Fantasy Football News and Notes 11-14-13

News and Notes from Thursday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Show

Fantasy News and Notes 11-13-13:
BYE WEEKS: Dallas, St. Louis
Peyton Manning returned to practice today. Manning skipped yesterday to rest up his ankle injury. While the ankle may be painful for him, he's fully expected to start Sunday night without issue
Terrelle Pryor also returned to practice today after sitting out yesterday to rest a knee injury. Pryor split first team snaps with backup Matt McGloin. This is a positive sign for his availability this weekend. Tentatively expect Pryor to start, but also remember he's not at full speed and a lot of his fantasy value has come from his rushing abilities. And the knee is going to hinder that.
Christian Ponder practiced again today and barring any surprises, he will start for Minnesota this week. But on the road against Seattle? He shouldn't be a fantasy starter this week.  
Running Backs
Adrian Peterson sat out practice today, but there's no injury listed so it's believed to just be a day off for the stud RB.
Darren McFadden missed practice again today because of his hamstring injury. He is not expected to play this week and his status for week 12 is even uncertain. Rashad Jennings should start and be the Raiders featured RB this week and possibly next week as well.
Steven Jackson returned to a full practice today after being limited with a toe injury yesterday. The Falcons have said they want to give him the ball more often and we'll see if they follow through with that this week. If they are serious, it brings down the value of Jacquizz Rodgers from even flex consideration.
Willis McGahee sat out practice today. But he practiced in full yesterday and this is just his normal Thursday's off. He'll be fine to be a mediocre fantasy RB3 again this week.
As expected, Maurice Jones-Drew returned to practice today after sitting out yesterday. His knee is not a real concern and he'll be fine for this weekend.
The Patriots still haven't activated Shane Vereen from the IR/Designated for return list yet. They have until Saturday to do that if they want to have Vereen for this weekend. Even if active, word is that they'll likely ease him back in instead of throwing him back into his normal full role. I remember hearing the same thing said about the Giants' Andre Brown last week though. We may not know whether Vereen is playing or not until the weekend.
Carolina's Mike Tolbert missed practice today, but it's not injury related and he should return to the team in plenty of time to play Monday night. That said, he's a poor fantasy bet in Carolina's 3 headed RBBC.
Wide Receivers
Calvin Johnson was held out of practice for a second consecutive day today because of a listed knee issue. While it's not believed to be serious, after getting surprised with a week 5 inactive for Megatron after he followed a similar path that week, I am little concerned about fantasy's #1 WR this week. Hopefully we get positive reports tomorrow and you'll definitely want to be checking out my Saturday team by team news and notes for the latest on him. His teammate, Nate Burleson put in a limited practice today but is not expected to play yet as he is still getting back into game shape after being out since breaking his arm in a car accident after week 3.
Vincent Jackson put in a full practice today after being limited yesterday with a minor knee issue. He's fully expected to be fine for week 11 and barring the unexpected, you can start him with confidence this week.
Percy Harvin practiced in full today. It's all but a sure thing he is going to make his 2013 season debut this week and while he may be limited some, he's still an electrifying playmaker who may be able to do more with less playing time than many guys who get more playing time. Consider Harvin a strong WR3 for fantasy this week with a great matchup.
Roddy White was limited in practice again today with a listed shoulder issue. He's expected to be fine to play this week though. Of more concern for Atlanta is Harry Douglas. Douglas was held out of practice today because of a knee injury. Douglas wasn't on yesterday's practice report injury list so it's fair to wonder if this happened late in practice yesterday. Late week additions to the injury report are usually not a good sign and Douglas owners should be ready to have a backup plan ready to go if they were planning on starting him. We'll see how he's listed tomorrow.  
Cecil Shorts was held out of practice today because of his groin injury. He practiced in limited fashion yesterday and this is believed to just be a day of rest to not put too much pressure on it. Shorts should be okay for week 11 as long as he returns to at least a limited practice tomorrow.  
Mike Wallace was added to today's practice report injury list as being limited with a hamstring injury. Wallace wasn't listed yesterday so this may have occurred in practice today. We'll see how he's listed tomorrow. Those counting on Wallace will want to have a backup plan ready to go in case he doesn't play.
Michael Floyd returned to a limited practice today. This is a good sign that he will be likely be able to play for Arizona this week despite a sprained shoulder injury. He's only a WR4 this week though.
Jeremy Kerley has yet to practice this week because of his elbow injury and he is not going to play week 11. But the Jets are expecting to have Santonio Holmes back this week. Holmes will probably platoon with David Nelson opposite Stephen Hill this week.
Buffalo is expected to be without both of their starting WR's week 11. Steve Johnson and Robert Woods both missed practice again today. Johnson is dealing with a groin injury and Woods has an ankle injury. With Buffalo having the bye in week 12, it's a good bet the team sits both players this week so they can get as healthy as can be when the Bills return in week 13.
Tight Ends
Rob Gronkowski was limited in practice today but he's fully expected to be fine for Monday night. The Patriots are just being careful with him.
Vernon Davis practiced in limited fashion again today and it's looking like he will pass his concussion tests and be able to play this week. That is tentative though and we won't know for sure until Friday or Saturday. 
Jimmy Graham is expected to start without issue again this week despite his foot and elbow injury. He's been limited in practices.
Tony Gonzalez missed practice again today because of the toe injury he suffered week 10. Like I said yesterday: Gonzalez doesn't need to practice to play for Atlanta but it would be preferable for him to get some time in before the week is out. I fully expect that he'll be listed as Questionable on tomorrow's injury report and considered a game time decision.  
Martellus Bennett sat out practice today with a listed ankle injury. Bennett wasn't on yesterday's practice report injury list and there's been no word whether he suffered an injury yesterday, or if this is just a day off for him. Tentatively expect him to be okay for week 11 but be ready to have another player ready to go in his place if he sits tomorrow and ends up listed as Questionable on Friday's official injury report.
Jermaine Gresham practiced in full for a second consecutive day today and is fully expected to play week 11 after missing week 10 with a groin injury. He's not a strong fantasy option though and hurts Tyler Eifert's fantasy upside.


NFL Game Picks and Survivor Pool Lock: Week 11

Russ Bliss Predicts the Winners of each NFL Game this week

I suppose in context, 9-5 in week 10 was pretty good considering that no one in any of my football picks pools did better than 11-3 for the week. But in the grand scheme of things, it still falls short of what I need in order to get back to where I like to be at this point of the season. Thru 10 weeks, I expect to have nailed 100 games at least and instead in 2013, I sit at a disappointing 92-55. With only 7 weeks left I need to hit on an average of over 12 right each week to get to the annual goal of 180 correct. Not impossible, but certainly not an easy task.
With that in mind, here are my week 11 NFL Game Predictions:
Indianapolis 23, Tennessee 16
Arizona 31, Jacksonville 17
Atlanta 24, Tampa Bay 17
Chicago 27, Baltimore 24
Cincinnati 20, Cleveland 17
Detroit 23, Pittsburgh 19
Buffalo 17, NY Jets 16
Houston 28, Oakland 17
Philadelphia 30, Washington 28
San Diego 21, Miami 14
Green Bay 23, NY Giants 20
Seattle 38, Minnesota 13
New Orleans 24, San Francisco 20
Denver 26, Kansas City 21
New England 27, Carolina 20
There you have them: my week 9 NFL game picks.
As for the Survivor Pool Lock in week 10, I knew I should have taken Tampa Bay over Miami instead of Tennessee over Jacksonville. But hindsight is always 20/20 and the Titans loss drops me to 7-3 on the season in the locks (I know: some locks, huh?). Here are the weekly results so far this season:
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
Week 10 (L; 27-29) Tennessee over Jacksonville
While I fully expect Arizona to step up and beat Jacksonville by 2 touchdowns, I also have covered enough Arizona Cardinals teams over the years to know that this team usually struggles when travelling anywhere in the eastern time zone. Luckily, there is another game where I see a double digit win for a home team that I can take instead. I can't take Seattle as I already used them earlier this season but they would be the sure-fire bet if you haven't used them yet. Since I can't take them though I will go with a team led by a QB only making his 4th NFL start. Since Case Keenum took over as the Texans starting QB he has yet to win a game, but his 3 losses have come by a combined 7 total points. Houston is so close, and Oakland has a gimpy starting QB whose best asset is his ability to run. Terrelle Pryor's knee injury either will hinder him again this week, or prevent him from playing entirely. If Pryor doesn't play, undrafted rookie Matt McGloin would get his first career start. It's just the type of situation ripe for putting your faith in a team that boasts a 2-7 record.
My Survivor Pool Lock for Week 11 is: the Houston Texans over the Oakland Raiders.
Best of luck to all in your own picks this week!