News and Notes 9-22-11


*-Word is that Michael Vick has passed his independent concussion tests and been cleared to play week 3. He practiced today and barring any setbacks between now and Sunday he is expected to start. Just be sure to pay attention Sunday morning for the inactives to be sure. Luckily the Eagles play the Giants in an early game.

*-Tony Romo did not practice again today. He did have another medical check to see how his lung is healing, but results haven't been released yet. As I've been saying all week, Romo is expected to be the starter for Monday night's game vs. Washington, but it's not a sure thing and owners counting on starting him, really need to examine their league rules about making lineup changes. Some leagues allow you to switch out players on Monday night for other players in that night's game. Other leagues do not and lock the rosters after kickoff of the first game Sunday. If your league allows you to make the changes Monday night when we'll know for sure if Romo is playing, I strongly encourage you to go get Jon Kitna as insurance. For those whose leagues lock on Sunday, I would encourage you to play it safe and go with another option. While it sounds like Romo will play, we just don't know.

*-San Francisco's Alex Smith has passed all his concussion tests and has been cleared to play week 3. Smith suffered a very minor concussion week 2 but it was widely underreported. Feel free to keep Alex Smith on your bench this week.

Running Backs

*-Cincinnati's Cedric Benson is facing a league imposed 3 game suspension for violating the personal conduct policy. He has an appeal scheduled next week so he looks safe for this week, but if he loses the appeal, and players rarely win these things, he'll miss weeks 4, 5, and 6. Bernard Scott would likely be the primary RB and split time with Brian Leonard in Benson's absence. Scott would be the more preferable free agent pick up as he has more playmaking potential.

*-After earlier saying that he would be smart about his recovery from his lingering hamstring injury, Houston's Arian Foster took limited part in today's practice. Foster hasn't been ruled out, but it's likely he will sit out this week. The Texans have already said Ben Tate will be their feature RB this week and it's expected that if Foster is made inactive, Steve Slaton will be the backup and that the team will call up Chris Ogbannaya from the practice squad so they have 3 RB's for this week. It was finally confirmed that Derrick Ward has a high ankle sprain and will miss week 3.

*-Dallas's Felix Jones didn't practice today. This was expected though. Jones has a separated shoulder injury and while he isn't practicing, he is expected to play Monday night. However, it's likely he will be limited and that we will see a bit more of both Tashard Choice and DeMarco Murray.  

*-Rams RB Steven Jackson is still bothered by a quad injury and is very questionable to play this week. His normal backup, Cadillac Williams, has been sitting out practices with a hamstring injury. It's not thought that Caddy's hamstring is bad enough to prevent him from playing, but it could mean we see a lot more of Jerious Norwood this week.

*-Arizona's Beanie Wells suffered a hamstring injury in practice today. While it is believed to be minor, it's something you'll definitely want to be checking my Saturday Team by Team News and Notes in my blog. If it turns out to be more serious than expected we would likely see Chester Taylor start as La'Rod Stephens-Howling is nursing a hand injury.

*-Denver's Knowshon Moreno practiced again today, but he is still not fully recovered from his hamstring injury and even if he plays, I expect Willis McGahee to have better fantasy production.

*-Tennessee's Chris Johnson had a full practice today after missing yesterday's with a rib issue. Johnson is fine and is a great bet to go off this weekend against a suspect Denver run defense.

*-San Diego's Mike Tolbert missed practice again today. I said it yesterday: even if he plays, and there's no guarantee he does, he is likely to be limited. I expect we'll see a lot of Ryan Mathews and some of Jordan Todman as San Diego would be wise to rest Tolbert and get him healthy for games they do need him for to win. That isn't the case this week at home against woeful Kansas City.

Wide Receivers

*-Cincinnati's Jerome Simpson is in legal trouble. He was excused from practice today after it was announced that a package of marijuana was delivered to his house. A police investigation reportedly turned up 8.5 pounds of marijuana inside the home and while Simpson wasn't arrested immediately, which boggles my mind, there's a lot of speculation going on now that the Bengals are strongly considering giving this week off entirely. No word on whether this is something that could end up costing Simpson extended time, but it's likely. For now, don't be surprised if Andre Caldwell steps into the starting spot opposite A.J. Green. Caldwell isn't much of a playmaker, but he has had some nice games when given a more prominent offensive role and when you're desperate on the waiver wire, you could do worse than Caldwell.

*-Mario Manningham is sounding doubtful to play this week for the Giants because of a concussion. If Manningham can't play, it would be either Victor Cruz or Brandon Stokley who would start opposite Hakeem Nicks. Considering the matchup against the Eagles, I'd be staying away from all Giants WR's other than Nicks.

*-It's unknown if Dez Bryant will be able to play Monday night or not for Dallas. Bryant still hasn't practiced yet this week and he's sounding like he'll be a game time decision. With Dallas losing Miles Austin for a couple of weeks and with Bryant sounding gimpy at best (if he even plays) Monday night, the door is open for Kevin Ogletree to be the Cowboys #1 WR this week. The Redskins have allowed both of their first two week's opponent's #1 WR's (Hakeem Nicks and Larry Fitzgerald) to have over 100 receiving yards each. Ogletree is no sure thing though as he has always practiced better than he played in actual games. There's also Jesse Holley in Dallas, but his lack of speed was on display last week when he got chased down from behind sprinting to the end zone. Dallas's rookie Dwayne Harris may be more physically talented than either Ogletree or Holley, but he's more raw and while he has some upside potential, he is also no higher than third in the WR rotation if both Bryant and Austin sit out. Ogletree is likely the best bet of the 3 to be the Cowboys #1 WR this week if Bryant doesn't play or is limited.

*-Minnesota's Percy Harvin missed practice today because of a stomach ailment. It's actually good news that it's his stomach as we always have to be concerned whenever Harvin misses time because we fear it's a return of the migraine headaches. But he is expected to be fine for week 3.

*-Brandon Lloyd practiced in full today and is expected to be fine to start this week for Denver.

*-San Diego held Vincent Jackson out of practice today. No reason has been given but it is believed to just be a day of rest for the star WR. If he doesn't practice tomorrow, then I'll be worried. But for now, I expect him to be just fine for this week.

*-Tennessee's Kenny Britt had a full practice today and appears ready to have another great game this weekend with Denver's Champ Bailey likely out.

*-Buffalo's Steve Johnson also put in a full practice and appears fine to start against New England this week despite his nagging groin injury.

*-Seattle's Sidney Rice actually practiced in full today and barring any setbacks to his shoulder injury he is expected to be able to play against Arizona this week. But I would have a hard time starting him myself despite the Cardinals secondary woes.

*-Chicago's Roy Williams practiced in full today and appears to be on track to play week 3. His return doesn't mean you should be starting him though as he may not be 100% recovered from his groin injury, but it does mean a decrease in faith for the fantasy prospects of Johnny Knox.

*-Lee Evans missed practice again today for Baltimore and while there's been no official word yet, it's seeming like he may be sat this week in hopes of allowing his injured ankle to heal up.

*-It's sounding more and more likely that the Raiders will be without Jacoby Ford again this week because of his hamstring injury. However it's sounding more likely they will have Darrius Heyward-Bey this week. I know, that means nothing for fantasy owners as we all know to just stay away from Heyward-Bey.

*-Jacoby Jones missed practice again today because of his minor knee injury. The Texans insist he will be okay for this week's game, but the expected return of Kevin Walter puts a damper on Jones fantasy upside despite a nice matchup this week.

Tight Ends

*-Antonio Gates was unable to practice again today and there is speculation now that his foot injury from last year is creeping back up on him. Gates isn't believed to be in jeopardy of not playing this weekend but if he doesn't practice tomorrow I'd be concerned. Gates owners are on alert about this possibly being a concern for the rest of the season and you may want to see whether you can get great value for him before everyone else gets keyed in on this.

*-Jacksonville's Marcedes Lewis practiced in full today and barring any setbacks tomorrow he looks to be back on track to start week 3. Not sure I'd want to trust him in his first game back from a calf injury though. Especially when we have no idea what to expect from rookie QB Blaine Gabbert making his first career start.