News and Notes 12-21-11


*-While Ben Roethlisberger says he feels better this week than he did last week, reports are circulating that the Steelers may decide to sit Roethlisberger week 16 to allow his injured ankle time to heal up. Realistically, the Steelers don't need Big Ben to beat the lowly Rams this week and I expect that Roethlisberger will sit out week 16 and that Charlie Batch will start in his place.

*-Speculation runs wild about what the Packers will do Sunday night against Chicago if San Francisco loses at Seattle on Saturday. A 49ers loss would clinch the top seed in the NFC for the Packers, and would mean that they have nothing to gain by playing their starters the full game. Those with Aaron Rodgers need to assess their backup QB situation and decide if the backup is of high enough quality to not take the chance of starting Rodgers. If you have Rodgers and your backup is Matt Stafford, Cam Newton, or Matt Ryan, I would play it safe and bench Rodgers. If your backup is Blaine Gabbert, Dan Orlovsky, or pretty much not one of the solid reliable fantasy QB's, I'd go with Rodgers and cross the fingers that the 49ers win.

*-Kevin Kolb practiced in limited fashion today for Arizona. He split first team reps with John Skelton. At this point we don't who the Cardinals will start week 16 and it's probable we won't know until Friday.

*-Colt McCoy was unable to practice and still hasn't been cleared of his concussion. He will not play this week and Seneca Wallace will definitely start for the Browns.

*-Matt Hasselbeck practiced in full today and he will start for Tennessee this week over Jake Locker.

*-The Bears made it official today: Caleb Hanie has been benched and Josh McCown will start week 16.

Running Backs

*-Darren McFadden didn't practice again today. He will not play week 16. But at least Taiwan Jones has resumed practicing after missing the last few weeks with a hamstring injury and he should be available for his token 3 carries behind Michael Bush.

*-Chris Johnson was limited in practice and while he is bothered by an ankle injury he is expected to start week 16. He could be spelled more often than normal by backup Jamie Harper though this week.

*-Felix Jones missed practice again today because of a hamstring injury and it's sounding like he may legitimately be questionable for this week. Dallas is woefully thin at RB with only Sammy Morris currently behind him, and it could be that Chauncey Washington will be called up from the practice squad by Friday. If Washington is called up, it would be a bad sign for Jones's ability to start and handle a regular workload.

*-James Starks was able to practice again today and he is expected to be active week 16. Starks has missed the last 2 games with an ankle injury so a return to a full workload seems doubtful. More likely it will be a split situation between Starks and Grant and I wouldn't be surprised if Grant actually got more playing time as the Packers ease Starks back in. Brandon Saine also practiced and appears to be over his concussion but with Starks back, Saine figures to be the odd man out.

*-Roy Helu was able to practice some today and while he is expected to play, he may share a lot of the load with Evan Royster this week. Helu owners are warned that he is a very risky fantasy play this week.

*-Willis McGahee's hamstring injury appears to be minor as he has been practicing and is on track to start this week. McGahee is an injury concern for owners, but it sounds like he will be fine to start this week.

*-Marion Barber missed practice with a calf injury. It's not currently believed to be serious but it lends credence to the idea that Kahlil Bell will get the majority of the work for Chicago this week.

*-BenJarvus Green-Ellis missed practice today because of an illness. He should be fine for this week but putting your fantasy hopes on a Patriots RB is pretty much the fantasy equivalent of putting all your chips on one number at the roulette table.

Wide Receivers

*-Vincent Jackson missed practice today with a groin injury. It's not known if it's anything serious but since this is the first I've heard about it I assume this more like a day of rest for a veteran WR who needs to be at peak capacity in a very meaningful game this weekend for San Diego.

*-A.J. Green is practicing some and appears fine to go this week despite his sprained shoulder.

*-Nate Washington is practicing and it looks like he is mostly over his ankle injury and will be fine.

*-Steve Johnson is practicing in limited fashion this week and although he aggravated a groin injury this past week he looks like he'll be okay for week 16.

*-Other WR's who were either limited or didn't practice today but are fully expected to be fine for week include New England's Wes Welker, Miami's Brandon Marshall, Dallas's Laurent Robinson, Baltimore's Anquan Boldin, the Jets Plaxico Burress, the Giants Mario Manningham, Seattle's Doug Baldwin, Cleveland's Mohamed Massaquoi, and Chicago's Devin Hester.

*-No word yet on whether Deion Branch will play this week or not. He was limited in practice today, but he was limited all of last week and then made inactive game day because of a groin injury. You risk much if you decide to start him this week.

*-St. Louis will be without Austin Pettis the last two games of the season. Pettis has been suspended for 4 games for violating the league's substance abuse policy and so he will miss the first 2 games of next year as well.

Tight Ends

*-Owen Daniels is Questionable for tomorrow night's game but he is expected to be able to play. He may be limited though with his bothersome knee injury.

*-Dallas Clark is Doubtful with a neck injury and he won't play tomorrow night.

*-Anthony Fasano missed practice today with what is being called a head injury. Fasano was not deemed to have suffered a concussion week 15 so I wonder if this was just a day of rest. If he doesn't practice tomorrow I'll be concerned.

*-Three TE's who were either limited or missed practice today but are fully expected to be fine for this week include New England's Aaron Hernandez, Carolina's Jeremy Shockey, and Jacksonville's Marcedes Lewis.


*-Baltimore signed Shayne Graham today. It's believed that with Billy Cundiff having struggled making kicks in recent weeks as he tries to battle thru a calf injury the Ravens will sit Cundiff the last 2 games of the season and go with Graham.