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September 9, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:03 AM)

Good morning everyone - thanks for coming to the Friday chat. I have a feeling I know who's gonna be the hot topic for ff...Let's see what you got.

Marcie (Seattle WA)

Hi Stephania! Alright I am someone who picked up Ben Tate in the hopes Arian is out with the hamstring injury. Is tate the play if foster is out and would you play him over Mike Tolbert as a flex to go with bradshaw and steven jackson as starters. Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:06 AM)

Hi Marcie: Way to get the question in early! And lots of people want to know about Foster. So first of all, Foster is looking more and more like a gtd b/c of the hamstring. He has been running harder daily but no practice. I could see either him sitting out to a Manning-less Colts if there is any question as to how he feels heading into Sunday. I could also see him active and sharing (as in not playing for very long, almost like a final preseason game) with Ward and Tate. The Texans still not indicating who is 2 vs 3 (Ward or Tate). And no, would not play over Tolbert given the uncertainty.

Bryce Donovan (Charleston, SC)

I know I'm one of 8 zillion people to ask this but if our playoffs are weeks 15 and 16 of the season, any shot Peyton is back by then? Or does this depend more on the Colts record around that time?

Stephania Bell
  (11:10 AM)

Bryce: Actually, it's closer to 9 zillion. I think the answer is yes and maybe. Manning, from a recovery standpoint could be ready to return at about 3 mos (my guess, based on normal healing times and then getting him football-ready). But if they're way out of contention, is it likely he sees any playing time? Fair question. Don't think anyone has the answer. If you happen to have him and have IR space on your roster, can always see what happens going into second month of football. They might decide before then.

Martin (New York, NY)

What's the latest on Sidney Rice? Is he good to go on Sunday?

Stephania Bell
  (11:12 AM)

Martin: Would not assume so. He's had a shoulder issue on and off in the preseason but has not practiced all week and from the sounds of things in Seattle has a real chance to sit out. May depend on whether he can practice today...but not expecting him to all of a sudden be at 100%. And then it's him and Tarvaris. Hmm.

Erich (Raider Nation)

Does Run DMC... well run?

Stephania Bell
  (11:14 AM)

Erich: Expect him to. He didn't see any preseason action but it appears Raiders held him out near the end for precautionary reasons. Should start Sunday.

Vinny Chase (CA)

Whats your thoughts on Cooley? If he plays is he a good start?

Stephania Bell
  (11:18 AM)

Vinny: I am about the only one in our ff crew who is down on Cooley. Nothing personal, but I have a hard time drafting a guy who came off a knee scope and then had problems throughout the preseason with the knee. Such problems that he had to go visit Dr. Andrews and then back off workouts. He's still a question mark to play (although he insists he will) - but if he does, I'm still wondering about his effectiveness and how long he can stay in.

Reed (Georgia)

I'm worried about Miles Austin's hamstring. Should I start him anyway or replace him with Maclin?

Stephania Bell
  (11:21 AM)

Reed: Interesting choice. I get the Maclin worry, as I worry about anyone who depends on speed with a hamstring issue. But I also get the idea from what I've heard that he's doing quite a bit better and that he showed enough in preseason early that they did not want to push him. I think he'll go and be fine - said with still a bit of caution - but Maclin, who it looked like might not be ready, appears to be ready to start Sunday. Still don't know if he's in full game shape but I expect him on field. I wait until gameday to see how the Cowboys are speaking about Austin, but that's prob who I start.

Bill (Kentucky)

Hi Stephania! Hold Daniel Thomas and wait on his hamstring injury, or drop him for Starks or Hardesty?

Stephania Bell
  (11:22 AM)

Bill: Boy - if you can get Starks for him tha's who I'd take. Starks showing some flashes and Thomas hasn't shown much at all. Now with a hamstring besides. Hardesty has potential but need to see a little more game action before I get confident. For now, Hillis gets more work.

Ernest (Las Vegas)

Morning from the west Stephania, any worries regarding MJD since he was limited in practice on Wednesday?

Stephania Bell
  (11:24 AM)

Ernest: Love hearing from the western states too! Limited but not because of injury (personal reasons) so he's fine. And the Jags GM has been raving about his fitness. MJD lost about 15 pounds and is in great shape. Just wish he had a better QB threat so everyone (defense) wouldn't be keying in on him.

Anthony (NY)

What's the latest on Colston's shoulder?

Stephania Bell
  (11:25 AM)

Anthony: No official word yet. Heard that he had X-rays after game but have not confirmed. He did seem to be in some pain after he landed on that shoulder - I noticed it right away - but we'll see if it turns into anything...

Matt (Lakewood, CO)

How is Cassel looking for the weekend? Start Bradford over him?

Stephania Bell
  (11:26 AM)

Matt: I'd probably start Bradford anyway. But Cassel has been practicing and says he is going to play. I believe he will given that he has shown he can practice. But with Moeaki out...I know they're playing the Bills so there is that, but I still like Bradford for points.

John (Thief River Falls)

Hey Stephania, I know your a 49ers fan, is Crabtree going to play this week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:28 AM)

John: This is, indeed, factually correct. Signs seem to be pointing to Crabtree playing. Granted he did not do anything in the preseason b/c of having surgery on his broken foot. Now wearing a special shoe and running with what looks like everyone to be full speed, he says he will play.

Mike (W.R. Ga)

Steph, is Wes Welker good to go Sunday? If not is Branch a viable option?

Stephania Bell
  (11:29 AM)

Mike: Appears Welker should be good to go this weekend. He's not even on Patriots injury report from Thursday.

Greg (MN)

I know Gates generally toughs it out, and he isn't even listed as "Probable" anymore, but how is his injury doing? Is this something we have to be worried about every time he steps on the field?

Stephania Bell
  (11:31 AM)

Greg: I think you do have some level of concern. How he looks and how he responds after Week 1 could be a big hint but he feels ready to go. My concern is that he had issues still at the start of camp and was being restricted. No way those issues have disappeared. So it's in the background. But if he's on the field, he always poses a threat.

Phil (minneapolis)

This is for thee stephania bell, can I hear a ding if you are not concerned about Wes Welker?

Stephania Bell
  (11:31 AM)

Ding!

J.B. (PA)

Is anyone ever on that Pats injury report though?

Stephania Bell
  (11:31 AM)

J.B. Ususally a third of the team

Travis (Omaha)

Addai owner here. Should I go ahead and drop say a Demarco Murray or Hardesty for Delone Carter, given Addai's previous durrability issues? A lot of folks seem to be on the Carter bandwagon.

Stephania Bell
  (11:33 AM)

Travis: Good question. Lots of Carter love from training camp. When I was there people were buzzing about him. Yes, Donald Brown is still there and right now Addai is healthy. But we know Addai has some trouble staying on the field - would not be surprised to see Carter get some chances.

Dave (Chicago)

How is Britt's hamstring? Has he been limited in practice this week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:34 AM)

Dave: Interestingly, Britt off the injury report. A bit surprising given that he was still not full speed running within the last 2 weeks. The hamstring is not out of my worry zone given it cost him multiple weeks last year and then becomes an issue right out fo the gate this year.

Joe (Boston)

Will Torain's hand injury linger all season or will he be able to play through it? Fumbling issues because of it?

Stephania Bell
  (11:36 AM)

Joe: It should get better as the season goes on. It's just that he's coming off recent surgery so probably still a little stiff. I wonder if he'll see the ball enough to fumble it intiially. Right now he's missed so much preseason that he has a ways to catch up, probably will coincide with when his hand is no longer an issue at all.

Eric (CO)

Ahmad Bradshaw--have heard strangely little about his back issues after his poor preseason performance, any idea if he's been practicing or what's going on with the Giants backfield in general?

Stephania Bell
  (11:38 AM)

Eric: Well, he took a knee to the back in (I think) the second preseason game, then sat out one. He actually played in the final game for just a few carries - but he wasn't expected to so that to me was a good sign. Look, if you were the Giants, wouldn't you be just a little bit gunshy given all the bad luck in the preseason? He's off the injury report and I expect him to be fine to play this week.

Nick (Michigan)

How concerned are you with starting Jahvid Best this week? Haven't heard for sure, but I am assuming he will play.

Stephania Bell
  (11:38 AM)

Nick: Yes, expectation is he will play. Not on injury report. He's another guy where his history concerns me, even if he's "healthy" heading into the game.

Ryan (VA)

Lets take Fantasy Baseball for a sec...got a championship to win.Utley going to be good to go for weekly leagues next week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:41 AM)

Ryan: Not necessarily. We knew he'd be out through the weekend but team now hinting that he might be out for the following series too. He was scheduled to take IMPACT tests today and there's no word as to any results, but they're being clear about not rushing him. So even if all is well, there's a chance he doesn't come back until at least the middle of next week. And it's not a bad thing for that knee of his if he gets a few extra days right now when they don't need him.

Jeff S. (Vermont)

What do you expect from Rickie Weeks for the rest of the season? Is he fully healed ready to go? Or are they just testing him out for the playoffs?

Stephania Bell
  (11:43 AM)

Jeff: Not fully. They're activating him with a pinch-hitting role in mind initially. Although he's run the bases, still hasn't faced live pitching. And to play middle infield adds another level of dofficulty to what his ankle would need to do. So while it's impressive that he's come as far as he has, he is not necessarily going to be cut loose. And yes, they want to be sure they have him when they need him later.

matt (theOC)

did finley look okay to you last night? was hoping for a better start.

Stephania Bell
  (11:46 AM)

Matt: Finley had a great start from a health perspective. I know fantasy owners want double-digit points each time, but patience, patience. Finley made some impressive catches, Rodgers is looking for him and he will get his share. I thought he moved well, great to see him out there in the mix. Stay confident.

Cam (DC)

As a fellow 49er fan I'm wondering if there's any medical precedent that could be use to declare Alex Smith physically unable to perform due to a badly dislocated talent?

Stephania Bell
  (11:47 AM)

Ouch - haven't found that category.

MaCo (Jersey Shore)

Hows Marshawn Lynch doing? I need a foster replacement.

Stephania Bell
  (11:49 AM)

MaCo: Back to full practice Weds. Expected to play - but it is, after all, against my Niners D.

Kevin (Upstate NY)

Good morning Stephania! I read Steve Smith (phi) has been participating in practice this week. Is he worth adding now, or is he a wait and see?

Stephania Bell
  (11:51 AM)

Kevin: Good question. Hmmm. I really did not think he would see the field before a few weeks in - and that may still be the case - but Philly certainly hinting that he could play sooner. Even suggesting he could play this week, which I find hard to believe. Typically caution reigns when coming back from microfracture or else it can lead to major issues. Either way, if you add him now I wouldn't expect a big contribution for several weeks.

Chris (S.I.N.Y.)

Is Grant Healthy or is Starks just better?

Stephania Bell
  (11:52 AM)

Chris: Yes - and it appears to be, yes. At least Starks looks more explosive. But Grant had some nice blocking and they are not going to eliminate him from the game. Almost even touches last night - will be interesting to see how they handle it going forward.

Chip (NC)

Hi Stephania- IDP help please! I know LaRon Landry is out this week, but would you keep him, if you had a short bench? Achilles and hamstring issues...these will probably linger, right?

Stephania Bell
  (11:53 AM)

Chip: If I had a short bench, I would look elsewhere, just given the uncertainty.

Bill (Athens, GA)

What's the latest on Nelson Cruz? I have a big hole in my outfield right now that is only partially filled by Ryan Raburn (AL only). Is he looking good to go for next week in a weekly league?

Stephania Bell
  (11:57 AM)

Bill: I think it's too soon to count on him. He's been running at about 60-70 percent but hasn't yet run the bases. They're encouraged by his progress, but not going to press it too soon. Might be more like late next week (?) so I'd be reluctant to count on him.

Bob (DC)

Torain follow-up...but didn't he get 17 carries for 73 yards during the preseason?

Stephania Bell
  (11:59 AM)

Bob: You're right - in the one game he saw action in when the starters (including Helu) were resting. He then was limited again in practice reports this week, so I still think he's behind.

David (Florida)

So given injuries, next week would you keep Utley and Weeks and hope or seek out other options. My playoff finals are next week. Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (12:00 PM)

David: If in next week you mean starting this coming Monday, I'd find other options. Neither likely to be back until after the middle of the week.

Bernard (Moraga, CA)

Are you expecting more injuries than normal early in the NFL season given the abbreviated pre-season because of the lockout?

Stephania Bell
  (12:01 PM)

Bernard: Yes - but will be tough to blame the lockout per se. Just a hunch. We've already seen a number of unusual things - including increased Achilles ruptures. But normally with football you see a pretty high injury spike within first 3-4 weeks. There's some thought that it may linger longer.

Kevin (Valparaiso, IN)

Stephania,I'd like to know about Lance Moore's groin injury and if this is concern for his owners? Thank you

Stephania Bell
  (12:03 PM)

Kevin: It's worth paying attention to. We need to see what he does in practice this coming week.

Stephania Bell
  (12:04 PM)

OK everyone - time for me to go. BIG Saturday blog coming with all the latest following tonight's practice reports. Then join us Sunday for Fantasy Football Now at 11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2. I'll tweet during the show!! @Stephania_ESPNGood luck in Week 1!!!!!!