Patrick Daugherty has his work cut out for him with the rankings this week. There are a number of high-profile running backs battling injuries. We don’t have a great read on most of them being that it’s so early in the week. But I’m going to use this first section of the Dose to give a brief rundown on all of the major players we’re concerned about at the running back spot. I’ll provide the information that we do have and give an estimation – or a guess – as to what I believe their Week 13 status will be.
Let’s start with the big one. Knowshon Moreno, fantasy’s No. 3 running back, suffered an ankle injury in the overtime period of last Sunday night’s loss to the Patriots. He played through it but was spotted on crutches and in a walking boot following the game. The Denver Post reported Moreno is dealing with a “significant bone bruise.” He didn’t practice Wednesday. The feeling is that Moreno has avoided a long-term injury. However, in the short-term, his status for Week 13 is as clear as mud. If there was a gun to my head, I’d say Moreno sits out against the Chiefs. He’s too valuable to the offense to risk a setback, though this is a monster divisional game. Moreno is going to be one of the main guys to keep an eye on into the weekend. Montee Ball would seem to be the favorite for early-down work if Moreno sits.
Zac Stacy was forced from last Sunday’s win over the Bears late in the second quarter with a concussion and never returned. He’s been a bit injury-prone as a rookie. Stacy received a “DNP” for Wednesday’s practice, but beat writers mentioned he “did a little” during the walkthrough and did some running on the side. Those are encouraging signs. Coach Jeff Fisher added that Stacy is “doing fine.” So, take that for what it’s worth. He still needs to progress through the league’s protocol, but if I were a betting man, I’d venture to say that Stacy suits up against the 49ers this week.
Matt Forte “slightly” hyperextended his knee in Sunday’s loss to the Rams. He remained in the game and received treatment earlier this week. But Forte was held out of Bears practice Wednesday. It’s not a major concern. Coach Marc Trestman indicated that Forte will return to practice Thursday and didn’t sound worried at all about his star running back’s Week 13 outlook. Fire Forte up as a high-end RB1 against Minnesota’s porous run defense.
Ryan Mathews has been battling a hamstring issue for the better part of a month. Last Sunday, he re-tweaked it in the third quarter and failed to return to the game. Coach Mike McCoy said Mathews has a chance to play this week, but as we’ve seen with runners in the past, hamstring injuries can be awfully tricky. Mathews’ status for Week 13 against the Bengals is up in the air. He’s another guy we’re going to have to keep tabs on Thursday and Friday. Danny Woodhead would be leaned on heavily, and I’d expect the Chargers to be ultra pass-happy if Mathews is forced to sit out.
Chris Ivory injured his ankle on his first carry last week against the Ravens. He ended the day with just 35 yards on nine carries and played sparingly with the Jets trailing on the scoreboard. After the game, Ivory said he suffered both an upper and lower ankle sprain. On Wednesday, he was limited in practice, suggesting Ivory has avoided a high-ankle issue. Coach Rex Ryan said Ivory looked good. It seems he has a good chance to lace up against Miami. The Jets would be smart to recommit to Ivory and the ground game in this one. Their passing offense is a wreck.
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News Nugget #2
Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) returned to practice to take part in individual drills this week, but he was quickly ruled out for Thursday’s Week 13 game against the Lions. Matt Flynn was named the starter by coach Mike McCarthy on Wednesday. The last time Flynn faced the Lions, in Week 17 of 2011, he passed for 480 yards and six touchdowns. While we obviously shouldn’t expect that kind of output again, Flynn has a favorable matchup. The Lions are already a struggling pass defense. This week, they’ll be without their top corner, Chris Houston, due to a foot injury. Fire up Flynn as a QB2 for Week 13. Look for Rodgers to return to the huddle in Week 14 against the Falcons.
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News Nugget #3
Jason Campbell was concussed in last Sunday’s loss to the Steelers. He was previously dealing with a rib injury. Campbell hasn’t practiced at all this week and is listed as doubtful on the injury report. Brandon Weeden, who has been greeted with boos by the Cleveland crowd every time he steps on the field, will start this week against the Jaguars. Weeden has the edge in this matchup, but he’s still nothing more than a low-end QB2. He simply hasn’t been consistent enough as a pro. For all you Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron owners, there’s no need to worry. Both players should run around wide open for much of the afternoon. Start them as you normally would. Campbell should be cleared by next week.
Quarterback/Running Back Slants
Peyton Manning (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, as usual. … The Raiders cut fourth-round rookie Tyler Wilson for the second time this season. … The Packers placed Johnathan Franklin (concussion) on injured reserve. He remains a hold in dynasty. … All three of DeAngelo Williams (quad), Jonathan Stewart (ankle), and Mike Tolbert (leg) did not practice Wednesday. The biggest concern is Tolbert, who said he wouldn’t be able to play if he had to today. … Adrian Peterson (groin) did not practice Wednesday. He’s in no danger of missing Sunday’s tasty matchup against the Bears. … Darren McFadden (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Thursday’s game. He’ll play and be a low-end flex option in a backup role. … Brandon Jacobs (knee) did not practice.
Wide Receiver/Tight End Slants
Calvin Johnson (knee) is listed as probable for Thursday against the Packers. … Denarius Moore (shoulder) has been ruled out for Thursday’s game against the Cowboys. … Stevie Johnson (groin) and Robert Woods (ankle) are practicing in full this week. … Aaron Dobson (foot) did not practice Wednesday. … Rishard Matthews (back), Michael Floyd (shoulder), Cecil Shorts (groin), Kendall Wright (ankle), Hakeem Nicks (abdominal), Jeremy Kerley (elbow), Percy Harvin (hip), and Mike Brown (shoulder) were all limited in Wednesday’s practice. … Greg Jennings (Achilles’) did not practice Wednesday. … T.Y. Hilton banged his shoulder last Sunday against the Cardinals and didn’t practice Wednesday. He’ll be fine for Week 13. … Antonio Gates (hamstring) did not practice, though coach Mike McCoy didn’t seem concerned. … Brandon Bostick (concussion) is listed as questionable for Thursday against the Lions. … Julius Thomas (knee) practiced Wednesday and will be back in the lineup this week against the Chiefs. … Tony Gonzalez (toe) was limited Wednesday. … Jordan Reed (concussion) was limited Wednesday, putting him on track to return against the Giants on Sunday night. … Tim Wright’s playing time is expected to increase over the season’s final month.