Nick Mensio

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Dose: Jennings a Go, DMC a No?

Thursday, December 05, 2013


Rashad Jennings suffered a concussion on the final drive of last Thursday’s Thanksgiving afternoon tilt between the Raiders and Cowboys. Wednesday was the first day we received any sort of update on the 28-year-old’s status. Jennings was cleared to practice with the team, and he got in a limited session.

The fact that Jennings practiced is a great sign, but beat writer Jerry McDonald cautions Jennings has “yet to be fully cleared” for Week 14 against the Jets. Jennings has plenty of time to continue to progress through the league’s protocol. Barring a setback, we’d say he’s right on track to play Sunday. In Jennings’ past four games – all starts – he’s averaged 21 touches for 105 yards per game, while scoring three touchdowns. While the matchup against Gang Green’s stout run defense isn’t a favorable one by any means, Jennings’ workload makes him a viable RB2 candidate.

Darren McFadden obviously didn’t want Jennings to be the only guy to get hurt for the Raiders on Thanksgiving Day. The oft-injured McFadden apparently hurt his ankle against Dallas and was forced to sit out practice Wednesday. This guy simply can’t stay on the field anymore. The team and McFadden are “hopeful” he’ll be back soon, but we’re not going to hold our breath. Beat writer Steve Corkran confirmed Wednesday night that McFadden’s ankle injury is “worse than expected.” Corkran goes on to say that McFadden is “out now.” It’s unclear if he was referring to practice or Week 14 altogether. It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if McFadden missed Sunday’s game. DMC can safely be dropped in most re-draft leagues.

Now, in the unlikely event Jennings isn’t cleared and McFadden can’t play against the Jets on Sunday, the Raiders would be in some trouble. No. 3 running back Jeremy Stewart also missed practice Wednesday, leaving running back-turned-cornerback Taiwan Jones as a guy taking reps in the backfield at practice. If Jennings can’t go Sunday, we’d expect Marcel Reece to handle much of the work. He’d merely be a low-end flex option. Our money is on Jennings being ready.

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News Nugget #2

Jason Campbell was concussed in Week 12. Brandon Weeden started in his place in Week 13 and suffered a concussion of his own. Neither player has been cleared to practice yet, though both are able to exercise. The Browns went out and signed journeyman backup Caleb Hanie on Tuesday, pairing him with trick-shot artist Alex Tanney as the only healthy quarterbacks on the roster. Tanney has never thrown an NFL pass in a regular season game. He spent the summer with the Cowboys.

The sense is that Campbell has a good chance to be cleared in time to make Sunday’s start against the Patriots, but we’ve seen concussion setbacks before. If neither Campbell nor Weeden can give it a go, we don’t really know who would make the start out of Hanie or Tanney. Honestly, it wouldn’t really matter. Both players are well below-average quarterbacks and wouldn’t even be on the fantasy radar in the deepest of fantasy leagues. However, Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron owners surely are paying attention to the situation. In my personal opinion, Gordon is a must-start no matter who is playing quarterback. Just throw it in Gordon’s vicinity and he’s bound to make some plays. Cameron, on the other hand, would be downgraded to a back-end TE1 or even mid-to-high TE2.

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News Nugget #3

Andre Ellington (knee) did not practice Wednesday after he was inactive for last week’s loss to the Eagles. "I’m fine right now. It’s a day by day thing," Ellington said. "I’ll be ready to go on Sunday." We’ll see about that. Coach Bruce Arians admitted last Sunday that Ellington wasn’t even close to suiting up for Week 13, and the team later said they plan to be cautious with the rookie runner. If Ellington does lace up this week, he’ll be on the flex radar at home against the Rams.

Le’Veon Bell (concussion) was “looking good” on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, he practiced in full for the Steelers. It’s great news six days after he was knocked unconscious on a helmet-to-helmet hit from Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith. We’ll still need to monitor Bell throughout the week, but he’s safe to pencil into lineups as an RB2 against Miami’s seventh-worst fantasy run defense.

Reggie Bush popped up on the Wednesday injury report with a calf injury and missed practice. This comes after he practiced with the Lions on Tuesday. Beat writers didn’t express much concern, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. Bush has stayed relatively healthy the past couple seasons, but he’s battled various nicks and dings in his first year with Detroit. If healthy, Bush will be a top-end RB1 for Week 14 against the Eagles.

Quarterback/Running Back Slants

FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reports the Packers have never discussed shutting down Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) for the remainder of the regular season. … Christian Ponder (concussion) has yet to be cleared. Coach Leslie Frazier hinted that Matt Cassel will start Sunday against the Ravens. … GM Phil Emery said he doesn’t want to use the franchise tag on Jay Cutler in the offseason. … Trent Richardson, now the No. 2 running back in Indianapolis, admits he never got comfortable in the Colts’ running scheme and never fully grasped the offense. … Lamar Miller made his first appearance on the injury report this season, getting in a limited session due to a pectoral issue. He should be okay as a borderline RB2 against the Steelers. … Ben Tate (ribs, ankle) is listed as probable for Thursday night’s game. He’s mid-to-high RB2 against the Jaguars. … Knowshon Moreno (ankle) was limited on Wednesday. He’ll be good to go Sunday against Tennessee. … Brandon Jacobs says his knee is nowhere near 100 percent and admits he needs a clean-out procedure after the season. … DeAngelo Williams (quad) returned to practice, getting in a limited session. Jonathan Stewart (ankle) did not participate. Mike Tolbert (knee) was limited. … Danny Woodhead played on just 28-of-67 snaps last week. His decreased usage has started to become a trend. We still like Woodhead as an RB2 in PPR formats.

Wide Receiver/Tight End Slants

Quinton Patton looks to return to the lineup for the first time since he broke his foot in Week 4. He wasn’t even on the injury report Wednesday. Look for Patton to be the No. 4 receiver. … Golden Tate missed Wednesday’s practice with a hip injury. … Aaron Dobson (foot) sat out practice. … Michael Floyd (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday. He should be fine for Week 14 but will have to play through some pain for the rest of the year. … Demaryius Thomas banged his shoulder last week against the Chiefs and was limited at Wednesday’s practice. … A.J. Green (groin) was limited Wednesday. He’s in no danger of missing Sunday’s tilt with the Chargers. … Percy Harvin (hip) did not practice Wednesday, though he did run on the side. … Denarius Moore (shoulder) remained absent from practice. … Vincent Jackson (leg) did not practice Wednesday. … Kyle Rudolph (broken foot) remains sidelined at practice. … The Bills inked Tony Moeaki to a two-year contract. He began the season on injured reserve with the Chiefs before being released with an injury settlement. It could turn out to be a nice under-the-radar signing for Buffalo. … Delanie Walker (concussion) did not practice Wednesday. … Jordan Reed (concussion) also remained sidelined. … Coach John Harbaugh is hopeful Dennis Pitta (hip) can play Sunday.



Nick Mensio is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. The 2014 NFL season marks his third with Rotoworld. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.
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