Rashard Mendenhall is doubtful for Sunday’s game against Atlanta, because of a toe injury. Andre Ellington should start in his place, and could have success against the Falcons’ 20th ranked defense. The rookie has rushed 28 times for 179 yards (6.4 yards per attempt), and caught 20 passes for another 190 yards.
Steven Jackson is probable to return this week against Arizona. He has been battling a hamstring injury since his early departure in week two. Jacquizz Rodgers has filled in well, earning 438 all-purpose yards over five weeks. Roddy White will not play Sunday, leaving Harry Douglas to continue dominating targets. With limited options for Matt Ryan, Rodgers could still play a key role in the passing game. This week’s game may answer a lot of questions for how this offense will look moving forward. Jason Snelling’s value has disappeared as quickly as it appeared.
C.J. Spiller is doubtful to play in New Orleans this week. Fred Jackson should handle the majority of work, with or without Spiller in the lineup. Spiller took a bigger workload than Jackson for the first four weeks of the season. But Jackson has received more touches in all of the last three games. For the year, Jackson has 380 rushing yards (4.4 yards per attempt) to Spiller’s 362 yards (4.0 average). Jackson also has 25 receptions for 215 yards, while Spiller only has 14 catches for 36 yards. If things don’t turn around, Spiller is looking like one of the biggest busts of 2013. He had the seventh highest average draft position, according to myfantasyleague.com.
Jimmy Graham will be a game-time decision against Buffalo this weekend. Should his foot injury cause him to miss any time, Darren Sproles and Marques Colston could play pivotal roles in the passing game. Graham was shut out without a single target in the Saints’ loss to New England in week six.
Miles Austin is not likely to play in Detroit this week, which is great news for Terrance Williams owners and Cowboys fans alike. The once-electric slot receiver has declined as rapidly as most Dallas running backs. Austin is now three years removed from his last 1,000 yard campaign, and has started all 16 games just once in his eight year career. DeMarco Murray is expected to start Sunday, wiping clean the value of any Dallas rusher for the time being. If Murray is limited to any degree, Joseph Randle or Lance Dunbar could steal playing time.
James Jones is doubtful for Sunday night’s game in Minnesota. Jermichael Finley was released from the hospital Thursday, and is out indefinitely. The Packers will likely lean heavily on Eddie Lacy, while Jarrett Boykin and Jordy Nelson should see the majority of targets from Aaron Rodgers.
Josh Freeman will not play Sunday because of a concussion. Christian Ponder will start at home against the Packers, which has Adrian Peterson owners leaping from their seats. Ignore the fact that on five occasions last year, Peterson ran for more yards than Ponder passed. It was on a Ponder-led offense after all that Peterson rushed for nearly 2,100 yards while earning the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award. Last week, Peterson rushed only 13 times, while Freeman was asked to throw 53 passes (37.7 percent complete) for 190 yards and an interception. The offense inexplicably struggled through this new game plan.
Brandon Jacobs is doubtful to play in Philadelphia this week, with a hamstring injury. David Wilson and Andre Brown are not expected back for a couple more weeks. Peyton Hillis should start again, with rookie Michael Cox spelling him. Hillis was largely ineffective last week, in his first start of the year. The six-year veteran rushed for 36 yards on 18 attempts, while catching 5 passes for another 45 yards. He also scored a touchdown on the ground, and fumbled once. There is only one Giants starting running back who has yet to fumble this year, and his name is Da’Rel Scott.
Nick Foles is out for Sunday’s game with a concussion. Michael Vick will return for his sixth start of the year, although his hamstring is not fully healed. Vick was optimistic and said, “I can play if I’m 80 (percent).” The 33-year-old may be primarily focused on preventing anyone from taking his job. Since his 2010 Comeback Player of the Year season, Vick’s completion percentage has steadily declined. He has completed just 53.8 percent of his passes this year.
Rob Gronkowski is probable to play his second game of the season on Sunday. The 6-foot-6 tight end made eight receptions for 114 yards last week. Danny Amendola (concussion) is questionable for the game, as is Julian Edelman with a thigh injury; both receivers hope to play. Edelman has yet to miss a game this season, a growing rarity in the Patriots locker room. The production of these three receivers is directly related, as they are all prominently featured in the slot and across the middle of the field.
Fred Davis was inactive last week, and the Redskins are allegedly trying to trade him. Davis said, “I look at it as I’m a Redskin right now until I hear differently.” In week seven’s win over the Bears, rookie Jordan Reed stepped up to catch 9 passes for 134 yards and a score. The 6-foot-3 tight end from Florida was the 85th overall pick in last April’s draft. His best collegiate season came last year, when he made 45 receptions for 559 yards and three touchdowns. Davis is no longer roster-worthy in most leagues.
Percy Harvin may be a game-time decision for Monday night football. Unless you’re deciding among Seahawks and Rams receivers (sorry to hear that), you’d be well-served to start someone long before this status is announced. Good luck. Sam Bradford’s season is over, and eight-year veteran Kellen Clemens will get his first start since 2011. Can you name what team that was for? If you guessed the Rams, you were correct. Monday night football will be Clemens’ 13th career start. The former second-round pick from Oregon is on his fourth NFL team, but has accrued stats only with the Jets and Rams. For his career, he has completed 51.8 percent of his passes for 7 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Now perhaps it makes sense why Rams executives were having conversations that included the names of Tim Tebow and Brett Favre. Maybe Jeff Fisher can reiterate Rex Ryan’s matra, “Play like a Jet.”
Stats and data courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and myfantasyleague.com.
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