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Ryan Mathews suffered a groin injury in the fourth quarter of Monday's loss to the Chargers. The severity is not yet known, but it was enough to prevent him from returning to the game. His final play was a 14-yard reception with nine minutes left in regulation.
Despite losing their starting running back, it's hard to say the Chargers missed him. Backup running back Curtis Brinkley, who came into the night with just two career touches, caught a 20-yard reception two plays after Mathews left. He dove two yards into the end zone on the very next play, and then caught the game-tying two-point conversion. Seeing action as the featured back the rest of the way, Brinkley gained 27 yards on five carries.
With Mike Tolbert sidelined with a hamstring injury, Mathews was expected to carry a full load. He came through with 112 yards from scrimmage, including 13 carries for 57 yards and a team-high six receptions for 55 yards. He played through a minor injury to his left thumb suffered in Week 7. That injury didn't contribute to his second-quarter fumble, though, which occurred when he had the ball punched out of the grip of his right hand.
Mathews clearly has a lot of talent, but his inability to stay on the field has been a frequent problem. Ironically enough, just this week he talked about playing hurt in a radio interview with XX1090 San Diego.
"No one's going to be 100 percent healthy coming in, so you start learning to suck it up," he said. "You've got to play when you're hurt."
Stay tuned for more on Mathews' injury this week as information becomes available.
For more on San Diego, visit Chargers blog Bolts From The Blue.
The Cleveland Browns suffered a tough 20-10 loss Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers and now have suffered a further loss. Running back Montario Hardesty left the game in the first quarter with a calf injury and it has now been revealed to be a moderate calf tear that will leave him out "some time."
Hardesty was filling in at the starting running back position for Peyton Hillis who has been dealing with his own hamstring issue. Hillis was deactivated for Sunday's game and remains day-to-day with his injury. Chris Ogbonnaya filled in for Hardesty after he went down and will likely be in line for more carries week nine against the Houston Texans.
Given Hardesty's injury and Hillis' own gimpy status, it would not be surprising to see the Browns bring in some running backs for workouts to fill out the depth chart. The Browns head to Houston this weekend and could find themselves playing from behind, particularly if the Texans get Andre Johnson back in the fold. None of the Browns running backs is a quality play at this point.
The Atlanta Falcons wrapped up their bye week by returning to practice on Monday and they received some good news. Wide receiver Julio Jones returned to practice, and barring a setback he would seem likely to return to the field this coming Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are a fantastic fantasy matchup for wide receivers, so if he is back, you will want him back in your lineup.
Jones has been out since suffering a hamstring injury week five against the Green Bay Packers. Hamstrings are always tough injuries, especially for skill position players. Jones sat out two games and the bye week and that would appear to have him sufficiently back on track.
Harry Douglas had filled in the starting role in Jones absence and put together a pair of solid performances, twice leading the Falcons in receiving yards. It will be interesting to see how the Falcons use Douglas now that Jones is back on the field.
San Diego Chargers running back Mike Tolbert has been ruled out for Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs. Tolbert has been dealing with hand and hamstring issues and was doubtful heading into the game. Deactivating Tolbert is not a surprise, but it is still worth noting for fantasy purposes.
The Tolbert injury means that Ryan Mathews will likely get his biggest rushing load of the season. The Chargers are facing a struggling Chiefs rush defense, which could mean big things for Mathews. His primary backup will be Curtis Brinkley, who has not touched the ball this season. Brinkley might get a couple touches, but Mathews will likely dominate the carries.
I would actually expect Jacob Hester to get more carries due to the Tolbert injury. Hester operates as the Chargers fullback, but when running backs are limited, the team has shown a willingness to get him more involved in the offense. Week five against the Denver Broncos, Hester rushed 11 times for 47 yards and hauled in a pair of passes. I suspect Hester gets at least five or six carries on Monday.
Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells had to battle Sunday afternoon as he compiled 83 rushing yards and a touchdown on 22 rushes against the Baltimore Ravens. He finished with a respectable fantasy total, but the numbers were tough to come by for him as he continues to deal with his knee injury. Wells suffered a bruise last week and was questionable to play on Sunday.
After the game, Wells told the media that his knee injury is one that will probably bother him for most of the year. If that's the case, it will be interesting to see how much he practices each week. He is likely to be somewhat limited this week and that also means he will probably be a bit of a game-time decision throughout the season. Wells is off to a strong start but has to show he can handle a full season as the main guy.
Wells faces a solid matchup next Sunday against the St. Louis Rams and will look to rest up enough to get the start. If he is forced to miss any more time this season, Alfonso Smith and LaRod Stephens-Howling will get the carries.
New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks hauled in 67 receiving yards Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, but had to depart the game late in the fourth quarter due to a hamstring strain. Reports indicate he will have an MRI on the hamstring to determine the extent of the injury. He will also have x-rays taken of the injury.
Nicks has had a solid season thus far with 32 receptions for 508 yards and three touchdowns. A hamstring injury is always dicey when you are talking about wide receivers who rely on those legs to get down the field. It would not be surprising to see Nicks limited or a DNP in practice for part of the upcoming week as the Giants prepare for a trip to the New England Patriots.
This is a money matchup for Nicks as the Patriots secondary has been awful this season. The Giants have some solid matchups the rest of the way, but barring some drastic change in performance, the Patriots defense might be the best matchup Nicks faces all season. Let's hope he is good to go for the game. We will have updates throughout the week as more information comes available.
San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis finished Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns with a mere three catches for 27 yards, but he might have a bit of an excuse. Davis left the game at one point with an arm injury and returned to play with pain the rest of the way. According to Davis, he landed on his right arm wrong and dealt with some numbness and then pain.
Davis has been up and down this season and struggled to maintain his top ten tight end status. Prior to today he he had three touchdowns in two games and mixed in a 114-yard day before that. However, he hasn't had the week-in and week-out dominance that fantasy football owners are used to. The 49ers offense as a whole has been a bit up and down to date, but it remains to be seen if that will change as long as the team continues to win.
For now, the 49ers are getting back many of their offensive weapons, which does not bode well for consistent strong performances from any of them aside from Frank Gore. Davis remains a must start each week and just hope for some more consistency.
The Cleveland Browns struggled to get much of a running game going on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, and they were not helped by multiple injury issues at the running back position. Peyton Hillis was a scratch for the game as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury. Expected starter Montario Hardesty left the game with a calf issue after only two rushing attempts. Hardesty will undergo an MRI on his calf on Monday to determine the extent of the damage.
After Hardesty went down, Chris Ogbonnaya took over and finished the game with 37 rushing yards on 11 attempts. The 49ers have been dominant against running backs this season and have not given up 100+ rushing yards or a rushing touchdown to a single running back all season. Furthermore, the team has not given up 100+ rushing yards to a running back since 2009. Not a good fantasy matchup week to week.
The Browns travel next week to face a Houston Texans squad that has been a bit inconsistent in defending the run. However, they also will likely have Andre Johnson back and if they run up a big lead, the Browns rushing attack may be negated. Of course, it remains to be seen who will actually be taking the handoffs next week. Peyton Hillis would be the favorite, but we'll know more as the week progresses.
New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw finished Sunday's game with 13 carries for 50 yards and 38 receiving yards, but was hobbled for much of the game by a right foot injury. He left the game several times only to return and battle through the injury as the Giants barely emerged with a 20-17 victory.
The game saw the return of Brandon Jacobs from his own injury, but even with Bradshaw hampered, Jacobs only had four rushes for ten yards. It was not a pretty day of fantasy football on the ground in this ugly affair as Eli Manning and Victor Cruz were the big winners on the day.
Bradshaw stated after the game that the injury was an aggravation of a preexisting issue. If that's the case, this will be an injury you will want to keep an eye on as the season moves along. It would not surprise me if Bradshaw was fairly limited in practice this week while he heals that injury. He finished the game with the injury so I don't expect him to be a problem next week, but you will want to keep an eye on this through the week.
The somewhat expected but still much anticipated fantasy football news of the day was the injury status of Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis. The Browns running back is inactive versus the 49ers after spending all week as limited in practice. HIllis has been dealing with a hamstring injury and has not been able to get back in time for the Browns game against the 49ers.
Montario Hardesty gets the start in place of Hillis, although he is not a great play this week given the 49ers strong play against the rush. If you are short a running back he is worth rolling out since he will get most of the carries, but do not look for a monster day from Hardesty. If he does get a big day, consider it a bonus.
Peyton Hillis has had a fairly miserable 2011 season as he has dealt with injuries and contract issues since day one. He will look to get back for the Browns week nine contest against the Houston Texans.
It seems the bye week has done the Giants well, as they'll be healthier than they've been in weeks with backup running back Brandon Jacobs and defensive end Justin Tuck listed as active against the Miami Dolphins.
Jacobs has been out since Oct. 2 with a knee injury, before which he wasn't particularly effective. Though he scored two touchdowns, the mammoth running back is averaging a shade over three yards a carry, and has received more than 10 touches just once.
His health may mean a downgrade for Ahmad Bradshaw, who, in Jacobs' absence has piled up touchdowns like they're second-helpings at Thanksgiving dinner (it's almost that time of year, you guys!). With Jacobs in the mix once more, it could mean Bradshaw will again be pulled in short-yardage situations, because Tom Coughlin hates you. Unless you own Brandon Jacobs. Then God hates you.
For more on Jacobs' status visit Giants blog Big Blue View.
The move shouldn't come as a huge surprise, as it was reported earlier in the week that Ward was "highly questionable" to play, but regardless, this should give his fantasy owners a little more peace of mind to bench him in a late-afternoon matchup. Of course, that peace of mind will shortly be disturbed by knowing their wide receiver will miss a matchup against the league's worst pass defense.
Getting more looks in Ward's absence should be Emmanuel Sanders, who looks like a decent play opposite Mike Wallace, who should feast on the Pats. Ben Roethlisberger might struggle a tad more without his favorite safety valve, but then he'll see all the holes in the defense he's facing and will feel better.
For more on Ward's injury and the Steelers, visit Behind The Steel Curtain.
The Cardinals are facing the Baltimore Ravens this week, who are allowing the third-fewest rushing yards in the league, so even if Wells were at full strength, this would be a tough matchup. The guy who will get the carries Wells can't handle will likely be speedster LaRod Stephens-Howling. In other weeks, he'd be a starting option, but against the Ravens, you should really consider other options.
If Wells is a full go, he might get a touchdown. He's been, shockingly, a very reliable fantasy performer when healthy, but his recent streak of game-time decision injuries has been frustrating for owners and fantasy writers alike. We feel your pain.
Thomas' injury means more carries for Reggie Bush against the New York Giants, who feature a fearsome pass rush but a linebacker corps that's been decimated by injuries, therefore susceptible to the running game. Behind Thomas and Bush on the depth chart are Lex Gilliam and Steve Slaton, so each should see some carries, but not enough to warrant fantasy consideration.
Bush, despite getting 60 carries and 17 receptions so far, has scored only one touchdown this year, so fantasy owners who must plug him in should be wary that he'll get most of his points from yardage, which is never a good scenario. The move to trade him for a pizza should have been executed weeks ago, when the pizza's owner saw Bush's value at its highest.
San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson has struggled with nagging injuries all season, but he practiced a full week for the first time all season this week. Jackson was shut down by Darrell Revis last week agains the Jets, but will get a bit of an easier match up against the Chiefs secondary.
Even with his injuries, Jackson has been having a solid season so far with over 400 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. With the Chargers getting tight end Antonio Gates back for the second week in a row, that should help out Jackson. Gates should draw more coverage in the middle of the field and attention in the redzone, leaving Jackson with some better match ups in the secondary.
San Diego Chargers running back Mike Tolbert injured his hand and has missed practice all week. He's officially listed as doubtful now for Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs and is not expected to be active. Tolbert had been splitting time with Ryan Mathews, but he was slowly losing carries as the season went on.
With it looking like Tolbert will be out, Curtis Brinkley will be the primary back up to Mathews, but you shouldn't expect Brinkley to get many touches. With Tolbert down, Mathews work load should increase to the level the Chargers have wanted it to be at for a while. Tolbert was a good goal line and redzone back, but that role will now shift the the Chargers former first round pick.
San Diego Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd had been limied with a foot and hip injury, but was upgraded in Friday's practice as he participated fully. He's officially listed as questionable for Monday Night Football, but all indications are he will play.
Floyd has struggled to make an impact after re-signing with the Chargers when he got no play in free agency. He's averaging just 49 yards a game receiving and has eclipsed 50 receiving yards just twice this season. Unless you absolutely need to play a wide receiver, there are better bye week and injury options than Floyd out there. He has just a single touchdown on the season and with Antonio Gates back in the line up, those looks in the redzone will virtually all but disappear.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Braylon Edwards will be a game time decision on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Edwards has been limited with a knee injury that had him do light work in practice this week. He's recovering from knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Edwards will warm up on Sunday and then be evaluated by the stafff.
With Edwards having the dread game time decision designation and the fact that he's coming off knee surgery, it would probably be wise to stay away from Edwards this week until he's definitely a go. If Edwards doesn't play, look for Ted Ginn and Brett Swain to get a lot more playing time. With Ginn returning kicks, it's likely you'll see some Kyle Williams as well.
Peyton Hillis will travel with the Cleveland Browns to San Francisco as they take on a hot 49ers team. Despite traveling, Hillis is not expected to play. He's missed practice all week with a hamstring injury and is officially listed as questionable for the game. The last time Hillis missed practice all week and was listed as questionable, he was inactive.
With Hillis not looking to play, expect Montario Hardesty to get the starting nod. Hardesty should only be a fantasy option for you if you're in an emergency situation at running back. He's likely going to only get first and second down carries with Chris Ogbonnaya getting the work on third downs and obvious passing situations. Hardesty has 238 rushing yards on the season, but is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will likely see wide receiver Hines Ward miss his first game due to injury in quite a while. Ward is dealing with an ankle injury he suffered last week against the Arizona Cardinals. The loss is really in name only, as Ward has been slowly phased out of the offense as the Steelers open it up more. Ward has moved into the "possession" receiver role in the offense.
If you're looking for someone to replace Ward in the line up, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown will take the reps in three receiver sets, along with Mike Wallace. All three are much more explosive options than Ward in the line up and showed it last week when the Steelers bombed the Cardinals through the air.
New England Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is listed as questionable with a toe injury, but is expected to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Green-Ellis was limited all week in practice and as the Patriots are wont to do, he's listed as questionable on their injury report with everyone else who was limited in any of the practices.
Green-Ellis is expected to play and has been on the injury report with a toe injury since Week 6. If he's on your roster, he should be a good flex play option as last year against the Steelers he had 123 yards on 22 touches. Green-Ellis gets most of the work at running back in the redzone, as he leads the team with 5 rushing touchdowns on the season.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford injured his ankle last week against the Atlanta Falcons, but is expected to play on Sunday. Stafford was limited all week in practice until Friday when he went in full. He's officially listed as questionable on the injury report.
Stafford will be going up against a poor Denver pass defense and he's thrown at least two touchdowns in 6 of his 7 starts this year. There's no reason to believe Stafford's ankle will downgrade his play enough to warrant sitting him this week. The Broncos defense is horrible and he should be able to pick their secondary apart, even with Champ Bailey likely being on Calvin Johnson all game long. Stafford has 16 passing touchdowns on the season with only 4 interceptions.
Denver Broncos running back Willis McGahee has been ruled out of this weeks game against the Detroit Lions with a hand injury he suffered against the Miami Dolphins. It's likely that this injury will keep McGahee out for more than just a single week. Prior to the injury, McGahee had taken over as the Broncos primary running back, averaging about 70 yards a game on the ground.
Expect former first round pick Knowshon Moreno to get the bulk of the carries with McGahee out, but in the redzone it's more likely Tim Tebow runs the football himself, especially on the goal line. Moreno will likely do his damage catching screen passes and short throws out of the backfield more so than running the ball between the tackles.
The Detroit Lions will be without running back Jahvid Best once again as he is still sitting out due to a concussion he suffered two weeks ago. The Lions will give him another week off as they get ready for their Week 9 bye week. There was talk about Best sitting out the entire season due to the concussion, but it looks like the Lions will give him plenty of time to recover and see where he's at prior to Week 10.
In Best's absence, look for Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams to once again rotate in the backfield. With the Lions going against the Broncos porous rush defense, whoever starts at running back should be adequate. Last week, Williams had 44 rushing yards on just 9 carries against the Falcons.
Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells has been dealing with a knee injury that has limited him all week in practice. He's officially listed as questionable on the injury report, but most expect him to be active on game day. If he's active, it's possible Wells will be used primarily for short yardage and goal line work. So far on the season, Wells is averaging 4.6 yards per carry with 6 touchdowns.
If Wells doesn't go, expect Alfonso Smith the get the majority of the work running the football. Ken Whisenhunt said it will be "by committee" running the ball if Wells doesn't play, but Smith should get the carries on first and second down with LaRod Stephens-Howling getting the looks on third downs.
Arizona Cardinals tight end Todd Heap will be a game time decision as he gets ready to try and face the Baltimore Ravens, his former team. Heap was inactive last week dealing with the hamstring injury and was limited in practice all week. Heap's season as is has been disappointing however, with just 150 receiving yards in only 4 games.
If Heap is out and you're desperate for a bye week or injury tight end play, look for Rob Housler to get a lot of playing time. The rookie tight end has shown flashes of speed at the position and could prove to be a tough match up for linebackers in coverage down the seam and the sidelines. Housler really likes in blocking, but as a receiving threat he has upside.
The St. Louis Rams will take on the New Orleans Saints without starting quarterback Sam Bradford who will miss the second game in a row dealing with an ankle injury. Bradford tried to give it a go this week in practice again, but will give way to back up A.J. Feeley. Bradford is dealing with a high ankle sprain, which often take at least three weeks to heal. You should expect Bradford to give it a go again next week in practice.
Even if Bradford were playing, the Rams passing offense has been dreadful this season. The transition to Josh McDaniels offense hasn't gone smoothly at all. The addition of wide receiver Brandon Lloyd should help with Bradford comes back, but there is still a lot of work to do.
New Orleans Saints rookie running back Mark Ingram has been ruled out of this weeks game with a heel injury. Earlier in the week, Ingram was listed as "day-to-day" but failed to practice all week long. Some feel this could be a multi-week injury for Ingram. The Saints have two more games after this week until their bye, so that will be a situation to monitor.
With Ingram out, expect Pierre Thomas to get more work. Darren Sproles will likely get a lot of work in the passing game and on returns, but Thomas should get the lion's share of the carries and short yardage. Chris Ivory is also available for the game, but he's just coming off the PUP list, so he shouldn't be expected to get much action.
New Orleans Saints star tight end Jimmy Graham is expected to start and play this week despite dealing with an ankle injury. Graham was limited in practice on Wednesday, but participated fully on both Thursday and Friday. Graham should be in your starting line up if he's on your roster, as he's rated as the top tight end play this week.
Graham is going up against a St. Louis Rams defense that is among the worst in the NFL in points allowed. He's averaging just under 100 yards a game, which is fantastic for a tight end. Last week against the Colts, Graham had just 54 yards, but he also had two touchdowns. It's clear Graham has become the Saints primary target in the passing game.
UPDATE: Gonzalez is listed as inactive for the Colts Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. He has zero catches this season, so his scratch should come as no surprise.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez has dealt with injuries in the past, but has been a healthy scratch for a few games this season. When Gonzalez played, it's been mostly on special teams and not in the regular offense. He has yet to catch a pass this season in the three games he's been active and has only been targeted one time.
Gonzalez hasn't been productive at all since 2008, when he was last healthy. With Curtis Painter running the Colts offense, even if Gonzalez was playing and getting reps at receiver, it's not likely he'd be very productive anyway. The reasons for Gonzalez lack of playing time isn't really known, but it seems he's gotten in someone's dog house.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been dealing with an ankle injury, but he practiced in full on Thursday and Friday and is listed as probable on the injury report. With a change to rookie quarterback Christian Ponder, it's likely the Vikings feed Peterson the football more than in past weeks.
Peterson is going up against a Carolina Panthers defense that ranks in at 29th against the run and has allowed the must rushing touchdowns and runs of 20+ yards in the NFL. Peterson should be the best fantasy play at running back this week and you should have no worries about his ankle injury. Peterson is averaging over 100 yards per game and leads the NFL in rushing yards. He shouldn't have any problems this week.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Jacob Tamme has been dealing with a concussion that he suffered in last weeks blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints. Tamme hasn't been a big factor in the Colts passing attack, which has been non-existent at times. With Dallas Clark healthy, Tamme's role in the offense has decreased. He has only a single catch this season for 1 yard.
Tamme has been good to go in practice, passing his concussion baseline tests. He should be ready to play on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, but don't expect much from him out of the passing game. Since Clark is healthy, Tamme's role is primarily on special teams once again. Unless Clark goes down, don't expect him to see many targets.
Harvin's rib issue landed him on the team's injury report beginning in Week 6. Listed as "Questionable" for that week's game against the Chicago Bears, Harvin caught a team-high seven passes for 78 yards, had one rushing attempt for five yards and returned two kickoffs for 48 yards in the 39-10 loss. Listed as "Probable" for last week's loss to the Green Bay Packers, Harvin had two receptions for 15 yards, two rushing attempts for eight yards and returned two kickoffs for 55 yards.
Harvin expects to play, saying it's just a matter of pain tolerance.
"Without getting into too many details, it's just basically like (a) hamstring," Harvin said via Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com. "You can kind of feel it pulling, so it kind of makes me nervous at times. But other than that, it's just pain tolerance."
The Vikings released veteran wide receiver Bernard Berrian this week, but elevated 2011 seventh-round pick Stephen Burton from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. All five receivers on the roster, including Harvin, are expected to dress for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.
For more on the Vikings, visit the Daily Norseman.
After missing last week's game with a concussion, Seattle Seahawks tight end Zach Miller was not limited in the team's final two practices this week and is listed as "Probable" on the final injury report of the week.
Miller sustained his concussion, and a neck injury, during the first quarter of the Seahawks' 36-25 win over the New York Giants in Week 5. Miller took a hit to the head/neck from Giants safety Kenny Phillips, who was fined $20,000 for the hit, which is under appeal.
Signed to a five-year, $34 million contract that included $17 million in guaranteed money, Miller has just eight receptions on 62 yards in four-plus games this season, as a young, struggling offensive line frequently needed Miller to stay in as an extra blocker. With Miller out, and veteran John Carlson on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, second-year tight end Anthony McCoy started last week, with Cameron Morrah activated off the physically unable to perform list.
Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will have all three available on Sunday.
For more on the Seahawks, check out Field Gulls.
Jones had led the Cowboys with 253 yards and one rushing touchdown after five weeks, totals that were equaled in last Sunday's 34-7 win over the St. Louis Rams by 2011 third-round pick DeMarco Murray, who is expected to get the start against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.
Murray got his chance as Tashard Choice struggled with ball security and injured his shoulder, which along with a hamstring injury, which required an MRI on Friday, has him listed as "Questionable" for Sunday night's game.
Choice could be inactive, which would leave Murray and undrafted rookie Phillip Tanner as the healthy running backs on the roster when they take on an Eagles' run defense that allowed just 42 yards to the Washington Redskins before their bye week, but for the most part has struggled against the run. The Eagles had allowed 140.2 rushing yards per game the first five weeks of the season.
For more on the Cowboys running back situation, be sure to visit Blogging The Boys.
"This is probably my best day, today," Jackson said via Danny O'Neil of The Seattle Times. "I still kind of feel it when I throw a little bit. I've already kind of got it in my head that there's going to be some pain when I throw a little bit. There's going to be a little soreness."
Jackson strained his pectoral muscle during the third quarter of a Week 5 win over the New York Giants. Despite having a bye week, Jackson's pectoral muscle hadn't healed enough to allow him to play against the Cleveland Browns last week. Backup Charlie Whitehurst struggled to move the offense and the Seahawks lost, 6-3.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll will make a decision on a starter on Sunday, with Jackson's ability to make all the throws to be the determining factor in whether or not he starts.
For more on the Seahawks and their quarterback situation, check out Field Gulls.
Miami Dolphins second-round running back Daniel Thomas' troublesome hamstring injury kept him out of most of this week's practices and has him listed as "questionable" on the team's final injury report of the week.
Despite missing Weeks 1 and 4 with an injured hamstring, Thomas leads the Dolphins with 75 carries and 302 yards, providing an inside running element to Brian Daboll's offense. Thomas has struggled the last two weeks, though, gaining 100 yards on 34 carries.
On Friday, Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano commented on how Thomas is handling the nagging injury.
"He's handling it as well as any young guy can handle it," Sparano said via the Sun-Sentinel. "Somebody asked me if I was frustrated about it the other day, and I'm not frustrated because of the reward we get when he plays."
If he's able to play, Thomas could have some success against a New York Giants defense that ranks 27th against the run thus far this season.
For more on the Dolphins' running back situation, be sure to visit The Phinsider.
Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush was a limited participant in Wednesday and Thursday's practices due to a neck injury, but practiced fully on Friday and is listed as "Probable" on the final injury report of the week.
Through six games this season, Bush has just 232 rushing yards and 97 yards and a touchdown as a receiver out of the backfield. The lack of production prompted Bush to declare that he and his 0-6 teammates stink, comments he stuck by later in the week.
"I still stand by it,because there’s nothing fun about being 0-6," Bush said via Andrew Carter of the Sun-Sentinel. "There’s no room for sensitivity in this league. This is a man’s game and we all signed on the dotted line."
Bush and Co. could have some success against a New York Giants defense that ranks 27th against the run thus far this season.
For more on the Dolphins' running back situation, be sure to visit The Phinsider.
Hasselbeck injured the thumb on his throwing hand during last week's 41-7 loss to the Houston Texans and was limited during Wednesday's practice, wearing a glove to protect the injured digit. Hasselbeck ditched the glove and Thursday and downplayed his injury.
"They kind of gave me the day off (Wednesday) just so I wouldn’t take a bunch of snaps and pound it, but I didn’t want them to give me the day off," Hasselbeck said via Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. "But when you are as old as I am, 36, they give you a day off when you sneeze too much."
After a hot start to his stint with the Titans, Hasselbeck has cooled off the last two weeks, completing just 54.4 percent of his last 79 pass attempts for 366 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions as the Titans have lost back-to-back games to even their record at 3-3 heading into Sunday's game against the Colts, who have the NFL's 23rd-ranked pass defense.
For more Hasselbeck and the Titans, check out Music City Miracles.
Running back Joseph Addai sat out Wednesday and Thursday's practices, but returned to the field on Friday and is one of 14 Indianapolis Colts players who are listed as "Questionable" for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.
After missing the Colts' Week 6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals with a hamstring injury, Addai suffered a new hamstring injury during the team's 62-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night. If Addai is unable to play, 2011 fourth-round pick Delone Carter and 2009 first-round pick Donald Brown would share the rushing duties on Sunday.
Carter leads the Colts with 259 yards and two touchdowns on the ground this season, while Brown, once considered a bust, is averaging 5.5 yards on his 22 rushing attempts, all of which have come over the last three games. The Titans defense ranks 24th against the run this season, allowing an average of 124.5 yards per game.
For more on the Colts, visit Stampede Blue.
Moore is officially listed as "Probable".
Moore emerged from Sunday's 18-15 overtime loss to the Denver Broncos with sore ribs, an injury situation that has flown under the radar as coaches and players on the Dolphins' defense pointed fingers at one another over personnel groupings and a lack of execution during the Broncos' successful two-point conversion attempt that sent the game into overtime.
On Tuesday, Moore's backup, Sage Rosenfels, was placed on the season-ending "Reserve/Non-Football Illness" list after experiencing more symptoms of a blood infection that landed him on the Giants' injured reserve list in August. When placing Rosenfels on the non-football injury list, the Dolphins signed veteran J.P. Losman. A 2004 first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills who was among a group of veteran quarterbacks that worked out for the Dolphins on October 6 after Chad Henne was placed on injured reserve.
Since replacing Henne, Moore has completed 59.1 percent of his 93 pass attempts for 568 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions for a passer rating of 67.0.
For more on the Dolphins, check out The Phinsider.
After missing the last two games with a knee injury, New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs was a limited participant in all three of the team's practices this week and is listed as "Probable" on the team's official injury report.
Jacobs is expected to be the Giants' No. 2 running back against the Miami Dolphins, who are allowing 118.5 yards per game on the ground, which has them tied for 18th against the NFL.
With starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw coming off his first 100-yard game of the season, it's unclear how many carries Jacobs will receive on Sunday. Jacobs has bristled at his lack of attempts and, in an interview with Men's Fitness magazine, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound running back disclosed that he does not expect to be a factor this season or with the team beyond his current contract, which expires after the 2012 season.
"I just can’t wait to get a true opportunity to get out there and show myself again, you know? Next year, hopefully," Jacobs said.
For more on the Giants, check out Big Blue View.
Johnson injured his hamstring in the first half of a Week 4 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Johnson was able to practice on a limited basis on Wednesday and Thursday, but was held out of Friday's practice as head coach Gary Kubiak targets a Week 9 return for the five-time Pro Bowler.
"It's frustrating because I want to be on the field, it's still a day-to-day thing," Johnson told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle on Friday. "I still don't feel right, and I don't want to do anything to make it worse. I'm just going to keep working the way I have. I've made progress."
Despite missing the last three weeks, Johnson ranks second on the Texans with 25 receptions, and his 352 receiving yards are just three behind tight end Owen Daniels.
For more on the Texans, be sure to visit Battle Red Blog.
Running back Marshawn Lynch dressed, but did not play in the Seattle Seahawks' 6-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 7 after a nagging back injury flared up during pregame warm-ups. Lynch jogged along the sidelines and rode the exercise bike to loosen up his back to no avail, as Leon Washington and Justin Forsett would combine for 15 carries and 62 yards.
The Seahawks eased Lynch back into action during practice, as the veteran was limited on Wednesday before participating fully on Thursday and Friday. Lynch was officially listed as "Probable" on the team's final injury report of the week and is expected to start and be the Seahawks' primary ball-carrier against the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
Under coordinator Mike Zimmer, the Bengals possess the league's No. 2-ranked defense, ranking fifth against the run with 89.5 yards allowed per game.
For more on Lynch's status on Sunday and the Seahawks, check out Field Gulls.
The Dallas Cowboys officially ruled out Felix Jones for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, and a subsequent injury to Tashard Choice has made DeMarco Murray the de facto starter. He was likely the starter anyway following his blowup against the Rams, but this only further confirms it.
Jones is dealing with a high ankle sprain and is likely out for another week or two at least. Choice is dealing with a shoulder injury that has limited him all week in practice. Choice is now listed as questionable on the final injury report and is looking at limited reps for Sunday, if any. In Choice's place, Phillip Tanner will operate as Murray's backup.
Murray is looking at a very solid matchup as the Philadelphia Eagles have struggled much of this season against the run. The Eagles could turn their season around following the victory over the Washington Redskins, but for now they remain a solid matchup for your fantasy running backs.
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams, costing Ingram owners a fantastic fantasy matchup. Ingram bruised his heel on Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts and will be inactive on Sunday.
In place of Ingram, the Saints will mix and match Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas in the backfield. Thomas will likely get a lot of the carries between the 20s, while Sproles will get most of the third down carries and a host of red zone carries. I would argue both are solid starts this weekend against a Rams defense that was shredded by DeMarco Murray last week.
This might be going a bit overboard, but if you have both Thomas and Sproles and are short a running back this weekend, you might actually want to start both running backs against the Rams. That is not exactly a common move, but there are occasionally matchups where it makes sense. This is one such matchup.
We break down the final NFL injury report for week 8 of the 2011 NFL season. For more on fantasy football, check out Fake Teams.
We break down the Thursday practice participation report for week 8 of the 2011 NFL season. For more on fantasy football, check out Fake Teams.
A day after sitting out practice, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and wide receiver Percy Harvin both returned to practice on Thursday. Both were listed as limited as they only took part in individual drills. While it would be nice to see them both get a full workout in before Sunday, odds are high that both Peterson and Harvin play this Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe sat out a second straight day of practice as he continues to deal with a foot ailment. He could still practice tomorrow, but with back-to-back DNPs, it is unlikely that Shiancoe will play this Sunday against the Panthers. If Shiancoe sits, Kyle Rudolph would likely get the starting nod, with Jim Kleinsasser also getting a few backup snaps.
This weekend's matchup against the Panthers provides a variety of fantasy possibilities given Carolina's defensive woes. Even Christian Ponder could be an interesting play if you are derailed by any bye week issues this week. If he can have AP and Harvin at his disposal, the Vikings could be an intriguing option this weekend.
In a bit of surprising news, Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells returned to practice on Thursday in a limited fashion. Wells left Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers with what was eventually diagnosed as a bone bruise and was initially expected to miss a week or two. The injury was on the same knee he had surgery on last year.
Adam Schefter also reported that Wells felt he would be able to play this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens and Ken Whisenhunt expects some additional practice for him on Friday. This is positive momentum for Wells, but given the opponent and the quick turnaround with the injury, Wells is a questionable start at best this Sunday. If he is active you probably do start him, but you should also be operating under the assumption that he could aggravate the injury or potentially lose some carries even if healthy.
For those who picked up Alfonso Smith and/or LaRod Stephens-Howling, hang on to them through the weekend. Wells likely will end up as a game-time decision, which means you still might have some value from either of them. At the same time, facing what should be an angry Baltimore Ravens team, this might not be the best matchup for any of the Cardinals running backs. Maurice Jones-Drew had success against Baltimore, but I would not hold out hope for sustained success by the Cardinals in Baltimore.
We break down the Wednesday practice participation report for week 8 of the 2011 NFL season. For more on fantasy football, check out Fake Teams.
Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson has returned to the practice field this week, but shortly after head coach Gary Kubiak expressed optimism about Johnson taking a "huge step" forward, Johnson responded with less optimistic information. According to Johnson, he can make cuts and run his routes without trouble, but he feels some tugging on the hamstring when he tries to open up his stride.
Johnson has been sidelined since suffering the hamstring injury week four. The post-surgery diagnosis was a three week absence give or take. He has missed three games thus far, so a return this week would put him right on schedule. The Texans have done fairly well on offense without Johnson, but getting him back in the mix would make life a lot easier for Matt Schaub.
Fantasy-wise, it would naturally impact the receiving numbers of the rest of the offense. It would be interesting to see how the team continues to use goes like Joel Dreessen who have had some interesting performances during Johnson's absence. Running back Arian Foster has been the biggest beneficiary from this injury as he has become a complete all purpose threat for the Texans. He will likely continue in that role, but obviously lose some targets to Johnson.
Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis was limited in practice on Wednesday, but appears set to take the bulk of the carries this Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. Montario Hardesty will get some carries as Hillis' backup, but Hillis would be the fantasy start between the two of them.
Hillis has struggled for much of this year due primarily to injury issues, but also to some extent, his contract has been a bit of an issue. In four appearances this season, Hillis's one big game came at the Indianapolis Colts when he rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Outside of that game, he has combined for 117 yards and no touchdowns in three games.
This week does not bring calm to this situation as he faces a 49ers defense that is second in the league against the rush and hasn't given up a 100-yard rushing game since 2009. If you are trying to talk yourself into starting Hillis due to bye week, injury or general lack of depth concerns, there is always the possibility he could break out against them. Add in the fact that the 49ers have not given up a rushing touchdown this season and the situation is less than ideal.
If you picked up Montario Hardesty in recent weeks, do not waive him quite yet. He will shuffle back to being Peyton Hillis' backup, but given how Hillis' season has gone to date, I suspect Hardesty could find himself back in the starting lineup before too long. It may be injury, it may be ineffectiveness, but I think it happens at some point.
The Minnesota Vikings began their preparations for Sunday's game with the Carolina Panthers and have several injury concerns early in the week. Star running back Adrian Peterson was at practice Wednesday but did not participate. He joined wide receiver Percy Harvin and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe in sitting out practice.
Of the three players, Percy Harvin is most likely to be affected by his injury. He has been dealing with a rib injury that has limited his snaps, including having him sit out the entire second half of the Vikings-Packers game. Harvin underwent an MRI on his ribs and continues to try and quickly recover. From a fantasy and football perspective, Michael Jenkins might already be passing Harvin on the Vikings depth chart as Christian Ponder's favorite deep threat.
Adrian Peterson is dealing with a foot issue that left him limping late in Sunday's game against the Packers. It is not surprising that AP is sitting out this first day of practice. In reality he could sit out all three days practice and still play. The Panthers have an abysmal rush defense and I would be surprised if Peterson did not play Sunday. Toby Gerhart is his primary backup with Lorenzo Booker also getting some carries. If you have Peterson and feel uncomfortable this week, Gerhart might be a decent add as insurance.
Visanthe Shianco is also dealing with a bit of a foot injury but did not seem to have problems on Sunday against the Packers. He finished the game with four catches for 45 yards and a touchdown and could become a favorite of Ponder's fairly quickly. We'll continue updating his status, but this is likely a veteran's preference of sorts.
Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones is likely to remain unavailable for the team in week eight as he continues to battle through a high ankle sprain. The news is not particularly surprising since high ankle sprains often taken two to four weeks minimum to heal. And considering DeMarco Murray smashed through the Cowboys single game rookie rushing record, I'd imagine the team is not in the biggest hurry to get Jones back on the field.
Tashard Choice actually started Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams, but quickly gave way to Murray. The Cowboys have not declared a starter for Sunday against the Eagles, but even if Murray is not the official "starter" (unlikely) he will get a heavy work load. And considering the Eagles rush defense is dicey at best, this is a great game for Murray to roll up another solid rushing performance.
Choice will still get some carries, but he has little fantasy value. Technically, he could be a handcuff to Murray, but Choice is even losing carries to Phillip Tanner. He is in somebody's dog house and he won't be out any time soon.
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