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October 8, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (3:06 PM)

Good afternoon Sports nation...I'm in San Antonio , TX where the weather is warm and football is always hot...lots of RB questions today, and a few others I'm sure, so let's see what you got...

Nick (Louisiana)

With Wells recovering from a knee injury how will he and Hightower split carries?

Stephania Bell
  (3:08 PM)

Hi Nick: I think this week will be interesting. Wells seems to be at the point where he's full go - and he complained loudly last week about his role in the offense. I think this is a game where he will be given the chance to put up or...well, or else. So I expect he touches the ball more, maybe we see the 60-40 split go the other way..unless he struggles.

Mike (SF)

GO Niners!! What are your thoughts on McCoy? I don't want to start him becuase I won't be rooting for him, but I picked up Michael Bush and I certainly don't trust any Raiders....

Stephania Bell
  (3:11 PM)

Well, Mike, as a Niners fan I understand the trepidation about starting a Raider. But Michael Bush is solid - and this is a week where I really like him. Now in the best position he's been coming off the thumb surgery and McFadden has been all but ruled out, so Bush should have a great game. McCoy is - according to Andy Reid - expected to play a full game, but that's hard to guarantee with a broken rib, and he's officially listed as questionable, and it's Sunday night AND the rib is still broken...

Michael (Madison)

Any more news on Witten's knee?

Stephania Bell
  (3:12 PM)

Michael: he's in a smaller brace late in the week, the bye came at a great time, he's been fully practicing and is expected to play.

Matt (VB)

I have something to do at 10 a.m. Sunday morning and won't be back before the games kickoff at 1. Any chance we know Collie's status before then?

Stephania Bell
  (3:15 PM)

Matt: I doubt it. Here's what I know so far about Collie. On injury report last week (heel) but full practice Friday - we weren't that worried- and he had a great game. This week - back on report (foot) and this time, in a boot W, Th and no practice. Then, practices on the side Friday, doing some running, light cutting (as if testing foot), no apparent limp. Does not talk with media in locker room. Will probably be listed as a limited participant in practice with a q tag if I'm guessing now. May be a test of how he feels come Sunday. Garcon has been practicing all week and is expected back. If Collie can go, I expect he will but there may be a slight decrease in his role and then we don't really know how he'll fare. Very, very bad situation for fantasy owners.

Mike (Raleigh)

What's the deal with Hillis? Should I consider starting Torain instead?

Stephania Bell
  (3:19 PM)

Mike: Hillis has not practiced since being added to the report Thursday with a thigh injury. However Hillis still told reporters he will play and coach mangini implied he will as well. Now here's where it gets interesting. Chris Mortensen reminded us that Hillis has a history of this injury going back to college - and Mort knows a LOT about Arkansas...So the question is if Hillis plays, what do we expect? Mangini has had players be active before and then not use them much (see Jerome Harrison). Harrison btw back in full practices and there's James Davis. I'm still not flat out convinced Hillis plays, my bigger concern is if he does play, will he be able to do what he's done the last few weeks?

Mo (Chicago)

Any word on J. Best?

Stephania Bell
  (3:23 PM)

No: Sounds like the Lions expect to have him. He's been limited in practice W, Th and I believe the toe is still a concern. And he's back on turf this week. This is one of those situations where he might be an OK play at flex but I don't really trust that he's completely past this. I need to see a full, solid performance (which by the way he hasn't had in a few weeks) before I'm convinced that this is past him.

Larry (Jersey Shore)

This Hillis Post seems like Classic Wishy Washy (Cost Me Last Week's Win) Steffy Bad News! No more hedging! As of today, does Hillis give you the expected points or no? Giving a 40-70% maybe helps no one. Feel free to change your mind tomorrow, but do you start him with what we know today?

Stephania Bell
  (3:25 PM)

Why would I answer that when I don't have to start him today? The idea is I share what I have now, and then it changes as information evolves. And I don't set your lineup - you do. So no - will not give you a random probability based on today when it means nothing in 24 hours.

fred (florida)

Listened to some of your podcast today for the first time! Is Ray Rice at 100%? Can I expect a solid performance from him or will the other backs cut into his numbers again like last week?

Stephania Bell
  (3:26 PM)

Fred: Rice has been full practice all week and seems to be past the bone bruise. I think the reason his touches were cut into last week was the Ravens made a decision to start mcGahee (to protect Rice) and he was playing well. This week it should be more Rice.

Lonny (Austin)

What's your thoughts on Bradshaw's ankle?

Stephania Bell
  (3:29 PM)

Lonny: Seems like he'll be a go this weekend. He's been limited in practice despite his proclamations of his ankle being 100% but I think he's shown enough that he'll go, barring some big setback between now and then. He showed me a lot last year playing and playing well while hurt, so if he's in the game, I'm confident enough to start him. Sure - there's a risk that it gets tweaked and limits him - but not enough concern for me not to play him.

Andre (Miami)

Whats the the word on Andre Johnson? Does it look like he's a go?

Stephania Bell
  (3:31 PM)

Andre: Asking about Andre...he says he will definitely play. The Texans aren't going quite that far listing him as q, meaning it comes down to warm-ups, but he has a lot more in his favor this week. For one thing, resting his ankle last week gave him some additional recovery time. He's done a bit more this week in terms of running and seems much more confident in what his ankle can give him this time.

Stephania Bell
  (3:33 PM)

Update: Thank you Sean Payton for making life easier for us fantasy players!! P Thomas is OUT this week, reports the New Orleans Times Picayune. If it were the playoffs they say he'd try to play, but why push it now? better to let it get healthier and have him for the long haul. Couldn't agree more and he didn't practice all week so everyone make your adjustments.

Sean (Ny)

wierdly enough, my four running backs are Jahvid Best, LeSean Mccoy, Darren McFadden, and Deangelo Williams. Not so sure on how their injuries will affect their performances, so im gonna ask you which 2 you think I should start

Stephania Bell
  (3:35 PM)

Sean: Boy, you have even worse luck than me. McFadden almost assuredly will not play. Williams is expected to play. I think McCoy I trust more than Best BUT it's Sunday night...and if you don;t have someone to put in Sunday or Monday, then I think you have to go with best, b/c McCoy still listed as questionable. Wow - hate that situation though.

Nate (Boston)

was Ryan Matthews a full participant in practice all week?

Stephania Bell
  (3:36 PM)

Nate: Not even on injury report, so yes.

redreef21 (nj)

Any reason to think Santonio injuries himself Monday night after not practicing with the team for a while (ala Revis)? Players who haven't played in games or practice at more risk?

Stephania Bell
  (3:38 PM)

redreff21: Love this question b/c it shows good thinking. There's always a concern about how guys will hold up when they're coming into games after being out for so long. Players always talk about the speed of the game, even being different in regular season vs preseason. So yes, I do think it's a risk, but it wouldn't be a reason to bench him, just a reason to have insurance.


Whoa, you said Williams is expected to play!?! What did I miss? I didn't think he was banged up at all?

Stephania Bell
  (3:38 PM)

Wiliams was on injury report b/c of illness - but he's reportedly on track to go.

Ted (Indy)

How can any expert cost a fantasy team a victory? Make your own decisions people!! Is Portis worth holding on to? How bad are his injuries. You guys here at ESPN do great work Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:40 PM)

Ted: you are my new bff. Thx for the love. As for Portis, I would not hold onto him in fantasy. I'm not prepared to say he's not coming back all season, but what I will say is if he does come back, we need to see that he can really run at full speed before having any fantasy confidence - and this is going to be over a month, so use the spot elsewhere.

Josh (Wausau)

Steve Smith South playing this week?

Stephania Bell
  (3:41 PM)

Josh: NO!! He's out with the high ankle sprain so everyone remove him from the lineup.

Ryan (Germantown, MD)

How doubtful is Donald Brown?

Stephania Bell
  (3:41 PM)

Ryan: Very. Don't expect him to play - and do expect Addai.

Gus ((Pasadena))

Knowshon Moreno...what's the word?

Stephania Bell
  (3:42 PM)

Moreno is OUT!! Will be Maroney or Buckhalter. Sorry if I am repeating - can't remember if we hit this one or not.

Neal (SLC,UT)

Hey Stephania, how is Steven Jackson looking going into the weekend? Any worries about the groin keeping him out? Thanks in advance!

Stephania Bell
  (3:44 PM)

Neal: Good. Had his best practice of the week Thursday and he had a solid performance last week despite being injured, even though couldn't run full speed. he's not 100% yet but he's shown that he's good enough to go...and he can run on the Lions.

Brian (PA)

Hows Darrelle Revis looking? He going to be able to cover Minnesota's new toy?

Stephania Bell
  (3:46 PM)

Brian: Rex Ryan not yet committing to his availability. Revis still limited in practice and the team does not have to list player status who play on Monday night until not sure we'll get the big hint before then.

jeremy (nh)

any word on visanthe? Haven't hit on him yet

Stephania Bell
  (3:49 PM)

jeremy: Another Monday night start so the info so far is limited. He's done limited work in practice but he was doing some hill running early in the week. the fact that the game is Monday (and he's coming off a bye) gives him about as much recovery time as you can get in season. The Vikings have not hinted one way or the other - but it looks as if his workload is being gradually upped towards a Monday start.

Mike (Louisville)

When does the injury report come out? It seems like my players are healthy or probable until I check on Thursday and then they are Questionable (Zach Miller). And hows his hip?

Stephania Bell
  (3:51 PM)

Mike: you bring up a good point - the "status" stuff you hear before Friday is not official. Those designations - as reported to the league - do not come out until after Friday practice - and for west coast teams that can be quite late. Miller had a hip issue going into last week but that certainly didn't hamper him. Don't expect it will this week either as he participated fully on Thursday.

Tim (Chicago)

What do you hear about Louis Murphy? I know he re-injured the clavicle last week. Thats gotta be painful. Is he closer to 100%? I need a bye plug in.

Stephania Bell
  (3:54 PM)

Tim: yes, he did - and had a big drop as a result. He's been much more active in practice this week than last so that's a good sign. I doubt he's 100%, probably still sore - but they know they have a big game against San Diego this week so I expect him to play - but Zach Miller might still be the top target.

Josh (Fargo)

How's MJD doing with his ankle?

Stephania Bell
  (3:56 PM)

Josh: I think it's the same M.O. as the last few weeks, rest on Wednesday, get all the fantasy owners nervous, then play. His performance though hasn't really been up to par until last week's game. I'm not convinced that there's "nothing" to his ankle/knee issues, but we're certainly not going to hear about it from him. And he's going to continue to play. After last week (and against the Bills this week), he's hard to ignore.

Matt (DC)

What time does ESPN put up injury updates on Sunday mornings? Thanks for all the help

Stephania Bell
  (3:57 PM)

Matt: Inactives begin rolling in around 11:30 a.m. EST as teams report to league - and if you go to the Fantasy page, there is an "Inactive" link that will take you to the place where the updates happen.

Travis (Omaha)

Any outside chance that Breston will actually play this week?

Stephania Bell
  (3:59 PM)

Travis: Have to believe that's a no just b/c it's so soon after surgery. As far as I know not ruled out yet, but also hasn't practiced and I'm just not seeing it.

Jamie (ATL)

rapid fire two-fer: Harvin's hip healed? Ocho's "slight" groin issue really "slight?"

Stephania Bell
  (4:01 PM)

Jamie: No word from the Vikings on it - but you expect that b/c they've been on bye. But there's no reason to think that it's an issue. Ocho's groin kept him out of practice but Friday a light day for them anyway and he's probable. So not worried.

Paul (NM)

Any worry with Cedric Benson? With Mendenhall out he's getting a the start.

Stephania Bell
  (4:02 PM)

Paul: Nope - expect him as usual.

Rob (Wrigleyville)

Stephie_bad_news: My buddy keeps telling me that Torain is brittle, yet you guys never make mention of it. What's the story on his injury history other than the broken bone? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (4:03 PM)

Rob: Mentioned his injury history in my blog this week -but also said I think this might be his year. he had a bad elbow injury while at Denver that basically derailed his season.

Mike (Madison)

Sounds like Dez Bryant's good to go. Anything to be concerned about there?

Stephania Bell
  (4:03 PM)

Mike: Nope - the bye helped his ribs and his hip. Expect him to be out there.

Stephania Bell
  (4:04 PM)

Final Update: Darren McFadden officially OUT and Bush will start. Zach Miller probable so feel even better about him.

Stephania Bell
  (4:05 PM)

OK everyone - the chat room is now closing...thanks so much for coming. Good luck in Week 5!!!