2013 Fantasy Football News and Notes: Week 10

Up to Date Player Injuries and Relevant News from All 32 NFL Teams Heading into Week 10

Buffalo: Rookie QB E.J. Manuel returns as the starter after missing the last 4 games with a sprained knee. This is actually a week ahead of the original 5-8 week timetable given. RB C.J. Spiller is not on the injury report at all this week despite his ankle injury not being 100% recovered from an earlier season sprain. The split between him and Fred Jackson is likely to be close to 50/50 making both in the low end RB2 territory. WR Robert Woods is Doubtful because of an ankle injury and is not expected to play. T.J. Graham likely takes his spot as a starter while Marquise Goodwin slides into the #3 role.
Miami: The Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito situation is likely to be a distraction that could well send the Dolphins spiraling as coaches and players try to cover their tracks and backsides. And that's just the mental aspect. Add in the loss of 2 offensive linemen and it doesn't add up to better times ahead. If Ryan Tannehill was on pace to take a record amount of sacks before this, it's not getting any better. And the running lanes may be a little smaller. I'm staying away from Miami players in fantasy leagues this week. They could either rally together and make a strong effort as a team; or they can fractionalize into groups more interested in saving themselves from the publicity of a nasty media scandal. I think the second is more likely.
New England: The Patriots are on bye this week. RB Shane Vereen is tentatively expected to return from the IR/Designated to Return list next week. He should step right back into his previous 3rd down RB and top change of pace role behind Stevan Ridley. His return likely means Brandon Bolden loses all fantasy value. With the WR corps finally healthy and shaking into place, Austin Collie was released this week. Aaron Dobson has clearly asserted himself over Kenbrell Thompkins as the starting WR opposite Danny Amendola. I've been saying it since preseason: Dobson will eventually rise to greater prominence than Thompkins as he offers something Thompkins and the other Patriot WR's lack: speed and big play ability.
New York Jets: The Jets are on bye this week. That's one less game WR Jeremy Kerley should miss because of a dislocated elbow injury suffered week 9. Kerley is tentatively expected to be out until week 13. TE Kellen Winslow has finished serving his 4 games suspension and should return after the bye. All his return does is hurt the value of Jeff Cumberland. Expect the unpredictable split between RB's Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell to go on the rest of the season. When the Jets are close or have a lead, they'll run Ivory. When they're playing from behind, they'll have Powell on the field instead as he is the better receiving RB.
Baltimore: RB Ray Rice insists he is no longer hobbled by the hip flexor injury that he suffered earlier in the season. If he's being honest (and players rarely admit how badly injured they are during the season; preferring to wait until after the season to say "Yeah, I was really hurt worse than I let on"), than it's an indictment of either his potentially eroding skills, or a horrendous run blocking offensive line as his numbers have barely bordered on the mediocre this season. Everyone keeps expecting a blow up week for Rice, but his production has been that of a low end fantasy RB3 most weeks. You can keep waiting but it's time to stop letting his "name" value overshadow what his actual value has been. WR Marlon Brown suffered a finger injury last week but he is Probable and will be fine for this week.  
Cincinnati: RB Giovani Bernard is tentatively expected to be fine for week 10 despite being Questionable on the injury report because of his bruised ribs injury suffered week 9. However, the injury may mean that we continue to see more of an even split between him and Benjarvus Green-Ellis. Too bad as after last week, it really looked like the Bengals were finally going to get Bernard on the field more often as he clearly displayed superior skills to BGE. TE Jermaine Gresham is Questionable and will be a game time decision after sustaining a groin injury (suspected to have happened in practice Wednesday). Gresham was unable to practice Thursday or Friday and I expect he will miss week 10. This is good for the value of rookie Tyler Eifert as it means he finally gets to be more of a full time player in the offense. Eifert is an upper end fantasy TE2 this week.
Cleveland: The Browns are on bye this week. Jason Campbell has clearly been a big surprise at QB and will finish out the year as the Browns starter. RB Willis McGahee has been struggling mightily and the Browns are expected to start giving Chris Ogbonnaya more chances in the rushing attack. Ogbonnaya is a blue collar RB who lacks any dynamic skill, but gives a solid effort. We could also see Fozzy Whitaker get some more rushing attempts. McGahee's fantasy arrow is pointing down.
Pittsburgh: WR Markus Wheaton is Probable and expected to return from a finger injury that has caused him to miss the last few weeks. Wheaton likely will be rotated with Jerricho Cotchery as the Steelers #3 WR as Wheaton offers an element of speed and big play ability the aging Cotchery lacks. To be fair though, Cotchery has done well this season, but the return of Wheaton likely cuts into his potential. #1 WR Antonio Brown is on pace for career highs in receptions (122) and receiving yards (1,402). Both he and QB Ben Roethlisberger are solid plays this week against a Buffalo pass defense that has allowed a league high 20 passing TD's going into week 10.
Houston: RB Arian Foster is OUT for week 10, and could miss the rest of the season because of a back injury. Foster apparently has been seeing specialists to determine if he needs season ending surgery to repair a disc in his back. Ben Tate will start week 10 at least and possibly the rest of the season if Foster does require surgery. We should know more next week. Tate immediately becomes a fantasy RB2 going forward and his top backup will be Dennis Johnson. Johnson makes a smart handcuff to Tate as Tate, even though he is currently playing through 4 cracked ribs, has missed time in the past with injuries when called upon to carry a full load. QB Case Keenum is likely to finish out the year as the Texans starting QB over a now healthy Matt Schaub. Keenum has been very sharp in his two starts but you know that sooner or later his inexperience is going to show and someone is going to force him into poor decisions. That could be this week against Arizona.
Indianapolis: RB Trent Richardson is Questionable because of an ankle injury, however he is expected to play. He may end up splitting more time than usual with Donald Brown. Richardson is a high end RB3 and so is Brown this week. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey is Probable despite what was thought to be a more serious shoulder injury. DHB will start but it's clear that the only WR with value is T.Y. Hilton. Hilton was great last week and can be considered a high end fantasy WR2 most weeks going forward.
Jacksonville: With WR Justin Blackmon suspended for the rest of the 2013 season because of another violation of the league's substance abuse policy, Mike Brown steps in as a starter opposite Cecil Shorts. Brown isn't a tremendous talent but sheer numbers dictates that he is likely to be on the radar as a fantasy WR4. Shorts is Probable for this week despite a minor groin issue/ Also Probable is RB Maurice Jones-Drew with a knee issue. It's considered very minor though. Denard Robinson has taken over as MJD's top backup and while the Jags say they want to get Robinson upwards of 10 carries per game that will be difficult to do when they're trailing by 14 in the second quarter of most games. Chad Henne remains the starting QB over Blaine Gabbert, for now.
Tennessee: The Titans face the Jaguars this week so just start your Titans this week. QB Jake Locker is a great start for those lacking an elite option. RB Chris Johnson will look to have his second consecutive 100+ yards, 2 TD game against the league's worst fantasy run defense. Backup RB Shonn Greene is a smart play for the RB desperate as he is the preferred goal line RB and the team has said they want to get him 10-15 touches each week. He had 10 last week against the Rams and put up 66 total yards and a TD. A repeat of that is certainly doable this week.
Denver: The bye last week allowed TE Julius Thomas enough time to get mostly over the ankle injury he suffered week 8. Thomas is Probable and will start week 10. Peyton Manning is also Probable with an ankle injury but he's never been much of a running threat and an ankle injury for him doesn't stop him from being a top 3 fantasy QB. It's expected that RB Ronnie Hillman will continue to be a healthy inactive going forward on game days because of his ball security issues. With the team having said they want to ease up on RB Knowshon Moreno's workload so as to keep him fresh for later in the season and into the playoffs, there's a good chance we see a bit more of a ball control offense with rookie RB Montee Ball. Not enough to where it brings down the fantasy value of the passing game, but it could mean Moreno moves from being a fantasy RB1 to a RB2 and Ball moving up into RB3 territory.
Kansas City: The Chiefs are on bye this week. While Jamaal Charles has been a real workhorse, the Chiefs are expected to slightly reduce his role so he is fresher towards the end of the season. If they actually do that, Knile Davis will get more chances to be on the field, but not enough to give him stand alone fantasy value. Davis is still a highly recommended handcuff to those who have Charles though.
Oakland: RB Darren McFadden is OUT week 10 with a hamstring injury and likely he will miss at least one more game too. Rashad Jennings will start this week and is a low end fantasy RB2. WR Juron Criner lasted all of one game before succumbing to injury again. Week 9 was his first action of the season but he is now out with a shoulder injury. QB Terrelle Pryor's knee injury was minor and he is Probable and will start without issue. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski is Probable and will kick without issue despite a ribs injury.
San Diego: WR Eddie Royal hasn't taken part in a practice in 3 consecutive weeks now, but he's been playing in games and putting up decent numbers so there's no reason to not expect him to be active again this week despite again being listed as Questionable. It's a plus matchup for all Chargers WR's and TE's against a 31st ranked Denver pass defense. Also, expect RB Danny Woodhead to once again be the superior fantasy play to starting RB Ryan Mathews. This game is likely to be a shootout and while the Chargers best offensive course of action would be to try keeping the Broncos offense off the field by pounding Mathews plenty, it's likely they'll need to throw more to keep up on the scoreboard. Philip Rivers could flirt with some seriously high numbers this week.
Dallas: WR Miles Austin is Doubtful and won't play this week as Dallas continues to rest him in hopes of getting his chronically injured hamstring healed up. Terrence Williams continues to start in his place and Cole Beasley operates as the #3 WR. WR Dez Bryant is Probable despite a back injury that is possibly a disc injury. Bryant will play through it and the hope is it doesn't become a more serious issue.
New York Giants: RB David Wilson was placed on injured reserve this week because of his disc injury in his neck. His hugely disappointing 2013 season is done. RB Andre Brown was activated off the IR/Designated for Return and will play week 10. Brown is the most talented RB on the team now but likely needs a week or two before he takes over as the featured RB. Likely he'll split time with Peyton Hillis for a game or two until he gets back to speed. Brandon Jacobs figures to be the #3 RB if he can ever get over the hamstring injury that has lingered for nearly a month now. Jacobs won't play this week. Brown's the best fantasy bet even if he is on the wrong side of a timeshare with Hillis for a game as he is that much more talented. WR Victor Cruz may not be 100% recovered from a neck injury suffered two weeks ago but he's probable on the injury report and expected to start this week.
Philadelphia: With Michael Vick Doubtful because of his hamstring injury Nick Foles will start again. Foles was a beast last week tying the NFL record with 7 passing TD's, but he is hard to trust to be consistent as in 3 starts he's been outstandingly great in 2 and absolutely awful in the other. Which Foles shows up this week? It also appears that Foles does a lot more for the value of WR Riley Cooper than Vick does. In the 3 games Foles has started, Cooper has caught 15 passes for 347 yards and 4 TD's. In the 6 games started by Vick, Cooper has 10 catches for 106 yards and 1 TD. I have no idea if this is in any way related to the preseason scandal that rocked Cooper, but it is interesting to note.
Washington: Darrel Young got one carry Thursday after his big 3 TD game week 9. There's a reason why we sent alerts warning our members not to acquire Young as that was one of those anomaly type games and not the beginning of a RB who would have fantasy value. Although RG3 had a very strong game Thursday, I'm a little concerned about the amount of hits he is taking, especially in the pocket. Another injury is very possible if he doesn't either learn to avoid taking direct hits or his offensive line doesn't do a better job. TE Jordan Reed continues to impress and is a strong starting fantasy TE. WR Pierre Garcon is really coming on of late and is a borderline fantasy WR1/2.
Chicago: Jay Cutler has made a surprising recovery from his torn groin injury and he will start week 10 over Josh McCown. I have my concerns about this being too quick for a return and he may be putting himself at a higher risk for aggravation of the injury, but that's a club call and the Bears seem to think Cutler can be Cutler despite only being 2 weeks removed from an injury that was supposed to have a 4-6 week recovery time. Consider Cutler a high risk/high reward fantasy play this week. WR Alshon Jeffery put up 107 yards and a TD last time he faced Detroit and could be a smart play as a fantasy WR2 this week.  
Detroit: WR Nate Burleson has returned to practices but is not quite ready to return to game action from his broken arm and he has been ruled OUT for week 10. Kris Durham continues to start in his place be a WR3/4. WR Calvin Johnson was limited in practices all week but he is Probable and is fully expected to start without issue. RB Reggie Bush is Probable after sitting out Friday's practice to rest. Bush is fine and will be a top 5 fantasy RB this week against a Swiss cheese Bears run defense.
Green Bay: With Aaron Rodgers expected to be out until Thanksgiving, and possibly longer because of a collarbone injury, Seneca Wallace will start week 10. Wallace was pretty bad last week in replacing Rodgers after the injury happened, but considering Wallace was signed after preseason and had never worked with the starters before, it was understandable. Maybe a week of practice for a seasoned vet like Wallace will produce better results this week in a good matchup against the Eagles. If it doesn't the Packers did call up Scott Tolzien from the practice squad and also are thinking of bringing in Matt Flynn. The loss of Rodgers brings the fantasy value of the WR's down. Jordy Nelson is the only one worth more than flex consideration. TE Jermichael Finley was placed on injured reserve earlier in the week and his season is done. He is expected to be okay for 2014 though if he wishes to continue his playing career despite a compressed disc in his neck. Andrew Quarless has taken over as the new starting TE and has done an okay job as a receiver but is nothing better than a low end fantasy TE2. RB's Eddie Lacy and James Starks are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries of Rodgers being gone as the Packers likely will try to run the football more often. Lacy is a beast and I have little doubts he will continue to be effective even despite increased focus by defenses. If the Packers go with a 35-30 run-pass ratio, Starks is likely to get 10 carries per game and flirt with flex value.
Minnesota: Christian Ponder suffered a dislocated shoulder injury Thursday night and his status for week 11 is very uncertain at this time. There's a chance he could play. There's even a chance the Vikings want him to as he has looked a lot better the last couple of games. While we sent alerts about John Carlson being a guy to watch at TE last Monday since he was taking over for Kyle Rudolph, we didn't anticipate his great game Thursday and are dubious about chasing the points considering the opponent he did it against. WR Jerome Simpson was arrested for DUI early this morning and whether he will facing any type of team or league imposed suspension is unclear. It's not likely since we are in the season and usually these things have to run their course through the courts before any official action is taken. But this could mean a bigger role for rookie Cordarrelle Patterson. I'd much rather want the more explosive Patterson on a fantasy team as a deep bench stash than Simpson.  
Atlanta: WR Roddy White is expected to play this week despite being listed as Questionable. reports this week said that White seemed to have turned a corner in his recovery from ankle and hamstring injuries and was looking a lot better than at any point in practices so far this regular season. It would be good news for both the Falcons and patient fantasy owners, but I personally want to see White get through a game and look okay before trusting him in a fantasy lineup. White's return means an end to Drew Davis's limited fantasy value.
Carolina: RB Jonathan Stewart returned last week and got more playing time than anticipated. He also looked a lot better than expected and could push DeAngelo Williams into more of a backup role as soon as this week. But the Panthers are likely to be a hard to predict 3 headed RBBC with Stewart and Williams handling most primary rushing down duties and Mike Tolbert serving as 3rd down and goal line RB. It's a situation that should be avoided if possible until it clears up some.
New Orleans: WR Marques Colston is Questionable and while expected to play this week after missing last week with a knee injury, he is considered a game time decision. Even if active, Colston is not much of a fantasy consideration as he has looked old and slow this season when playing. TE Jimmy Graham is Questionable but is expected to play despite his foot and elbow injuries. Graham has put up elite fantasy numbers each of the last 2 weeks despite his foot injury and unless I hear he isn't playing, I start him every week regardless of how limited he may be. RB Darren Sproles is Probable and will play despite having suffered a concussion last week. Sproles has practiced in full and apparently has passed all of his concussion tests without problems, but whether he's going to be any more effective than he has been in recent games is unknown.
Tampa Bay: Saner heads prevailed and RB Doug Martin was finally put on injured reserve this week. Martin can now get the shoulder surgery he needs asap and with a 6 month expected recovery time, he should be a full go for the start of training camp, if not sooner. Guess someone with decision making power and a calculator came to the same conclusion I did right after the injury happened. Mike James will finish out the 2013 season as the starting RB for the Bucs.  
Arizona: RB Rashard Mendenhall is probable and will play despite not being recovered from what has finally been confirmed as a turf toe injury. Mendenhall's return doesn't necessarily mean Andre Ellington's role will diminish though as it has become painfully obvious to everyone that Ellington adds a spark of explosiveness the other Cardinals RB's lack. Consider Ellington a low-middling RB2 going forward as I expect he will be getting 15-20 touches every game. Mendenhall will become a TD dependent RB3. TE Rob Housler is Questionable and will be a game time decision because of a groin injury. Housler has been a huge bust this season and shouldn't be in fantasy starting lineups even when healthy. The matchup for Carson is both favorable and unfavorable at the same time this week. The Texans allow the fewest actual passing yards of any defense in the league. But they also are tied for a league fewest 3 interceptions on the season. Palmer has been a turnover machine most weeks so this is like the resistible object meets the moveable force.
St. Louis: TE Lance Kendricks is Doubtful because of a hand injury and he is not likely to play for a few weeks. RB Zac Stacy has stepped into borderline fantasy RB1/2 territory after solid performances in recent weeks. Even when opponents are keying on him Stacy has been a solid producer. He's the only Rams player that is a fantasy consideration. If Kellen Clemens doesn't start playing better soon, it may well be we see Austin Davis get starts at QB soon. Clemens is bringing the fantasy value of all Rams WR's to nil.
San Francisco: WR Mario Manningham was activated off the PUP list and he is not on the injury report at all. He is expected to play, and if he suffers no setbacks in first action back from a 2012 torn ACL, it's very likely he will step into the starting lineup by next week. Manningham isn't going to fix all the problems the 49ers have had throwing the ball but he certainly is better than anyone the team has tried opposite of Anquan Boldin this season and should help improve Colin Kaepernick's passing numbers at least some. WR Michael Crabtree also returned to practices this week, opening up the possibility of his return in the next 3 weeks. Crabtree's recovery from a ruptured Achilles tendon back in May has gone very well according to reports and there is a chance he is back by the first week of December. I wouldn't expect much from him though in the final 4 weeks of the season as I expect the team will be very careful with Crabtree, easing him back in and making sure he is ready to take on a bigger role when it's more important for them (and less important for fantasy owners): the NFL playoffs.
Seattle: WR Percy Harvin still hasn't been activated to the active roster, but it's likely to happen very soon. Harvin is likely to be able to play week 13, until then it will be Jermaine Kearse starting opposite Golden Tate. The Seahawks really need to stop being cute at the goal line and get back to what has worked the last 2 seasons: giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch. It almost seems like they're going out of their way to make Russell Wilson the hero. Let Lynch do what he does best: plow over people and score TD's.