Dose: Fitzgerald ProgressingWednesday, December 18, 2013
Appearing on Sirius XM Radio, as he does every Tuesday night, coach Bruce Arians said that the expectation is that Larry Fitzgerald (concussion) will be able to play in Sunday’s Week 16 road game against the Seahawks. Fitzgerald was trucked as he attempted to field an onside kick in last week’s overtime win versus the Titans.
“[Fitzgerald] will not practice [Wednesday],” Arians said. “He still has to pass the protocol, and we’ll wait and make sure. They’re not going to take any chances with him right now. He’ll be fine as far as, by I think game time. But he still has to pass the second part [of the league’s protocol].”
On Monday night, Fitzgerald appeared on Westwood One radio. He said he met with an independent neurologist and passed his initial baseline tests, which is one part of the league’s protocol. Fitzgerald admitted he’s “feeling good,” and says he’ll get some rest and see “how I feel going through the week.” At this point, it sounds promising regarding his availability for fantasy Super Bowl week. The Cardinals likely need to win their final two games in order to secure one of the Wild Card spots in the NFC. We can expect Fitzgerald do everything in his power to be out there. He’ll merely be a WR3 this week.
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News Nugget #2
After Sunday’s comeback win against the Cowboys and the Lions’ loss to the Justin Tucker-led Ravens on Monday night, the Packers now control their own destiny. If they win their final two games – vs. Steelers and at Bears – Green Bay will secure the NFC North crown and host a playoff game. The Bears also control their own destiny. If both teams win their respective Week 16 games, the winner of the Week 17 tilt will take home the division title.
Considering all of that, most believe the Packers need to push the envelope with Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) and put him back under center this week against Pittsburgh. Rodgers made his weekly appearance on his radio show Tuesday afternoon. He was vague with his comments regarding his potential availability but sounded on the optimistic side.
“I think the decision last week [to sit out], based on the evidence we saw, was definitely in my best interest,” Rodgers said. “[But] I think there has to be on some level a risk-reward conversation. You have to base that off of the evidence you see on the scan, but also how I’m feeling and if I’m able to do normal football movements without pain. My hope is that I practice (Wednesday) ... experience no setbacks, mentally or physically, and we’ll go from there."
We interpret that “risk-reward” talk as Rodgers believes it might be time to take a chance and go for this playoff spot. Rodgers will likely undergo more scans Wednesday and practice some before he, coach Mike McCarthy, and the other top dogs of the organization make a decision Thursday or Friday. It could go either way. We’ll learn a lot more Wednesday afternoon. Rodgers will be an obvious QB1 if he gets cleared to play versus the Steelers.
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News Nugget #3
Willis McGahee collided head-on with a wrecking ball named Brandon Spikes late in the fourth quarter of Cleveland’s Week 14 game against the Patriots and suffered a concussion. There was some concern he may be shut down for the remainder of the season. McGahee now says he’s feeling “pretty good” and expects to play this week against the Jets. If he does get cleared to play, McGahee will probably share the early-down work with Edwin Baker. Chris Ogbonnaya will mix in on passing downs. Nobody in the Browns backfield will be worth starting against Gang Green’s elite run defense during fantasy Super Bowl week.
Quarterback/Running Back Slants
Coach Jason Garrett isn’t worried about Tony Romo’s confidence. … Joe Flacco doesn’t need an MRI on his left knee. He’s escaped without any major structural damage and said his knee felt “fine” after the game. … ESPN Boston credits the Miami defense for Shane Vereen’s down Week 15 output. He’ll be back on the RB2 map against the Ravens this week. … Zac Stacy (hip) is not expected to practice Wednesday. He should be fine for Sunday as an RB1 against the Bucs.
Wide Receiver/Tight End Slants
The Jaguars officially ended Cecil Shorts’ season by placing him on injured reserve with a groin injury. He’ll be a prime buy-low candidate in dynasty circles this offseason. … Marvin Jones played a season-high 71.8 percent of the offensive snaps last week. He’ll be a WR4 with gobs of upside in a dream matchup with the Vikings on Sunday. … The Bills could decide to hold Stevie Johnson (personal) out for Week 16 against the Dolphins. … Brandon Pettigrew injured his ankle in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s loss and is undergoing tests. He’s not a legitimate fantasy option. … Dennis Pitta played 45.4 percent of the offensive snaps Monday night. That’s about the same usage as Week 14. Pitta will be on the back end of the TE1 radar Sunday against New England.