Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

October 14, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:02 AM)

Good morning and happy Friday everyone! Pouring rain here in Bristol...what better way to pass the time than chatting with my friends about our fantasy injury woes heading into Week 6...

Drew ((NY))

What is the status on LGB for this sunday? If he does not go do you think Graham will get most the touches?

Stephania Bell
  (11:04 AM)

Drew: Way to get the question in early...the Bucs have not ruled him out but all the word around Blount is that he has a knee sprain that is expected to keep him out this week (he has not practiced) and will likely keep him out next week also. There has been one report of an MCL sprain; waiting to see if more materializes on that front. Expect Graham to start and get the most work.

Stuart (Brooklyn, NY)

Thanks for all your hard work and help this year! What's up with BJGE and Jacobs? Do you think they'll play? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:06 AM)

Stuart: Thank you my friend. BJGE has a toe issue and went from limited Weds to OUT Thurs. Never a good sign. No word on Fri practice but certainly makes you worry that he could be out this weekend. Do NOT think Jaocbs plays, lingering swelling in his knee and no practice so far this week. More work for Bradshaw.

Stephania Bell
  (11:06 AM)

Stuart: Thank you my friend. BJGE has a toe issue and went from limited Weds to OUT Thurs. Never a good sign. No word on Fri practice but certainly makes you worry that he could be out this weekend. Do NOT think Jaocbs plays, lingering swelling in his knee and no practice so far this week. More work for Bradshaw.

Mitch (Denmark)

Julio Jones going forward? Will his hamstring keep him out more than this week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:07 AM)

Mitch: Welcome international guest. No way the team will predict that yet - we should be happy they've done us the favor of already ruling him out for this week. They want to see if he can run in practice next week after getting treatment this week. Potentially yes, but too soon.

Griff (Your neighbor in Bristol)

Hey Stephania! Still beating the boys at their own game in the Big League??? Hope so. Anyway, any reason to rush Daniel Thomas back into action vs. the Jets on Monday night? With a great matchup vs. Denver in Week 7 I'm thinking of saving him til then...thoughts???

Stephania Bell
  (11:09 AM)

Griff: From Denmark to Bristol...love it. So far, 5-0 in the war room league...but I've got some depth issues so we'll see what happens this week. Thomas is expected to play Monday night, barring a setback, but if you plan to use him, be SURE to have another option available, just in case. I'm not expecting a huge stats game Monday, but word is R Bush was seem limping around this week, so if THomas is going well, he may be the one they lean on.

John D. (Boston, MA)

Mendenhall??? Is he going to play?? Will Dwyer be on the game day roster?

Stephania Bell
  (11:11 AM)

John D: Yes, Mendenhall is expected to start although Pitt says they don't want "an overload situation" so Redman will get some work. Problem is we don't know just how they split the load, but Mendenhall will start.

Ismael (Jersey City)

I own Addai and Blount in one of my leagues and I'm starting to feel the pain whats my best case scenario? Worst case?

Stephania Bell
  (11:12 AM)

Ismael: Bummer. Best is that Blount comes back sooner rather than later b/c he's more valuable to you than Addai. Think Blount will miss 2 weeks, everything afterward a toss-up. Addai with a hamstring, you know how unpredictable those are - and he tends to be a bit slow returning from injury. Might just look for a replacement there.

Ryan (KC)

Stephania, how is Ryan Grant's injury? They seemed to just ease him back in last week. Can he regain the starting job or will he be bothered by it going forward?

Stephania Bell
  (11:14 AM)

Ryan: I feel like Grant was on his way to getting more looks after running strong, then got derailed by the kidney injury...and now they will continue to lean on Starks, unless something happens to him. Hard to count on Grant, maybe as anything more than a flex play at this point and it's not because he's currently injured. Kidney issue is behind him.

Wil (NY)

When do we find out if Hightower is starting? Do you have any inside news?

Stephania Bell
  (11:15 AM)

Wil: No word yet on who starts, but the pulse is that it will likely be Torain. Hightower's shoulder apparently a little worse than he was willing to let on. But Hightower should be available to play - and we know that Shanahan is not afraid to change up the roles, even during the game, if one guy is performing better.

Greg (D.C.)

I saw reports than Aaron Hernandez wore a brace last week during the game, and is still wearing the brace at practice. Does the brace limit his explosiveness to the point where his value is decreased and how long will he have to wear it? Through and after his bye week? Is his recovery doing well otherwise?

Stephania Bell
  (11:17 AM)

Greg: He did. Brace has metal struts on the sides to provide medial-lateral stability. He even admits that the brace is a little cumbersome and he'd rather be without it ideally, but knows it's protection for his knee. Don't think it's enough of an issue to make a huge difference in his ability and obviously he was on the field a good portion of last week's game. Continues to improve.

JO (FL)

Hi Stephania,I know Schaub is a little banged up this week, would you play it safe and start Freeman over him against NO, might be a shoot out? What do you think?

Stephania Bell
  (11:18 AM)

Jo: I know Schaub is a little banged up - still plays though - but he is going against the Ravens. Could be a long day. I like the Freeman matchup better.

dave (home)

should i be concerned about jennings and his groin injury?

Stephania Bell
  (11:20 AM)

Dave: Sounds like GB not too worried. He left Thurs practice a little early b/c of some soreness and to get some treatment but McCarthy made it sound like no big deal. We'll see what he does today.

Ryan (CT)

What are your thoughts about Andre Johnson and Julio Jones? Any indication they will be playing next week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:21 AM)

Ryan: Jones we mentioned earlier. But Johnson has been recovering well, already doing some working out and team encouraged by his progress. Would not be surprised if he makes it back for 7 but Week 8 appears the safest bet right now.

John (Mendham, NJ)

Any word on Tolbert's noggin?

Stephania Bell
  (11:22 AM)

John: Nope - but b/c it's a bye week, they don't have to. Team has said they hope he'll be ready for Week 7.

Brett (n. VA)

How are V-Jax and Gates doing? And is Gates foot the type of thing he will struggle with post football life?

Stephania Bell
  (11:24 AM)

Brett: And as far as these 2 Chargers, Gates wants to be back in Week 7 but says he "can't" guarantee it, naturally. And even if he's back, this will be an up/down issue throughout the year. At some point, it will no longer be a problem for him (post-football) but will continue to be a threat this year. VJax should be greatly helped by the bye as he's played through the injuries already.

Sean (Philly)

Hey Stephania,Word is LGB has GRADE 2 MCL. What exactly does that mean?

Stephania Bell
  (11:27 AM)

Sean: OK - since keep seeing about this Grade 2 MCL.First, I'm aware of the report. It was made on a radio station in FL by someone who reportedly said MD was source. That's hard to believe b/c of confidentiality issues, but...if, in fact, it's true all it tells us is that it's a moderate sprain (or a partial tear, same thing) and the timetable is highly variable. Can be a couple weeks, can be up to 6 (think Aaron Hernandez). Obviously as a running back you need to move laterally and take a lot of low hits, making MCL vulnerable. Don't want to come back too soon. I say he's out at least 2 weeks IF this is the injury, but after that it's anyone's guess depending how the healing responds.

Steve (Boston, MA)

Hey Stephania! Love your advice, it has really paid off. I am a Stevan Ridley owner and wondering if BJE's toe injury warrants a flex play for Ridley?

Stephania Bell
  (11:29 AM)

Steve: Thank you...I think Ridley is a flex play worthy guy this week. Woodhead still slowed by the ankle, even though he's back in practice and BJGE even if he plays may be slowed by the toe.

chris (jersey)

with BJGE in question, safer to roll with Pettigrew at flex?

Stephania Bell
  (11:30 AM)

Chris: As a follow, I definitely would go with Pettigrew as a flex. He's clearly been a target behind Johnson and probably more fantasy worthy this week.

Erik (VT)

Any worries about Foster or Tate?

Stephania Bell
  (11:31 AM)

Erik: Foster still not totally out of the woods in my book. Of course you're starting him, but the sore hip, quad and still getting just past the hamstring make you wonder if he can hold up to the workload he's likely to continue to get for the next few weeks. Tate not back to full health from the groin, so still reason to be concerned about him - and just not sure he'll be playing that much in the immediate future.

Mike (Buffalo)

Whats the real deal with Roddy White? It seems he is being used as a decoy and that his injury is more serious than being published. Can you enlighten me on his status?

Stephania Bell
  (11:33 AM)

Mike: He's getting healthier. Full practice Thursday for the first time all season. Hopefully this will be a better week for him with Jones out.

Chris (Da' Burgh)

What's shaking Steph??? Hey, what is the deal with T. Gonzales?

Stephania Bell
  (11:34 AM)

Chris: Elbow issue that no one in Atlanta seems too concerned about. I expect him to be out there just like he always is.

Ben (Pearland)

What is the word on Romo's injury. I know he will play but is he almost healed

Stephania Bell
  (11:35 AM)

Ben: Well, you have to assume the bone healing is progressing but it takes over a month for that to happen. And it still hurts. He's going to wear the protective vest and probably still going to get a painkilling injection, so it's not like it's behind him yet.

CMatthew (NYC)

Is Dez Bryant finally over the deepest thigh bruise in recorded history?

Stephania Bell
  (11:37 AM)

CMatthew: It has been a very deep thigh bruise, hasn't it? Part of the issue is that because of the injury, he was missing a lot of practice time - which became apparent during the games when he was playing. So the fact that he's been back in practice, alongside Austin this week and the two of them will be out there, is a big advantage for the offense- just from a functional standpoint.

Mark (Work)

Is Ryan Mathews a sell high guy right now given that he could get injured at any point?

Stephania Bell
  (11:39 AM)

Mark: Mathews IS hurt - and maybe a little worse than we really know. The calf issue he had reportedly had him putting less weight on it for a few days. Not practicing this week. They expect to have him back next week and the team is expressing confidence that he plays in Week 7, but I think there's at least some level of concern that this could be a problem that crops up again.

Eric (San Jose)

Am I crazy for starting Michael Crabtree (and is he 100% healthy) over Harvin and Tampa Mike Williams? Or do I just have a bad case of 49er Fever?

Stephania Bell
  (11:41 AM)

Eric: Well, not crazy, although you may have Niner fever...but so do I. Harvin has really been underperforming and now has sore ribs making him miss practice. He'll play - but I think they're running the ball this week and I have little confidence in him right now. More confidence in Mike Williams, even though he hasn't done much lately. He's better than that. In the meantime, without Morgan and with Crabtree practicing, this might be a good week to pick him of the 3.

pj (richmond)

teach us about painkilling injections - how effective, how long the pain is masked/relieved, does it require reinjection at halftime, any risks and so on - use Romo as an example to make it understandble - thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:43 AM)

PJ: Many kinds, whether they can even do it depends on location. Rib can be very delicate. In Romo's case they do it under fluoroscopy, meaning they image it so they can follow the needle, make sure they're not hitting anything impt (like the lung). Placement also helps influence how much relief he gets, so some better than others. And yes, wears off gradually with time as game goes on.

Nathan J. (Macomb, IL)

Steven Jackson says he's fully healed from that quad injury. You believe he's safe to put up "Steven Jackson like" numbers for this week, despite playing Green Bay?

Stephania Bell
  (11:44 AM)

Nathan: Think it's his best chance all season since he finally feels like he's 100% - and he's one of the few players I believe really, truly knows his body. The rest was good for him - and while he faces a tough defense, I still think he can put up decent numbers.

Sam (charleston, sc)

How is D. Henderson's chances of playing well this week considering his calf issue?

Stephania Bell
  (11:45 AM)

Sam: Looking like he's closer to coming back after returning to full practice Thursday. Still a weak fantasy play with all the options they have but it does look like he could be on the field.

Brett (Boston)

Is Harry Douglas a start in a 14 team league with Julio out?

Stephania Bell
  (11:47 AM)

Brett: I think he is even though he doesn't get much love from out fantasy group. I wathced him in the preseason and he looked fantastic. He sold the team on making him the #3 receiver and has already had a few catches. He is a deep ball threat, not a ton of value in PPR necessarily, but has the chance to have a nice game this week.

Paulo Coelho (Pittsburgh)

Former Cane athlete here with follow up Q to your Matthews (SD) A... If him and Tolbert are banged up is Jacob Hester worth picking up?

Stephania Bell
  (11:47 AM)

Paulo: If you have extra room on your bench, sure. But I wouldn't be dumping any reasonable flex players just yet.

Brainer (Sac)

Any word on what exactly is the injury to Tim Hightowers shoulder? I just keep reading that he has a "banged up shoulder".

Stephania Bell
  (11:48 AM)

Brainer: That's all they're saying. Can't get the real skinny on this one...

Gabe (San Francisco, CA)

Chris Cooley just got his knee drained, does that mean Fred Davis gets majority of snaps and targets this week vs. lowly Eagles

Stephania Bell
  (11:49 AM)

Gabe: Yes. And Cooley really has been relegated to that secondary role for the most part this season. The knee has been an issue since the preseason and it will - by his own acknowledgement - be an issue all year. So again Fred Davis gets the bulk of the targets.

jonathan (nyc)

this is my first year playing fantasy and i've still trying to get a grip on the flex spot. Seems like the pervading theory is that a RB rather than a WR is the better play (apples to apples that is (and when are apples ever apples?))With that in mind, this weekend i'm faced with a pretty nice conundrum (it's an embarrassment of riches over here at team chicharrones) sproles or dez in my flex spot?

Stephania Bell
  (11:52 AM)

Jonathan: Welcome to the club...hope you're enjoying your rookie fantasy season. I think it depends to some degree on your league. In PPR, I would try to play a RB who can catch a few passes without a doubt, like a Sproles. With a standard team, I try (this is my own strategy) to pick a matchup play for who can get me the most points. Since it's not a guy who auto-starts for me, I'm just looking for who has the best chance to score. So I want a guy who can potentially see the end zone even if he deosn't get a lot of touches, or a receiver who is a deep play threat (which a Bryant is). Don't think there's a one size fits all approach.

Jason (FL)

Squeezing in a quick one about Felix's shoulder; did the bye week get him back to 100%, or is it a lingering issue for the rest of the season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:54 AM)

Jason: Not sure we can say with any confidence from a distance that he's 100% b/c the question is how stable is the shoulder. At this early date, it's probably still vulnerable to big hits. I'm assuming he'll still wear the harness and just hope he doesn't absorb a ton of contact on the shoulder. But the week off definitely helped.

Greg (D.C.)

Resending question on Dy. Thomas.... any word on his Achilles/Finger, and is his rehab on schedule? Could he be effective coming back this early from that injury?

Stephania Bell
  (11:57 AM)

Greg: He's actually been doing really well as far as his rehab schedule from the Achilles. I saw him in person when he was just allowed to begin wearing a shoe and was beginning to do some weightbearing exercises. He was working incredibly hard, determined to get back. But the big issue will be power after an Achilles injury. And we won't know how that looks until we see him on the field. Similar to ACL, often takes playing again to get that leg back to normal and feel like it's got power and explosiveness again. Not sure exactly what he can deliver right out of the gate when he returns.

Jeremy (Ca)

Nooo! were to the 5 min countdown. Thoughts on D. Nelson as flex play with Jones out . Possible breakout game?

Stephania Bell
  (11:58 AM)

Jeremy: I like Nelson. I think he's shown he has the potential...against a Giants secondary could be a big day for him

Jordan (Washington DC)

Does Andre Johnson's injury fall into the same "nagging hamstring" thing that a lot of the other hamstrings you guys talk about do? From a medical/fantasy perspective, do you advise selling now? Or do you think his recovery will be full? (Obviously looking just for an opinion since I know you can't tell the future).

Stephania Bell
  (12:00 PM)

Jordan: Nope, not like the others. It's a tendon issue, not a strain within the muscle and the procedure he had actually helps with making his return more predictable. I think (and of course we never know for sure, but I expect) he will be back and stay back...

Daren (Portland)

Who is Dy. Thomas you were just referring to?

Stephania Bell
  (12:00 PM)

Daren: Demaryius Thomas, Denver.

Stephania Bell
  (12:01 PM)

Thanks everyone for coming! HAve a great Week 6 - and for more fantasy lineup advice, check out Melissa Jacobs and her 3 pm chat...