News and Notes from Thursday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Show
Fantasy News and Notes 12-12-13:
Jay Cutler was named the starting QB for the Bears this week. Cutler may be on a short leash though if he struggles after Josh McCown has played lights out the last few games. Those with McCown should try to hold onto him.
Tomorrow will be a key day in whether Aaron Rodgers will be able to play week 15 or not. Rodgers is supposed to up his practice reps, but if he can't get through it, or the tests afterward still don't medically clear him, he's not going to play. Tentatively, I expect Matt Flynn is going to start for the Packers this week but a good showing and a positive medical report will trump what I think.
Russell Wilson was selected by the Texas Rangers in Major League Baseball's Rule 5 draft today. But don't worry, Wilson isn't going to leave the Seahawks to play baseball and is very unlikely to become a two sport star.
Tomorrow will be a big day for both Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart. Peterson has said he wants to play week 15 despite a foot sprain but the buzz surrounding him is pessimistic he's going to get cleared by the coaching staff. Gerhart meanwhile has been sitting out practices this week because of a hamstring injury but he is expected to practice tomorrow and tentatively he is expected to start this week for Minnesota. Right now, anything is possible, including both Peterson playing, and neither Peterson nor Gerhart playing, leaving Matt Asiata as the defacto starting RB. Be paying attention tomorrow to the injury reports.
As expected, Eddie Lacy was held out of practice again today, but he is tentatively expected to practice tomorrow on his ankle injury and tentatively he is expected to be okay. Green Bay has expressed optimism that they expect he'll be okay for this week. But if he isn't, you can expect James Starks will get the start.
Reggie Bush was held out of practice today because of his aggravated calf injury. Bush has said he plans on playing Monday night, but it's likely we won't know until Saturday whether Bush is "questionable" but expected to play, or "questionable" and a real game time decision for Monday night. Those with Joique Bell should also be paying attention to this over the weekend.
Rashad Jennings took part in a second consecutive full practice today and baring any setbacks in the concussion that caused him to miss week 14 he will return and be the Raiders featured RB. Marcel Reece is expected to serve as his backup as Darren McFadden has still been unable to practice this week because of his lingering ankle injury. McFadden is not expected to play week 15.
Maurice Jones-Drew was unable to practice today but this was expected. MJD suffered a hamstring injury last Thursday night and the plan has been to hold him out of practices until Friday to allow it to rest. Consider him to be Questionable and those with the ability to grab Jordan Todman for the insurance are encouraged to do.
Willis McGahee is not only sounding very unlikely to play week 15 because of a concussion, but latest word is that he may be done for the year. McGahee showed very little left in the tank when the Browns signed him off the street earlier this season. It's looking like Chris Ogbonnaya will be the lead RB for the Browns the last 3 games of the season with Fozzy Whitaker in a supporting role. The Browns also signed Edwin Baker off the Texans practice squad for depth.
Lamar Miller practiced in full again today and he should be fine for week 15 despite having suffered a concussion week 14. However, Daniel Thomas is back and the Dolphins are likely to resume the unpredictable timeshare between the two of them, making neither an attractive fantasy play.
Benjarvus Green-Ellis hasn't practiced yet this week because of an undisclosed illness. It isn't believed to be serious, but I'll feel a whole lot better about his fantasy prospects if he can at least practice some tomorrow.
Jacksonville's Cecil Shorts was held out of practice again today due to his groin injury. Shorts has been playing through the injury for nearly 2 months now, but word is that it is acting up on him and that he may actually be a true game time decision for week 15. Hopefully, he's able to practice some tomorrow and put this to rest, but those counting on shorts should be prepared in case he's a surprise inactive.
Oakland's Denarius Moore put in a limited practice for the second consecutive day today. This is a good sign that he is getting over the shoulder injury that has caused him to miss the last few games, but his status isn't certain yet. His possible return would send Andre Holmes back to a lesser offensive role.
Percy Harvin missed practice again today and he is not expected to play week 15. Harvin's still having issues in his surgically repaired hip and I fully expect Seattle is going to keep him out until the NFL playoffs start up.
Aaron Dobson was held out of practice again today. Dobson has a foot injury and is not expected to play week 15. Teammate Kenbrell Thompkins has been limited in practice this week but he remains uncertain to be active after being limited all last week in practice with his hip injury and then being inactive for week 14. Expect Thompkins to come down to a game time decision.
Michael Floyd took part in a limited practice today after being held out yesterday because of his ankle injury. While tentatively expected to play week 15, Floyd may not, or could be limited.
Dexter McCluster was held out of today's practice because of a listed ankle injury. McCluster wasn't on yesterday's injury lists from the Chiefs practice so this may be a new injury. McCluster had actually been a semi-decent fantasy consideration in ppr leagues in recent weeks but this could make him untouchable even for the desperate.
LaVon Brazill says he expects to play week 15 despite missing practice again today because of a foot injury. Consider Brazill questionable for week 15. Da'Rick Rogers could be in line for a huge amount of playing time this week and makes a better fantasy bet in my opinion for the WR desperate.
The Jets Stephen Hill is still unable to practice because of a knee injury and word is that the team may decide to place him on injured reserve. Hill only has any potential value in dynasty leagues. In re-draft leagues, he has none.
Amongst WR's who were either held out of practice today, or were limited but are fully expected to be fine for this week, the list includes: Tampa Bay's Vincent Jackson (hamstring); Atlanta's Roddy White (knee); Pittsburgh's Emmanuel Sanders (foot); Cincinnati's Marvin Jones (shoulder); the Jets Santonio Holmes (foot, hamstring); and Houston's DeAndre Hopkins (ankle).
Rumors are that Washington's Jordan Reed is going to be placed on injured reserve the remainder of the 2013 season. Reed has struggled to get over a concussion suffered nearly 4 weeks ago and with the Redskins season spiraling into a sad ending, this would make sense. Logan Paulsen likely will be the starting TE for Washington the rest of the season.
Delanie Walker practiced in full today again today and he is expected to play week 15 after missing week 14 with a concussion. Consider Walker as a borderline TE1 this week in a plus matchup against Arizona.
Owen Daniels has been unable to take any part in team practices this week yet so it's unlikely he'll be coming off the IR/Designated for Return this week. The Texans may also be without Garrett Graham as he missed practice again today because of his hamstring injury. Graham is heading for a questionable listing on tomorrow's injury report.
Rob Housler sat out practice again today because of a groin injury. This is not a good sign for his availability this week and even at full strength he's barely a consideration as a fantasy TE2. At less than full strength he's not worth the risk.
John Carlson remained out of Vikings practice today because of his concussion. He's uncertain to play week 15. It's not a sure thing he doesn't play week 15 but his chances are not sounding good.
Jacksonville's Josh Scobee has a minor hip injury but currently he is expected to be okay for week 15. However, I sincerely hope you are not counting on Jacksonville's kicker to put you over the top in your fantasy matchups this week.
Russ Bliss Predicts the Winners of each NFL Game this week
Another week; another 11-5 finish. On average, 11 wins every week is exactly what you strive for in picking NFL games as you'd finish the season with a record 187-69 if you hit on 11 every week. Unfortunately, I have not hit on that average. Instead, going 11-5 in week 14 places me at 130-77-1 with 3 weeks left. So even if I get every game right going forward, I cannot make the annual goal of 180 correct. The best I can get to is 178 and sweeping the last 3 weeks is just flat out unrealistic. Based on history, I would have a better chance of getting the Ring to Mount Doom in Mordor.
Here are my week 15 NFL game predictions:
Denver 41, San Diego 31
Buffalo 20, Jacksonville 17
Chicago 23, Cleveland 21
Indianapolis 27, Houston 20
New England 26, Miami 23
Philadelphia 31, Minnesota 24
Seattle 31, NY Giants 14
San Francisco 20, Tampa Bay 17
Atlanta 28, Washington 21
Kansas City 19, Oakland 16
Carolina 24, NY Jets 17
Arizona 20, Tennessee 17
Dallas 31, Green Bay 27
New Orleans 27, St. Louis 23
Pittsburgh 20, Cincinnati 17
Detroit 27, Baltimore 20
There you have them: my Week 15 NFL game picks.
Although it had one of the wildest finishes in any game in recent memory, my Survivor Pool Lock of Baltimore over Minnesota came through in the end. That makes me (ugh!) 9-5 on the locks this season. Here are the weekly picks and results:
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
Week 12 (W; 17-13) New Orleans over Atlanta
Week 13 (L; 31-34) Buffalo over Atlanta
Week 14 (W; 29-26) Baltimore over Minnesota
As you can see from my game predictions I'm not expecting any blowouts (besides Seattle over the Giants; but I've already used the Seahawks one this season so in true survivor pool fashion, I won't select them again). But there is one game I feel best about. It meets the usual criteria I look for: home team, out of conference game, playing for a playoff spot, and weak opponent. As long as this team isn't looking past their opponent this week, they should win and possibly by a larger margin than I've predicted above.
My Survivor Pool Lock for Week 15 is: the Carolina Panthers over the New York Jets.
Good luck to all in your own picks!