Patrick Daugherty

Last Minute Decisions

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Week 10 Injury Questions

Saturday, November 12, 2011

According to ESPN, 2011 is Year of the Quarterback. According to what we’ve seen on the field, it’s the Year of the Injured Running Back.

From stars (Darren McFadden, Peyton Hillis, Ahmad Bradshaw), to young guns (Ryan Mathews, Jahvid Best, Mark Ingram) to scrubs (take your pick), our running backs can’t stay healthy. It’s why Jackie Battle is being started in nearly 100 percent of leagues, and why Chris Ogbonnaya — perhaps one of the worst players to set foot on an NFL field this season — has been one of November’s hottest waiver wire adds.

Last Minute Decisions is here to help you sort out who you need to be forcing into your starting lineup, and who’s best left glued to your bench.

Of course, the Rotoworld News Page will also be humming along all Sunday morning to bring you official word on all your injured players ahead of kickoff. And to make sure you’re prepared, read every word of these rankings from Gregg Rosenthal/Chris Wesseling in combination Evan Silva’s mind-blowing Matchup Column.

In the words of Adam Levitan, let’s get to the hurt folks:

* Dallas Clark (leg) has already been ruled out. Although the Colts are reportedly encouraged by the progress he made during the week, there’s still no guarantee he’ll return this season.
* Joseph Addai (hamstring) is expected to be inactive after Indy promoted Darren Evans from the practice squad on Saturday, leaving Delone Carter and Donald Brown to again split the load at running back. Neither crack the top 35 in Rotoworld's Week 10 running back rankings.   

* With Mark Ingram (heel) on track to be active for the first time since Week 7, Chris Ivory (hamstring) is expected to be the odd-man-out in New Orleans' backfield. Working his way back to full health, Ingram is a shaky RB3/flex play in standard leagues.
* Lance Moore (hamstring) is looking like a game-time decision, and is best avoided as a WR3 if you have depth at receiver.
* Julio Jones (hamstring) will play after being limited in practice on Thursday and Friday with a “tweaked” right hamstring. We're still expecting a big day, ranking Jones as the 14th best receiver play for Week 10.  
* Tony Gonzalez (back) shouldn’t be limited.

* Andre Johnson (hamstring) will sit out for the sixth straight game, but is hopeful of returning following Houston’s Week 11 bye. For hopefully the final time, Jacoby Jones will start opposite Kevin Walter.  
* Mike Williams (thigh) is probable, and fully expected to start. Tampa’s No. 1 receiver is averaging six catches for 60 yards over his past three starts.

* Emmanuel Sanders (knee) is at least two weeks away from returning.
* Hines Ward (head) is all-systems-go after being slowed by head and ankle injuries the past few weeks. He’s not a fantasy option, however.
* Jerricho Cotchery (knee) will be active, but isn’t worth a start in deeper leagues with Ward back in the fold.   
* Jermaine Gresham (hamstring) sounds likely to be active, but won’t be 100 percent. That’s bad news with backup Donald Lee (foot) already ruled out. If possible, it’s a situation to avoid.

* Both Jared Cook (knee) and Nate Washington (hip) are expected to be active and near their normal effectiveness after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Unfortunately, even at “normal effectiveness,” both are poor options in 10-to-12 team leagues.
* Matt Hasselbeck (knee) is fine after getting some rest on Wednesday. He’s Rotoworld’s 22nd ranked quarterback for Week 10.

* Todd Heap (hamstring) is once again questionable, and probably 50-50 to miss his fifth straight game. With Rob Housler (thigh) doubtful, blocker Jim Dray would likely be forced to start at tight end if Heap can’t go.   
* Kevin Kolb (foot) won’t play after failing to practice all week. It’s up to unimpressive second-year signal caller John Skelton to figure out Philadelphia’s elite secondary.
* LeSean McCoy (shoulder) will be ready to rock and roll.  

* Willis McGahee (hand) should be near 100 percent one week after shredding the Raiders.

* Rian Lindell (shoulder) could miss up to six weeks. Dave Rayner is now the Bills kicker.
* Stevie Johnson (illness) should be fine after a bout with the flu.
* Miles Austin (hamstring) will miss the first of what could be four games. Laurent Robinson is worth a look during his absence.
* Felix Jones (ankle) will again be watching helplessly from the sideline as DeMarco Murray puts a stranglehold on Dallas’ starting job.

* Danario Alexander (hamstring) will miss third straight game. Look for Brandon Gibson and Mark Clayton to split snaps opposite Brandon Lloyd on the outside, with Austin Pettis manning the slot.
* Lance Kendricks (foot) will miss the first of what could be a few games.
* Sam Bradford (ankle) is ahead of where he was last week, but should be in for a long afternoon against Cleveland’s top-ranked pass defense.
* Steven Jackson (foot) is near 100 percent, and will have a good shot at turning in his third straight 100-yard rushing effort against a defense missing elite run-stopper SS T.J. Ward,
* Montario Hardesty (calf) and Peyton Hillis (hamstring) both remain out, forcing the Browns to again turn to the woeful Chris Ogbonnaya at running back.  
* Mohamed Massaquoi (head) could be staring at a multi-week absence after failing to practice this week.

* Niles Paul (toe) will be out a few weeks.
* Tashard Choice (hamstring) will likely be active, but should only be in for a handful of carries, if any, behind Roy Helu and Ryan Torain.
* Fred Davis (ankle) should be near 100 percent after practicing fully this week.

* Lee Evans (ankle) will miss his seventh straight game, and is far from a sure bet to return in Week 11.
* Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) should be as healthy as he’s been in weeks, but figures to struggle against Baltimore’s fourth-ranked pass defense.
* Sidney Rice (foot) is probable after turning in a full practice on Friday, but is a poor WR3 thanks to his tough matchup.

GIANTS at 49ers
* Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) is out, with his return date still up in the air. D.J. Ware will back-up Brandon Jacobs against the league’s (by far) top run defense.
* Mario Manningham will join Hakeem Nicks (hamstring) as a game-time decision after surprisingly showing up on the Giants’ Saturday injury report with a knee issue. Nicks (hamstring) sounds better than 50-50 to play, but Manningham’s forecast is ominous. A big dose of Victor Cruz appears to be in order.

* Jahvid Best (concussion) remains out indefinitely, forcing the Lions to go with an unappealing backfield trio of Maurice Morris, Keiland Williams and Kevin Smith. It’s a situation to avoid in fantasy leagues.
* Jason Hanson (knee) sounds like he’ll give it a go, but there’s no reason to risk starting him with so many healthy alternatives.  
* Devin Hester (ankle) appears poised to miss his first game since 2009. Earl Bennett’s role should continue to grow.  

* Wes Welker (ribs) will be more concerned with Darrelle Revis than his health.  
* Kevin Faulk (knee) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe) are both questionable but expected to play. How coach Bill Belichick will divvy out his backfield snaps is anybody’s guess, but if you’re forced to start a Pats running back, go with the Law Firm.
* Plaxico Burress (back) should be fine to serve as a red-zone threat after turning in a full practice on Friday.
* Shonn Greene (head) should be close to 100 percent against New England’s ninth-ranked run defense.

* Percy Harvin was absent from this week’s injury report, and will be looking to build an on encouraging Week 8 effort.

The Eagles are no one’s idea of a dominant team these days, but at home against a team starting John Skelton? It will take a miracle for the Cardinals to add to Philadelphia’s misery. One week after leading the Cardinals to a baffling overtime win over the Rams, Skelton should be overwhelmed against the Eagles’ elite pass rush and secondary.

Tread carefully with the Ravens. It would be far from surprising if Joe Flacco had an afternoon to forget in intimidating “CenturyLink” Field, while a slumping Ray Rice will have to contend with an above-average run defense. The Seahawks could pull off the upset.    

What happens when you draft Joseph Addai as “insurance” for Beanie Wells and Darren McFadden in a 14-team league? You get stuck choosing between Jackie Battle, C.J. Spiller and...Jason Snelling for two running back spots. The decision isn’t actually that tough — I’m keeping Snelling glued to my bench — but now is as good a time as any to highlight Battle’s rapidly declining effectiveness.

Since gashing the Colts for 119 yards in Week 5, Battle has seen his yards per carry go from 6.3 to 4.8 to 3.7 before bottoming out at 2.9 against the Dolphins last week. He’s found the end zone just once all season, and has made Michael Bush’s foot speed look like Chris Johnson’s in comparison. Although Battle has a favorable matchup on paper against the Broncos, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Chiefs start mixing in Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster and perhaps even Le'Ron McClain more than they have been in recent weeks. The Battle gravy train has probably just about reached the end of the line.     

Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Patrick Daugherty

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