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

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.  
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.
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.
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.