Last-minute med check: Week 9

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Ben Roesthlisberger QB PIT: Big Ben is generating more rumors than any player this week. There's everything from "it's nothing" to "minor re-injury" to "the Giants really beat him up." There's enough worry here that I'm downgrading Roethlisberger and think that with Willie Parker back and a solid backup, the Steelers will shift from the pass and have Byron Leftwich at the ready.

Donte Stallworth WR CLE: Stallworth is a late downgrade. He's not going to play this week, just another data point in his disappointing season. The Browns will go with Syndric Steptoe instead, which puts more pressure on Braylon Edwards. Kellen Winslow might end up the best receiving option.

Darren McFadden RB OAK: The Raiders will give McFadden another week off as they continue to hope his turf toe will heal and they can judge what they've got for the future in the second half. He's a fantasy playoff sleeper.

James Jones RB GB: Jones wasn't on the injury report all week, but he's out for the Packers today. Word is that it's his knee, which has been a problem all season long.

Willis McGahee RB BAL: I'm more worried by reports about McGahee's leg. If he can't cut or push, his carries will be limited, and the committee of LaRon McClain and Ray Rice will sap McGahee's value against the Browns.

LaMont Jordan RB NE: If you followed along with most of the media, thinking Jordan was going to be back this week, oops. Turns out that the Pats will go with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Kevin Faulk, just like last week.

Santana Moss WR WAS: Moss' hamstring is definitely holding him back and Jim Zorn knows Moss can't be effective without his speed and burst. Look for the team to rely more on Chris Cooley and Antwaan Randle El this week.

Warrick Dunn RB TB: Dunn's back is still very much a problem and may keep him from being productive the rest of the season. With Cadillac Williams returning in some fashion, Dunn may be phased out.

Ike Hilliard WR TB: Hillard is still feeling the effects of his "shoulder" injury. The only shoulder injury he has is the one where his head nearly got detached from his shoulders.

L.J. Smith TE PHI: Speaking of concussions, Smith got crushed and felt the effects days after. He's definitely out this week and the team is hoping that the symptoms will pass so he can play and walk normally, something he couldn't do this week.

Leonard Weaver RB SEA: If you didn't pay attention, Weaver's fluky week might have made him seem like a good pickup. He wasn't and his injured foot looks to keep him off the field altogether, giving Owen Schmitt a chance.

Daunte Culpepper QB DET: I don't imagine Culpepper will be in uniform, but is he a "hail-mary" pickup? Simple answer: no. Culpepper has never been healthy since injuring his knee and his loss of mobility exposed his mechanics. Don't fall for it, though it is an opportunity to fleece someone.

Jason Witten TE DAL: There's almost nothing worse than a late-game game time decision for fantasy players. That's really what we have with Witten. He'll work out early in warmups to see whether or not he'll go. The bias, I'm told, is to holding him out, but in cases like that, coaches normally don't like to even give the player a chance to argue. Witten's workout tells me he's more likely to play than not, though how much and how effectively are up in the air.

Steven Jackson RB STL:* Reports are still coming both ways, even after Jackson said he was going to start. It's a last minute decision, it appears, and some are confused about who's actually making the call. If Jackson plays, he'll still lose some touches to Antonio Pittman.

Reggie Wayne WR IND: Wayne is a tough call. Trusted sources say he's 50-50 while Wayne himself is telling beat writers that he'll play. I do think he'll play but the deja vu to Marvin Harrison is a bit uncomfortable for me. Wayne's knee was "rolled up" during last week's game and he had some imaging done early in the week. It reads like a bruise or a low-grade sprain, so I'm very cautious, even gun shy here.

Joseph Addai RB IND: Addai might be slightly ahead of schedule, but reports from observers at Colts practice had good things to say about how Addai looked. He'll split carries with Dominic Rhodes, but should be No. 1 to Rhodes' No. 1A.

Ryan Torain RB DEN: Torain is active this week for the first time, but he'll split carries at best as we try and sort out what Mike Shanahan is doing. Good luck with that. Michael Pittman is the starter and there will be some sort of committee.

Willie Parker RB PIT: Yes, he'll play, but no one in black and gold seems confident of what Parker can do. That caution and the presence of Mewelde Moore make it unlikely that Parker will do more than play change of pace this week.

Kevin Walter WR HOU: There's fine and then there's when your coach says you're fine. Walter's actually both this week and a nice play in a game where the Texans will need to pass.

Titans DST: They get Kyle Vanden Boesch back. Good news for sack points, bad news for Aaron Rodgers.

Clinton Portis RB WAS: The Redskins were careful with Portis in practice, making sure they kept his ankle healthy. With Ladell Betts out and Shaun Alexander a shell of himself, they have to have Portis keep up these big rushing games.

Jerrious Norwood RB ATL: Still just a backup for some reason, Norwood's concussion symptoms had gone away by Thursday. He's a bit of a risk for recurrence.

Matt Jones WR JAX: It's less injury than availability, but Jones is both healthy (shoulder) and available (as in, not suspended.) That makes him a very solid second tier WR.

Kellen Winslow TE CLE: He's healthy and ready to get back to being one of the best TEs in the league. He's also one of few weapons the Browns have, so any hard feelings will pass quickly.

Joey Galloway WR TB: With Jeff Garcia and Galloway finally healthy, this week might be the one where we see if the Bucs have an offense to match their defense. Or at least something like the 2001 version.