November 14, 2009

Week 10 brings us yet another concussed running back, an unpleasant turn of events in Philadelphia, and the probable return of two Raiders (oh, boy!) ...

Anquan Boldin: Right ankle sprain

Boldin is one displeased footballer. He's ticked at his coach for not being "man enough" to inform him he was inactive for Sunday's game. He's ticked with management because they won't sign him -- but they won't trade him -- and he's ticked at Levi Brown for continually borrowing his roll-on deodorant.

Boldin will have a chance to unleash that anger on the undeserving Seattle secondary, as he looks poised for a limp-free Sunday. He practiced fully on Wednesday, and although the Cardinals know he won't be 100 percent healthy, they're hopeful an extra week of rest will enable Boldin to play the entire game, something he couldn't do in Week 8 or 9.

Brian Westbrook: Concussion/ankle soreness

Turn away Westbrook owners, you don't want to read what's about to follow. Westbrook was held out of practice Wednesday, not because of the concussion that caused him to miss Sunday's game, but rather because of soreness in his surgically repaired ankle. According to Andy Reid, Westbrook missed practice because he "had some work done on his ankle." Reid then declined to define "work done," prompting speculation that Westbrook could miss his third consecutive game.

It will be hard to gauge his availability for Sunday based on practice participation, so prepare yourself for a morning of page refreshing and text updates to determine whether or not to employ Westbrook this week.

Darren McFadden: Rehabbing right knee (surgery)

Five weeks removed from a knee scope, McFadden practiced fully on Wednesday, and he's expected to be in uniform against the Chiefs' 28th-ranked run defense. Tom Cable didn't indicate how the carries will be allotted between McFadden, Justin Fargas and Michael Bush, and when a reporter pushed for an answer, Cable simply raised his hand, sending the scribe scurrying away. Rest assured that however the action is divvied up, it'll be hard to trust any of the Oakland backs in a starting role, despite the succulent matchup.

Clinton Portis: Concussion

In sticking to the "Coach's Code," Jim Zorn refrained from labeling Portis "out" for the Redskins' upcoming game against Denver, but he did say his starting running back is "very, very doubtful." After seeing the scary collision and reading reports and quotes about the incident, I'd say "very, very doubtful" is the understatement of the century. I'm not even sure Portis realizes what he does for a living right now.

Ladell Betts, who also missed practice on Wednesday, is expected to carry the full workload in Portis' absence. He tweaked his ankle against the Falcons, but it's not believed to be serious.

Jordy Nelson/Jermichael Finley: Knee sprains

With No. 3 receiver Jordy Nelson sidelined the past four weeks with a knee sprain, James Jones experienced a slight career resurgence (or was it simply a surgence?), by catching eight balls for 205 yards and three touchdowns. His usability is likely to come to an end with the news that Nelson was back at practice this week. In the two games prior to his injury, Nelson had six catches for 93 yards and a score, proving the slot role in Green Bay is a fairly profitable position to invest in. Unfortunately, with two players currently occupying it, nobody is eligible to receive the benefits.

That's especially true with the potential return of Jermichael Finley. Finley ran on Tuesday in what Mike McCarthy deemed a "very, very good workout," but longtime team physician Patrick McKenzie erred on the side of caution by holding him out of practice Wednesday. Finley described the whole situation as "100 percent frustrating," but acknowledged McKenzie's nearly 20 years of experience as the Packers team physician prevented him from "raising hell." If he works out Friday, consider it a sure bet that Finley will be in uniform, further clouding the fantasy potential of both Nelson and Jones.

Donald Brown: Left shoulder contusion

Brown practiced most of last week before missing Friday's session and Sunday's game. He wasn't mentioned on the injury report this week, and it looks like the rookie is ready to resume his role as offensive fireplug for the Colts. Brown was averaging just over 10 touches a game before being injured, and his big play ability makes him an intriguing flex play regardless of the matchup.

Joseph Addai thrived from a fantasy standpoint with his backfield mate out, but the Colts' running game was considerably less potent, leaving no doubt that both Brown and Addai will return to their pre-injury status.

Sammy Morris: MCL injury

Morris has missed the past two games after suffering what's believed to be a torn MCL against the Titans in Week 6. He hasn't practiced this week, but the Boston Globe reported Monday that Morris was spotted walking through the locker room without a discernable limp. He won't play this week, but his improved gait is a sign that his rumored Week 11 return is still in play. In the meantime, it looks like fantasy owners will be treated to one more week of Laurence "Russian Roulette" Maroney operating solo out of the Patriots backfield.

Chaz Schilens: Rehabbing broken left foot

The Chaz is back! The long awaited return of Chaz Schilens is finally upon us, and what a difference his presence will make for the Oakland offense. JaMarcus Russell automatically becomes an every-week starter, and with all the attention diverted in Schilens' direction, Darius Heyward-Bey is guaranteed to make a late season push for Rookie of the Year consideration. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Raiders throw up a 40 spot on Kansas City with the "Chazster" back in the fold!

Sorry, I couldn't help myself. All sarcasm aside, Schilens' return from a broken foot should help Russell in the passing game. At 6-4 225-pounds, he's a big target with -- surprise, surprise -- game-changing speed. Schilens averaged over 15 yards a catch last season, and in his only preseason appearance this year, he hauled in five catches for 52 yards. Schilens isn't rosterable in anything other than the deepest of leagues, but his presence should at least be enough to free up Zach Miller more frequently over the middle.

Antonio Bryant: Right knee soreness

After missing Sunday's game, Bryant wasn't at the mid-week practice, and his availability is questionable for Week 10. At this point, being reliant on Bryant is a very risky proposition. His season high for receiving yards is 62, and the 2008 breakout star is averaging less than three catches a game.

With little to no practice time with new starter Josh Freeman, even if Bryant suits up this weekend (which looks unlikely), he'll most likely be the third-best fantasy option on a putrid Tampa Bay offense (behind Kellen Winslow and Sammie Stroughter). I wish I could type out the sound of me barfing into my mouth, but I haven't figured out the proper vowel placement yet. I suppose a simple "Blech" will work though.

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