week.
 
NFC EAST
 
Dallas: With DeMarco Murray Doubtful with a sprained knee and normal top backup RB Lance Dunbar OUT with a hamstring injury, rookie Joseph Randle is expected to start and carry the load for the Cowboys this week. Dallas has said Murray could still end up being active, but I doubt it. I expect Randle to dominate RB snaps and be backed up by Phillip Tanner. Randle isn't a special talent, but he's a high effort guy and runs and catches the ball well enough. Randle is a consideration as a low end fantasy RB2 this week with a great matchup against a suspect Eagles defense. Miles Austin is Probable and will play despite sitting out a couple of practices this week to rest his injured hamstring. Austin played week 6 but was shut out of the boxscore. He could be again despite a good matchup. I actually prefer rookie Terrence Williams and think Williams is not just the better fantasy play this week, but could be the better WR going forward and push Austin out of the starting lineup.  
 
New York Giants: RB Brandon Jacobs is Questionable and considered a game time decision for Monday night because of a hamstring injury. This is part of why it's hard to trust 31 year old RB's who 6 weeks were sitting at home: they don't heal up as quickly as they used to. Peyton Hillis was signed during the week and probably would be the favorite for a high amount of work over Michael Cox. The Giants have had plenty of chances to give Cox playing time and they've done everything they can to not have him in games. Jacobs is a huge risk, and I'd only chance him if I also had Hillis I could switch him out for at a moment's notice if come Monday we learn Jacobs isn't able to play. If you saw my week 7 MFL game predictions, you'll see I like the Gants to get the win over Minnesota this week. I think Eli Manning is going to tear it up against the Vikings last ranked fantasy pass defense.
 
Philadelphia: Nick Foles will start at QB again this week despite Michael Vick being listed as Questionable and also listed as having practiced in full Friday. Vick says publicly that his hamstring injury isn't healed up yet (which is probably true) enough for him to do all that he normally does. And that he won't come back until it is. But I think this is a very simple case of while Foles is playing well, he'll remain the starter. The first time Foles struggles in a game, Vick's hamstring will be pronounced 100% healed up and he'll get the job back. That's just my speculation by reading between the lines though. Vick is likely to be active again this week as the "emergency" QB, just like he was last week. Foles is a strong fantasy QB1 this week with a great matchup against the Cowboys suspect secondary. The TE reps are getting more even between Brent Celek and rookie Zach Ertz. Ertz has only 1 fewer receptions than Celek so far on the season and is starting to get more incorporated into the offense. Keep an eye on Ertz's development as with no true #2 WR on the team, Ertz could emerge in the second half of the season as a good fantasy TE.
 
Washington: RG3 has lobbied for more designed QB running plays to be called and so it's hoped that he will start producing like he was last year before suffering that devastating knee injury. That may also help out RB Alfred Morris. Morris has been pretty steady, but hasn't been a real powerhouse like he was last season. Of course, with Washington falling behind in games, and passing down duties being manned by Roy Helu, Morris has had a tough time getting carries as he averages just over 14 rushing attempts per game through 5 games. TE Jordan Reed continues to assert himself as the top receiving TE and should be considered a strong fantasy TE2 going forward.
 
NFC NORTH
 
Chicago: TE Martellus Bennett is Questionable and while expected to play, he could be a game time decision because of a knee injury he's been playing through. Tentatively pencil him into starting lineups with a great matchup this week. QB Jay Cutler should be a strong fantasy consideration as he gets a Redskins pass D that allows 293 passing yards and 2 passing TD's each game on average.
 
Detroit: Calvin Johnson is Probable and practiced each day this week, which is a rarity even when he's healthy. It's expected that while he isn't 100% on that knee injury he's been nursing, he should be able to do a lot more than the limited snaps he played last week. I'm still a little hesitant to declare him his usual "must play" self though. But he should be considered as a strong fantasy WR2. Kris Durham has taken over as the starter opposite Megatron and could continue to surprise since much hyped Ryan Broyles doesn't seem to be doing much despite opportunity. Durham may continue to push for playing time even when Nate Burleson returns from a broken arm injury in a few weeks. TE Joseph Fauria continues to excel as a big red zone target, but he needs to start getting more looks between the 20's as you can't rely on TD's every week from him. Backup RB Joique Bell is tentatively expected to play this week despite a bruised ribs injury. But he can't be relied on as even a flex option with the uncertainty. It's unknown if Theo Riddick will be active (Questionable; concussion) so it could be Mikel Leshoure who is the top backup to Reggie Bush this week. Bush is the only Lions RB worthy of fantasy consideration though.
 
Green Bay: WR Randall Cobb was placed on the injured reserve/designated for return list after suffering a lower leg fracture last week. He's eligible to return in week 15. For fantasy purposes though, it's unknown if he'll be back by then and those in re-draft leagues should have dropped him. WR James Jones is listed as Questionable for week 7 despite not having practiced at all this week because of a knee sprain suffered last week. Jones is considered a game time decision and I expect if he's active, he'll be used in a very limited fashion, making him not a fantasy factor at all. Jarrett Boykin likely takes over as a starter opposite Jordy Nelson and the Packers called up practice squad WR Myles White to be their #3 (if Jones doesn't play) or #4 (if Jones does). They also claimed WR Chris Harper off waivers after he was let go by the 49ers. Boykin could make a very sneaky fantasy play this week with Jordy Nelson likely drawing Browns CB Joe Haden most of the day. I also expect Jermichael Finley will get more playing time at WR and he could have a bump up in value. The main guy who could benefit is rookie RB Eddie Lacy. Lacy is a feature style RB who could get 20+ carries with the injuries at WR as the Packers would be foolish to not try to balance their offense. James Starks is OUT again with his knee injury so Johnathan Franklin will be Lacy's backup, but he has little chance for fantasy value unless Lacy gets injured.
 
Minnesota: The Josh Freeman era begins in Minnesota. Matt Cassel has been demoted to 3rd string after a horrible showing week 6. Christian Ponder will be Freeman's backup the rest of the season. Freeman will have some struggles, but I think he's also going to prove to be an improvement over what the Vikings have seen from Ponder and Cassel. Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson may actually discover fantasy value with Freeman at the helm. RB Adrian Peterson is Probable and will start without issue despite having a minor hamstring injury. Kicker Blair Walsh is also Probable and will fine to kick despite having a hamstring issue on his non-kicking leg.
 
NFC SOUTH
 
Atlanta: With Julio Jones out for the year, and Roddy White OUT for week 7 with hamstring and ankle injuries, Harry Douglas will start and Drew Davis and Kevin Cone will vie for targets opposite him. Matt Ryan will have his work cut out for him. RB Steven Jackson is now listed as having a hamstring injury and not just a quad bruise as was originally reported each week since sustaining the injury back in week 2. Jackson is OUT for week 7 leaving Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling (Probable; concussion) to split up the RB duties. Atlanta's season is sinking and if they lose this week, they may be in a serious downward spiral they won't recover from.
 
Carolina: TE Greg Olsen is Probable despite a foot injury. He keeps playing through it, but is clearly being affected by it in games. RB DeAngelo Williams stands a good chance of being an excellent fantasy RB2 this week with a matchup against the Rams soft as butter run defense. RB Jonathan Stewart still isn't able to practice and the Panthers have a few weeks to decide if they will activate him from the PUP list or place him on injured reserve. I'm betting on IR as he's still having issues with one of the ankle's he had surgery on way back towards the beginning of the year. The combination of Williams and Mike Tolbert seems to be doing just fine and if rookie Kenjon Barner can stay healthy, he might carve a niche out eventually too.
 
New Orleans: The Saints are bye this week and we'll revisit them next week.
 
Tampa Bay: WR Mike Williams is Questionable with a hamstring injury that caused him to miss week 6, but he is expected to play week 7. RB Doug Martin is overdue for a big game and with the reeling Falcons on the schedule this week it could be he gets it going against them. Rookie Mike Glennon gets a lot more slack from the coaching staff than former starter Josh Freeman ever did. Freeman was blamed by the coaching staff when his team's defense gave up late 4th quarter leads. Glennon had the Bucs with a lead at halftime week 6, but then the defense gave it up in the second half and Glennon never came close to getting them into the end zone again. But he isn't getting any blame. I will not be surprised if Greg Schiano is the first head coach fired in the NFL in 2013.
 
NFC WEST
 
Arizona: Larry Fitzgerald played through his bothersome hamstring injury Thursday night, but it was a contributing factor in his poor stat line. Bruce Arians says he isn't thinking of benching struggling Carson Palmer, but he'll have no choice soon if Palmer doesn't stop throwing interceptions. There's a difference between Eli Manning throwing INT's and keeping his job and Palmer throwing INT's and keeping his job: Manning has 2 Super Bowl Rings. Drew Stanton needs to start getting some first team reps in practice and be ready for his chance. It's coming soon.
 
St. Louis: Zac Stacy has solidified his role as the Rams top RB. Nice to be right about someone as I've been saying it since the draft: Stacy is the Rams best RB and should be starting. Daryl Richardson has stepped into a backup role with Isaiah Pead the #3 RB. WR Tavon Austin's role has been decreasing and while some blame QB Sam Bradford, I think Austin's immense hype was just that: a lot of hype. Smaller WR's don't come in and make instant impacts very often.
 
San Francisco: WR Jonathan Baldwin is Questionable because of an illness. He's failed to take advantage of increased playing time and may find himself on the bottom of the pecking order soon. Mario Manningham is expected back in the next 2 weeks. Manningham isn't a great WR coming off a torn ACL, but he's easily better than anyone else the 49ers could start opposite Anquan Boldin. The 49ers are blowing it by not acquiring someone like Josh Gordon, Hakeem Nicks, or Kenny Britt to provide them with some immediate help while they cling to hope of Michael Crabtree returning sometime in December.  
 
Seattle: There's a chance WR Percy Harvin is back in either week 8 or 9. Harvin reportedly is ahead of schedule on his recovery from hip surgery and could be activated as soon as next week. His return would likely be timely if the sprained foot injury Golden Tate suffered Thursday turns out to be serious.  
 

Fantasy Football News and Notes 10-17-13

News and Notes from Thursday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Show

Fantasy News and Notes 10-17-13:
 
BYE WEEKS: New Orleans, Oakland
 
Quarterbacks
 
Houston named Case Keenum their starting QB week 7. Matt Schaub has been ruled OUT with his ankle injury. Keenum is a second year player who spent all of last season on the Texans practice squad. He's not big, nor does he have a big arm, but he was very prolific in college and the Texans are looking for a spark after usual backup T.J. Yates was awful replacing Schaub last week.
 
Thaddeus Lewis practiced in full again today and is fully expected to start this week despite having a sprained foot. One of the things that made Lewis look good last week was his mobility so a drop in that could mean for a much poorer performance this week. But apparently Buffalo believes a hobbled Lewis is a better option than Matt Flynn. E.J. Manuel is not expected back until week 11 or 13. The Bills have the bye in week 12.
 
Michael Vick declared himself out for week 7. Vick's hamstring supposedly isn't healing up as quick as hoped. But I think how bad the hamstring is probably is directly tied to how well Nick Foles performs. If Foles struggles week 7 I won't be at all surprised if it magically is a whole lot better next week. If Foles does great again, the hamstring probably will need at least another week before it's healed up.  
 
Jake Locker has been cleared for contact in practices and took part in a limited practice again today for the Titans. While he hasn't been ruled out for week7, it's highly unlikely he'll be ready to play that soon. But it is starting to look like he will be back in week 9. Tennessee has the bye in week 8.
 
 
Running Backs
 
Adrian Peterson was limited in practice today because of a listed hamstring issue. It's believed that AP is fine and the Vikings are just being very careful with any type of discomfort their star RB may have. I fully expect AP will be fine for Monday night.
 
Arian Foster was held out of practice today. He's listed with thumb, chest, and hamstring injuries. The thumb and chest issues were listed yesterday when he practiced in full, but the hamstring is new. While it's not currently believed to be a serious concern, I'll feel a whole lot beter about Foster if he can at get in a limited practice tomorrow. We'll see how he's listed on tomorrow's injury report.
 
C.J. Spiller returned to a limited practice today and he is expected to be fine for his recent role as change of pace to Fred Jackson for Buffalo.
 
Steven Jackson missed practice again today for Atlanta and while not ruled out yet, he is not going to play this week.
 
Zac Stacy returned to a full practice today. Stacy will be just fine for the Rams matchup against Carolina this week.
 
Maurice Jones-Drew also returned to a full practice today. He'll be fine for week 7.
 
Cleveland's Willis McGahee was held out of practice today because of a listed knee injury. McGahee wasn't on the Wednesday injury list so it's not known if this is a new injury, or just a day of rest for a guy who 4 weeks ago was sitting at home. It's a poor matchup against a surprisingly strong Green Bay run defense, so I already have about 30 other RB's I'd rather have in a fantasy starting lineup.
 
As expected, Brandon Jacobs returned to a limited practice today after resting a sore hamstring yesterday. Jacobs will be fine for Monday night.
 
Tennessee is expected to have Shonn Greene back this week. Greene has missed the last few weeks recovering from a minor knee procedure. His expected return pushes Jackie Battle back to being 3rd on the Titans RB depth chart. Greene is likely to handle short yardage and goal line work.
 
 
Wide Receivers
 
Justin Blackmon returned to a limited practice today after sitting out yesterday with a minor hamstring issue. He's fully expected to be fine for this week. Cecil Shorts also got in a limited practice, but reports are that he is having a hard time raising his arms above his head and he is considered to be a game time decision. It sounds more likely that Shorts will miss week 7 than it does he will play.  
 
Calvin Johnson got in a second consecutive limited practice today. Apparently he made it through yesterday's limited practice without any setbacks in his knee injury and it's expected that he will play a bigger role week 7 than he was able to in week 6.
 
No practice again today for Atlanta's Roddy White because of hamstring and ankle injuries. It's looking like even if he is active, he is going to be even more limited than he was the first 5 weeks of the season.
 
James Jones didn't practice again today and I think it's very likely he is either going to be ruled out or listed as Doubtful on Friday's injury report because of his knee injury. Jarrett Boykin is a guy to grab off waiver wires if you have a need at WR and he's available
 
New England's Danny Amendola missed practice today because of a concussion suffered week 6. I not only doubt he plays this week, but considering his inability to recover quickly from injuries, I'll be surprised if he plays week 8.  
 
After getting in a limited practice yesterday, Steve Johnson put in a full practice today and is now fully expected to be fine for week 7 after missing last week with a back injury.
 
After practicing in full yesterday, Miles Austin was held out of today's practice for Dallas. It's believed to be just a day of rest for Austin as the Cowboys know only too well his lengthy hamstring injury history. As long as he practices tomorrow, he should be just fine for week 7. I'm still of the opinion that rookie Terrence Williams is a better fantasy bet and will eventually push Austin out of the starting lineup. It's not that Austin lacks talent; he lacks the ability to stay healthy.
 
Tampa Bay's Mike Williams got in a second consecutive limited practice today. While the hamstring injury isn't completely healed up, it's starting to look he will be okay to play week 7.
 
 
Tight Ends
 
As expected, Chicago's Martellus Bennett returned to practice today after sitting out yesterday's with a minor knee injury. Bennett should be fine for week 7.
 
Greg Olsen also returned to practice today after sitting out yesterday with a foot injury. He's limited by it some, but he is expected to play week 7.
 
Marcedes Lewis practiced for a second consecutive day today. It looks like he will be able to play this week after missing most of the season with a calf injury.
 
 
Kickers
 
Minnesota's Blair Walsh was held out of practice today because of a hamstring injury. Walsh played through the injury to his non-kicking leg week 6 and likely the Vikings are just resting him so as to not take chances on aggravating it. Right now, I'm not too concerned about him being in danger of not kicking Monday night.
 

 

NFL Game Picks and Survivor Pool Lock: Week 7

Russ Bliss Predicts the Winners of each NFL Game this week

Week 6 wasn't as good as I had hoped. 10-5 is okay, but nothing that inspires a "whoo-hoo!" or anything like it. It puts me at an incredibly mediocre 58-34 for the season and I need to take it up a notch going forward. Unfortunately, I have a high amount of road teams winning this week, and that's usually not a good thing. But I call 'em the way I see 'em, even if I get it wrong.
 
Here are my Week 7 NFL Game Predictions:
 
Seattle 17, Arizona 16
Miami 23, Buffalo 16
Chicago 27, Washington 20
Detroit 20, Cincinnati 17
Dallas 31, Philadelphia 27
New England 23, NY Jets 13
San Diego 24, Jacksonville 17
St. Louis 24, Carolina 21
Atlanta 20, Tampa Bay 17
San Francisco 23, Tennessee 20
Pittsburgh 24, Baltimore 23
Green Bay 24, Cleveland 17
Kansas City 30, Houston 20
Denver 42, Indianapolis 28
NY Giants 27, Minnesota 24
 
There you have them: my week 7 NFL game picks.
 
In my Survivor Pool Locks, I improved to 5-1 as Kansas City came through and beat the Raiders in Arrowhead last week for the first time since 2006. I knew the Law of Averages was on my side there. Here are the weekly picks and results to date:
 
Week 1 (W; 21-17) Indianapolis over Oakland
Week 2 (L; 30-33) Philadelphia over San Diego
Week 3 (W; 45-17) Seattle over Jacksonville
Week 4 (W; 52-20) Denver over Philadelphia
Week 5 (W; 34-20) St. Louis over Jacksonville
Week 6 (W; 24-7) Kansas City over Oakland
 
Week 7 poses a bit of a challenge since my two favorite teams this week aren't available for me to pick as I've already used them. And while I'm pretty confident in one of the road teams this week, I always have doubts when picking divisional rivals. But the simple fact is that the Patriots are the far superior team to the Jets and Geno Smith has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. Usually on the road, the Pats beat the Jets pretty convincingly. Doesn't always work that way, but it's typically been a good pick. If Smith plays well, this game will be close; if he plays poorly, I can the Patriots running away with it.
 
My Survivor Pool Lock for Week 7 is: the New England Patriots over the New York Jets
 
Best of luck to all in your own picks!
 

 

Fantasy Football News and Notes 10-16-13

News and Notes from Wednesday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Program

Fantasy News and Notes 10-16-13:
 
BYE WEEKS: New Orleans, Oakland
 
Quarterbacks
 
Minnesota named Josh Freeman their starting QB for Monday night's game against the New York Giants. Freeman s likely to remain the Vikings starting QB the rest of the season barring awful performances. Christian Ponder is expected to be the backup and Matt Cassel drops to being the #3.
 
Thaddeus Lewis practiced in full today and is expected to be able to start this week for Buffalo despite having a sprained foot. One of the things that made Lewis look good last week was his mobility so a drop in that could mean for a much poorer performance this week. But apparently Buffalo believes a hobbled Lewis is a better option than Matt Flynn. E.J. Manuel is not expected back until week 11 or 13. The Bills have the bye in week 12.
 
Matt Schaub was unable to practice today and while he hasn't been ruled out yet for week 7, it's considered unlikely he'll be able to play with his ankle injury. T.J. Yates and Case Keenum split up the first team reps in practice today and there's been no word on which player the Texans are leaning towards. It may take until Friday before a starter is announced.
 
Just like last week, Michael Vick is practicing in limited fashion this week, but he will not start week 7. Vick is still having some issues with his hamstring injury and the Eagles won't bring him back until the injury is totally healed up. Nick Foles will start again for the Eagles this week.
 
Jake Locker was able to take part in a very limited practice today for the Titans. Locker has been out the last 2 games because of hip and knee injuries. He isn't expected back until week 9 the soonest, and maybe not even then. Ryan Fitzpatrick will continue to start until he can return.
 
 
Running Backs
 
As expected, both DeMarco Murray (knee) and Lance Dunbar (hamstring) were unable to practice today. Neither is expected to play week 7. Rookie Joseph Randle is expected to start for Dallas this week and be backed up by Phillip Tanner.
 
C.J. Spiller was held out of Bills practice today because of his ankle injury. Spiller played through it week 6 but was clearly affected by it and while expected to play this week, at best it looks like he'll be on the wrong side of a split situation again with Fred Jackson this week. Until Spiller gets over the injury he's a dicey fantasy bet as a RB2/3.
 
Steven Jackson still has yet to practice for Atlanta despite it having been nearly 5 weeks since he injured his hamstring. He hasn't been ruled out yet, but he's not expected to play week 7. Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling will split the load again in his place. Snelling practiced in full today and appears to have gotten over a concussion he suffered week 5.
 
Marshawn Lynch is Probable for Seattle's Thursday night game against Arizona. He'll be fine despite a minor hip issue.
 
The Rams held Zac Stacy out of practice today. This is just like last week when Stacy sat out Wednesday's practice to rest a chest injury. Stacy has literally taken the Rams RB starting job and ran away with it and is fully expected to be fine for week 7.
 
Maurice Jones-Drew didn't practice today but the Jaguars say it wasn't injury related. It's probably just a scheduled day of rest for him.
 
Detroit's Joique Bell got in a limited practice today despite having bruised ribs. He should be okay for his normal backup role to Reggie Bush week 7.
 
James Starks has already been ruled OUT for week 7 because of his lingering knee injury. Johnathan Franklin looks like he'll backup Eddie Lacy again this week. With the way Lacy is playing, Starks is purely a Lacy handcuff for fantasy owners when he eventually gets healthy.
 
The Giants signed Peyton Hillis today. Hillis is expected to get some playing time Monday night as a backup to Brandon Jacobs, but he'll split backup duties with rookie Michael Cox. Jacobs has a sore hamstring, but is fully expected to be fine for Monday night.
 
 
Wide Receivers
 
Larry Fitzgerald practiced in full today and is listed as Probable for Arizona's game against Seattle tomorrow night. Fitz may be limited some because of his hamstring injury but he will play and you can consider him if you lack other quality options.  
 
Justin Blackmon sat out practice today. He's listed as having a hamstring issue. But I expect he's just a little sore after such a huge workload week 6. Providing he returns to practice tomorrow he should be fine for week 7. His teammate, Cecil Shorts, also didn't practice. But unlike Blackmon, Shorts is in real danger of not playing this week because of his sternoclavicular joint sprain.
 
Calvin Johnson was a surprise participant in practice today. Officially, Johnson got in a limited practice. Johnson rarely practices on Wednesday's even when healthy so this could be a good sign that he'll be able to be more than a decoy week 7 for the Lions. If he practices again Thursday and Friday, I might even consider starting him in my lineups.
 
James Jones didn't practice today and while he hasn't been ruled out for week 7 yet, he's not likely to play. Jarrett Boykin is expected to start in his place for the Packers.
 
Andre Johnson was limited in practice because of his shin injury. He's been playing through it though and is fully expected to do so again week 7 for the Texans.
 
Danny Amendola missed practice today because of a concussion suffered week 6. He isn't expected to play this week for New England.
 
Roddy White was held out of practice today because of his hamstring and ankle injuries. White is very questionable to play for Atlanta week 7.
 
Buffalo's Steve Johnson was able to practice in limited fashion today. Johnson missed week 6 with a back injury. Barring any setbacks, I expect Johnson will be able to play this week.
 
It's hoped that after getting in a limited practice today Tampa Bay's Mike Williams will be able to play week 7. Williams sat out week 6 with a hamstring injury.
 
Eddie Royal missed practice today because of a toe injury. Royal's been bypassed by rookie Keenan Allen in the Chargers WR pecking order.
 
Tight Ends
 
Seattle's Zach Miller is listed as Probable and will play tomorrow night for the first time in a couple of games. Miller has been battling a hamstring injury. Considering the problems the Cardinals have had covering TE's, Miller can be considered by the truly desperate.
 
Chicago's Martellus Bennett was held out of practice today. This is becoming the norm for Bennett on Wednesday's because of a minor knee injury he's been playing through. He should be fine for week 7.
 
Rob Gronkowski was limited in practice today. Gronkowski reportedly has the power to make himself active or inactive each week and it's anyone's best guess whether he'll choose to play this week or not.
 
Greg Olsen sat out practice today with a foot injury. Olsen missed last Wednesday's practice but was able to play. I expect that will be the story again this week.
 
Jacksonville may have Marcedes Lewis back this week. Lewis practiced in limited fashion today and barring any setbacks in the calf injury that has plagued him so far this season he should be able to play week 7. I wouldn't think of starting him though until he makes it through a complete game with any issue.
 

 

Fantasy Football News and Notes 10-15-13

News and Notes from Tuesday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Program

Fantasy News and Notes 10-15-13:
 
BYE WEEKS: New Orleans, Oakland
 
Quarterbacks
 
 
After a stellar performance week 6, Nick Foles will start again for the Eagles this week. Michael Vick was active this past week, but only as the emergency QB and he still isn't completely healed up the hamstring injury he suffered two weeks ago. While Foles plays well, I don't expect the Eagles to rush back until the hammy is truly close to 100%. And if Foles plays lights out, I don't expect Vick to get the job back when he is 100%.
 
No word yet on who will start for the Texans week 7 yet. Matt Schaub suffered an undisclosed foot or ankle injury week 6 and his backup, T.J. Yates then proceeded to throw a pick-6 a few plays later. The Texans say they will wait until later in the week to determine who will start, but the options are: a gimpy Schaub who was ineffective before getting injured this past week; Yates, who looked inept; or Case Keenum. Keenum is, of course, the fans favorite as he has yet to look terrible. Keenum spent 2012 on the Texans practice squad.
 
The Vikings have yet to name a starting QB for week 7. In week 6 Matt Cassel predictably looked like the inept Matt Cassel we saw in Kansas City. Who starts depends entirely on how well Josh Freeman has picked up the offense since being signed last week. If the Vikings think Freeman has learned enough of it, it's likely he'll start. If they don't feel comfortable with his knowledge of the offense, it will likely be Cassel. There's also a chance they could give Christian Ponder one last chance, but I get the feeling the team is ready to move on from him. I expect the Vikings will announce it by Thursday.
 
Thaddeus Lewis is uncertain to be able to play week 7 for Buffalo. Lewis looked a whole lot better than anyone expected week 6 but a foot injury could make him miss the game. The Bills are so scared of backup Jeff Tuel running their offense they actually went out and signed Matt Flynn to start this week if Lewis can't.  
 
 
Running Backs
 
With DeMarco Murray expected to miss week 7 with a knee injury, and Lance Dunbar unlikely to play because of a hamstring injury, rookie Joseph Randle is line to start for Dallas this week against a mediocre Eagles run defense. Randle isn't a special talent, but he is a high effort guy who has a well rounded game as both a rushing and receiving RB. For one week (and maybe two) Randle could provide some fantasy help. He'll be backed up by Phillip Tanner. Tanner isn't considered likely to have a big offensive role unless Randle totally blows his chance.
 
It was hoped that this would be the week that Steven Jackson would return for the Falcons, but latest word says Jackson still isn't over his hamstring injury and that he may need to miss one more game. It's early in the week so there's still hope, but be prepared for him to be out again and for Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling to carry the load in his place. Rodgers might be the preferred of the two as Snelling needed the bye last week to get over a concussion he suffered in week 5.
 
Seattle's Marshawn Lynch was held out of practice today because of a hip injury. Currently, it's expected that Lynch will be fine for Thursday night's game.
 
The Jets placed Mike Goodson on injured reserve because of a torn ACL. This makes the Jets a two headed RBBC with Bilal Powell as the lead RB and Chris Ivory as the change of pace. The situation is still fluid though and if Ivory can stay healthy, I won't be surprised if he and Powell switch places as Powell is the better receiving RB and that was the role Goodson was supposed to be handling. There's also a little bit of a concern about Powell possibly having suffered a shoulder injury week 6, but it didn't prevent him from finishing the game and he is expected to be okay.
 
Detroit's Joique Bell appears to have dodged a bullet as his rib injury is not considered serious. He was unable to finish week 6 because of it, but he is tentatively expected to be okay for his usual backup role week 7. If that prognosis changes though, we could see Mikel Leshoure be the top backup to Reggie Bush week 7. It's uncertain if Theo Riddick is recovered enough from a concussion suffered week 5 to return to action.
 
The Giants waived Da'Rel Scott today. Scott sustained a hamstring injury last Thursday night and was expected to miss several weeks. It's likely he'll clear waivers and get placed on injured reserve. With David Wilson out another few weeks himself, the Giants are down to Brandon Jacobs as their starter. Jacobs is nursing a sore hamstring after carrying a huge load week 6, but he is expected to be fine for week 7. Rookie Michael Cox is expected to play some this week as his change of pace and the Giants are working out free agent RB's with the intent of signing one to provide depth. I would still think they might be willing to trade for a RB even with their 2013 season spiraling down the tubes.
 
 
Wide Receivers
 
Green Bay placed Randall Cobb on the injured reserve/designated for return list today because of the fractured fibula injury he suffered. The earliest Cobb can return is now week 15. With James Jones also uncertain to play week 7 because of a minor knee sprain, Jarrett Boykin could end up starting. Myles White was promoted from the practice squad to be the #4 WR if Jones can play and the #3 if Jones can't. It also won't be a surprise at all if the Packers now become a player in trading for an available WR. The Titans might take a conditional late round pick for Kenny Britt and he could really fit in there. They may even be willing to offer up enough to pry Josh Gordon from the Browns. Gordon's value in Green Bay would be obscene. We'll see how proactive the Packers are in the next 2 weeks. The trade deadline is October 29th.  
 
Atlanta's Roddy White is very uncertain for week 7 because of hamstring and ankle injuries. With Julio Jones gone for the year, Harry Douglas will start and if White can't play it would be either Drew Davis or Kevin Cone taking his place. The Falcons are another team that could be looking to make a trade to acquire a WR this week. They could also go to the street for a veteran free agent.
 
Cecil Shorts is uncertain to play week 7 for Jacksonville because of a sprained sternoclavicular joint. For those who are not doctors, this is where the collarbone meets the top of chest's breastplate. At least I think that's right as I had to look it up. Mike Brown would start if Shorts can't play.  
 
Larry Fitzgerald made it through week 6 despite a hamstring injury. Fitz didn't look too limited by it, but with it being a short week (Arizona plays Seattle Thursday night) expect Fitz to be limited in practices or held out completely and for him to be listed as Questionable. I expect he'll play.
 
Calvin Johnson is likely to be held out of practices this week as he tries to recover from a knee issue. Megatron played week 6 but was clearly limited in both what he could do and in playing time. He isn't believed to have suffered any setbacks, but that's no guarantee he is fine for week 7. Also in Lions WR news, they released Patrick Edwards. Kris Durham has taken over as the starter opposite Megatron.
 
It's unknown if Mike Williams will be able to play this week for the Bucs or not. Williams missed week 6 because of a hamstring injury.
 
Danny Amendola suffered a head injury believed to be a concussion. The Patriots haven't officially termed it that, but it seemed pretty obvious to anyone who saw him after he was hit. Consider Amendola doubtful to play week 7.
 
No word yet on whether Buffalo will have Steve Johnson back week 7 or not. Johnson missed week 6 because of a back injury.
 
The Jets placed Clyde Gates on injured reserve today because of a shoulder injury. His season is done. The team signed Greg Salas off the Eagles practice squad and also signed free agent Josh Cribbs. It's probably a good bet Santonio Holmes isn't close to returning from his hamstring injury.
 
 
Tight Ends
 
The bye week comes at a perfect time for the Saints as Jimmy Graham suffered a foot injury week 6. It's believed to be minor though and the bye week is expected to be enough time for him to be okay when the Saints return week 8.
 
In what has become the daily update I am most sick of making in 2013, there's been no word on whether Rob Gronkowski will play this week or not. Apparently, what's been going on is that the Patriots doctors have cleared him to play, but his independent doctors have told him he's still at risk of the forearm not being completely healed up yet. The back is not considered to be the issue at all anymore; it is the arm he's had surgically repaired a couple of times now in the past year and a half. Expect Gronkowski to practice in limited fashion again this week, be listed as Questionable come Friday on the injury report, and for him to be considered a game time decision.
 
Detroit is expected to be without Tony Scheffler again week 7. Scheffler has a concussion and he has no timetable for return. His absence just means more chances for undrafted rookie Joseph Fauria to get more involved in the Lions offense. Fauria is intriguing as he already is the Lions top red zone target, but could start getting more targets between the 20's. He's someone to keep an eye on going forward in standard leagues and a definite roster acquisition in TD only leagues.
 
 
Kickers
 
Steven Hauschka left Sunday's game temporarily to be checked for a concussion in the 2nd quarter. It was deemed he was okay to return and he finished out the game. Hauschka should be okay for Seattle's Thursday night's game against Arizona.
 

 

2013 Defensive Fantasy Points Allowed per Game thru Week 6

FP/PG for all 32 NFL teams against both the Run and Pass

2013 Rushing Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
 
Thru Week 6
Rk
Yd-Rk
Team
G
Yds
TD
FP/PG
Yds/G
1
2
New York Jets
6
454
3
10.57
75.7
2
7t
Baltimore Ravens
6
589
1
10.82
98.2
3
5
Arizona Cardinals
6
544
2
11.07
90.7
4
4
Carolina Panthers
5
444
2
11.28
88.8
5
3
Green Bay Packers
5
391
3
11.42
78.2
6
13
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5
515
1
11.5
103
7
6
Atlanta Falcons
5
487
2
12.14
97.4
8
1
Denver Broncos
6
419
6
12.98
69.8
9
17t
San Diego Chargers
6
660
2
13
110
10
10
Cincinnati Bengals
6
608
3
13.13
101.3
11
11
Seattle Seahawks
6
611
3
13.18
101.8
12
14
Dallas Cowboys
6
630
3
13.5
105
13
23
Kansas City Chiefs
6
700
2
13.67
116.7
14
28
Buffalo Bills
6
745
2
14.42
124.2
15
16
Philadelphia Eagles
6
634
4
14.57
105.7
16
24
New England Patriots
6
713
3
14.88
118.8
17
9
Oakland Raiders
6
594
5
14.9
99
18
12
Chicago Bears
6
612
5
15.2
102
19
15
Miami Dolphins
5
527
4
15.34
105.4
20
21
New Orleans Saints
6
684
4
15.4
114
21
19
Tennessee Titans
6
667
5
16.12
111.2
22
25
Houston Texans
6
729
4
16.15
121.5
23
31
Indianapolis Colts
6
792
4
17.2
132
24
26
New York Giants
6
740
5
17.33
123.3
25
29
Detroit Lions
6
749
5
17.48
124.8
26
7t
Cleveland Browns
6
589
8
17.82
98.2
27
17t
Minnesota Vikings
5
550
6
18.2
110
28
20
San Francisco 49ers
6
677
7
18.28
112.8
29
22
Pittsburgh Steelers
5
574
6
18.68
114.8
30
30
St. Louis Rams
6
783
6
19.05
130.5
31
27
Washington Redskins
5
617
6
19.54
123.4
32
32
Jacksonville Jaguars
6
915
7
22.25
152.5
 
Remember the generic formula:
 
*-Total Yards allowed divided by 10 (representing 1 point for every 10 rushing yards allowed)

*-Rushing TD's allowed multiplied by 6 (representing 6 points for every TD allowed)

*-Add the two totals together and divide by number of games played
 
2013 Receiving Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
 
Thru Week 6
Rk
Yd-Rk
Team
G
Yds
TD
FP/PG
Yds/G
1
1
Houston Texans
6
867
10
24.45
144.5
2
2
Pittsburgh Steelers
5
1013
4
25.06
202.6
3
3
Seattle Seahawks
6
1242
5
25.7
207
4
4
Indianapolis Colts
6
1312
5
26.87
218.7
5
6
Kansas City Chiefs
6
1336
5
27.27
222.7
6
8
Carolina Panthers
5
1167
4
28.14
233.4
7
7
Cleveland Browns
6
1374
6
28.9
229
8
5
San Francisco 49ers
6
1322
7
29.03
220.3
9
11
Tennessee Titans
6
1464
6
30.4
244
10
12
New England Patriots
6
1469
6
30.48
244.8
11
9
Cincinnati Bengals
6
1419
8
31.65
236.5
12
14
New Orleans Saints
6
1492
7
31.87
248.7
13
13
New York Jets
6
1485
10
34.75
247.5
14
15
Oakland Raiders
6
1559
9
34.98
259.8
15
22
Detroit Lions
6
1710
7
35.5
285
16
16
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5
1347
8
36.54
269.4
17
21
Chicago Bears
6
1684
9
37.07
280.7
18
19
Arizona Cardinals
6
1672
10
37.87
278.7
19
20
Baltimore Ravens
6
1678
10
37.97
279.7
20
10
Jacksonville Jaguars
6
1441
14
38.02
240.2
21
17
St. Louis Rams
6
1632
11
38.2
272
22
23
San Diego Chargers
6
1742
10
39.03
290.3
23
27
Miami Dolphins
5
1523
8
40.06
304.6
24
25
Buffalo Bills
6
1754
12
41.23
292.3
25
26
Washington Redskins
5
1465
10
41.3
293
26
18
New York Giants
6
1645
14
41.42
274.2
27
24
Atlanta Falcons
5
1460
12
43.6
292
28
28
Green Bay Packers
5
1571
11
44.62
314.2
29
30
Philadelphia Eagles
6
1965
13
45.75
327.5
30
32
Denver Broncos
6
2146
11
46.77
357.7
31
31
Dallas Cowboys
6
1974
14
46.9
329
32
29
Minnesota Vikings
5
1606
13
47.72
321.2
 
Remember the generic formula:

*-Total Yards allowed divided by 10 (representing 1 point for every 10 receiving yards allowed)

*-Receiving TD's allowed multiplied by 6 (representing 6 points for every TD allowed)

*-Add the two totals together and divide by number of games played
 

 

2013 Fantasy Football News and Notes: Week 6

Up to Date Player Injuries and Relevant News from All 32 NFL Teams Heading into Week 6

AFC EAST
 
Buffalo: With QB E.J. Manuel out 5-8 weeks with a knee injury, and undrafted rookie backup Jeff Tuel having looked like an undrafted rookie last Thursday in week 5, Thaddeus Lewis will start at QB for Buffalo this week. He may be without his best WR though as Steve Johnson is Questionable and considered a game time decision because of a back injury. Between injury, matchup, and no practice time this week with a brand new QB, Johnson shouldn't be trusted in fantasy starting lineups (providing he's even active) unless you have no other choice. If Johnson can't go, T.J. Graham, Marcus Easley, or returning Marquise Goodwin (Probable after missing the last 4 games with a hand injury) will start in his place. RB C.J. Spiller is Questionable but he played through his ankle injury last week and is fully expected to do so again this week. With rookie Kicker Dustin Hopkins having gone on Injured Reserve finally with a groin injury, Dan Carpenter gets to finish out the season as the Bills kicker.
 
Miami: The Dolphins go into their bye week pretty healthy offensively. RB Lamar Miller continues to steadily push Daniel Thomas into just a backup role. A second half breakout is certainly possible for Miller.
 
New England: Latest word is that TE Rob Gronkowski will not be playing week 6 and it's unknown when he will finally return. It was revealed this week that Gronkowski's concern is the forearm he's had multiple surgeries on and not the back as was originally believed. The structural stability of the arm itself has independent doctors skeptical about clearing Gronkowski for game action (team doctors have cleared him though and probably told him he could play weeks ago which is why we've had this weekly shuffle on status the last few). No matter, Gronkowski is now not expected to be active week 6. RB's Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden are both Questionable but both are expected to play. Ridley likely returns as the primary rushing down RB and Bolden the 3rd down guy. LeGarrette Blount literally fumbled away his chances to usurp Ridley in week 5. WR Danny Amendola is Questionable but he suffered no setbacks in his recovery from a groin injury playing week 5 and is expected to be fine for week 6. Tom Brady's consecutive game with a passing TD ended last week. Don't be surprised if he puts up a few just to vent some frustration.
 
New York Jets: Bilal Powell is likely to lead the 3 headed RBBC between himself, Chris Ivory, and Mike Goodson. But make new mistake, this situation is going to be fluid going forward and those who expect big things from Powell based on his weeks when Ivory was out with injury and Goodson on suspension are going to get a rude awakening sooner or later; and I bet sooner. Powell is a RB3/4 being treated by many as a RB2. Burnt hand teaches best. Consistency from any of the Jets RB's is not to be expected and each will have their good days and bad days. WR Santonio Holmes is out a few more weeks with a hamstring injury. TE Kellen Winslow was suspended 4 games for violating the leagues ban on PED's (Performance Enhancing Drugs). Either Winslow should sue for a refund as they obviously didn't work, or he'd be in a Rascal scooting all over the field without them. Winslow is completely droppable in every type of league. Jeff Cumberland takes over as the Jets starting TE. He's better than Winslow anyway.  
 
AFC NORTH
 
Baltimore: Despite both WR's Marlon Brown (thigh) and Jacoby Jones (knee being listed as Questionable, both are expected to play week 6 after missing last week with their injuries. Brown likely slides back in as the starter opposite Torrey Smith and Jones likely will be eased back in as the #3 WR and on returns. It's uncertain how the Ravens will shuffle their other WR's going forward as Tandon Doss had done fairly well the last couple of games subbing in as a starter and may have played his way to a permanent role in the WR corps. Backup RB Bernard Pierce is Questionable with a thigh injury and while expected to play, doesn't have much stand alone value in fantasy.
 
Cincinnati: WR A.J. Green has been too quiet the last 4 games. After a stellar 9-162-2 stat line in week 1, Green has been held to 22 catches for 199 yards and 1 TD in the last 4 combined. he's getting his targets (45 in those 4 games) but Andy Dalton is not consistently getting the ball to him. It would help if someone else at WR would step up. The time share between RB's Giovani Bernard and Benjarvus Green-Ellis swung back into BGE's favor last week, but I doubt if that will be the case often going forward. I think the nature of the low scoring game last week made it preferable for the Bengals to run BGE more against his former team.
 
Cleveland: Brandon Weeden is back in as the starting QB with Brian Hoyer out for the year with a torn ACL. Weeden has a chance to redeem himself and while he's not as good as the old Browns regime thought him, he's also not as bad as the current regime seems to think of him either. And it needs to be remembered that in Weeden's 2 starts, he didn't have Josh Gordon available to throw to. It was Weeden at QB last season when Gordon first starting putting up big numbers so don't worry too much about Gordon. RB Willis McGahee carried the football 26 times week 5. He's locked in as their featured rushing RB, but he cedes 3rd down and passing down duties to Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey.
 
Pittsburgh: Ben Roethlisberger is Probable with the finger injury he suffered back in week 4. He'll be fine. Rookie RB Le'Veon Bell is ready to roll the rest of the season and isn't on the injury report at all for week 6. He appears to have put his foot injury behind him and the Steelers will use him as a 3 down bell cow most likely. A 20+ carry RB like Bell needs to be started despite a sub-par matchup against a good Jets run defense.
 
AFC SOUTH
 
Houston: If he has another poor outing this week against the lowly Rams pass defense, this is likely to be the last time we see QB Matt Schaub start a game for Houston this season. A good game will go a long way into getting him back in the good graces of fans and coaches. For what it's worth, I expect he'll have that good game as the Rams are a giving defense. WR Andre Johnson is expected to play despite being listed as Questionable with the shin injury he keeps playing through each week. Officially though, the Texans say he will be a game time decision. Be ready to have a backup plan ready in case this is a true GTD. Arian Foster is Probable with minor thumb and chest injuries. He has regained his prior seasons form and is a RB1 while pushing Ben Tate into RB4 territory. Foster should run well against soft St. Louis. TE Owen Daniels was placed on IR/Designated for Return earlier this week because of a broken leg injury. He's eligible to return in week 14. Garrett Graham takes over and gets to hog all the TE targets now. Graham becomes an instant borderline fantasy TE1/2.
 
Indianapolis: The Colts signed RB Dan Herron off the Bengals practice squad this week to provide depth behind starter Trent Richardson and backup Donald Brown. Richardson has yet to produce a big game and has struggled with a low yards per rush attempt average since joining the Colts, but I think as he gets more comfortable in the offense he'll be fine. It's just taking time. WR T.Y. Hilton is finally off the injury report entirely and he appears to have pushed Darrius Heyward-Bey out of the starting WR spot.
 
Jacksonville: With Blaine Gabbert OUT with a hamstring injury, Chad Henne is back in as the starting QB week 6 and probably the rest of the season, or until he proves to stink so bad again that the Jaguars turn back to Gabbert once he's healthy. Simply put the Jaguars should just stick with Henne as at least he can put up some fantasy stats and since the Jaguars aren't winning NFL games they might as well make fantasy owners like them more by helping us win our games. WR Cecil Shorts is Probable despite having missed some practice time this week because of a groin injury he's struggled to get over the last couple of weeks. Shorts is supposed to be fine for week 6. Actually, I like both Shorts and Justin Blackmon as fantasy plays this week because of the fact the Jags are likely to be on the wrong side of that 27 points spread in the second half and the WR's should pick up some quality garbage time stats. With TE's Marcedes Lewis and Allen Reisner both OUT for a while, Clay Harbor is the starting TE and a name to keep an eye on in case he can benefit from garbage time stats too. As the trade deadline approaches expect Maurice Jones-Drew's name to pop up a lot. The Jaguars have nothing to gain as a team by not trying to get something in return for him as he is a free agent at the end of this year and likely they will let him walk. They really need to call the Giants.
 
Tennessee: WR Kenny Britt continues to draw the ire of coaches with suspect effort on the field. I think it likely that the Titans would take a cheese sandwich in return for Britt right about now. RB Shonn Greene still hasn't recovered enough from his knee procedure to be able to practice yet and he is OUT again this week. Ryan Fitzpatrick has a tendency to turn the ball over to opponents and faces the Seahawks defense in Seattle. Do the math and make sure to have a better QB option going this week.
 
AFC WEST
 
Denver: Peyton Manning's quest to have the best season ever produced by a QB continues against cupcake Jacksonville this week. We're going to learn whether the single game record for TD passes is important to Manning or not as he certainly should be able to throw for 8 on the Jags if he wants to. While Knowshon Moreno should be a shoo-in for a big game given the matchup, why do I get the feeling that John Fox will call the dogs off at halftime and we'll see a lot of rookie Montee Ball this week once the game is well in hand? Those expecting a big game from Moreno could come away disappointed. Those who start Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, and Julius Thomas probably won't be.
 
Kansas City: Blisters on his toes have Jamaal Charles listed as Probable. He's fine. WR Donnie Avery is also Probable despite a shoulder injury. TE Sean McGrath will continue to gobble up check downs to the TE by QB Alex Smith with Anthony Fasano (ankle; knee) Doubtful and rookie Travis Kelce (knee) OUT. Keep an eye on McGrath as a potential fantasy TE2 in ppr formats for the targets he'll get because of Smith's limitations.
 
Oakland: Darren McFadden is Questionable and while he was able to get in limited practices this week he is not expected to play. Officially though he is being called a game time decision. If he plays, it will likely be in a platoon with both Rashad Jennings (also Questionable with a hamstring injury, but expected to play) and Marcel Reece. Against a good Chiefs run defense, McFadden is hard to trust as a fantasy starter this week even if active. After losing out on Josh Freeman, the Raiders decided they still wanted to release Matt Flynn. Terrelle Pryor is locked in as the starter and Matt McGloin is his current backup.
 
San Diego: RB Ryan Mathews has passed his concussion protocols and will start Monday night. His return puts a halt to any value Ronnie Brown would have had and Danny Woodhead falls back to being just a ppr option. It was nice to see Vincent Brown and rookie Keenan Allen have good games last week. But I'm not jumping on the bandwagon yet. I loved Brown in preseason as a sleeper but he's disappointed too many weeks for me to be happy with one good week; Allen is still a raw rookie with mediocre speed.
 
NFC EAST
 
Dallas: WR Miles Austin practiced in full all week and is listed as Probable for week 6. This will be his first game action since suffering a hamstring injury 3 games ago. But since Austin has proven to have a high capacity for recurrence of hamstring injuries, I'd be careful about how much I trust him. I liked what I saw out of rookie Terrence Williams the last 2 games and think Williams could legitimately push Austin for playing time. The only thing that could screw that up though is Jerry Jones. Jones may decide that because he pays Austin a lot more, he should be playing more. We'll see. Williams is the future starter in 2014 though as I expect Austin will be let go by then and so dynasty leaguers should grab him now for future returns on the investment.  
 
New York Giants: We'll find out next week how serious RB David Wilson's neck injury is. He's supposed to be getting a second opinion on Monday and the current expected timetable is that Wilson will miss the next 3 weeks. With RB Da'Rel Scott having suffered a hamstring injury that is expected to make him miss 2-3 weeks, Brandon Jacobs and Michael Cox stand alone as the only healthy RB's the team has right now. I would be surprised that even after Jacobs found the fountain of youth Thursday night if the Giants didn't try to make a trade for a RB. Mikel Leshoure, Mark Ingram, and probably Maurice Jones-Drew all could be had and the Giants need to do something about the position. And as for Eli Manning. Will everyone please stop saying the Giants should bench him. I know he's been throwing a ton of interceptions, but do you really think it would be better with Curtis Painter at the helm or rookie Ryan Nassib? Really??
 
Philadelphia: Despite Michael Vick having practiced all week, and even in full on Friday, he is listed as Questionable on the injury report and while being called a game time decision, it's expected that he won't play week 6. The whole thing sounds very weird to me as I would expect if Vick were truly entrenched as the starter, he should be starting if he can. There's something going on here that isn't passing the eye test. Either Chip Kelly is fooling the media and Vick is going to start this week over Foles; or Kelly is using the hamstring injury Vick has an excuse for getting Foles into the starting lineup and seeing whether Foles can lead the Eagles to wins. We'll learn the truth Sunday morning. Tentatively expect Foles to start week 6 and for Vick to return week 7. But nothing will surprise me here.
 
Washington: The bye week allowed RB Alfred Morris (ribs), TE Jordan Reed (thigh), and TE Fred Davis (ankle) to get over their injuries. Each is listed as Probable. Morris may find himself in a little more of a timeshare with Roy Helu though as we could start to see the beginnings of the 2013 version of Shanihanigans at RB. Morris is till the top RB, for now. I expect Reed to continue to separate himself from Davis as the top receiving TE. And Leonard Hankerson has another chance to continue pushing Josh Morgan out of the starting lineup. Hankerson has a huge talent advantage as a pass catcher over Morgan, but Morgan is one of the best blocking WR's in the game. Nothing quite like Mike Jenkins Jr. hindering a younger WR's progress.
 
NFC NORTH
 
Chicago: Wheel squeaks and wheel gets greased. Brandon Marshall broke out of his string of mediocre games Thursday night. While Alshon Jeffery had a poor box score it needs to be noted that he came really close to having a much better game; Cutler just didn't connect with him on a couple of passes that would have made Jeffery's final line a lot better.
 
Detroit: Calvin Johnson is Questionable and will be a true game time decision because of the knee injury that caused him to be a surprise inactive week 5. Between the injury and a poor matchup, Megatron is not necessarily a "must start" even if active. I wouldn't sit him to play Tavon Austin, but I could to play Pierre Garcon or any other quality proven fantasy WR2. But that's assuming Johnson plays. Kris Durham would likely start if Johnson doesn't. With rookie RB Theo Riddick OUT with a concussion, Mikel Leshoure figures to be active week 6. But he also figures to be the 3rd RB behind Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. TE Tony Scheffler is also OUT with a concussion so maybe we'll see more of intriguing undrafted rookie Joseph Fauria. Dynasty leaguers should be paying attention to Fauria. Right now he's just a big red zone target, but he has potential to be more.  
 
Green Bay: RB James Starks remains OUT with the knee injury he suffered a few weeks ago. The Packers haven't said what the exact injury was but it must be more than minor if he's missing this much time. Johnathan Franklin remains locked in as the backup to Eddie Lacy and Lacy is a full time featured RB so Franklin has little fantasy value outside of being a handcuff to Lacy. Starks is the only offensive player even listed on the Packers injury report this week so it may finally be the first week where all WR's and TE's are finally at full strength. It comes at a good time for fantasy owners.
 
Minnesota: A day after the tragic death of his 2 year old son, RB Adrian Peterson hasn't announced yet if he is going to play week 6 or not. Peterson had said earlier on Friday that he was going to play Sunday, but then the news broke later that his son had passed away and nothing has been heard since. If he changes his mind, and God knows he has every right to in the wake of this personal nightmare, fantasy owners should be ready to make a switch. If Peterson doesn't change his mind and does play, start him as he may take a lot of his emotions out in his running this weekend. Even though Christian Ponder is Probable and healthy enough to start, the Vikings are going to start Matt Cassel instead. It doesn't really matter as neither QB is going to be starting in a couple more weeks. Josh Freeman wasn't signed to a bigger salary than what Cassel and Ponder make combined to sit on the bench for long. Ponder's Vikings career is over unless he's willing to be a backup going forward.  Kicker Blair Walsh is Questionable with a hamstring injury on his non-kicking leg. Walsh is tentatively expected to be okay for week 6 but if the Vikings sign another kicker later today we'll know he isn't going to.
 
NFC SOUTH
 
Atlanta: Harry Douglas steps into the starting lineup with Julio Jones gone on injured reserve because of a fracture in the foot he had surgically repaired while in college. Douglas is unproven as a starting WR, but it's said "luck is when preparation meets opportunity"; well here's a mid season example of it and I recommend Douglas as being a higher upside end of the bench fantasy WR than many guys out there. Roddy White suffered a hamstring injury to go along with the ankle injury he's struggled to get over and there's no guarantee that he'll be ready to play when the Falcons return from this week's bye. The rest of the WR corps is Drew Davis, Kevin Cone, and Brian Robiskie. At least they should have RB Steven Jackson back in week 7. Matt Ryan goes from the middle of the fantasy QB1 rankings to being in the 1/2 borderline range.
 
Carolina: TE Greg Olsen is Probable despite a foot injury. He's expected to start without issue. Rookie RB Kenjon Barner is Doubtful with a foot injury. Barner suited up for the first time week 5 because of a preseason foot injury and apparently he suffered a setback. Barner has no fantasy value with RB Jonathan Stewart eligible to return from the reserve/PUP list in week 7. Stewart is reportedly close to being able to practice on those ankles he had surgery on during the off-season. But there's no telling if he'll hold up. Stewart is only worth considering as a roster stash for those with big benches to stash plenty of players on.
 
New Orleans: Mark Ingram is Questionable and considered a game time decision. I expect that decision will be to make him inactive, but that's just a guess. Even if active I wouldn't expect much from Ingram. The top RB's on the Saints are Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. WR Lance Moore is also Questionable but he hasn't practiced at all for a couple of weeks now because of a hand injury and he isn't likely to play, or be effective even if he does.
 
Tampa Bay: The bye last week helped WR Vincent Jackson heal up an injury enough to where he isn't on the injury report this week, but it wasn't enough time for his teammate WR Mike Williams. Williams is officially listed as Questionable with a hamstring injury. However, after getting in limited practices all week he is expected to play. Also playing will be TE Tom Crabtree. Crabtree has been out since suffering a high ankle sprain in preseason. But he is Probable and returns to the starting lineup. Crabtree needs to prove he deserves to be considered for fantasy as he's got a rookie QB in Mike Glennon throwing him the ball now. Expect a heavy dose of Doug Martin going forward with Glennon at the helm and expect better results against a leaky Eagles defense than what Martin got against the Cardinals top fantasy run defense two weeks ago.
 
NFC WEST
 
Arizona: WR Larry Fitzgerald is listed as Questionable because of a hamstring injury. Fitzgerald wasn't on last week's injury report at all and had seemingly put this week 2 injury behind him, but there must have been an aggravation of it. This is just a reminder to all that hamstring just don't go away quietly, even when it seems like a player has gotten over it. However, Fitzgerald was able to practice in full on Friday and is tentatively expected to start week 6. But between the hamstring, the lack of production of late, and the suspect matchup this week, Fitzgerald is far from being his usual "must start" self. By this time of the season we know who starts every week regardless of matchup and who doesn't, and unfortunately, with the exception of week 1, Fitzgerald hasn't put up the numbers to be considered more than a fantasy WR2 and a matchup play. Carson Palmer struggles the last few games certainly haven't helped Fitzgerald.
 
St. Louis: Rookie RB Zac Stacy did well enough last week to earn a second consecutive start. Even though Stacy is listed on the injury report as Questionable with a chest injury he is tentatively expected to be fine after practicing in full on Friday. I'm not convinced Stacy's status as the starter is permanent yet though. It takes more than a good game against Jacksonville to convince me. A second consecutive good game, this time against Houston, would do the trick though. Stacy would lock himself in as the starter, with Daryl Richardson as the change of pace, and Isaiah Pead and Benny Cunningham battling to be active each week. This is how it should have been to begin the season with and I said so; many times.
 
San Francisco: TE Vernon Davis is Probable and appears to have gotten mostly over his hamstring injury. Davis is a strong play this week against a Cardinals defense that has had problems giving up big numbers to quality TE's this season. RB Frank Gore historically has had some of his best games against Arizona and with the 49ers seemingly going back to a power rushing offense since they lack any playmakers at WR, Gore will get the ball plenty against an Arizona run defense that is actually top ranked in fewest rushing fantasy points allowed. We'll see what's stronger this weekend: history or this new found stingy run defense for the Cardinals as the 49ers will run Gore plenty and Kendall Hunter should get 5-7 carries as well. Jonathan Baldwin is getting more playing time but still hasn't asserted himself over the other options opposite Anquan Boldin. If he doesn't do it soon, he's going to have new competition as Mario Manningham is eligible to come off the reserve/PUP list in week 7 and word is that he may be able to start practicing right away. Manningham isn't likely to have a lot of upside coming off major knee surgery but he could surprise. Torn ACL's are no longer the death knell for careers they once were.
 
Seattle: Marshawn Lynch is expected to start and be fine for this week according to reports despite his being listed as Questionable with a "non-injury related" hip injury. Don't ask. It's Pete Carroll likely just being Pete Carroll. You should be fine considering Lynch as you normally would for your starting lineup week 6. TE Zach Miller is lucky to be listed as high as Questionable after not practicing at all this week because of a hamstring injury. Miller is not expected to be active week 6. Keep an eye on backup TE Luke Willson. He has a chance to show off his impressive skills this week.
 

 

Fantasy Football News and Notes 10-10-13

News and Notes from Thursday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Show

Fantasy News and Notes 10-10-13:
 
BYE WEEKS: Atlanta, Miami
 
Quarterbacks
 
Despite a hamstring injury that was supposed to cost him at least one game Michael Vick was able to practice in limited fashion again today. While Vick playing in week 6 is considered a long shot, the Eagles say they won't announce who will start for them until Sunday morning. While I still expect it will be Nick Foles, you need to be ready for anything.  
 
Matt Cassel is tentatively expected to start week 6 for Minnesota despite Christian Ponder having been cleared to return to game action. This is just what I expect though and the team hasn't made an official announcement yet.
 
The Jets signed David Garrard to their non-roster exempt list. This gives the team two weeks to determine if the knee injury that caused him to be cut by the team back in May is healthy enough to hold up if needed to play. Even if the knee checks out okay and he is signed to the active roster, Garrard is no threat to Geno Smith's status as the Jets starting QB and would likely just be like a better veteran sounding board for the rookie than current backup Brady Quinn.
 
 
Running Backs
 
David Wilson is going to get a second opinion early next week on his neck injury. Recent reports suggest that there is possible damage to a disc in his neck. Wilson is currently expected to miss another 3 games after this week. The timetable is fluid though depending on the results of the second opinion. Don't be surprised if the Giants go looking for a RB via trade. Detroit's Mikel Leshoure is a candidate as is the Saints Mark Ingram. And with rumors the Jaguars wouldn't mind unloading Maurice Jones-Drew, I can see something happening early next week. But that's just me speculating.
 
Darren McFadden put in a second consecutive limited practice today despite his hamstring injury and it now appears there is a chance he may play this week. Hopefully this clears up some tomorrow, but I get the feeling McFadden will be the dreaded "game time decision". Oakland does play an early game Sunday so we'll know for sure about an hour before kickoff whether you can consider him as a weak RB2 play this week or not. Personally, I'm not expecting him to play, but that is just my guess.
 
Ryan Mathews still hasn't been cleared to practice because of his concussion. It seems doubtful that he'll play in the Chargers Monday night game and I wouldn't start him myself, but the shadow of uncertainty makes Danny Woodhead harder to trust as more than a fantasy RB3.
 
Kansas City's Jamaal Charles returned to practice today and will be fine for week 6 despite having blisters on his toes.
 
Another limited practice today for Houston's Arian Foster. There's been no indication that the thumb and chest injuries are anything to worry about so tentatively you should be able to count on Foster in a juicy matchup against the Rams weak run defense this week.
 
C.J. Spiller was limited again today in Bills practice. While he's not fully recovered from his ankle injury, he is expected to be okay for his role in the time share with Fred Jackson again this week.
 
Stevan Ridley practiced again today in limited fashion today. Still no definitive word on whether he'll play week 6 or not though. It's never easy to guess with the Patriots and the twenty some odd players they list each week as "limited" and "questionable". And since they play a late game, I'd shy away from Patriots RB's except for maybe Brandon Bolden. Bolden was also limited again today, but he's been playing the last few games despite his knee issue and in the ppr format, Bolden makes a nice RB3 option in what could be a game with a lot of passing this week against the Saints.
 
Zac Stacy returned to a limited practice today and he is expected to start for the Rams week 6 despite having a chest injury. Consider Stacy a low end fantasy RB2.
 
Green Bay's James Starks has been ruled OUT for week 6. Starks is still recovering from a knee injury. Johnathan Franklin will again be the backup to Eddie Lacy.
 
Tennessee's Shonn Greene has yet to resume practicing and is looking doubtful to play week 6. Expect Jackie Battle to be Chris Johnson's backup and goal line vulture again this week.
 
Wide Receivers
 
Calvin Johnson was very limited in practice today taking part in position drills only. The Lions have said that Johnson doesn't need to practice to play in week 6 so this further clouds what I'm pretty sure is going to be a listing of "Questionable" on the Lions injury report, and him being considered a game time decision this week. You should either have another player ready to go in his place, or if you have quality other options, I would say just sit him. Hate saying that as Megatron is a stud, but why take unnecessary chances? Luckily the Lions play an early game this Sunday so we should know for sure about an hour before kickoff whether Johnson is active or not.
 
Houston's Andre Johnson is likely to be listed as Questionable on tomorrow's injury report after he missed most of practice today because of issues with his bruised shin injury. The Texans say that Johnson will be a game time decision but the Houston media seems to think he will play. That said, you should be ready to have another option ready to go if Johnson is a surprise inactive. Luckily the Texans play an early game this Sunday so we'll again know about an hour before kickoff whether he is active or not.
 
Buffalo's Steve Johnson missed practice again today to attend a funeral in California. He's likely to miss tomorrow's practice as well and because he missed yesterday with a back injury he aggravated last Thursday, his status for week 6 is very questionable. Be ready to keep him benched.  
 
Cecil Shorts was held out of practice today after getting in a limited practice yesterday. Shorts is battling a groin injury that he has played through the last 2 games. Today could have been just a day of rest; or it could be an indication of an aggravation of the injury. We'll see how he's listed more tomorrow, but there is a chance Shorts may not play. My best guess is that he'll practice in limited fashion tomorrow, be listed as Questionable on the Jaguars injury report, and expected to play despite also likely being called a game time decision. But that is just a guess.
 
 
Tight Ends
 
Greg Olsen returned to practice today despite a foot injury. If he practices again tomorrow I'll feel good about considering for starting fantasy lineups this week.
 
Detroit's Tony Scheffler hasn't been able to practice because of a concussion. Scheffler hasn't been a fantasy factor this season but his playing time has stunted the potential for undrafted rookie Joseph Fauria. Fauria is an intriguing prospect but needs to get playing time before he can be trusted as more than a tall guy who catches a TD every 4-5 games.
 
Rob Gronokwski? Still limited in practices. Still likely to be listed as Questionable come tomorrow. Still likely to be a game time decision. Same story; different week. Only this week he is reportedly going to play.
 
 
Kickers
 
Minnesota's Blair Walsh popped up as limited in today's practice because of a hamstring issue on his non-kicking leg. Reportedly he is expected to be fine barring any setbacks tomorrow.
 

 

NFL Game Picks and Survivor Pool Lock: Week 6

Russ Bliss Predicts the Winners of each NFL Game this week

I feel like a yo-yo in the weekly picks this season. Up one week; down the next; up again; down again. Week 5 was a down week as I went 8-6 in the picks. I need to bounce back big this week to get back on track or I'll really be behind the 8 ball the rest of the season playing catch up to get to that 180 correct goal by seasons' end. I currently stand at an unremarkable 48-29 through 5 weeks and that's just pitiful. But as always, I'll give it my best and let the luck fall where it may.
 
Here are my Week 6 NFL Game Predictions:
 
Chicago 31, NY Giants 21
Minnesota 23, Carolina 17
Cincinnati 24, Buffalo 17
Cleveland 23, Detroit 20
Green Bay 27, Baltimore 24
Kansas City 26, Oakland 16
Philadelphia 23, Tampa Bay 21
Pittsburgh 24, NY Jets 23
Houston 28, St. Louis 24
Denver 48, Jacksonville 17
Seattle 27, Tennessee 10
San Francisco 23, Arizona 17
New Orleans 28, New England 24
Dallas 31, Washington 24
Indianapolis 21, San Diego 17
 
There you have them: my week 6 NFL game picks.
 
Thank goodness I went with the Rams instead of the Falcons last week in the Survivor Pool Lock! I averted a second blown lock this season by (like the Jets did) passing on the Falcons. I am now 4-1 on the year and here are the weekly picks and results:
 
Week 1 (W; 21-17) Indianapolis over Oakland
Week 2 (L; 30-33) Philadelphia over San Diego
Week 3 (W; 45-17) Seattle over Jacksonville
Week 4 (W; 52-20) Denver over Philadelphia
Week 5 (W; 34-20) St. Louis over Jacksonville
 
This week I'm torn. Since I can't take Seattle or Denver again (my two biggest point spread differences) I am forced to choose between two games where, while I have a 10 point difference, I have some trepidation about. The Giants aren't going to lose every game this season and the Bears are a team that traditionally plays to the level of their competition. The other choice is Kansas City, but they haven't beaten the Raiders at Arrowhead since 2006! The Chiefs are supposed to have one of the best home field advantages in the NFL, but have been unable to beat one of the worst teams over the last 6 years there. That's one of those weird anomaly stats that I think can't hold up. The Law of Averages says the Chiefs at home have to beat the Raiders soon. While divisional rivalry games are usually a bad idea to put down as a lock, I just don't see a better one to take. I should know better than put my trust in a team QB'd by Alex Smith, but sometimes you just have to have faith.
 
My Survivor Pool Lock for Week 6 is: the Kansas City Chiefs over the Oakland Raiders.
 
My fingers are crossed that this week my cracked crystal ball comes through better than it did last week. Best of luck to all in your own picks!
 

 

Fantasy Football News and Notes 10-9-13

News and Notes from Wednesday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Program

Fantasy News and Notes 10-09-13:
 
BYE WEEKS: Atlanta, Miami
 
Quarterbacks
 
Although he was expected to miss at least one game, and maybe two, Michael Vick was able to practice some today despite the hamstring injury he suffered week 5. This was unexpected and while there is a chance he may be able to play this week, the smart money is on Nick Foles getting the call. Vick owners should roster Foles as insurance.
 
Houston is sticking with Matt Schaub as their starting QB in week 6. But this will likely be a last chance for Schaub to keep his job. Considering he gets a Rams defense that is struggling, there's a good chance for a bounce back from Schaub.
 
Christian Ponder returned to a limited practice today for the Vikings. Ponder has a rib injury that prevented him from playing week 4 and even though he returned today, it's still expected that Matt Cassel will start this week against Carolina. It's also believed that it will only take a few weeks before recently signed Josh Freeman pushes both Ponder and Cassel to the pine.
 
 
Running Backs
 
Kansas City's Jamaal Charles was held out of practice today. It was revealed Sunday that he's been dealing with blisters on his toes the last 2 weeks. While blisters are painful and annoying, they haven't  prevented Charles from playing and aren't likely to in week 6.
 
Houston's Arian Foster was limited in practice because of listed thumb and chest injuries. The mere fact he was able to practice in even limited fashion leads me to think these are minor injuries and nothing to be concerned with.
 
C.J. Spiller was limited in practice today because of his lingering ankle injury. Spiller played through it last Thursday night and while he isn't 100% recovered, he's likely to play week 6 without issue.
 
New England's Stevan Ridley practiced in limited fashion today. This is a good sign after he missed all practices last week and then sat out week 5 with a knee injury. The Patriots haven't said what the exact nature of the knee injury is, but if Ridley is able to practice all this week, I'd expect him to reclaim the primary RB duties after LeGarrette Blount literally fumbled away his opportunity in week 5. Brandon Bolden also was limited with a knee injury but he's been playing through it and hasn't shown any signs of it being a concern for his playing status.
 
Zac Stacy didn't practice today because of what's being called a chest issue. This lends credence to the idea he did suffer some sort of ribs injury week 5. Rams coach Jeff Fisher said that Stacy was just sore and that he does expect Stacy to be fine to start week 6.
 
In a bit of a surprise, Oakland's Darren McFadden was able to practice in limited fashion today. McFadden is dealing with a hamstring injury and while this is a good sign that the injury isn't too serious, he's still expected to sit out the Raiders week 6 game against Kansas City. With Oakland having the bye in week 7, it's a good bet McFadden should be a full go in week 8.
 
McFadden's teammate Rashad Jennings was also able to practice in limited fashion today despite his own hamstring injury. Jennings is sounding likely to be able to play this week, although he'll likely be in a time share with Marcel Reece.
 
Mark Ingram was limited in practice today. It's the first practice he's taken part in the last couple of weeks as he recovers from a toe injury. No word if he'll be active this week or not but even if he is, he's clearly behind Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles in the Saints RB pecking order.
 
Dallas backup Lance Dunbar missed practice with a hamstring injury. He's unlikely to play week 6. This opens the door for rookie Joseph Randle to make a case for being the top backup to DeMarco Murray.
 
Green Bay's James Starks is still unable to practice because of the knee injury he suffered in week 3. Johnathan Franklin never saw the field again in week 5 after nearly losing a fumble, so it looks like we can expect Eddie Lacy to have a monster workload this week.
 
With Ahmad Bradshaw placed on injured reserve yesterday, Indianapolis signed Dan Herron off the Bengals practice squad. Herron will serve as the Colts #3 RB behind Trent Richardson and Donald Brown.
 
 
Wide Receivers
 
It's official, Julio Jones is going to require season ending foot surgery. If you're in a re-draft league and haven’t done it yet, drop Jones and acquire a replacement. Harry Douglas isn't a proven talent but he's likely to be the Falcons top WR with Jones out and Roddy White struggling with his own injuries. Brian Robiskie was signed today to provide depth, but he is behind both Drew Davis and Kevin Cone
 
Calvin Johnson was held out of practice today. Megatron almost always sits out Wednesday practices so that's not a good indicator of whether he'll be able to play week 6 or not. I'm pretty sure Johnson isn't going to practice tomorrow either and that he'll be Questionable and considered a game time decision again week 6. Luckily, the Lions play an early game again this Sunday so we'll know for sure about an hour before kickoff whether he is active or not.
 
Buffalo's Steve Johnson missed practice today because of the back injury he suffered week 5. It was believed the injury wasn't serious but that doesn't exactly mean he will play week 6.
 
Danny Amendola was limited in practice today, and likely will be limited every practice the rest of the season. But after he got through week 5 without any setbacks in his groin injury, he should be okay for week 6. Only if it sounds like Amendola is in danger of missing game action will I be updating him again.
 
Miles Austin put in a full practice today in Dallas. It appears that barring any setbacks between now and the weekend, Austin will play week 6. However, considering his lengthy history of recurring hamstring issues, he is hard to trust. I think the bigger impact is that this could lead to fewer targets for rookie Terrence Williams in what is a nice matchup against a weak Washington secondary.
 
The Saints Lance Moore was unable to practice today because of the hand injury that has prevented him from playing the last couple of games. Moore is droppable in all league formats in my opinion.  
 
Several WR's were either limited or did not practice today but are fully expected to be fine for their normal roles week 6. The List includes Houston's Andre Johnson (shin), Jacksonville's Cecil Shorts (groin), Tampa Bay's Mike Williams (hamstring), and Baltimore's duo of Marlon Brown (thigh) and Jacoby Jones (knee).
 
 
Tight Ends
 
Houston placed Owen Daniels on the injured reserve/designated for return list today because of his lower leg fracture. He is eligible to return in week 14. Hold onto Daniels in dynasty leagues, but in re-draft I think you can drop him as there is no guarantee he'll be ready to return when he's eligible to
 
Chicago's Martellus Bennett is Questionable on the injury report for Thursday night's game because of a knee injury. While he is being called a game time decision, Bennett is tentatively expected to play after getting in limited practices both Tuesday and Wednesday.
 
Also Questionable for tomorrow night's game is the Giants Brandon Myers. Myers has an ankle injury, but he is expected to play.  
 
Greg Olsen missed practice today with a foot injury. The severity of the injury and the exact nature of it are unknown. Consider Olsen questionable for week 6 and be sure to have a backup plan ready in case he isn't able to play.
 
As expected Washington's Jordan Reed was able to practice in full today and he is set to start week 6. Reed was starting to really assert himself as the top Washington TE before suffering a quad injury and he should pick right back up where he left out with a nice matchup against Dallas this week.  
 
The Jets Kellen Winslow missed practice with his chronic knee issue. He'll likely be okay for this week but you'd need to be desperate to be thinking of starting Winslow. Teammate Jeff Cumberland is the better fantasy option in my opinion, and really Cumberland isn't even a fantasy TE2.
 
And you thought you were going to get away without hearing about New England's Rob Gronkowski? Sorry. He's still practicing in limited fashion and all reports say that he is tentatively expected to play week 6.
 

 

Fantasy Football News and Notes 10-8-13

News and Notes from Tuesday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Program

Fantasy News and Notes 10-08-13:
 
BYE WEEKS: Atlanta, Miami
 
Quarterbacks
 
Michael Vick suffered a hamstring injury and he is going to miss at least 1 game and maybe 2 or 3. Nick Foles will start for the Eagles in his place. While there is a chance Foles keeps the job even when Vick gets healthy, he'd have to be playing light's out. Otherwise, expect Vick back in a couple of weeks.
 
Josh Freeman was signed by the Vikings Sunday. It's very likely Christian Ponder won't play another down for the Vikings and his time as the starter in Minnesota is over. Ponder is still recovering from a rib fracture and probably wouldn't be able to play this week. The move makes it pretty clear the Vikings aren't sold that Matt Cassel can continue to look great. Unless Cassel is playing out of mind, I give it about 3 weeks before Freeman is starting games for the Vikings. Cassel is tentatively expected to start week 6.
 
Matt Schaub is on thin ice in Houston after throwing a pick 6 for a record setting 4th consecutive game. Schaub has looked miserable the last two games and you have to wonder if his confidence is shaken. The Texans haven't said they are going to sit Schaub yet and start T.J. Yates over him. I think they'll give Schaub this week against St. Louis to get his issues corrected. But that's just a guess. And if he does start and looks awful again, I would expect to see Yates in week 7.  
 
Brian Hoyer tore an ACL last Thursday night and his season is done. Brandon Weeden reclaims the Browns starting QB job by default. Hopefully he'll look a lot better know that he has Josh Gordon back to throw to. Gordon missed Weeden's two starts at the beginning of the season due to a suspension. It's not likely the Browns, who were quick to demote Weeden, will be that way knowing Jason Campbell is the only other option.
 
Buffalo is turning to Thaddeus Lewis as their starting QB until E.J. Manuel can return. Manuel suffered a sprained LCL last Thursday night and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. Undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel took over when Manuel went down but he was pretty bad and the Bills went to the streets to find a new starter. Lewis has one start to his credit. He started for Cleveland back in week 17 last season and wasn't too bad. The Bills also signed Dennis Dixon to their practice squad and he could be called up quickly if Lewis struggles.
 
The weekly Blaine Gabbert report is again worth noting. Gabbert suffered a hamstring injury week 5 and has already been ruled out for week 6. Chad Henne will get the start. This is good news for those with WR's Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts as Henne got both WR's heavily involved last season.
 
Oakland released backup QB Matt Flynn. Even though they lost out on signing Josh Freeman, they decided they didn't want Flynn on their roster at all. Flynn may find a backup job somewhere (hey Jacksonville!) but isn't a fantasy option at all. Matt McGloin moves into the top backup spot to Terrelle Pryor.
 
 
Running Backs
 
David Wilson suffered a neck injury Sunday and he has been ruled OUT for the Giants Thursday night's game against the Bears. Brandon Jacobs and recently re-signed Da'Rel Scott are expected to split up the RB duties. Neither is an attractive fantasy option this week though.
 
San Diego may be without Ryan Mathews in week 6. Mathews suffered a concussion week 5 and his status for week 6 is uncertain at this time. If he can't play, Danny Woodhead would move into fantasy RB2 territory as the lead RB in a committee with Ronnie Brown.
 
Oakland will definitely be without Darren McFadden because of a hamstring injury, but they may also be without Rashad Jennings as well because of a hamstring injury he suffered in week 5. Jennings status for week 6 is uncertain and if he can't play, the Raiders will be down to using Marcel Reece and Jeremy Stewart as their top RB's. Reece at least got through week 5 without aggravating his knee injury and likely would be the lead RB if Jennings can't play.
 
Alfred Morris is tentatively expected to be fine to start week 6 for Washington. Morris was lucky to have the week 5 bye to get over a ribs injury. But we may see a little bit more of backup Roy Helu than we normally would.
 
There's been no update yet on Rams RB Zac Stacy and whether he suffered a rib injury or not in week 5. Originally it was reported he suffered a rib injury when he came out of the game, but later Stacy said he just got the wind knocked out of him. Jeff Fisher has said Stacy is his starting RB so I would guess Stacy is fine. He takes over as the top Rams RB and a fantasy RB3 going forward. Daryl Richardson likely will be his primary backup and change of pace. Richardson drops to RB4/5 territory. Isaiah Pead seems to have fallen completely out of favor with no explanation given as to why. There's something going on there we clearly aren't being told about.
 
Ahmad Bradshaw has decided to have surgery to repair the neck injury he sustained a couple of weeks ago. His season is over and the Colts will place him on injured reserve shortly. Donald Brown is locked in as the backup to Trent Richardson going forward.
 
 
Wide Receivers
 
Atlanta's in trouble. Reports are that Julio Jones has a serious foot injury rumored to be a fracture and he could miss the rest of the 2013 season. Jones is getting a second opinion, but this doesn't sound good. Harry Douglas would step into the starting lineup for the Falcons if Jones is out when they return from their bye this week. Roddy White suffered a hamstring injury last night and it's unknown if the bye will be enough time for him to get over both it, and the ankle injury he appeared to aggravate as well. It could very well be Douglas, Drew Davis, and Kevin Cone as the Falcons top 3 WR's when they return in week 7. Douglas is the smartest add of the group from waiver wires.
 
Calvin Johnson is tentatively expected to be okay to play week 6. Johnson was a surprise inactive week 5 after the Lions kept it quiet that his knee injury was a little more serious than had been let on. I'll be a whole lot more careful about trusting that despite sitting out practices, Megatron is expected to be fine from now on. I have him penciled into my starting lineups this week but am ready for a last hour switcharoo if necessary.
 
Buffalo isn't saying for sure that Steve Johnson will play week 6, but he is tentatively expected to. Johnson aggravated a back injury last Thursday night and couldn't finish the game. We'll see if he practices this week.
 
Baltimore is expected to have both Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones back this week. Both players missed week 5 with injuries. It's likely Brown has done enough though to remain the starter over Jones. Jones is more a natural as a #3 WR than as a starter.
 
No word yet if Dallas will have Miles Austin back this week or not. Austin has missed two straight games with a hamstring injury. After watching rookie Terrence Williams have a great game week 5 I'd say let Austin's hamstring take as long as it needs to heal up. Williams may be a smart WR add for those who are needy.
 
Danny Amendola appears to have gotten through week 5 without any setbacks in his groin injury and he should be okay for an expanded role week 6. Amendola only played in 3 and 4 WR sets for the Patriots this past week.
 
 
Tight Ends
 
This is supposed to be the week that Rob Gronkowski gets back on the field. All reports are positive that he will finally make his season debut this week. I'll let you know if that changes, but Gronk owners: it looks like the wait is finally over.
 
Martellus Bennett has a minor knee injury but he is currently expected to be fine for Chicago's Thursday night game against the Giants. As long as Bennett plays, he should be a solid fantasy option against his former team. The Giants are a BAD defense.
 
Houston's Owen Daniels has been diagnosed with a lower leg fracture and he is going to miss the next 4-6 weeks. Garrett Graham takes over as the Texans top pass catching TE now and makes a very good replacement if available on your free agent wires. Graham has been producing good stats despite playing second fiddle to Daniels so far in 2013. I'd recommend holding onto Daniels if your bench is big enough to allow it.
 
Brandon Myers suffered an ankle injury week 5 but he is expected to be okay for the Giants Thursday night game. But with it being a poor matchup, I might make alternate starting TE plans.
 
Greg Olsen suffered an undisclosed foot injury week 5. There's been no word out of Carolina about this and for now, consider Olsen tentatively expected to play week 6.
 
The bye week should have been enough time for Washington's rookie Jordan Reed to heal up a bruised quad injury. Reed is tentatively expected to start for the Redskins this week against Dallas barring any setbacks.
 
Jacksonville has lost another TE. Allen Reisner has gone on the injured reserve/designated for return list with a knee sprain. With Marcedes Lewis out indefinitely with a calf injury, Clay Harbor is the Jags starting TE for the foreseeable future. I only mention this for those who are truly desperate.
 
Kickers
 
Buffalo placed rookie Dustin Hopkins on injured reserve because of the groin injury that he suffered the week before the regular season began. This solidifies Dan Carpenter as the kicker for Buffalo the rest of the season.
 

 

2013 Defensive Fantasy Points Allowed per Game thru Week 5

FP/PG for all 32 NFL teams against both the Run and Pass

2013 Rushing Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
 
Thru Week 5
 
Rk
Yd-Rk
Team
G
Yds
TD
FP/PG
Yds/G
1
3
Arizona Cardinals
5
395
1
9.1
79
2
9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4
377
0
9.43
94.2
3
6
Baltimore Ravens
5
449
1
10.18
89.8
4
4
Dallas Cowboys
5
414
2
10.68
82.8
5
2
New York Jets
5
381
3
11.22
76.2
6
10
Cincinnati Bengals
5
478
2
11.96
95.6
7
12
Atlanta Falcons
5
487
2
12.14
97.4
8
7
Carolina Panthers
4
369
2
12.23
92.2
9
1
Denver Broncos
5
348
5
12.96
69.6
10
5
Green Bay Packers
4
344
3
13.1
86
11
11
Oakland Raiders
5
479
3
13.18
95.8
12
18
New Orleans Saints
5
543
2
13.26
108.6
13
13
Chicago Bears
5
491
3
13.42
98.2
14
21
Kansas City Chiefs
5
575
2
13.9
115
15
14
Tennessee Titans
5
516
3
13.92
103.2
16
22
Buffalo Bills
5
580
2
14
116
17
23
New England Patriots
5
582
2
14.04
116.4
18
24
San Diego Chargers
5
586
2
14.12
117.2
19
19
Seattle Seahawks
5
545
3
14.5
109
20
16
Miami Dolphins
5
527
4
15.34
105.4
21
17
Philadelphia Eagles
5
540
4
15.6
108
22
15
Minnesota Vikings
4
419
4
16.48
104.8
23
27t
Houston Texans
5
630
4
17.4
126
24
30
Indianapolis Colts
5
645
4
17.7
129
25
26
Detroit Lions
5
623
5
18.46
124.6
26
20
San Francisco 49ers
5
568
6
18.56
113.6
27t
27t
New York Giants
5
630
5
18.6
126
27t
27t
St. Louis Rams
5
630
5
18.6
126
29
8
Cleveland Browns
5
471
8
19.02
94.2
30
31
Washington Redskins
4
569
4
20.23
142.2
31
32
Jacksonville Jaguars
5
803
4
20.86
160.6
32
25
Pittsburgh Steelers
4
491
6
21.28
122.8
 
Remember the generic formula:
 
*-Total Yards allowed divided by 10 (representing 1 point for every 10 rushing yards allowed)

*-Rushing TD's allowed multiplied by 6 (representing 6 points for every TD allowed)

*-Add the two totals together and divide by number of games played
 
2013 Receiving Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
 
Thru Week 5
 
Rk
Yd-Rk
Team
G
Yds
TD
FP/PG
Yds/G
1
1
Houston Texans
5
750
7
23.4
150
2
7
Cleveland Browns
5
1126
2
24.92
225.2
3t
2
Pittsburgh Steelers
4
812
4
26.3
203
3t
5
Indianapolis Colts
5
1075
4
26.3
215
5
3
San Francisco 49ers
5
1024
5
26.48
204.8
6
6
Kansas City Chiefs
5
1120
4
27.2
224
7
4
Seattle Seahawks
5
1071
5
27.42
214.2
8
9
Carolina Panthers
4
926
3
27.65
231.5
9
14
New England Patriots
5
1233
4
29.46
246.6
10
10
Cincinnati Bengals
5
1203
6
31.26
240.6
11
12
Tennessee Titans
5
1207
6
31.34
241.4
12
13
New Orleans Saints
5
1223
6
31.66
244.6
13
15
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4
1051
5
33.78
262.8
14
20
Detroit Lions
5
1418
5
34.36
283.6
15
11
New York Jets
5
1206
9
34.92
241.2
16
8
Jacksonville Jaguars
5
1146
12
37.32
229.2
17
21
Arizona Cardinals
5
1420
8
38
284
18
17
Baltimore Ravens
5
1363
9
38.06
272.6
19
23
Chicago Bears
5
1445
8
38.5
289
20
19
Buffalo Bills
5
1417
9
39.14
283.4
21
22
Oakland Raiders
5
1431
9
39.42
286.2
22
25
Miami Dolphins
5
1523
8
40.06
304.6
23
16
St. Louis Rams
5
1348
11
40.16
269.6
24
18
New York Giants
5
1383
12
42.06
276.6
25
27
San Diego Chargers
5
1540
10
42.8
308
26
24
Atlanta Falcons
5
1460
12
43.6
292
27
26
Green Bay Packers
4
1229
9
44.23
307.2
28
28
Washington Redskins
4
1295
9
45.88
323.8
29
29
Philadelphia Eagles
5
1692
11
47.04
338.4
30
30
Minnesota Vikings
4
1364
10
49.1
341
31
32
Denver Broncos
5
1843
11
50.06
368.6
32
31
Dallas Cowboys
5
1728
14
51.36
345.6
 
Remember the generic formula:

*-Total Yards allowed divided by 10 (representing 1 point for every 10 receiving yards allowed)

*-Receiving TD's allowed multiplied by 6 (representing 6 points for every TD allowed)

*-Add the two totals together and divide by number of games played
 

 

2013 Fantasy Football News and Notes: Week 5

Up to Date Player Injuries and Relevant News from All 32 NFL Teams Heading into Week 5

AFC EAST
 
Buffalo: QB E.J. Manuel has a sprained LCL in his right knee and will miss anywhere from 4-8 weeks depending on the optimism of the reports. Undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel finished the Thursday night game and was predictably awful. Look for the Bills to quickly sign a veteran free agent QB to compete right away with Tuel. Tuel has no fantasy value. WR Steve Johnson has a lumbar strain and is tentatively expected to be okay for week 6. Despite playing with injuries, RB's C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson looked fine. The extra days off to rest should allow both to get back to where the injuries aren't a concern, but the timeshare between them is. It's back to almost exactly where it has been before: a split in favor of Jackson with both players having enough fantasy value to be starting worthy, but the presence of the other prevents either from being a really strong, reliable consideration.  
 
Miami: We're starting to see Lamar Miller push Daniel Thomas into just a complimentary role. It's not there quite yet, but will be soon. As it stands Miller is a middling fantasy RB2 while Thomas is barely a RB4/5. #3 WR Brandon Gibson should play week 5 despite being Questionable on the injury report with an ankle injury. He practiced on it all week so I expect he'll be okay. Through 4 games WR Mike Wallace has just 1 game with more than 25 receiving yards. The Dolphins are not using him the way they should be. Meanwhile his teammate, Brian Hartline, has 3 games with 50 yards or more and twice as many TD's (2 to 1) than Wallace. Hartline is the more reliable WR3/4. Expect the Dolphins to figure out they need to find ways to get Wallace the ball more often. He just has so much more playmaking potential than Hartline.
 
New England: I hate talking about the Patriots. Most of their injury report is a farce. He's the easy stuff: RB Stevan Ridley is OUT week 5 with a knee injury. I'm not sure if the Patriots are using it as an excuse to get their struggling starting RB out of the lineup for a week or two or not as I don't recall Ridley being really hurt in week 4, but no matter. With Brandon Bolden (knee) and Leon Washington (thigh) both Questionable and both likely to be limited even if active, LeGarrette Blount will start and likely dominate rushing attempts and playing time. Blount isn't an accomplished receiving RB but he may just get an opportunity to show whether he can be trusted in that capacity. Blount is actually a strong fantasy RB2 this week. Now for the not so easy: WR Kenbrell Thompkins is Questionable with a listed shoulder issue but he is fully expected to play and be fine. WR Danny Amendola is listed as Questionable with his groin injury and while he is tentatively expected to play, he may not be and is considered a game time decision. WR Aaron Dobson is Questionable with a neck injury and I was surprised he was able to practice in limited fashion all week. While it appears he will be active this week he may be limited some. WR Austin Collie was signed off the street this week to provide depth in case both Amendola and Dobson are declared out just before game time. TE Rob Gronkowski is listed as Questionable again but he is not expected to play despite getting in another week of practices in limited fashion. The new speculation is that Gronkowski will return next week. And that may hold true to a few more weeks at the pace he's going. One last thing of note, TE Zach Sudfeld was released this week. So much for all that off-season and pre-season hype we instinctively knew we shouldn't have bought in on.  
 
New York Jets: Santonio Holmes is expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury. Stephen Hill is expected to miss the Monday night game because of a concussion suffered week 4. That leaves Jeremy Kerley and Clyde Gates as the starting WR's for the Jets this week. Chris Ivory has been able to practice some this week but he is unlikely to be ready to return from his hamstring injury in time to play Monday night. But a week 6 or 7 return is likely. Mike Goodson returns from his league imposed 4 game suspension. He is likely to immediately claim the 3rd down RB role and top backup to Bilal Powell. What happens when Ivory returns in the next 2 weeks is anyone's guess. TE Kellen Winslow is fully expected to play despite sitting out most practices with soreness in his balky knees. While the Jets say they won't bench turnover prone QB Geno Smith, you would have to consider the Jets as one of the two likeliest landing spots for recently released former Bucs QB Josh Freeman. Freeman would be an immediate upgrade for the team.  
 
AFC NORTH
 
Baltimore: 4 WR's are listed as Questionable for week 5: Marlon Brown (thigh; expected to play, possibly limited though), Jacoby Jones (knee; game time decision), Brandon Stokley (thigh; game time decision), and Deonte Thompson (concussion; not expected to play). While I think both Brown and Jones will play, I wouldn't recommend either and wouldn't be surprised if Tandon Doss actually got the bulk of the playing time opposite Torrey Smith. Expect Joe Flacco to bounce back after throwing 5 interceptions last week. That wasn't very Flacco like and the matchup this week is pretty decent. Neither Ray Rice nor Bernard Pierce is listed on the injury report. While I doubt Rice is 100% recovered from his hip injury, he is healthy enough to be a good starter again. The Ravens said they wanted to get back to making Rice the focal point of their offense like he used to be. If they're serious, it would bode well for his fantasy owners.
 
Cincinnati: We finally saw Giovani Bernard get a majority of the playing time over Benjarvus Green-Ellis in week 4 and likely we'll see that continue the rest of the season. Bernard is the primary RB now and BGE just a short yardage and power RB complement. Andy Dalton has been struggling and it has led to A.J. Green having poor yardage totals the last 3 games. Green has caught 17 passes for 138 yards and 1 TD in the last 3 games combined. Dalton needs to start taking more shots downfield and it should happen starting this week in a potential shootout with the Patriots.   
 
Cleveland: And the Browns are back to Brandon Weeden as their starting QB. Brian Hoyer tore his ACL early in the Thursday night game and his season is done. Through 2 games Hoyer had looked pretty good so he could remain a dynasty league stash. Willis McGahee got a huge workload carrying the ball 26 times. But he barely averaged 2.8 yards per attempt and a rushing TD salvaged his fantasy value. McGahee looks slow and sluggish, but is clearly the top RB in Cleveland. He'll be a borderline RB2/3 most weeks going forward based just on sheer volume.
 
Pittsburgh: Le'Veon Bell was everything advertised in his first game action since suffering a foot injury in preseason. He certainly didn't seem bothered by it and he is instantly in the fantasy RB2 mix right away when the Steelers return from their week 5 bye. Ben Roethlisberger suffered a dislocated finger but will be fine when he returns. Rookie WR Markus Wheaton required surgery to repair a fractured pinkie finger and his status for week 6 is uncertain. Jerricho Cotchery likely will remain the Steelers #3 WR for the near future. It speaks volumes about how bad your offensive line is when a trade for an Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle is considered a big upgrade. Levi Brown will do a decent job run blocking but he's a turnstile in pass protection. Good thing Big Ben is used to that.  
 
AFC SOUTH
 
Houston: Despite being listed as Questionable with his bruised shin injury Andre Johnson is fully expected to start and be fine week 5. While QB Matt Schaub is being vilified by the Texans fans for his 3 consecutive games with a pick-6, he's in no danger of being replaced. Schaub has actually been a strong fantasy starting Q through 4 games, but he'll even out. His M.O. is to sprinkle a few great games around a bunch of mediocre games. The mediocre are coming, and could be as early as this week against the 49ers. Arian Foster is really starting to pull away from Ben Tate in the RB situation. Expect it to be a 70/30 split more weeks than not between them.
 
Indianapolis: Ahmad Bradshaw is OUT week 5 and is likely to be out at least one more week before making a decision on whether to have surgery to repair a neck injury or not. I expect Bradshaw will need to have the surgery and that he will miss the rest of the 2013 season, but that's just my guess. Donald Brown takes over as the handcuff to Trent Richardson and Richardson is a virtual lock to handle at least 75% of the Colts rushing duties each week. While the perceived matchup against the Seahawks is that it isn't good for Richardson, their fantasy run defense is ranked 15th; it's their pass defense that is far superior. That makes Andrew Luck a weak play this week for getting much going through the air. Reggie Wayne is not likely to be a strong fantasy WR this week because of the matchup.
 
Jacksonville: WR Cecil Shorts is Questionable and while he is tentatively expected to play week 5, he was unable to practice at all this week and could be very limited if active. I'm much higher on returning Justin Blackmon. Blackmon has completed serving his 4 game suspension and steps right back into the Jaguars starting lineup. At least his return means I don't have to waste time writing that two other Jags WR's (Mike Brown and Stephen Burton) are both OUT with injuries as that information is irrelevant for fantasy owners. TE Marcedes Lewis aggravated his calf injury in week 4 and he is out indefinitely. He can be dropped in all fantasy leagues. Blaine Gabbert was predictably horrible again last week failing to lead the Jags to a single TD for the second time this season. So far, in 2 complete games he's played, Gabbert has led Jacksonville to 1 FG. Chad Henne wasn't much better but at least he did well in garbage time; Gabbert's not even doing that. Don't be surprised if the Jags play musical QB's between Gabbert and Henne. However, if they never give Henne another chance, we'll know for sure they are just throwing in the towel and doing their level best to ensure they have the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft. They shouldn't worry too much. They've already been beaten by the Raiders. They may accidentally win a game this year, but I won't be surprised if they don't either.
 
Tennessee: Jake Locker will miss anywhere from 4-8 weeks with his sprained hip and knee injuries. He's lucky it wasn't worse. Ryan Fitzpatrick will start in his place and while Fitzpatrick gets bashed for having a weak arm that causes him to struggle later in the season when it gets cold, he should be fine for the next few weeks as Locker's replacement and not hurt the Titans. He certainly has to be better than Matt Hasselbeck was last season. WR Kenny Britt is Probable after missing week 4 with neck and ribs injuries. Britt is on the trading block and the Titans would dearly like to move him to another team but in order to do that they'll need to showcase him. Currently Britt's believed to be no higher than 3rd on the Titans WR pecking order behind Nate Washington (who should be owned in all fantasy formats although he will not be consistent) and Kendall Wright. I expect the Titans to try forcing several passes each game to Britt and hope he does enough for another team to give them at least a 5th round pick in exchange for him. RB Shonn Greene is out at least one more game and probably 2 as he recovers from minor knee surgery a couple of weeks ago. Jackie Battle remains the Titans backup and goal line RB behind Chris Johnson. Speaking of Johnson, I support him in his derogatory comments about fantasy football earlier this week. Fantasy Football is supposed to be about FUN, and too many people take it way too seriously. Especially when they complain about how players are performing on that player's twitter account or any other social media outlet. I mean, really? Do you think Chris Johnson is purposely trying to screw fantasy teams by not getting into the end zone?
 
AFC WEST
 
Denver: Peyton Manning is well on his way to shattering most every single season passing record through 4 games. While I question whether he really can keep up a pace that has him pegged for 5,880 passing yards, 64 TD's, and zero interceptions, I think he can certainly try. His WR trio and new pass catching TE are all on torrid paces. Demaryius Thomas is on pace for 116 receptions for 1,572 yards, and 16 TD's. Wes Welker is on pace for 104 receptions for 1,064 yards, and 24 TD's. Eric Decker 96 receptions for 1,360 yards and 4 TD's. Julius Thomas 72 receptions for 948 yards and 16 TD's. While I think the TD paces for Welker and TE Julius Thomas will drop and the TD pace for Decker increase, I think these stats bear out something we all wondered about in preseason: can the Broncos offense sustain this many players with high fantasy value? The answer is a resounding YES. Decker is Probable on the injury report with a minor ankle/shoulder issue and he will be fine. Kicker Matt Prater had a minor calf injury but he is Probable and fully expected to be fine to kick week 5.
 
Kansas City: With Anthony Fasano Questionable again with knee and ankle injuries, and rookie Travis Kelce out with a knee injury, we could see Alex Smith checking down plenty again this week to TE Sean McGrath. While it was nice to see Dwayne Bowe get a TD last week Smith's inability to threaten opponents with deep passes is going to cost Bowe fantasy points. At least Jamaal Charles owners should be happy. Smith will make sure to dump off enough passes to Charles to make him a prime contender for leading all RB's in receptions in 2013.
 
Oakland: Terrelle Pryor returns after missing week 4 with a concussion. While the stats don't indicate it, Matt Flynn was so bad in week 4 replacing Pryor that he's been demoted to 3rd string behind undrafted rookie Matt McGloin. The Raiders are the very logical landing spot for Josh Freeman. Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olsen worked with Freeman his first 3 seasons in the league and under Olsen Freeman was flourishing. Pryor has been a surprise, but Freeman could really be the QB the Raiders have been missing for several years now. I give a Freeman/Raiders signing by the middle of next week a 50% chance of happening. RB Darren McFadden will miss week 5 with a hamstring injury. He is officially Doubtful for week 5 but is expected to miss week 6 as well and with the Raider shaving the bye in week 7, McFadden is tentatively expected to return in week 8. With Marcel Reece Questionable with a knee injury, Rashad Jennings is likely to be the lead RB for Oakland Sunday night. Jennings isn't an exciting RB, and failed miserably in Jacksonville when Maurice Jones-Drew went down, but he'll get the majority of the RB load. Reece should be active, but limited in what he can do after his knee injury turned out to be less serious than originally believed.
 
San Diego: With Malcom Floyd having been placed on injured reserve with his neck injury, it solidifies the top 3 WR's in the Chargers WR corps: Eddie Royal, Vincent Brown, and Keenan Allen. I know Brown has been frustrating to owners but I still believe his superior talent is going to start making him more heavily featured in the Chargers offense soon. IT's been nice to see Antonio Gates looking better than he has in any of the last 2 seasons. Age and injuries have zapped some of his athleticism, but he's still a smart TE. After spending the first game behind Ronnie Brown, Danny Woodhead has blown past Brown as the top backup to Ryan Mathews and the preferred 3rd down RB. Woodhead has ppr RB2/3 value, but he will also have those games where he gets very little.
 
NFC EAST
 
Dallas: Miles Austin is Doubtful on the injury report with a hamstring injury and he won't play week 5. Terrence Williams will start again opposite Dez Bryant and even though Dwayne Harris is listed as Questionable with a minor knee issue, he'll be the Cowboys #3 WR this week. With a lot of asses expected to be in the air against the high flying Broncos, Williams might make a serviceable emergency spot start this week.
 
New York Giants: After the Giants released RB Da'Rel Scott earlier in the week, it became apparent that they are going to finally bite the bullet and feed David Wilson the football going forward. Scott wasn't bad, but the only explosive player the Giants have at RB is Wilson and whether he has ball security issues or not, he's the only guy who is going to make plays from their RB's. I expect Wilson to be a strong fantasy RB2 this week against Philadelphia's weak defense. The Giants are talking up RB Brandon Jacobs as being part of a 1-2 punch with Wilson but Jacobs looks very much like a RB who was signed off the street two weeks ago. I hope they aren't serious about giving him many carries. If Hakeem Nicks doesn't get over his drops this week, I can't imagine him being more than a fantasy WR3/4 going forward. He has the talent to be so much better than he has been. Victor Cruz should be in line to feast on the burnable Eagles secondary but this is usually the exact type of game where Cruz pulls one of those confounding disappearing acts. You never sit Cruz, and the matchup dictates he should be in for a monster game this week, but he's come away with 2 catches for 25 yards before in games like this and therefore I'm just saying…
 
Philadelphia: Despite suffering a minor knee injury week 4, WR Demean Jackson is not on the injury report and he is fine. The Eagles get a gift this week in taking on a Giants team that has been pretty terrible at stopping any opponents from moving the football or scoring points. Michael Vick is easily a top 5 fantasy QB play, LeSean McCoy a top 5 fantasy RB, and DeSean Jackson likely a top 10 fantasy WR. However, outside of these 3, it's really difficult to trust any other Eagles players for fantasy purposes. None of WR's Jason Avant and Riley Cooper, nor any of TE's Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, and James Casey can be relied on as anything more than the fantasy football version of the "Hail Mary" pass play.
 
Washington: It's hoped that the bye week allows RB Alfred Morris to get over his rib injury. It won't be totally healed up, but maybe it will be healed up enough for him to start without issue week 6. That said, there's a reason why I've been pounding the table for Morris owners to have Roy Helu on their benches for the insurance. If Helu is still available, and you have Morris, go get Helu. The WR situation appears to be coming into focus. Leonard Hankerson's playing time has been on the increase and he is now the clear #2 WR both for the Redskins and for fantasy purposes.  
 
NFC NORTH
 
Chicago: Despite missing practice on both Wednesday and Thursday with a foot injury, Brandon Marshall is listed as Probable for week 5 and he is fully expected to start and be fine. Likely the Bears are just taking every precautionary measure necessary with any type of boo-boo Marshall incurs this season. TE Martellus Bennett is Probable despite a minor shoulder issue. While Matt Forte may not be the goal line RB, as long as it's further than 4 yards away, he should be the guy in the game over Michael Bush. Forte has fit the Bears new offense like a designer glove and is one the top fantasy performers at RB.
 
Detroit: Even though Calvin Johnson is listed as Questionable for week 5 with a knee injury it's not believed to be a serious issue and Johnson is fully expected to play without restrictions. Maybe Jim Schwartz just wants in on the fun the Patriots and Falcons have each week listing WR's as Questionable when they're really Probable or Doubtful. WR Patrick Edwards is Probable and will play and likely start this week after missing last week with an ankle injury. That pushes Kris Durham back into the 3rd or 4th WR role. Ryan Broyles so far has been an extreme disappointment despite getting on the field for good amounts of time the last 2 games. Reggie Bush isn't on the injury report at all and his knee injury appears to be well behind him.
 
Green Bay: The bye last week allowed Eddie Lacy to get past his concussion and he is Probable and will start week 5 and be the Packers primary RB. With James Starks OUT with a knee injury Johnathan Franklin will be the change of pace RB to Lacy. The return of FB John Kuhn shouldn't affect either one that much. Jermichael Finley is also Probable after using the bye week to get over his own concussion and he will start without issue. Start your Packers with confidence this week against Detroit.
 
Minnesota: There's a QB controversy in Minnesota after Matt Cassel looked a lot better in week 4 than Christian ever has. Cassel got both Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson incorporated into the offense and threw the ball very well. Now the Vikings say there is no controversy and that Ponder is their starter, but expect them to use Ponder's fractured rib injury as an excuse to keep starting Cassel the next couple of games after they return from the bye next week. They will let Cassel either play his way in, or play his way out of the starting job. I've seen enough of Cassel to know he can look good for a while, but in the end is just another stopgap veteran QB.
 
NFC SOUTH
 
Atlanta: RB Steven Jackson is out week 5 so Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling will split up the duties Monday night against the Jets. The Falcons have the bye in week 6 and Jackson is expected to return at full strength in week 7. Both WR's Julio Jones (knee) and Roddy White (ankle) are likely to be listed as Questionable for Monday night. However both are fully expected to play and be fine. Actually, I am expecting White to start producing quality fantasy stats again here very soon. He played the vast majority of the offensive snaps in week 4 for the Falcons and that shows that his ankle is finally getting better. With the bye looming, it would be a smart move to target White for acquisition now before he starts putting up his usually high quality weekly fantasy stats. If White doesn't produce Monday night (and it's his turn to; just like I said Tony Gonzalez was going to last week in this weekly column) he's a sure bet to in week 8.
 
Carolina: As expected, the bye in week 4 allowed WR Steve Smith to get over the hip injury he suffered in week 3. Smith isn't even on the injury report. The Panthers also will finally have rookie RB Kenjon Barner available for the first time this season. Barner won't get enough carries  to be fantasy relevant though. DeAngelo Williams remains the lead RB, but is only a RB3 this week with a matchup against a surprisingly strong Cardinals run defense. The Cardinals allow the second fewest fantasy points on the ground and did a very good job stopping Doug Martin last week. But one player I expect to have a great game is QB Cam Newton. Newton cut his teeth in the NFL by playing Arizona in his first game as a rookie and torched them. For some reason, I get the feeling he's going to do it again.
 
New Orleans: RB Mark Ingram (toe) and WR Lance Moore (hand) have both been ruled OT for week 5. Ingram is in need of a change of scenery and I expect the Saints would take a 5th or 6th round pick in exchange for him since he simply does not fit their offense. Khiry Robinson appears to be doing well taking Ingram's role of power RB, but he won't get enough carries to be fantasy relevant. Pierre Thomas's role is inconsistent thusly making him an inconsistent fantasy play and not trustworthy as more than a flex option or RB3. Darren Sproles at least seems to have found his role again and hopefully it continues to be consistent moving forward. With Moore out, Robert Meachem is likeliest to start but he's inconsistent and I think Kenny Stills makes the better desperation WR play for those grasping at straws.  
 
Tampa Bay: The divorce is final as the Bucs cut Josh Freeman. It was apparent that Freeman and Greg Schiano couldn't co-exist. The Bucs will sink with Mike Glennon at QB this year when they return from their week 5 bye. The bye should allow WR's Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams plenty of time to get over the injuries they played through week 4.
 
NFC WEST
 
Arizona: For the first time all season RB Rashard Mendenhall is not on the Cardinals injury report. It's hoped that he truly is healthy so he can start being the "featured" RB the Cardinals have said they wanted. But I think we'll still see a bit of a split. I think Mendenhall will be the primary with Andre Ellington serving as the pass catching and change of pace RB. Mendenhall is a RB3 with Ellington a borderline RB3/4 in the ppr format. Larry Fitzgerald is not on the injury report either and he has put his minor hamstring issue behind him. It's rare that trading away your starting left tackle makes a QB feel better, but that's probably the case with Carson Palmer after the team traded away turnstile Levi Brown. Not sure Bradley Sowell will be any better but the consensus is that he can't be much worse.
 
St. Louis: Still no word on who the Rams will start at RB this week against the dead last ranked Jacksonville run defense. The general feeling is that Zac Stacy is the most likely candidate with Isaiah Pead the second most likely, and a committee between them to be expected. I also wouldn't be surprised if Daryl Richardson was made inactive after yet another pitiful rushing performance last week. But these are just my best guesses based on what I've read and using a little intuition. It's failed me before. Whoever the Rams trot out there is going to be worth at the very least flex consideration as the Jaguars give up an average of 164 rushing yards and 1 rushing TD per game. Sam Bradford should also be a strong bye week or injury filler at QB this week. The Rams need to make a statement against an opponent and the Jaguars are easy pickings.  
 
San Francisco: WR Quinton Patton's fractured foot injury will likely cost him several weeks at least. This opens the door for Jonathan Baldwin to get playing time and I think Baldwin stands a very good chance of taking over as the starter over Kyle Williams opposite Anquan Boldin. Baldwin is simply more physically talented than Williams and the 49ers need some talent out there for Colin Kaepernick to throw the ball to. Currently, the offense is looking a lot like it did when Alex Smith was winning games as a game manager. Kaepernick is destined to be much better than that. While TE Vernon Davis is listed as Questionable, he played through the hamstring injury in week 4 and suffered no setbacks. I fully expect he'll be fine for week 5.  
 
Seattle: Marshawn Lynch is Probable on the injury report but it says that it isn't injury related. Lynch is fine for this week. Last week showed that the Seahawks offense has its limits and outside of Lynch there is no one who is a reliable option each week. TE Zach Miller is Questionable because of a hamstring injury and will be a game time decision. Even if active you shouldn't trust him. It could open the door for backup TE Luke Wilson though. Wilson is an intriguing talent that is worth keeping an eye on.  

 

Fantasy Football News and Notes 10-3-13

News and Notes from Thursday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Show

Fantasy News and Notes 10-03-13:
 
BYE WEEKS: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington
 
Quarterbacks
 
Tampa Bay released Josh Freeman today. This was like a nasty divorce with irreconcilable differences for the Bucs to swallow over $6 million in owed salary. Freeman isn't likely to be out of a job for long though. While teams may not have been willing to trade a draft pick for him and take on his salary, he is now free to sign with anyone for anything. It would be very surprising if he doesn't find a home soon either to eventually compete for a starting position for a team like the Raiders, Jets, Jaguars, or Vikings, or as a top veteran backup for teams like the Packers, Broncos, or 49ers.
 
 
Running Backs
 
Stevan Ridley hasn't practiced the last two days because of what is now being referred to as a knee issue. Yesterday it was considered a thigh bruise so I'm not sure what to think exactly here and the Patriots aren't exactly forthcoming with information. I hesitate to say he is in danger of missing week 5 but if he doesn't practice tomorrow I wouldn't expect him to play. LeGarrette Blount would likely be the lead RB for the Patriots if Ridley can't play and Brandon Bolden, although limited with his own knee issue, would serve as the 3rd down RB.  
 
Ahmad Bradshaw is not going to play week 5, and could end up on injured reserve as early as next week. Bradshaw has now gotten two opinions on his neck injury and reports are that he is likely to require season ending surgery. Nothing is hard fact as of this moment, but for the present, Donald Brown is the new handcuff to Trent Richardson and Bradshaw is likely to be taking up a roster spot on your bench.  
 
Still no official word yet from St. Louis about who will be their starting at RB in week 5 against Jacksonville. Media speculation is that Daryl Richardson is not likely to start after 3 awful games. It appears that the Rams are leaning towards either Isaiah Pead or Zac Stacy as their starter. The other rookie, Benny Cunningham, doesn't appear to be in the mix. For what it's worth, I've been writing it and saying it since the NFL draft: Stacy is the best Rams RB and I am hoping they will finally give him a legitimate chance to run with the football. But in reality, it's unknown who will be the Rams starting guy. Too bad given the juicy matchup against Jacksonville's league worst fantasy run defense.
 
While Darren McFadden hasn't been practicing and won't play week 5 because of a hamstring injury, Marcel Reece has been able to put in limited practices despite his knee injury and it now looks like he stands a decent of being able to play Sunday night. But with it being a night game, I would just recommend not chancing Reece. The only thing this does is cast serious doubt on the chances for Rashad Jennings to be more than a desperation play as a flex or RB3. If Reece is active, he and Jennings will split up the rushing duties.
 
After sitting out yesterday's practice, Kansas City's Jamaal Charles returned today. Charles has a listed "toes" injury but he is fully expected to be fine for week 5. Start him as you normally would.
 
After being a surprise participant in practice yesterday, the Jets Chris Ivory was unable to practice today. Ivory is still at least another week away from returning from his hamstring injury and likely a couple of weeks.
 
Mark Ingram still isn't practicing for the Saints because of a listed toe injury. He is unlikely to be active this week. I think Ingram is droppable in re-draft style leagues.
 
 
Wide Receivers
 
Brandon Marshall was held out of today's practice because of a foot issue. Marshal missed yesterday's practice but it was believed to just be a day of rest. This means it could be something more. The Chicago media doesn't seem to be concerned about Marshall possibly being in danger of missing week 5 so unless you see it in my Saturday news and notes, you should be fine considering Marshall as you normally would.
 
Danny Amendola practiced in limited fashion again today. We still have no idea if he's going to play this week though. In a bit of a surprise move, the Patriots signed free agent WR Austin Collie. I don't know if that is an indication Amendola or teammate Aaron Dobson aren't going to be able to play this week or not, but it certainly lends credence to the thought that one or both are going to miss week 5. Dobson was limited again today because of his neck injury.  
 
As expected, Eric Decker returned to practice today and should be fine for week 5 despite a minor ankle injury.
 
Miles Austin was held out of practice again today because of his hamstring injury. It's likely Austin is going to miss his second consecutive game. Terrence Williams is likely to start in his place and Dwayne Harris will be the Cowboys #3 WR this week.
 
I've got conflicting information regarding Jacksonville's Cecil Shorts. On the Jaguars official website he's listed as having been limited today, but on the NFL's official practice report, he is listed as not having practiced today. I haven't seen a lot of concern in the Jacksonville media about Shorts so I suspect that as long as he can practice in limited fashion tomorrow he'll be fine for week 5. But if he doesn't, he could end up being questionable on the Jaguars injury report. Keep an eye on him.    
 
Lance Moore missed practice again today with a hand injury. Moore is not expected to play week 5. Robert Meachem appears to be starting in his place for New Orleans but the higher upside probably lies with Kenny Stills. Not that I'd recommend starting either.
 
Baltimore's Marlon Brown missed practice again today. Brown has a hamstring injury and his status for week 5 now has to be considered questionable. While teammate Jacoby Jones put in a second consecutive limited practice again today, he is not expected to be ready to return from his knee injury. But maybe he'll be back in week 6? And after being limited yesterday, Brandon Stokley missed today's practice because of his thigh injury. The Ravens may be thin at WR this week and Tandon Doss could end up starting opposite Torrey Smith.
 
Tennessee's Kenny Britt was able to put in a second consecutive full practice today despite having neck and rib injuries. Britt realizes he needs to perform if he is to either be traded or cash in on free agency in 2014. While he's got the talent to be fantasy relevant, he's clearly behind Nate Washington and Kendall Wright in the Titans WR pecking order.  
 
The Jets are expected to be without both Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill Monday night. Holmes is likely out 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury while Hill still hasn't been able t practice since suffering a concussion week 4. Jeremy Kerley and Clyde Gates will likely start for the Jets Monday night.
 
Among WR's who were either held out of practice today, or were limited, but are fully expected to be fine for week 5, that list includes: Detroit's Calvin Johnson (not injury related); Houston's Andre Johnson (leg); Atlanta's duo of Julio Jones (knee) and Roddy White (ankle); and New England's Kenbrell Thompkins (shoulder)
 
 
Tight Ends
 
Rob Gronkowski was limited again in practice today. No word though on whether he'll be able to play week 5 or not. Expect it to come down to a game time decision and I would say that until we hear that he's definitely playing, just plan on keeping him on your fantasy benches for now. In other Patriots TE news, the team released preseason phenom Zach Sudfeld today. I wrote on Tuesday that Sudfeld was to be dropped from fantasy teams as he has been horrible in the regular season, but I meant it in fantasy leagues. I didn't think Bill Belichick would take me seriously for his NFL club.
 
Vernon Davis was limited again today in 49ers practice but he is fully expected to be fine for week 5 even if his hamstring isn't 100%. He played through it last week and was okay. 
 
Seattle's Zach Miller popped up on today's injury report as having missed practice with a hamstring issue. His status for week 5 is uncertain at current time and I hope you weren't counting on him for your week 5 starting lineups. 
 
 
Kickers
 
Denver's Matt Prater was listed as limited in practice today because of a calf injury on his kicking leg. It's currently unknown if this is something that puts his week 5 availability in jeopardy or not. If Denver signs a kicker between now and Saturday afternoon, that will be a sign for Prater owners to have a replacement ready.
 

 

NFL Game Picks and Survivor Pool Lock: Week 5

Russ Bliss Predicts the Winners of each NFL Game this week

There we go. Week 4 was a LOT better for me in the weekly NFL game picks. I went 11-4 (three losses coming from taking AFC North teams), and that now puts me at a more respectable 40-23 for the season. This is still below the average for me to reach the annual goal of 180 correct by the end of the season so I have more ground to make up. I feel pretty good about this week's picks. But of course, feeling good about them on Thursday morning and feeling good about them come Tuesday morning are two totally different things.
 
Here are my Week NFL Game Predictions:
 
Cleveland 21, Buffalo 16
Baltimore 24, Miami 20
Green Bay 34, Detroit 30
St. Louis 27, Jacksonville 17
Kansas City 20, Tennessee 17
New England 27, Cincinnati 23
Chicago 27, New Orleans 24
NY Giants 30, Philadelphia 27
Seattle 20, Indianapolis 19
Arizona 23, Carolina 21
Denver 38, Dallas 27
San Francisco 24, Houston 17
San Diego 26, Oakland 23
Atlanta 24, NY Jets 13
 
There you have them: my week 5 NFL game picks.
 
Denver beating Philadelphia was an easy choice for week 4's Survivor Pool lock, and that now makes me 3-1 in the locks. Here are the results each week:
 
Week 1 (W; 21-17) Indianapolis over Oakland
Week 2 (L; 30-33) Philadelphia over San Diego
Week 3 (W; 45-17) Seattle over Jacksonville
Week 4 (W; 52-20) Denver over Philadelphia
 
Keeping in the tradition of a true Survivor Pool, I will not use a team more than once. While I see a lot of close games this week, there are two that should be absolute slam dunk choices. And while I am more positive about the Falcons being the top choice for this week, I'd really like to save them for a future week. Therefore, even though the jaded Rams fan in me is screaming "NOOOOO!!!!!" I am going to bank on them against the worst team in the NFL. This could really jump up and bite me, but the Rams are at home, coming off back to back blowout losses. I believe in Jeff Fisher being the guy who will get the Rams turned around, and the 2013 turnaround needs to happen this week. You don't get the worst team in the league visiting your city very often, so he'd better make sure to have this team up for it. The Falcons are the smarter pick, but I am going to save them for the future.
 
My Week 5 Survivor Pool Lock of the Week is: the St. Louis Rams over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
 
Hopefully I will build on a strong week 4 showing and keep it rolling in week 5. Best of luck to all in your NFL picks this week!
 

 

Fantasy Football News and Notes 10-2-13

News and Notes from Wednesday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Program

Fantasy News and Notes 10-01-13:
 
BYE WEEKS: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington
 
Quarterbacks
 
Latest word on Tennessee's Jake Locker is that he may only miss 4-6 weeks with his hip and knee injuries. That sounds a bit optimistic as he originally was believed to be a candidate for the injured reserve/designated for return list, but it may be that Locker is back sooner than the week 11 time frame I had him pegged for. Ryan Fitzpatrick will start for the Titans until Locker can return and instead of bringing in a retread veteran like David Carr, the Titans have activated Rusty Smith from their practice squad to be Fitzpatrick's backup.
 
Oakland's Terrelle Pryor will be able to start week 5. Pryor missed week 4 with a concussion but the team says he is symptom free and he will start this week. Backup Matt Flynn was so bad in week 4, the Raiders have apparently demoted him to 3rd string. Undrafted rookie Matt McGloin is expected to be Pryor's backup.  
 
 
Running Backs
 
Buffalo's C.J. Spiller is officially considered Questionable for Thursday night because of his ankle injury. He will be a game time decision. With Fred Jackson Probable but likely to be limited because a knee injury, Buffalo could be forced to go with Tashard Choice a lot more often than they'd like. Considering the Browns only allow an average of 79 rushing yards per game and a league fewest 2.9 yards per rush attempt, I would advise staying away from Buffalo RB's this week if you can.
 
No word from St. Louis about who they will be starting at RB in week 5 against Jacksonville and their 32nd ranked fantasy run defense. Daryl Richardson has been dreadful so far in 3 games and the Rams made his primary backup, Isaiah Pead, inactive last week without any good explanation. It could be Richardson; it could be Pead; or it could even be either of rookies Benny Cunningham or Zac Stacy who gets the start this week for the Rams. Whoever it is will be worth taking a chance on given the matchup. But it's a guessing game at the current time.
 
Green Bay's James Starks is expected to miss a few more weeks because of a knee injury he suffered back in week 3. With Eddie Lacy returning this week, Starks was just going to compete with Johnathan Franklin for backup and change of pace duties anyway.
 
Stevan Ridley was held out of practice today because of a thigh bruise. He's expected to be okay for week 5 but we are talking about the secretive Patriots here.
 
Chris Ivory was a surprise participant in Jets practice today. He was limited but this is a positive sign that he may not miss a few weeks because of his hamstring injury. I doubt he'll be able to play in week 5 though.
 
Ahmad Bradshaw missed practice today. Bradshaw missed week 4 because of a neck injury and it's looking like he won't play in week 5 either. Expect Trent Richardson to continue getting the bulk of the load for the Colts again this week as he learns the offense. It's a poor perceived matchup against Seattle, but the Seahawks actually rank 15th in rushing fantasy points allowed. With their pass defense being so strong, it probably will be another game with close to 20 rushing attempts for Richardson. He makes a solid RB2 this week.  
 
Kansas City's Jamaal Charles didn't practice today but it's just believed to be a day of rest for him and not because of any unreported injury. Charles is fully expected to be fine for week 5.
 
 
Wide Receivers
 
Miles Austin was held out of practice again today because of his hamstring injury. It's looking like Austin is likely to miss his second consecutive game. Terrence Williams and Dwayne Harris are likely to pick up the slack in his absence again this week.
 
Cecil Shorts left Jaguars practice today because of a groin injury. While it's believed to be minor, it's always concerning when a player has to leave practice with an injury. Hopefully we'll know more tomorrow.
 
Baltimore's Marlon Brown missed practice today because of his hamstring injury. If he doesn't practice tomorrow you should be ready to keep him on your fantasy bench. On the good news front for Baltimore though, Jacoby Jones was at practice today. No word on his level of participation but maybe he's getting close to returning from a knee sprain and a bottle upside the head.
 
Danny Amendola practiced in limited fashion today. This doesn't give us much to go on though as he practiced in limited fashion all last week and was inactive come game day. Teammate Aaron Dobson was also limited in practice. This is actually a good sign as Dobson suffered a neck injury week 4 and was unable to finish the game. It's very likely we won't know much for sure until after Friday's official injury report is released.
 
Among WR's who were either held out of practice today, or were limited, but are fully expected to be fine for week 5, that list includes: Chicago's Brandon Marshall (foot); Detroit's Calvin Johnson (not injury related); Denver's Eric Decker (ankle); and New England's Kenbrell Thompkins (shoulder)
 
 
Tight Ends
 
New England's Rob Gronkowski was limited in practice today. This is starting to not be news, but a daily chore to tell you about as it's still unknown if he's going to play this week or not.
 
Green Bay's Jermichael Finley was able to return to practice today and it appears he should be over his week 3 concussion. Barring any setbacks between now and Sunday, Finley should be fine to start.
 
Vernon Davis was limited in practice today because of the hamstring injury he played through in week 4. Davis should be a lot better now than he was a week ago and should be fine for week 5 barring any setbacks.
 
 
Kickers
 
Buffalo's Dustin Hopkins still isn't able to return yet from a groin injury that has sidelined him for the regular season so far. Dan Carpenter will kick Thursday night for the Bills.
 

 

Fantasy Football News and Notes 10-1-13

Fantasy News and Notes 10-01-13:
 
BYE WEEKS: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington
 
Quarterbacks
 
Jake Locker suffered both a sprained hip and a sprained knee in week 4. He's expected to miss several weeks and there is no exact timetable for his return, but I've pegged week 11 as a realistic starting point for him to come back. Ryan Fitzpatrick will start for the Titans until Locker can return.
 
Cleveland is sticking with Brian Hoyer as their starting QB despite Brandon Weeden being ready to return from a thumb injury on his throwing hand. Hoyer has won 2 games in a row for the Browns and it will take a string of bad games for him to relinquish the job now. 
 
No word yet on whether Oakland's Terrelle Pryor will be able to start week 5 or not. Pryor apparently suffered a setback in his recovery from a concussion this past weekend and he was declared out for week 4. If Pryor doesn't get clearance this week it's expected that Matt Flynn would start again in his place. Flynn was fairly dismal though in week 4 and the Raiders may decide to give undrafted rookie Matt McGloin the start over Flynn.
 
Ben Roethlisberger suffered a dislocated finger this past weekend. He was able to play through it though and with Pittsburgh on the bye this week, Big Ben should be fine for week 6.
 
Minnesota has a QB controversy. Matt Cassel looked a lot better than expected in week 4 leading the Vikings to their first win of the season. While the team says that Christian Ponder remains their starting QB, it won't be a surprise at all that they will yank Ponder at the first sign of struggles when they return from their week 5 bye.
 
 
Running Backs
 
Buffalo's C.J. Spiller has been unable to practice and is looking like he'll be a game time decision for Thursday night's game against Cleveland. Spiller was unable to finish week 4's game because of an ankle injury. While Fred Jackson suffered a mild knee sprain week 4 himself, he is expected to be okay to play and likely will start and be the top RB for the Bills this week. If Spiller doesn't play, Tashard Choice would be the top backup and change of pace RB to Jackson.
 
Baltimore's Ray Rice got through week 4 without aggravating his hip injury and should be fine for week 5. His backup though, Bernard Pierce, suffered a calf injury week 4 and likely will be limited in practices and falls back to being little more than Rice's handcuff.
 
Well, we've been waiting for it to happen and it did in week 4. Darren McFadden suffered an injury and was unable to finish the game. McFadden suffered a hamstring pull and while the severity of it is unknown at this time, it's a good bet that he won't play week 5. McFadden is legendary for taking weeks to return from injuries and I expect this to be no different. With Marcel Reece suffering a knee injury, the severity of which is also unknown, but speculated to be bad enough that he isn't likely to play the next couple of games, you can expect Oakland to start Rashad Jennings this week. Jennings is an unspectacular RB, but with a full workload he can be a serviceable bye week or injury replacement filler on fantasy rosters. We also will likely see a bit of Taiwan Jones as Jennings' backup. 
 
Alfred Morris will use Washington's week 5 bye to get a rib injury healed up. Morris says it isn't a big deal but he was unable to finish the game. If you own Morris, and Roy Helu is still available in your league, you really should strongly consider adding Helu as insurance.
 
Green Bay expected to have Eddie Lacy back this week. The bye week allowed Lacy to get over his week 2 concussion and he is expected to return as their featured RB week 5. His normal backup though, James Starks appears to be a bit dicier as he tries to recover from a knee injury. It's very likely Johnathan Franklin will be Lacy's top backup and change of pace RB this week.
 
In a surprise move, the New York Giants released Da'Rel Scott. Scott had been playing as the 3rd down RB and top change of pace guy to David Wilson. This one makes little sense to me but does bode well for David Wilson. Wilson is an underrated receiving RB and should get a bump up in potential fantasy value going forward as I can't believe the Giants cut Scott only to give lead footed Brandon Jacobs or raw rookie Michael Cox time. Buying low on Wilson now is a smart idea.
 
The Jets get Mike Goodson back this week. Goodson missed the first 4 games serving a 4 game suspension. While Bilal Powell is entrenched as the starter while Chris Ivory continues to miss games with a hamstring injury, don't be surprised if Goodson immediately assumes 3rd down RB duties. Goodson is someone to keep an eye on as Powell is unremarkable as a runner.
 
 
Wide Receivers
 
Santonio Homes is expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury. With fellow Jet WR Stephen Hill very uncertain to play next Monday night because of a concussion suffered Sunday, the team signed free agent David Nelson to provide depth behind Jeremy Kerley and Clyde Gates. Holmes is not worth holding onto in my opinion. In related useless news, the Jets released Ben Obomanu.
 
Houston's Andre Johnson made it through week 4 without aggravating his bruised shin injury. He should be fine for week 5 although I expect he'll be limited some in practices early in the week.
 
Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson suffered a minor knee injury this weekend. He was able to continue playing after it happened and he is expected to be fine for week 5.
 
Baltimore's Marlon Brown suffered a hamstring strain. While it's considered minor, I'll feel a lot better about him being able to play week 5 if he can get in some practice time this week.
 
New England is hopeful that Danny Amendola will be able to play this week. Amendola's been out the last few games because of a groin injury. His return could be timely too as it's unknown whether the neck injury Aaron Dobson suffered is serious enough to threaten his availability. Dobson got his head bent backwards trying to reel in a touchdown catch.
 
Jacksonville gets back Justin Blackmon this week. Blackmon missed the first four games serving a league imposed suspension. If Blackmon is available on your free agent wires, he's a fantasy WR3/4 with upside to become a regular fixture in starting lineups.
 
San Francisco has lost Quinton Patton because of a fractured foot injury suffered last Thursday night. There's been no timetable given how long Patton will be out, but it's expected to be several weeks at least. This could lead to Jonathan Baldwin getting increased playing time. Baldwin is a sleeper to keep an eye on going forward as the 49ers just don't have much talent at WR opposite Anquan Boldin and someone needs to step up. Baldwin at least has skills.
 
Tampa Bay cut Kevin Ogletree after he dropped a couple more passes this past weekend. Russell Shepard and soon to be signed Tiquan Underwood will compete to be the #3 WR in Tampa's offense.
 
No word yet on whether Dallas will get back Miles Austin this week or not. Austin missed week 4 with his annual hamstring injury.
 
San Diego placed Malcom Floyd on injured reserve today, ending his 2013 season. Floyd's been out since suffering a scary neck injury back in week 2. The Chargers signed free agent WR Lavelle Hawkins today.
 
 
Tight Ends
 
Will this finally be the week New England's Rob Gronkowski gets back on the field? I don't know. Reports are that the Patriots think he's ready to return, but some in Gronk's inner circle want him to make sure he is fully recovered from off-season surgeries to both his arm and back. Gronk has been practicing in limited fashion for a few weeks now and while I'm just pissing in the wind with my opinion I think we will see him suit up this week. As for his teammate, Zac Sudfeld? It's time to give up on him if you haven't already. If he can barely get on the field with Gronk out, there's almost chance he does anything with Gronk coming back soon. The preseason super-hype has lost all luster.
 
It was hoped the bye was going to be enough time for Green Bay's Jermichael Finley to get over a concussion he suffered week 3 but he still hasn't been cleared to practice. Expect updates on Finley as we get through the week and for now consider him Questionable for week 5.
 
Marcedes Lewis lasted all of Jacksonville's first offensive drive of the game in week 4 before he aggravated the calf injury that had plagued him since training camp. Lewis is out indefinitely and if you have him, drop him.  
 
 
Kickers
 
Cleveland's Billy Cundiff was able to kick week 4 despite early week concerns about a quad injury. Barring any unknown setbacks he should be okay for week 5.
 
No word yet on whether Buffalo rookie Dustin Hopkins will be back this week or not. Hopkins has yet to be active for the regular season because of a groin injury. With it being a short week, I expect Dan Carpenter will kick Thursday night for the Bills.
 
Washington released John Potter today. This is a strong sign that Kai Forbath is just about completely over his groin injury. Washington has the bye this week and Forbath should be back in action week 6.
 

 

2013 Defensive Fantasy Points Allowed per Game thru Week 4

FP/PG for all 32 NFL teams Against both the Run and Pass

2013 Rushing Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
 
Thru Week 4
 
Rk
Yd-Rk
Team
G
Yds
TD
FP/PG
Yds/G
1
3
Dallas Cowboys
4
311
0
7.78
77.8
2
2
Arizona Cardinals
4
300
1
9
75
3t
5
New York Jets
4
317
1
9.43
79.2
3t
9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4
377
0
9.43
94.2
5
7
Carolina Panthers
3
279
1
11.3
93
6
14
New England Patriots
4
420
1
12
105
7
16
Baltimore Ravens
4
427
1
12.18
106.8
8
6
Atlanta Falcons
4
369
2
12.23
92.2
9
10
Miami Dolphins
4
394
2
12.85
98.5
10t
11t
Cincinnati Bengals
4
396
2
12.9
99
10t
11t
Tennessee Titans
4
396
2
12.9
99
12
24
Kansas City Chiefs
4
470
1
13.25
117.5
13
1
Denver Broncos
4
296
4
13.4
74
14
27
Buffalo Bills
4
489
1
13.73
122.2
15
18
Seattle Seahawks
4
436
2
13.9
109
16
22
New Orleans Saints
4
449
2
14.23
112.2
17
23
Houston Texans
4
453
2
14.33
113.2
18
25
San Diego Chargers
4
482
2
15.05
120.5
19
15
Chicago Bears
4
425
3
15.13
106.2
20
8
Green Bay Packers
3
280
3
15.33
93.3
21
4
Cleveland Browns
4
316
5
15.4
79
22
21
Oakland Raiders
4
447
3
15.68
111.8
23
13
Minnesota Vikings
4
419
4
16.48
104.8
24t
16
Indianapolis Colts
4
427
4
16.68
106.8
24t
26
Philadelphia Eagles
4
487
3
16.68
121.8
26
28
New York Giants
4
490
4
18.25
122.5
27
20
Detroit Lions
4
443
5
18.58
110.8
28
19
San Francisco 49ers
4
437
6
19.93
109.2
29
31
Washington Redskins
4
569
4
20.23
142.2
30
30
St. Louis Rams
4
534
5
20.85
133.5
31
29
Pittsburgh Steelers
4
491
6
21.28
122.8
32
32
Jacksonville Jaguars
4
657
4
22.43
164.2
 
Remember the generic formula:
 
*-Total Yards allowed divided by 10 (representing 1 point for every 10 rushing yards allowed)

*-Rushing TD's allowed multiplied by 6 (representing 6 points for every TD allowed)

*-Add the two totals together and divide by number of games played
 
2013 Receiving Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
 
Thru Week 4