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December 2, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Injuries with Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:03 AM)

Ugh. The Eagles. And how are we looking heading into (what is for many) the make-or-break week before fantasy playoffs. I guess Riley Cooper helped me some last night...but what does the weekend have in store for us?

Dave R. (Waterbury, CT)

Hi Stephania, Happy Holidays!! HELP!!!----Do you think Kevin Smith will start AND FINISH game vs. New Orleans, or should I use MO MORRIS?????? And Cedric Benson's foot??? Thanks!!!--Dave R.

Stephania Bell
  (11:05 AM)

Dave: I never make predictions about a guy finishing...waaaaay too many variables. But I do think Kevin Smith will start, barring some surprise news today like he's sore from yesterday's practice. But expect he starts -and if I have both, I have to go with him over Morris knowing it's a gamble. And Benson is expected to practice today. Looks like team plans to have him Sunday.

John (SF)

Hello Stephania. Any word on Nicks, His concussion test came back negative, so what's holdin' him up? If he doesn't practice today, or is limited, A guess on whether Coughlin let's him go if Nicks feels he's ready come game time?..

Stephania Bell
  (11:07 AM)

John: True that he was cleared yesterday. Plan is for him to try to practice today. One of the evaluations that is made is how the player responds to working out (no return of symptoms, etc). That has to happen in order for him to play.

JR (Vegas)

Morning Stephania. Any more insight into what's trouble Michael Turner? He seemed to pop up on the injury report pretty quietly, and nobody's really been talking about it.

Stephania Bell
  (11:09 AM)

JR: It was pretty quiet. Reported as a groin injury but no details from the team about it. Of interest, Turner had offseason groin surgery. No word yet on whether this is in same area, or how severe this episode is, but there has to be some concern just from productivity standpoint for a power back with a groin issue.

Rob Kelley (Hingham, MA)

Hey Stephania, love your work! I've clinched a playoff spot, but how concerned should I be about not having a healthy Adrian Peterson in Weeks 15 and 16? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:11 AM)

Rob: Thank you! I'm always concerned about a guy until he actually takes the field (at least returning to practice) b/c we've seen so many times where the team and the player say progress is being made and then weeks later, they're still not out there (RunDMC). But Peterson has done some jogging and plans to test the ankle more today. While I'm not convinced he can (or should) play this weekend, it sounds right now as if he'll make it back for Week 14. Meaning without re-injury, should be in good shape for 15/16.

Jim (Ohio)

Sebastian Janikowski ok ROS? He did not practice Wednesday.

Stephania Bell
  (11:13 AM)

Jim: Still hurting some with hamstring which is why they're holding him out of practice. Apparently sore after last week (and all those field goals) but leg actually bothers more on kickoffs than on field goals. Hard to say for sure better ROS when not fully healthy yet. But he's managing to play and so far no severe setback.

Jim (Ohio)

Julio Jones no practice for rest? Or still hurt? ROS thoughts?

Stephania Bell
  (11:14 AM)

Jim: Probably a little bit of both. Not really a factor last week obviously. Not sure what to expect this week given that we haven't seen a thing so far. The goal for the team is keep him healthy going forward which may mean less action, less productivity next couple weeks.

Pat (Michigan)

Hey Steph- Recently got Bradshaw in a trade at a discount, with me thinking his return is soon and his ex-owner obvisouly thinking otherwise. How is it looking for him for the (expected) shootout in GB this weekend?

Stephania Bell
  (11:16 AM)

Pat: I think it's very iffy for him this week but I think it's likely he plays next week. The time off may have been worth it in the sense that once he's back, hopefully the foot will not be a major issue the rest of the season.

Ryan (Baltimore)

What's the latest news on Josh Freeman?

Stephania Bell
  (11:19 AM)

Ryan: Still wasn't throwing yesterday. Has the sore shoulder after Week 12, along with the thumb issues (recent sprain and recent stitches for a gash). MRI apparently showed bruising in shoulder, no major damage. Could be gtd for Sunday, but expect he'll try to play. Concern would be how shoulder holds up if he throws a lot in the game. Will he fatigue? And will it make him less effective?

Seth (Kansas)

What is going on with Miles Austin? He planning on coming back this week? Thanks. ROCK CHALK!

Stephania Bell
  (11:19 AM)

Seth: Rock Chalk indeed! Do not think we see Austin this week since he hasn't been able to get back to practice. But the hope would be Week 14.

Diego (Chicago)

Any extra concern for Big Ben this week? His effectiveness is very relevant to my Antonio Brown decision

Stephania Bell
  (11:23 AM)

Diego: Not any extra. He manages to play through injuries and maintain a level of consistency. Heard his thumb got caught wrong on a snap yesterday (pain) and he then missed a few reps but all implied no big deal and he's expected to play Sunday as usual.

Marc (NYC)

When players come back from injuries, you often say that you are skeptical because of risk or re-injury. Is this all injuries or only soft tissue injuries?

Stephania Bell
  (11:25 AM)

Marc: Good question. Primarily soft tissue injuries. Reason is - there's no way to definitively evaluate whether someone has returned to 100%. You put an athlete through all the return to play tests, etc but there's no replicating a game situation. When they're under that high demand - with opponents in their faces - this is when they usually are at the highest risk for re-injury.

Derek (Milwaukee)

Stephania... I heard Andre Johnson was limited in practice with a knee. Should we be concerned?

Stephania Bell
  (11:27 AM)

Derek: Hard to know how much concern to place here but I would say I'm not overly worried. His hamstring injury was down near the knee so this may be soreness associated with a return to play (and a higher number of snaps played than was originally expected). I expect him to play - and to help out Yates.

Dave (Miami)

Hi Steph, Denver DEF question. Any insight into whether Vonn Miller will play and how effective can he be?

Stephania Bell
  (11:31 AM)

Dave: He says he wants to play. As of now, very iffy. Just had surgery Weds to repair ligament damage. He would have to play with thumb protected, likely in some type of hard splint. Might relegate him to essentially playing one-handed. Something tells me he will sit this week.

Adam (Addison, IL)

I know it looks like Beanie Wells plays, but do you think the injury is serious enough to affect him against a better, more physical, defense (as opposed to the thrashing he gave the awful Rams D that barely touched him)?

Stephania Bell
  (11:32 AM)

Adam: Without a doubt. Matchup clearly not ad favorable. Add to that the fact his knee swelled up again after last week's game and the pounding he put on it. I think this week he'll be limited all week, come in at questionable, probably play - but not nearly as effectively - and it will be another up then down couple of weeks for Beanie.

Jim (NYC)

I see Gore is Questionable for Sunday. Any concerns he won't go? What percentage of the touches do you see Hunter getting on Sunday?Thx

Stephania Bell
  (11:33 AM)

Jim: He's been held back in practice to protect his ankle but I think when it comes to the game, he's full go. It is the Rams (very nice matchup for him), they clinch with a win and he wants this. Think it's primarily him with Hunter spelling him as need be.

Tina (5th grade classroom)

Hi - my students are taking a test...I have Benson and Bradshaw...both seem so IFFY and there is no one left on the wires. Any hope for these two?

Stephania Bell
  (11:35 AM)

Tina: I just love the multi-tasking. So even though I talked more about these guys earlier, I will sum it up by saying Yes for Benson and No (or at least I don't think so for this week) for Bradshaw.

Eric (Indy)

Victor Cruz ok to play with a slight hip injury? Good enough to start over Decker or Torrey Smith?

Stephania Bell
  (11:36 AM)

Eric: Yes. And Yes. He still put in a full practice. And with Manningham looking like he's out this game, if not several (or the rest of them!) Cruz will remain a hot target.

RJ (Calgary,Canada)

StarphaniaKeeper question can keep 2 players. Looking at keeping Foster and Murray, but Charles is currently a Free agent. Would you pick up Charles for next year or stay with foster and murrayThanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:38 AM)

RJ: Foster and Murray. Foster has proven why. Murray is hot this year and will not be coming off a major injury (please stay healthy for the remainder of the season).

Dave (Wichita)

Thoughts on when McFadden actually returns? How close are we to the time frame they gave for a return in the first place?

Stephania Bell
  (11:40 AM)

Dave: More from talking with people who are close to the situation than anything definitive in practice, I think it will be next week. They never really gave an official timetable although when the injury happened, Hue Jackson implied he'd miss very little time b/c the injury was minor and "no structural damage." They have had the luxury of going slowly with him but in the big picture of McFadden's career health, that will undoubtedly be the best thing for him. Just frustrating b/c we keep thinking it will be one week, then the next, then the next...we never heard the plan to keep him out a month. I don't think they PLANNED it, but they certainly didn't share how cautious they planned to be.

Dave (STL)

C'mon Steph show me some Love! Whats up with Bradford's bum ankle? My FF playoffs are on the line Should i sit Lloyd in favor of Percy? Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:42 AM)

Dave: OK - here you go. Bradford had a setback with his ankle- and now I think there's a decent chance he doesn't play. So yes, probably drops Lloyd's value somewhat. I probably go with Percy.

Christian (NY)

Will Jacoby Ford be able to help my team in the playoffs? What do you expect? Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:45 AM)

Christian: Wish I could give you some better insight here, but even the beat writers who are out west haven't heard much re: his status. Still not at practice, still getting treatment for the foot so no timetable yet...

Brian (Tulsa, OK)

So do you know what the deal is with Manningham?? He warmed up before game on Monday but didn't go so I thought he would be good to go this Sunday. But now he may be out for the season?? I don't like hearing that.

Stephania Bell
  (11:47 AM)

Brian: It's a little soon, I think, to say done for the season. But his comments yesterday made people nervous. Says he has stuff "floating" in his knee (my guess - probably cartilage debris) and may need surgery. Question really will be can they manage the swelling and allow him to play week-to-week, or is it just to the point that the knee won't allow him to play. Not a black/white decision - but it looks at least for this week like he'll be out and it's sketchy at best going forward.

Matt (Minneapolis)

Hey Steph, great season for your once terrible 49ers. I haven't heard you talk much about Jay Cutler. Not a fantasy question, just a bears fan. From what you know about Jay's injury, what do you think the chances are of him coming back by the end of the year? Or for the postseason (if we make it).

Stephania Bell
  (11:49 AM)

Matt: Don't think he's back this regular season. Much depends on bone healing and then when he can be cleared to progress to activity beyond rehab stuff. Has to be able to grip ball with enough strength in thumb and base of hand. I did a video for ESPNChicago which explains a little more (you can find by searching on that site).

Paul (NM)

McCoy did awesome last night, but I'm worried about his injury going forward since the eagles are done. Maybe the rushing title keeps him going. Whats your thoughts?

Stephania Bell
  (11:50 AM)

Paul: I think McCoy showed he will play hard all the time. I'm sure his toe was even more painful after the game last night since he ran so much but they'll probably rest him early and he'll have a longer recovery window before the next game since this was a Thursday night. Expect him to keep going.

Justin (New Orleans)

Hi Stephania, I need your help! Any more news on Kevin Smith's ankle? Take a chance with a Det. RB Sunday night (I've got Morris as well) or roll with someone else? Boldin is about my only option...

Stephania Bell
  (11:52 AM)

Justin: Kevin Smith apparently at practice again today (so no huge setback from yesterday) although it remains to be seen just how much he does. But now things looking up for him starting Sunday night. If he goes, I play him over Morris. And I don't think I'd play Boldin over him.

Rich (Office)

After Peyton (Manning, not Madden boy) met with his docs the other day, do you see him returning this season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:55 AM)

Rich: Doubt this season. But I do think he wants to at least get into practice if he can. We know from the doctor's statement that the fusion has healed. What's unknown is how much progress the nerve has made in its recovery. And that's ultimately the key to his throwing. So until we see/hear about him throwing, there's no definitive indication he's at all close to returning.

sam colangelo (chambersburg)

Any words on mcgahee. Im gonna pick up lance ball if needed, cause i have fred jackson and mcfdadden.

Stephania Bell
  (11:57 AM)

Sam: McGahee was back to limited practice (had been sick which is why he missed Weds). Should play this weekend. Not sure you could fire Fred Jackson though since he went out on disability.

Chip (NC)

So you don't trust Beanie...but do you trust Shanny? Start Helu over Beanie in a .5ppr?

Stephania Bell
  (11:58 AM)

Chip: Trust is a big word. Not sure I'd go there - but I do believe Helu is the starter this week. And that's who I'd play.

Jeremy (NYC)

Steph, I know you're an Andre owner so maybe you can help me out. Would you sit him for Nicks, Laurent and AJ Green - can only start 3. Thanks so much.

Stephania Bell
  (12:01 PM)

Jeremy: All I want to say is I'd like to play in your league where you have all these guys. Although it does seem feasible since Green was rookie who has risen and Laurent was virtually unknown. This is a very tough call this week. Almost impossible for me to sit AJ but no doubt there are a couple strikes there this week, esp with young QB. But I probably play him over Nicks who comes off short week and head injury. I keep Laurent and Green in.

Tesh (MT)

Shonn Greene update?

Stephania Bell
  (12:02 PM)

Tesh: He'll play. Not sure he's totally over the rib injury but he'll play. LT may join him so likely a split of some sort.

matt (chitown)

denarius a go you think?

Stephania Bell
  (12:02 PM)

Matt: No. Prob another week.

Stephania Bell
  (12:03 PM)

OK friends. Time for me to go...Matthew Berry is chatting right now so feel free to carry over your other fantasy questions to him. Have a great weekend and good luck in Week 13!!