Adam Levitan

Last Minute Decisions

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Week 13 Injury Questions

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It’s do-or-die time in most leagues. At long last, we can see the playoffs on the horizon.

As we get set for Week 13, we’ll have our eyes on every game. The Rotoworld News Page will be humming all day long to bring you the latest on who is in and who is out. We’ve got rankings from Chris Wesseling/Mike Clay here and Evan Silva’s ridiculously mind-blowing Matchup Column here. Inside the Season Pass, you’ll find flex rankings and exact projections for every player.

If you want to draft a new team just for this week, check our SnapDraft. And if you don’t have it already, you need the Rotoworld App for your iPhone/iPad. Badly.

OK, let’s get to the hurt folks:

* Matt Forte (ankle) spent the week going T.O. style, sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber and getting special chiropractic treatments. He’s going to play, but we’d still expect Michael Bush to see a few more snaps than usual.
* Alshon Jeffery (knee) remains sidelined.
* Sidney Rice (calf) was a late addition to the injury report. Pete Carroll thinks he’s going to play, but owners need to check back Sunday morning. Owners should also note that Rice projects to see plenty of Charles Tillman anyway.

* The Vikings never really let on to how bad Percy Harvin’s ankle sprain really was. He’ll miss his third straight game and has now been out a full month. Expect more targets for a healthy Kyle Rudolph (concussion, shoulder). Jarius Wright will start.
* Greg Jennings (groin) will finally return, but he’s looking at limited snaps as he works back into football shape. Expect a rotation with James Jones.

* Danny Amendola (foot) is listed as “doubtful” for the second straight week. Last week, he suited up and played just seven snaps.
* David Akers will kick despite his pelvic injury, but he’s missed eight field goals already this season.

* Beanie Wells (knee) will play through a questionable tag. He’ll start and carry the load.
* Andre Roberts (ankle) is headed for a game-time call. With Ryan Lindley under center, there’s little reason to force a start here.
* Jeremy Kerley (heel, hamstring, illness) is banged up but ready to rock as the Jets’ No. 1 wideout.

* Jonathan Stewart (ankle) is almost certainly out. DeAngelo Williams is a good bet for double-digit touches against a very weak run defense.
* Dexter McCluster (head) has been cleared. Yawn.

* Coby Fleener (shoulder) is back to steal a couple looks from Dwayne Allen.
* Mikel Leshoure (ankle) gave owners a scare early in the week, but he’s fine. Expect the usual 12-15 carries and goal-line work.

* Jalen Parmele (groin) and Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) are both out, forcing Rashad Jennings back into the starting role. His competition for carries will be fullback Montell Owens and waiver add Jordan Todman. Coach Mike Mularkey is still talking up a rotation.
* Justin Blackmon (groin) and Cecil Shorts (hamstring) sat out Thursday’s practice as a mere precaution. Get them going.
* Donald Jones (calf) is headed for a game-time call and off the fantasy radar.

* As usual, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Aaron Hernandez are listed as questionable. All are fully expected to play. Rob Gronkowski, of course, remains sidelined with that broken forearm.
* Julian Edelman (concussion) is back in practice, but it’s unclear if he’s been cleared for game action.

* Ben Tate (hamstring) is back, but Justin Forsett is expected to retain the backup gig for one more week.

* Brandon Stokley has a sore wrist and hip, but got three limited practices in this week. He should be good to go.

* Mohamed Sanu needs foot surgery and Andrew Hawkins is nursing a knee tweak. Avoid the Bengals’ No. 2 WR spot for now.

* First of all, poor weather is expected here. We’re talking a 100 percent chance of rain and potential for serious flooding with 20 MPH winds.
* Darren McFadden (ankle) is headed for a game-time call. Meanwhile, the Raiders’ staff has said Marcel Reece will stick at halfback for now and they’ve suggested he’ll get more work than DMC. I’m fine with playing Reece, especially in any leagues that give points for receptions.
* Mike Goodson (ankle) could be back as well, but he’s clearly fallen behind Reece.
* Brandon Weeden (concussion) is ready to go after taking all the first-team reps in practice this week.

* Ben Roethlisberger (ribs) is out. It’s tough to like any Steelers’ skill player with Charlie Batch starting. That includes Antonio Brown, who is making his return from an ankle injury.
* Ed Dickson (knee) is out. Give Dennis Pitta a little boost.

* Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy are out with concussions. We’ll get Nick Foles and Bryce Brown for the foreseeable future.
* With DeSean Jackson (ribs) on IR, Riley Cooper is expected to draw the start opposite Jeremy Maclin. Jason Avant (hamstring) is ready to resume slot duties.
* DeMarco Murray (foot) is expected to make his long-awaited return. Felix Jones (knees) is also expected to play through another questionable tag. The Cowboys figure to use a strict committee here to ease Murray back in.
* Miles Austin (hip, hamstring) is another Cowboys expected to grind it out at less than 100 percent.

* Pierre Garcon (foot) is practicing in full.
* With Andre Brown (leg) done for the year, the Giants are prepared to let David Wilson loose in a change-of-pace role. Ahmad Bradshaw will now get the goal-line work.
* Domenik Hixon (ankle) could be headed for a game-time call. If he can’t go, Rueben Randle will draw another start.

In a 10-team non-PPR league, my flex spot came down to Brandon Lloyd, Brandon LaFell or Vick Ballard. Ugh.

Ballard sounds appealing as a starting running back, but closer examination eliminates him. He has one touchdown all season and has lost passing-down duties to a healthy Donald Brown. Last week, Ballard had 13 carries compared to 10 for Brown. There’s concern that game flow could render Ballard a strict backup.

As for LaFell vs. Lloyd, I think this is a coin-flip. Both guys will get some deep shots. Both are secondary options at best in their respective offenses. When faced with a decision like this, I use the “checklist” technique.

More talent? Lloyd. Better quarterback? Lloyd. Who is at home? Both are on the road. Better matchup? Lloyd gets burnable Sean Smith. LaFell gets elite Brandon Flowers. Recent number of targets? LaFell has 22 in last three weeks. Lloyd has 18 during that span.

Lloyd wins out, three categories to one.

With the bye weeks behind us, we have more weekly options in Survivor. I think the most likely winner this week is the Packers. They’re coming off a hideous loss, are at Lambeau and are playing against a Vikings team that becomes extremely one-dimensional without Percy Harvin. I’d also consider the Cowboys a solid play as the Eagles continue to coddle a raw Nick Foles. If you’re looking to fade the consensus, I dig the Bills. Chad Henne is due for a letdown and Buffalo’s front seven has finally come around.

Adam Levitan is in his seventh season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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