News and Notes from Thursday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Show
Fantasy News and Notes 10-10-13:
BYE WEEKS: Atlanta, Miami
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!