News and Notes 9-12-12


*-Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt stated there's still a chance John Skelton could start this week, but realistically, this is just an example of "coach speak". I firmly hold to the belief that Cardinals will start Kevin Kolb week 2, and likely week 3 as well. And if Kolb does well, he could start past that too. For what it's worth, Skelton did not practice today.

*-Jake Locker practiced today and will start week 2 despite his separated non-throwing shoulder injury. He'll likely wear a special harness in the game this weekend to help protect it but it's not something that will limit his ability to throw at all.

Running Backs

*-The Steelers are up to their tricks again when it comes to Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall was listed as a full participant in practice today but he's still considered a long shot to play until the Steelers return from their week 4 bye. Jonathan Dwyer surprisingly was held out of practice today with a foot injury, but after Mike Tomlin said Dwyer had earned an increased offensive role earlier in the week. Barring anything funky happening, I expect Dwyer to start, Isaac Redman to be the top backup, and for Mendenhall to be inactive.

*-Jonathan Stewart practiced today, albeit in limited fashion. But it's a step in the right direction as Stewart's been out the last few weeks with an ankle sprain. If he gets thru practices the rest of the week, I'd expect him to be active week 2. However, after DeAngelo Williams laid a big egg week 1 as the "feature" RB, I'd like to see Stewart get in a full game before trusting him in their expected timeshare.

*-Arian Foster didn't finish practice today because of an undisclosed illness. After last week's late week knee injury that caused such uncertainty about his status for week 1, and then subsequently seeing Foster go out and look fine as he scored 2 TD's, I'm not sitting him this week unless this illness gets identified as something serious. Like the Plague.

*-Ryan Mathews still hasn't been cleared for contact practices. I'd say if he isn't cleared by tomorrow's practice, he won't play week 2. But whether Ronnie Brown, Curtis Brinkley, or Leron McClain get to split up the duties again this week if Mathews doesn't play, or whether one of them (clearly not Brown) becomes a primary RB is unknown. After last week's horrific rushing performances by all San Diego RB's, I'd just stay away, far away from the situation.

*-While Miami's Daniel Thomas reportedly passed his concussion test, he didn't practice today and is not expected to be active week 2 as a precautionary measure. Rookie Lamar Miler should be active, but only a strict backup capacity to feature RB Reggie Bush this week.

*-While Jacksonville won't rule Rashad Jennings out for week 2 yet, it's believed to be a real stretch of the imagination that he will play because of his knee injury. Even if he is somehow active, Maurice Jones-Drew has returned to featured RB status and Jennings will be lucky to pick up scraps.  

*-New England's Shane Vereen practiced today for the first time in a couple of weeks. Vereen's been sidelined with a foot injury. While he stands a chance of being active week 2, he's clearly no threat currently to Stevan Ridley's status as the Patriots primary RB. If the Patriots use Ridley the rest of the season the way they did in week 1, he'll flirt with being a top 10 fantasy RB by the end of the season.

Wide Receivers

*-Packers WR Greg Jennings is officially listed as Doubtful for Thursday night's game vs. Chicago. However, there's a report that Jennings may still be active for the game. Usually "Doubtful" means the player has little chance of playing, but they still might be able to. Even if Jennings is active, I can't imagine he wouldn't be severely limited with his groin injury. I expect James Jones to start in his place and believe Jennings should be kept on fantasy benches this week. Tough to do if he plays, but I think there's so many other quality plays at WR that it's foolish to risk the goose egg in the box score.

*-Calvin Johnson was held out of practice today because of a foot injury. But realistically, this is the same thing the Lions did last year: often resting Megatron on Wednesday's, and sometimes even Thursday's before he puts in a full practice on Friday's. He is fine and should be in every starting lineup for those who have him on their rosters this week.

*-Carolina's Steve Smith has a minor knee injury but he'll be good to go week 2. Don't be concerned in case you heard or read anything else about it.

*-Hakeem Nicks was held out of practice today because of his lingering recovery from preseason foot surgery. Nicks made it thru week 1 without aggravating it so I expect this is just the Giants being smart and cautious with their star WR. I expect him to play without issue week 2.

*-No update on Jeremy Maclin yet other than he didn't practice today. I'm beginning to think it's very likely he'll be labeled as Questionable for week 2 and called the dreaded "game time decision".

*-Kenny Britt practiced today and is on track for a limited offensive role week 2 for Tennessee. While Britt is a dynamic playmaker, I would rather see him and his surgically repaired knees get thru a game before inserting him into a starting fantasy lineup.  

*-Pierre Garcon continues to say he'll be fine for week 2 despite not practicing because of a week 1 foot injury. As long as he practices in at least limited fashion by Friday, I wouldn't be too concerned. Until then, just be paying attention to reports about him.

*-Austin Collie has been cleared to practice in full and is expected to resume his place in the starting lineup opposite Reggie Wayne for the Colts week 2. However, I want to see him get thru a game without having any concussion symptom issues before I'd consider him for a starting fantasy lineup.

Tight Ends

*-Antonio Gates missed practice today because of his week 1 ribs injury. But it's believed to only be a precautionary move by the Chargers and Gates is fully expected to be fine to start week 2.

*-Jason Witten practiced in full today and looks to be good to go for week 2 after being limited some in week 1 because of his spleen injury.