Del Pilar's Digest: Around Fantasyland 24-hour pregame prep

Posted Nov. 05, 2011 @ 3:48 p.m.
Posted By William Del Pilar

Week Nine brings the following teams on byes: Panthers, Lions, Jaguars, and Vikings. That means you lose QBs Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, RBs Maurice Jones-Drew and Adrian Peterson and WRs Steve Smith and Calvin Johnson.

Don't forget to check out Pro Football Weekly's rankings as they're proven to be the best in the industry. At PFW, we don't just take the NFL seriously; we take fantasy just as seriously. As much as you want insight, the truth is, every service, every expert, every "wannabe" fantasy analyst checks the rankings to start. When you're in a jam, head to our player rankings section for that quick answer, especially on Sunday mornings.

Rams QB Sam Bradford (ankle) did not play last week, with QB A.J. Feeley making an effective start and playing the role of game manager. Bradford will be a game-time decision, but until he's 100 percent and shows improvement, he has no fantasy value.

Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (groin) is unlikely to play. You need to make sure you have someone else to put in if he can't go when the afternoon games kick off. If he can't go, Mike Tolbert will carry the load, with Curtis Brinkley (concussion) chipping in now that he's been cleared to play.

Broncos RB Willis McGahee (hand) did not play last week, and reports had him out up to a month. But after returning to a full practice Friday, he's now listed as probable. Look for him to go this week, and he makes a solid No. 2 back, and in larger leagues, a low-end No. 1.


Fantasy starters

Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (chest) will play this week. He faces a tough Jets team and is not a recommended start.

Seahawks QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) is probable and, while not a fantasy add yet, is a watch-list player, and his play has improved the numbers of the other skill positions on the Seahawks.

Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (illness) returned to practice Friday and will play this week with no issues.

Cardinals RB Beanie Wells (knee) is dealing with knee problems and will be on the injury report every week. He's good enough to warrant a start based on how he's done all season. He has quietly become a must-play every week. Let's see if the knee holds up.

Patriots RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe) is questionable, but he has not played well since suffering the injury, so you should look elsewhere. Odds are he'll play, as he's been questionable for three weeks, though he probably won't be effective.

Giants WR Mario Manningham (illness) practiced Friday and is good to go. He'll start and is a fantasy start against the Patriots' defense.

Falcons WR Julio Jones returned to practice Wednesday and practiced in full Friday after missing the previous two games with a hamstring injury. He'll play and is a fantasy start against the Colts. 

Chargers WR Vincent Jackson (hamstring) is probable and will play this week. He's a must-start as the No. 1 option against a Packers defense that has struggled to defend the pass.

49ers WR Michael Crabtree (foot) is probable and will play this week. Look for a probable listing on the injury report possibly the rest of the year.

Redskins TE Fred Davis (ankle) is questionable and will be a game-time decision. With Chris Cooley (finger, knee) on injured reserve, the team can't afford to lose its best receiver. Yes, I said best receiver. Davis is confident he'll be able to play.

Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez (knee) is questionable, but he's not expected to miss time. However, with Patriots players, nothing is surprising. Be ready to make a last-minute switch.

Eagles TE Brent Celek (hip) returned to practice and is good to go against the Bears on Monday night, making him a fantasy play.


Out, or consider other alternatives ...

Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb (turf toe) is doubtful this week, and his backup is John Skelton. Skelton's play will likely hurt the receivers overall, but you should still start WR Larry Fitzgerald.

Colts RB Joseph Addai (knee) was active but did not play last week with his hamstring but is now dealing with a knee. He was rested Friday, but with Addai you should wait until game day before assuming anything. If he can't go or is limited, Delone Carter and Donald Brown will carry the load.  

Raiders RB Darren McFadden (foot) is out, and Michael Bush will start. Bush is a must-start fantasy play this week.

Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) is doubtful after aggravating the foot he had a screw placed in two years ago. Look for Brandon Jacobs to get some of Bradshaw's usual touches, making him fantasy-worthy this week.

Dolphins RB Daniel Thomas (hamstring) did not play last week and will be a game-time decision this week. If he can't go, look for Reggie Bush and Steve Slaton (playing the role of goal-line back) to see the carries.

Browns RB Peyton Hillis (hamstring) did not play last week and aggravated his hamstring. He's looking at missing the next two weeks. Backup Montario Hardesty is out with a calf strain. Look for recently signed Chris Ogbonnaya, who has decent hands, to get the start. 

Saints RB Mark Ingram (heel) is out this week. Look for Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas to carry the load.  

Patriots RB Kevin Faulk (knee) is questionable, and considering the Patriots' history of injury reports, there's no telling if he'll play or not. He really is 50-50. Make other arrangements.

Cowboys Felix Jones (knee), as expected, is out. DeMarco Murray will handle the full load.

Giants WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring) did not practice Friday and is doubtful to play. With Hicks missing a great opportunity, look for Victor Cruz to get the start and is a must-start fantasy player. 

Texans WR Andre Johnson (hamstring), who stated his injury was about 70-75 percent healed when the week started, is out but much closer to playing. WR Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter will start. 

WR Emmanuel Sanders (knee) is out and also dealing with the death of his mother. Look for Hines Ward and Antonio Brown to see a bump in targets against one of the league's best in the Ravens.

Chargers WR Malcom Floyd (hip) hasn't practiced all week with his hip injury and is questionable. However, if he hasn't practiced, I would lean the questionable closer to doubtful. Floyd has been a complete bust as a complementary NFL and fantasy receiver to Vincent Jackson. He has minimal fantasy value, and look for Patrick Crayton and Vincent Brown to see targets if Floyd can't go. He'll be a game-time decision if not ruled out earlier.

Ravens WR Lee Evans (ankle) did not play last week, and Torrey Smith saw the start. This will continue for at least another week. Smith makes a bye-week fill-in.

Rams WR Danario Alexander (hamstring) did not play and is out this week after suffering a setback. The only receiver to own and play on the Rams is Brandon Lloyd.

Rams WR Mark Clayton (knee) is expected to miss this week's game, leaving the team with one more week to decide whether to activate him from the PUP list.

Jaguars WR Mike Sims-Walker (knee) is on injured reserve after recently re-signing with his old team. Now that he's done for the year, his career may be over soon, based on his productivity the last two years.

Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham (hamstring) is doubtful this week after missing Week Eight. His backup, Donald Lee, has no fantasy value.


The 'B' team ...

Texans WR Kevin Walter (knee) practiced on a limited basis Friday, but look for him to play this week with Andre Johnson out.

Jets WR Plaxico Burress (back) is now questionable after being limited in practice Friday. He'll be a game-day decision, but that could mean extra red-zone targets for TE Dustin Keller if he can't go.

Bills WR Donald Jones (ankle) will play this week, but against the Jets, and considering he is just returning, he has limited fantasy value.

WR Hines Ward (ankle) is questionable but expected to play. He has no fantasy value because of declining skills and touches and the fact the Steelers are playing the Ravens.

49ers WR Braylon Edwards (knee) is probable but will play this week after going 4-42-0 with seven targets last week. He's only a watch-list player until the passing game improves.

Cardinals TE Todd Heap (hamstring) did not play last week but went through limited practice this week. Heap will be a game-time decision. 


Rounding it out

Seahawks WR Mike Williams (hamstring) is probable and will play this week, but he has no role right now and no fantasy value.

Browns WR Mohamed Massaquoi (concussion) will play this week. He has no fantasy value.

Colt TE Dallas Clark (knee) went through a full practice Friday and will play this weekend. His inconsistent fantasy production makes him only a matchup play at best, but more likely should be on your bench.