Fantasy Football Player News and Injury Notes 11-20-12


*-After last night's unexpectedly great performance by Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers have a QB controversy on their hands. Alex Smith was supposedly close to being able to play, but now the 49ers probably wish Smith's concussion would linger so they can start Kaepernick another game and see if he can be lights out again. Currently, Smith hasn't been medically cleared for game action and while it's believed he probably will get clearance during this week, it's not known if the 49ers will use any excuse to start Kaepernick again this week or not.

*-Byron Leftwich suffered a ribs injury and he is not going to be able to start in place of Ben Roethlisberger this week. With both Roethlisberger and Leftwich out, Charlie Batch will start for the Steelers. The team signed former Patriots backup QB Brian Hoyer to be their backup QB for the short term. Batch is a capable QB, but like Leftwich, nothing special and his presence probably doesn't bode well for any Steelers pass catchers.

*-Jacksonville has decided to bench Blaine Gabbert and go with Chad Henne as their starter going forward. Gabbert has been awful, and so has Henne, until this past Sunday. Gabbert suffered an elbow injury and was questionable to play this week anyway, so if Henne comes out week 12 and follows up last week's game with a real stinker (which he is fully capable of), we could see the Jags turn back to Gabbert in the future.

*-While there's been no official word yet, it's believed that the Cardinals will give up on John Skelton and go with rookie Ryan Lindley as their starting QB week 12. But that's not official and that could change if saner heads prevail. I know no one is asking me, but I am firmly of the opinion that the Cardinals stood a better chance of winning with a 13-3 lead with Skelton than they did with Lindley. Kevin Kolb is hoped to return to practice soon and a week 13 or 14 return is possible.

*-No word on whether Michael Vick will be able to play next Monday night or not. Vick is still dealing with concussion symptoms and it's entirely possible that despite a bad performance by Nick Foles in week 11, the Eagles would like to get the rookie another start to see if he shows improvement. Expect this to come down to Saturday before we know for sure.

*-Despite some optimism about Jay Cutler's chances of playing week 12, Cutler still hasn't been cleared yet and we could see Jason Campbell get another start in his place. We should know who's starting for Chicago on Friday.

*-No official word yet from Kansas City but it's believed they are going to start Brady Quinn week 12. Matt Cassel got benched for being awful again this past week and while Quinn did little better, the team is desperate for any type of spark. Don't be surprised if Ricky Stanzi starts week 13 at QB for the Chiefs.

Running Backs

*-Willis McGahee is OUT an expected 6-8 weeks after tearing his MCL and suffering a fracture in his leg. McGahee is done for the rest of the regular season, but the Broncos won't put him on injured reserve in hopes he can return for them in the NFL playoffs. Ronnie Hillman will likely be the primary RB and 3rd down RB with Lance Ball and Knowshon Moreno splitting up duties as the between the tackles runners. Hillman is a smart addition as he has explosive potential. Ball is more like a potential RB5 and Moreno is best left on the free agent wire.

*-LeSean McCoy's status for next Monday night is uncertain after he sustained a concussion in week 11. The extra day might help him gain medical clearance, but right now, McCoy owners should run to the waiver wire and acquire his backup, Bryce Brown. Brown has shown well in limited playing time and makes a smart insurance handcuff.

*-The Jaguars did a good job of keeping the switch from Rashad Jennings to Jalen Parmele secret. Parmele wasn't anything special this past week, but against the top fantasy run defense he did well enough, and certainly better than anything Jennings has done. Consider Parmele to be the Jags starting and featured RB until Maurice Jones-Drew returns in another couple of weeks. MJD tentatively is expected back in week 14. For the short term, Parmele should definitely be acquired and Jennings can be dropped.

*-Isaac Redman suffered a concussion Sunday and his status for week 12 is uncertain. If he misses the game, it makes it a two man RBBC between Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer. Dwyer looked a lot more effective than Mendenhall this past Sunday and don't be surprised if Dwyer becomes more of the primary. The Steelers also released RB Baron Batch today.

*-DeMarco Murray is looking unlikely to be able to play Thanksgiving Day for Dallas. Felix Jones is tentatively expected t start again despite having aggravated his own knee injury week 11. Backup Lance Dunbar had a minor knee procedure done Monday but was able to practice today and appears to be okay to be part of a potential 3 headed RBBC between Jones, himself, and Phillip Tanner.

*-Buffalo expects to have Fred Jackson back for this week. Jackson missed last week with a concussion. But likely we're going to see C.J. Spiller on the better end of a 2-1 split between the two going forward.

*-Color me feeling stupid after thinking Shonn Greene would be in for a featured role week 11 with Joe McKnight gimpy with an ankle injury and Bilal Powell supposedly limited by a concussion. Powell got quite a bit of playing time and scored 2 TD's while Greene was his usual sluggish self. If Powell can stay healthy, he'll push Greene for an equal timeshare going forward.

*-Vick Ballard appears to have passed up Donald Brown as the primary RB for the Colts.

*-Beanie Wells is expected to start week 12 for the Cardinals at RB. While La'Rod Stephens-Howling has done well in a couple of games, he really is better suited for a backup and complementary role. Wells is the better fantasy bet and should have some pretty fresh legs after being out the last 8 weeks.

*-No word yet on whether the Raiders will get Darren McFadden back this week or not. Personally I doubt it after watching Marcel Reece run like a beast the last 2 games. Why rush him back? I expect the Raiders will sit McFadden one more game and then bring him back in week 13. That would also fit the original time table better.

*-Green Bay says they are going to have more of an even split going forward between James Starks and Alex Green. Green got no touches this past week and Starks run without much authority. I still expect Starks to get more rushing attempts but look for Green to play more in passing situations.

Wide Receivers

*-Pierre Garcon came out of week 11 without doing any further damage to his foot injury and while likely to be limited in practices, he is tentatively expected to be okay to play week 12. However, with it being a short week and the playing field in Dallas being artificial, the Redskins have said that Garcon will be a game time decision.

*-Julio Jones aggravated his ankle injury week 11 and his status for week 12 is uncertain. It may be in both his and the Falcons best interest to rest him week 12 so he's ready to return for a week 13 rematch with the Saints. We should know more later in the week.

*-Detroit has suspended Titus Young one game for his immature attitude. I'm surprised they haven't termed it "conduct detrimental to the team" and maybe I should apply for a PR job there. Mike Thomas is expected to start leaving Ryan Broyles as the 3rd WR. Probably better for Broyles in the slot anyway.

*-Dwayne Bowe suffered a neck injury and his status for week 12 is very uncertain. Given the state of affairs with the Chiefs and their QB situation, it doesn't really matter who would step into his spot as a replacement as there are probably 50 WR's I'd rather start than anyone from KC.

*-With Antonio Brown's status very uncertain because of his ankle injury, and Jerricho Cotchery out the next few weeks with cracked ribs, the Steelers signed Plaxico Burress today. Burress doesn't have much left to offer and is nothing more than a possession style WR and tall guy for Charlie Batch to try to throw the ball to inside an opponent's 10 yard line. I wouldn't hurry out to grab him.

*-Donnie Avery's status for week 12 is uncertain because of a concussion. If he can't go, T.Y. Hilton looks to probably start with LaVon Brazill stepping in as the #3 WR for the Colts.

*-While it was unexpected and exciting to see Justin Blackmon have a huge game for the Jaguars this past week, it needs to be remembered he's been invisible most weeks this season. I'm not anointing him to must start status just because of one fluke game.

*-Danny Amendola suffered a minor foot injury this past week and while he was able to finish the game, it appears he may miss some practice time this week. I expect he'll be fine for week 12, but keep an eye on this throughout the week.

*-Steve Smith suffered a dislocated finger injury this past week but it was popped back into place and while likely painful, it won't prevent him from starting this week.

*-Miami waived Jabar Gaffney today. This shouldn't affect anyone's fantasy roster but I thought I'd mention it.

Tight Ends

*-Rob Gronkowski is likely to miss the rest of the regular season after breaking his arm. His recovery time is slated for 4-6 weeks and unless the Patriots are desperate and fighting for the playoffs I expect they'll bring him back in the NFL playoffs. Hold onto Gronk for now in case he does come back sooner, but don't be expecting it. Visanthe Shiancoe may get an uptick in snaps, but I doubt he'll come anywhere near replacing Gronkowski or produce reliable fantasy points.

*-It's hoped the Patriots will finally have Aaron Hernandez back this week. But we've been saying that for 3 weeks now and while the Gronk injury may make them force him back sooner than the team wanted to, it may be that his ankle simply isn't healed up enough. The Patriots play Thursday night and right now I'd say Hernandez will be a game time decision.

*-Dennis Pitta suffered a minor concussion week 11 but is expected to be cleared later this week and play in week 12.

*-Lance Kendricks suffered a foot injury and it's uncertain he'll be able to play week 12. This shouldn't affect anyone's fantasy team.

*-Was nice to finally see both Vernon Davis and Jermichael Finley get back on track. Now let's hope it's a sign of good things to come and not just a one week anomaly.


*-Carolina waived Justin Medlock and signed Graham Gano to be their new kicker. Medlock was only 7 of 10 on FGA's this season. There's little upside to Gano.