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
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!