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December 28, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (3:03 PM)

Happy Tuesday everyone - Can you believe there is still a Week 16 game to be played? And I'm willing to bet that some people's championships come down to tonight. I'm happy to say that I am 20 points up on my opponent at the end of this week, part 1 of a 2 week championship and am now very nervous about finishing this off!!!

mike (sactown)

Whats AP chances of playing tonight? 50/50 or 80/20 ?

Stephania Bell
  (3:05 PM)

Mike: Big question of the day/night. I would have said 50/50 on Sunday, but now I say 80/ favor of him playing. His dad says he's going to play. He's hinted at being able to play. While he may not be 100%, I think the extra rest can only really help a deep bruise like he has and he should be good to go. Of course we never know until kickoff, but I expect him to be out there. You have to hope he doesn't take any big hits square on that thigh.

Stuart (Brooklyn, NY)

Hi Stephania. Thanks for your help all year. You do a fantastic job! Hillis looks hurt. I used him over Mathews this week and it cost me. With Tolbert being hurt, Mathews will get the bulk of the work. Choose two between them and Charles. Thanks again!

Stephania Bell
  (3:07 PM)

Stuart: Why thank you! Hillis is hurting I think. Call it end of the year wear and tear, fatigue, whatever you want - everyone denying an "injury" but he's been slowed. And I don't think it improves a lot against Pittsburgh. Mathews will get the majority of the work as Tolbert is already ruled out. Chiefs hinting today they play their starters (maybe not whole game is my guess) - but I'd take Mathews and a half game of Charles.

Dustin (Indianapolis)

Will Peterson get alot of touches or do you think Gerhart might have more chances to get in the endzone?

Stephania Bell
  (3:09 PM)

Dustin: I think Gerhart will get some touches - but I couldn't start him over AP. Would rather take my chances with AP - but if I have both, I wait for sure until gametime inactives are reported (about an hour or so before kickoff).

Peter (Honolulu)

Aloha Stephania. Love your work! Thanks for all your valuable advice this year. Does Moreno's injury make Buckhalter a more valuable play this week than R. Jennings? Mahalo.

Stephania Bell
  (3:11 PM)

Aloha Peter: Bet it's much lovelier where you are today than here in freezing cold CT...Buckhalter sure got the lion's share last week and Jennings disappointed. But it's a tough call. Sounds like the Broncos expect Moreno to play - and I have to imagine he's better off this week than last. If he gets out to a good start, he could be productive. And we don't know what MJD will do. It would be hard for me to put Buckhalter over Jennings if MJD is out.

Jim (NJ)

Stephania, I need to know...Andre Johnson...will he play or sit week 17?!?!?!? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:13 PM)

Jim: Sorry - but we probably won't know until late in the week, maybe even gameday. Kubiak has already said that AJ is not expected to practice this week. He's also said that AJ will let him know if he is able to play this weekend. So it will be AJ's call - and that call may come down to the wire.

Joe (Pittsburgh)

Heard you were in the 'burgh a couple weeks ago...isn't it a great city?!?! Anyway, as a Run DMC owner in a keeper league, should this current injury make me worry about his keepability? Will he play this week or rest him since they are done?

Stephania Bell
  (3:15 PM)

Joe: I was! I'm a big fan of Pittsburgh. Great people. Great food. They love their sports! As far as Run DMC, no one is acting like this is especially serious...but sometimes these things evolve over the week. he said he just rolled his ankle, Cable called it turf toe (which would make me more nervous). I think we get a feel as the week goes on as to whether he plays or not - if no practice all week, then probably not. For keeper? I think he's worth it, but he has had his share of injuries so you get the reward of production with some risk attached.

J.B. (PA)

My last chat with 'Star' of Injury information for this season and this year. Ms. Bell, I may need a TE for Sunday depending upon Aaron Hernandez's status. How is it looking for him at this point? Thanks so much for everything you've done for us this season. The information was key for me getting to the championship game in my one league. May 2011 be a good year for you.

Stephania Bell
  (3:18 PM)

Hi J.B.: Thanks for being such a loyal chatter! And congrats on making it so far in your league. It's still early as far as Hernandez. He did return to some practice last week which I think is encouraging. But then was downgraded to Q. Patriots tend to be pretty conservative with injuries (and have the depth to do so) - so I'd take a lot from what he's doing in practice W, Th.May 2011 be good for you too, hopefully with a championship in there.

Seth (Minneapolis)

What's the deal with Ivory? I want to play PT next week in my championship since he looked good yesterday, but not if Ivory is going...

Stephania Bell
  (3:20 PM)

Seth: He's another one that we won't get a feel for until late in the week. He called himself 90-95% late last week but was still feeling it in his hamstring. All of which led me to believe he either wouldn't play or would play very little. Judging from how close he was, I'd say I feel more positive going into this week that Ivory plays, but hammies are so day-to-day. I think PT ran really well last night, so assuming he's no worse for the wear, I'd be inclined to think he's the one they lean on anyway.

Sammie (Jersey)

DJax Foot injurt still lingering?

Stephania Bell
  (3:21 PM)

Sammie: It's still present - enough to get him posted on the injury report. But based on the damage he did last week I'd say it's not hindering his play. An extra couple days off didn't hurt either. So I don't see it being a big deal tonight.

Justin (Worcester, MA)

Almost injury related.. Harvin lost kick return duties coming back from migranes last week.. any chance he's back returning kicks tonight? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:23 PM)

Justin: My gut says they didn't overload him with tasks after missing so much time - but I haven't heard that he's out of the kick return game so i think we may see him back doing that tonight.

Austin (PA)

Gates' injury should be fully healed by the start of the training camp next year right? And as a fellow Niner fan I don't hold you responsible for cursing the team. Berry is wrong.

Stephania Bell
  (3:24 PM)

Austin: That's the hope as far as Gates. Worth noting he's been dealing with the plantar fascia tear on one foot but also the toe injury and sprained ankle on the other. It sounds as if nothing is surgical - mostly rest and rehab - unless there's something we don't know, in which case I expect him to be well by the start of next year.

Stephania Bell
  (3:25 PM)

Oh - and thanks Austin for the 49ers support. I certainly can't be responsible for alllll that has gone wrong over there. Sigh...

Charlie (Louisiana)

You are doing a great job explaining all the injuries. Any chance Favre will play tonight?

Stephania Bell
  (3:26 PM)

Charlie: Why thank you...and no, Favre is not expected to play. He did not pass the latest concussion tests and there were no plans to re-evaluate his condition today. Webb will start.

Tom (Long Beach)

Whats the word on Megatrons ankle? Week 17 worries?

Stephania Bell
  (3:28 PM)

Tom: Muddy waters. The ankle took him out of the game in the 4th. Schwartz basically said they'll see how he does as the week goes on to determine whether he can play. Not really any clue as to severity, etc but I would make a backup plan.

Paul (Cleveland)

What's going on with MJD? Does he play this week? Does his knee throw up any red flags when considering his keepr status?

Stephania Bell
  (3:32 PM)

Paul: No one, including MJD has offered up any specifics. But he did indicate last week that this was related to the issue he faced in the preseason. And that in the preseason they knew that at some point his knee could flare up, swell and cause problems...which is what has happened now. The question for Week 17 is can they get the swelling under control enough to allow him to play - and then do they take the chance of a setback if he does play? Lots to think about. I want to watch him closely this week to see if he does anything and how much. As far as keeper, this sounds to me like maybe a problem within the joint that will require an offseason scope. Not knowing what it is might be of some concern, but the fact that they're not removing him entirely from the field of play makes me less worried. Any post-season scope should be recovered by the start of next year - so no, not overly concerned.

Frank (San Francisco)

Ok, ok, not necessarily fantasy related, but how is Frank Gore doing. Can athletes come back from a broken hip? Seems like a serious injury.

Stephania Bell
  (3:34 PM)

Frank: Well, it's definitely serious any time there's a break. But from what I can piece together based on the available info, I believe Gore will make a full recovery. The fact that it was non-surgical also a positive indicator. And he has a nice, non-rushed rehab window. So I expect him to be fine.

Sarah (NYC)

Which injury replacement is a better bet for a big fantasy week in week 17: Buckhalter or Rhodes? Thanks and Happy New Year!

Stephania Bell
  (3:37 PM)

Sarah: Hmmm. Good question - especially with how both performed last week! I'm guessing Addai gets more work next week (although maybe not a ton more) and if Moreno is feeling good by the end of next week then I expect Buckhalter gets less. sooooo if Moreno practices more, feels better, then I go with Rhodes.

Jon (Chicago)

Hey Stephy Good News (I'm hoping), I'm down 17 with Vick to go, do I make it to next week or do you see Vick not finishing the game tonight?

Stephania Bell
  (3:38 PM)

Jon: Can't say there's a reason for Vick to not finish, barring an injury - which is unpredictable. Based on past performance I'd say you look to be in pretty good shape.

Bobby (abington,ma) [via mobile]

Do you think ryan torain will put up big numbers?

Stephania Bell
  (3:39 PM)

Bobby: I sure hope so since he's on my team...

Santino (Boston)

TONIGHT!!! Happy New Year Stephania(Bella), Is Favre playing and if not do I start Maclin or Webb(WR eligible)..Grazie

Stephania Bell
  (3:40 PM)

Santino: Favre is not going to play and I think I'm taking Maclin over Webb.

Sebastian (NY)

Im going around thanking all my analyst's and physical therapist for helping lead me to 2 championships in 4 leagues. thnx

Stephania Bell
  (3:42 PM)

Sebastian: Everyone needs a support team to get to their championship!! Thanks for including us...

Mark (San Jose)

Stephania, thanks for all your updates this year. We really appreciate your time and look forward to next season. Take care. BTW, who do you think should take over coaching the Niners?

Stephania Bell
  (3:44 PM)

Mark: What a nice post - and thank you. I have no idea as far as who is best suited to take over the 49ers position. I really don't. I'm interested to see who ultimately becomes the GM and then want to see how they go through the process. And I want to see what they do at the QB position. Obviously there need to be some changes there.

eric (ID)

do u have any news on 85?

Stephania Bell
  (3:46 PM)

eric: assuming you're talking about the one in Cinci...apparently he says he's going to try to play this week but I wouldn't count on it. And even if he does, I'm not sure he's much of a factor.

Scott (TX)

Not injury related but I was curious if you know the ruling...last night, the botched shotgun snap to Ryan was not credited to Ryan (or anyone in the box score). I thought a center-QB exchange was always credited to the QB, might there be a rule change?

Stephania Bell
  (3:48 PM)

Scott: I do not know the ruling. Anyone want to chime in?

Mark (Los Angeles)

Thanks for all your help this year especially Sunday. I am up 36 points going into tonight. He has Vick and Maclin. Right Now I have McCoy in my lineup, and AP on my bench. I wasn't going to take a chance on him, but everything I am reading says to play Peterson. Now do I take a chance with an 80% AP or a healthy Mccoy? How hurt is he?

Stephania Bell
  (3:52 PM)

Mark: Wow - this is a dilemma - EXCEPT you are up 36 - which is some comfort, but Vick is so dangerous...he could deliver 25 or so on his own, easy. Hmmm. On Sunday I would have said McCoy. But tonight I'm more conflicted. Here's the thing. I think your 80% assessment mught be about right - in the sense that he's probably well enough to play, may even look like his normal self, but has a chance for a setback. McCoy has had his share of bumps and bruises but comes in without a major issue. I think at the end of the day it would be hard for me to sit AP, b/c if he goes nuts, I'd kick myself. And if he only gets you 8-10 points, probably still enough to get the win.

Rich (Boston)

What info do you have on M. Hassleback? prob not important for fantasy purposes, but looking to possibly use STL in an eliminator pool to go 17-0. (13 perfect entries left in my pool out of 890)

Stephania Bell
  (3:54 PM)

Rich: I think his hip is more concerning than the team is letting on. It's hard to tell this early in the week - but Pete Carroll says they're preparing for Whitehurst. Hasselbeck really wants to play (think about it - Sunday night, NFC West title on the line, he wants to end the season on a high not a low) but it's unclear whether he'll be able to. Nice job on the eliminator score - if you can wait until the weekend to decide, I would. Seattle may not know until the last minute.

J.B. (PA)

McCoy also gets involved in the PHI passing game so yards for Vick can end up going to McCoy thus neutralizing them. Just trying to help.

Stephania Bell
  (3:55 PM)

Mark: That last post from J.B. was for you!

George (Bellingham,WA.)

TY for all u do. With Mcfadden hurt does Bush get a boost?

Stephania Bell
  (3:57 PM)

George: TY too. Bush only boosts if McFadden doesn't play. Ever since DMC has been back from injury he's really dominated that tandem - so I would hold off on using Bush unless DMC actually out.

Paul (Denver)

McCoy in a ppr, and AP in a non-ppr. Book it!

Stephania Bell
  (3:57 PM)

More help for Mark...

Reuben (NYC)

I'm down by about 55 points. Pretty ugly, I know. But I still have Vick, Akers and either Maclin or AP in my flex against Percy Harvin. Is AP's ceiling high enough to win? If he does well that means less time for Vick to throw, right? Should I go with Maclin and hope the Eagles just dominate through the air? I know I'm a longshot, but I'm still gonna try...

Stephania Bell
  (4:00 PM)

Reuben: Stranger things have happened! Of course you're still going to try - and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you! I go with AP over Maclin. Admittedly, if your opponent still has Harvin, it could be a long night...

Stephania Bell
  (4:02 PM)

OK my friends - time for me to go. Wow - that hour flew by thanks to all of your great questions - and advice for your fellow chatters! Can't wait to see what happens tonight. Good luck in your championships everyone. See you here Friday...