Adam Levitan

Last Minute Decisions

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Week 15 Injury Questions

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I know it’s semifinal week because I have that anxious, nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach.

As we get set for Week 15, 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:

1PM GAMES
PACKERS at BEARS
* Jay Cutler (knee, neck) will start despite being less than 100 percent.
* Jordy Nelson (hamstring) remains out. Good news for Greg Jennings and James Jones.
* Michael Bush (ribs) won’t be in for very many snaps even if he suits up. Matt Forte has been a workhorse of late.

GIANTS at FALCONS
* Ahmad Bradshaw (knee) is out. We’ve talked about David Wilson here, here and here.
* Hakeem Nicks (knee) appears healthier this week than last, when he put a 4/67/1 line on the Saints.
* Roddy White (knee) didn’t practice at all this week, but we’d expect him to gut it out. He’s never missed a game in his career. There is some risk for owners though, as White could be limited. Meanwhile, backup Harry Douglas is expected to play through his rib injury.

BUCS at SAINTS
* Chris Ivory (hamstring) remains out. Mark Ingram gets a little boost, but he’s facing the league’s top-ranked run defense.

VIKINGS at RAMS
* Danny Amendola (foot) will play, but he’s been susceptible to aggravation with this injury. Lots of risk here for owners.

REDSKINS at BROWNS
* Robert Griffin III (knee) appears headed for a true game-time call. He reportedly didn’t take the first-team reps this week, but he did look mobile during practice. Kirk Cousins will start if RG3 gets held out. Update: The Redskins informed Cousins that he will be the starting QB against the Browns.

JAGUARS at DOLPHINS
* Rashad Jennings (concussion) and Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) are out. The Montell Owens train rolls on.
* Cecil Shorts (concussion) is back as a solid WR3 candidate.
* Davone Bess (back) is out. Marlon Moore is expected to start opposite Brian Hartline. Yawn.

BRONCOS at RAVENS
* Ed Dickson (knee) is listed as doubtful. Dennis Pitta will continue to reap benefits and is expected to get more looks in Jim Caldwell’s no-huddle sets.

COLTS at TEXANS
* Delone Carter (ankle) is out. Vick Ballard is going to get all he can eat.

4PM GAMES
SEAHAWKS at BILLS
* Sidney Rice (foot) is expected to play though a questionable tag as a weak WR3.
* Fred Jackson (knee) is done for the year. C.J. Spiller is only expected to come off the field in favor of Tashard Choice when he’s gassed.

LIONS at CARDINALS
* Brandon Pettigrew has a high-ankle sprain. Tony Scheffler and Calvin Johnson project as target monsters in the Lions’ decimated receiving corps.
* Rob Housler (knee) is headed for a game-time call, but can’t be trusted due to the Cardinals’ quarterback situation anyway.

PANTHERS at CHARGERS
* Ronnie Brown (hamstring) is listed as doubtful. His absence means more third-down reps and catches for Ryan Mathews in this dream matchup.
* Brandon LaFell (toe) is a game-time call, but isn’t a fantasy option at less than 100 percent.
* Jonathan Stewart (ankle) remains out. DeAngelo Williams gets another nod as the feature back.
* Eddie Royal (hamstring) is on the bad side of a questionable tag. Michael Spurlock had seven catches out of the slot last week.

CHIEFS at RAIDERS
* Dwayne Bowe (ribs) is out. Jon Baldwin gets the nod as the No. 1 wideout.
* Darren McFadden (ankle) appears as close to 100 percent as he’s going to get.

STEELERS at COWBOYS
* Dez Bryant is tentatively expected to play through his fractured finger. He’s going to be wearing a splint and it will be painful. He could aggravate it. Or he could brush it off and eat up the Steelers’ Ike Taylor-less secondary. Owners wishing to wait on Dez’s upside can roster Dwayne Harris as insurance.
* Rashard Mendenhall is suspended. It’s Jonathan Dwyer’s backfield anyway.
* Ben Roethlisberger isn’t even listed on the injury report and all his wideouts are healthy.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
49ERS at PATRIOTS
* Mario Manningham had a setback with his shoulder and is out.
* As usual, Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd are ready to rock despite meaningless questionable tags.
* Rob Gronkowski (forearm) will not play this week despite getting back in Friday’s practice. Week 17 makes the most sense for his return.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
JETS at TITANS
* Jared Cook (shoulder) is done for the year. Craig Stevens draws the start at tight end.
* Dustin Keller (ankle) isn’t ready to return. Jeff Cumberland is his backup.
* Bilal Powell is tentatively expected to play through a sore or fractured toe. Expect Shonn Greene to get a bigger piece of the workload than normal.
* Stephen Hill (knee) is out and Clyde Gates (concussion) is questionable, meaning newly re-signed Braylon Edwards might actually play in this one.

MY TOUGHEST DECISION OF THE WEEK
I made the final four of my highest stakes league, a 16-team full-PPR format. The tight ends I drafted way back in September were Jermichael Finley and Kyle Rudolph. I’m not going to dance with the girls I brought.

I’ve dumped them both, leaving myself with a decision between Tony Scheffler and Dennis Pitta in the biggest game of the year. No, I have no problem whatsoever adding guys off waivers and plugging them into the lineup in a semifinal game.

In the end, I’ve decided to roll with Scheffler for a few reasons:

First of all, I don’t think the Lions will blow out the Cardinals. The Cards were humiliated last week in Seattle and figure to come out with much more purpose and energy at home. The Lions are 2-5 on the road this year and are simply not that good.

Next, Scheffler’s targets are going to be there. With Brandon Pettigrew (ankle), Titus Young (banished) and Ryan Broyles (knee) all out, Scheffler is No. 2 on the totem pole behind Calvin Johnson. He’s already averaging 7.7 targets per game over the last four weeks.

Finally, Scheffler is operating as a true slot receiver in the game’s most pass-happy offense. How many tight ends can say that?

SURVIVOR PICK OF THE WEEK
I would try not to use the Lions this week (see above). Classic trap game.

I believe the most likely winner this week is the Texans. Everyone wants to jump off the bandwagon following Monday night’s humiliation, but this is a great spot for a bounce back. They’re at home and facing a Colts team that has no desperation.



Adam Levitan is in his sixth 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.
Email :Adam Levitan



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