News and Notes from Thursday Night's "Red Zone" Radio Show
Fantasy News and Notes 12-26-13:
Aaron Rodgers has been cleared to return and will start week 17 for the Packers. Matt Flynn goes back to the bench.
Cam Newton's ankle injury is believed to be minor and he says it will not affect his mobility week 17.
While the Cowboys refuse to throw in the towel on Tony Romo he is highly doubtful to get cleared to play week 17 with a herniated disc in his back. Kyle Orton should start in his place Sunday night. Dallas signed Jon Kitna to be Orton's backup.
Ryan Tannehill's knee injury is considered minor and he is expected to start week 17 without issue.
It's uncertain if E.J. Manuel will start week 17 or not. Buffalo said last week they expect him to be okay for week 17 despite another knee injury, but then earlier this week they expressed doubt. However, Manuel has been practicing. But really, with nothing to play for and a lot to risk by exposing their supposed QB of the future, I'm thinking saner heads will prevail and that Thaddeus Lewis will start and Manuel be held out. But that's just a guess.
Another guess is that the Texans will start case Case Keenum this week over Matt Schaub. Keenum has been able to practice some and appears to be recovered enough from the sprained thumb on his throwing hand that he'll be able to start. But again, that's just a guess.
Despite his knee injury clearly affecting him in week 16, Joe Flacco is not even on the injury report for Baltimore this week. But don't let that fool you; Flacco is far from being 100%.
Oakland is turning back to Terrelle Pryor as their starting QB week 17. Matt McGloin has been fairly awful the last few weeks and it's a little surprising it took this long for the Raiders to go back to Pryor.
Owners of Jamaal Charles are likely to have to find another RB to start this week. The Chiefs are locked in as the 5th seed in the AFC playoffs and have nothing to play for at all. Andy Reid has intimated that he is inclined to either rest many of his key starters, or play them sparingly, so it's likely rookie Knile Davis will handle the bulk of the RB duties for the Chiefs this week with Cyrus Gray as his top backup.
Eddie Lacy has yet to practice this week after he aggravated his ankle injury week 16 but the Packers say they expect him to be okay to play week 17. With the division title and a playoff spot up for grabs, I expect lacy will start. We may see a good bit more of James Starks than we normally do though.
Adrian Peterson is very questionable for week 17 because of his foot and groin injuries. The Vikings would be wise to shut him down in a meaningless week 17 game but wisdom may not prevail. Even if active, I would expect Peterson to be limited some. With Toby Gerhart unable to practice after he aggravated his hamstring injury last week, it could very well be Joe Banyard who starts for Minnesota. Matt Asiata could be in the mix as well, but he's still dealing with a hamstring injury of his own.
Reggie Bush is expected to be the lead RB for Detroit this week. Bush was benched in favor of Joique Bell after he lost another fumble in week 16.
Ryan Mathews is expected to be okay for week 17 despite having missed practices this week with an ankle injury. Mathews has been enjoying the best success he's ever had the last 8 games and I expect he'll continue to be a surprise strong fantasy contributor again week 17.
The concussion suffered by Andre Brown week 16 must have been a mild one as he's already been cleared to return to practice and barring any setbacks he will start Sunday for the Giants. Peyton Hillis has also been cleared to return from the concussion that held him out of week 16 so he'll be back as Brown's backup.
Shane Vereen is uncertain to play week 17 because of a groin injury suffered week 16. Vereen has been practicing in limited capacity this week but the Patriots may choose to hold him out so he can get healed up as much as possible for the playoffs. If Vereen doesn't play Brandon Bolden would be the primary 3rd down and receiving RB for the Patriots this week.
Houston will start Jonathan Grimes at RB this week. Week 16 starter Dennis Johnson suffered a hip injury and is very questionable to play. His top backup last week, Deji Karim, broke his collarbone in that game and his season is done. That leaves Grimes as the starter with recently signed Ray Graham as depth behind him. The season can't end soon enough for the Texans.
Jonathan Stewart is expected to miss week 17 as he continues to rest up a knee injury. DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert will again be the committee at RB for Carolina this week.
Jacquizz Rodgers is expected to miss week 17 with a concussion. Antone Smith likely will be the top change of pace RB to Steven Jackson.
Calvin Johnson is very questionable for week 17 because of knee and ankle injuries. Rumors are that Megatron has a partially torn PCL and will require surgery after the season. Now that Detroit has let every chance of making the playoffs slip through their fingers, I doubt Johnson will play week 17.
Dwayne Bowe has been diagnosed with a concussion and he is not going to play week 17. He wasn't going to play anyway with the Chiefs being locked in as the 5th seed. Stay away from KC players this week as the usual starters aren't going to play much, if at all.
Dez Bryant aggravated his chronic back issue in practice Wednesday and was held out of practice altogether today. He insists he'll be fine for week 17 but even if he is, he obviously will be less than 100%.
Green Bay may have Randall Cobb back this week. He practiced in pads with the team today and while they haven't activated him off the IR/Designated for Return list yet, they can do so at any time before Sunday's game. I think they will, but I also think they'll have him on a snap count as this would be his first action since breaking his leg back in week 6. This all said, it's just what I think will happen; officially, Cobb hasn't been activated yet.
Pittsburgh's Emmanuel Sanders is uncertain to play week 17 because of a knee injury suffered week 16. An MRI revealed no structural damage, but he has a sprain of some sort and may not be able to play.
Carolina will be without Steve Smith week 17. Smith suffered a sprained PCL week 16 and the Panthers will take no chances with him as they need him for the playoffs. Ted Ginn is expected to start opposite Brandon LaFell.
Seattle will be without Percy Harvin week 17. This is not a surprise as Harvin is still dealing with issues in his surgically repaired hip and the best case scenario all along has been he'll return for the playoffs.
Reuben Randle is uncertain to play week 17 after missing practice today with a listed knee injury. Randle wasn't on yesterday's injury list so this is a bit concerning. With Victor Cruz out with a knee injury himself, Jerrel Jernigan could end up starting opposite Hakeem Nicks this week if Randle can't play.
Tavon Austin has been unable to practice at all this week and he appears doubtful for week 17 because of the ankle injury that has kept him out each of the last 2 games.
Buffalo's Steve Johnson has yet to return to the team after missing last week to be with his family while they mourned the passing of his mother. It's very likely with little to play for the team will excuse him for week 17.
Jordan Cameron has yet to gain clearance to return to practice because of the concussion that prevented him from playing week 16. He's not likely to play week 17 either. Gary Barnidge will be the Browns primary TE again this week.
Garrett Graham has been ruled OUT for week 17 because of his hamstring injury. Ryan Griffin closes out the year as the Texans starting TE.
Brandon Pettigrew was placed on IR yesterday because of an ankle injury. With Dorin Dickerson also going to IR today because of a concussion, Joseph Fauria has TE duties all too himself in week 17 for the Lions.
Tyler Eifert has been unable to practice yet this week because of a neck stinger injury he suffered week 16. His status for week 17 is very uncertain. Also uncertain for the Bengals is Jermaine Gresham. Gresham played through a listed abdominal injury week 16, but this week he's listed as having a hamstring injury that caused him to miss practice today after limiting him yesterday. I don't know if Marvin Lewis has joined in on the injury report fun and games that other coaches have with it, but this is a situation that won't likely be cleared up until tomorrow's official injury report comes out.