2013 Fantasy Football News and Notes: Week 12

Up to Date Player Injuries and Relevant News from All 32 NFL Teams Heading into Week 12

AFC EAST
 
Buffalo: It's expected that the bye in week 12 will allow both normal starting WR's (Steve Johnson and Robert Woods) enough rest so they both return and can play week 13. However, don't be surprised if Woods starts losing reps in 2 WR sets to Buffalo's other rookie, Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin brings an element of speed that none of the other Bills WR's possess and I expect his playing time will grow in these last 5 weeks.
 
Miami: With Center Mike Pouncey Doubtful with what's being called food poisoning, the Dolphins will now be without 3 starters on their offensive line as the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito saga drags on another week. This doesn't bode well for either RB (Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas) and it also doesn't bode well for QB Ryan Tannehill's chances of staying upright against an aggressive Panthers pass rush. At least TE Charles Clay benefits as he's turned into a solid checkdown option.
 
New England: Shane Vereen's return last week made Brandon Bolden inactive. Likely it will be that way again. Vereen wasn't limited at all or eased back in, so he is fine to consider as a potential fantasy play any given week. In this week, I think Vereen a strong fantasy RB2 as I expect the Patriots/Broncos game will be a passing affair. Danny Amendola is Probable and while limited with his groin injury in practices, he's fine for games. Rob Gronkowski is also Probable and appears to be fine despite his listed back, arm, and hamstring injuries.
 
New York Jets: WR Jeremy Kerley has been downgraded from Doubtful to OUT for week 12 because of his dislocated elbow injury. With Stephen Hill speculated to have been demoted from the starting lineup because of poor play, David Nelson figures to start opposite Santonio Holmes. Hill will be worked in as the #3 or #4 WR depending on how much the team trusts Greg Salas. While it was nice to see Chris Ivory do well last week, don't be surprised if this week turns out to be a Bilal Powell week instead. The Ravens have allowed a league fewest 1 rushing TD on the season to date. Geno Smith looks to bounce back after what was the worst QB performance of the season so far in week 11.
 
AFC NORTH
 
Baltimore: Ray Rice was spotted in a box score last week and he actually did well. Let's hope that he can make it two weeks in a row despite the fact he faces a Jets run defense that allows on average the fewest rushing yards per game to their opponents and ranks 4th in fantasy run defense overall. It won't be easy, but at least we know Rice still has some game left in him despite the terrible season he's had so far. WR Marlon Brown is Probable and will return to game action after sitting out last week to rest up a knee injury.
 
Cincinnati: Whereas at one point it was looking like Marvin Jones was separating himself from the other WR's to be the starter opposite of A.J. Green he hasn't been producing and it now looks like a WR2 by committee between Jones and Mohamed Sanu. With Andrew Hawkins having returned and taking over as the #3 WR, neither Jones nor Sanu can be trusted as whichever one is not in favor in a given week will be the team's #4 WR.
 
Cleveland: I expect we're going to start seeing a lot more of Chris Ogbonnaya as a primary RB over Willis McGahee. McGahee is barely watchable and while Ogbonnaya is by no means a special talent, he always runs hard, is very underrated as a receiving RB, and is a whole lot younger. I think this will finally be the week where both Ogbonnaya and Fozzy Whitaker push McGahee down to being just a veteran backup.
 
Pittsburgh: WR Emmanuel Sanders is Probable and will play without issue despite having suffered what was originally thought to be a fairly serious foot injury last week. Rookie Markus Wheaton looks to continue pushing Jerricho Cotchery for the #3 WR spot. Le'Veon Bell hasn't lit up the box score but has been a consistent yardage producer both running and receiving and has stepped into every week solid fantasy RB2 territory.  
 
AFC SOUTH
 
Houston: Case Keenum will start over Matt Schaub. There's been no good explanation of why Keenum was benched last week in favor of Schaub. Keenum's numbers weren't that bad and neither was his play. If Houston wanted to blame someone for their woes, they should have benched their defense for allowing an undrafted rookie QB making his first career start throw for 3 TD's and no picks. Keenum may be on a short leash than originally thought, but his presence is best for the fantasy value of Andre Johnson and the rest of the skill position players. Look for Ben Tate to be big this week against a Jaguars run defense that still ranks last in yards, TD's, and fantasy points allowed despite holding the Cardinals to practically nothing on the ground last week.  
 
Indianapolis: Although Trent Richardson is listed as Questionable, he is fully expected to play despite a calf injury. Doesn't matter though as he has been clearly out-played by Donald Brown and Brown is a low end fantasy RB2 while Richardson is barely a consideration as a RB3 or flex. The Colts say the timeshare will remain as it has been, but I expect a "hot hand" approach. For what it's worth, Brown has the hot hand over Richardson almost every week. Watch TE Coby Fleener have a great week as the Cardinals are the worst team in the league at defending opposing TE's.  
 
Jacksonville: Jacksonville WR's are dropping like flies. Stephen Burton is out with a concussion; Stephen Williams was placed on injured reserve this week because of an Achilles injury. Mike Brown is Questionable with a shoulder sprain, but he is likely to be active because of the lack of WR's the Jags have. Cecil Shorts will start despite his lingering nagging groin injury; Ace Sanders will man the slot; Kerry Taylor likely will play at least some in the 2 WR sets, if not most of them. This season can't end soon enough for this team and the organization gives the impression that they're just holding their breaths that they don't accidentally win another game and potentially lose out on the top pick of the draft. .  
 
Tennessee: WR Damien Williams is OUT again with his hip injury. His being out hasn't translated into much game action for Kenny Britt though and likely won't again this week. Britt has completely fallen off the charts. Rookie Justin Hunter is Probable after passing his concussion tests. With the Raiders being a surprisingly strong run defense this season, look for Ryan Fitzpatrick to have to move the ball through the air. TE Delanie Walker has scored a TD in 3 of the last 4 games and could be a strong fantasy TE1 play this week.
 
AFC WEST
 
Denver: Wes Welker has passed all concussion tests and will play Sunday night. The news is more uncertain for TE Julius Thomas though as he is Questionable and considered a game time decision because of a knee injury suffered week 11. I expect Thomas to be active, but very likely to be very limited to red zone duties. It's uncertain whether there is one TE among Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen, and Virgil Green who would step up if Thomas were to miss the game, or if it would be a TE by committee. Probable a TEBC is most likely. I get the feeling this is going to be a big week for Eric Decker. He's been mediocre in the last 4 games and is due. Plus, you have to figure the Patriots are going to do everything they can to make sure Welker doesn't beat them, and with Demaryius Thomas having gone off the last couple of games, it's likely Decker will be the one left to beat them most. Calling my shot here: Decker will be a top 3 fantasy WR this week.
 
Kansas City: After scoring at least 1 TD in every game the first seven games of the season, Jamaal Charles has not seen the end zone in any of the last 3. I get a strong sense that will change this week against a Chargers run defense that allows the second most yards per rush attempt. WR Kyle Williams was placed on injured reserve this week with a knee injury. Williams had recently been claimed off waivers from San Francisco. Dexter McCluster has been a nice ppr flex option of late getting quite a few targets. Too bad he lacks real playmaking skills though.
 
Oakland: Matt McGloin will start again this week after a surprisingly strong first career start last week where he threw 3 TD's and no picks in an upset win at Houston. It's a tough test this week against a Titans pass defense that has allowed a league fewest 7 passing TD's all season, but if McGloin has another good game, it's almost a sure bet that he will usurp Terrelle Pryor as the Raiders starting QB the remainder of the season. Pryor is expected to be active this week as McGloin's backup, although he is officially listed as Questionable with his knee injury. Darren McFadden is OUT again because of his hamstring injury and Rashad Jennings gets to e the featured RB in a favorable matchup. Even if McFadden ever gets healthy, it's likely it would be an even split between him and Jennings. WR Denarius Moore is OUT with a shoulder injury. Andre Holmes and Brice Butler will likely split time opposite Rod Streater in his place.
 
San Diego: Eddie Royal is providing a weekly feeling of déjà vu by not practicing, being listed as Questionable, and then playing without looking like anything's wrong come game time. This is the 4th consecutive week that where the first two things have happened and I fully expect the trifecta to happen. WR's Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown are both Probable and both will be fine. Allen is lucky to have avoided a more serious knee injury. This week could be the week where Philip Rivers looks a lot more like the QB we've seen the last 2 seasons instead of the one who's been a big pleasant surprise this season. After looking pedestrian against Denver last week, I expect the Chiefs defense at home is going to make an example of Rivers. You may want to find another QB to start in his place.
 
NFC EAST
 
Dallas: Miles Austin is Probable and will return and play week 12. His return pushes Terrence Williams down to being the #3 WR and Cole Beasley slides to #4. But it may not be for long as Austin's hamstring issues are legendary for recurrence and I doubt he bucks that trend in 2013.
 
New York Giants: Hakeem Nicks is expected to start despite an abdominal injury that has him Questionable on the injury report. Given that Nicks has been a huge disappointment this season it's hard to really trust him as a fantasy starter even with a great matchup. Reuben Randle has been the far superior WR more weeks than him and Randle makes the better play this week to me. Brandon Jacobs is tentatively expected to play despite being Questionable with his chronic knee issue. If he isn't able to handle his usual short yardage and goal line duties behind featured RB Andre Brown, Peyton Hillis (who was inactive last week) likely would be active and handle those duties in his place. I'm not even sure why the Giants are doing that as short yardage and goal line duties were supposed to be Brown's duties behind David Wilson at the start of the season. Simply put, the Giants do themselves a huge disservice taking Brown off the field for anything more than an occasional breather.
 
Philadelphia: Even though Michael Vick is healthy enough to return to game action, the Eagles are going to stick with Nick Foles as their starting QB. Gotta give Vick credit for saying all the right things and endorsing Foles as the starter over himself. Not every QB takes demotion as graciously.
 
Washington: TE Jordan Reed has been ruled OUT for Monday night because of his concussion. Logan Paulsen is likely to be the starting TE and Fred Davis will likely be active for the first time in several weeks and shuffle in some as a receiving TE. Hard to trust either one though as a suitable replacement for Reed. RB Darrel Young is Questionable with a hamstring injury and he is uncertain to play. WR Leonard Hankerson was placed on injured reserve during the week with two ligament tears in his knee. Josh Morgan and Aldrick Robinson will pick up the slack in Hankerson's absence the rest of the season with Robinson being the higher upside fantasy option.
 
NFC NORTH
 
Chicago: Jay Cutler remains out with an ankle sprain but at least has shed his hard cast and that's a positive sign he may be able to return in another week or two. Josh McCown has proven to be very effective as his replacement and the Bears offense doesn't look like it's slower with him at QB at all.
 
Detroit: Reggie Bush will start without issue despite having been benched last week for a fumble. Bush has vowed to not have another fumble the rest of this season, but that seems like an invitation from opponents to make you a target. Bush better hold up on his end. Joique Bell is expected to play his normal backup role despite being listed as Questionable with the Achilles injury he suffered last week. But I wouldn't trust him in a starting lineup myself as Achilles injuries are bad for RB's. Nate Burleson is Probable and will return this week. It will be his first game action since breaking his arm in a car accident after week 3. It's not known if he'll start over Kris Durham or not though, making him hard to trust. I'd rather wait for a game to see how he does and whether he's really back to the form that was making him a surprisingly decent fantasy WR3 the first 3 weeks. WR Calvin Johnson is Probable, and Probable for another week of insane production.
 
Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers is OUT and his status for next Thursday's Thanksgiving matchup against Detroit is in question too. Scott Tolzien will start until Rodgers can come back from his collarbone injury. WR James Jones has admitted that while he's not on the injury report anymore, he is still not fully recovered from his mid season knee injury. That could explain why he hasn't been effective. Randall Cobb has expressed concern he may not be able to return from his broken leg even when eligible in week 15. Don't be surprised if Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin finish out the year as the top Packers WR's.
 
Minnesota: Adrian Peterson says he's going to play despite being listed as Questionable with a groin injury that limited him to one practice session all week. AP has stated the injury bothered him a lot last week and I think it's a huge disservice for the team to not rest the NFL's best RB and let him heal up. It's not like the Vikings are making a playoff push. Peterson should play and while nearly impossible to sit on fantasy benches, expectations have to be kept realistic. This may well be Christian Ponder's last hurrah as Vikings starting QB. If he has a bad game, it should spell the end of the line for him. Josh Freeman has had plenty of time now to learn the system and be able to execute it. If Ponder flops this week the team might as well find out whether Freeman can be effective at all. WR Greg Jennings says he will play despite being Questionable with the Achilles injury that caused him to be a surprise inactive week 11. I can think of about 80 WR's I'd rather have in my starting lineup than Jennings and the risk he represents for the tiny amount of reward he brings.
 
NFC SOUTH
 
Atlanta: There was a Steven Jackson sighting Thursday night. Hopefully this is a sign he's going to become fantasy relevant during the playoff run for owners. Still no sign of Roddy White though and I question whether he'll be a contributor at all by season's end.
 
Carolina: Cam Newton really looks like he's taking his game to the next level, but the true measure of whether a player is growing is how they handle adversity. I'll be curious how Newton conducts himself if the Panthers start losing. The 3 headed RBBC between DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and Mike Tolbert continues to make it difficult to trust any of them as more than desperation plays in fantasy starting lineups. Any of the three is capable of being fantasy worthy any given week but you'll never know which one will go off.
 
New Orleans: It's unknown if Darren Sproles will be able to play week 13 after missing Thursday night with knee and ankle injuries. Pierre Thomas has really stepped up as the Saints best (and most fantasy relevant) RB and look for it to stay that way going forward.
 
Tampa Bay: Bobby Rainey popped off in a big way last week and has claimed the starting job at RB over Brian Leonard. Not surprised. Also wasn't hard to predict that WR Vincent Jackson was ready for a big game last week after a string of poor performances. That's the way Jackson has always been in his career. The real trick is knowing when he's got a second consecutive big game in him and I think it's this week. QB Mike Glennon is a strong fantasy consideration this week. He's thrown a TD in every start this season and gets a Lions pass defense that is allowing nearly 315 passing yards per game over their last 4, and 12 passing TD's in that span. It may not come until garbage time, but that doesn't matter for fantasy purposes. Start both Glennon and Jackson.
 
NFC WEST
 
Arizona: Week 12's performance proves that it isn't a divine proclamation that Carson Palmer must throw an interception in every single game. Now he looks to make it two games in a row without a pick. It was very surprising the Cardinals weren't able to run last week on the Jags dead last ranked fantasy run defense, but a commitment to rushing the football hasn't exactly been Bruce Arians MO throughout his coaching career. I still think Andre Ellington is the better fantasy RB to Rashard Mendenhall, but it will always be a risk trusting a Cardinals RB.
 
St. Louis: It's hoped that the Rams used the bye week to find more ways to get Tavon Austin on the field more often so he can try to have more games like had in week 10. I kind of doubt it though and think that one game was more fluke than a glimpse of the near future. Benny Cunningham has usurped both Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead as the top backup to Zac Stacy. It's unknown on any given week if it will be Richardson or Pead who will be inactive.
 
San Francisco: Mario Manningham is fully expected to play Monday night despite being listed as Questionable with a knee issue. This could finally be the week Colin Kaepernick gets something going as few teams have been as consistently bad against the pass this season as the Redskins have been.
 
Seattle: Percy Harvin made it through week 11 without aggravating the hip he had surgery on back in July and it appears that his snaps restriction will be lifted when the Seahawks come out of their bye. Look for Harvin and Golden Tate to start with Doug Baldwin the #3 WR and Jermaine Kearse sliding back to the 4th WR role. Also, if the Seahawks win their week 13 Monday night contest against New Orleans, don't be surprised if we start seeing a bit more of RB's Robert Turbin and Christine Michael in the last few games so as to keep Marshawn Lynch fresh. If Seattle beats New Orleans, they'll have a 3 game lead on all other NFC teams for home field advantage in the NFC playoffs with only 4 games left to play.