News and Notes 12-27-11


*-With the top seed in the NFC locked up it's very likely that the Packers will play Aaron Rodgers sparingly this week. Expect maybe the first quarter and maybe a little into the second, but I doubt he makes it all the way to halftime before they put in Matt Flynn.

*-Ben Roethlisberger is will start this week for Pittsburgh. Ben was active week 16 but wasn't needed to beat the Rams. It's also likely the Steelers will be scoreboard watching as they play at the same time as the Ravens and if the Ravens lose to Cincinnati, Pittsburgh can become the 2nd seed in the AFC with a win, meaning the play the entire game. If the Ravens are slaughtering the Bengals, the Steelers likely will rest their guys by the 4th quarter.

*-Tony Romo's status for this week is uncertain. It's believed his hand injury isn't serious but we won't know until later in the week to be sure. I expect he will be fine and ready to start as the winner of the Cowboys/Giants game wins the NFC East.

*-It's unknown whether the Lions will have their starters go all the way through their game against the Packers this week. With a win, they can lock up the 5th seed. If they lose and Atlanta wins, the Lions become the 6th seed. Detroit plays an early game while Atlanta is a late game so I expect the Lions will play their guys their entire game.

*-Christian Ponder's status for week 17 is uncertain. Ponder suffered a concussion week 16 and if he doesn't practice by Thursday I'd expect Joe Webb will finish the season for the Vikings.

*-Kevin Kolb's status is uncertain for week 17. Although Kolb has been medically cleared to practice, and did so last week, he says he's still dealing with some concussion like symptoms. If Kolb can't go for Arizona it will again be John Skelton.

*-Colt McCoy's status for week 17 is uncertain as well and it's speculated that the Browns will likely play it safe with him and give the nod to Seneca Wallace this final week but that's just a guess.

*-Although the Rams refuse to rule out Sam Bradford or A.J. Feeley for week 17 it's fully expected that Kellen Clemens will start week 17. Bradford's too important for them to risk in a meaningless game when he's got an ankle injury and Feeley's not likely to be healed up enough from his broken thumb on his throwing hand after only 3 weeks. After a predictably miserable performance by Clemens this past weekend, there's some talk that Tom Brandstater may start over Clemens. Just avoid all Rams not named Steven Jackson like the plague.

*-Jay Cutler was placed on injured reserve today. Josh McCown will finish out the season as the Bears starting QB.

Running Backs

*-Adrian Peterson tore both his ACL and MCL in his left knee and his season is done. With it being so late in the year, it's also probable that this injury could jeopardize his availability for the start of the 2012 season. Toby Gerhart will close out 2011 as the Vikings feature RB. The Vikings also promoted Caleb King from their practice squad and signed Jordan Todman off San Diego's practice squad to provide depth for this week.

*-LeSean McCoy's status for week 17 is uncertain after he suffered an ankle injury week 16. The Eagles have been eliminated from the playoffs and early speculation is that while the injury isn't serious, it may prevent McCoy from playing in a meaningless game. If that happens, Ronnie Brown and Dion Lewis would likely split up the load.

*-Darren McFadden is expected to test out his foot in practice Wednesday. If it responds well, it's likely he plays week 17, which would push Michael Bush back to a complimentary role. Bush has been slowing down of late and probably could use a breather. We should know more by Thursday.

*-Roy Helu is expected to be able to play week 17 but likely only in a limited capacity because of his knee and toe injuries. It's probable the Redskins will close out the season with Evan Royster as the primary RB. Washington also released Ryan Torain so his time with Washington is over.

*-LeGarrette Blount was benched this past week early in the game after a miscommunication led to a fumble. Providing the Bucs don't fall behind by a large margin he should get more than 2 carries this week.

*-Chicago placed Matt Forte on injured reserve today. With their playoff hopes dead, this made sense. Kahlil Bell will finish out the season as the starting RB and it's unknown if Marion Barber will be healthy enough to play this week or not. If he doesn't, Armando Allen would be Bell's backup.

*-Expect James Starks to be inactive this week after he aggravated his ankle injury this past week. The Packers need Starks to be healthy as can be for the playoffs and two weeks off is a smart move. Ryan Grant may not play much either so I figure we just may see a lot of Brandon Saine this week. But that's just a guess.

*-Also expect Kevin Smith of Detroit to sit out week 17. Smith has been playing thru his own ankle injury and he could use a week off of it. The Lions signed Joique Bell and released Aaron Brown. It's likely Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams will carry the bulk of the load for Detroit this week.

*-Reggie Bush suffered a leg injury but it's thought to be minor and he is tentatively expected to be okay for week 17. It's also unknown if Daniel Thomas will be able to play as he suffered a knee injury. While it too is considered minor, we simply don't know yet. It may be the Steve Slaton/Lex Hilliard show for the Dolphins at RB this week.

*-Although Chris Johnson made it thru last week's game without doing more damage to his ankle injury, he certainly showed little burst. However, since he needs only 14 yards to reach 1,000 for the season and kick in an extra 300k to his salary for next year, I expect he'll play just enough week 17 to get there.

*-Arian Foster is unlikely to play more than a series or two this week as Houston is locked into the 3rd seed in the AFC no matter what. I expect we'll see some of Ben Tate and a lot of Derrick Ward at RB this week for the Texans.   

Wide Receivers

*-Andre Johnson is tentatively expected to start week 17 for Houston so he can get some game action with T.J. Yates at QB. But it won't be a surprise if he doesn't play the entire game.

*-Lance Moore aggravated his hamstring injury last night and it's expected the Saints will sit him week 17 even if he is able to play. Expect a bigger role for Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson this week.

*-San Francisco released Braylon Edwards. Edwards was unable to get over injuries this season and while it's a long shot, he may still hold some dynasty league value next year. For this year, he's done. Kyle Williams should take over as the starter but he needs to get cleared of a minor concussion he suffered this past week. San Francisco could probably beat the Rams this week running the wishbone and just having a token WR out there.

*-Mario Manningham's status for week 17 is uncertain because of his knee issues. We won't know for sure until later in the week whether Manningham will play.

*-Legedu Naanee broke his foot and his season is done. This shouldn't impact any fantasy rosters but in case it does, you can drop him.

*-Ben Obomanu has a knee injury but it's not known how severe it is or whether it will prevent him from playing week 17 for Seattle.

Tight Ends

*-The Giants hope to have Jake Ballard back this week but it's far from a certainty because of his knee injury.

*-Anthony Fasano is hoped to be cleared to play week 17 after missing week 16 with a concussion. Too early in the week to know for sure though.

*-I don't expect Dallas Clark to play week 17 because of his neck injury.

*-The 49ers Delanie Walker is uncertain to play this week because of what is believed to be a broken jaw.


*-It's too early in the week to know if Billy Cundiff will be able to kick this week for the Ravens or not. Cundiff sat out week 16 with a nagging groin injury and Shayne Graham kicked in his place. I think the Ravens will likely go with Graham again week 17, but that's just a guess.