|Seahawks 3-0 in recent meetings with Panthers|
All close games, all played in Carolina
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 5 2015, 8:30 am
|The Panthers (8-8-1) will seek to avenge three agonizing losses to Seattle (12-4) by a total of 13 points over the past three years, including a 13-9 defeat in Week 8 this season. All of those games were in Charlotte. This will be the Panthers’ first trip since 2010 to Seattle. (Charlotte Observer)|
FFToday's Take: The Seahawks won by scores of 12-7 (2013) and 16-12 (2012) along with their 13-9 win this season. The Seahawks are currently a 10.5 point favorite. Carolina will have a tough task going on the road and attempting to keep this game from getting out of hand despite their recent close calls with Seattle. Cam Newton and the rest of the Panthers offense will be risky playoff league and DFS plays this week.
|No carries or catches for Trent Richardson |
Colts let Dan Herron carry the load
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 5 2015, 8:00 am
|Shouldering the heaviest load of his career — the Colts sat Trent Richardson for most of Sunday's win with an illness — Dan Herron responded with 141 all-purpose yards, the most from a Colts' running back in three seasons. (Indianapolis Star)|
FFToday's Take: You could see this one coming. Richardson missed practice time earlier in the week due to "illness" and while he was active on Sunday he only saw the field late in the game after Herron fumbled twice. Rookie Zurlon Tipton was the No.2 running back. Richardson is falling out of favor in Indy and can't be trusted in playoff leagues or daily formats.
| A.J. Green doubtful, Gresham questionable|
Missed practice Friday
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 2 2015, 2:35 pm
|The chances A.J. Green plays in this weekend's Wild Card game against Indianapolis took a hit Friday. And now the Bengals wait with hope giving way to reality.
He was listed as doubtful on the official injury report.Green suffered a concussion after being stripped of the football Sunday against Pittsburgh. He did not practice Wednesday, practiced in a limited capacity Thursday, was held completely out of practice this Friday.
FFToday's Take: Bad news for the Benalgs as they will be without their best wide receiver. Mohamed Sanu will attempt to fill the void but expect Cincinnati to attempt a run-heavy gameplan with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. TE Jermaine Gresham (back) did practice Friday and is listed as questionable. He will be a gametime decision.
| Le'Veon Bell out for wild-card game|
Josh Harris expected to start
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 2 2015, 2:30 pm
|Steelers running back and team MVP Le’Veon Bell has been ruled out of Saturday’s AFC wild-card game against the Baltimore Ravens. Bell hyperextended his right knee against the Bengals in the regular-season finale. He did not practice all week. Bell’s replacement is Josh Harris, who has 16 yards on nine carries in his professional career. He was inserted into the Bengals game and had a 59-yard run that was nullified by a holding penalty. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)|
FFToday's Take: It's been the general thinking that Bell would miss this game and now it's official. Harris will get the start for the Steelers with Dri Archer used in a change of pace role. The newly signed Ben Tate is expected to be active but should clearly be the No.3 running back against the Ravens.
| A.J. Green limited in practice on Thursday|
Suffered concussion in Week 17
By: Doug Orth | Jan 1 2015, 4:25 pm
|The status of A.J. Green for Sunday's playoff game remains in question. He's officially still in the league's concussion protocol, which means he cannot return to practice or speak with the media. Green suffered a concussion in Sunday's loss against Pittsburgh and this was his first opportunity to return to the practice field.
For Bengals fans, that means they wait and see. HC Marvin Lewis will have to wait as well. "I don't know," he said when asked whether or not Green would play this weekend. "You'll see on Sunday."
FFToday's Take: Green must have passed a baseline concussion test with team doctors since he participated in warmups and installation on Thursday. He has two days to be cleared by an independent neurologist, but he's a longshot to be overly productive considering the concussion, the matchup (he should run at least half of his snaps in the coverage of top Colts CB Vontae Davis) and the fact that he could once again be a victim of an infamous Andy Dalton playoff meltdown.
|Fitzgerald not expected back w/ Cards in 2015|
Cap number expected to be $23.6 M
By: Doug Orth | Jan 1 2015, 4:10 pm
|Larry Fitzgerald does not expect to be back with the Cardinals next season, a source familiar with the situation told FOX Sports Arizona on Wednesday. That could make Saturday's wild-card playoff game in Charlotte, N.C., the final game of the Valley icon's Arizona career.
Last week, GM Steve Keim confirmed a Pro Football Talk report that the Cardinals had no plans to cut Fitzgerald despite an unworkable $23.6 million cap number next season, which would account for about 17 percent of the projected $141 million salary cap. (Fox Sports Arizona)|
FFToday's Take: Fitzgerald can still get it done at a fairly high level, but there is simply no reason to have one receiver counting that much against the cap for an offense that spreads the wealth as much as Arizona does now under HC Bruce Arians. The odds are very high that Fitzgerald will play his final game as a Cardinal this weekend.
|Doug Marrone leaving Bills|
Coach exercises opt-out clause
By: Jake Gordon | Dec 31 2014, 6:20 pm
|STATEMENT FROM BUFFALO BILLS OWNER TERRY PEGULA:
“Doug Marrone informed me late today that he has decided to exercise the option clause in his contract and relinquish his responsibilities as our head coach."
FFToday's Take: Add the Bills to the list of teams looking for a new coach this offseason. Buffalo is coming off a disappointing year and will also need to figure out what to do at the quarterback position where EJ Manuel has struggled when healthy and Kyle Orton has retired.
|Steelers make it official, sign Ben Tate|
Insurance for Le'Veon Bell
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 30 2014, 1:36 pm
|Steelers now have signed running back Ben Tate to the 53-man roster, the team announced today. (Adam Schefter on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: The Steelers are using Tate as insurance for Le'Veon Bell who injured his knee in Week 17 and will likely miss the first round of the playoffs. Josh Harris and Dri Archer would likely receive the bulk of the backfield work against the Ravens is Bell is out.
| Steelers looking at Ben Tate|
LeVeon Bell probably unavailable for first round of playoffs
By: Antonio D'Arcangelis | Dec 30 2014, 12:00 pm
|Jason La Canfora posted on Twitter: "Steelers are hosting Ben Tate today as ESPN reported, with LeVeon Bell likely out this week. He is the only RB they're bringing in" (Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: It appears that Bell is doubtful for the tilt with Baltimore in the Wild Card. Tate could make an interesting value in daily fantasy play if he gets up to speed in the offense and Bell remains out.
| Surgery not ruled out for Philip Rivers|
Chargers quarterback will take wait-and-see approach
By: Antonio D'Arcangelis | Dec 30 2014, 11:55 am
|The season ended Sunday. Philip Rivers' stance on injuries didn't.
The Chargers quarterback remained politely protective over the specifics of a back injury that has ailed him the past month. Offseason surgery, he allowed, is considered an option. Whether it is necessary will be determined in the coming weeks.
As for further details, Rivers didn't go there.
He called such talk "self-serving," not wanting health to affect how his play is evaluated.
There were reports this month that he's dealt with a bulging disk in his lower back, reports that Rivers on Monday called "not exactly accurate." He declined to elaborate further.
Rivers made his 144th consecutive start Sunday since becoming the Chargers' starter in 2006. It's the second-longest active streak in the NFL.
"It just does me no good to say on the record what it was," Rivers said. "I was dealing with sore ribs. I was dealing with the back. Exactly what that was, really, who cares? What I mean is I don't see the reason for it.
"It had no effect on my performance, good or bad the last few weeks; it really didn't. The back maybe was a little tougher over the last few weeks, but it wasn't, 'If I didn't have a bad back, I would have made the throw.' That was never the case. … I felt good enough to play."
Rivers had a 71.2 passer rating in four December games.
It was his lowest single-month rating since November 2007 (68.8).
He was without running back Ryan Mathews and wide receiver Keenan Allen the final three games, not to mention running back Danny Woodhead and center Nick Hardwick who were placed on injured reserve early this season. The Chargers started their fifth center of the season Sunday. Rivers was sacked seven times, including six times in a 13-dropback span.
Players voted for team awards. They were presented during a Monday meeting.
Rivers, the MVP, finished the year with 4,286 yards, 31 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. (Union-Tribune San Diego)|
FFToday's Take: Rivers is a stubborn guy who can double down on this "injuries don't affect my performance take" all he likes, but fantasy owners need to remember his poor performance down the stretch when they draft their teams next summer. It's not the first time Rivers has concealed an injury and allowed his play to suffer. There are plenty of fantasy quarterbacks to choose from, folks.
|Vikings' Charles Johnson making strides for 2015|
Bears' Brandon Marshall to Johnson: 'You're a baller'
By: Antonio D'Arcangelis | Dec 30 2014, 11:45 am
|Charles Johnson entered a game last month at Chicago with six career catches. When the game was over, Bears star Brandon Marshall wanted to work out with him this offseason.
Marshall didn't know anything about the Vikings wide receiver prior to a Nov. 16 game at Soldier Field. Then he saw Johnson catch six passes for 87 yards.
"He came up to me after the game and he said, 'Hey man, much respect, you're a baller, you're really good,''' Johnson said of his first encounter with the Chicago wide receiver while Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was nearby. "Teddy was standing there and he said to him, 'Why didn't you tell me about him? Invite him to our (offseason) camp.' Teddy was like, 'We just signed him.' It was pretty cool.''
Johnson was signed off Cleveland's practice squad Sept. 20, and two months later had his breakout game against the Bears. Now, he expects to be working out this offseason not only with Bridgewater, but with Marshall, soon to be recovered from season-ending broken ribs and a lung injury suffered Dec. 4.
Bridgewater and Marshall both train at Fit Speed Athletic Performance in Weston, Fla., just outside Miami. Johnson is looking forward to getting some pointers from a guy who has five NFL 100-catch seasons while having made five Pro Bowls.
"It's great,'' Johnson said. "It was something to see that a guy like him who's established thought that I was good and acknowledged my game. He said that I had some good skills, and I really appreciated the compliment.''
Pardon Marshall if he knew little about Johnson until last month. After being a seventh-round pick out of Division II Grand Valley (Mich.) State by Green Bay in 2013, Johnson was on the Packers' practice squad before getting picked up by the Browns. Then he had knee surgery, ending his season.
Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner held that position last year with Cleveland and Minnesota quarterbacks coach Scott Turner was then the Browns receivers coach. They saw enough of Johnson to recommend he be signed three months ago.
Johnson had his first six career catches over a seven-game span before his big outing against the Bears. After that game, he replaced Cordarrelle Patterson as a starting wide receiver and finished the season with 31 catches for 475 yards and two touchdowns.
"We all respect Charles around here,'' Patterson said. "I hope he'll be here for many years.''
Johnson still has two years left on his rookie contract, paying him an economical $510,000 in 2015 and $600,000 in 2016. So he's not going anywhere anytime soon.
"I just go out there each day and just try to work, so you can see my type of talent that I have, and I think coaches can see that,'' Johnson said.
Marshall also has seen it. The two might play for rival NFC North teams, but Johnson relishes any chance he can get to learn from one of the league's top receivers. (Pioneer Press)|
FFToday's Take: It's funny that these two -- who both share the same-spelled names with other NFL players. But it's excellent news that Marshall will be mentoring Johnson, as Marshall is one of the top red zone targets in the league and a guy to emulate for his intelligence and ever-growing emotional awareness. Johnson could be a very exciting player in 2015 and could make a interesting mid-round sleeper pick who provides WR2 value.
|Ndamukong Suh suspended for one game|
Stepped on Aaron Rodgers' injured leg in Week 17
By: Doug Orth | Dec 29 2014, 4:05 pm
|The Detroit Lions and Ndamukong Suh have been informed that the defensive tackle will be suspended for this weekend's wild-card playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys. Suh's punishment comes a day after he stepped on the leg of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Suh "unnecessarily stepped on [the] opponent's unprotected leg as he lay on the ground unable to protect himself," according to a statement released by the NFL.
Suh is appealing the suspension and his appeal will be heard by Ted Cottrell. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: If the suspension sticks, it could very well be a sad end to one of the league's most dominant interior players and his time in Detroit. The Week 17 "misstep" is the latest in a long line of dirty plays by the impending free agent, who figures to break the bank in the offseason regardless. Without Suh, Detroit would likely be down its top two defensive tackles - Nick Fairley hurt his knee in Week 6 and hasn't returned - against the Cowboys, who run the ball as well as any team in the league.
|Kyle Shanahan among candidates to be 49ers HC|
Mutually parted ways with Jim Harbaugh on Sunday
By: Doug Orth | Dec 29 2014, 4:00 pm
|Browns OC Kyle Shanahan is on the 49ers list of coaching candidates, a source told The Plain Dealer. The 49ers are in the market for a new coach after announcing Sunday they mutually agreed to part ways with coach Jim Harbaugh.
Shanahan, who is the son of former NFL coach Mike Shanahan, has held the role of offensive coordinator with the Texans, Redskins and Browns. He has been coaching in the NFL since 2004.
In his first season as the Browns offensive coordinator, Cleveland ranked 23rd in total offense (324.6 yards per game) and 27th in scoring offense (18.7 points per game). (CBS Sports)|
FFToday's Take: Shanahan joins Broncos OC Adam Gase and Seahawks DC Dan Quinn among the coaches that have reportedly been asked to interview with the Niners. Shanahan is particularly intriguing hire since his preferred zone-running scheme is in direct contrast to the power-running scheme San Francisco utilized under HC Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman. However, Shanahan has had plenty of experience working with mobile quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick, which is what the Niners probably would most like to accomplish with this hire.
|Kyle Orton retires|
Veteran calls it quits at 31 years old
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 29 2014, 11:55 am
|The 10-year NFL veteran ended all the talk Monday morning when he surprisingly announced his retirement from football.
"I just have been going at it for 10 years, and it's just a family decision, and I've decided to get home and be a dad and call it a day," the 31-year-old Orton said. (USA Today)|
FFToday's Take: Kyle Orton became the Bills starting QB in Week 5 throwing for 3,018 yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Bills now find themselves with EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel on the QB depth chart. Expect Buffalo to be shopping in the free agent QB market this off-season.
| Le'Veon Bell "can barely walk" Monday|
By: Doug Orth | Dec 29 2014, 11:45 am
|Judging by what I saw - and it's only Monday - Le'Veon Bell has little chance of playing for Steelers against Ravens. He is young, though. (Dale Lolley on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: Beat writer Dale Lolley made this comment after watching Bell at the practice facility on Monday. The team has yet to give an official diagnosis on Bell's knee injury but at this point it seems less than 50-50 that he will be ready for Saturday's game against the Ravens. Josh Harris would see an expanded role if Bell can't play.
|Wallace sits the second half, didn't want to play|
Dolphins wideout aggravates teammates
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 28 2014, 7:00 pm
|After Mike Wallace sat out the second half, multiple reports noted that Wallace had been benched by the coaching staff. NFL Media's Jeff Darlington, though, was told by several team sources that the pass-catcher wasn't just "benched," but pulled himself from the contest. After Dolphins tight end Charles Clay scored a touchdown with 43 seconds left in the half, Wallace came off the field and told coach Joe Philbin that he no longer wanted to play, per Darlington. (NFL.com)|
FFToday's Take: An odd way to end the season for Wallace and Miami. There's been no explanation as to why Wallace didn't want to play or what issue led him to removing himself from the game. His diva actions may lead management to rethink his status with the team. Wallace is in the middle of a five-year $60 million deal through 2017 and is owed $9.8 million next season.
| Gronkowski, Edelman inactive for Patriots|
Tim Wright expected to start at TE
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 28 2014, 11:35 am
|Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Julian Edelman are both inactive today. Expect starters to be out in the second half, anyway (Ian Rapoport on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: The Patriots are playing it safe with their star TE in a meaningless game. Expect Tim Wright to get the start and Danny Amendola should see more targets with Edelman out. Expect to see Jimmy Garoppolo replace Tom Brady at some point during the game.
|Terrance West to start for Browns|
A week after not receiving a carry
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 28 2014, 8:58 am
|Baltimore native Terrance West will start at running back today for the Browns against the Ravens. The rookie's role fluctuated in 2014. (Jason LaCanfora on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: West didn't even play last week so this move is peculiar at best. Despite the starting nod the Browns offense is off limits in daily league play this week. UDFA Connor Shaw is starting at QB, Josh Gordon is suspended and the Ravens need a victory to make the playoffs. Look elsewhere.
|Josh Gordon suspended for violating team rules|
Missed Saturday's walk-through
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 27 2014, 2:15 pm
|Receiver Josh Gordon was suspended by the Browns for violation of team rules after he missed today's mandatory walk-through, Northeast Ohio Media Group has confirmed. The Browns activated receiver Phil Bates from the practice squad to take Gordon's spot. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)|
FFToday's Take: Gordon will miss Week 17 and could be out of Cleveland this off-season. Gordon missed 10 games this season for violating the substance abuse policy. Interesting to note that Gordon will now be a restricted free agent (not unrestricted) at the end of the 2015 because he was active in only five games, falling one game shy of an accredited season. The Browns attempted to trade Gordon prior to last season's trade deadline.
| Jonas Gray listed as Out|
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 27 2014, 7:00 am
|A whopping 18 players were listed by the Patriots on Friday’s injury report, with running back Jonas Gray and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard being ruled out of Sunday’s game. Gray has been dealing with an ankle injury, and was the only player to miss Friday’s practice. (Boston Herald)|
FFToday's Take: LeGarrette Blount and Shane Vereen are both listed as Questionable. With nothing to play for the entire Patriots offense is too risky to consider for DFS lineups. Brandon Bolden and James White could be the two main ball-carries for New England in Week 17.
| Rodgers, Freeman expected to split carries|
Atlanta likely to be without Steven Jackson
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 26 2014, 8:15 pm
|Rookie running back Devonta Freeman believes he’s ready to take over the rushing load if Steven Jackson does not play against the Carolina Panthers. Jacquizz Rodgers will likely get the bulk of the carries because he’s still considered a better pass protector. Also, Jerome Smith was added to the roster from the practice squad. He will be active and may play. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)|
FFToday's Take: Steven Jackson (quad) is expected to miss Week 17. As a result, expect Rodgers and Freeman to be in a timeshare against the Panthers. Freeman's 4.0 rushing average and 7.9 receiving average suggest he has the better upside over Rodgers (3.5 - 5.9).
| DeAngelo Williams listed as Probable|
Head coach won't divulge plan at running back
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 26 2014, 8:10 pm
|Coach Ron Rivera said Friday that he did not want to divulge his running back rotation beyond Stewart starting because it could give the Falcons a competitive advantage.
"I'm not going to sit here and divulge what my plan is with my players," Rivera said. "I don't want to get up here and tell you exactly what we're going to do with our players. Why do I want to give the opponent any insight into what we're going to do?"
FFToday's Take: What we do know is Jonathan Stewart will start. How much DeAngelo Williams plays, if at all, remains to be seen. Williams was listed as Questionable last week but was only available in an emergency situation according to Rivera. The Probable tag suggests he may see the field in a backup role. High-end RB2 usage from Stewart should be expected.
| Ronnie Hillman set to return, role unclear|
Listed as Probable
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 26 2014, 8:00 pm
|Sunday also figures to mark the return of running back Ronnie Hillman. He practiced fully for the first time this week since suffering a foot injury on Nov. 9 at Oakland. He is probable, clearing the way for him to complement C.J. Anderson. (Denver Post)|
FFToday's Take: Hillman is likely to backup to Anderson but how much of a role he will have is unclear. He could potentially take enough carries away to make Anderson more of an RB2 than RB1.
| Alex Smith out with lacerated spleen|
Chase Daniel to start against Chargers
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 26 2014, 12:55 pm
|Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith will miss Sunday’s regular-season finale against San Diego because of a lacerated spleen.
Backup Chase Daniel will start at quarterback on Sunday, just as he did in the regular-season finale a year ago when the Chiefs, with a playoff spot wrapped up, sat their starters at San Diego. (Kansas City Star)|
FFToday's Take: Smith was injured in last week's game but didn't have any symptoms until after practice this week. Normally recovery time is six weeks an no surgery is expected. Daniel starter the final regular season game last season against the Chargers throwing 21-30 for 200 yards, 1 TD and 59 yards rushing. He makes for interesting cap relief in DFS formats this week.
|WR Louis Murphy gets 3-year extension|
Was scheduled to become free agent
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 26 2014, 9:52 am
|Wide receiver Louis Murphy has agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team announced Friday morning.
Murphy, 27, had been scheduled to become a free agent after the season.
FFToday's Take: Murphy was filling the No.3 wide receiver role for the Bucs and could be in for a bigger workload in 2015 if Vincent Jackson is moved during the off-season.
| A.J. Green limited on Thursday|
Right arm bruise
By: Doug Orth | Dec 25 2014, 7:35 pm
|Also at Bengals Christmas practice, A.J. Green (arm) was limited. (Geoff Hobson on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: Green was held catchless in the Bengals' Week 16 win over Denver in large part because he was hurt on the same play that Broncos CB Aqib Talib returned an interception for a touchdown on the team's second drive of the game. A limited practice on Thursday is better than a DNP, but considering how much pain he appeared to be in on Monday night, his owners need to exercise caution and wait for something more definitive before counting on him against Pittsburgh in Week 17.
| Joique Bell likely to play in season finale|
Dealing with Achilles' strain
By: Doug Orth | Dec 25 2014, 7:30 pm
|HC Jim Caldwell didn't offer any updates on the injury status of Joique Bell (Achilles). Asked if he'll play Sunday Caldwell said "we'll see". (Tim Twentyman on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: This story gets a mention because the team's official website called Bell a full participant in practice on Thursday, suggesting Bell is on track to play against the Packers for the NFC North title. Assuming he is a full-go again on Friday, Bell should be expected for his usual 15-20 touches.
|Cards opt for Lindley to start at QB in Week 17|
HC Arians backtracks from giving rookie first start
By: Doug Orth | Dec 25 2014, 7:15 pm
|Bruce Arians uses the "quick hook" with Logan Thomas. Will go back to Ryan Lindley as starter for Sunday's game, per source. (Kent Somers on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: ESPN reported Wednesday that Thomas struggled in his first practice as the starter, which probably prompted the move. Even if that was the case, it is hard to see the upside in starting Lindley, who is a career 49.3-percent passer and has attempted a NFL-record 225 passes without throwing for a touchdown. For now, however, Arians appears to be leaning toward starting Lindley against San Francisco on Sunday.
| Cardinals may have QB Stanton back for playoffs|
'85 percent' chance
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 24 2014, 8:44 am
|Drew Stanton has an 85 percent chance of starting at quarterback for the Cardinals in the playoffs.
That's the number that head coach Bruce Arians gave to SiriusXM NFL radio in an interview on Tuesday night, adding that he would not play Stanton this weekend against the 49ers unless there was an emergency. "He's going to practice some this week, and we'll see how he goes," Arians said, via ESPN.com. "Do not plan on playing him this week unless it was absolutely necessary." (NFL.com)|
FFToday's Take: Arizona is expected to go with Logan Thomas at quarterback for Week 17 while Drew Stanton will only see action in an emergency situation. This deflates the fantasy values of every Cardinal for any owner vying for Championship this weekend. For owners in fantasy playoff games, the Cardinals offense would get a boost if Drew Stanton does indeed return.
| Hoyer focused on starting season finale|
Status to be determined Sunday
By: Jake Gordon | Dec 23 2014, 9:00 pm
|BEREA, Ohio -- Quarterback Brian Hoyer doesn't want to end his season -- and possibly his Browns career -- on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.
"I'm focusing on trying to get as healthy as I can,'' he said. Hoyer sat out Tuesday's light practice with the shoulder injury suffered during Sunday's 17-13 loss to the Panthers. If he's not better by Sunday, practice squad rookie Connor Shaw will be elevated and start the game. (Cleveland.com)|
FFToday's Take: None of the Browns' offensive weapons are great fantasy plays for Week 17 against Baltimore, however TE Jordan Cameron and WR Josh Gordon would have better outlooks If QB Brian Hoyer (shoulder) was under center for Cleveland. Before plugging a Cleveland Brown into you starting lineup check in on the quarterback situation Sunday.
|Vikings release Ben Tate|
Didn't play in Week 16
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 23 2014, 7:30 pm
|The Vikings have waived running back Ben Tate after an unproductive month with the team.
The Vikings claimed Tate last month after he had been waived by the Browns. He was active for all five games with the Vikings, but only played in three of them. He rushed for 38 yards on 13 carries. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)|
FFToday's Take: Tate didn't see the field in Week 16 as Joe Banyard backed up starter Matt Asiata. Tate's fantasy value for this season is likely over unless he lands with a playoff team. Both the Colts and Cardinals showed some lukewarm interest in him earlier this season but in all likelihood his 2014 season is over.
| Heavy workload wearing down Justin Forsett|
Ravens RB dealing with gimpy ankle, insists he's fine
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 23 2014, 9:49 am
|The career year for Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett is ending on a down -- and unfortunately predictable -- note.
In the past two games, Forsett has totaled 68 yards rushing and has been held under three yards per carry, an indication that the heaviest workload of his seven-year career is taking a toll. There have been signs of the NFL's fifth-leading rusher wearing down, from a knee injury a couple of weeks ago to an ankle injury on Sunday which forced him to miss the final nine minutes of the game.
"I'm fine. I'm ready to go," Forsett said after being held to a season-low 19 yards. "The defense did a great job, stopping us and stopping the run. Sometimes it's like that. We have to find a way to execute and win games. We just didn't do that today."
Forsett has now carried the ball 218 times, which ranks 10th-most in the NFL this season. That's also 100 more carries than he's received in any of his previous six seasons.
Teams are beginning to figure out that stopping the Ravens' run game throws everything out of whack for the Ravens' offense. The Ravens are 8-1 when they rush for over 120 yards, and they're 1-4 when they are held under 100 yards.
The Ravens managed 33 yards on the ground against the Houston Texans, which was only ranked 14th against the run.
FFToday's Take: Rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury, so if Forsett had to miss Week 17, it would be up to undrafted rookie Fitzgerald Toussaint to shoulder the load along with Bernard Pierce.
The Cleveland Browns run defense ranks near the bottom of the NFL. If Forsett is okay to go, he's a must-play.
| Philip Rivers (back) will play Sunday|
Chargers QB has bulging disk close to herniation
By: Antonio D'Arcangelis | Dec 23 2014, 9:33 am
|Although he is dealing with a bulging disk in his back, the expectation remains that San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers will play in his team's final regular-season game, on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs.
That's what Chargers coach Mike McCoy told reporters Monday.
"Everyone has had some form of injury that they deal with at some point of time during the year," McCoy said. "Philip will play on Sunday."
ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen reported that, according to team sources, Rivers is playing with a bulging disk in his lower back that doctors fear is on the brink of being herniated.
Rivers did not practice on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week in order to rest the injury. After Saturday's win against the San Francisco 49ers, Rivers said he felt better in the game in terms of dealing with the injury than the previous week. He has been dealing with the back issue for the past three weeks, according to Mortensen's report. He also played through a rib injury earlier this season.
Rivers finished 33-of-54 for 356 yards in Saturday's 38-35 overtime victory that helped keep the Chargers' playoff hopes alive. He was intercepted three times, but he threw four touchdown passes and converted on fourth-and-8 and fourth-and-10 on San Diego's final drive of the fourth quarter as the Chargers rallied after trailing by 21 points at halftime.
A win for the Chargers on Sunday would clinch a second straight trip to the playoffs.
Chargers linebacker Manti Te'o said Rivers' playing through injuries has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the team.
"For him to be as sharp -- not only physically, but mentally -- and to be able to command our offense and take control of our team is truly remarkable," Te'o said. "He's one of the best to play this game. And I've said it many times, we're very fortunate to have him on our team." (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: The Chargers have a decent matchup against the struggling Chiefs, but Rivers is playing through some pain with this injury. He'll start in Week 17, but if you're looking for a mid-range DFS option, there are much better options.
| A.J. Green injures arm in win over Denver|
Bengals WR expects to play versus Steelers
By: Antonio D'Arcangelis | Dec 23 2014, 9:25 am
|Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green suffered an injury to his upper right arm in the first quarter of Monday night's game against the Denver Broncos, and while he tried to play through it he left the game for good late in the third quarter. He said he expects to play this coming Sunday in Pittsburgh.
The injury occurred when Green jumped to try to catch a high throw from quarterback Andy Dalton on the first play of the Bengals' second drive of the game and was hit in the upper right arm by the helmet of Broncos safety T.J. Ward. The pass ricocheted off Green's hand and was intercepted by Aqib Talib, who returned it 33 yards for a touchdown.
Green didn't play in the Bengals' next offensive series, which actually lasted only one play – Jeremy Hill's 85-yard touchdown run – and played off and on the rest of the half, but was seen constantly dangling the arm at his side and was in obvious pain.
He went into the locker room for X-rays that turned out to be negative and tried to play in the second half, but he said the pain just got to be too much. (Cincinnati Inquirer)|
FFToday's Take: Green looked to be in a lot of pain Monday night, but we fully expect him to suit up in a game where the Bengals could help themselves clinch a first-round bye.
| Colts likely to play starters in Week 17|
"Need to build some steam"
By: Doug Orth | Dec 22 2014, 4:55 pm
|Colts are going to, generally speaking, play to win against Tennessee despite having nothing to gain. They need to build some steam. (Stephen Holder on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: After laying an egg against the Cowboys in Week 16, the Colts would probably be well-served by trying to find their groove offensively against the overmatched Titans. T.Y. Hilton is expected to return and Andrew Luck is a good bet to excel, so both players should be top-five plays in daily fantasy or Week 17 championships, even if they only play three quarters.
| Johnny Manziel (hamstring) out for year|
Connor Shaw could get start Week 17
By: Doug Orth | Dec 22 2014, 4:40 pm
|Browns HC Mike Pettine: "Brian Hoyer (shoulder) has not been ruled out. Connor Shaw will get a good amount of reps. Exploring other options." (Mary Kay Cabot on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: Johnny Manziel's disappointing two-game run as the Browns' starter is over. The Browns already know what they have with Hoyer, so it would come as a surprise if they didn't turn to Shaw after he was arguably the most impressive quarterback in their camp during the preseason. Shaw can run a little bit and showed in his final year at South Carolina that he could make good decisions in Steve Spurrier's offense. Perhaps Shaw can give Cleveland's offense the jump-start it desperately needs.
|Cowboys plan to play starters in Week 17|
Per HC Jason Garrett
By: Doug Orth | Dec 22 2014, 4:30 pm
|Cowboys HC Jason Garrett says starters will play vs. Washington on Sunday. (Jon Machota on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: As is normal protocol for a team that cannot do much to improve its playoff seeding, Garrett's assertion doesn't mean his starters will play the entire game. Daily leaguers or owners playing in Week 17 championships shouldn't expect Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant or Jason Witten to play more than a half.
| Cutler to start Wk 17, Clausen out with concussion|
Bears shuffle the deck at QB again
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 22 2014, 2:50 pm
|Bears will start Jay Cutler at QB in season finale Sunday at Vikings. (Brad Biggs on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: Jimmy Clausen suffered a concussion in Week 16 and won't be available so the Bears will turn back to Cutler in the final game of the season. Despite the inconsistent play, Cutler and his main targets will be back on the fantasy radar for Week 17.
|Logan Thomas could start for ARI in Week 17|
Cardinals starting QB up in the air
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 22 2014, 1:53 pm
|Just talked to an informed azcardinals source, the best kind, who believes Logan Thomas will start vs. 49ers. (Kent Somers on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: As anticipated Ryan Lindley didn't fare well against the Seahawks in Week 16. Drew Stanton (knee) swelled up after practicing last week and won't be an option for Week 17. The Cardinals are in the playoffs and will likely be a wildcard team if they lose to the 49ers on Sunday.
|Wk 17 PIT, CIN game flexed to Sunday night|
AFC North title up for grabs
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 22 2014, 9:30 am
|The AFC North will be decided in primetime in Week 17.
The NFL announced that the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers will face off in primetime next Sunday night. The league leaves the primetime spot on NBC open until most of Week 16 is over to maximize having the best game possible on air.
FFToday's Take: If the Broncos beat the Bengals tonight then the Week 17 game between the Steelers and Bengals will be a win and in scenario for Cincinnati. The Steelers clinched a playoff birth yesterday with a victory over the Chiefs.