Fantasy News and Notes 11-07-13:
BYE WEEKS: Cleveland, Kansas City, New England, New York Jets
In a surprise move, Jay Cutler has been cleared to play and he will start week 10 for the Chicago Bears. Cutler was expected to miss 4 weeks with a torn groin muscle injury but returns after only missing two weeks. I have to wonder if he's at a high risk of re-injury by coming back so quickly, so if you have Josh McCown I would recommend keeping him on your bench this week and see whether Cutler makes it through this weekend without aggravating it. For those with Cutler, you can consider him a high risk/high reward QB play this week.
No setbacks for Buffalo's E.J. Manuel this week in his recovery from a sprained knee he suffered back in week 5. Manuel remains on track to start this week.
While Michael Vick is practicing in limited fashion this week, he is not taking part in team drills and he will not pay week 10. Nick Foles will start for the Eagles. I really question the Eagles even letting Vick practice in limited fashion. Just shut him down for a couple of weeks and let the hamstring injury heal up so he can be able to make it through a game without aggravating it after one quarter of play.
Peyton Manning is practicing in full this week despite his ankle injury. Manning doesn't run much anyway and this injury won't prevent him from being a top 3 fantasy QB this week.
Trent Richardson sat out practice again today because of an ankle injury. While he's expected to be able to play week 10, those of you who are planning on starting him really need to go out and get Donald Brown off the free agent wire. Look at the last 4 weeks: Brown has 33 combined rushing attempts and receptions and has produced 188 total yards, scored 1 TD and averaged 4.8 yards per rush attempt. Richardson has touched the ball 53 times in that span and accumulated 199 yards, no TD's, and only 3.1 yards per rush attempt. Any increase for Brown in this timeshare just makes him a consideration for fantasy starting lineups. And there's a chance that Richardson may be active, but acting in a backup capacity this week.
David Wilson was placed on injured reserve today because of the disc injury in his neck. This will end Wilson's season and only those of you in dynasty leagues should continue holding onto him. Andre Brown was activated from the IR/Designated for Return list and is expected back in game action this week. But the team says the plan is to limit his playing time in his first game action since breaking his leg back in the last preseason game. Peyton Hillis is expected to be the primary RB for the Giants with Brown the top change of pace. However, Brown is by far the more talented RB and has the much higher upside. Neither Brown nor Hillis is anything more than a low end fantasy RB3 or flex option this week. Brandon Jacobs is still limited in practices because of his lingering hamstring injury and appears to be no higher than 3rd on the depth chart for week 10.
Zac Stacy returned to practice today. He's fully expected to be fine for week 10 and after his strong showings the last few games, he is locked in as a borderline fantasy RB1/2.
Arian Foster missed practice again today because of his back injury. Foster is unlikely to be active this week. I expect Ben Tate will start and Dennis Johnson will be his top backup this week against Arizona. Tate's been limited with his cracked ribs injury, but he played through them week 9 and will do so again week 10.
Giovani Bernard was limited in practice today because of his bruised ribs injury. Bernard is expected to be okay for week 10 though barring any setbacks in tomorrow's practice.
Darren McFadden missed practice again today because of his hamstring injury. He is not expected to play week 10. Rashad Jennings will start in his place for Oakland and the RB needy should consider Jennings as a fantasy RB2 play this week.
Rashard Mendenhall was limited in practice today again because of his toe injury. While he is expected to play week 10, maybe his return won't cut that much into the playing time for Andre Ellington. Ellington is by far the superior fantasy option to Mendenhall.
Those of you who are RB needy this week should consider Tennessee's Shonn Greene. The Titans have said they'd like to get Greene close to 15 touches per game and last week he received 10 total touches and put up 66 total yards and scored a TD. This week, Greene and the Titans face a Jacksonville Jaguars run defense that ranks last in all three pertinent fantasy categories: rushing yards allowed, rushing TD's allowed, and rushing fantasy points allowed. He may be Chris Johnson's backup, but he's also likely to get 10-15 touches this week.
Saner heads are sounding likely to prevail in Tampa Bay. A decision on whether to place Doug Martin on injured reserve and get him the shoulder surgery he will need to have sooner or later is expected to be made next week. Why the 0-8 Bucs have taken this long to do the right thing for both Martin and their future is baffling. Sooner he has the surgery; sooner he's back to full health by training camp next year. Tampa Bay's not making the playoffs this season so why this is even a discussion I don't understand. And there's still a chance that some idiot will prevail and that Martin will be brought back this season. But the common sense thing to do is pretty clear and I think Martin will go on IR next week. Rookie Mike James should be locked in as the starter going forward for the Bucs.
Roddy White is sounding very likely to return to game action week 10. He put in a second consecutive limited practice today and all reports say he is looking like he has turned the corner in his recovery from ankle and hamstring injuries. His expected return pushes Drew Davis down to just being the #3 WR and Davis can be dropped now in most leagues. I'm still dubious myself that White is back to full health and ready to put up his usual solid fantasy numbers, especially in a poor matchup this week against Seattle, but at least those who have held onto him should start seeing rewards from him as we get into the stretch run of the season. That is unless he suffers any setbacks. He'll likely step right into the starting lineup opposite Harry Douglas. For what it's worth, I still think Douglas is the best fantasy bet at WR from the Falcons.
Dez Bryant practiced today after sitting out yesterday with a minor back issue. He'll be fine for week 10.
Victor Cruz also returned to a limited practice today after sitting out yesterday with a neck injury. He's expected to start week 10 without issue.
Calvin Johnson was limited again today with his listed knee injury. But Megatron is fine and is fantasy's most dominant WR. Start him with confidence.
Miles Austin was held out of practice again today by Dallas. He is not expected to play this week.
Cecil Shorts sat out practice today after getting in a limited session yesterday. Shorts has been battling a minor groin injury and currently he is still expected to play week 10 for the Jaguars.
Eddie Royal missed practice again today because of his lingering toe injury. Royal hasn't practiced in 3 weeks but he has played, and played effectively each of the last 2 Sunday's, so I expect him to do so again in a plus matchup against Denver's second to last ranked fantasy pass defense.
Marques Colston was limited again today in practice with his lingering knee injury. Colston missed last week's game and even with limited practices I'd consider him no better than Questionable for week 10. I have Colston in a few leagues and am currently sitting him this week without hesitation.
Robert Woods missed practice again today because of his ankle injury. Latest reports say he is not going to play week 10. T.J. Graham likely starts in his place for Buffalo.
Jimmy Graham returned to practice today getting in a limited session. Graham will play week 10 despite his foot and new elbow injury. Graham certainly didn't look limited at all last week in game action and he should be fine again this week.
Julius Thomas practiced again today and appears to be set to play week 10 despite an ankle injury. You should be fine considering Thomas as you normally would.
Cincinnati's Jermaine Gresham missed practice today with a groin injury. He practiced yesterday in limited fashion so I have to wonder if this was a day of rest, or if he aggravated it yesterday. Consider him questionable right now for week 10. If he misses week 10, Tyler Eifert would see his fantasy value go up to that of a high end fantasy TE2.
Rob Housler was limited in practice today with a groin injury. Housler wasn't listed yesterday so this may have happened in practice. Regardless, Housler has been a fantasy bust this season and shouldn't be in anyone's starting fantasy lineup this week, or any week.
Houston's Garrett Graham returned to a full practice today after being limited yesterday with a thigh injury. He'll be fine for week 10's matchup against Arizona.
Sebastian Janikowski sat out yesterday's practice with a minor rib injury, but he returned to a limited practice today and should be fine to kick for Oakland week 10.
Russ Bliss Predicts the Winners of each NFL Game this week
Brutal. That's the only word I have for my picks in week 9: brutal. 6-7? I feel like Gordon Ramsey should be yelling at me or something; calling me a "donkey" and telling me to get out of his kitchen.
The good news is that it can only get better. That dismal showing in week 9 has me a pitiful 83-50 for the year and way off the mark for where I like being at this time heading into the stretch run towards the end of the season. Ideally at this point of the season you'd like to be at least 93-40. That's a lot of ground to make up, but I'll try.
Here are my week 10 NFL Game Predictions:
Washington 27, Minnesota 23
Pittsburgh 27, Buffalo 17
Baltimore 23, Cincinnati 20
Detroit 28, Chicago 24
Tennessee 34, Jacksonville 13
NY Giants 24, Oakland 17
Green Bay 24, Philadelphia 21
Seattle 27, Atlanta 20
Indianapolis 31, St. Louis 24
San Francisco 20, Carolina 16
Denver 35, San Diego 31
Arizona 27, Houston 21
New Orleans 31, Dallas 28
Tampa Bay 28, Miami 17
There you have them: my week 9 NFL game picks.
Dallas came through for me in my week 9 Survivor Pool Lock week 9, but as I said last week: they always make it a whole lot closer a game than I think it should be. Luckily they didn't blow it. That improves me to 7-2 in the weekly locks for the season. Here are the results each week 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 (L; 27-30) New England over NY Jets
Week 8 (W; 42-10) San Francisco over Jacksonville
Week 9 (W; 27-23) Dallas over Minnesota
This week I am actually tempted to take Tampa Bay over Miami, but it goes against all of my reason to take a team that is 0-8 on the season to get their first win against a team that is 4-4, even if the Dolphins are in a state of total turmoil as an organization and team because of the Richie Incognito circus. That's okay though, because there is another game that sticks out like a sore thumb this week. The Tennessee Titans are at home against the most woeful team in the NFL. The Titans are actually playing pretty good football and even though Jacksonville is coming off the bye, they still are not any better now than they were going into it. Worse even as WR Justin Blackmon has been suspended for the rest of the season. While I'm sure it is a measure of pride for the players, I get the feeling the organization itself wouldn't mind if they lost every game so they have that first pick in the 2014 draft and can get a real QB. RB's Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene should run roughshod over the Jags this week in a game that will be close for about 1 1/2 quarters.
My Survivor Pool Lock for Week 10 is: the Tennessee Titans over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Best of luck to all in your own picks this week!