May 122012
 

Back in August I made a bunch of sleeper picks of fantasy football players for my Draft Kit and as I was looking back at them a few days ago with the fantasy season coming to a close, there were some I definitely was able to pat myself on the back after, but also my fair share of sleepers gone wrong. This is all ok though because, with sleepers, even if less than 50% of them pan out, you can still win your league because you just drop your duds and replace them with emerging studs from the waiver wire to go with your stud sleepers that did pan out and your sure things from the first few rounds.

5 studs

Ray Rice- Baltimore

1952 total yards (683 receiving), 8 touchdowns (1 receiving), 3 fumbles lost

Initial Write up: Rice is going to be the #1 back on the depth chart for Baltimore this year, due to Willie McGahee’s age and injury problems, as well as LeRon McClain moving back to fullback. McGahee and McClain are still going to cut into Rice’s carries. Rice averaged 4.2 YPC last year and Baltimore is still going to run a lot because I’m not sure they’re fully ready to use Joe Flacco as a 500-550 throw quarterback yet. He should get more than 200 carries and at around 4 yards per carry, maybe more depending on how he improves as a runner in his 2nd year, he should get 800+ yards. He caught 33 balls last year for 273 yards and that should improve to somewhere around 50 balls for 400 yards this year as he gets more work. Flacco likes to check down and will look for Rice often. McGahee and McClain and McClain will split goal line carries so 5-9 200 pounds Ray Rice won’t get into the end zone that often. Don’t expect more than 4 or 5 touchdowns.

 

Today’s reaction: Even I may have been a little conservative with his upside. I said 1200 total yards and he’s at 1952 and counting right now. He became a PPR god with 74 receptions and a pretty damn good RB1 in normal leagues. He’s a first round pick in 2010.

Heath Miller- Pittsburgh

71 receptions, 733 yards, 5 touchdowns

Initial Write up: Miller no longer has to contend with Nate Washington for receptions over the middle and Ben Roethlisberger’s shoulder is no longer hurt so he can go back to being that 500-600 yard 5-7 touchdown guy this season. If you forgot to take a tight end in the earlier rounds or you didn’t because you were busy gobbling up RB/WR sleepers, you can do a whole lot worse than Miller, a consistent performer.

 

Today’s reaction: Again, I was too conservative with his upside. I said he’d have a nice bounce back season, Miller has surpassed his career high in receptions by 23 and his career high in yards by 167 and he’s not done yet. His huge breakout season went largely unnoticed as he’s still not a household name and he’s actually only owned in about 82% of all leagues, but with Ben Roethlisberger having a career year as well, Miller was a weekly TE1.

Ricky Williams- Miami

1350 total yards (260 receiving), 13 touchdowns (2 receiving), 2 fumbles lost

Initial Write up: He’s 32, but he’s also Ronnie Brown’s only good backup and the favorite to get 20 carries a game when Ronnie Brown gets hurt again. Ronnie Brown has not had good history in terms of injuries, so Williams is a fantasy sleeper. He could be a borderline RB2 if Brown gets hurt and that’s all you really want from a late round pick, upside.

 

Today’s reaction: Its pretty sad that I’m able to predict a Ronnie Brown injury that easily, but Brown gets hurt more than almost anyone in the league. After Brown went down, it became the Ricky Williams show in Miami again as a 32-year-old Ricky rushed for 1000 yards for the first time since 2003, and had double digit touchdowns for the first time since 2002.

Jamaal Charles- Kansas City

1155 total yards (294 receiving), 6 touchdowns (one receiving), 2 fumbles lost

Initial Write up: Larry Johnson isn’t on good terms with the new management in Kansas City and he could be cut before the season starts. Charles could end up getting 225+ carries if that happens and if he gets that many carries, 900+ yards would not be out of reach. Even if Johnson stays, he could get hurt or benched again and in that case, Charles becomes a borderline RB2 for a few weeks.

 

Today’s reaction: I also forgot the part where Larry Johnson sucks and hates gay people and his coaches and really, really likes Twitter, and just is overall crazy and Jamaal Charles is a beast. He didn’t get 225 carries because Todd Haley is an idiot, but he got 861 rushing yards and added 294 more through the air despite not really playing much until late in the season.

Steve Smith- NY Giants

97 receptions, 1163 yards, 7 touchdowns

Initial Write up: Someone has to be the #1 option for the Giants this year right?…right? Smith has been the most impressive receiver for the Giants in the preseason and he’s in his 3rdyear, so he’s worth a look in the mid-late rounds.

 

Today’s reaction: Smith did become the #1 option for the Giants and really became an elite fantasy wide receiver from week 1. The Giants faded after about week 6, but Steve Smith didn’t. He set and is currently demolishing the record for most receptions by a Giant in a single season and has a good shot week 17 to get into triple digit receptions.

5 duds

Jake Delhomme- Carolina

Initial Write up: Even though he gave the ball and the game away in the playoffs last year, I still like Delhomme as a sleeper. He has a great supporting cast and he’s another year removed from his elbow surgery. He still will be inconsistent and that’s a risk you’ll have to take, but if you can get his 3200-3500 yards and 18-20 touchdowns in the 10th or 11th round, go for it.

 

Today’s reaction: What was I smoking in August and where did I get it?

James Davis- Cleveland

Initial Write up: Jamal Lewis is really not impressing new coach Eric Mangini and there’s actually a chance that Davis is the starting back or at least has a large role on the team week 1. He’s worth a late round flier at this point because I believe, like Greene, he will be the starter for the Browns sometime this season. Fantasy teams don’t really have him on their radar because Davis was a mere 6th round pick in the 2009 NFL draft, but, as he showed at Clemson, he’s the real deal if given a shot.

 

Today’s reaction: He had a shot at the starting job week 1, but he got into a car accident that week and was hurt. He suffered other injuries over the first miserable weeks of his rookie season and before you know it, his rookie year was done. He went on IR on October 3rd after 9 carries for 15 yards. Jerome Harrison has cemented himself as the #1 back in Cleveland for the future so Davis doesn’t have a ton of value next season.

Bobby Engram- Kansas City

Initial Write up: He’s injury prone, but he’s going to be the slot receiver for Kansas City’s pass heavy offense, which happens to be led by a weak armed quarterback who loves to throw it to his slot receiver. He had 1147 yards in 2007, and he could get you 70 receptions for 800 yards seeing as he’s talented and Matt Cassel will want to throw to him a lot so he’s worth the late round injury/age risk. He’s value is higher in PPR leagues and lower in touchdown leagues.

 

Today’s reaction: I admitted didn’t put enough emphasis on the old and injury prone part of him. Engram was a depth guy at best this year for a miserable Chiefs team and only had 5 catches for 61 yards before being released on November 8th. He might not get a shot in the NFL again as he’s going to be 37 in a few days.

Mike Goodson- Carolina

Initial Write up: The Panthers have announced that due to Jonathan Stewart’s achilles injury, Goodson could be used more often in the early weeks of the season. If Stewart misses any games, a real possibility at this point, Goodson would take over Stewart’s carries making him a decent RB3 for a few weeks as Carolina has a great offensive line and the defense will be more worried about DeAngelo Williams. This guy is not even drafted in most leagues so he’s a huge steal at this point. Stewart’s stock falls everyday he misses practice and everyday rookie Goodson impresses.

 

Today’s reaction: Not only did Jonathan Stewart play every game this season as the 2nd string running back, Goodson was actually passed by Tyrell Sutton on the depth chart midseason and fell to 4th string. Goodson got a season high 5 carries week 16 and got 2 yards with them. He only had 4 yards on 9 carries all season. Something tells me he might not be back next season.

Jared Cook- Tennessee

Initial Write up: Cook led the Titans in receiving last week and has looked good in the preseason. Tennessee is a very tight end friendly offense, just ask Bo Sciafe. However, its looking like Cook will be top dog on the Tennessee tight end depth chart very soon so he’s the Tennessee tight end you want. He’s definitely worth a late round flier.

 

Today’s reaction: Whether it was injuries or falling out of favor with the coaching staff, Cook barely saw the field this season after a strong preseason. He’s a decent breakout candidate in his 2nd year next year, but 9 catches for 74 yards this season is very disappointing.

 

 

Yes, a good fantasy draft is extremely important to your season. But, its not everything. I won my fantasy football league this year despite wasting the #2 selection on Matt Forte, who sat on my bench for most of week 5 on, and a 3rd round selection on Kevin Smith, who had one of the worst YPC in the league this year behind an awful Detroit offensive line. The point is, guys bust, they get hurt, they aren’t who we thought they were. By far the most important thing to a fantasy team is the waiver wire. For every underperforming star, there is an unknown who exceeds expectations. For every injured star, there is an unknown who steps up in his absence.

In fact, if I could choose between drafting a team and not being allowed any waiver pickups, and everyone else is, and not getting to draft at all, and creating a team of merely guys from the waivers, I’d choose the latter every time. Sure, we’d start off slow, but I could win the championship with that team assuming we got out act together to make the playoffs. In fact, I won’t just say that. I will prove that. I will make a team compiled of simply players that were featured on my fantasy football pickups of the week, a segment where I profile players that for the most part are owned in 30% of all leagues or less that should be owned in most or at least a lot more than they are currently. Since I never featured defenses or kickers on that segment, I won’t put either of those on my list. Instead, I’ll just focus on the 14 other roster slots.

QB Vince Young- Tennessee

1981 total yards (283 rushing), 12 touchdowns (2 rushing), 6 interceptions

First profiled: Week 11

Initial Write up: Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. I’m not saying start him, but if you need a QB2 with upside, go ahead and pick this guy up. He’s been 44 of 62 for 507 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception since taking over as a starter 3 weeks ago. He also has 78 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown and gets Miami and St. Louis during the first two weeks of the fantasy playoffs.

QB Alex Smith- San Francisco

2178 total yards (50 rushing), 17 touchdowns, 12 interceptions

First profiled: Week 8

Initial Write up: Mike Singletary removed Shaun Hill at halftime and put in Alex Smith. Smith responded by almost erasing a 3 score deficit with 206 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. That interception was on a tough throw he almost had to force to give his team a shot to win. He played like the former #1 pick he is and is going to be given a shot to start this week against Indianapolis. He seems comfortable and to have developed an amazing connection with his receivers, especially Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree.

RB Rashard Mendenhall- Pittsburgh

1249 total yards (235 receiving), 8 touchdowns (1 receiving), 3 fumbles lost

First profiled: Week 5

Initial Write Up: Mendenhall finally broke out with 165 yards and 2 touchdowns on 29 carries last week against San Diego. If Willie Parker misses another week with turf toe, which is very possible because turf toe is a lingering injury for running backs, Mendenhall could have another big week next week against the Lions. After the Lions he plays the Browns. He should be owned universally.

RB Jamaal Charles- Kansas City

1115 total yards (294 receiving), 6 touchdowns (1 receiving), 2 fumbles lost

First profiled: Week 6

Initial Write up: Larry Johnson is awful. He is averaging 2.4 yards per carry and has 0 touchdowns this season. Assuming Chiefs coach Todd Haley isn’t completely inept (no promises there), he will give the more talented Jamaal Charles more work in the weeks to come. Charles is averaging 5.1 yards per carry this season and catches passes as well so if he gets involved in the offense more, he could be a decent start some weeks depending on the matchup.

RB Laurence Maroney- New England

856 total yards (99 receiving), 9 touchdowns, 4 fumbles lost

First profiled: Week 7

Initial Write up: Fred Taylor is out. Sammy Morris hurt his ankle last week and is questionable going forward. Maroney is the feature back for New England if Morris is out and the Patriots play Tampa Bay, who struggle against the run, next week. Tom Brady is coming off of a huge week so the Bucs are probably going to be focusing on him and Maroney could take advantage of that with a big week next week.

RB Mike Bell- New Orleans

640 total yards (14 receiving), 5 touchdowns, 2 fumbles lost

First profiled: Week 2

Initial Write up: Well, we know who New Orleans will go to on the ground with Pierre Thomas out. Bell had 149 yards on 28 carries for the Saints. He won’t play against Detroit’s miserable ground defense every week and Pierre Thomas isn’t going to be hurt every weak, but if he keeps play like this, the Saints are going to keep going with what’s hot. Thomas probably won’t play this week either so Bell is worth a start this week in flex leagues if you need running back help. Bell should be owned universally.

WR Steve Smith- NY Giants

97 receptions, 1163 yards, 7 touchdowns

First profiled: Week 2

Initial Write up: Smith was Eli Manning’s favorite target in the Giants’ win over the Redskins and could lead Giants wideouts in fantasy points by the end of the season. He’s a 3rdyear receiver so he’s an excellent candidate to break out this year and Eli looked really comfortable throwing to him.

WR Miles Austin- Dallas

74 receptions, 1230 yards, 11 touchdowns

First profiled: Week 6

Initial Write up: I don’t love Austin as a fantasy player or the Cowboys passing game in general, but there’s no denying the fact that he had an unheard of 250 yards and 2 touchdowns last week, granted it was against Kansas City’s secondary. He won’t be consistent, but the Cowboys are obviously going to try to get him more involved so he could be huge for you.

WR Sidney Rice- Minnesota

77 receptions, 1200 yards, 6 touchdowns

First profiled: Week 7

Initial Write up: Its tough to ignore Rice after his 176 yard game last week. He’s a talented 3rdyear receiver who seems to get better every week. He’s a goal line threat at 6-4 and Brett Favre seems to like throwing to him. He has surpassed Bernard Berrian as Favre’s favorite target.

WR Mike Sims Walker- Jacksonville

61 receptions, 847 yards, 7 touchdowns

First profiled: Week 5

Initial Write up: Sims-Walker had a huge 31% gain in own %, but he’s still available in over 60% of leagues despite his 91 yard 2 touchdown game. He’s obviously the best wideout on the Jaguars and is a borderline start going forward into the season and certain merits another start next week to see if he can keep up the momentum.

WR Michael Crabtree- San Francisco

45 receptions, 567 yards, 2 touchdowns

First profiled: Week 8

Initial Write up: Speaking of Crabtree, he should be owned in all leagues. He has a great connection with new quarterback Alex Smith and fits the Niners’ offensive perfectly. He had 5 catches for 56 yards, but had a 25 yard catch erased on a penalty. And this was his first game. Pick him up as he has potential to be a WR2 caliber guy weekly.

WR Robert Meachem- New Orleans

43 receptions, 710 yards, 9 touchdowns

First profiled: Week 13

Initial Write up: He has caught 5 touchdowns in the last 4 weeks for the explosive Saints offense so I’d call that a trend and one that you’d want to get in on if you can. He does have 2 weeks in the last 4 of 60 yards of more, but also two clunkers in terms of yards. He’s not my favorite option, but in deeper leagues, he could be worth it, though there is downside if he doesn’t score. However, with the way Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense is moving right now, he is likely to score again.

TE Brent Celek- Philadelphia

69 receptions, 875 yards, 8 touchdowns

First profiled: Week 3

Initial Write up: Celek had 37 yards and 1 touchdown with McNabb under center, even though the Eagles didn’t pass a lot that week and 104 yards last week with Kolb under center. He has looked good in every game he has played thus far in his career, even though he hasn’t played a ton. He is the every down tight end for the Eagles right now and should be a good start every week for you.

TE Heath Miller- Pittsburgh

71 receptions, 733 yards, 5 touchdowns

First profiled: Week 2

Initial Write up: With Nate Washington gone and Heath Miller finally healthy, Miller should get plenty of looks over the middle this season. He certainly did against the Titans with 8 catches for 64 yards. He has been one of the most consistently underrated tight ends over the past few years, not counting last year, and, assuming he stays healthy, he should be able to do so again this year. He’s a TE1 in almost all leagues and should be owned universally.

 

 

WR Larry Fitzgerald- Arizona

He put in 2 straight days of full practice on Thursday and Friday and is listed as probable, so he should be good to go for the 2nd straight week through a knee injury. You want him in your lineup against the lowly Rams.

RB Michael Turner- Atlanta

He hasn’t practiced all week, but there’s still a possibility that he does play. He’s played after a week of no practice before, but after being knocked out of three games this season with that same high ankle sprain, even if he does play this week, there’s a chance that happens once again. Falcons coach Mike Smith is too stupid to realize that if your star player keeps getting knocked out of games with the same injury, maybe, now that you’ve been eliminated from the playoffs, you should sit him. Or maybe he just hates fantasy football and likes to give Michael Turner owners false hope and confuse the owners of backup Jason Snelling. Snelling should see a fair amount of action this week against the Bills 32nd ranked run defense so he’s worth a start, though there are both clear up and down sides to his possible production this week. Michael Turner is not worth the headache even if he does play so I’d sit him. You don’t want one of your starting running backs to be knocked out after 1 carry again.

12/27/09: Inactive, Snelling is an excellent start against Buffalo’s last place run defense.

QB Matt Ryan- Atlanta

He practiced on a limited basis late in the week and is a game time decision, though he may just be called that to try to catch the Bills off guard this week. He played last week after being a game time decision and I believe, as do others, that he is going to play this week as well. However, with the turf toe, which I do not believe is fully healed, he looked very turnover prone against the Jets last week and he’s a risk against the Bills, who have one of the most opportunistic secondaries in the league. If you do intend to start him however, be sure to check back here tomorrow to make sure he is indeed starting.

12/27/09: Active, but I wouldn’t count on a good week.

QB Trent Edwards- Buffalo

Placed on IR. There shouldn’t have been much reason to have him on your roster recently anyway, but if you’re one of the 26.2% of ESPN leaguers who still own him, get rid of him.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick- Buffalo

He hasn’t practiced much this week and Brian Brohm has gotten most of the first team reps this week in practice, but they are still calling it a game time decision between Fitzpatrick and Brohm. Even against a weak Atlanta secondary, I don’t think you really want to be starting either of those two games so it shouldn’t matter.

RB Jonathan Stewart- Carolina

He still has that questionable tag, but I would make that much of that. He practiced fine this week through his achilles injury and should play. DeAngelo Williams is not likely to play, so Stewart could get a big increase in carries this week which is nice.

RB DeAngelo Williams- Carolina

After barely practicing this week, he’s doubtful and not expected to play.

12/27/09: Inactive

WR Devin Hester- Chicago

He has been practicing more this week in practice and looks his healthiest since he hurt his calf a few weeks ago, but he’s still listed as questionable for a Monday Night game, so you’re taking a huge risk by starting him. Calf injuries also tend to linger so his explosiveness could be sapped this week, which would be bad for him, plus he plays against Antoine Winfield who is a tough matchup.

WR Eddie Royal- Denver

He won’t play this week. I would strongly hope you won’t relying on him in your fantasy championship or even have him on your roster because he’s having a bad year, but there are still plenty of people who own him.

RB Corell Buckhalter- Denver

He was limited in practice on Friday, but is still expected to play and is listed as probable. He isn’t going to do anything fantasy relevant, but he could take away some carries from Knowshon Moreno, though not that many because he is hurt. Moreno’s still a decent start against the Eagles this week.

WR Pierre Garcon- Indianapolis

He’s out this week with a hand injury. Austin Collie will start opposite Reggie Wayne, who could be blanketed by Darrelle Revis all game, so Collie could have a bunch of targets, as could tight end Dallas Clark.

Colts starters

“We’ll go into it just like we did against Jacksonville, go to try to win this thing, play hard and make adjustments as we go.” –Colts head coach Jim Caldwell

That sounds like a pretty good endorsement for all of the Colts’ starters so Joseph Addai, Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark, get those guys in your lineup. The only one I’d be worried about is Reggie Wayne who will be covered by Darrelle Revis.

QB Tom Brady- New England

He’s got a mess of injuries, but he’s going to play through them and actually could have a decent game against the Jags, who have no pass rush and a secondary full of holes.

WR Lance Moore- New Orleans

Won’t play.

TE Jeremy Shockey- New Orleans

All signs are pointing to Shockey being a 50-50 game time decision. Check back tomorrow. David Thomas could be a decent tight end replacement if Shockey doesn’t play. He really stepped up in Shockey’s absence last week.

12/27/09: Inactive, David Thomas now has some value.

RB Reggie Bush- New Orleans

Expected to play through his hamstring injury, but he only has 8 carries over the last 3 weeks so he’s a huge risk, even against the Bucs defense this week.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw- NY Giants

He didn’t practice much this week either, but is expected to play through his foot and ankle injuries as he has been doing all season. He’s been playing better of late in terms of YPC and touchdowns and he’s a decent flex option this week against Carolina, who is weak on the ground. His production this week will depend on how much or little Brandon Jacobs plays.

WR Hakeem Nicks- NY Giants

He has two good days of practice, Thursday, and Friday, and is listed as probable, so there’s a good chance that he plays. However, he’s not a full time starter and really has been relies on deep balls and touchdowns to get solid fantasy production. Carolina is stingy against the pass and the Giants should have a run heavy attack this weak to destroy the Panthers on the ground so Nicks might not have as many opportunities for deep balls. He’s a risky play.

WR Braylon Edwards- NY Jets

He got Wednesday off because of a knee bruise, but is expected to play on Sunday. Use him as you normally would and know that he’s been inconsistent and is facing a tough Indianapolis secondary this week.

QB Charlie Frye- Oakland

JaMarcus Russell is so bad that the Raiders are going to rush Frye back from a concussion and start him this week against the Browns. Frye isn’t very good either so don’t get any ideas about start him against his old team, no matter how bad against the pass they’ve been this season.

RB Justin Fargas- Oakland

Fargas hasn’t been practicing much this week with a knee injury and has been downgraded to doubtful so its safe to say he doesn’t play, which could mean another week of Michael Bush starting at running back for the Raiders. Bush could have a huge game against the Browns in Fargas’ expected absence.

12/27/09: Inactive

TE Zach Miller- Oakland

He passed some concussion tests and was cleared to practice this week, which he did in limited fashion, but he has not been cleared by doctors for game action yet. He’ll likely be a game time decision depending on how he feels in the morning tomorrow. If you intend on using him, check back here tomorrow to make sure he plays.

12/27/09: Inactive

RB Brian Westbrook- Philadelphia

Andy Reid has said he’ll play this week for the first time since his concussion week 10 and he did practice all week with the first team, but with this game against the Broncos being a fairly meaningless game, I think they are just playing Westbrook to get him into game shape for the playoffs, which means he won’t be used in any way fantasy relevant unless this game becomes a blowout. They’ll want to be very cautious with him as a 3rd concussion this season could end his career.

WR Hines Ward- Pittsburgh

He has two days of practice under his belt so he’s a good bet to start, but he had a minor setback to his hamstring injury earlier in the week and if he has another one during the game, he might not be able to return. That being said, he’s one of Pittsburgh’s top receivers and is playing a team that he always plays some of his best football against so he’s worth the risk.

RB Rashard Mendenhall- Pittsburgh

The hip contusion he sustained in last week’s game is not serious and he’s practiced fine this week. The only thing that stand between him and a good fantasy day is a tough Baltimore defense, but he did rush for 95 yards against them a few weeks ago.

RB Julius Jones- Seattle

He practice two days with a rib injury, but is still listed as questionable. He’s not a very good runner and he’s now officially splitting carries with the much more talented Justin Forsett, so he’s a very risky start, should be play, against a good Green Bay defense. That being said, I expect him to play.

12/27/09: He’s playing, but I’m not liking the fantasy prospects this week.

RB Steven Jackson- St. Louis

He didn’t practice all week, but that was to be expected. He hasn’t practiced in a while. He should still be on the field this week, but if the coaching staff realizes that the team is 1-13 and nowhere near the playoffs, they might rest Jackson this week, so check back tomorrow just to make sure that the Rams are indeed crazy and starting him once again.

12/27/09: Fully expected to play, but that’s the best confirmation I can give you at the moment. He doesn’t play until the afternoon.

12/27/09: Listed as inactive. Hopefully you can still switch him out.

WR Antonio Bryant- Tampa Bay

After looking murky earlier in the week, Bryant had a good day of practice Friday and is expected to play through his groin injury. However, I can’t guarantee any sort of good game with Josh Freeman at quarterback against the New Orleans Saints.

12/27/09: Active

RB Derrick Ward- Tampa Bay

He was expected to get the bulk of the carries against the Saints this week before his knee started acting up and now that doesn’t look as likely. Even if he plays, his carries could be limited again so he’s a huge risk that I wouldn’t take this week.

12/27/09: Active, but I wouldn’t play him this week.

TE Kellen Winslow- Tampa Bay

Two good days of practice after being limited on Wednesday with a knee injury, if he could play last week, he should be good to go for the rest of the season. Start him with confidence.

QB Jason Campbell- Washington

Jim Zorn has announced that he will start this week despite a shoulder stinger. Use him as you normally would.

 

I get asked a lot of questions on Twitter about who people should start this week for their fantasy team. I decided, since some of my readers might have some of the same questions, to post some of them up here, along with my answers. I should be getting a lot more as the week goes on and I will post those up here too. If you want a question answered, Tweet Me, or if you don’t have a Twitter, Email Me, and if it’s a question that I think a lot of other people could have, it would anonymously appear up here.

Chris Chambers/Terrell Owens

-i dont like that matchup, bengals r tough against the pass, bills do play the falcons so TO could catch a few deep ones

Laurence Maroney/Jerome Harrison

-i’d go with harrison just cuz he’s on fire rite now and has an easy matchup and just hope mangini doesn’t go back to Jennings

Ben Roethlisberger/Joe Flacco

-Big Ben, see my NFL Picks for why

Terrell Owens/Josh Morgan

-morgan is too inconsistent, start TO

Brett Favre/Tony Romo

-i dont trust favre at the moment, i trust romo a little more

Kenny Britt/DeSean Jackson/Steve Smith (CAR)/Pierre Garcon

-assuming u start three, start britt, jackson, and smith, there’s a good chance garcon doesnt even play, he’s hurt and the colts could be resting

Adrian Peterson/Jamaal Charles/Maurice Morris/Jerome Harrison

-Peterson and Charles, they are locks now no matter the matchup, if u have a flex rb/wr, start Harrison

Bo Scaife/Kellen Winslow

-winslow barring any setbacks with the injury

Alex Smith/Tony Romo

- smith could have a good game, but i’d go with romo, he’s a little safer

Need a question answered? Tweet Me, or Email Me.

 

RB Jerome Harrison- Cleveland

Available in 89.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

I don’t often compare Bill Belicheck to Eric Mangini because, well, BB has 3 Super Bowls, and Eric Mangini’s claim to fame is setting the record for most complaints filed against a coach over the course of a single season. However, these two do have something in common; they both hate fantasy football. With a passion. After Jamal Lewis went on IR, Jerome Harrison started at running back for the Browns and had a decent week and was big fantasy pickup. The next week, Chris Jennings moved into the starting running back slot and everyone assumed that he was now the starter so obviously a lot of fantasy football players rushed out to pick him up and drop Jerome Harrison. Well, last week, Mangini flip flopped back to Jerome Harrison and he wasn’t just good, he was historical, rushing for 286 yards, 3rd most in NFL history and 15 fewer yards than he had in the entire season before that game. He also had 3 touchdowns and 2 receptions for 12 yards giving him an astonishing 47 fantasy points in regular leagues and 49 in PPR leagues. Given that Eric Mangini is likely coaching for his job for the rest of the season, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that he starts Harrison again this week. While I highly doubt he gets you 47 points and while I believe that a huge part of his huge week last week was the fact that he was playing the Chiefs, who give up the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing running backs at 23.6 per game, he does face the Raiders this week, who give up the 4th most at 22.1 per game. I would not be surprised if Harrison rushed for 100 yards and punched in a score or two.

RB Maurice Morris- Detroit

Available in 97.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

So much for the Aaron Brown, Maurice Morris timeshare, Morris got 17 carries last week against the same Arizona run defense that bottled up Adrian Peterson for 19 yards on 13 carries and had 126 yards and a touchdown, plus 5 catches for 35 yards through the air. San Francisco is his opponent this week and they give up the 13th most fantasy points to opposing running backs at 17.1 per game so assuming he stays the feature back, he’s worth a flex play this week.

QB Vince Young- Tennessee

Available in 72.9% of all leagues (ESPN)

Another consistent decent week for Vince Young, who is 7-1 since taking over as a starter, with his one loss coming against the Colts, who have beaten everyone this season. Since taking over 8 weeks ago, Young has 1619 passing yards, 10 touchdowns, and 3 picks, and has also added 243 yards and a score on the ground. San Diego this week doesn’t represent the friendly matchup, 11th fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing fantasy quarterbacks. However, the Chargers only have 12 interceptions on the season and Young only has 3 picks since taking over, so he won’t hurt you. You could do a lot worse this week.

RB Ryan Moats- Houston

Available in 80.9% of all leagues (ESPN)

Moats has double digit carries in each of his last 6 games with the exception of one game he randomly had zero. Gary Kubiak is completely random with his running backs, but with Steve Slaton out for the season, Moats is the safest bet out of any Houston running back. Moats faces Miami and their 12th ranked defense against fantasy running backs this week so he’s worth a start in deep leagues.

TE Fred Davis- Washington

Available in 80.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

The Redskins were laugh out loud awful last week against the Giants, but Fred Davis wasn’t catching 5 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown, giving him 5 touchdowns over the past 4 weeks. He’s really matured into the Redskins’ top endzone threat and assuming they get there, he should have a chance for a score, and even if he doesn’t score, his yards totals from the past few weeks are 43, 53, 50, and 65. He also had a 78 yarder earlier this season. That’s not bad.

RB Michael Bush- Oakland

Available in 85.0% of all leagues (ESPN)

Where did this come from? After 8 carries over the past 4 weeks, Bush got 18 carries against the Broncos and made the most of them rushing for 133 yards and a score and contributing an 11 yard reception through the air. If he gets a lot of carries this week against the Browns, who give up the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing running backs, he could be a nice sleeper, but the 8 carries in the 4 weeks before last show that he’s also a risk as well.

TE Bo Scaife- Tennessee

Available in 92.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

Well, he’s consistent. Since beating the injuries and taking over as the starting tight end week 11, Scaife has 4+ receptions every week and 4+ fantasy points in all weeks except week 11. Deep leaguers might want to start him this week if they need tight end help. He has added value in PPR leagues as well as he has 23 catches in the last 5 weeks. However, for you to actually get a big week out of him as a tight end, he’d need to get into the endzone something he’s only done once this season.

WR Malcolm Floyd- San Diego

Available in 96.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

Another decent week for Floyd, who has at least 3 catches in every week since week 10. He also has at least 4 fantasy points in all weeks but one in that stretch and has 2 games of 6 or more in that stretch as well. Even if you’re unimpressed by the fact that he just won’t hurt you, he faces the Titans this week and they have given up the most points to opposing fantasy wide receivers this season, despite having one of the best shutdown corners in the league, Cortland Finnegan. They have not been able to stop anyone but the opposing team’s #1 option so if Finnegan can some how shut down Vincent Jackson despite the height advantage in Jackson’s favor, Floyd could be targeted a lot and since the Titans have awful coverage in most parts of their secondary, he could find some holes for yards, and maybe even score. The Titans lead the league in touchdowns allowed to opposing wide receivers with 21.

 

WR Larry Fitzgerald- Arizona

Fitzgerald and his injured right knee were able to practice more and more ever day this week, but he did not go through a full practice and is listed as questionable. He remains confidence he will play, but the Cardinals have all but clinched a playoff spot and play he lowly Lions this week so you couldn’t blame them for sitting Fitzgerald or taking it easy on him. I say its more likely than not that he plays, but check back here tomorrow for the final word.

12/20/09: Will play according to NFL network’s Jason LaCanfora.

RB Tim Hightower- Arizona

Hightower is expected to play through his thumb injury again but since injuring his thumb three weeks ago, he has lost two fumbles. The Cardinals have noticed this and have only given him 8 carries over the last two weeks, so even against the lowly Lions, I wouldn’t count on Hightower doing much. Chris Wells is all but cemented as the feature back in Arizona now.

RB Michael Turner/QB Matt Ryan- Atlanta

Both participated in Friday’s practice in limited action, but are listed as game time decisions. If the Falcons lose this week they are all but eliminated from the playoff race so I think they’ll do everything possibly to get their two biggest offensive weapons out their, even if they don’t announce it until game time to keep their opponent guessing. Check back here tomorrow for the final word though.

12/20/09: Both are in. Ryan may be limited and since I don’t think he was an elite fantasy quarterback, you might be safer starting another option if you have one. Turner is expected to be the lead back so unless he really can’t get anywhere on the ground or he gets hurt again, you can feel safe with him as a RB2.

WR Roddy White- Atlanta

As has been the case for the past few weeks, White is expected to play through his knee injury. The knee injury hasn’t been hampering him much in terms of production and he’s proven that he can put up big numbers regardless of whether Matt Ryan or Chris Redman starts at quarterback.

WR Derrick Mason- Baltimore

He is expected to play through a finger injury despite being limited in practice all week. How much the finger injury will affect his ability to catch the ball is unknown, but I’d take the risk on him against a relatively weak Chicago passing defense.

WR Terrell Owens- Buffalo

Owens has reportedly had the flu this week and that has caused him to miss practice. However, he was seen out and about Friday night doing an autograph signing in Toronto and attending a Toronto Raptors game. I don’t think he’ll miss this game against the Patriots because he is playing for a contract and knows that a big game against the Patriots will definitely help when it comes to dollars and cents this offseason. Check back tomorrow for the final word as he is listed as questionable and the flu can be unpredictable, but you should be fine to roll with him.

12/20/09: Active

RB Jonathan Stewart- Carolina

Stewart tweaked his toe this week, in addition to the injury he has had in his achilles, but he practiced fully both Thursday and Friday and is listed as probable. However, little things like toe injuries can sap the explosiveness out of a running back, plus the matchup against Minnesota isn’t favorable, so I’d sit him this week.

QB Jake Delhomme- Carolina

He’s not going to play.

WR Devin Hester- Chicago

Hasn’t done much more than light running this week because of a calf injury and is expected to miss his 2nd straight game, though he has not been officially ruled out. He is listed as doubtful which still isn’t promising.

QB Matt Stafford- Detroit

There has not been an official announcement, but Stafford hasn’t practiced all week and is expected to miss this week’s game with a separated non-throwing shoulder. The Lions are being smart here and know that they need to keep him healthy for the future.

RB Kevin Smith- Detroit

On IR, done for the year, his 2010 status is cloudy at the moment.

WR Calvin Johnson- Detroit

He hasn’t done a lot of practicing this week, but he’s listed as a game time decision. He has already dealt with knee problems this season so the Lions may want to be on the safe with him as they are with Stafford and rest him, but we won’t know for sure until tomorrow so be sure to check back tomorrow morning.

12/20/09: Active

WR Percy Harvin- Minnesota

Migraines have been plaguing him again this week, but he did practice on a limited basis Friday and he said he expects to play, but he said the same thing last week and didn’t play. Check back tomorrow and consider him a game time decision.

12/20/09: NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora is saying that he is expected to play so barring any setbacks between now and 8:20 PM ET, Harvin should be in the lineup and you should feel safe using him as normal.

WR Bernard Berrian- Minnesota

He practiced fully Friday and is expected to play through his hamstring injury once again. If Harvin doesn’t play, Berrian could see more targets like he did last week and would be worth a WR3 play in that case.

WR Sidney Rice- Minnesota

Rice has been sick and has missed the last two days of practice, though he practiced Wednesday as normal. The Vikings expect him to be healthy by Sunday, but the questionable tag is a bit concerning. Check back tomorrow.

12/20/09: LaCanfora is saying he will play and since I already felt Rice was leaning towards playing, I think you can safely have him in your lineup against the Panthers.

TE Visanthe Shiancoe- Minnesota

Had a full practice Friday and is expected to play through his bruised ribs and his foot injury, though one more tough hit could knock him straight out of the game, despite the fact that he is proving to be one of the tougher players in the NFL.

QB Tom Brady- New England

He has a load of stuff going on, ribs, finger, and shoulder, and since Bill Belicheck likes to be secretive with injuries, we aren’t quite sure how bad he is hurting, but he’s going to play through and it because he’s Tom Brady he deserves the benefit of the doubt against the Bills this week.

TE Benjamin Watson- New England

After being limited in practice all week with a knee injury, Watson is probable. You probably want to go in a different direction this week because Watson has been very inconsistent this season and this injury only takes away from what little value he has, even as a part of an explosive offense like New England’s.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw- NY Giants

He didn’t practice all week until an early morning practice Saturday. The Giants don’t play until Monday, so if you start him you’re taking a huge risk. Since he has not been playing well since first sustaining the injury, week 6, I don’t think the rest needs to be taken. Keep him on your bench unless you absolutely need him and have another player ready to go in Monday’s game if he misses.

QB Bruce Gradkowski/TE Zach Miller- Oakland

Both are out.

TE Brent Celek- Philadelphia

He’s questionable with a thumb injury after being limited in practice both Thursday and Friday, but multiple sources expect him to play through it. Check back tomorrow morning, even though, he doesn’t play his first game until the afternoon, for the latest because there aren’t going to be a lot of options if you play him and he doesn’t play.

12/20/09: No worries, he’ll play.

RB Brian Westbrook- Philadelphia

Out again, just go ahead and cut him, he’s not going to play in any meaningful way for the rest of the season.

WR Hines Ward- Pittsburgh

He practiced fully both Thursday and Friday and has been bumped up to probable from questionable, always a good sign. This is one of the toughest players in the NFL so he wouldn’t miss this upcoming must win game unless he were really hurt. He’s also one of the most consistent too and should be able to get you fantasy start worthy numbers against the Packers this week.

RB Frank Gore- San Francisco

He was limited a little in practice week a toe injury, but is expected to play. The only thing you have to worry about here is the toe injury sapping his explosiveness and it appeared to late in the game last week. He would feel comfortable rolling with him though, even against the Eagles.

WR Nate Burleson- Seattle

He has a high ankle sprain and won’t play.

RB Steven Jackson- St. Louis

He still has back spasms that have kept him out of practice and is now showing flu like symptoms and may have swine flu. The Rams would have to be crazy to play him in a meaningless game, but they might anyway and if they do, he could actually have a decent game against the Texans because he is a tough player, so check back tomorrow to see if the Rams are crazy, in which case you should start him.

12/20/09: Yup, they’re crazy.

TE Kellen Winslow- Tampa Bay

He was set to play through his knee injury once again this week, but did not practice at all Friday after practicing Thursday, suggesting that he may have retweaked his knee. The Bucs have 1 win this season so if he’s hurt, they might shut him down for the year or at least not play him this week. He’ll be a game time decision.

12/20/09: No announcement has been made yet and its about 10 minutes before the first set off games kickoff. Unless you have another option kicking off in the afternoon, I’d say sit Winslow. There was supposed to be an announcement about 15 minutes ago, but there wasn’t which has me concerned.

QB Vince Young- Tennessee

They are calling him a game time decision with a knee and hamstring injury, but he practiced Friday and should play against the Dolphins, who are starting two rookie corners. He’s a borderline start if he plays, but his play would also make his favorite target Kenny Britt a decent WR3 this week, which he is not if Young does not play. Check here just in case but I’d say 95% chance he starts.

12/20/09: Starting

RB Clinton Portis- Washington

Done for the year after that nasty concussion back during week 9.

12/19/09

These are for Thursday’s games only. Injury reports will be posted Saturday morning for Saturday and Sunday’s games and then updated Sunday morning for Sunday’s games.

QB Peyton Manning/WR Reggie Wayne/WR Pierre Garcon/RB Joseph Addai- Indianapolis

All four have minor injuries, but are expected to play for the Colts this week against the Jaguars so you shouldn’t have any worries about starting them. However, if the Colts run up a big lead or fall behind big, both of which I don’t think they will, they could rest a few of these four, most likely Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne, because they are the stars. Just know that before you start any of these guys, though you should be fine with all.

WR Mike Sims Walker/RB Maurice Jones Drew- Jacksonville

Both practiced Tuesday and Wednesday, so I expect both to play tonight. However, Sims Walker has been hurt over the past few weeks and hasn’t been playing well. MJD is the only one I’d feel safe starting. I wouldn’t feel safe starting MSW.

-12/17/09

 

RB Quinton Ganther- Washington

Available in 68.8% of all leagues (ESPN)

There was a huge jump on him last week after Jim Zorn named him starting running back, but he’s still available in more than 2/3 of all leagues and he’s presumably going to be the Redskins top back the rest of the season. His last three matchups, the Giants, the Cowboys, and the Chargers could be tough, but he showed a nose for the goal line last week, plus great hands which will get you points every week. Some guys are quality which is nice, but Ganther is going to be quantity with some quality for the rest of the season.

WR Kenny Britt- Tennessee

Available in 71.9% of all leagues (ESPN)

He had every thing go wrong for him last week, a back injury, plus an injury to his quarterback, but he still managed 75 points, though he never got into the endzone, snapping a 3 game touchdown streak. He faces Miami this week and is a good WR3 if Vince Young plays.

RB Chris Jennings- Cleveland

Available in 98.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

After Jamal Lewis went down for the season, I was sure Jennings would be the go to back in Cleveland, but then Jerome Harrison started the next week. However, Jennings started last week against the Steelers after it was revealed that the reason Jennings didn’t start the week before was that he was hurt. Thanks for telling us Mangenius. Jennings appeared to be healthy last week as the rookie ran for 73 yards and a touchdown against Pittsburgh in the cold. He plays Kansas City this week, then Oakland, so he should be good for both quantity, assuming Mangini doesn’t change his mind again, and quality.

QB Chad Henne- Miami

Available in 94.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

Last week I recommended Henne against Jacksonville and I actually picked him up in my main league to start, but chickened out at the last minute and started Carson Palmer…who threw for 94 yards. I still won, but I was mad at myself. Henne exceeded even my expectations last week and appears to be getting better every week as a starting quarterback in the NFL. He has 555 yards and 3 touchdowns, 2 passing, one running, in the last 2 weeks and faces a Tennessee secondary that gives up the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, though that number is a bit skewed by an awful game against New England week 6, but he should be a decent QB1 this week if you need him for whatever reason like say, your starting quarterback is Carson Palmer.

RB Aaron Brown- Detroit

Available in 99.8% of all leagues (ESPN)

Kevin Smith is done for the season so Aaron Smith and Maurice Morris figure to get the carries in his absence. Brown is younger and more of an unknown as a rookie, so he should get the majority of the carries, though he’s not built to be an every down back. I don’t think he’s a great runner and he faces San Francisco and Arizona in the next two weeks who are both tough against the run, but he’s worth a shot and has some decent upside, just don’t get too crazy about him.

TE Jermichael Finley- Green Bay

Available in 79.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

Another huge week by one of the most underrated players in the game. He’s seemingly on this list every week, but for whatever reason he just surpassed being owned in 20% of all leagues. If you look at a normal scoring system, Finley ranks 18th in fantasy points among all tight ends, which may not seem like much, but you remember this is a guy who missed 3 games with injury early in the season and didn’t take over as a full time part of the offense until a few weeks ago. He has 228 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns in the last four weeks and 149 yards in the last two.

TE Fred Davis- Washington

Available in 93.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

Until last week, the Raiders hadn’t given up a touchdown to an opposing tight end. Last week they gave up two to Fred Davis. Davis had 4 touchdowns in the last three weeks for a Redskins offense that has scored 24 points or more in three straight games after not scoring that much all season prior. If the Redskins continue to move the ball, they will be moving it into Fred Davis’ hands in the end zone more and more as he’s their best end zone threat. He’s also decent in terms of yards averaging about 50 or so per game since Chris Cooley went down and Fred Davis took over week 7. What more can you ask out of a tight end?

TE Bo Sciafe- Tennessee

Available in 91.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

Doesn’t matter who the quarterback is, this guy is getting the ball. After finally getting healthy, Sciafe recorded back to back weeks of 50 yards or more and than, even though Vince Young was hurt at quarterback, he had 43 last week. He plays in a tight end friendly offense and was a pro bowler last year so he’s worth a roster spot if you can afford one for the rest of the season in deep leagues.

RB Maurice Morris- Detroit

Available in 98.6% of all leagues (ESPN)

I expect Aaron Brown to start for the Lions with Kevin Smith out, but Maurice Morris might. He’s a better runner and more durable than Brown so he could be worth a pickup in deep leagues.

RB Ryan Moats- Houston

Available in 80.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

With Steve Slaton out for the year, Moats led the Texans in yards last week with 43 plus a touchdown. Granted, Chris Brown didn’t play much either and Gary Kubiak draws his running backs out of hats, but if we get any indication that Moats could be the main guy down the stretch, he’s worth a pickup. He faces St. Louis and Miami in the next two weeks.

RB Arian Foster- Houston

Available in 99.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

Another random Texan who has a big game, Foster had 88 total yards, 54 through the air, last week against the Seahawks with Steve Slaton on IR and Chris Brown on Gary Kubiak’s naughty list. He too has an easy schedule upcoming so if there’s any indication that he could be more involved in the offense, he’s a good pickup.

12/15/09

 

RB Tim Hightower- Arizona

Limited in practice with a thumb injury this week as he was last week, but like last week, he is expected to play against San Francisco. As normal, he should get fewer carries and more receptions than Chris Wells, but its hard to like either as long as they are splitting against a good Niners’ run defense. Hightower also fumbled once last week which may have been due to the thumb injury so if your league penalizes you for fumbles, Hightower should be downgraded even less than in normal leagues. He’s a borderline start in PPR leagues and deep leagues and nothing else.

QB Matt Ryan- Atlanta

He hasn’t practiced all week because of turf toe, so he likely won’t play, but his coaching staff says there is a chance he still does play. I wouldn’t get too excited if he does play because turf toe is a very debilitating injury, even for a quarterback whose feet are not his most important body part, and Ryan didn’t even have a very good game against the Saints secondary a few weeks ago when he was healthy, so I doubt he does much against them this time around if he plays hurt.

12/13/09: Out

RB Michael Turner- Atlanta

Hasn’t practiced all week so there’s a good chance that he doesn’t play against the Saints and even if he does, it would be in a limited role most likely. Check back here tomorrow for the final decision as I’ll know more then.

12/13/09: Inactive

WR Roddy White- Atlanta

Questionable with a knee injury, but expected to play through it as he has in past weeks. The injury hasn’t really been slowing him down on the field and White actually had a season high in catches last week with Chris Redman at quarterback.

12/13/09: Active, get him in your lineup

RB Jonathan Stewart- Carolina

Stewart should be good to go through an achilles injury this week once again and could be in line for some more carries, even with DeAngelo Williams likely back from injury, and even if he isn’t, the Panthers are going to run enough with Jake Delhomme out for Stewart to get enough carries to be fantasy relevant against the Patriots.

RB DeAngelo Williams- Carolina

Practiced all week and is set to retake his starting job against an average Patriots run defense. The only issue could be Jonathan Stewart, who had a big week against the Buccaneers in his absence last week, but even if Stewart does get more than his usual share of the carries, the Panthers will likely run enough for Williams to get his carries as well.

QB Jake Delhomme- Carolina

Delhomme won’t play this week against the Patriots, not like you should have been considering start Jake Turnovers Delhomme against the opportunistic Patriots secondary, or against any secondary for that matter.

WR Devin Hester- Chicago

Hasn’t practiced this week with a calf injury and isn’t expected to play this week.

12/13/09: Inactive.

WR Chad Ochocinco- Cincinnati

Ochocinco was a late addition to the injury report after being limited by a knee injury in Friday’s practice. This may surprise you considering how loud everything about this player is, but Ochocinco has quietly been one of the most durable players in the NFL missing only 3 games since his rookie year in 2001. He should be out there against a Vikings’ team that hasn’t exactly been shutting down #1 receiver over the past few weeks, but check back here tomorrow just to be sure.

QB Matt Stafford- Detroit

The Lions have finally realized that they are 2-10 and probably should be resting the talented young Matt Stafford, who has a separated non-throwing shoulder. Stafford won’t play this week and will be given rest, but is expected to start next week. Stafford’s a tough guy, but there’s nothing wrong with a little rest when you’re hurt and your team is 2-10

TE Jermichael Finley- Green Bay

He was limited in two days of practice this week, but returned on Friday and is probable against Chicago, who doesn’t exactly bottle up opposing tight ends. Finley has huge upside, but also some downside, but if he’s your best tight end option, roll with him.

QB Matt Schaub- Houston

Dislocated his left non-throwing shoulder this week and is expected to play with a brace on it. However, one big shot to that side of his body and he could be done for the game so there is that to worry about if you choose to start him.

RB Steve Slaton- Houston

His neck injury was causing numbness down into his hand, possibly contributing to his fumbling problem, so the Texans have shut Slaton down for the season. Drop him in all non-keeper leagues and pick up Chris Brown and Ryan Moats, who figure to split the carries around 60-40, in favor of Brown, in Slaton’s absence.

QB Peyton Manning- Indianapolis

I still find it funny that the Colts are listing Manning as probable with a glute injury when everyone knows he’s going to play anyway, but if the Colts get a big lead against the Broncos, they could sit Manning to rest him so you have to worry about that a little. However, the Broncos are actually a formidable opponent so I don’t think the Colts will get that comfortable.

WR Reggie Wayne- Indianapolis

Basically take that injury report from Peyton Manning and substitute the word Wayne for Manning and foot for glute. He’s going to play, but there’s a small risk he gets benched for rest. As long as he’s Peyton Manning’s #1 option, I want him in my lineup.

RB Maurice Jones Drew- Jacksonville

As he has been in the past few weeks, Mojo Drew is listed as probable with a knee injury and has missed Wednesday’s practice, but no others. The knee injury hasn’t been limiting him on the field and he will play so he’s a good RB1 again this week against the Jason Ferguson less Miami Dolphins.

WR Mike Sims Walker- Jacksonville

In addition to his knee injury, Sims Walker has sustained a quad injury that forced him out of practice this week. He is listed as doubtful, so while there is a chance he plays, I doubt he will. If even he does play, he’ll be really limited. I’d look elsewhere this week.

12/13/09: A surprise active, you might want to look elsewhere though as he’s not expected to be 100% and he hasn’t been playing well lately.

WR Percy Harvin- Minnesota

An illness has kept him out of practice all week but it shouldn’t keep Percy Harvin and his ill football ability (see what I did there) off the field this week. He’s faced sickness and migraines before this season and played through them.

12/13/09: I guess he was a little too ill for his own good. Harvin is inactive.

WR Bernard Berrian- Minnesota

Limited by the same hamstring injury that has been limiting him all season, those things don’t go away quickly. He is expected to play against Cincinnati despite not going through a full practice all week, but he has only gone for 50 yards three times this season so you’re really counting on a touchdown out of him if you start him and with Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin ahead of him on the depth chart, he won’t get a ton of endzone looks at 5-11.

TE Visanthe Shiancoe- Minnesota

A rib cage injury has prevented him from participating in a full practice all week, but he is expected to play. However, this is a guy who needs to get into the endzone to do anything for you, plus one hit to the ribcage and he could be done for the game, so you’re taking a risk by starting him.

RB Adrian Peterson- Minnesota

He should play through a foot and ankle injury this week, but being limited in practice Friday after practicing Thursday is a bit of a concern, so check back here tomorrow for the latest just to be sure.

QB Tom Brady- New England

Very complicated situation here, Brady reportedly has a finger injury, either a broken finger or a bad bruise, based on some close up footage of his finger during last week’s game against the Dolphins in which he was 6 for 15 in the second half. However, he has missed practice twice this week, once because of the birth of his son, and once again because of some rib injuries, which he apparently sustained last week against the Dolphins. To help his fantasy owners out, he gave this statement about his status for this week “I hope so…I always hope I’m going to be fine. Don’t worry about me.” Thanks Tom…that helps. And to make matters worse, his coach is Bill Belicheck who is known for always making up injuries to mess with people. I expect Brady to be in the lineup this week because he’s a tough guy and I think he deserves a fantasy start, but there is the possibility that Belicheck pulls him from the game midway if the game becomes a blowout.

12/13/09: Starting as expected, but how well and how much he plays could effect each other. If he plays well and gets out to a big lead, they could sit him and rest him. If he doesn’t play well, he’ll likely play the whole game.

RB Pierre Thomas/RB Mike Bell/RB Reggie Bush- New Orleans

All should play and all are listed as probable. Thomas is the only one I’d call a strong fantasy start at this point.

12/13/09: Bell is inactive, the rest are active

RB Ahmad Bradshaw- NY Giants

Limited again in practice this week by two bad ankles and a bad foot, but is probable and is expected to play against the Eagles this week. However, he really hasn’t done anything fantasy relevant since he sustained his injuries and Philly stuff the run well, so I wouldn’t start him this week.

RB Brian Westbrook- Philadelphia

Won’t play this week because of a concussion. I doubt he plays in any meaningful way for the rest of the regular season so I’d drop him in all non-keeper leagues.

WR DeSean Jackson- Philadelphia

Expected to play after sustaining a concussion two weeks ago.

QB Matt Hasselbeck- Seattle

His shoulder looked to be a bit of a concern when he missed practice on Wednesday, but he’s been fine the rest of the week and is expected to start against the Texans. He hasn’t been great lately though so you might want to start a better option.

WR Donnie Avery- St. Louis

Avery has been plagued by injuries all season this year and now he has a shoulder injury to deal with. He hasn’t been effective all year, with a few small exceptions so I wouldn’t start him this week against Cortland Finnegan, one of the best shutdown corners in the league.

RB Steven Jackson- St. Louis

Back spasms have kept him out of practice once again this week, but they won’t keep him off the field. He hasn’t practiced in either of the last 2 weeks and has still managed to put up 237 all purpose yards and a touchdown so feel secure in rolling with him this week.

TE Kellen Winslow- Tampa Bay

As has been the case in recent weeks, Winslow will play through a knee injury and is a good start as a tight end this week.

RB Chris Johnson- Tennessee

A knee injury limited him some in practice this week, but a full practice on Friday is a very good sign and he should be in the lineup against a Rams’ defense that doesn’t know how to tackle. Put him in your lineup and watch your points go up.

QB Vince Young- Tennessee

Vince Young hurt his knee in practice on Thursday and didn’t practice on Friday, but he says he will play on Sunday. More realistically he should be a game time decision, which is bad because he plays in the 2nd set of games this week. You want another option available during that set of games if you start him, otherwise, don’t start him. Even against the Rams, its not worth the risk.

RB Clinton Portis- Washington

Out for the year with a concussion. With Ladell Betts also done for the year, Quinton Ganther has been named the Redskins starting running back over Rock Cartwright and will be a good fantasy pickup for the rest of the season.

12/12/09

 

 

A look at the garbage that could be sitting on your fantasy football roster so you can properly dispose of it.

RB Steve Slaton- Houston

Owned in 99.9% of all leagues (ESPN)

Placed on injured reserve because of a neck injury. Drop in all non-keeper leagues.

RB Clinton Portis- Washington

Owned in 86.4% of all leagues (ESPN)

Placed on injured reserve because of a concussion. Drop in all non-keeper leagues.

RB Brian Westbrook- Philadelphia

Owned in 85.4% of all leagues (ESPN)

Not officially on IR yet, but I doubt the Eagles put him in any sort of meaningful role at any point in this regular season because of his concussions.

RB Larry Johnson- Cincinnati

Owned in 68.0% of all leagues (ESPN)

Nothing more than an insurance policy for Cedric Benson as shown by his 2 carries last week. Unless Benson gets hurt again, he’s not worth anything in fantasy circles.

RB Willie Parker- Pittsburgh

Owned in 64.0% of all leagues (ESPN)

Hasn’t had more than 3 points since week 3 and is nothing more than an insurance policy for Rashard Mendenhall.

RB Donald Brown- Indianapolis

Owned in 63.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

Hasn’t had a touchdown, more than 6 carries or more than 5 fantasy point since week 4. The Colts running game starts and ends with Joseph Addai. He’s a decent keeper though in keeper leagues based on Addai’s injury history.

RB Ronnie Brown- Miami

Owned in 61.8% of all leagues (ESPN)

On IR as he has been for weeks. Not sure why he’s still owned in any non-keeper league.

RB Jamal Lewis- Cleveland

Owned in 54.4% of all leagues (ESPN)

Concussions have ended his season and likely his career. He’s not worth a roster spot in any leagues, keeper or non-keeper.

WR Patrick Crayton- Dallas

Owned in 54.2% of all leagues (ESPN)

Roy Williams and Miles Austin have stepped up in Dallas as the top two receivers so Crayton is stuck at third string. That’s not enough for fantasy purposes.

RB Darren McFadden- Oakland

Owned in 52.8% of all leagues (ESPN)

Justin Fargas is still the main back in Oakland, despite the fact that McFadden has returned from injury. Whether it be injuries or lack of blocking or lack of NFL size or translatable NFL skills, McFadden might be the next in the long line of Oakland busts this decade.

RB LenDale White- Tennessee

Owned in 51.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

Hasn’t gotten more than 4 carries or 13 yards in a game since week 8. This is all the Chris Johnson show on the ground for the Titans. He has one touchdown on a goal line try in that span, but he’s not even getting those anymore.

WR Eddie Royal- Denver

Owned in 50.2% of all leagues (ESPN)

Certainly liked Jay Cutler a lot more than Kyle Orton, Royal has only 314 yards and no touchdowns this season, but 164 of those yards game in 2 games so there’s major downside for him.

12/9/09

 

 

RB Jerome Harrison- Cleveland

Available in 93.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

With Jamal Lewis in IR, Jerome Harrison and not Chris Jennings appears to be the lead back for the Browns. He had 10 carries last week, but only rushed for 35 yards against a tough San Diego defense, but he caught for 62 more and 2 touchdowns. He has a dreadful matchup against the Steelers this week, but after that he gets Kansas City and Oakland.

QB Vince Young- Tennessee

Available in 74.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

He finally lost last week, but looked decent doing it against a good Indianapolis pass defense. Up next are the Rams and the Dolphins so he could be a good starter for you as the fantasy playoffs roll around. He is seemingly on this list every week and will continue to be until more people pick him up. Since taking the starting job he’s completing 62% of his passes, throwing for 200 yards a game, has thrown for 6 touchdowns to 2 picks, and also has 170 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

RB Justin Fargas- Oakland

Available in 90.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

Yeah, he bores me too and he isn’t very good averaging 3.9 YPC, although that might have something to do with the Raiders bad offensive line. However, he’s a starting running back in the NFL and still available in 90% of all leagues. Except what you’ve been getting from him lately 15 carries, 60 yards, with a possibility to do more if he gets into the end zone.

WR Kenny Britt- Tennessee

Available in 85.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

Justin Gage is still not in a position to take anything away from him, so Britt remains Vince Young’s favorite target, especially near the endzone. After not getting into the endzone for the first ten weeks of his career, the 6-4 Britt has done in it each of the last 3 weeks and has 216 yards in that span as well.

QB Alex Smith- San Francisco

Available in 70.2% of all leagues (ESPN)

Growing more and more comfortable as the Niners use more and more spread offense, Smith has thrown for 7 touchdowns to 1 pick over the last 3 weeks, and is averaging over 250 yards over that period of time. He gets a weak Arizona pass defense this week, before a tough matchup with the Eagles, followed by a Detroit pass defense that gave up 4 touchdowns to Brady Quinn.

QB Chad Henne- Miami

Available in 95.6% of all leagues (ESPN)

Henne finally got the chance to do something with the ball last week with Ronnie Brown out and Tom Brady as the opposing quarterback and he threw for 335 yards and 2 touchdowns and only one pick. He may have earned more confidence from his coach going forward and they might be throwing more in the future with Brown still out. Jacksonville this week gives up the 6th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks so if you need a one week filler, Henne could be your guy.

TE Jermichael Finley- Green Bay

Available in 84.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

He has a clear downside, but he has five weeks of 50 or more yards and caught two touchdowns last week so the upside is their too. He faces the Bears this week and they haven’t exactly bottled up opposing tight ends.

TE Fred Davis- Washington

Available in 95.0% of all leagues (ESPN)

He has a touchdown in each of his last 2 weeks and has 274 yards in 6 weeks since Chris Cooley went down with an injury. He does have 2 weeks of 2 points in that span, but the upside is there.

TE Bo Sciafe- Tennessee

Available in 93.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

He has beaten has early season injuries and is putting up good numbers again in the Titans tight end friendly offense as the #1 tight end. This is a pro bowler from a year ago who has 17 fantasy points in the last 2 weeks so he has some upside.

WR Davone Bess- Miami

Available in 96.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

Quietly leading the Dolphins conservative offense with 59 catches and 548 yards and just put up 10 and 117 and his first touchdown of the year last week. He plays Jacksonville this week who can’t stop the pass and then Tennessee and Houston who aren’t much better against the pass.

WR Devin Thomas- Washington

Available in 99.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

The talented young wide receiver finally had a break out game with 100 yards on 7 catches and 2 touchdowns and quietly had 4 games of 33 yards or more in his previous 5 before that so we have to take some notice of the 2008 2nd round pick. He faces Oakland this week against whom all receivers not guarded by Nmandi Ashmouga have good games so there’s some possible WR3 upside in deep leagues. He’s mostly just a guy to take a flier on, especially in keeper leagues.

QB Bruce Gradkowski- Oakland

Available in 99.6% of all leagues (ESPN)

Don’t get too crazy now, there’s a reason why he’s near the bottom of this list. Despite his 308 yards 3 touchdown 0 interception outburst against the Steelers, I still don’t think he’s a fantasy starter capable quarterback, but he faces an extremely weak Cleveland defense week 16 and could be a good start that game. He does have some talent in the receiving corps, Zach Miller, Louis Murphy, Chaz Schilens, Darrius Heyward Bey (er, never mind that last one). Plus, if you have your league championship week 16 and start Bruce Gradkowski against the Browns and win, you get to brag about winning your fantasy league with Bruce Gradkowski as your starting quarterback.

TE Evan Moore- Cleveland

Available in 100% of all leagues (ESPN)

Yeah, I know really reaching, but in his first start since being called up from the practice squad, Moore had 80 yards against the Chargers. The Browns have a decent schedule upcoming with games against the Raiders and Chiefs. He may just be the Cleveland starting tight end by default but he reminds me of Brent Celek who came out of nowhere last season for the Eagles to be a solid fantasy weapon. Still, he’s a Brown and Brady Quinn is his quarterback so you can’t get too excited. Just remember the name.

12/9/09

 

 

QB Kurt Warner- Arizona

Warner and Leinart have been splitting first team reps all week. Warner says that because of the concussion he still has some sensitivity to light, so I would not be too hopeful for him starting on Sunday. His game doesn’t kick off until Sunday Night, so if you do start him, you want to have a backup quarterback who starts later than that at the ready, otherwise you may have to pick up Matt Leinart and start him against the Vikings just to get some points out of the position. Unless your backup quarterback is complete crap and you can’t get a solid waiver pickup like Vince Young or Alex Smith, I wouldn’t start Warner unless I owned someone like Joe Flacco, who plays Monday, as my backup.

12/6/09: Outlook is a little better this morning, but he’s not guarantee so he’s still a risk.

RB Tim Hightower- Arizona

Hightower has been limited by a thumb injury all week in practice, but is expected to play despite the questionable label. His thumb injury won’t really hurt his production on the ground, but going against the Williams Wall will. He’s still a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield, unless his thumb inhibits his ability to catch the ball. He’s not a strong start this week.

QB Matt Ryan- Atlanta

Not going to play.

WR Roddy White- Atlanta

White has been limited all week with a knee injury, but he’s played through the injury before in recent weeks and been fine, so I’d still start him this week, though he’s not as much of a strong start with Chris Redman at quarterback as opposed to Matt Ryan.

12/6/09: Will Play.

RB Michael Turner- Atlanta

He’s listed as questionable after reinjuring his ankle last week, but he didn’t practice much if at all this week and NFL.com is reporting that he’s not likely to play. Jason Snelling and Jerious Norwood will split carries in Turner’s absence, but they will do it against a strong Philadelphia run defense so I don’t love either of those guys’ fantasy prospects this week either, especially since I don’t know exactly how the carries will be divided up between the two.

12/6/09: Out as expected

RB Jonathan Stewart- Carolina

Just like every week, he will play through his achilles injury. He is a borderline start against a bad Tampa Bay run defense who gets upgraded to a solid RB2 if DeAngelo Williams, who hasn’t practiced all week, doesn’t play.

RB DeAngelo Williams- Carolina

His coach says he’ll play despite a questionable label and not practicing all week with a sore ankle. However, how much he plays and the final decision to start him won’t be made until tomorrow morning, so check back here. You don’t want to get 0 points out of one of your running back slots.

12/6/09: Out against Tampa. Jonathan Stewart makes a great start for you.

RB Cedric Benson- Cincinnati

He has practiced all week after missing the last two weeks and a good portion of the week before that with a hip injury. Bernard Scott hasn’t practiced all week and won’t play so the only real threat to take away carries is Larry Johnson who broke the century mark last week for the first time this season. I think that Benson will get the majority of the carries, but Johnson will be in the mix as well. Benson faces Detroit this week so I see no reason why he shouldn’t be in your lineup.

RB Jamal Lewis- Cleveland

Done for the year. I wonder how he’s celebrating. Chris Jennings is the likely candidate to get carries in his absence, but the Browns suck and Jennings hasn’t ran well this season in limited action. Don’t get too excited yet.

TE Jason Witten- Dallas

He’s practiced fine all week and his foot injury didn’t seem to inhibit him at all last week against Oakland. Start him.

QB Tony Romo- Dallas

Good to go this week against the Giants. Let’s hope no one shows him a calendar.

WR Eddie Royal- Denver

He’ll play through a thigh injury, but his production has been really disappointing this year in his 2nd season. 164 of his 282 yards have come in two games, he’s yet to score a receiving touchdowns, and he didn’t have a catch last week. There’s serious downside to this player and I don’t even think he should be on any rosters. For some reason he’s still owned in 50% of ESPN leagues.

QB Matt Stafford- Detroit

Stafford has practiced fine this week and is expected to play against the Bengals. In fact, even if he didn’t practice fine, I’d still expect him to be out. He’s showing a lot of toughness as a rookie for a 2-9 team. Cincinnati’s not the best matchup for him though.

WR Calvin Johnson- Detroit

He’s practiced fine this week thanks to an extra rest between the Thanksgiving game and this Sunday’s game. He’ll be in the lineup with Matt Stafford throwing to him, so he’s a good start for you.

RB Ryan Grant- Green Bay

Grant has had some trouble with his shoulder this week in practice, but he played through it on Thanksgiving and he’ll have had a 11 day rest between games because he plays on Monday and last played on Thanksgiving, so I expect him out there. He’s listed as probable.

RB Steve Slaton- Houston

His neck and shoulder injury is causing numbness in his hand and while he’s optimistic about playing and he has practiced, though on a limited basis, this week, he’s not expected to play. He will likely be a game time decision, but there’s less than a 50% chance he plays. Chris Brown would be the feature back in his absence assuming Gary Kubiak doesn’t call some random guy from the practice squad up to start.

12/6/09: Out, Chris Brown’s stock should get a boost.

QB Peyton Manning- Indianapolis

Probable with a glute injury. Peyton Manning has never let anything force him to miss a game in his entire career, so he certainly won’t let a sore butt force him to miss a game for the undefeated Colts.

WR Reggie Wayne- Indianapolis

Wayne is probable with a foot injury, but he has practiced all week and hasn’t missed a game since his rookie year, 2001. He may have been a little limited last week by the foot as he only had 19 yards, though he bailed out fantasy owners with a touchdown. However, he is facing Tennessee this week and they give up a lot of points to opposing fantasy receivers.

RB Joseph Addai- Indianapolis

Practiced all week and should be good to go against the Titans.

WR Mike Sims-Walker- Jacksonville

Limited on Wednesday with a knee injury, as he was last week, but like last week, he practiced the rest of the week without problems. He has a home game this week and his stats are much better at home than on the road where he had 4 fantasy points last week.

WR Maurice Jones Drew- Jacksonville

A bit of a scare for his owners when he missed practiced Wednesday, but he’s been fine the rest of the week, so feel free to roll with him.

RB Kolby Smith- Kansas City

He won’t play this week with an ankle injury and could be done for the season. Chiefs fans and Jamaal Charles owners alike can breathe a sigh of relief.

RB Adrian Peterson- Minnesota

Good to go.

WR Bernard Berrian- Minnesota

He practiced the full week for the first time in months. He had one of his best games of the season last week with 74 yards, but he’s still behind Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice for targets. Start at your own risk.

TE Visanthe Shiancoe- Minnesota

He’s been limited in practice every day this week and should be a game time decision for Sunday night’s game. You probably want to look elsewhere this week.

RB Sammy Morris- New England

He was limited in practice again this week. He returned to the lineup last week and got 5 carries, but don’t even think about starting him until he does something. Laurence Maroney is clearly the feature back in New England right now.

WR Lance Moore- New Orleans

Won’t play. It’s not like the Saints need him anyway.

TE Jeremy Shockey- New Orleans

Limited in practice for the first two days this week, but practiced fully on Friday and is listed as probable. Should be good to go this week.

RB Mike Bell- New Orleans

Limited all week with neck and knee injuries, Bell is still probable and expected to play this week. However, it’s not clear how much because the New Orleans backfield right now is pretty banged up. Check back tomorrow.

RB Pierre Thomas- New Orleans

Limited earlier in the week, but practiced Friday with a wrist injury and should be good to play against Washington.

RB Reggie Bush- New Orleans

His return isn’t looking hopeful right now. He was limited all week after sitting out the last two weeks and is a game time decision. Check back tomorrow.

12/6/09: A bit of a surprise active, but probably won’t play a ton so I wouldn’t start him.

QB Eli Manning- NY Giants

He has some pain in his foot, but he’s a tough player won’t let that stop him. His numbers have been done though since he sustained the injury so start him at your own risk.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw- NY Giants

He missed two days of practice this week with two bad ankle and a bad foot, but practiced both Friday and some on Saturday and despite his questionable label, seems to be on track to play for the Giants. He’s still a game time decision and you should check back tomorrow, but I’d say it’s more than 50-50 that he plays.

RB Justin Fargas- Oakland

Good to go.

TE Brent Celek- Philadelphia

Good to go.

WR DeSean Jackson- Philadelphia

Ruled out with a concussion. Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant will get extra targets in Jackson’s absence against a weak and injured Atlanta pass defense. Both are startable.

QB Ben Roethlisberger- Pittsburgh

Will play.

RB Julius Jones/RB Justin Forsett- Seattle

Jones practiced fine all week with a bruised lung and is set to regain his starting job from Justin Forsett who ran well in Jones’ absence. Forsett tweaked his quad in practice Friday and is listed as questionable, but would likely not have been a factor any way.

RB Steven Jackson- St. Louis

He hasn’t practiced all week with a back injury, but he didn’t practice last week either and still managed 116 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. He’s a game time decision, but I like his chances. Check back here tomorrow for the final verdict.

12/6/09: Will start.

TE Kellen Winslow- Tampa Bay

Limited earlier in the week, but returned later and is expected to play.

WR Justin Gage- Tennessee

Returned to practice for the first time in a month this week, but was limited all week and is listed as questionable. I doubt he plays, but even if he does, it will be in limited action because of his back injury and the emergence of rookie Kenny Britt in his absence.

RB Clinton Portis- Washington

Out.

12/5/09

 

WR Kenny Britt- Tennessee

Available in 91.9% of all leagues (ESPN)

Since Britt took over for the injured Justin Gage, who might be done for the season, Britt has been Vince Young’s favorite target with 13 receptions, 225 yards, and 2 touchdowns in the last 3 weeks. He’s only a rookie and he’s getting better every week and he has a pretty easy schedule coming up after he plays the Colts this week with St. Louis week 14 and Miami week 15.

RB Justin Fargas- Oakland

Available in 88.9% of all leagues (ESPN)

Even with McFadden back in Oakland, Fargas has been leading the Raiders’ three headed running back committee in yards in each of the last three weeks. He should continue to lead the Raiders in rushing down the stretch and get some goal line looks. He’s not flashy, but he’s a solid player who can get you 4-5 points at least per week and possibly more if he scores.

QB Vince Young- Tennessee

Available in 85.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

Who is this guy? He’s certainly not the train wreck he was last year and he might not even be the solid game manager we thought he was in the Titans first 4 wins. Last week against the Cardinals, he looked like a solid franchise quarterback with 387 yards a touchdown and no picks. He faces St. Louis week 14 and Miami week 15 so he has value down the stretch.

WR Jason Avant- Philadelphia

Available in 98.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

He’s been putting up decent numbers as the 3rd option in Philly good passing game, but last week DeSean Jackson went down with a concussion and Avant had a huge game with 94 yards. He had 156 yards a few weeks ago, so you know he has upside. The Eagles are likely to sit Jackson with his concussion after they made the mistake of sending Brian Westbrook out there with a concussion and possibly ending his career. Jackson is too valuable to this team’s future. If Jackson indeed sits, Avant will start against a weak Atlanta secondary and could have a startable week this week.

RB Chris Brown- Houston

Available in 98.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

Gary Kubiak can’t seem to make up his mind about his backfield, but Brown has been getting some good carries lately for the Texans, especially near the goal line. He has two straight weeks of 11 carries and scored a touchdown last week. If he continues to get work, as he should, he’ll be worth a start depending on the matchup. He faces 4 mediocre run defenses in the next four weeks with Jacksonville, Seattle, St. Louis, and Miami.

QB Alex Smith- San Francisco

Available in 82.2% of all leagues (ESPN)

Smith has put up 1267 yards, 11 touchdowns, and only 7 interceptions since taking over as for Shaun Hill week 6. He is getting better every week as the Niners go to more and more spread and he is a good start week 13 against Seattle, week 16 against Detroit, and week 17 against St. Louis and possibly week 14 against Arizona.

QB Chris Redman- Atlanta

Available in 100.0% of all leagues (ESPN)

Redman took over for Matt Ryan last week after Ryan got hurt and led his team to a victory by going 23 for 41 for 243 yards 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. I know that was against the Bucs, but if you need a starter this week, for whatever reason, you could consider Redman, who has shown in the past that he is the type of solid quarterback that he can count on, against the Eagles.

WR Robert Meachem- New Orleans

Available in 72.8% of all leagues (ESPN)

He has caught 5 touchdowns in the last 4 weeks for the explosive Saints offense so I’d call that a trend and one that you’d want to get in on if you can. He does have 2 weeks in the last 4 of 60 yards of more, but also two clunkers in terms of yards. He’s not my favorite option, but in deeper leagues, he could be worth it, though there is downside if he doesn’t score. However, with the way Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense is moving right now, he is likely to score again.

WR Malcolm Floyd- San Diego

Available in 96.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

Not the flashiest guy, but he has 168 yards over the past three weeks and is solidified as a starter for the Chargers high octane passing attack. He does face Cleveland this week. He’s nothing special, but worth a bench spot in deep leagues.

TE Fred Davis- Washington

Available in 96.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

He has three weeks of 5 or more points in the last five since taking over for Chris Cooley who is done for the season. Not my favorite pickup, but he’s worth a shot if you need a tight end. You can do a lot worse, if you were someone who lost Cooley, Owen Daniels, or Brandon Pettigrew to injury.

-12/1/09

 

 

For Sunday/Monday’s game. Check back tomorrow for more updates.

QB Kurt Warner- Arizona

Warner has a minor concussion, but practiced all week and said he felt better on Friday than he had all week so even though he’s listed as questionable, I fully expect him to be in the lineup.

11/29/09: Woke up with a bad headache Sunday and is now a game time decision. He doesn’t play until the 2nd wave of games so unless you have another quarterback whose game also kicks off then, or you can easily pick one up, you might want to bench Warner to be safe.

WR Steve Breaston- Arizona

Breaston was limited with a knee injury all week in practice and is listed as probable. This looks familiar, oh wait, that’s because it’s the same exact thing every week and he always plays. Use him as you’ve been using him all year.

WR Roddy White- Atlanta

White went through a full week of practice for the first time in a couple of weeks so we can assume that he’s knee is close to 100% again. He needs to be in your lineup.

RB Michael Turner- Atlanta

He’s been limited all week in practice with that high ankle sprain and is going to be a game time decision. Check back tomorrow morning for updates on whether or not he will play, how much he will play, and whether or not you should start him and/or backup Jason Snelling against a weak Tampa Bay defense.

11/29/09: Active versus Tampa and should start. You should start him as well. Get Jason Snelling on your bench.

TE Todd Heap- Baltimore

He had two full days of practice this week despite a chest injury. Play him as you normally would.

RB Marshawn Lynch- Buffalo

Sadly for Fred Jackson owners, it looks like Lynch is going to play. After a bleak start to the week, Lynch has been able to practice through his shoulder injury and should be able to get his normal work load unless he reinjures his shoulder and has to leave the game.

RB Jonathan Stewart- Carolina

He was given Wednesday off from practice because of his achilles injury which is nothing new, but the fact that he is listed as questionable rather than probably as he normally is raises some concerns. I’m not too concerned though. He should be in the lineup and given his normal workload, 10-15 carries.

11/29/09: Yep, no need to worry. He’s active and I fully believe he’ll get his normal workload.

RB Cedric Benson- Cincinnati

Marvin Lewis seems confident that Benson will play this week, but how much he will play is not known yet. I’ll have some more updates on Benson tomorrow morning and I’ll tell you whether he and/or backup Bernard Scott should be in your starting lineup this week.

11/29/09: He won’t play. Bernard Scott makes another nice start against the lowly Browns.

WR Laveranues Coles- Cincinnati

He missed two days of practice with a sore chest this week and was limited Friday in practice. He’s listed as questionable, but I wouldn’t really count on him being in the lineup. I’ll update you on his status tomorrow because Cincinnati is in the first wave of games. If he missed the game, Andre Caldwell could be worth a start in deeper leagues against the Browns.

11/29/09: He’ll play, but its unknown how much. Either way, I dont think Andre Caldwell is worth a start for you, but Coles could be worth the risk.

RB Jamal Lewis- Cleveland

Lewis has been limited in practice for the last two weeks with an “ankle” injury. More likely he just doesn’t want to practice. Lewis has already retired this season and criticized Mangini for making them practice so much. Cincinnati has a good defense and Chris Jennings could cut into his carries so even if he plays, Lewis is probably not a good fantasy play this week.

RB Steve Slaton- Houston

He missed Wednesday with a shoulder injury, but practiced fine the rest of the week. The bigger concern with him is how much he’ll play. Gary Kubiak seems to just randomly pick names out of a hat for who should get how many carries so Ryan Moats, Steve Slaton, and Chris Brown could all see anywhere from 0-30 carries this week.

QB Peyton Manning- Indianapolis

A glute injury limited Manning some in practice this week, but if you think that Manning is going to let a sore butt prevent him from playing then you deserve to lose your fantasy league. Manning hasn’t missed a game in his career.

RB Joseph Addai- Indianapolis

He practiced fully all week, but is still listed as probable with a knee injury. I’m sure he’ll be out there.

WR Reggie Wayne- Indianapolis

Wayne is almost as tough and durable as Peyton Manning having not missed a game in over 7 years. He missed Wednesday’s practice with a foot injury, but he should play. He practiced fully the rest of the week.

RB Maurice Jones Drew- Jacksonville

He missed Wednesday, but practiced fine the rest of the week through a knee injury. He was upgraded from questionable to probable on Friday which is a good sign that he’ll play.

WR Mike Sims-Walker- Jacksonville

He missed Wednesday, but practiced fine the rest of the week through a knee injury. He was upgraded from questionable to probable on Friday which is a good sign that he’ll play. That’s odd…I remember writing that same thing before…

RB Kolby Smith- Kansas City

Kolby Smith and his 2.3 YPC is probable for this week’s game against San Diego. For some reason, when Kolby Smith is healthy, Haley uses him too much and the much more talented Jamaal Charles too little. Hopefully for Charles owners and Chiefs fans, that won’t be the case this week.

RB Ricky Williams- Miami

He practiced through a chest injury all week and should be able to play through it Sunday against a week Buffalo run defense.

RB Adrian Peterson- Minnesota

An ankle injury limited him in practice all week and he had an illness Friday that prevented him from practicing. He says that he should be fine to play this week, but check back here tomorrow to make sure.

11/29/09: It’s not official, but he’s expected to play according to ESPN.

WR Bernard Berrian- Minnesota

Berrian had his first full practice in over a month this week so I’m sure he’ll play, but with the emergence of Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin, I doubt he’ll do much. He hasn’t caught more than 3 passes in a week since week 4.

WR Percy Harvin- Minnesota

Harvin was added to the injury report yesterday with an illness, but he’s listed as probable and should be able to play tomorrow. He’s played through illness and injury before this year.

WR Randy Moss- New England

Belicheck gives him every Wednesday off and lists him as probable with an undisclosed injury every week. He’ll be in the lineup again this week. No need to worry.

RB Sammy Morris- New England

Morris was limited in practiced Friday with a knee injury, so I don’t think he’ll return this week. Maybe next week, but either way, wait until he gets his job back as starter before you put him in your fantasy lineup. He might not be a bad pickup right now though as people seem to have forgotten him/given up on him.

WR Lance Moore- New Orleans

He didn’t practice Friday, but he has not been ruled out for Monday’s game. Wait until he’s consistently in the lineup and producing before you even think about playing him.

RB Reggie Bush- New Orleans

He was limited this week after missing last week with a knee injury. He doesn’t play until Monday so it’s best to be safe on bench him.

QB Ben Roethlisberger- Pittsburgh

He won’t play this week for precautionary reasons after sustaining a concussion last week against the Chiefs. Dennis Dixon will get the start as backup Charlie Batch is also hurt. Dixon has thrown one pass in his NFL career. Don’t get too excited. Because of this surprise announcement, I updated my pick for the Pittsburgh/Baltimore game.

WR Vincent Jackson- San Diego

He missed practice on Wednesday with a sore rib cage, had some x-rays, and then was back out there Thursday. Unless he gets hit in the ribcage hard and has to leave the game, he should be fine to play this week.

RB Julius Jones- Seattle

He’s a game time decision with a bruised lung. Check back here tomorrow for updates as you’ll want whichever Seattle running back is starting this week, Jones or Justin Forsett, because he will face a weak St. Louis defense.

11/29/09: He’s inactive. Start Justin Forsett versus St. Louis.

RB Stephen Jackson- St. Louis

He hasn’t practiced all week with back spasm, but he has not been ruled out. It’s not looking good for him though. Samkon Gado and Kenneth Darby will get the carries if he can’t play. I’m not too excited about either of those two guys, mostly because I have no idea who the hell they are.

11/29/09: He will play and start for the Rams against a weak Seattle run defense.

WR Antonio Bryant- Tampa Bay

He is expected to play against the Falcons this week despite a knee injury, but he hasn’t done anything fantasy relevant all year.

TE Kellen Winslow- Tampa Bay

He was fine in practice this week and is listed as probable with a knee injury. Start him.

WR Justin Gage- Tennessee

He is out again with a back injury. He might be done for the year.

-11/28/09

The following are for Thanksgiving games only, the rest will be posted Saturday as normal

RB Marion Barber- Dallas

Barber still is listed on the injury report with a thumb injury even though it hasn’t caused him to miss any time. The hamstring injury that was sapping his explosiveness seems to be gone as he had 99 yards on 20 carries last week against the Redskins. Those 20 carries were also a season high. You want him in the lineup against the Raiders.

QB Tony Romo- Dallas

Romo has had a stiff back that has been limiting him some in practice this week but he’s expected to play. It may inhibit him some on long throws, but the Raiders don’t have a very good defense and even with how much he’s been struggling these past two weeks, you want him in your lineup.

TE Jason Witten- Dallas

Witten has a foot injury. He’s listed as questionable, but practiced today so I expect him in the lineup. However, check back here or on my Twitter account tomorrow for the latest. If he plays, you want him in your lineup.

11/26/09: Participated in an early morning practice and is expected to play.

11/26/09: ESPN is reporting that he will start against Oakland.

QB Kyle Orton- Denver

Orton played through an ankle injury last week and has practiced fully all week, but you don’t want him in your lineup. He really struggled after his ankle injury last year and he struggled last week as well. He doesn’t have a strong arm so he really needs good footwork and to have his feet right under him to have a good game and right now that’s not the case.

QB Matt Stafford- Detroit

He’s listed as doubtful with a shoulder injury. He’s a tough kid as he showed last week by throwing the winning touchdown despite grimacing in pain due to an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, but the Lions aren’t going to risk him this week on short rest on Thanksgiving. It’s not like the Lions are going anywhere this season anyway.

11/26/09: Will play despite separation of non-throwing shoulder. This kid has guts.

WR Calvin Johnson- Detroit

Johnson has injuries to his knee and his hand and is listed as questionable. However, he hasn’t practiced all week, the Lions don’t want to risk anything happening to him, and the associated press is saying that he’s unlikely to play, so this is not a 50-50 deal. Stay tuned for updates, but be prepared to go without him.

11/26/09: Active for the start of the game.

RB Kevin Smith- Detroit

Smith has a hip injury that has limited him in practice this week, but he’s listed as probable and is expected to play. However, he’s not very good, or at least his offensive line isn’t. He only managed 45 rushing yards against Cleveland last week and hasn’t gone over 20 carries since week 2. He’s doing a lot of work through the air, but he’s a risky start against a good Packers’ defense. Plus, he’s hurt and averaging 3.5 YPC this season only, so they might decide to give Maurice Morris more work this week. He also hasn’t scored on the ground since week 5. Start him at your own risk.

RB Ryan Grant- Green Bay

Grant suffered a neck stinger on the final drive last week, but hasn’t missed any practice. Go ahead and start him.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw/RB Brandon Jacobs- NY Giants

Bradshaw reinjured his left ankle last week and, as expected, won’t play this week. Brandon Jacobs, who hurt his right knee last week, was taking off of the injury report today and should get the bulk of the carries. Danny Ware could see some action behind Jacobs as could rookie Gartrell Johnson, but neither are fantasy relevant this week. Jacobs could have a huge week against a struggling Denver defense.

QB Eli Manning- NY Giants

His foot injury hasn’t caused him to miss any practice time and he is expected to play against a struggling Denver defense this week. He’s a decent start.

-11/25/09

 

RB Rock Cartwright- Washington

Available in 99.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

Clinton Portis has been ruled out of this week’s game against Philly and Ladell Betts tore his MCL last week and is done for the season likely. That leaves Cartwright to get the bulk of the carries in Washington. He hasn’t done much in his 8 year NFL career with only 181 career carries, but he is going to be getting the ball next week a lot and he catches passes well (45 career receptions for 406 yards). Plus he has an awesome name.

QB Vince Young- Tennessee

Available in 90.6% of all leagues (ESPN)

Not the ideal fantasy quarterback because he doesn’t throw for a ton of yards in Tennessee’s offense, but he’s showing maturity and he’s only thrown 1 pick in his 4 starts this season to go with 3 touchdowns and 623 yards. He also has 151 yards and a score on the ground and he has a ridiculously easy schedule to end the season. He faces a weak Arizona secondary, followed by a tough Colts defense, but then he plays St. Louis and Miami. He has a tough matchup week 16 against San Diego, but finishing things up against Seattle.

TE Jermichael Finley- Green Bay

Available in 91.0% of all leagues (ESPN)

He was one of my favorite pickups before he got hurt and when he came back I took a wait and see attitude. Well, I waited and I saw. Finley had 54 yards on 7 reception against the Niners and plays the Lions’ “defense” this week.

RB Chris Brown- Houston

Available in 98.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

Moats and Slaton keep fumbling so Brown led the team in carries last week with 11. He only had 36 yards, but the team suck with him and he is an end zone threat as well. They might stick with him throughout the season, but you’ll have to wait and see. Don’t start him yet.

WR Kenny Britt- Tennessee

Available in 92.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

Britt got into the end zone last week for the first time in his young career and is starting because of Justin Gage’s back injury. Gage has had some good seasons with Young at the helm so Britt, another tall wide out, could do the same.

WR Brandon Gibson- St. Louis

Available in 99.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

The Rams might have gotten a steal by getting this guy as a throw in from Philly. He looks like a legitimate #2 option down the road and right now is all the Rams have. He has 12 catches for 154 yards in 2 games, but he’s inexperienced and Kyle Boller is his quarterback so you can’t get too excited.

-11/24/09

 

WR Steve Breaston- Arizona

Limited in practice with a knee injury again, but that’s been the case all season and he’s still played. He’ll be out there against the Rams who don’t cover that well and, even if they get out to a big lead, the Cardinals have shown that they aren’t afraid to air it out. Breaston could be a decent play. His teammate Anquan Boldin will be out there as well as he was off the injury report this week for the first time this season.

RB Jerious Norwood/RB Michael Turner- Atlanta

Norwood (hip) has been ruled a long shot to play this week while Turner (ankle) appears to be a long shot after not practicing all week. It should be all Jason Snelling this week against the Giants.

WR Roddy White- Atlanta

He’s listed as a game time decision after being limited in practice all week, but that was the case last week and the week before and he still played. He’s Atlanta’s best receiver so they’ll do everything they can to get him out there in a must win game. He had 98 yards against tough Carolina coverage last week despite the same ankle injury. Unless he reinjured it, it’s only getting stronger and you have nothing to worry about here.

TE Todd Heap- Baltimore

He is still experiencing major soreness in his chest after leaving last week’s game and is listed as a game time decision. You may want to look for other options here at this point because Heap has a history of injuries, but check back tomorrow on my twitter and I’ll have an update. If he does play, he should be a decent start.

RB Cedric Benson- Cincinnati

Benson hasn’t practiced all week with a hip injury and is listed as doubtful, but he says he’s a game time decision, which I don’t really believe. The Bengals shouldn’t really need him against the Raiders so there’s no need to rush him back out there no matter how badly he wants to play. Bernard Scott will be the lead back this week against a weak Oakland run defense so if you’re looking for someone good off waivers, he’s your guy.

WR Laveranues Coles- Cincinnati

His head injury is minor and he practiced on Friday. He has been really playing well over the past few weeks so he’s worth a start, especially if the Raiders focus on covering Chad Ochocinco by sticking Nmandi Ashmouga on him.

RB Jamal Lewis- Cleveland

He’s been limited all week in practice with an ankle injury and his midseason announcement of his retirement shows that he doesn’t really care. He’s been playing awful all season, especially last week, and is yet to get into the end zone. He has an easy matchup against Detroit this week, but I don’t trust him. All he has done this season is complain about practice, retire, get hurt, and average 3.6 YPC with no touchdowns.

RB Marion Barber- Dallas

He’s listed as probable with a thumb injury like he has been the last few weeks, but he should be listed as hamstring, sapping explosiveness and causing a reduction in carries. He finally had a good week in terms of YPC last week, but he only got 5 carries. He’s in a 3 way running back share right now and is likely still experiencing the same side effects from his earlier hamstring injury that sapped his explosiveness for most of the season. I wouldn’t start him.

QB Kyle Orton- Denver

He hasn’t practiced all week due to an ankle injury, but has not been completely ruled out of this week’s huge game against the Chargers. However, even if he does play, it will be without his feet completely set under him, which will hurt him. He doesn’t have a strong arm, so it’s all about footwork on his short throws for him and the ankle injury will inhibit that. He played poorly last season after an ankle injury for that reason and he’s playing a defense that has faced him before and he wasn’t playing that well before the injury. Don’t start him.

RB Corell Buckhalter- Denver

He’s expected to play through his knee injury, but he hasn’t gotten that much work these past few weeks so I’m not even sure I want him on my roster unless Moreno gets hurt or benched.

WR Brandon Marshall- Denver

He has a sore neck and back, has for awhile, but that hasn’t stopped him from going crazy the past two weeks with 246 yards. If he has a bad week, it’ll be because of bad quarterback play (either Chris Simms or a hurting Kyle Orton), not because of any injuries of his own.

TE Jermichael Finley- Green Bay

After practicing yesterday, Finley was upgraded to probable from questionable, a very good sign. Wait for him to do something first after missing two games with injury, but the upside is there as he showed before he got hurt.

WR Pierre Garcon- Indianapolis

He’s still listed as questionable, but practiced Thursday and Friday and should be out there this week, though I’m not sure how much. He does have 3 straight 50 yard weeks, so I might give him the benefit of the doubt, especially with Peyton Manning at quarterback who loves to spread it to all four of his receivers, Garcon, Austin Collie, Dallas Clark, and of course Reggie Wayne.

WR Dwayne Bowe- Kansas City

Suspended four weeks in violation of the league’s performance enhancing drugs policy.

RB Ronnie Brown- Miami

Placed on IR, drop him.

WR Bernard Berrian- Minnesota

He’s been limited in practice this week due to the same hamstring injury that has been hurting him all year. He never built up chemistry with Brett Favre in the preseason and he’s currently Favre’s 3rd option after Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. Throw tight end Visanthe Shiancoe in the mix and there aren’t a lot of targets left for Berrian. He hasn’t been more than 3 catches since week 4. I don’t know why he’s owned in 70% of all ESPN leagues.

RB Sammy Morris- New England

He’s a game time decision, but he hasn’t played in weeks, so there’s no need to rush him into your fantasy lineup until you see that he’s playing and getting a good share of the carries again.

WR Randy Moss- New England

Moss wasn’t at practice this Wednesday. Belicheck gives Moss every Wednesday off to mess with fantasy owners. Don’t be fooled.

RB Reggie Bush- New Orleans

Bush didn’t make the plane trip to Tampa Bay with the team. Wow, one week after Reggie Bush finally plays well, he gets hurt and doesn’t play! What a surprise!

WR Lance Moore- New Orleans

He won’t play this week. I have no idea why he’s still owned in 40% of ESPN leagues. He’s not doing anything for anyone.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw- NY Giants

Bradshaw no longer has to wear the protective boot on his foot while walking around which is a good sign that the explosiveness he had earlier this season could be back. He faces a weak Atlanta defense and if he gets the carries, he could be a decent flex. If you want to be on the safe side, wait until he snaps out of his funk before starting him, but I have confidence in him.

RB Brian Westbrook- Philadelphia

His entire career is in question after sustaining 2 concussions in about 3 or 4 weeks. He’s not going to play this week, but he could play later this season, but I wouldn’t count on it. He’s 30 years old right now and battling a ton of injuries, so he could hang them up this offseason, which is sad because he’s one of the great players of this decade.

TE Antonio Gates- San Diego

Took Wednesday off to rest his foot again this week, but is expected to be out there again this week. Start him.

RB Julius Jones- Seattle

Out, Justin Forsett will get the start against a tough Minnesota defense. Control your expectations for him this week.

TE Kellen Winslow- Tampa Bay

He was limited in practice Wednesday with a knee injury, but other than that he was fine this week. He’s been one of the few bright spots for the Bucs this season. Start him.

WR Antonio Bryant- Tampa Bay

He might actually play this week after missing the last two with injuries, but he’s been hurt all year and has yet to have a good fantasy week. I’m not even sure I want this guy on my roster.

RB Clinton Portis- Washington

Won’t play due to a concussion. Ladell Betts will get the start and is a nice fantasy play this week.

If a player isn’t listed, assume he will play and not be limited.

 

RB Ladell Betts- Washington

Available in 83.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

He rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries against a once stout looking Denver defense in place of Clinton Portis who had a concussion. Portis is reportedly still suffering from blurred vision and with the Redskins’ season all but over (3-6), they are going to air on the side of caution with Portis. Betts will likely start this week against Dallas.

RB Jason Snelling- Atlanta

Available in 99.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

Michael Turner has a high ankle sprain so Snelling, who rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries and also chipped in with 32 receiving yards, is likely, but not guaranteed to start this week against the Giants. The Giants are only a middle of the pack run stopping team, so Snelling could be a nice one week fix for you.

QB Vince Young- Tennessee

Available in 93.4% of all leagues (ESPN)

Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. I’m not saying start him, but if you need a QB2 with upside, go ahead and pick this guy up. He’s been 44 of 62 for 507 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception since taking over as a starter 3 weeks ago. He also has 78 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown and gets Miami and St. Louis during the first two weeks of the fantasy playoffs.

RB Justin Forsett- Seattle

Available in 98.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

Julius Jones has been ruled doubtful already for this week’s game with a bruised lung, which is a bad sign for him and a good sign for Forsett who had 149 all purpose yards and a touchdown on only 22 touches after taking over for Jones last week. The only problem, he plays Minnesota. However, if Jones misses more time, Forsett gets St. Louis week 12 and he also catches passes.

RB Bernard Scott- Cincinnati

Available in 99.2% of all leagues (ESPN)

Cedric Benson says he’ll play this week, but if he doesn’t then Scott is set to be the lead back against the Raiders, which could mean big things for Scott, who also is a great pass catcher. He only had 33 yards on 13 carries in relief of Benson after Benson went down with a hip injury last week, but he was playing the Steelers.

WR Chris Chambers- Kansas City

Available in 67.8% of all leagues (ESPN)

Dwayne Bowe has been suspended for 4 weeks for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, so Chambers, who has 130 yards and 2 touchdowns since signing with the Chiefs two weeks ago, is set to be the #1 option for the Chiefs. That’s not saying a lot, especially since he plays Pittsburgh, San Diego and Denver before finally getting an inviting matchup against the Bills week 14, but this is the same guy who had 970 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2007 and 1118 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2005.

WR Brandon Gibson- St. Louis

Available in 100.0% of all leagues (ESPN)

Gibson saw the first major field action of his career last week against the Saints and responded with 7 catches for 93 yards. The Rams don’t really have a true #1 option and Gibson was specifically requested as a throw in from Philadelphia when St. Louis sent Will Witherspoon to the Eagles for a 5th round pick. He has upside in deep leagues, but a clear downside.

 

WR Anquan Boldin- Arizona

It looked like a week off was just what the doctor ordered for his nagging ankle injury. He missed a game last week, but has practiced fully all week this week and good have played last week “if it were a playoff game.” Feel free to start him.

WR Steve Breaston- Arizona

Breaston is still dealing with the same knee injury that has been plaguing him all season. He’s been limited in practice all week, but has been that way all season and hasn’t missed a game since week 1. It doesn’t appear that the Cardinals are going to give him a rest this week as he’s listed as probable, but I don’t think I’d roll with him as I did last week because Boldin is back. He’s a decent flex option if you need him because Arizona does pass a lot and Seattle isn’t great at stopping the pass.

WR Roddy White- Atlanta

He’s been limited in practice all week as he was last week with a knee injury, but is still expected to play, despite being listed as a questionable game time decision. However, he only had 3 catches for 27 yards last week against Washington and is facing a tough Carolina secondary this week so he’s not a lock start as he normally would be. If you have wide receiver depth, this might be the week to sit him.

TE Todd Heap- Baltimore

Heap (ankle) practiced fully Friday and is probable to play this week against the Browns. The Browns can’t stop anyone so if he’s your best tight end option, feel free to roll with him.

QB Trent Edwards- Buffalo

The Bills gave him some rest the past few weeks after his concussion but he is expected back against Tennessee, whose secondary has been playing a lot better in the past 2 weeks since Cortland Finnegan returned. I would not start him this week.

WR Terrell Owens- Buffalo

Owens missed 2 days of practice week with a hip injury but returned to do non-contact position drills on Friday. The coaching staff is saying that he’s still a question mark and that likely means he’ll be a game time decision. I’d keep him on my bench. Owens has only once gone over 6 fantasy points this season so you’re not benching the same old Terrell Owens.

RB DeAngelo Williams- Carolina

Williams (knee) missed practice Wednesday, returned Thursday on a limited basis, but sat again Friday and is listed as a game time decision. Carolina has running back depth with Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson so, even if he does play, he won’t get as many carries as he’s used to. Keep this in mind when setting your rosters, but, for now at least, I’d have him in there. Stay tuned though. I don’t have a special segment for Sunday morning injuries, but I do announce the actives and inactives, as well as some other injury news, on my Twitter account Sunday morning, so if you own Williams, you might want to check there tomorrow morning.

RB Jonathan Stewart- Carolina

In case you haven’t noticed, Stewart is on here every week, but plays every week as well. He’s averaging 4.4 YPC and could be in line for a back week this week. He’s facing a poor Atlanta run defense and could reach a season high in carries with Williams a little banged up with his knee injury.

RB Jamal Lewis- Cleveland

Lewis has been limited in practice all week and is not a very good play. He’s obviously mailed it in for his career complaining about how much the Browns practice and announcing his retirement midseason and to an extent I don’t blame him with how bad the Browns have been this season. He’s also facing a tough Baltimore defense and I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns gave Jerome Harrison more carries this week seeing as Lewis is not going to be back next year. Actually I would be surprised seeing as that would be the smart thing for Eric Mangini to do. Either way, don’t start Lewis.

RB Marion Barber- Dallas

I might as well copy and paste what I said last week. He’s listed with a thumb injury, but is going to play through it, but it’s not the thumb you should be worried about. It’s his hamstring which has been limiting his explosiveness since week 3. He did go over the 4 YPC mark last week by averaging 4.2 against the Eagles, but he still only got 12 carries and Tashard Choice was getting the end zone carries. He’s a possible flex option, but I’m not too excited about him.

WR Brandon Marshall- Denver

Marshall is listed with a back injury after missing practice Wednesday, but he did practice the rest of the week so I fully expect him to be out there against Washington. Use him as you normally would. He had a season high 11 catches and a season high 112 yards last week against Pittsburgh.

WR Calvin Johnson- Detroit

He’s been in practice all week for the first time since injuring his knee week 5 and I fully expect him to improve on the 2 catches for 27 yards he had last week in his first game back from injury. I’d have him in my lineup based on upside. He faces a Minnesota secondary that is down their #1 corner as Antoine Winfield will not play this week with injury.

TE Jermichael Finley- Green Bay

Finley won’t play this week with a knee injury which means more targets for Donald Lee and Spencer Havner, but that was the case last week and the two combined for 1 catch for 5 yards. I would not put any Green Bay tight end in my lineup.

QB Aaron Rodgers- Green Bay

Rodgers (foot) is probable for this week’s game against the Cowboys and practiced fully on both Thursday and Friday. If he doesn’t die from being sacked another 6 times this week, he should be a solid QB1 again.

RB Maurice Jones Drew- Jacksonville

MJD owners likely panicked a little when they saw he was limited in practice on Thursday with a knee injury and was listed on the injury report, but he practiced fully yesterday and is probable for this week’s game against the Kris Jenkins-less Jets.

WR Chris Chambers- Kansas City

He’s going to play despite a foot injury, but I highly doubt he’ll put up 19 points again this week seeing as he only had 3 catches last week. The Raiders might use Nmandi Ashmouga on him which could completely take him out of the game. I wouldn’t start him.

WR Bernard Berrian- Minnesota

Berrian is questionable and a game time decision due to another hamstring injury. He never established good chemistry with Brett Favre in the preseason and it has shown on his stat sheet. Despite an easy matchup, I wouldn’t start him. Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice have much better chemistry with Favre.

WR Randy Moss- New England

Moss missed practice Wednesday for non-injury related reasons. I’d be scared, but the same thing happens every week. Bill Belicheck just likes to freak out fantasy football players.

RB Sammy Morris- New England

Morris (knee) made somewhat of a surprise return to practice Friday after missing the past few weeks. However, I can’t see him being involved much in the offense this week. Unless of course Bill Belicheck plans to use him 30 times this week and he hasn’t actually been hurt at all just so he can mess with fantasy football players.

WR Marques Colston- New Orleans

He missed time with the flu this week, but is expected to play this week against St. Louis. You’d have to be an idiot to bench him against St. Louis who can’t cover anyone.

WR Lance Moore- New Orleans

He won’t play this week. You shouldn’t even this guy on your roster anymore. He has not lived up to the preseason hype.

RB Darren McFadden- Oakland

He has had no setbacks in practice following his knee surgery a few weeks ago and should be involved in the running game. However, he has not put up the stats this season for fantasy owners to be optimistic about his upside this year. He’s averaging 3.1 YPC this year and only had 55 all purpose yards week 2 against the Chiefs.

WR DeSean Jackson- Philadelphia

I’m not sure why he’s still on the injury report. Maybe Andy Reid forgot he was there. He has been on there for 3 straight weeks, but has missed no practice nor any games.

RB Brian Westbrook- Philadelphia

He practiced fully with the first team on Thursday and Friday after missing two straight weeks with a concussion. He also has an ankle problem that has flared up so while he should play against San Diego, you need to curb your expectations for him this week. LeSean McCoy owners should be able to go with him as an RB3 if you need to because he should be involved in the running game and the receiving game as well.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson/TE Antonio Gates- San Diego

Both missed practiced Wednesday, but returned Thursday and Friday and are expected to play against Philadelphia. Use as you normally would.

QB Matt Hasslebeck- Seattle

He suffered a sore shoulder last week against Detroit, but stayed in the game and finished the game with 51 throws and a win. His coach says it is a little sore, but there is no structural damage and his practice schedule this week showed that. He was limited Wednesday, but fine the rest of the week and should be good to go this week against Arizona. On the fantasy team in which I pay most attention, I’m starting him this week.

RB Derrick Ward- Tampa Bay

Ward was probable with a knee injury on Thursday, but missed practice on Friday and was downgraded to questionable. Those are bad signs and could mean that he tweaked the knee on Thursday. He’s also the clear #2 back in Tampa Bay so even if he does play, he’s not going to do much for you. Sit him this week and until further notice.

WR Antonio Bryant- Tampa Bay

He hasn’t practiced all week. He’s listed as questionable, but I doubt he plays. He didn’t play last week either.

RB LenDale White- Tennessee

He missed practice this week with the flu, but is expected to play against Buffalo. However, he is no longer the goal line back in Tennessee. He’s not a significant part of the offense. He shouldn’t even be on your roster unless you’re in a really deep league.

WR Justin Gage- Tennessee

Gage made my pickup of the week list this week on Tuesday, but he had x-rays on Wednesday and found that his sore back was actually caused by broken bones in his back. Whoops! He could be done for the season. Kenny Britt will see an expanded role in Gage’s absence.

RB Clinton Portis- Washington

Will not play due to a concussion.

RB Ladell Betts- Washington

Portis’ backup also has his own injury problems. He has been limited by a low ankle sprain this week, but is expected to play. However, he is likely to split time with Rock Cartwright and maybe some random fan they pick out of the crowd. It’s hard to get excited about a Washington running back this week.

QB Jason Campbell- Washington

Campbell (ankle) is listed as probable and has been fine at practice the last two days. However, when you consider that he is an awful fit for the 2-6 Redskins offense and that he is playing a pretty damn good Denver secondary, you start to cringe.

If a player isn’t listed, assume he will play and not be limited.

 

RB Willie Parker- Pittsburgh

Owned in 74.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

One touch in the last 2 weeks, a 2 yard run, a 3.1 YPC on the season, an upcoming 29th birthday (today actually), and the emergence of Rashard Mendenhall have left Parker fantasy irrelevant.  He hasn’t recorded a fantasy point since week 3, 2 points week 6 were erased by a fumble.

RB Willie McGahee- Baltimore

Owned in 73.2 of all leagues (ESPN)

No fantasy points since week 4 when he had 8, but 6 came on a goal line touchdown. He’s no longer the goal line back in Baltimore. He just turned 28 and has a history of injuries and Ray Rice is running all over the place atop the depth chart.

TE Owen Daniels- Houston

Owned in 61.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

Done for the year with a torn ACL.

WR Eddie Royal- Denver

Owned in 54.8% of all leagues (ESPN)

No touchdowns all year and no week of more than 7 fantasy points. In fact, he’s only twice topped two.

RB LenDale White- Tennessee

Owned in 55.4% of all leagues (ESPN)

Tennessee’s week 1 “goal line” back is no longer getting the goal line touches thanks to Chris Johnson being a complete beast. Two double digit carries games this season, hasn’t topped 7 fantasy points in a week, 3 weeks with more than 4 fantasy points, 4 carries and 3 yards last week, only one touchdown this season.

WR Antonio Bryant- Tampa Bay

Owned in 58.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

Missed the preseason with an injury and hasn’t established any chemistry with any of his three different quarterbacks. He has been playing hurt all year, hasn’t top 62 yards all season, only two double digit weeks, a 0, a 2, a 4, a 5, and a 6 this year. He now has a rookie quarterback for one of the worst teams in the league and an injury.

RB Fred Jackson- Buffalo

Owned in 59.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

Huge for the first 3 weeks, but then Marshawn Lynch returned from suspension, no touchdowns all year, hasn’t topped 6 since week 3, last two weeks he has combined for 2 points.

RB Derrick Ward- Tampa Bay

Owned in 53.0% of all leagues (ESPN)

His one 4+ point week since week 1 was last week, but he did it through the air and only had 5 yards on 4 carries, two double digit carries weeks all season, no touchdowns since week 1. Clearly the #2 back to Cadillac Williams.

RB Chester Taylor- Minnesota

Owned in 50.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

Averaging 2.7 YPC, hasn’t had more than 26 yards in a week all season, 1 double digit carry week, 1 touchdown all year, doing all of his work through the air, 209 receiving yards to 123 rushing yards, but only has 22 receiving yards over the last 3 weeks.

 

WR Mike Wallace- Pittsburgh

Available in 80.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

Wallace hasn’t had less than 47 yards since week 2 and has 3 touchdowns in his last 4 games. He has inherited all of Nate Washington’s targets in the slot and then some. He is on pace for 874 yards and 6 touchdowns this season. He also has 2 runs of 10 yards or more this season. The Steelers are 6th in the league in passing yards so there should be enough yards to go around for Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, and Mike Wallace to be fantasy relevant.

RB Ladell Betts- Washington

Available 96.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

Clinton Portis is not likely to play this week against Denver with a concussion which means that Betts, who had 93 all purpose yards and a touchdown last week after taking over for Portis, could have 15-20 carries next week. That means he could be a borderline start for your fantasy team.

WR Lance Long- Kansas City

Available in 100% of all leagues (ESPN)

I’ll admit I never had heard of this guy before this week, but in his 2nd career game, Long had 8 catches for 74 yards. He had recently been called up from the practice squad. Bobby Wade and Bobby Engram are both off of the active roster now so Long could be the one catching all of Matt Cassel’s weak armed short throws out of the slot. He had 11 targets last week and 5 the week before.  Keep your eye on him. I’m not saying pick him up quite yet, but it was a slow week and he impressed me as a long term wide receiver option in deep leagues.

WR Justin Gage- Tennessee

Available in 83.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

If any wide receiver is benefiting from Vince Young as the starting quarterback, it’s Justin Gage. He has 138 yards in 2 weeks with Young at the helm. Not a huge pickup, but it was a slow week. Bettis and Wallace are the big pickups you want.

Because it was a slow pickup week, I’m going to debut my new segment “why are these guys on your roster?” tomorrow. Basically, I will talk about the guys owned to 50% or more of leagues that should not be owned in most leagues.

 

WR Anquan Boldin- Arizona

Boldin (ankle) was limited early in the week, but he practiced well Friday and, though he is listed as a questionable game time decision, sources believe he is expected to play. Chicago’s secondary is not as good as Carolina’s so he should manage more than the 23 yards he had last week.

WR Steve Breaston- Arizona

Breaston (knee) practiced Thursday and Friday and is expected to play Sunday against the Bears. Kurt Warner’s numbers in his career are good following games in which he throws 3 or more interceptions and Chicago’s secondary is not as good as Carolina’s so Breaston is a borderline start this week.

WR Roddy White- Atlanta

After missing practice Thursday, White (knee) returned to practice Friday and is expected to play Sunday against Washington. Have him in your lineup.

TE Todd Heap- Baltimore

He was limited earlier this week in practice with an ankle injury, but practiced fully on Friday and should play Sunday against the Bengals. There are certainly better options, but if Heap is your TE1 weekly, play him as you would.

RB Jonathan Stewart- Carolina

Stewart’s achilles appears to be the strongest it’s been all season as he’s practicing earlier in the week than he has all season. I would say start him, but I doubt he gets a lot of carries this week against New Orleans. The Saints offense is such that opposing quarterbacks have to throw more to keep up, a league leading 38.1 times. That’s a lot less carries available for Carolina’s running backs including Stewart.

QB Jake Delhomme- Carolina

He’s listed with a chest injury, but should play. However, starting him would be a big mistake this week. He has to throw a lot to keep up with Drew Brees which should mean a lot more picks for him. He has 13 on the year and the Saints lead the league with 16 interceptions by their defense this season.

WR Devin Hester- Chicago

Hester is listed as questionable with an ankle injury this week, but he practiced fully without limitations on Friday a good sign that he should play against Arizona’s mediocre secondary this week. Hester is having his best season as a pro this season and warrants a start every week, including this one.

TE Greg Olsen- Chicago

After being limited Wednesday, Olsen (ankle) practiced fully Thursday and Friday and is probable for this week’s game against the Cardinals. Olsen hasn’t lived up to the preseason hype, but I like him as a start this week on upside.

RB Marion Barber- Dallas

Barber is expected to play through his thumb injury for the 2nd straight week, but, as I said last week, Barber is obviously still hampered by the quad injury that forced him out of the lineup week 3. He has not averaged more than 3.8 yards per carry in a given week since week 3 and hasn’t gone over 53 yards since then either. He also only has 6 catches on the year. You’re really banking on him getting a touchdown if you start him and that’s risky.

WR Calvin Johnson- Detroit

Johnson was limited in practice all week with the same knee injury that has forced him to miss the last 2 games. However, he is expected to play against the Seahawks, as is his quarterback Matt Stafford. Stay tuned with updates on him because the Lions may want to sit him another week to be on the safe side with their talented young wideout, but as they showed by throwing Matt Stafford out there last week at less than 100%, they don’t care about protecting their young investments, even with a lost season at 1-6.

RB Kevin Smith- Detroit

He’s practiced for two straight days and Coach Jim Schwartz is “optimistic” that he’ll play against the Seahawks this week. Smith (shoulder) is only averaging 3.1 yards per carry thanks to poor quarterback play and a poor offensive line, but that should go up this week against the Seahawks’ weak run defense.

QB Aaron Rodgers- Green Bay

Rodgers has been dealing with foot and ankle injuries this week thanks to an offensive line that has allowed him to get sacked 31 times in 7 games. He missed two days of practice, likely precautionary, but practiced fully Friday and is probable for their game against the Buccaneers, who he should have a field day on. Rodgers has been an elite fantasy quarterback this year. You want him out there.

WR Donald Driver- Green Bay

Driver missed 2 days of practice with a neck stinger, but he was cleared by doctors to practice Friday and play Sunday so expect him out there against a weak Tampa Bay defense so you should start him.

TE Jermichael Finley- Green Bay

He has been ruled out of Sunday’s game which means more targets for Donald Lee and Spencer Havner.

WR Pierre Garcon- Indianapolis

Garcon is questionable, but didn’t practice Friday, a bad sign. If he doesn’t play, that means Austin Collie could have a huge game against the Texans defense. Anthony Gonzalez will not play either after having another knee surgery.

RB Sammy Morris/RB Fred Taylor- New England

Both are out this week which means more carries for Laurence Maroney.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw- NY Giants

He has been playing through ankle and foot injuries all season, but he has been playing. However, they appear to be worsening as he saw a foot specialist last week. He’s averaging 2.7 and 2.3 yards per carry respectively the last two weeks. I’d bench him until I see a bounce back.

WR Mario Manningham- NY Giants

He didn’t play last week with a shoulder injury, but he is expected to play this week after practicing Friday. He is listed as probable, but with the emergence of Hakeem Nicks at wide receiver, I doubt Manningham sees as much field time as he did early in the season. I wouldn’t start him this week.

WR DeSean Jackson- Philadelphia

He was on this week’s injury report again with a foot injury, but he practiced fine all week. He needs to be in your lineup if you own him. He’s established himself as an elite weapon.

RB Brian Westbrook- Philadelphia

He practiced Thursday, but not Friday, but is expected to play Sunday with a concussion. I don’t think he gets a huge workload so LeSean McCoy is worth another start. I would put Westbrook in my lineup too, but I wouldn’t expect anything huge from him.

TE Antonio Gates- San Diego

Gates (foot) practiced two straight days this week, Thursday and Friday so he is expected to be out there this week.

WR Antonio Bryant- Tampa Bay

He’s a game time decision this week with a knee injury. He hasn’t gone for more than 62 yards this season and is facing a tough Packer defense. I wouldn’t start him.

 

 

RB Ryan Moats- Houston

Available in 99.4% of all leagues (ESPN)

Where did this come from? After Steve Slaton was benched after yet another fumble, the Texans rode Moats to a victory. Moats rushed for 126 yards and 3 touchdowns on 23 carries. He also caught 2 passes for 25 yards. It remains to be seen whether or not Moats is the feature back going forward, but I pretty much say pick him up and ask questions later, especially if you’re a Steve Slaton owner.

WR Mike Wallace- Pittsburgh

Available in 84.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

Wallace seems to be picking up all of Nate Washington’s old targets from last season. As the slot guy last year, Washington had 40 catches for 631 yards and a touchdown. Wallace already has 21 catches for 368 yards and 2 touchdowns and has been consistent with at least 47 yards in each of the last 5 weeks. He’s the deep threat and he’ll get some yards on the ground. He’s getting better every week, as a rookie. If anyone glanced over him because he was on bye last week, don’t be afraid to pick him up this week to give you some wide receiver depth.

RB Jamaal Charles- Kansas City

Available in 85.6% of all leagues (ESPN)

Larry Johnson’s suspension is only officially a week, but in addition to his homophobic comments and his negative comments about the Chiefs’ coaching staff, Johnson is only averaging 2.7 yards per carry. If Johnson is benched following his return, Charles stands to benefit the most as he’s expected to be the feature back, with Kolby Smith getting some work here and there, in Johnson’s absence. Charles is averaging 5.0 yards per carry this season and 5.3 in his short career. He also is a good pass catcher.

Update: Apparently a bunch of angry Chief fans think Larry Johnson is such an asshole that they are putting together a petition to keep him from getting the 75 yards he needs to be the franchise’s all time leading rusher. All the more reason to pick up Jamaal Charles.

QB Alex Smith- San Francisco

Available in 90.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

Smith was average in his first start this season against the Colts, but look at his upcoming schedule and their respective ranks against the pass in terms of yards per attempt, Tennessee (29th), Chicago (11th), Green Bay (12th), Jacksonville (22nd), Seattle (17th), Arizona (19th), Philadelphia (4th), Detroit (30th), St. Louis (25th). The Colts, who Smith was 19 of 32 for 198 yards 1 touchdown and a pick against, rank 2nd.  Smith is getting more and more comfortable out there and if the Niners go with more spread, look out, this is the same quarterback that was drafted #1 overall in 2004. He has great chemistry with his receivers, especially Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis.

WR Michael Crabtree- San Francisco

Available in 60.2% of all leagues (ESPN)

As Smith grows and as the Niners schedule gets easier against the pass, Michael Crabtree’s numbers will shoot up even more. Crabtree had 80 yards last week in his 2nd game as a pro. With an easier schedule, Alex Smith improving, and possibly a switch to more of a spread offense, which he operated under at Texas Tech, coupled with getting into game shape, Crabtree could be a weekly lock to start.

WR Malcolm Floyd- San Diego

Available in 98.6% of all leagues (ESPN)

Chris Chambers was cut Monday making Floyd a full time starter for the Chargers. He’s not going to do a ton for you, but he’s a nice deep threat and the Chargers pass a lot so he could make an interesting flex start depending on the matchup in deeper leagues. He only has 11 catches on the year, but has at least 5 fantasy points or more in 4 of his last 5 games and that only will improve now that he’s a full time starter.

TE Fred Davis- Washington

Available in 98.2% of all leagues (ESPN)

Chris Cooley is likely out for the year so 2008 2nd round pick Fred Davis be the starting tight end in Washington. He’s extremely athletic and fits the offense perfectly. He had 8 catches for 78 yards Monday against Philadelphia after Cooley went down. He is a solid TE2 and has the potential to be a lot more.

Chowdaheadz 300x400 

 

 

WR Steve Breaston/WR Anquan Boldin- Arizona

Both are expected to play Sunday against the Panthers, but both are expected to be limited. Plus, the Panthers are ranked #1 against the pass in the country. I can’t recommend starting either this week, especially not Breaston. Boldin is a decent option if you need him, but nothing more.

RB Jonathan Stewart- Carolina

Same old, same old for Stewart. He’s been limited in practice some this week, but he should play against the Cardinals. However, he has been struggling this year and Arizona has been amazing against the run, so I don’t recommend starting him.

RB Marion Barber- Dallas

Barber is expected to play with his thumb injury, but he hasn’t shown any explosion since injuring his quad a few weeks ago and that’s the type of injury that lends to linger and sap your explosion.  He is averaging 3.5 yards per carry over the last 3 weeks and has been given a lot of his carries to Tashard Choice and Felix Jones.

QB Matthew Stafford/WR Calvin Johnson- Detroit

Both are listed as questionable, but Coach Jim Schwartz says, barring any setbacks, that both should start against the Rams. The Rams’ defense is extremely poor and both should have good fantasy weeks.

TE Jermichael Finley- Green Bay

Finley (knee) has missed practice all week, but has not been ruled out for this week’s game against the Vikings, who have the 2nd most fantasy points given up to tight ends this season. However, I wouldn’t count on him playing. Donald Lee is likely to be the feature tight end if Finley doesn’t play which gives him some fantasy value against the Vikings.

WR Andre Johnson- Houston

Johnson has a bruised lung, which apparently is not as bad as it sounds. He is expected to play against the Bills so you need him in your lineup. Coach Gary Kubiak said he’s “ready to go” and he’s been switched from questionable to probable in the last 24 hours.

WR Reggie Wayne- Indianapolis

Wayne (groin) missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, but returned on Friday and Jim Caldwell expects him to play this Sunday against the Niners. The Niners have had major trouble shutting down their opponents’ #1 options this season so I expect a big game from Wayne.

WR Bernard Berrian/WR Percy Harvin- Minnesota

Both are game time decisions for the Vikings late start, so both are tough starts. Plus, Sidney Rice has emerged as the Vikings top receiver and Harvin and Berrian have taken a backseat to him. I wouldn’t start either.

TE Jeremy Shockey- New Orleans

After being limited in practice Thursday, Shockey (shoulder) returned to practice fully on Friday and is expected to play this week against the Falcons. With the way the Saints’ offense has been playing of late, I can’t recommend sitting him unless you have an elite tight end.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw- NY Giants

Bradshaw (foot) saw a foot specialist this week about the foot injury he has been battling this season and it was revealed that he has a cracked bone on the outside of his foot and he’s a misstep away from a broken foot and needing surgery. I can see that knowledge limiting him this week as he’ll be less likely to be bouncing around on his foot with cut moves and that will hurt his fantasy stock. He’s also been struggling in the past 2 weeks so presumably his injury has gotten more painful, hence why he saw the specialist. The Eagles have a tough run defense so I’d say bench Bradshaw this week.

WR Mario Manningham- NY Giants

Manningham hurt his shoulder this week in practice and is now a questionable game time decision. I would consider benching Manningham even if he were healthy, because his stats have been declining in recent weeks and Hakeem Nicks’ have been increasing. I would say bench Manningham this week. Hakeem Nicks is an interesting play if Manningham is ruled out.

WR DeSean Jackson- Philadelphia

Go ahead and start him. He’s listed as probable and played Friday so I expect him to play barring any setbacks.

RB Brian Westbrook- Philadelphia

Westbrook (concussion) hasn’t practiced all week and is not expected to play. Even if he does, he’ll be limited so he’s not a good start this week. LeSean McCoy is going to get a bunch of carries regardless of whether or not Westbrook plays so he’s a very good start. The Giants aren’t great against the run.

Out: Trent Edwards, Mushin Muhammad, Anthony Gonzalez, Darren McFadden

If a player isn’t listed here, assume he will play and not be limited.

 

RB Jamaal Charles- Kansas City

Available in 96.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

Larry Johnson is averaging 2.7 yards per carry. Jamaal Charles is averaging 5.0. Yet Johnson has been given 132 carries and Charles 23. Charles is clearly the more talented one, but he’s not getting enough carries. The Chiefs go on bye this week and they might rethink their strategy, seeing as they’re 1-6, and give Charles more work week 9. He’s worth a bench spot. Charles is also 7 years younger so if the Chiefs want to try a youth movement, Charles would benefit. Larry Johnson also recently got some heat for a bunch of comments he’s been making and could get suspended or benched.

WR Mike Wallace- Pittsburgh

Available in 94.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

Wallace seems to be picking up all of Nate Washington’s old targets from last season. As the slot guy last year, Washington had 40 catches for 631 yards and a touchdown. Wallace already has 21 catches for 368 yards and 2 touchdowns and has been consistent with at least 47 yards in each of the last 5 weeks. He’s the deep threat and he’ll get some yards on the ground. He’s getting better every week, as a rookie.

RB Justin Fargas- Oakland

Available in 92.0% of all leagues (ESPN)

Since McFadden got hurt, Fargas has been leading the Raiders in carries and rushing yards. Cable has said that he prefers Fargas over Bush so Fargas needs to be owned in more leagues, at least in more leagues than Bush who is still owned in more than a quarter of ESPN leagues.

RB Shonn Greene- NY Jets

Available in 97.2% of all leagues (ESPN)

Leon Washington broke his leg and is out for the season. Greene, despite not being the speedster Washington is, is set to take over all of Washington’s carries because of starter Thomas Jones’ age. He had a huge game after Washington got hurt against the Raiders. He had 144 yards and 2 touchdowns on 19 carries, granted they were in garbage time and against the Raiders, but the Jets have a rookie quarterback and a conservative coach so the Jets are going to still run a lot. Greene is worth a pickup on potential alone.

QB Alex Smith- San Francisco

Available in 99.8% of all leagues (ESPN)

Mike Singletary removed Shaun Hill at halftime and put in Alex Smith. Smith responded by almost erasing a 3 score deficit with 206 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. That interception was on a tough throw he almost had to force to give his team a shot to win. He played like the former #1 pick he is and is going to be given a shot to start this week against Indianapolis. He seems comfortable and to have developed an amazing connection with his receivers, especially Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree.

WR Michael Crabtree- San Francisco

Available of 64.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

Speaking of Crabtree, he should be owned in all leagues. He has a great connection with new quarterback Alex Smith and fits the Niners’ offensive perfectly. He had 5 catches for 56 yards, but had a 25 yard catch erased on a penalty. And this was his first game. Pick him up as he has potential to be a WR2 caliber guy weekly.

TE Fred Davis- Washington

Available in 99.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

Chris Cooley is likely out for the year so 2008 2nd round pick Fred Davis be the starting tight end in Washington. He’s extremely athletic and fits the offense perfectly. He had 8 catches for 78 yards Monday against Philadelphia after Cooley went down. He is a solid TE2 after his bye week next week and has the potential to be a lot more.

 

 

WR Hakeem Nicks- NY Giants

Available in 89.0% of all leagues (ESPN)

Nicks has a touchdown in each of the last three weeks and had 114 yards last week. Steve Smith and Mario Manningham are still starting for the Giants, but they might not be able to ignore Nicks’ talent any more. Nicks is also over 6 feet tall, which neither Manningham nor Smith are so they should start to give Nicks more and more playing time, especially close to the goal line. He’s worth a pickup based on upside.

WR Sidney Rice- Minnesota

Available in 71.0% of all leagues (ESPN)

Its tough to ignore Rice after his 176 yard game last week. He’s a talented 3rd year receiver who seems to get better every week. He’s a goal line threat at 6-4 and Brett Favre seems to like throwing to him. He has surpassed Bernard Berrian as Favre’s favorite target.

TE Jermichael Finley- Green Bay

Available in 84.6% of all leagues (ESPN)

Its becoming clearer and clearer that the Packers intend to use Finley as a pass catching tight end and Donald Lee as solely a blocker. He has back to back good games and a fairly easy schedule upcoming with Cleveland, Minnesota, who is awful against tight ends, and then Tampa Bay.

Fantasy Football Trophies

WR Mohamed Massaquoi- Cleveland

Available in 83.9% of all leagues (ESPN)

Derek Anderson seems to love throwing to this guy. Anderson had 9 completions for 122 yards last week against a good Pittsburgh secondary. Massaquoi caught 5 of them for 87 yards. Anderson, no matter how bad he is playing right now, seems to be Eric Mangini’s guy at quarterback, and Massaquoi has some easier matchups upcoming so he is worth a pickup.

RB Justin Fargas- Oakland

Available in 97.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

Fargas, with McFadden out for Oakland, seems to be the feature back in the Oakland offense, which gives him some value. He’s not the best runner, but he’ll get a lot of work.

RB Laurence Maroney- New England

Available in 84.9% of all leagues (ESPN)

Fred Taylor is out. Sammy Morris hurt his ankle last week and is questionable going forward. Maroney is the feature back for New England if Morris is out and the Patriots play Tampa Bay, who struggle against the run, next week. Tom Brady is coming off of a huge week so the Bucs are probably going to be focusing on him and Maroney could take advantage of that with a big week next week.

RB Mike Bell

Available in 71.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

Bell is back from injury but since he’s coming off of a bye week and since Pierre Thomas is also back from injury, Bell was dropped in a lot of leagues last week. Fantasy owners aren’t going to be jumping out to pick him up, but he still has value. He only had 34 yards last week on 15 carries, but he had success to start the season and Sean Peyton seems to like to give him carries. He should get about 15 carries a week, which could be good for 60-70 yards and he’s the Saints’ goal line back so he could chip in with a few touchdowns.

WR Andre Caldwell

Available in 97.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

Don’t rush out and get him if any of the guys on this list above him are available, but in deeper leagues, he could be worth a pickup. He’s grown into Carson Palmer’s 2nd favorite target and he’s improving every week as a 2nd year receiver. He caught 6 catches for 57 yards last week.

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WR Steve Breaston- Arizona

Its more of the same old with Breaston. He’s been limited in practice with a knee injury, but is expected to play as the 3rd receiver for the Cardinals. He should be good for 60-70 yards again, but he hasn’t scored a touchdown all year, so keep that in mind before you decide your lineups.

WR Steve Smith- Carolina

Smith (knee) was a surprise addition to the Panthers’ injury report this week after being limited in practice on Thursday, but he practiced fully Thursday and should play against Tampa Bay. Tampa bay’s secondary is gives up the most passes of 20 yards or more in the league so big play threat Smith should have a huge game.

RB Jonathan Stewart- Carolina

He’ll most likely play again, despite being limited with the achilles injury, but he’s been limited in games all year and has not lived up to his fantasy potential. Even against Tampa Bay, I’d say sit him until he does something consistently.

RB Jamal Lewis- Cleveland

Lewis (hamstring) is listed as probable, but should play as he played last week with no problems or setbacks. However, he’s not his old self running the ball and has been very ineffective the past two years. He’s playing a Pittsburgh team notorious for stopping the run.

RB Corell Buckhalter- Denver

Josh McDaniels has confirmed that Buckhalter (ankle) will play on Monday against the Chargers. However, with Knowshon Moreno’s big week last week and Moreno’s continued development as a rookie, I don’t think Buckhalter will see enough action to do anything for your fantasy team

WR Calvin Johnson- Detroit

He’s listed as questionable with that knee injury, but he hasn’t practiced all week and really struggled last week playing hurt. He’s the Lions best player. He’s young and the Lions are going nowhere this year, so I think they’ll err on the safe side and sit him.

QB Matt Stafford- Detroit

Stafford is listed as questionable, as he was last week, with a knee injury, but I think they’ll let Daunte Culpepper play another week. Stafford had really been struggling before the injury and the Lions are 1-4 and in last place, so there’s no reason to rush him out there.

WR Percy Harvin- Minnesota

Harvin (shoulder) did practice on Friday which is a good sign, but he’s still likely a game time decision. He’s not a fantasy cornerstone, despite his big name, so its best to err on the side of caution and sit him this week.

WR Randy Moss- New England

He’s here why I hate Bill Belicheck’s injury reports. Moss was not available for the media portion of Wednesday’s practice, but BB said that had nothing to do with an injury. Then, he was limited in practice on Friday with an undisclosed injury. I think he’ll play and it would be stupid to sit him. Belicheck just hates fantasy owners.

WR Wes Welker- New England

Welker has been finally taken off of the Patriots injury report. Unless Bill Belicheck is planning something major to fantasy with fantasy owners, he should be out there opposite Randy Moss, which means he’ll get a lot of one-on-one coverage against a weak secondary. He could have a huge week.

RB Mike Bell- New Orleans

He’ll play, but I’m not sure how much. The Saints are playing to use a 3 man running back rotation with Bell, Pierre Thomas, and Reggie Bush, but I’m not sure who will get how many carries. If your going to start a New Orleans running back, starting Thomas who has been very good in the last two games since returning from an injury.

QB Eli Manning- NY Giants

Unless the Giants somehow get out to a 31 point lead in the first half against the Saints, Eli will play the whole game. He did not aggravate his foot injury last week. The only reason he was benched is because the Giants were dominating and Tom Coughlin wanted to give his star a rest.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw- NY Giants

Bradshaw (ankle) is expected to play once again this week. I highly doubt he’ll go for 26 fantasy points on 11 carries again because he’s not playing the Raiders, but he is averaging 6.5 yards per carry this year, so he’s a good play no matter what the matchup.

WR Jerricho Cotchery- NY Jets

Cotchery (hamstring) won’t play on Sunday.

WR Chaz Schilens- Oakland

Schilens (foot) has been practicing for the first time all season this week and might play. I do think he has a lot of talent, but wait until he does something before you start him. The Raiders are awful at quarterback. He is worth a pickup though.

RB Willie Parker/RB Rashard Mendenhall- Pittsburgh

Both missed some practice this week, but both are expected to play. Parker is not expected to start, which means that Mendenhall will get the most work this week. The Steelers play the Browns weak defense so Mendenhall could be worth a start if you need hm.

WR Nate Burleson- Seattle

Burleson (back) is expected to play against Arizona this week. He’s been Hasselbeck’s favorite target this year.

WR Antonio Bryant- Tampa Bay

Raheem Morris is saying that Bryant (knee) looks the best he has since OTAs, which is a good sign. The numbers certainly back at that claim as he had 5 catches for 62 yards last week. Expect him to expand on that this week.

RB Clinton Portis- Washington

Portis has been battling all sorts of leg injury the past few weeks, but Kansas City is not great at stopping the run, so you can start Portis, who is expected to play, this week.

 

TE Heath Miller- Pittsburgh

Available in 69.2% of all leagues (ESPN)

I have been advocating Miller’s pickup for the entire season and I feel that he should be a TE1 in all leagues. He’s by far the most underrated tight end this season. He has 29 catches for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns and is one of Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite targets. He’s on pace for 752 yards and 10 touchdowns, as well as an unheard of 93 catches for PPR leaguers. He’s the fifth rated fantasy tight end in regular leagues, but is still available in more than 2/3 of all leagues.

Saints Defense

Available in 69.2% of all leagues (ESPN)

I know the words Saints, defense, fantasy, and relevant haven’t been used in the same sentence in a long time, but despite only playing in 4 games so far, the Saints are the 4th rated fantasy defense. They pick off a ton of passes, 10 in 4 games, and already have 3 defensive touchdowns. As an added bonus, in fantasy playoff time, weeks 15-17, they play Tony Romo (the December version), whoever is starting for Tampa Bay, and Jake Delhomme.

WR Miles Austin- Dallas

Available in 97.6% of all leagues (ESPN)

I don’t love Austin as a fantasy player or the Cowboys passing game in general, but there’s no denying the fact that he had an unheard of 250 yards and 2 touchdowns last week, granted it was against Kansas City’s secondary. He won’t be consistent, but the Cowboys are obviously going to try to get him more involved so he could be huge for you.

QB Chad Henne- Miami

Available in 98.4% of all leagues (ESPN)

The Jets defense stopped Tom Brady and Matt Schaub and even slowed Drew Brees some, but they couldn’t stop Chad Henne from going for 241 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 picks on Monday Night Football. He is in a favorable situation in a run heavy offense and will do everything he needs to give the Dolphins a chance to win every week. Likewise, in fantasy football, he’s the type of guy who can be a solid bye week filer and get the job done for you.

WR Jeremy Maclin- Philadelphia

Available in 91.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

Maclin certainly loves having McNabb back. He had 142 yards and 2 touchdowns last week with McNabb at the helm, granted it was against the Buccaneers defense. He certainly has huge potential going forward and deserves a spot on your bench.

RB Jamaal Charles- Kansas City

Available in 95.6% of all leagues (ESPN)

Larry Johnson is awful. He is averaging 2.4 yards per carry and has 0 touchdowns this season. Assuming Chiefs coach Todd Haley isn’t completely inept (no promises there), he will give the more talented Jamaal Charles more work in the weeks to come. Charles is averaging 5.1 yards per carry this season and catches passes as well so if he gets involved in the offense more, he could be a decent start some weeks depending on the matchup.

RB Sammy Morris- New England

Available in 61.2% of all leagues (ESPN)

Fred Taylor could be done for the season having after ankle surgery. New England’s backfield is always a toss up because Bill Belicheck has some sort of grudge against fantasy football owners. You never know who he’s going to start on any given day, but with Taylor only and Laurence Maroney struggling, he may have no choice but to give Sammy Morris more work. Morris had 122 total yards last week against Denver and will get what few of the goal line carries Bill Belicheck actually gives to a running back.

TE Jermichael Finley- Green Bay

Available in 94.6% of all leagues (ESPN)

In really deep leagues, you may want to consider Finley. He’s a very talented pass catcher and is steadily getting more work in Green Bay’s high powered offense. He lit up Minnesota, who has been notoriously (in fantasy circles) weak against tight ends, for 128 yards and 1 touchdown during week 4 before the bye. Next three weeks for him, Detroit, Cleveland, and Minnesota again.

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WR Steve Breaston- Arizona

Breaston (knee) has been limited in practice all week and seems like a game time decision. He could have a good game if he plays because the Cardinals’ game against the Texans should be a shootout, but I’m not he’ll play at this point. Keep a watch on him.

WR Derrick Mason- Baltimore

Mason (neck) has been limited some in practice this week, but is listed as probable so I expect him to play. He hurt his neck last week against the Patriots and stayed in the game so I doubt he’ll miss any time. Play him if you need him.

RB Jonathan Stewart- Carolina

Stewart has once against been limited with an achilles injury this week, but should play against Washington this week. However, he has struggled this season with 23 carries for 99 yards and no touchdowns and ran for -1 yards on 3 carries in his last game against Dallas. Wait until he does something before you play him.

RB Jamal Lewis- Cleveland

Lewis (hamstring) is expected to play this week after practicing on Friday, but the Browns are 0-4 and proved with the trade of Braylon Edwards that they are perusing a bit of a youth movement. Jerome Harrison had a huge week last week against Cincinnati and should get a good chunk if not the bulk of the carries against Buffalo this week. I wouldn’t play Lewis.

RB Marion Barber- Dallas

Barber has practiced all week despite some tightness in his quad when he played last week. He is expected to play and get the bulk of the carries against Kansas City this week. Kansas City struggles defensively so Barber could have a big game.

WR Roy Williams- Dallas

Williams has been ruled out of Dallas’ game against the Chiefs with a rib injury.

RB Corell Buckhalter- Denver

Buckhalter has been ruled out of the Broncos’ game against the Patriots this week which is great news for Knowshon Moreno, who will be the feature back this week against the Patriots’ lackluster run D.

WR Calvin Johnson- Detroit

Johnson (quad) has been limited in practice this week, but he’s a tough guy and a huge part of the Lions’ offense so there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be in the Lions’ lineup and your fantasy lineup as well.

RB Kevin Smith- Detroit

Smith played last week and hasn’t missed any practice this week, but is still listed on the injury report as probable for Detroit’s game against Pittsburgh. I fully expect him to play, but how he handles Pittsburgh’s defense is a different issue. I would sit him this week if you can.

QB Matt Stafford- Detroit

Stafford is expected not to play this week, though there’s still a possibility he could play. He has been throwing this week, but walking all of his drills, suggesting his knee is still very sore. He’d be playing Pittsburgh if he does play so he’s certainly not worth a start this week. Neither is Daunte Culpepper, who would play in Stafford’s absence.

RB Joseph Addai- Indianapolis

Addai has a hand injury, which doesn’t really effect him all that much at running back. Assuming he can tolerate the pain, he should be able to play fine. He practiced fully Friday so use him as you would any week. Tennessee’s run defense isn’t as strong as it used to be.

WR Wes Welker- New England

Wes Welker is still having pain in his knee as he has had all season. He’s missed 2 games so far, but played last week. I have a feeling he’ll play because the Patriots offense is simply on another level when he’s out there, but he could be a late scratch as he was in week 2. You never know with Bill Belicheck. For all we know, Welker could be dead.

RB Fred Taylor- New England

Taylor had surgery on his ankle and won’t play this week, but he hasn’t been ruled out for the season. Or at least that’s what Bill Belicheck is reporting, which means he might not have even had surgery. The Patriots backfield is too unpredictable to like any of their backs going forward. Sammy Morris, BenJarvus Green Ellis, and Laurence Maroney could all run for 100 yards on any given week.

QB Eli Manning- NY Giants

Eli (foot) took half of the snaps on Friday and then went through a walkthrough on Saturday. He is one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league as evidenced by his speedy return from a separated shoulder in 2007, which was supposed to sideline him a month, but the Giants, at 4-0, might keep him out to be safe with the lowly Raiders coming to town. I would be prepared to sit Manning just in case if I owned him. Surprisingly, David Carr could be worth a start in Manning’s absence. He would be playing the Raiders.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw- NY Giants

Bradshaw has been plagued by an ankle injury for two weeks, but he played through the pain, very well I might add. He didn’t practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday, but those were likely precautionary as he did practice on Friday. I expect him to play and play well and Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw should be able to run all over the Raiders’ D.

WR Jerricho Cotchery- NY Jets

Cotchery (hamstring) hasn’t practiced Friday or Saturday and is going to be a game time decision. This is a complicated situation because he doesn’t play until Monday. If your lineups lock at the start of the first game, don’t start him. If you own him and Braylon Edwards, and you don’t play in a league that locks at the start of the first game, play him if he’s going to play and Braylon Edwards if he isn’t.

RB Darren McFadden- Oakland

McFadden will had surgery on his ankle and will miss at least 2 weeks, but that seems to be a best case scenario.

QB Donovan McNabb/RB Brian Westbrook- Philadelphia

Both McNabb and Westbrook are good to go with week against Tampa Bay’s “defense.” Put them in your lineups.

RB Willie Parker- Pittsburgh

Parker (turf toe) is expected to miss this week’s games against the Lions, which clears the way for Rashard Mendenhall to start again following his breakout performance last week against the Chargers. He should have another good game against the Lions’ week defense.

QB Matt Hasselbeck- Seattle

Hasselbeck has practiced all week and should play against Jacksonville this week. If you absolutely don’t have a better option, feel free to play him because of how bad the Jags’ secondary is, but I do expect Hasselbeck to be somewhat limited and skittish playing behind that poor offensive line.

RB Earnest Graham/RB Derrick Ward- Tampa Bay

Both Ward and Graham have injuries, but that doesn’t matter because of this statement made by Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Greg Olson. Olson said, of Cadillac Williams, that he wants him to be the “full-time guy.” While that’s great for Cadillac Williams owners, its not good for Derrick Ward and Earnest Graham owners. Pay attention to this week’s game against Philly to make sure he stays true to his word, but if he does, it may be time for you to cut Ward and Graham, especially Graham.

WR Antonio Bryant- Tampa Bay

Bryant (knee) has again been limited in practice this week, but I do expect him to play because he did last week. Wait until he does something first before you start him because I’m not convinced he’ll do anything fantasy relevant for the rest of the season.

 

RB Jerome Harrison- Cleveland

Available in 98.1% of all leagues (ESPN)

The Browns are obviously not going anywhere this season after their 0-4 start and their starting running back, Jamal Lewis, is 30 years old. Don’t be surprised if they go to more of a youth movement at the position and give more and more carries to Jerome Harrison, who had 152 total yards of offense against a good Bengals defense last week with Lewis out with an injury. He’s certainly someone you’d want to add to your bench if you can.

WR Kenny Britt- Tennessee

Available in 90.8% of all leagues (ESPN)

The Titans are also 0-4 and may go to more of a youth movement which would mean more and more playing time for rookie wide out Kenny Britt. Tennessee’s defense isn’t what it used to be so they are forced to pass more to keep up. Britt is not startable every week, but he’s worth a pickup. Britt has 271 yards this season and 107 last week and seems to be getting better by the game.

WR Mike Sims Walker- Jacksonville

Available in 61.4% of all leagues (ESPN)

Sims-Walker had a huge 31% gain in own %, but he’s still available in over 60% of leagues despite his 91 yard 2 touchdown game. He’s obviously the best wideout on the Jaguars and is a borderline start going forward into the season and certain merits another start next week to see if he can keep up the momentum.

RB Rashard Mendenhall- Pittsburgh

Available in 62.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

Mendenhall finally broke out with 165 yards and 2 touchdowns on 29 carries last week against San Diego. If Willie Parker misses another week with turf toe, which is very possible because turf toe is a lingering injury for running backs, Mendenhall could have another big week next week against the Lions. After the Lions he plays the Browns. He should be owned universally.

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TE Todd Heap- Baltimore

Heap (back) was limited in practice on Wednesday, but practiced fully Friday and is expected to play against the Patriots. Now the only question is, should you start Todd Heap? Normally I would say flat out no, but he’s been decent this year so if you really don’t have a better option, play him and expect 4-5 points, with the possibility of an extra 6 with a touchdown.

RB Matt Forte- Chicago

Forte (knee) was limited Wednesday, but practiced fully on Thursday and Friday. He should be good to go this week so don’t let one limited practice scare you away from playing Forte this week against Detroit. He should run all over their defense and finally have that breakout game Forte owners have been waiting for.

RB Cedric Benson- Cincinnati

Pretty much the same as above. Benson, who is battling a knee injury, missed Wednesday’s practice, but not Thursday’s or Friday’s and he is expected to play. He should have a huge game against Cleveland’s weak defense.

RB Jamal Lewis- Cleveland

Lewis hasn’t practiced with the team this week and didn’t play last week with that nagging hamstring injury. I don’t expect him to play and even if he did, it would be against the Bengals, who have a better defense than they are given credit for. Jerome Harrison and James Davis are expected to split carries again in Lewis’ absence and while Cincinnati’s defense isn’t as good as Baltimore’s was last week, I still wouldn’t start any Cleveland back.

RB Marion Barber- Dallas

The Cowboys are saying Barber will play display the fact that he’s been limited in practice this week so it appears the Cowboys will do all they can to get their star back on the field. However, he may be limited. Only start him if you have no other choice. Tashard Choice should be moved to the bench with Barber’s return.

RB Felix Jones- Dallas

It has been officially announced that Felix Jones won’t play this week against the Broncos. He isn’t expected to return for a few weeks and the Cowboys are actually considering Chauncey Washington to play the speed role in their running back committee. That shows how serious this injury is.

RB Kevin Smith- Detroit

Smith (shoulder) will be a game time decision, but even if he does play, I doubt he’ll be very effective. Smith is the best player Detroit has and he’s young. They are going to be cautious with him and either limit him or bench him entirely. Leave him on your bench.

WR Dwayne Bowe- Kansas City

Bowe (hamstring) has been limited in practice after missing last week’s game and is a game time decision this week. I hate game time decisions because they force fantasy players, especially those on the west coast, to get up early to set their fantasy lineups. I like knowing who is going to start for me when I go to bed Saturday night. I don’t think he’ll be that effective even if he does play so bench him if you can.

QB Chad Pennington- Miami

Placed on IR. Drop him. Don’t rush to pick up Chad Henne just yet.

QB Brett Favre- Minnesota

Favre has been limited in practice all week with a foot injury, but he also hasn’t missed a game in 274 starts and he’s facing his old team who he wants revenge against. I wonder if he’ll play…

WR Wes Welker/WR Randy Moss- New England

My least favorite part of my injury report interpretation is interpreting Bill Belicheck’s. Both Moss and Welker are listed as game time decisions. Moss hasn’t missed a game this year, but said his back was very sore after playing last week. Welker has missed the past two weeks with a knee injury. All I can really say is tune in game time to see if they’ll play.

RB Pierre Thomas- New Orleans

Thomas played very well in his return last week even though he didn’t actually start, as he eclipsed the 100 yard mark. Though Lynell Hamilton started last week, I expect Thomas to start this week, even though he was limited a little on Wednesday in practice. However, there’s always the chance that Sean Payton picks some random fan to start at tailback again this week. Seriously, has anyone ever heard of Lynell Hamilton?

RB Ahmad Bradshaw- NY Giants

Don’t be alarmed by the protective boot on Ahmad Bradshaw’s ankle. That is only precautionary. He is expected to play this week and he was very good last week with 104 yards on 14 carries. He should do something similar against Kansas City’s miserable defense. He’s worth a start if you need him.

RB Willie Parker- Pittsburgh

Parker is out this week with turf toe and Rashad Mendenhall is expected to start in his place. Mendenhall has never proven to me that he doesn’t suck so I wouldn’t start him this week.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson- San Diego

Tomlinson (ankle) has been practicing this week and is expected to play against Pittsburgh. However, how he’ll deal with Pittsburgh’s defense and how limited he’ll be by the ankle injury are two other problems he has to deal with. Only start him if you need to.

RB Frank Gore- San Francisco

Gore will miss the next 3 weeks, one of them being a bye week, at least for the Niners. Hopefully you listened to my advice on Tuesday and picked up Glen Coffee because its probably too late now. Coffee is worth a start in all leagues this week against St. Louis.

WR Laurent Robinson- St. Louis

Placed on IR. Drop him.

RB Cadillac Williams/RB Earnest Graham/RB Derrick Ward

Tampa Bay’s trio is all battling injuries and its unclear which ones will play. I’ll save both you and I some time. Don’t start any of them. They all suck. Honestly, after their stink performance last week in which none of the three had a 10 yard rushing game, I would not touch any of these three guys.

WR Antonio Bryant- Tampa Bay

Bryant has been hampered by injuries all year and might not play this week. Add that to the fact that he’s a wide receiver who needs a quarterback capable of getting him the ball to do any damage, which he does not have, and you’ve got someone who should be benched again this week for your fantasy team.

RB Lendale White- Tennessee

White has missed practices this week with an illness, but it seems that his illness has passed on gotten significantly better because he practiced fully on Friday. He should play, but he hasn’t been very effective this season even after finally losing all that weight. I wouldn’t start him.

RB Clinton Portis- Washington

Portis (ankle, calf) hasn’t practiced all week and is “fifty-fifty” for this week’s game against the Bucs. He’s obviously hurting based on his miserable performance last week so I wouldn’t start him.

 

RB Glen Coffee- San Francisco

Available in 70.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

Frank Gore is going to be out at least 2 weeks maybe three and his backup Glen Coffee is going to get the bulk of the carries in San Francisco’s run heavy offense. Coffee struggled after taking over for Gore last week, with 54 yards on 25 carries, but it was against Minnesota’s defense. This week, he gets St. Louis’s defense. The Niners are going to be running a lot this week against the Rams because the Rams suck and the Niners will build a big lead over them early. Coffee is a good start this week and could be a good start next week against Atlanta as well.

WR Mike Sims-Walker- Jacksonville

Available in 93.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

It appears the Sims-Walker has taken over Matt Jones’ old role from last season. In only two games this season, the 3rd year receiver has 187 yards and a touchdown. It appears that Sims-Walker and not Torry Holt is the most valuable Jacksonville receiver.

RB Correll Buckhalter- Denver

Available in 62.0% of all leagues (ESPN)

Buckhalter is averaging 7.4 yards per carry for the Broncos this season. The Broncos haven’t had the toughest schedule this season and they do still have Knowshon Moreno, but Buckhalter is worth a pickup in all leagues. He’s a good start some weeks.

WR Pierre Garcon- Indianapolis

Available in 97.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

Garcon has stepped into Marvin Harrison’s old role in Indianapolis, after Anthony Gonzalez’ injury. He’s not startable yet, but you should pick him up on upside alone and see what he can get you in the future.

RB Tashard Choice- Dallas

Available in 92.0% of all leagues (ESPN)

Felix Jones has already all but been ruled out for next week’s game and Marion Barber might not play either. That would make Choice the feature back for the Cowboys next week. Choice rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown after taking over for Felix Jones on Monday against the Panthers so if he starts next week, he has fantasy start value.

 

WR Steve Breaston- Arizona

Breaston (right knee) is listed as questionable after missing time in practice this week. The right knee injury didn’t prevent him from catching 5 passes for 87 yards last week, but there’s still a chance that he doesn’t play. Breaston is not an elite fantasy receiver so if you can go elsewhere for wide receiver help, you should.

WR Anquan Boldin- Arizona

Boldin (hamstring) hasn’t had much trouble in practice this week and should be good to go against the Colts. Boldin had 8 catches for 69 yards last week and this week’s game against Peyton Manning and the Colts is going to be a shootout so he should get plenty of targets and plenty of production.

RB Jonathan Stewart- Carolina

Same old, same old with Stewart. He is missing some practices with his achilles injury but will do everything he can to be in cleats and play on Sunday. Even with the injury, he has been fairly productive, 5.0 yards per carry, but the Panthers aren’t giving him the ball as much this year as they were last year with only 20 carries in 2 games. He’s a borderline start but isn’t going to do much for you unless he connects on one of the endzone tries they are giving him.

RB Cedric Benson- Cincinnati

Benson (ankle) has been improving throughout the week which is a good thing to see. He went from no practice Wednesday to limited practice Thursday to full practice Friday and should be good to play Sunday. Whether or not he can run on the Steelers defense is another issue. He’s nothing more than an RB3 at this point this week, even after all he’s done this season.

WR Chris Henry- Cincinnati

Henry (quad) has also improved over the week going from no practice Wednesday to limited practice Thursday to full practice Friday and should be good to play Sunday. However, the Bengals aren’t utilizing him quite as much as they should be right now so bench him until they start doing so. He’s also facing the Steelers.

RB Jamal Lewis- Cleveland

Lewis (hamstring) hasn’t practiced all week and, while he is listed as questionable, the Browns coaching staff is saying there’s a good chance he doesn’t play. If he doesn’t, that means more carries for Jerome Harrison and James Davis, but they’re facing the Ravens so I’d say stay away from all three Cleveland running backs this week.

RB Marion Barber- Dallas

The Cowboys say they are leaning towards holding Barber (quad) out of this week’s game against the Panthers. This is good news for owners of Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. The Cowboys aren’t getting a lot going through the air so far, so they’ll continue to run a lot. Choice and Jones both could get significant carries against the Panthers’ weak defense. Jones is a must start this week and Choice is a borderline start, assuming Barber doesn’t play as expected.

WR Brandon Marshall- Denver

Brandon Marshall has had an illness all week, but has been practicing over the past 2 days and should be good to go against the Raiders. That being said, he still has his mental illness. Marshall has been very ineffective this season with 7 catches in 2 games, most likely due to the fact that, as he said himself, he doesn’t want to be there and doesn’t know the playbook. He’s also facing the toughest one-on-one corner in the league this week in Nmandi Ashmouga. Bench Marshall until he proves he can produce on the field.

WR Kevin Walter- Houston

Walter (hamstring) is expected to make his season debut this week. However, he has been limited in practice all week. He hasn’t played all year and, at his best, he is a WR3. Don’t start him this week.

RB Maurice Jones Drew- Jacksonville

MJD has been limited in practice this week with a knee injury, but is expected to play. Don’t let this injury scare you off of MJD for this week. He’s still a very good start.

QB Matt Cassel- Kansas City

Cassel (knee) is expected to play against Philly this week. However, he was pretty bad in his season debut last week against a mediocre Raiders team. The Eagles have a stacked defense so I can’t see him being much better, especially since his top wide receiver could miss the game. Hopefully you listened to me and didn’t draft Cassel as you’re QB1 because its going to be another week of mediocre for him.

WR Dwayne Bowe- Kansas City

As I alluded to in Cassel’s write up, Bowe might not play this week. He had a hamstring injury flare up during practice on Thursday and on Friday he was limited and wore a wrap on his leg. He’ll likely be a game time decision. Bowe hasn’t been as productive as you would like this season so I think you can get away with sitting him this week, but start him if you have to, just be sure to keep your eye on whether or not he plays.

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WR Wes Welker- New England

Bill Belicheck you’re killing me. Week 1 he calls Welker a game time decision and I say, to be safe, bench him. He goes out and has 12 catches for 93 yards. Week 2 I say Belicheck was bluffing and there was no injury at all and to start Welker and Welker doesn’t play. To top it off, Julian Edelman, who I have said over and over will come up huge in Welker’s absence if he ever misses time, did come up huge. Honestly, I have no idea if Welker will play. Pick up Edelmen if you can and pay close attention to the injury reports close to game time. Welker should start if he plays and Edelman makes an interesting start this week assuming Randy Moss plays and Welker doesn’t.

WR Randy Moss- New England

Speaking of Randy Moss, Moss is questionable with a back injury, but I do expect him to play. Keep your eye on the situation, because Bill Belicheck is the hardest coach in the NFL to read in terms of injury reports.

RB Mike Bell- New Orleans

Bell (knee) is listed as out for this week’s game. He wasn’t going to have much value because Pierre Thomas is expected to make his season debut this week, but Bell won’t play at all. Obviously, don’t start him.

WR Lance Moore- New Orleans

Moore is also listed as out for the Saints. I love easy injury reports.

RB Pierre Thomas- New Orleans

Thomas is expected to start for the Saints this week with Mike Bell injured. If he’s fully healthy, and gets anywhere close to the 22.5 carries per game Mike Bell averaged in his absence, he could have a huge game. Expect close to 100 yards and all of the endzone carries. The defense won’t be able to focus on him with Drew Brees tearing it up this season.

TE Jeremy Shockey- New Orleans

Shockey is listed as probable, but has practiced all week and should play. If he’s your best option at tight end, play him.

WR Mario Manningham- NY Giants

Manningham practiced Friday and is expected to play against Tampa Bay. He isn’t going to do what he did last week against the Cowboys, but he’s still a solid pickup and a borderline line at wide receiver depending on your situation, especially against a team like the Bucs.

QB Donovan McNabb- Philadelphia

He isn’t expected to play. Kevin Kolb is an interesting play against the Chiefs.

RB Brian Westbrook- Philadelphia

Westbrook (swollen ankle) is questionable for Sunday’s game. He has a history of playing through injuries and with Donovan McNabb down, it will be extremely important that he plays, but expect Andy Reid to give more carries to LeSean McCoy this week. Westbrook is a start this week and McCoy is an interesting flex option against the Chiefs’ weak D.

WR DeSean Jackson- Philadelphia

Jackson (groin) practiced Friday for the first time all week. This is the same injury that “hampered” him last week when he exploded for 110 yards, so I feel safe telling you to start him.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson- San Diego

LT won’t play this week. Darren Sproles struggled on the ground last week, but got it done through the air so I expect, in some way, he’ll get decent fantasy production for you this week. Sproles is worth a start versus the Dolphins if you need RB help.

RB Frank Gore- San Francisco

Gore has been limited in practice with an ankle injury, but given how he played last week, you’re going to want to have him in your lineup, even against the Vikings.

QB Matt Hasselbeck- Seattle

I would be extremely surprised if Hasselbeck plays this week and even if he does, it will be with a broken rib against the Bears. Don’t start him. Seneca Wallace is a decent option if Hasselbeck misses more time, but don’t play him against the Bears.

WR TJ Houshmanzadeh- Seattle

Houshmanzadeh (back) is expected to play against the Bears. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares without Hasselbeck, but he’s still a start across all leagues.

RB Earnest Graham- Tampa Bay

Graham (hamstring) is questionable against the Giants this week. In case you haven’t noticed, even when Graham plays, he only gets 3 carries in 2 games. I’m not even sure he’s worth a roster spot at this point.

RB Cadillac Williams- Tampa Bay

Cadillac (knee) is also questionable this week against the Giants. He really struggled last week and is playing a good Giants defense so I’d say sit him this week.

WR Antonio Bryant- Tampa Bay

Bryant has not been ruled out of Sunday’s game, but I expect its only a matter of time until he is. Even if he plays, Michael Clayton has been Byron Leftwich’s best option this year so Bryant is not worth a start.

TE Bo Sciafe- Tennessee

Sciafe (knee) has been limited and struggles at practice this week and is a game time decision. Look elsewhere for tight end help.

QB Jason Campbell- Washington

Campbell (ankle) has been limited in practice, but should be ok to play this week. If you need to, start him. He won’t be his normal self (not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing) but he’ll play the Lions so even a quarterback like Campbell, with an injury, should have a field day.

RB Clinton Portis- Washington

Portis has been limited in practice by an ankle injury, but is expected to play. He faces the Lions awful run defense so he’s worth a start this week. Chowdaheadz 300x400

 

QB Mark Sanchez- NY Jets

Available in 68.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

Sanchez isn’t going to do anything spectacular for you, but he won’t turn the ball over and he’ll get you solid production. I think he should be owned in most leagues and if you need a good QB2, Sanchez is your guy.

TE Brent Celek- Philadelphia

Available in 83.3% of all leagues (ESPN)

Celek had 37 yards and 1 touchdown with McNabb under center, even though the Eagles didn’t pass a lot that week and 104 yards last week with Kolb under center. He has looked good in every game he has played thus far in his career, even though he hasn’t played a ton. He is the every down tight end for the Eagles right now and should be a good start every week for you.

WR Steve Smith- NY Giants

Available in 74.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

WR Mario Manningham- NY Giants

Available in 94.6% of all leagues (ESPN)

So much for the Giants not have any good receivers. Both Smith and Manningham exploded last week. Smith is the better pickup in my mind because he’s been more consistent and has more experience, but Manningham is a solid pickup in deeper leagues. Both had over 100 yards last week. Expect WR4 value out of Smith thus forward and high potential with Manningham.

QB Kevin Kolb

Available in 99.7% of all leagues (ESPN)

McNabb is probably not going to play this week, so Kolb, who looked good last week despite having to compete against Drew Brees, is a decent pickup against the Chiefs. If you have quarterback issues, this is your guy.

 

WR Steve Breaston/WR Anquan Boldin (Arizona)

Both are questionable this week for the Cardinals. Both have been practicing but not full strength. Boldin (hamstring) played last week, but looked sluggish, while Breaston (knee) did not play last week. The more important issue with these two is the hip injury that is sapping quarterback Kurt Warner. Warner looked awful against a San Francisco defense is that was in the bottom half of the league last year in most major categories and did not make any major additions defensively. Jacksonville held Peyton Manning in check last week, so Kurt Warner could struggle against the Jags this week. His potential struggles plus Boldin and Breaston’s injuries are main reasons why the only Arizona wideout you should start this week is Larry Fitzgerald. Only start Boldin if you’re really desperate at the wide receiver position this week.

K Jason Elam (Atlanta)

Elam (hamstring) is likely going to play this week for Atlanta so start him if he’s your kicker.

RB Jonathan Stewart (Carolina)

Stewart (achilles) has been somewhat limited in practice this week, but same was the case last week and he received 11 carries, including the goal line carries. He faces a much easier matchup this week so if he gets the same work this week he could be good for 40-50 yards and a score. He should actually get more work this week if Jake Delhomme can figure out how to take care of the ball so he’s a borderline start in flex leagues.

RB Jamal Lewis- Cleveland

Lewis (neck) will not miss this week’s game. If there ever was a time to start Lewis it would be this week, against Denver’s weak run defense. He is going to play. He should be close to 100%. He plays a weak defense and James Davis hasn’t yet stolen his starting job. Play him this week and see if you can sell him high after this week because his stock will soon fall.

WR Greg Jennings- Green Bay

Jennings (wrist) has been limited in practice this week, but is expected to play against the Bengals. Jennings, even with his injury, is too much of a fantasy stud to put on your bench.

WR Kevin Walter- Houston

Walter (hamstring) practiced fully in Wednesday, but digressed a bit on Thursday and Friday, not practicing fully. He could play and is listed as questionable, but Walter is a WR3 at best anyway so you can afford to wait another week on this guy.

WR Anthony Gonzalez- Indianapolis

Gonzalez (knee) is going to miss at least 6 weeks, but will not need surgery. If you want to be patient, keep him on your bench until about week 7, after the Colts’ bye. If not, go ahead and drop him and pick up another wideout. This injury could linger and slow him down for the rest of the season and until he needs offseason surgery. Wait and see who the Colts start in his place and see how he fares before picking up another Indy wideout.

QB Matt Cassel- Kansas City

Cassel (knee) is a game time decision for his game against the Raiders. Cassel is nothing more than a QB2 in my eyes, even against the Raiders, so just start your other quarterback until Cassel proves himself in Kansas City.

WR Wes Welker- New England

Welker (knee) has reportedly been limited in practice this week. Don’t believe it. That was the word coming out of New England last week and Welker caught 12 passes for 93 yards. Start him this week against the Jets.

RB Pierre Thomas- New Orleans

Thomas (knee) has reportedly been sluggish at practice this week and, though he is listed as questionable, I don’t think he’ll play with the way Mike Bell ran in his absence last week. Bell isn’t playing the Lions this week, but he is still a borderline start unless something comes out at Thomas will play and will start.

TE Jeremy Shockey- New Orleans

Shockey (ankle) has been limited in practice all week and even missed some entire practices. If you have another tight end, you may want to start him this week instead. If not, you could look for a decent one on the waiver wire, Benjamin Watson perhaps, or just stick with Shockey. He should play as he’s listed as probable, but I’m not sure how strong he’ll play with this ankle sapping his running ability.

WR Hakeem Nicks- NY Giants

Nicks (foot) will miss at least 3 weeks, possibly more. Drop him for now but pick him up as soon as he returns to the Giants. There are going to be very few people that will pick him up just to wait on him so you should be able to get him back after you drop him. I still believe Nicks is the most talented Giants wideout and if he gets a shot later this season, look out.

WR Chaz Schilens- Oakland

The Raiders have ruled Schilens (broken foot) out of their week 2 game. We’ll see about next week.

RB Justin Fargas- Oakland

Fargas (hamstring) is going to return to action for the Raiders this week. However, with the way Michael Bush and Darren McFadden ran last week, there isn’t going to be a lot of work for Fargas. Don’t start him. I’m not even sure he’s worth a roster spot at this point, but wait to see what his role is and how sluggish he looks before you drop him.

QB Donovan McNabb- Philadelphia

McNabb hasn’t practiced all week. He’s a tough guy so he’s going to try to be out their with his broken ribs, but I don’t think he’ll play. The majority of the media experts on the McNabb injury, including ESPN’s Adam Schefter, believes McNabb will not play. Kolb would get the start in his absence and he has been practicing with the first team all week, but Kolb has never shown anything in the pros that he’s worth a start or a pickup even if he does play, so don’t pick him up.

WR Limas Sweed- Pittsburgh

Sweed (foot) will miss this week’s game against the Bears. Mike Wallace will play in the slot in his absence, but Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes will still dominate the majority of the catches for Big Ben’s Steelers.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson- San Diego

LT (ankle) has been in a walking boot this week and not practicing. The Chargers have ruled him out of week 2 against the Ravens. Darren Sproles will start in his absence, but I don’t like Sproles as a runner, especially against the Ravens stifling run defense. You can also expect to see rookie Gartell Johnson, who looked good in the preseason, steal some of Sproles’ carries so don’t start him this week.

WR TJ Houshmanzadeh- Seattle

Houshmanzadeh has missed two days of practice this week with back spasms, but they reportedly have subsided so he’ll start this week and if worth a fantasy start against San Francisco.

WR Antonio Bryant- Tampa Bay

Bryant (knee) will miss week 2. Michael Clayton, who has already established a good amount of chemistry with new quarterback Byron Leftwich, stands to gain the most from his absence. Clayton is a borderline start against the Bills after 93 yards last week.

TE Bo Scafie- Tennessee

Scaife (knee) is not expected to play this week against Houston. Rookie Jared Cook should start in his absence and is a borderline line start this week. Cook looked really good in the preseason and the Titans are a very tight end friendly team, as shown by Scaife’s great season last year.

WR Nate Washington- Tennessee

On Washington’s hamstring injury coach Jeff Fisher said that he will play “the number of plays a starter would play.” However, I don’t think that really makes him fantasy startable because of how conservative the Titans offense is and how good Kenny Britt and Justin Gage looked last week.

TE Benjamin Watson- New England

Available in 96.2% of all leagues (ESPN)

I have always liked Watson as a sleeper, assuming he’s in the lineup, because he is a pass catching tight end in a pass heavy offense. However, he wasn’t in the lineup that much this offseason for undisclosed reasons. Wes Welker was also supposed to miss Monday’s game against the Bills with an undisclosed injury, but of course he didn’t, showing once again that we should not trust what Bill Belicheck says about injuries. Watson might not have been hurt at all this preseason. He certainly looked fine with 6 catches for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Bills and as look as he is in the lineup, he should remain one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets.

TE Heath Miller- Pittsburgh

Available in 80.6% of all leagues (ESPN)

With Nate Washington gone and Heath Miller finally healthy, Miller should get plenty of looks over the middle this season. He certainly did against the Titans with 8 catches for 64 yards. He has been one of the most consistently underrated tight ends over the past few years, not counting last year, and, assuming he stays healthy, he should be able to do so again this year. He’s a TE1 in almost all leagues and should be owned universally.

WR Davone Bess- Miami

Available in 98.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

Chad Pennington has a notoriously weak arm. Its not that he’s a bad quarterback as Pennington was the 2008 MVP runner up, but his arm strength isn’t great. Davone Bess is Miami’s Wes Welker, a lot of catches on short gains. Bess is a starter in PPR leagues, after his 7 catch 57 yard performance and deserves a spot on your bench in regular leagues.

RB Mike Bell- New Orleans

Available in 87.9% of all leagues (ESPN)

Well, we know who New Orleans will go to on the ground with Pierre Thomas out. Bell had 149 yards on 28 carries for the Saints. He won’t play against Detroit’s miserable ground defense every week and Pierre Thomas isn’t going to be hurt every weak, but if he keeps play like this, the Saints are going to keep going with what’s hot. Thomas probably won’t play this week either so Bell is worth a start this week in flex leagues if you need running back help. Bell should be owned universally.

WR Michael Clayton- Tampa Bay

Available in 99.5% of all leagues (ESPN)

While Antonio Bryant missed all of the preseason and valuable time building chemistry will new quarterback Byron Leftwich, former 1st round pick Michael Clayton was emerging as his favorite target. He had 5 catches for 93 yards last week and led his team in targets. Antonio Bryant isn’t the most consistent guy year to year, hence the 1 year franchise tag the Buccaneers chose to give him over a longterm contract last offseason, so Clayton could be the top wideout in Tampa Bay this year and that has to count for something.

WR Steve Smith- NY Giants

Available in 75.2% of all leagues (ESPN)

Smith was Eli Manning’s favorite target in the Giants’ win over the Redskins and could lead Giants wideouts in fantasy points by the end of the season. He’s a 3rd year receiver so he’s an excellent candidate to break out this year and Eli looked really comfortable throwing to him.

WR Nate Burleson- Seattle

Available in 76.9% of all leagues (ESPN)

The Seahawks offense looked really in sync last week, granted it was against the Rams. The Seahawks have a fairly easy schedule this season and Burleson, the longest tenured Seahawk wide receiver, should be one of Matt Hasslebeck’s favorite targets this year, even with the addition of TJ Houshmanzadeh. The Seahawks don’t have a great running game and play a pass heavy offense so there should be plenty of targets for both Burleson and Houshmanzadeh.

WR Earl Bennett- Chicago

Available in 71.0% of all leagues (ESPN)

Jay Cutler looked bad last week, but he sure liked throwing to his former college teammate Earl Bennett. The Bears don’t have a clear cut #1 wide receiver and its clear that Cutler is comfortable throwing to Bennett. There’s plenty of room for Bennett to build off of his 7 catches for 66 yards, especially when the Bears play weaker defenses than the Packers’.

 

WR Steve Breaston/WR Anquan Boldin- Arizona

Breaston (right knee) is expected to play Sunday against the Niners, Anquan Boldin (hamstring), meanwhile is a game time decision. Game time decisions are never fun for fantasy owners, since you won’t know whether or not to start him until its probably too late, so I’d say bench Boldin for the week, unless you’re really thin at wideout. Breaston meanwhile, would start in Boldin’s place and thus have the possibility to put up big numbers, but, again, you won’t know if he’ll start until its too late, plus he’s coming off an injury that cost him most of the preseason. Sit him.

RB Jerious Norwood- Atlanta

Norwood (knee) will likely play Sunday versus the Dolphins so he’s a solid RB4, even against Miami’s above average run defense. If you have a running back out with an injury in a flex league or a league with 3 running backs, you can do a lot worse than Norwood, who is an amazing pass catcher for a running back, and has looked great running the ball in limited action in his career.

RB Jonathan Stewart- Carolina

Stewart (achilles) has been practicing this week, finally, and he should play Sunday against the Eagles. However, I’d go elsewhere this week for help at the running back position. Stewart could be good, but they’ll likely ease him back in, giving DeAngelo Williams and Mike Goodson more carries, and Stewart less. Plus, Philadelphia isn’t exactly a slouch against the run.

QB Carson Palmer- Cincinnati

Palmer (knee) will play Sunday against the Broncos. He’s a define start this week because of how weak Denver’s defense is going to be. In fact, the more of Cincinnati’s offense you start this week against Denver the better, they are going to run and pass all over them.

WR Chris Henry- Cincinnati

Henry (thigh) missed a day of practice this week, but he is going to play against the Broncos, though there is no indication whether he will start. Henry was amazing in the preseason and started in the preseason so its only a matter of time before he starts opposite Chad Ochocinco, moving Laveranues Coles to the slot. Coles is still listed as the starter on most online depth charts, but you never know about those.

K Shayne Graham- Cincinnati

Graham (groin) is going to play week 1 against the Broncos, despite missing the preseason. As I said, start as many Bengals as you can this week. Graham also happens to be one of the most accurate kickers in football. If there’s such thing as an elite kicker, it would be him.

WR Roy Williams- Dallas

Williams’ “major” shoulder injury appears to have been nothing and there’s no indication that he won’t play this weekend against the Bucs. He’s a solid WR1 with Romo as his QB going against the Bucs’ weak defense.

QB Kyle Orton- Denver

Orton (finger) will play this week against Cincinnati, even with an injured throwing hand. As if this is not already reason to not only not start him but to not have him on your fantasy roster, here are some more. He had a worse interception rate than Jay Cutler last year and he did so in Chicago’s conservative offense. Imagine how many picks he’ll throw this year when he’ll be counted on time and time again to make big plays because the defense sucks. His top wide receiver clearly doesn’t want to be there. He doesn’t have a good arm. Cincinnati’s defense is actually good. Do I need to say more?

K Jason Hanson- Detroit

Hanson (knee) is the only kicker on Detroit’s roster and will likely play this week after practicing. However, even against New Orleans’ so so defense, Detroit’s offense isn’t going to be strong enough for you to start Hanson.

RB Brandon Jackson- Green Bay

Jackson (ankle) hasn’t practiced this week so he probably won’t play this week against the Bears. Jackson is not fantasy relevant, but he could have stolen carries from Ryan Grant, who, even against Chicago good run defense, is a nice start this week. The Packers are going to space the field with their passing game and open up lanes for Grant.

QB Matt Schaub- Houston

Schaub (knee) practiced all week and is listed as probably which means he should play. He plays the Jets so he’s a borderline start.

WR Kevin Walter- Houston

Walter (hamstring) is a game time decision and since he’s not much more than a WR3 against a defense like the Jets, look elsewhere for wide receiver help.

RB Maurice Jones Drew- Jacksonville

MJD owners need not worry about his shin injury, he should play and play well this week.

QB Matt Cassel- Kansas City

Cassel (knee) will be a game time decision. Sit him this week, in fact sit him most weeks, especially this one. You don’t know if he’s going to play and if he does it will be against the Ravens tough defense. Plus, the Cassel we saw last year will not be the one we see this year, with far less talent around him.

WR Bernard Berrian- Minnesota

Berrian (hamstring) is listed as questionable and has missed some practice this week. I’d recommend sitting him, even against the Browns’ lousy defense. Not only might he not play, but he has missed a lot of practice and a lot of preseason games so he hasn’t built up enough chemistry with new quarterback Brett Favre.

QB Tom Brady- New England

Brady (shoulder) is going to play this week, enjoy the rewards as he lights up Buffalo’s secondary.

WR Wes Welker- New England

Welker (knee) is a game time decision this week, which means you should sit him, unless you’re really weak at wideout. If he misses time, Julian Edelman will play in his place, which is good news for him, but don’t start or even pickup Edelman because you don’t know if he’ll play. Monitor this Welker situation. It could get interesting.

RB Pierre Thomas- New Orleans

Thomas (knee) won’t play against Detroit this week, which means more carries for Mike Bell and Reggie Bush. Both are solid starts this week against Detroit’s awful defense, Bush especially.

TE Dustin Keller- NY Jets

Keller (toe) should play this week and means a fine TE1 if you need him to.

RB Brian Westbrook- Philadelphia

As has been the plan all long, Westbrook (knee surgery) will play week 1. How much he will play and how much rookie LeSean McCoy will play remain to be seen, but for now, Westbrook is a good start against Carolina’s weak run defense. As for McCoy, hold off until you see him in action and you see how much Andy Reid intends to use the rookie.

QB Marc Bulger- St. Louis

Bulger’s hand problem seems to be a thing of the past, now if only he could fix his talent problem. Bulger is not a great quarterback, behind a bad offensive line, with mediocre talent around him. He should not be on fantasy rosters.

WR Antonio Bryant- Tampa Bay

Bryant (knee) is expected to play against Dallas this week so feel free to start him if you own him. This probably won’t be his best week, since he didn’t play all preseason and doesn’t have a lot of chemistry with his new quarterback, but its not like he’s never been on a field with Leftwich before. He and Leftwich played together in training camp, though it’ll take Bryant a few weeks to get up to speed.

If a player is not listed here, assume he’s going to start, and that includes Carolina’s Steve Smith and Denver’s Knowshon Moreno. 

2009 Preseason Fantasy Football Content

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