Fantasy Football News and Notes 11-21-13

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

Fantasy News and Notes 11-21-13:
BYE WEEKS: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle
As expected, Peyton Manning returned to practice today. Manning sat out yesterday to rest his ankle injury. He'll start Sunday night without issue.
Jay Cutler has shed the hard cast he was wearing on his injured ankle. This is a positive sign in his recovery from a high ankle sprain and while he won't be active week 12, and is doubtful for week 13, he may be back by week 14. With matchups against two of the bottom 5 fantasy pass defenses in Dallas and Philadelphia in weeks 14 and 16, Cutler is someone you don't want to drop if you can avoid it.
While Terrelle Pryor won't start this week for Oakland, it's sounding like he may be active as Matt McGloin's backup. A second consecutive great game by McGloin will likely mean he usurps Pryor as the Raiders starting QB going forward. But it's a tough matchup against Tennessee. The Titans have allowed the fewest passing TD's of all NFL teams with only 7 in 10 games played.  
Running Backs
Adrian Peterson sat out practice again today to rest his groin injury. Peterson has said he expects to be able to play Sunday. While I do expect he will play, I also expect he may be limited some. I still think Peterson owners should have Toby Gerhart on their rosters as insurance in case he aggravates the injury and ends up missing any game time.  
Darren McFadden missed practice again today because of his hamstring injury. I do not think he will play week 12 and I expect Rashad Jennings will again be the Raiders featured RB. As good as the Titans are against the pass, they have been woeful against the run ranking 31st in rushing fantasy points allowed per game. Jennings is a strong fantasy RB2 this week
Trent Richardson was limited today because of a calf injury. It's not believed to be serious though and Richardson is fully expected to be fine to go out and frustrate his fantasy owners again this week. Like I've been saying the last few weeks: Donald Brown is the better fantasy RB option on the Colts.
Joique Bell returned to practice today and he should be okay for his usual backup role to Reggie Bush this week despite having a minor foot injury. I'd feel a lot better though if the team would tell us exactly what the injury is.
Brandon Jacobs practiced today after sitting out yesterday to rest up his balky knee. He should be okay for his usual role as short yardage RB behind Andre Brown again this week. Last week, the Giants made Peyton Hillis inactive and it appears Hillis is the odd man out in the RB pecking order. Hillis can be dropped.
Wide Receivers
Wes Welker returned to a limited practice today. This is a positive sign that he is making progress as he goes through the league's concussion protocols. Barring the unexpected, I feel good about his chances of playing Sunday night against his former team, New England.
Calvin Johnson returned to practice today. Megatron sat out yesterday in what was his normal Wednesday off to rest his knee. He'll be fine for week 12.
Oakland's Denarius Moore has yet to practice this week because of a shoulder injury. Originally the injury was believed to be minor but missed practices aren't a good sign. If he doesn't practice at least in limited fashion tomorrow, I'd expect him to miss week 12. Brice Butler and Andre Holmes likely would split up duties in his place if Moore doesn't play. Neither would be an attractive desperation play against the Titans stingy fantasy pass defense though.
Santonio Holmes took part in a limited practice today after sitting out yesterday to rest his hamstring. Holmes will be fine for week 12.
Hakeem Nicks practiced today in limited fashion after sitting out yesterday to rest a listed groin injury. Nicks has been a huge disappointment this season but the desperate can at least consider him in a great matchup against the Cowboys last ranked fantasy defense.
Greg Jennings practiced today after sitting out yesterday with the Achilles injury that made him a surprise inactive last Sunday. While I'd like to be able to trust Jennings in a game against his former team, I really don't and find a lot more reasons to sit him instead of trying to find ways to get him in a starting lineup. I would keep Jennings benched this week.
Jacksonville's Cecil Shorts was limited again today as the team takes it easy on the minor groin injury he's been playing through the last few games. Shorts will be fine for this week and could be in line for a good game after criticizing his lack of targets in recent games. However, teammate Mike Brown has been unable to practice yet this week because of a shoulder injury and he appears very questionable to play this week. With Stephen Burton not likely to play because of a concussion and Stephen Williams not practicing because of an Achilles injury, the Jags may be down to either Ace Sanders or Kerry Taylor as a starting option opposite Cecil Shorts. Shorts is the only potential fantasy play from this group.
Washington placed Leonard Hankerson on injured reserve today. Hankerson not only needs surgery to repair a torn LCL, but also a torn ACL. His recovery could push into the early parts of the 2014 season. Even in dynasty leagues I'd have a hard time finding a reason to hold onto him.
Tight Ends
Julius Thomas returned to a limited practice today after sitting out yesterday with his knee injury. If he can practice again tomorrow I'll feel better about his chances of being able to play Sunday night. But be prepared for him to be called Questionable on tomorrow's injury report and considered a game time decision.
Jordan Reed missed practice again today because of the concussion he suffered week 11. While Reed doesn't play until Monday night, it's a bad sign he hasn't gained clearance to at least take any part in practice yet. Those of you with Reed need to have another option ready to go. Logan Paulsen and Fred Davis would likely split up receiving TE duties for Washington if Reed doesn't play. While Davis is the superior talent to Paulsen, Davis also comes with the higher risk factor of giving a goose egg as the coaches seem to have really soured on him, making him inactive the last several games.  


NFL Game Picks and Survivor Pool Lock: Week 12

Russ Bliss Predicts the Winners of each NFL Game this week

This season's picks are quickly going south on me. An occasional mediocre week doesn't hurt, but I've yet t top 11 correct in any given week so far and last week I only posted 9 correct for a second consecutive week. My record on the season is a very disappointing 101-61. That's barely more than 9 correct each week on average. We'll see if I can get that turned around this week.
Here are my week 12 NFL Game Predictions:
New Orleans 35, Atlanta 20
Carolina 23, Miami 16
St. Louis 23, Chicago 20
Houston 28, Jacksonville 21
Green Bay 24, Minnesota 10
Baltimore 20, NY Jets 16
Pittsburgh 21, Cleveland 17
Kansas City 23, San Diego 16
Detroit 31, Tampa Bay 24
Arizona 23, Indianapolis 20
Oakland 21, Tennessee 16
NY Giants 24, Dallas 23
Denver 31, New England 27
San Francisco 24, Washington 17
There you have them: my week 12 NFL game picks.
The Survivor Pool Lock last week went down in flames as undrafted rookie Matt McGloin played a near flawless game in his career start and the Raiders beat the Titans. I knew I should have taken the Cardinals over the Jaguars. That makes the 4th wrong choice this season. Between the locks and the weekly game picks, it's clear this isn't my season. Next year I'm buying a dart board and seeing whether throwing darts randomly really would be that much different. But I will continue to strive to do my best. 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
Week 11 (L; 23-28) Houston over Oakland
This week we're going to get the pain over with real quick. The Atlanta Falcons are listless and the Saints are only one game behind Seattle for the top seed in the NFC. If the Saints beat Atlanta tonight, that sets up a showdown in week 13 when the Saints play the Seahawks on Monday night, with the winner having the clear edge for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. I can't imagine the Saints will trip up at this point. If the Falcons were playing anything that resembled competent football of late I might buy into this being a trap game for New Orleans. But the Falcons aren't, and the Saints know they have everything to lose if they overlook their division rival. Normally I don't like taking road teams in division rivalry games, especially on the short week playing on a Thursday night, but I really just can't see the Saints losing tonight.
 My Survivor Pool Lock for Week 12 is: the New Orleans Saints over the Atlanta Falcons.
Best of luck to all in your own picks this week!