News and Notes 12-14-11


*-The Ben Roethlisberger drama begins. Reports are that Pittsburgh is not hopeful he will be able to play Monday night because of his ankle sprain. But Big Ben has almost always played thru what appeared to have been serious injuries and I expect he will again this week. But considering the matchup isn't great and that he'll likely be limited, I wouldn't recommend taking the chance on him as your starting QB this week.

*-Michael Vick missed practice today but it's believed the Eagles are just being careful with him and his still not totally healed up ribs. He should start week 15 without issue.

*-Matt Hasselbeck missed practice today. I still expect the Titans to use his minor calf injury as an excuse to start Jake Locker this week. Locker was officially listed as limited in practice today because of some tender ribs that took a hit when he filled in for Hasselbeck week 14.

*-Matt Moore didn't practice for Miami. While his head and neck injuries aren't believed to be serious, if he doesn't practice tomorrow I'd be concerned about his ability to start this week. J.P. Losman is his backup and probably would relish a chance to face his former team.

*-Kevin Kolb was limited in practice today. This is a good sign that he has probably passed his concussion tests and as long as he has no setbacks I expect he'll start for Arizona.

*-Colt McCoy was not able to practice today because of his concussion and if he doesn't practice tomorrow, chances are Seneca Wallace will start in his place for Cleveland.

*-Kyle Orton was able to practice some today and barring any setbacks in his injured finger by Sunday, he will start this week for Kansas City. If he can't start, the Chiefs have confirmed what I said yesterday: Ricky Stanzi would start instead of awful Tyler Palko.

Running Backs

*-After practicing in limited fashion today it's fully expected that Adrian Peterson will be okay to start week 15 barring any setbacks on his ankle injury.

*-Despite Chicago not ruling Matt Forte out for week 15 yet he isn't going to play. Marion Barber will start again in his place.

*-Darren McFadden didn't practice today and I fully expect him to miss week 15. Expect Michael Bush to be the Raiders featured RB again this week.

*-Kevin Smith was held out of practice today. But he is tentatively expected to practice tomorrow and be the starter this week in a juicy matchup against run defensively challenged Oakland. But be aware that Smith's career is littered with his struggles to stay healthy so while he has been outstanding when he's played, he carries significant injury risk.

*-James Starks missed practice today with his ankle injury and I don't expect him to play this week. With Brandon Saine also missing practice with his concussion I expect Ryan Grant to start and be backed up by John Kuhn this week.

*-Mark Ingram was unable to practice today because of his toe injury. If he doesn't practice tomorrow I fully expect him to be inactive this week and that Chris Ivory would again take his spot in the Saints 3-headed-nightmare-to-predict rotation.

*-Amongst RB's who were either limited in practice or held out, but are fully expected to be fine for this week, the list includes Atlanta's Michael Turner (Probable for tomorrow night with a groin injury), Cincinnati's Cedric Benson (back), Arizona's Beanie Wells (knee), and the Giants Ahmad Bradshaw (foot).

Wide Receivers

*-The second round of "Andre Johnson" watch 2011 begins. Johnson hasn't been ruled out for week 15 yet but he is sounding unlikely to play. I wouldn't be counting on him.

*-Deion Branch was limited in practice today and it's hoped that he'll be okay to start week 15 despite a groin injury.

*-As expected, Nate Washington didn't practice today because of his ankle injury. He's not likely to practice at all this week but he didn't practice at all last week and still managed to start and be productive. I see no reason not to expect the same from him this week.

*-Julio Jones and Harry Douglas are both listed as Probable for tomorrow night's game. Jones will start and Douglas will be the 3rd WR for Atlanta.

*-Denarius Moore practiced in limited fashion today and as long as he can practice the rest of the week he stands a good chance of playing this week. Teammate Jacoby Ford though was unable to practice and he seems unlikely to play this week.

*-Both Mike Thomas and Cecil Shorts of Jacksonville have been declared out for tomorrow night's game.

*-Amongst WR's who were either limited or didn't practice today but should be just fine for week 15 include Philadelphia's Jeremy Maclin (hamstring), Dallas's Laurent Robinson (shoulder), Houston's Kevin Walter (knee), Denver's Eddie Royal (concussion), and Washington's Donte Stallworth (ankle). However, other than Maclin and Robinson, you shouldn't have any trouble keeping these guys on the bench.

Tight Ends

*-Jimmy Graham put in a full practice and his back injury is not going to prevent him from being an elite TE this week in a sweet matchup against Minnesota's hapless pass defense.

*-Cleveland's Ben Watson missed practice with a concussion and his status for week 15 is very uncertain. If he misses the game the athletically superior Evan Moore will start and hog targets.

*-Greg Olsen missed practice with a back injury but it's believed to be minor and he should return to practice tomorrow or Friday and be fine for week 15.

*-Anthony Fasano was limited with a minor ribs injury and should be fine for Miami this week.

*-Dallas Clark missed practice but it's likely the Colts were just giving him a day off after he played for the first time in several weeks this past week. He doesn't belong near fantasy starting lineups regardless of whether he plays or not.


*-Josh Scobee is officially listed as Questionable for tomorrow night's game because of a groin injury. If Scobee can't kick Brandon Coutu would be Jacksonville's kicker. I recommend just staying away from the situation.