Many returns, many more injuries in Week 12 fantasy Med Check
As most of us were putting turkey down hard, Ndamukong Suh was doing his best imitation of Milton Bradley. The stomp he put on Evan Dietrich-Smith was uncalled for, no question, and will draw a fine and suspension. His lame excuse and calls for anger management aside, the NFL Network's coverage of Thursday night's game gave me another idea for dealing with Suh.
NFLN was hyping the heck out of their "Sound FX" game, where they had a number of players mic'd up. Why not do that with Suh every game? Why not get the network (or even just the Lions) to put an iso cam on him to watch everything he does?
If Suh is the dirty player that other players have been indicating, this special attention will put him on notice. If he's getting taunted or baited, this would have to help in any disciplinary hearing. For that matter, why not use these things that are already in place to help with the disciplinary process? I know that the league offices review a lot of game tape, but I'd be curious to know if they are reviewing all the various angles and feeds. Discipline and injuries do go hand in hand in ways, so this is a concern. I'm just glad that Dietrich-Smith didn't get hurt on the stomp, or Suh would be looking at much, much worse.
Remember that we'll have updates all morning and our normal 11.30 a.m. ET chat as well to make sure everyone has the latest info as the inactive lists come out. Let's take a look around the league:
The Vikings will have to see what they can do without Peterson this week. Peterson is out of the walking boot but isn't close enough to go against the Falcons. The Vikings hope he'll be ready to go in Week 13, but don't count on it. Foot and ankle problems for RBs tend to linger, as you'll notice throughout today's Med Check. Visanthe Shiancoe is still bothered by his hamstring strain as well and is a GTD+. The Falcons should get Jones back, though Harry Douglas should continue to get plenty of looks. They will be missing cornerback Kelvin Hayden, who's out with a toe injury.
So what changed with Hillis, going from "maybe done" to "maybe back this week?" Actually, nothing changed with Hillis, but it did with Pat Shurmur. Shurmur had been focused on the often elusive and unnecessary 100 percent mark with Hillis and Montario Hardesty. Someone convinced him that the things Hillis could do might be useful for the struggling Browns. Hillis isn't 100 percent and won't get the feature load back, but if he plays (GTD-), he'll likely get the red-zone touches. Hardesty is also likely to play, but don't count out Ogbannaya completely. There's a lot of uncertainty still as to who will play and how they'll split the touches. Browns safety T.J. Ward is also out again, so the Bengals running game gets a bit of a bump. The Bengals get Green back, which is the only relevant situation they have.
Late reports this week from Carolina have Legedu Naanee dealing with an ankle injury. That should give more targets to LaFell, who's fallen off the last few weeks as he's drawn more coverage and failed to get open enough for Cam Newton. The Panthers have some defensive depth issues, especially at LB, where they have a number of GTD+. The Colts are very banged up. There had been some hope that they could get a couple players back. Dallas Clark is technically a GTD-, but Jim Irsay leaked that he would be out again. There's still hope for guard Joe Reitz to be ready just a couple weeks after knee surgery. Joseph Addai is a GTD- but figures to be just a mix back if he does get in.
Matt Leinart hits the field with Matt Schaub out. There's good news everywhere he looks, though I'm not sure how Texans fans will look on Leinart. Leinart will see Johnson out wide, a good running back behind him even if they're three deep, and he won't see Derek Cox, who's been a real find for the Jags at CB. I'm still in wait-and-see mode on Johnson as the leg is still affecting his acceleration. The Jags are very dinged on defense, especially along the line. That upgrades the running game for the Texans, which they don't really need. The Texans have some defensive dings as well, but none that should affect the game.
With Fred Jackson out for the season with a fractured fibula, the Bills running attack is very confused. Tashard Choice could seem like a nice replacement, but there's not many that think the Bills are a "system" team where anyone can come in and be productive. The Bills should have David Nelson, but the passing attack could suffer if there's no running game. The Bills right now are just devastated by injuries, even if the official injury report doesn't reflect it well. The Jets are also very banged up despite their long week. Tomlinson is out, but Shonn Greene looks ready to go. McKnight will get some carries, especially if Greene struggles early. The Jets have some D-Line issues, especially if Mike DeVito is limited, but the Bills rushing attack probably can't exploit it. The injuries point to this game ending up a passing attack, so there could be a lot of fantasy points here.
There's a load of small injuries on both sides of this game, but it's a tough read how much any of them will affect things. Kevin Kolb is likely out again, as much because of the play of Skelton as the lingering turf toe. Wells has his normal knee issues but should get the same touches he's got over the last few weeks. Todd Heap is a GTD- again. There's a lot of defensive dings, with both Joey Porter and Kerry Rhodes out. The Rams' main questions are with WRs. Danario Alexander is a GTD+, and with Mark Clayton done, his role is big for Sam Bradford's game. James Laurinaitis and Chris Long are both likely to play as well.
Hasselbeck is expected to play despite an elbow issue. The coaching staff got enough of a feel for his throwing this week in practice, but there's a risk that he'll need relief. One of the big worries is that with O-line issues, Hasselbeck will be taking hits. The Titans will be missing Barrett Ruud up the middle, giving his old teammates a bit of room. That should help Blount and the power game. Tampa is relatively healthy with only some defensive dings.
Those of you that handcuffed Michael Bush this year, congratulations. You'll have at least another week of Bush being the lead runner, probably two, as Darren McFadden continues to have issues with his foot. The WR corps is a mess right now with questions everywhere. Jacoby Ford is out, Moore is a GTD-, as is Darrius Heyward-Bey. That doesn't leave much for Carson Palmer to throw to. Last week he looked to Boss more but spread the ball around. The Bears have only one significant injury, but it's Jay Cutler, which changes everything. Early reports are positive after Cutler's surgery to fixate the thumb. It's easy to be positive at this stage, but we won't have any real indications about when he'll be back until some time late next week.
The Redskins look to get Moss back after missing time with a broken hand. He's a nice addition, but Landry is the key GTD+. Landry changes the effectiveness of the defense when he's out there, even giving up a step to his Achilles strain. The Seahawks are also relatively healthy at the relevant positions, with Tarvaris Jackson and Sidney Rice expected to be close to full go.
The Pats always look worse on the injury report than they do on the field. Brandon Spikes is still out, but the defense could get a lot of help back in the backfield. There's some question about WRs, with Wes Welker expected to play normally after a near shutout last week. There's also a hip strain that could keep Deion Branch from getting his normal targets. Then again, the TEs got more than half the targets last week. The Eagles already had issues trying to figure out who to cover, but with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie questionable, they won't have the same matchups. Both are GTD- right now but will bear close watch. It doesn't look as if Jeremy Maclin will be able to go, which gives Riley Cooper another look. Finally, Michael Vick is reportedly out, but it's not official just yet.
The Chargers come in banged up. Things look a bit more positive for Mathews. He had issues at practice this week but was running well by Friday. The split with Mike Tolbert will hopefully keep Mathews healthy, or at least as healthy as he can be. Both could actually be decent fantasy plays, as long as you have realistic expectations. I think most projections on Mathews are a bit low this week. Malcom Floyd is out again, making Vincent Brown a decent play. The Broncos don't have any real issues, with only "probables" on the list.
While the Steelers have a number of injuries, only LaMarr Woodley figures to miss Sunday night's game. Ben Roethlisberger will play through a fracture of his thumb's tip, so his accuracy is in question. That makes his deep receivers a bit more risky than the short ones. The Chiefs look healthy on the injury report but have lost so many to injured reserve that the depth is already tested. Ryan Lilja is out after last week's concussion, so the interior running might be a bit off for the Chiefs.