While most of us were focusing on the sorry state of our retirement funds, plenty of news broke around the NFL that will affect your fantasy lineup this weekend.
News:Browns tight end Kellen Winslow missed his second consecutive practice Thursday with an unspecified illness.
Views: Did Winslow eat some bad Chinese food? Drink milk that was two days past expiration? Coach Romeo Crennel didn't elaborate, but did say: "I know that he'll want to play, so he'll do everything he can to be able to play." So that was helpful. The Browns offense has a tall order on Monday night when they face the unbeaten Giants and a defense that's allowing 12.3 points per game, good for second in the NFL.
Verdict: Check back Friday to see if Winslow is able to return to practice. In the meantime, it's probably a good idea to leave most of your Browns on the bench this week if you can come up with other options.
News:Matt Hasselbeckmissed Seahawks practice Thursday because of a sore knee.
Views: The 'Hawks quarterback suffered the injury during last week's debacle against the Giants. As of this writing, Hasselbeck is still expected to play on Sunday when the Packers come to town. But it's telling that the Seahawks signed quarterback Travis Lulay (which, one would imagine, is big news in the Lulay family -- but not to fantasy teams) to the practice squad. Meanwhile third-stringer Charlie Frye took snaps with the first-team offense, as No. 2 quarterback Seneca Wallace remains sidelined with a calf injury. Yes, this team is banged up.
Verdict: If you've got a healthier alternative than 'Hass, we'd suggest you try that option for this week. Hasselbeck remains a great candidate for a second-half breakout -- assuming he and his offensive weapons can get healthy and stay on the field.
News:Lions quarterback Jon Kitna missed practice on Thursday with a back injury.
Views: Despite taking a pummeling over the past few years in Motown, Kitna has made 36 straight starts. That streak appears in serious jeopardy this week when the hapless Lions travel to Minnesota to take on the 2-3 Vikings.
Verdict: The Vikes feature one of the best defenses in the NFL, but they're much softer against the pass (currently ranked 24th) than the rush (3rd). If he makes the start, Kitna would be a decent fantasy fill-in at quarterback if your regular starter is on a bye. Keeping checking SI.com for more Kitna updates.
News:Jeremy Shockey and Marques Colstonreturned to Saints practice on Thursday, and both could be ready to play Sunday against the Raiders.
Views: Neither player participated fully in practice, but it's a positive sign they made it out there at all. Colston has been out since Week 1 with a thumb injury, while Shockey is recovering from sports hernia surgery. A return this week by either player would be faster than previously expected.
Verdict: Once again, we have a story that won't fully play out until Sunday morning. Either Shockey or Colston would be a great play this week as the Saints travel to Oakland. Even if they aren't on the field in the Coliseum, all signs are pointing to their respective returns on Oct. 19.
News:Chargers receiver Chris Chambers missed practice Thursday, and is not expected to play Sunday night against the Patriots.
Views: Chambers sprained his ankle in last week's surprising loss to the Dolphins. This is a tough loss for the Bolts, who could certainly use Chambers' nose for the end zone (he has five TDs in just 11 receptions) against the resurgent Patriots.
Verdict: On the bright side, this is one lineup move you shouldn't have to wait until Sunday to make. All signs point to Chambers being out, so go ahead and make alternative plans now.
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