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The Cleveland Browns removed a potentially significant lingering question mark for week ten by announcing that Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty are both OUT for Sunday's game versus the St. Louis Rams. Head coach Pat Shurmur made the announcement in his Monday morning press conference. Hillis has been dealing with a hamstring strain for several weeks while Hardesty suffered a torn calf muscle against the San Francisco 49ers. A Monday injury ruling is fairly rare, which indicates these are significant injuries for the short term.
Third string running back Chris Ogbonnaya will get the start on Sunday, with Thomas Clayton likely operating as his backup. The Browns might bring in a free agent back or two for a workout, but Ogbonnaya is likely the start. Ogbonnaya struggled against the Houston Texans, rushing 13 times for 28 yards as the Browns fell behind quickly and had to play catchup the rest of the game.
Ogbonnaya is not a fantastic option moving forward, but if you picked him up this past week, he could be a moderately decent flex option against the Rams. There are no byes this week so choose carefully if you elect to start Ogbonnaya. One option if you did claim him off waivers would be to try and swing a deal with a Peyton Hillis owner.
We break down the news that 49ers RB Frank Gore suffered an ankle sprain in Sunday's victory over the Washington Redskins. For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward has struggled with injuries in recent weeks and suffered yet another on Sunday. The Steelers receiver suffered concussion-like symptoms in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens after taking a big hit from linebacker Ray Lewis.
Ward has been dealing with ankle issues in recent weeks and missed last week's contest against the New England Patriots. The injuries have accelerated the process in which Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders have both started to move past Ward on the depth chart. Brown has made a firm move past him, with Emmanuel Sanders just about there as well.
The Steelers travel to face their co-AFC North leaders the Cincinnati Bengals in an unexpected battle for divisional supremacy. Given Ward's injuries he will likely be sidelined, although it is possible he could make a quick recovery. We'll keep an eye on him in the upcoming practice participation reports.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin cannot seem to catch a break as he aggravated the hamstring injury that cost him two games earlier in the season. Austin came up lame on a deep ball and finished the game with two receptions for 53 yards. He did not return to the game and his status moving forward is questionable.
Austin looked ready to blow up this season as he opened with 233 yards and four touchdowns through the first two games of the season. However, late in the Cowboys victory over the 49ers, Austin strained his hamstring. He missed the next two games and has struggled to get anything going since then. Over the last four games he has caught a combined 14 passes for 170 yards and no touchdowns.
We'll keep an eye on the practice participation reports this week, but if the injury is anything like his last hamstring injury, Austin could miss a game or two. We'll have updates throughout the week.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi left Sunday's game against the Houston Texans after feeling woozy based on a previous concussion. Massaquoi suffered a concussion on October 23 versus the Seattle Seahawks and apparently is still feeling the effects of the concussion. He suffered a previous concussion in training camp and one last year. He sat out last week's game against the San Francisco 49ers and given the extended effects of the concussion, it would not be surprising to see him sit out next week.
The Browns offense has struggle with consistency in 2011 and losing Massaquoi would not help matters. The Browns have worked Ben Watson and rookie Greg Little into the offense a bit more in recent weeks, with Joshua Cribbs getting a few deep balls his way. Little has emerged as the leading receiver on the team, which will hurt the number of passes going Massaquoi's way.
The Browns face a pair of solid matchups for their passing game as they host the St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars the next two weeks. I would not be surprised to see Massaquoi sit out at least the Rams game. Little and Watson have some modest fantasy upside, although not a ton given the struggles of the Browns offense.
New England Patriots running back Danny Woodhead was forced from Sunday's game in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants with a lower leg injury. Woodhead left the game having rushed seven times for 26 yards and caught three passes for 34 yards. Woodhead was able to walk off under his own power and there is no subsequent update at this point.
The Patriots rushing attack can be difficult to figure out at times for fantasy football purposes. BenJarvus Green-Ellis would appear to be the starter, but then last week we saw Kevin Faulk get more touches when the Patriots fell behind. Faulk's knee took a bit of a pounding and he was inactive this week against the Giants.
Danny Woodhead got more touches than we've seen in a while so who knows what that means moving forward depending on his leg injury. Of course, for a while Stevan Ridley was the guy getting the additional touches. It really is a conundrum trying to figure out who has what value in that backfield. Green-Ellis would still seem to be the guy, but you never know who might steal some carries from him,
Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells has put together a solid 2011 campaign, but he has had to deal with a variety of ailments that have slowed his fantasy production. He found himself banged up once against Sunday afternoon against the St. Louis Rams. Wells has been dealing with a season-long knee issue and added a stinger to his medical report in the third quarter of the Cardinals 19-13 overtime victory.
Wells finished the game with 20 rushing yards on ten carries and another 13 receiving yards. He suffered the stinger in the third quarter, but it is the knee issue that is causing the real problems. He had surgery on the knee a year ago and is still struggling with it. He has acknowledged it will likely bother him all season long, so fantasy owners will have to live with it the rest of the season.
The Cardinals schedule the rest of the way provides a mix of good and bad matchups. They head east to Philadelphia where the Eagles have struggled against the run. They follow that up with a road trip to San Francisco to face one of the top rushing defenses in the league. They wrap up the three-game road trip at St. Louis. Wells should stay in your lineup for now, but he will be worth monitoring each week.
The Miami Dolphins have officially listed rookie running back Daniel Thomas as active for their Week 9 clash against the Kansas City Chiefs, a boon to a team that's struggled to find run consistency with Reggie Bush as their starter.
Thomas, as Brian McIntyre noted earlier this week, has yet to play in back-to-back weeks for the Dolphins, so how long he'll be able to stay on the field will be an issue. It also remains to be seen how much head coach Tony Sparano will use Thomas, seeing as the hamstring injury just isn't going away.
The Dolphins don't have an easy matchup against the Chiefs in Week 9. The Chiefs' run defense, led by Derrick Johnson, started out atrociously, but in their four-game winning streak have kept backs like Darren McFadden and Adrian Peterson in check.
For more on Thomas and his matchup, visit Dolphins blog The Phinsider and Chiefs blog Arrowhead Pride. For more updates on fantasy football, keep it with this storystream and follow @SBNationFantasy on Twitter.
Rich Eisen just said it on NFL Network, so it must be true: the New York Jets' wide receiver Plaxico Burress will play in Week 9 on the road against the Buffalo Bills. Burress had been struggling with a back injury all week, and was listed as questionable entering Sunday.
This is obviously huge for fantasy teams, as it hasn't been an easy week for wide receiver injuries. Despite complaints about his ineffectiveness, Burress has caught five touchdown passes in seven games for the Jets, good for fourth in the league. As with any sport, it takes weeks to shake off the rust that comes with a long (say, two-year) layoff, and Burress figures to only be a bigger factor as the season wears on.
For more information on Burress and his matchup, visit SB Nation's Jets blog, Gang Green Nation, and our Bills blog, Buffalo Rumblings. Keep it with this storystream for all your fantasy injury updates and tweet @SBNationFantasy.
Davis injured his ankle last week in the Redskins' loss to the Buffalo Bills and was seen in a walking boot as late as Monday. Davis was limited in practice Friday, but looks to be good to go against the San Francisco 49ers at FedEx Field.
The Redskins need all the help they can get as injuries have plagued the team in recent weeks. Davis' tight end counterpart, Chris Cooley, is our for the season as is running back Tim Hightower. Wide receiver Santana Moss is also out for at least another month.
For more on the Washington Redskins, check out SB Nation's Washington Redskins blog Hogs Haven. For more on the Redskins vs. 49ers showdown, visit this StoryStream. For more on the 49ers, visit SB Nation's 49ers blog Niners Nation and SB Nation Bay Area.
St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is still dealing with an ankle injury and is officially listed as questionable on the Rams injury report. Bradford will be the dreaded game-time decision on Sunday, but most do not expect Bradford to be able to play against the Arizona Cardinals. Bradford has missed the past two games. If Bradford is on your roster, it's best to leave him on your bench regardless, as the Rams offense has been dreadful.
Filling in for Bradford once again will likely be A.J. Feeley, who led the Rams to their first victory of the season over the New Orleans Saints. He threw for 175 yards and connected with Brandon Lloyd for a touchdown. If you need an emergency start at quarterback, Feeley may get you some points going up against a bad Cardinals secondary.
Denver Broncos running back Willis McGahee is expected to play against the Oakland Raiders, despite dealing with a hand injury. McGahee recently had surgery that had a plate and five pins inserted to repair a fracture in his ball-carrying hand. McGahee is expected to play, but the real question is how effective will he be?
If McGahee is on your roster, your best bet is to leave him on your bench until you can see how he will be used with his hand injury. It's unlikely McGahee will see many carries out of the backfield, but he could be a passing target on screens and quick running back pass that Tim Tebow can complete. If you have another even viable back up option, your best bet would be to play them in place of McGahee.
San Diego Chargers running back Mike Tolbert is listed as probable on the injury report with a hamstring. Tolbert practice in full all week for the Chargers and could wind up starting the game, depending on Ryan Mathews status. Tolbert has been the primary goal line back for the Chargers and will be likely playing in a shoot out against the Green Bay Packers.
Ryan Mathews status for the game is still up in the air and looks like a game time decision, so Tolbert should be in your starting line up if he's on your roster. He's normally good for a RB2 or 3 play anyway, but with how limited Mathews was during the week, it's looking likely that Tolbert will get the majority of the touches.
Indianapolis Colts running back Joseph Addai is expected to play against the Atlanta Falcons, despite missing practice on Friday. Some of the Colts beat writers believe Addai was simply given a day off on Friday to help expedite the process with his knee injury. Addai is officially listed a questionable on the report, but is expected to play.
If Addai plays, it's unlikely he'll do much on the stat sheet. The Colts offense has been dreadful much of the season and they's constantly playing in catch up mode. Addai is averaging just 43 rushing yards per game on the season so far and only has 11 receptions out of the backfield. If Addai can't go, expect Delone Carter and Donald Brown to split the touches out of the backfield.
San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews is officially listed as questionable on the Chargers injury report, but it looks like he will be a dread game time decision. Mathews missed some practice time during the week, including Friday, dealing with a hamstring injury. He was not expected to play, but some Chargers beat writers tend to suggest it's still possible Mathews is a go.
This is a tricky situation if Mathews is on your roster. Late game game time decisions are difficult and the game against the Green Bay Packers is likely to be a shoot out. If you have another viable option on your bench, your safest bet is to place someone else for Mathews. If Mathews can't go, expect Mike Tolbert to carry the load.
The Atlanta Falcons will have wide receiver Julio Jones for their game against the Indianapolis Colts. Jones was limited in practice for most of the week, but went full on Friday. He's officially listed on the injury report as probable with a hamstring injury but is expected to start.
Getting Jones back in the line up opens up the Falcons passing game by drawing coverage away from Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. If Jones is on your roster he should be a sure start against a struggling Colts defense who can't seem who they want to start at cornerback. The Falcons should handle the Colts defense rather easily and it's a great game for Jones to pick up some easy receptions to get back into game shape.
San DIego Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd looks to be a game time decision against the Green Bay Packers. Floyd has been dealing with a hip injury he may have sustained on Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs. Floyd missed practice all week long dealing with the injury and the Chargers even signed a wide receiver to their active roster on Saturday.
Unless you're desperate, Floyd looks like a wide receiver you should steer clear of because he may not even play. If he does play, it's likely he will be limited in the passing game, having missed practice all week. Without Floyd in the line up, expect Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates to be force fed the football, especially in what looks to be like a shootout.
Wide receiver Vincent Jackson has been dealing with a hamstring injury that has him listed as probable on the San Diego Chargers injury report. Jackson missed practice on Wednesday and was limited the rest of the week, but he is expected to play on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
The Chargers could already be without wide receiver Malcom Floyd, who missed practice all week, so losing Jackson would be a big blow to the offense. Jackson should be in your starting line up however and he figures to get quite a bit of targets in the game. It's expected to be a shootout on Sunday, so Jackson and Antonio Gates should dominated the offensive looks in the game, especially with Floyd dealing with a hip injury.
New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker is listed as questionable with a neck injury heading into the match-up with the New York Giants. Welker missed practice on Wednesday and was limited on both Thursday and Friday, but is expected to play in the game. If Welker is on your roster, he should be in your starting line up and he's averaging well over 100 yards per game on the season.
If for some reason Wes Welker is just limited in the game or doesn't play, that means more looks will go the way of tight end Rob Gronkowski, especially in the redzone. Welker is expected to play however, and he leads the team in receiving yards, touchdowns, and targets by a large margin.
New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is officially listed as questionable on the Patriots injury report, but he is expected to play against the New York Giants. Hernandez was limited all week in Patriots practice with his knee, which has kept him questionable for a few weeks, but he has continued to play each week. His overall numbers are down in 2011, but even with his knee injury he's still a threat in the redzone with 4 touchdowns already this season.
If Hernandez is out or limited, expect Rob Gronkowski to get even more looks than he already gets, especially in the redzone. Gronkowski is a huge target and a mismatch in the redzone, just like Aaron Hernandez. The Patriots like to have both on the field.
New England Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is listed as questionable for the game against the New England Patriots. Green-Ellis, despite being questionable, is expected to play. He has been listed as questionable three weeks in a row and each week has played and gotten plenty of looks especially on the goal line.
If Green-Ellis somehow doesn't play or is limited, expect Kevin Faulk to get the majority of the touches out of the backfield. Faulk led the Patriots in touches out of the backfield last week. Green-Ellis should still get the goal line chances however, as he has 5 rushing touchdowns on the season and is typically the go-to man. With Faulk finally healthy however, expect the touches to be spread around.
The New York Giants will be without running back Ahmad Bradshaw against the New England Patriots with a foot injury. The Giants offense is already hampered without Hakeem Nicks in the line up, so losing Bradshaw is huge. It's likely the Giants will focus on rushing the football on the Patriots defense.
With Bradshaw out, expect running back Brandon Jacobs to get the lion's share of the carries. The two backs split time as is, but Bradshaw should get the majority of the touches out of the backfield. It's possible D.J. Ware and Da'Rel Scott will get some looks, but Bradshaw will be the go to guy for the game. Jacobs has been asking for more touches, so this will be an audition game for him, so to speak.
The New York Giants will be without wide receiver Hakeem Nicks against the New England Patriots, dealing with a hamstring injury. Nicks is a big loss for a Giants offense that will be missing their starting center and running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Nicks has nearly 600 receiving yards this year and would likely have a field day against the Patriots awful pass defense.
Without Hicks in the line-up, expect Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham to get a lot of looks their direction. Cruz has finally translated his preseasons success to the regular season. Manningham on the other hand has been hot and cold this season. If you're looking for a HIcks replacement, Victor Cruz is your best bet this week.
The Oakland Raiders should be with their kicked Sebastian Janikowski on Sunday as they play the Denver Broncos. Janikowski missed the game against the Kansas City Chiefs prior to the Raiders bye week because of his hamstring. The Raiders have had kicker Dave Rayner on speed dial in case Janikowski was not able to play, but he tested out his leg on Saturday and everything looks good to go.
The Broncos actually give up the most fantasy points to opposing kickers, so if you're worried about playing Janikowski, don't be. The Raiders will be without Darren McFadden and their passing game is still iffy with the uncertainty at quarterback. Janikowski should have plenty of field goal chances against the Broncos defense.
For more on Sebastian Janikowski and the Oakland Raiders, visit SB Nation's Raiders blog Silver and Black Pride. For more on fantasy football, check out Fake Teams. Follow @sbnationfantasy on Twitter.
The Oakland Raiders will be without starting running back Darren McFadden when they take on the Denver Broncos. McFadden was officially ruled out, as he's still dealing with a foot injury. The Raiders could use McFadden's explosive running ability against the Broncos while Carson Palmer is still settling back into playing football.
In place of McFadden, the Raiders will start Michael Bush. Bush hasn't exactly been the epitome of health, so expect rookie running back Taiwan Jones to also get some touches in the game. Jones will likely play on passing downs with Bush getting most of the short yardage and goal line carries. If you need a spot starter and he's not being held on another team's bench, Bush should be a good play against the Broncos rush defense.
Blount has missed the Buccaneers' last two games with a knee injury, but was able to practice fully during practice and is expected to carry the load on Sunday, including on third downs, Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times reports.
"Oh yeah, I know I'm going to play third downs in this game,'' Blount said. "I'm probably not going to play all of them, but I know I'm going to play quite a few of them. I've shown that I know the protections and I know the routes and everything and I can catch the ball, so that's going to help us out tremendously. It's going to let me stay in the game a little bit longer and play a lot more snaps, so I'm excited.''
Blount has 77 carries for 328 yards and three touchdowns, adding four receptions for 58 yards out of the backfield. Blount only caught five passes for 14 yards during his standout rookie season, but with Cadillac Williams moving on in free agency, and Earnest Graham out for the season with an Achilles injury, Blount will get more opportunities to move the chains on third downs.
For more on the Buccaneers, check out Bucs Nation.
Winslow appeared on the team's injury report on Thursday, but for non-injury reasons, which were not disclosed.
The veteran tight end has battled knee injuries throughout his career, but has not missed any of the Buccaneers' seven games this season and is tied for the team lead with 31 receptions and ranks second behind second-year wide receiver Mike Williams in targets (58) and receiving yards (282) with one touchdown.
In the first meeting against the Saints, Winslow caught five passes for 40 yards and was involved in a verbal spat with quarterback Josh Freeman. The local media in Tampa brought that issue up, which Freeman says was no big deal.
"To be completely honest,out of all my guys (on the team) I probably have the best relationship with K2 (Winslow). We spend a lot of time working out in the offseason - hanging out," Freeman told WDAE via Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune.
"I have a great relationship with K2. In no way shape or form has he ever pressured me to get him the ball. You know, it’s a deal where we’re both extremely competitive."
For more on the Buccaneers, check out Bucs Nation.
The Saints traded back into the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft to select the former Heisman Trophy winner who currently leads the club with 85 carries for 329 yards with three touchdowns on the ground.
New Orleans is well-stocked at the running back position, with 2010 leading rusher Chris Ivory on the roster and the club-resigning Pierre Thomas to a contract extension before drafting Ingram. Once the free agent signing period began after the lockout ended, the Saints signed Darren Sproles to a four-year, $14 million contract. Sproles currently leads the NFL in combined yards with 1,331, 694 of which are comprised of rushing (305) and receiving (389) yardage.
Without Ingram last week, the Saints' three-headed monster of Sproles, Thomas and Ivory combining for 19 carries and 57 yards with a touchdown run by Thomas in the 31-21 loss to the Rams.
For more on the Saints, check out Canal Street Chronicles.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez is listed as "Probable" after appearing on the team's injury report with a back injury this week.
The future Hall of Famer missed Wednesday's practice, was limited on Thursday and practiced fully on Friday, putting him on target to play against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Gonzalez is second on the Falcons with 35 receptions for 380 yards with a team-high four touchdowns in seven games on the season.
Gonzalez has been exceptionally durable throughout his career, missing just two games over the last 15 seasons and none since being traded to the Falcons in 2009. Gonzalez was able to practice fully before the end of the week, and his absence on Wednesday can be chalked up to the team being cautious and giving the veteran a day off as the team returned from it's bye week.
For more on the Falcons and Gonzalez's status on Sunday, check out The Falcoholic.
Edwards missed a month after undergoing minor surgery, returning to catch four passes for 42 yards in the 49ers' 20-10 win over the Cleveland Browns. Signed to a one-year, $1.6 million contract as a free agent in August, Edwards has eight receptions for 90 yards in three games this season, with Sunday's production being his highest as a member of the 49ers.
Though Edwards came off the bench against the Browns, the team that selected him in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft, he is expected to return to his starting role opposite Michael Crabtree in the near future. Combined, Crabtree and Edwards were targeted 16 times by quarterback Alex Smith on Sunday, catching nine passes for 96 yards and a touchdown (by Crabtree).
For more on the 49ers, visit Niner Nation.
Davis missed Wednesday's practice before being limited on Thursday and Friday.
With tight end Chris Cooley out with a season-ending knee injury, the 2008 second-round pick out of USC has emerged as the Redskins' leading receiving in 2011, hauling in 36 passes for 517 yards and two touchdowns this season. Davis has 20 receptions for 269 yards over the last three weeks.
Davis had just 72 receptions for 852 yards and nine touchdowns in 43 career games entering 2011 and is on pace to double his receptions and receiving yardage production this season, the last year of his rookie contract.
On Friday, Davis was hopeful that he'd be able to play against the 49ers.
"It bothered me a little bit, but every day it got better," Davis said according to Rick Maese of The Washington Post.
For more on the Redskins, check out Hogs Haven.
Crabtree, who has battled foot injuries dating back to his final season at Texas Tech, was a limited participant during all of this week's practices. Crabtree is likely to be limited in practice and on the team's injury report throughout the season with the foot injury.
The 10th overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft has 25 receptions for 263 yards and one touchdown this season, during which he's beginning to shed the diva label, earning praise from first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh for buying into the team concept.
"He just keeps getting better and more comfortable, and his abilities are shining through," Harbaugh said via Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee. "And he's the consummate team type of guy the way he's blocked."
For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation.
After missing last week's 34-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals with a hamstring injury, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Mike Williams practiced this week and is expected to play against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Williams is officially listed as "Probable" on the team's final injury report of the week.
Williams was a surprise addition to the team's inactive list last Sunday, with the hamstring cropping up on Sunday and preventing him from playing against the Bengals. Veteran Ben Obomanu replaced Williams in the starting lineup, catching four passes for a team-high 107 yards.
A former first-round pick of the Detroit Lions who spent 2008 and 2009 out of football, Williams reunited with head coach Pete Carroll in Seattle and caught 65 passes for 751 yards and two touchdowns in 2010, earning himself a three-year contract extension. Thus far, Williams has just nine receptions for 89 yards and one touchdown in five games this season.
For more on the Seahawks, visit Field Gulls.
Jones has missed the last two weeks with the injury and just had his walking boot removed. Jones has not yet begun to run, which means he could be a few more weeks away from returning to action.
In the absence of Jones, 2011 third-round pick DeMarco Murray has emerged as the team's leading rushing, carrying the ball 33 times for 327 yards and a touchdown in the last two games, with most of that production coming in a Week 7 win over the St. Louis Rams. Murray is expected to start on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, who have the NFL's 11th-ranked run defense and are allowing the fewest amount of rushing yards per play this season.
Rookie Phillip Tanner will be the No. 2 back behind Murray.
For more on the Cowboys, check out Blogging The Boys.
Rice landed on the team's Thursday injury report with a foot injury, but participated fully on Friday and is good-to-go on Sunday. The team characterized his absence on Thursday more as the team giving him a veteran's day off than a concern about his availability for this week's game.
Signed to a five-year, $41 million contract that included $18.5 million in guaranteed money in August, Rice missed the first two weeks of the 2011 season with a shoulder injury that reports indicated will require surgery at some point. Since his return to the lineup, Rice has been the preferred target of Seahawks quarterbacks -- including his former teammate Tarvaris Jackson, who is expected to start as well on Sunday -- catching 24 passes for 366 yards and a touchdown.
For more on the Seahawks, visit Field Gulls.
Thomas, who was expected to provide an inside running presence, has 75 carries for 302 yards on the season, but has been unable to play more than two games back-to-back without his hamstring flaring up. Thomas, who missed last week's loss to the New York Giants, has not missed back-to-back games yet, providing hope that they'll have him against the Chiefs, who have the NFL's 22nd-ranked run defense.
Thomas plans on being ready to play on Sunday, Andrew Carter of the Sun-Sentinel reported on Friday.
"I feel good," Thomas said. "I went through practice the whole week. Held up pretty well. So I’ll be ready to go Sunday."
If Thomas is unable to play, Reggie Bush would get the bulk of the carries in the Dolphins' running game. A free agent addition this offseason, Bush had 15 carries for 103 yards against the Giants, which was just the second 100 rushing yard game of Bush's career.
For more on the Dolphins, visit The Phinsider.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll characterized Jackson as a "game-time decision", Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune reports.
"He’s ready to play at this point," Carroll said about Jackson. "We know now what to expect, maybe more so. He practiced Wednesday and couldn’t practice on Thursday. So he threw a little bit today, and we need to see what happens by Sunday. … I don’t know until we get there.
Jackson has been recovering from a pectoral muscle injury, sustained before the team's bye week, that kept him out of a 6-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 7 and out for the start of the Week 8's 34-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Jackson replaced an ineffective Charlie Whitehurst in the second of the Bengals game, completing 21-of-40 pass attempts for 323 yards as he attempted to rally the now 2-5 Seahawks from behind.
Jackson was able to participate fully in Wednesday's practice and was limited on Thursday before return to full participation on Friday.
For more on the Seahawks, visit Field Gulls.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore participated fully in this week's practices and will start on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Moore is officially listed as "Probable" on the final injury report of the week.
Moore replaced an injured Chad Henne in Week 4 and has completed 68-of-115 pass attempts for 706 yards with one touchdowns and four interceptions, compiling a passer rating of 65.3, as the Dolphins' losing streak has continued. Moore had his finest game of the season against the Denver Broncos in Week 7, completing 22-of-33 attempts for 197 yards and a touchdown, but injured his ribs.
In last week's loss to the New York Giants, Moore was just 13-of-22 for 138 yards with an interception.
Backing up Moore is journeyman J.P. Losman, who was signed after Moore's ribs were injured and has attempted just one NFL pass since the 2008 season.
For more on the Dolphins, visit The Phinsider.
The club had held out hope that Johnson would be ready for this week's game, an optimism that remained even as Johnson did not take not part in Wednesday or Thursday's practice. Johnson missed Friday's practice, as well, prompting the team to once again push back his return to the field.
Johnson himself has not established a target date for his return.
"To be honest, I haven't really targeted any date," Johnson said via Jeffrey Martin of the Houston Chronicle. "At first, I just felt like I'll miss a couple games and I'll be back out there. It just all depends on how your body responds. I thought I would be back playing by now. I'm not, so right now I just really can't set a date. I'm just taking it one day at a time."
For more on the Texans, check out Battle Red Blog.
Cleveland Browns running back and Madden '12 cover player Peyton Hillis' season to forget took another wrong turn on Friday, with the fourth-year player aggravating his left hamstring injury during practice.
According to multiple reports, Hillis aggravated the hamstring after taking a hand-off during Friday's practice, throwing the football and his helmet in frustration before exiting the field with a trainer. Hillis not expected to play on Sunday against the Houston Texans.
Hillis, who has missed the last two weeks with the hamstring and who Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports reports was subjected to an intervention by his fed-up teammates, is listed as "Questionable" on the Browns' injury report. Browns head coach Pat Shurmur discussed Hillis' situation after Friday's practice.
"Well I'd ask you to think about what he thinks. It's a game where you have injuries, you deal with them, you try to fight back from them and that's what we all try to do," said Shurmur. "At this point though, unfortunately, if he's not ready to go we just move on and I think that's the mindset at any position. I'm sure if he can't play this week then I'm sure he'll be frustrated by that, but the key is to do everything in his power to get healthy so he can play."
For more on the Browns, check out Dawgs By Nature.
Hardesty, who was starting in place of the injured Peyton Hillis, suffered a torn calf muscle after just two carries for six yards during last Sunday's loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The injury is expected to sideline Hardesty for at least two weeks.
A 2010 second-round pick out of Tennessee, Hardesty spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a torn ACL. In seven games this season, including a couple of starts, Hardesty has a team-high 75 carries and 244 yards rushing, and has caught 12 passes for 113 yards, but is still seeking his first NFL touchdown.
In addition to Hardesty, the Browns are expected to be without Hillis when they take on the Texans on Sunday. Hillis aggravated his hamstring injury, leaving the team with untested Chris Ogbonnaya and Thomas Clayton at the running back position.
For more on the Browns, check out Dawgs By Nature.
After missing the last two weeks with an ankle injury, Buffalo Bills starting wide receiver Donald Jones is listed as "Probable" on the team's official injury report and is expected to play against the New York Jets on Sunday.
Prior to his injury, the Bills' No. 2 receiver opposite Steve Johnson had 16 receptions for 174 yards and one touchdown in five games this season, including a five-catch, 101-yard performance at Ralph Wilson Stadium in the Bills' upset win over the New England Patriots in Week 3.
Undrafted out of Youngstown State in 2010, Jones is two receptions, 39 yards and a touchdown away from surpassing his rookie receiving totals.
Jones opened the week as a limited participant on the team's practice report, but participated fully in both Thursday and Friday's practices and appears on track to return to the starting lineup for Sunday's game against the Jets. The 5-2 Bills will need to win to keep ahead of the New England Patriots at the top of the AFC East standings.
For more on the Bills, be sure to check out Buffalo Rumblings.
Fitzpatrick emerged from the Bills' 23-0 win over the Washington Redskins with a chest bruise, which had him limited during both Wednesday and Thursday's practices. Fitzpatrick participated fully on Friday and, barring a setback, will make the start against the Jets, who have the NFL's seventh-ranked pass defense and are tied for fourth in the NFL with 11 interceptions.
Asked earlier in the week if there was any doubt that Fitzpatrick would play on Sunday, Bills head coach Chan Gailey brushed aside talk of the team's newly-minuted franchise missing the Jets game.
"Not in my mind, his mind or the trainer’s mind," Gailey said via the team's official website. "Those are the three most important minds at work."
The Bills signed Fitzpatrick to a six-year, $59 million contract extension last weekend.
For more on the Bills, be sure to check out Buffalo Rumblings.
The 33-year-old Burress was limited in Thursday and Friday's practice and was officially listed as "Questionable" on the team's final injury report of the week.
"You think he'll be fine, but sometimes those backs are troublesome," Ryan said of Burress via Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger. "So hopefully he's feeling good when we play on Sunday."
Despite having the second-most targets on the team this season, Burress has just 18 receptions for 243 yards and five touchdowns in his first season back after spending nearly two years in a New York prison. Burress is coming off a four-catch, three-touchdown performance in the Jets' come-from-behind win over the San Diego Chargers in Week 7.
If Burress is unable to play, 2011 fifth-round pick Jeremy Kerley is expected to start opposite Santonio Holmes. Kerley has caught nine passes for 82 yards and a touchdown over the three last weeks since overtaking Derrick Mason as the team's No. 3 receiver.
For more on the Jets, visit Gang Green Nation.
We break down some updates to the final NFL injury reports for week 9 of the 2011 NFL season. For more on fantasy football, check out Fake Teams.
Peyton Hillis will miss his third consecutive game for the Cleveland Browns, as the running back was officially downgraded to "out" on Cleveland's injury report due to his balky hamstring, according to the Akron Beacon-Journal. He aggravated the injury, originally sustained Oct. 16 against the Raiders, during Friday's practice. From the newspaper:
Hillis' status for Sunday isn't surprising considering what reporters witnessed Friday. He took a handoff, ran off right guard and started to limp. He immediately threw the ball and his helmet in frustration and later walked off the practice field with a trainer.
After leaving the field, Hillis underwent an MRI. The results have not been announced, so unclear if a decision about Hillis' availability beyond this week has been made.
Montario Hardesty, Hillis' primary backup, is also sidelined, suffering a calf injury last week. This rash of injuries has paved the way for Chris Ogbonnaya's unexpected rise to prominence. Signed off Houston's practice squad two weeks ago, he'll start against his former teammates this week. A seventh-round pick by the Rams in 2009, Ogbonnaya played college ball at University of Texas with current Browns QB Colt McCoy.
SB Nation Medical Expert Dr. Ali Mohamadi discusses some of the most significant remaining injuries impacting this weekend’s games and how they might affect your fantasy rosters:
We break down the final NFL injury report for week 9 of the 2011 NFL season. For more on fantasy football, check out Fake Teams.
Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski remains questionable for Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos as he looks to come back from a hamstring injury suffered prior to their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Janikowski tweaked the hamstring in practice and the Raiders subsequently brought in Dave Rayner to fill in on kicking duties.
Janikowski has not tested the hamstring thus far, but he is expected to see what he can do Friday or Saturday and determine then whether he will be able to play on Sunday. If Seabass cannot loosen up the hamstring in that practice session, he would likely be deactivated for Sunday. if that were the case, the Raiders likely have several kickers on speed dial to fill in for Janikowski. They signed Dave Rayner for a week before releasing him, and he remains available if needed.
For fantasy purposes, hold off on adding a new kicker if you have Janikowski. We will likely get word by late Saturday as to Janikowski's status. If you have a fairly useless player at the end of your roster, you might want to add a second kicker. If you can avoid dropping Janikowski I would recommend doing that. While kickers are not always huge for fantasy points, Janikowski is so good from beyond 50, where you get solid bonus points, that I don't think he is a guy you want to unload. At the same time, you do not want to take a zero at the position, so do what you have to do.
Following a week of not practicing, the Oakland Raiders surprised nobody on Friday by ruling running back Darren McFadden out for Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos. McFadden has been struggling to return from a sprained foot suffered two weeks ago against the Kansas City Chiefs. He has been on crutches for much of the last two weeks and will need at least another week to return, if not more.
Michael Bush will get the start on Sunday and likely carry the bulk of the load. Taiwan Jones will operate as his backup but will be nothing more than a change of pace back. After McFadden went down against the Chiefs, Bush received most of the carries with Jones getting in for three rushes and one reception on two targets. He might get a few more touches this week, but Bush is the guy.
In replacing McFadden two weeks ago, Bush rushed for 99 yards on 17 carries. He is one of the best backup running backs in the league and should put together a solid day against the Denver Broncos. The Raiders still have question marks about their passing attack, but Bush provides them with solid punch on the ground.
Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden missed a third straight day of practice and it would be an upset if he was in the starting lineup this Sunday against the Denver Broncos. McFadden sprained his foot two weeks ago in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs. He has been on crutches since then and will likely be down for this Sunday.
If McFadden does sit, Michael Bush would get the start in his place and is a great fantasy start against the struggling Broncos. Bush is one of the best backup running backs in the league. His backup would be Taiwan Jones, who would act as a modest change of pace back and not much more.
The big question mark for Bush is how much running room he will have given the question marks surrounding the Raiders passing attack. Bush is a good start no matter what, but getting Carson Palmer and the passing attack in gear would be helpful for maximizing the return of Bush.
New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin declared that running back Ahmad Bradshaw's foot injury is at a point where he actually needs to show some improvement before he would even be a game-time decision. That would seem to indicate he is doubtful for Sunday, and thus less than a 50% chance of playing.
Bradshaw has been dealing with a cracked bone in his foot and implications of the injury have been across the board from out indefinitely to no big deal. He could potentially get surgery on the foot but has held off the decision for now. If he has surgery, the absence would be further extended to an indefinite time frame.
In the meantime, backup Brandon Jacobs will take over the starting role. Normally, Jacobs picks up as many as ten carries in place of Ahmad Bradshaw. One has to wonder if D.J. Ware or Da'Rel Scott would fill that role, or work more as a normal backup getting just a few touches apiece at most. For now, Jacobs is the play this Sunday. Ware is a flex option only if you are fairly desperate for a running back.
On October 2, Andre Johnson left the Houston Texans game with a hamstring injury and he hasn't played a down since then. This weekend will be the fifth consecutive game Johnson has missed as Texans head coach Gary Kubiak confirmed at his Friday press conference that Johnson would miss the game.
Johnson was originally expected to miss just three games but he also cautioned that it could be as many as six.
The Texans have gone 2-2 in games without him starting so they've shown theycan win, but not necessarily consistently. Their passing game is ranked 11th in the league right now.
Johnson is still second on the team in receiving with 25 receptions for 352 yards, just behind TE Owen Daniels who has caught 31 balls for 415 yards.
The Texans host the Cleveland Browns this weekend in a game they're favored to win. But if they're going to make the postseason and win any games there, they'll need Johnson back in the game playing well.
Check out SB Nation's Battle Red Blog for more on Johnson and his injury.
In news that is not particularly surprising given the way the season has gone, Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis aggravated his hamstring at practice Friday and is once again looking like a game-time decision at best. Hillis apparently threw the ball and his helmet in frustration after pulling up lame on a run.
Although Hillis could be fine by Sunday, one has to imagine the Browns will likely sit him once again given the hamstring aggravation. If Hillis is unable to go, Chris Ogbonnaya would get the start and Thomas Clayton would be his backup. They are facing a Houston Texans squad that is not particularly good in defending the run. If the Browns are going to stay in the game, they will need to control the time of possession as much as possible.
For now, we will wait for comments from head coach Pat Shurmur and of course the pre-game inactive list on Sunday.
New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks strained his hamstring last Sunday against the Miami Dolphins and it sounds like there is a good chance he will sit out Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. Nicks sat out Wednesday and Thursday practices and made some comments that would indicate sitting is the most likely plan of action. Nicks said his hamstring injury was something he had to be smart about. That would seemingly be code for sitting.
If he does sit he misses out on a fantastic fantasy matchup against the abysmally awful New England Patriots secondary. That opens the door for potentially even bigger days for the likes of Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz. With Ahmad Bradshaw dealing with his foot problem, it could be a banner day of passing for the Giants. If you have access to Manningham and/or Cruz, you will want them in your lineup. Even if you have both it might still be worth rolling with both of them. The Patriots secondary has been that bad.
Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis had his first pain-free practice session in quite some time Thursday, and fully expects to play on Sunday against the Houston Texans. Hillis has been battling a hamstring injury the last couple weeks, but has struggled the entire season with a mix of injuries, contract issues, and huge expectations following his breakout 2010 performance.
The Browns face a fairly bad Houston Texans rush defense and this could provide Hillis with an opportunity to get back on the fantasy radar. He was limited in practice on Thursday but proclaimed himself pain-free. Assuming no setbacks, Hillis will likely get the bulk of the carries on Sunday.
Given the Texans rush defense, Hillis is a worthwhile start if you did not already unload him in a sell low trade. It remains to be seen if Hillis will ever approach what he did last season, but for now he is worth sticking back in your lineup. If he struggles again this week, he could quickly become a matchup-only running back.
If he does struggle on Sunday, it will be interesting to see how many carries Chris Ogbonnaya gets against Houston. We'll be back with a final injury report update later in the day, so check back to see if there has been any change in Hillis' status for the weekend.
New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw reportedly suffered a cracked bone in his foot and at this point his status for Sunday is uncertain. There have been numerous conflicting reports over the past 24 hours covering everything from out indefinitely to not serious and will play Sunday to no surgery for now but Sunday status is unknown.
It has been that kind of day trying to figure out what to do in his absence. Some folks are grabbing D.J. Ware, others are sitting tight with Brandon Jacobs, and others are just staring off into an abyss with no idea what to do at this point. The joy of Twitter specifically and the Internet in general is the ability to get a whole host of conflicting information very quickly.
At this point, the best advice I can give is if you have Ahmad Bradshaw, but no Brandon Jacobs, D.J. Ware is worth grabbing if it won't require releasing anybody significant. Even if Bradshaw can't go on Sunday, the odds are in favor of Brandon Jacobs getting most of the carries. That is no guarantee, but unless you are sitting with only one running back in your starting lineup, Ware is not a good starting option this week.
If you have Brandon Jacobs on your roster, he might be a good start no matter what. The Giants are a 4:15pm ET game, which means you might be forced to make a decision early in the day depending on start times for your running backs and flex position. If you have to make the decision before the 1:00pm ET games and don't have other decent options, start Brandon Jacobs. He will get a decent number of carries no matter what, and it would not be surprising to see Bradshaw start but eventually give way to Jacobs.
The San Diego Chargers running back situation has been in flux for much of this season as either Ryan Mathews or Mike Tolbert has dealt with injury issues off and on all season. The fluid situation continues as it looks like Ryan Mathews will be unable to play this Sunday. Mathews sat out practice on Thursday.
A week after Mike Tolbert was out, Mathews suffered a groin injury that led to third string running back Curtis Brinkley putting on a bit of a show on Monday Night Football. Naturally, Brinkley suffered a concussion late in the game and has not been cleared to return to practice. Mike Tolbert has been a full participant this week and would appear to be the likely starter on Sunday.
If both Mathews and Brinkley are unavailable, that means Tolbert would get most of the touches at running back. Jacob Hester would likely be worked in for some touches as well, but those are the only two options the Chargers have right now. They would likely sign Jordan Todman off the practice squad as insurance. Tolbert is not a fantastic option against the Packers, but if the Chargers are going to pull the upset, they will need to control the clock with Tolbert. This could bode well for his fantasy value.
We break down the Thursday practice participation report for week 9 of the 2011 NFL season. For more on fantasy football, check out Fake Teams.
The Houston Texans wrapped up their Thursday practice and are getting some encouraging news from wide receiver Andre Johnson. According to head coach Gary Kubiak, Johnson felt better on Thursday and will still probably be a game-time decision Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
Andre Johnson has been recovering from surgery on a hamstring injury and is still in the recovery window for the procedure. My guess is Johnson does not play this Sunday, but the good news is the Texans play an early game on Sunday. You will not find yourself rolling the dice on a 4:05pm ET start.
In the weeks since Andre Johnson went down with the hamstring injury, the Texans have had a mix of players step up in the receiving game. Since losing Johnson, Owen Daniels, Arian Foster, Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter have all led the Texans in receiving at some point. Of the players on the fantasy football waiver wire, Walter and Jones are solid options. Walter is probably the safer of the two, while Jones has a bit more upside.
Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis returned to practice on Thursday as he continues to battle back from a hamstring injury. The return was all the more important because he not only took part in individual drills, but also took snaps with the first team offense. Hillis had either not participated in practice over the last two weeks, or he had been limited to individual drills.
Barring any setbacks, Peyton Hillis would appear to be the likely start on Sunday in Houston against the Texans. It is not a fantastic matchup, but getting Hillis back out on the field would bode well for longer term fantasy prospects. Chris Ogbonnaya took a lot of snaps Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers when Montario Hardesty went down, but he would be Hillis' backup this Sunday against Houston.
We will have the full Thursday injury report when it comes out and from there we can keep an eye on Hillis' practice status heading into Friday. If he has any sort of regression, lineup considerations can be adjusted accordingly.
New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw has reportedly received some bad news that could sideline him indefinitely. Reports out of New York indicate Bradshaw suffered a cracked bone in his foot, although the team has not officially released any information.
Even without the official release of information, it seemed likely that Bradshaw was going to sit out Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. Brandon Jacobs would take over the bulk of the carries, with D.J. Ware and Da'Rel Scott acting as his backups.
If Bradshaw decides on some kind of corrective surgery on his foot, he would miss even more time. If that were the case, the Giants would need to re-assess their running back strategy moving forward. When all backs are healthy, Bradshaw is the primary back, but Jacobs gets upwards of ten carries a game. If Bradshaw is out, it will be interesting to see if Ware or Scott emerges as a viable fantasy option. Jacobs will be the primary fantasy option, but that could change depending on the Giants strategy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount made his way back to practice on Wednesday and appears set to return from his sprained MCL. Blount was a full participant in practice, which is big news considering the number of running backs who were limited or DNPs on Wednesday. The timing is huge for fantasy owners and the Bucs alike as backup Earnest Graham went down with a torn Achilles during the team's trip to London.
Blount will return as the team's featured back, and it appears as though he will also handle much of the third down duties for the first time this season. Graham handled those duties previously. It will be interesting to see how long that lasts as Blount has not been a big receiving back in his season and a half in the NFL. He has nine career catches. If he struggles in the role, the team likely would look to Kregg Lumpkin to handle third down duties.
In the meantime, get LeGarrette Blount back in your starting lineup for Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. It is not a fantastic matchup, but given other injuries and byes, Blount remains a strong starting candidate now that he is healthy again.
We break down the Wednesday practice participation report for week 9 of the 2011 NFL season. For more on fantasy football, check out Fake Teams.
The New England Patriots running back situation has developed into a bit of a mess with the return of Kevin Faulk from injury. The situation is now all the more confusing courtesy of today's Patriots practice participation report. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was once again limited by his toe injury, while Kevin Faulk was limited due to a knee issue. Faulk is returning from a torn ACL so he will likely be worked in fairly slowly on the practice field.
This past weekend, Kevin Faulk ended up with the most carries for the Patriots, grabbing six of the twelve carries. Green-Ellis had five carries and tight end Aaron Hernandez had one. Stevan Ridley has apparently worked his way entirely out of the rotation.
There are a couple possible explanations for why Kevin Faulk ended up with the most carries. The first is that BenJarvus Green-Ellis' toe injury was sufficiently a concern that the Patriots did not want to aggravate. More likely is that the Patriots fell behind early, could not get much going, and had to focus in on the pass. Kevin Faulk's future with the Patriots in 2011 is as a passing down back. More than likely, when the Patriots do grab leads, Green-Ellis will handle the carries and when they are in passing situations and/or trailing, Faulk will work his way in more frequently.
Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis did not practice yet again on Wednesday as the 2010 star continues to struggle to get anything going in 2011. His latest problem is a hamstring injury that has sidelined him since October 16. He has tried to get back and was a game-time decision this past week, but it simply has not happened.
The Browns running back situation is quite a mess right now due to a host of injuries. Hillis continues to struggle with his hamstring and backup Montario Hardesty is out with a tear of his calf muscle. That leaves former practice squad running back Chris Ogbonnaya as the potential starting running back this weekend against the New York Giants. The Browns also added free agent Thomas Clayton, who has bounced around various practice squads in his brief NFL career.
Right now, it would appear that Chris Ogbonnaya will likely get the starting snaps on Sunday. It is a tough matchup against a solid Giants rush defense. And if the Giants jump out to an early lead, I would not expect a whole lot of production from Ogbonnaya.
The Oakland Raiders return from their bye this week to face the Denver Broncos and they might be without their top offensive weapon. Running back Darren McFadden suffered a sprained foot in week seven against the Kansas City Chiefs and still has not fully healed from the injury. It apparently is looking more and more like the Raiders will rest McFadden for one more week.
If McFadden is unable to go this Sunday, Michael Bush would get the start against a struggling Denver Broncos squad. Bush has proven to be one of the best backup running backs in the NFL and an able replacement for McFadden. This has been key because McFadden has dealt with numerous injuries over the course of his NFL career. This past week, Bush rushed for 99 yards on 17 carries in place of McFadden.
If Darren McFadden cannot go on Sunday, Taiwan Jones emerges as the backup running back. Bush would likely handle most of the carries, but Jones would provide an option to stretch the field a bit. Against the Chiefs, Jones had three carries for 18 yards and one reception for 30 yards. He is not a great fantasy option at this point, but might be worth stashing on your bench to see what he can do as a number two back.
The long journey back from a hamstring injury continues to wind along for Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson. The Texans number one receiver is sitting out Wednesday practice but still has a shot at playing this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Johnson has been out approximately a month at this point.
The Texans have a bye in two weeks, so it will be interesting to see if they get him some playing time in advance of the bye week. Some would suggest simply holding him out these next two weeks to get him to 100%. However, if he is close, one advantage to playing him now is that if there is still some soreness after one of these next two games, you will that bye week to heal it up. Hamstring injuries are a tough call because of how easily they can be aggravated.
The Texans have gone with a bit of a committee approach at receiver in recent weeks. This past week, Kevin Walter was the leading receiver, with Owen Daniels and Jacoby Jones getting a decent number of looks. Joel Dreessen has become the red zone threat. It makes for a fantasy football mess if you are trying to predict who will get the targets on a week to week basis. Arian Foster is the most consistent threat while Kevin Walter has the most upside in this short-term situation.
New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw is sitting out Wednesday practice as the team gets ready for the Sunday game at the New England Patriots. Bradshaw is dealing with a sore and swollen foot that cost him some playing time this past week. He left and re-entered the game but aggravating what he says was a pre-existing ailment does not help matters. Since he finished the game there would seem to be a decent chance he'll be active and starting on Sunday.
One drawback is that Brandon Jacobs likely would take away some carries from Bradshaw if the starting back is not at 100%. Jacobs is back after missing a couple weeks and has recently worked as a bit of a handcuff for Jacobs. The Patriots struggle against both the run and the pass so this is a particularly solid matchup for the Giants. We'll keep an eye on this as it develops through a week of practice.
The San Diego Chargers running back situation remains a fantasy football mess as players are coming and going with injuries. A day after Mike Tolbert sat out Monday Night Football, Jason LaCanfora reported that he would be back on the field this Sunday against the Packers getting a lot of carries. Ryan Mathews suffered a groin injury on Monday that forced him from the game. We do not yet have an update on his status, but that would play a big part in determining what kind of play Tolbert would get this Sunday against the Packers.
The x-factor in all this is third string back Curtis Brinkley. He came on in place of Mathews Monday night and put together a strong performance. While a healthy Tolbert would get the start if Mathews couldn't play, it is hard to tell how Brinkley would fit into the picture. Tolbert would be the start, but don't expect big things from him. Add in the Chargers potentially playing from behind against the Packers and it could be a tough day for Chargers running backs.
Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones is currently considered day-to-day as he works to come back from a high ankle sprain suffered October 16 against the New England Patriots. The full extent of Jones' status will be known better when practice participation reports are released Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The Cowboys have relied on rookie running back DeMarco Murray during Jones' absence and went so far as to waive former backup Tashard Choice. The Cowboys running back depth chart includes Jones, Murray and Phillip Tanner. While Jones could very well be available this Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, it would most likely be in an emergency role. At best he likely would get a few carries, but not much more. Murray brings a good thing to the table for the Cowboys right now, so there is no real rush to get Jones back on the field.
The Cowboys face a Seattle Seahawks defense that has struggled at times, but has generally been solid against the run. Last week, Cincinnati Bengals running back Bernard Scott finished with 76 yards but needed 22 carries reach it. DeMarco Murray remains the start in Dallas and is a solid enough option against the Seahawks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount is set to return to action this week as he caps his recovery from an MCL sprain, suffered week five against the San Francisco 49ers. The return comes at a fortuitous time for the Buccaneers who lost backup running back Earnest Graham to an Achilles tear week six against the Chicago Bears. The Bucs return from their bye week looking to get back on track with a healthy Blount.
Blount is reportedly set to carry the full load for the Bucs, which would be a slight change from his role to date. Prior to the injuries, LeGarrette Blount was the first and second down back, while Earnest Graham handled the third down role. Graham was considered the better receiver. Blount has four receptions on the year and nine thus far in his brief career. This is a boost in Blount's status, but it will be interesting to see how long that lasts. It would not be surprising to see Kregg Lumpkin start to fill Graham's third down role.
For now, the time has come to get LeGarrette Blount back into your starting lineup. We'll keep an eye out for any setbacks, but it looks like he has back and ready to go.
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.
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.
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