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December 13, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Injuries with Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (3:06 PM)

Hi gang: Getting up and running here- see many of you already in queue with your questions. Welcome!

Mark (Denver)

Hi Stephania...seems like I ask this question every week and I know you have him too...ANDRE JOHNSON?Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:08 PM)

Mark: Well, I HAD him...but was beat in my fantasy playoffs by a handful of points this week, largely due to his injury-related absence. Texans won't commit to him being back yet - understandable b/c a lot can happen in a week, but they want him on the field and he says he's working his you-know-what off to get back. Given that they've clinched though, makes me think unless they're feeling really, really good about his recovery, they'll be supremely cautious.

Dan (NYC)

TRUE OR FALSE: There is absolutely no way Greg Jennings plays the next 2 weeks, so it is safe fro me to drop him from my team.

Stephania Bell
  (3:09 PM)

Dan: I refrain from absolutes. Injuries don't adhere to definite timelines. That said, McCarthy gave us a nice clue saying Jennings would be back for the playoffs. As in the reality kind. And they have a bye until 1/14. So yes, I'd drop him.

Mark (San Jose)

Stephania, these two guys played sunday, but Im still interested in their health when deciding to start them in the playoffs. Dallas Clark and McGahee, were they playing with pain or should they both be a sure start next week?

Stephania Bell
  (3:11 PM)

Mark: Haven't heard that they were playing with pain per se, but also didn't hear anything negative on them coming out of this week (the biggest clue). So as of now, I see no reason they wouldn't be starting this week.

Drew ((NY))

Are you worried about Maclin's health this week? I want to start him but i dont know if i could play him instead of Lloyd or AJ Green. (At least they are giving me consistent numbers)

Stephania Bell
  (3:12 PM)

Drew: I would not play Maclin over Green for sure. And probably not over Lloyd. Mostly b/c I'm not convinced (and won't be frankly until he gets through an entire game without a setback) that he'll be 100 percent this week. Sat out the bulk of the second half when hamstring tightened up so he's not past this thing.

Steve (Sacramento)

Is Harvin a safe start with A.P. coming back???

Stephania Bell
  (3:15 PM)

Steve: Think so. First, we're not sure - although it looks promising - that AP is back. Second, think they're going to be looking for him more now as he's factored into recent games much more. Yes, I know it's been with AP out, but find it hard to imagine they ignore him now that he's gotten himself more involved.

Michael (Pittsburgh)

Stephania I look forward to this chat all week. Can you tell me if Kevin Smith will play this week? I am out of RB's with Murray going down for the year!

Stephania Bell
  (3:17 PM)

Michael: Why thank you - wish I had more definitive news for you. While the Lions say they're optimistic about getting some of their injured guys back, they don't attach any names to that and we won't see any activity until Weds practice. Better pick up someone as insurance.

pj (richmond)

talk about Graham back spasms and dumb it down for us to understand how it affects his performance - thanks

Stephania Bell
  (3:20 PM)

PJ: Imagine your back tightening up, seizing up - so hard that every time you try to twist or bend you get a stabbing pain somewhere through your back. It literally makes it almost impossible to move. Spasm is a protective thing - body does it to try to help prevent further injury when something is inflamed or irritated. Hence the MRI. We don't know anything about results yet but my guess is the early part of this week is focused on rest and calming down his pain-related symptoms. He may practice very little in advance of Sunday and he hopes he plays.

Matt (NYC)

Will Hass be beck or is it time for Locker to start vs. Indy?

Stephania Bell
  (3:21 PM)

Matt: I anticipate Locker starting. They're calling this day to day, but the reality is that these calf strains in an athlete of this, ahem, age, are slow to recover and it makes it tough to push off at all. Can't imagine he's ready to play in a week. Then if he doesn't play, do they keep moving forward with Locker?

Andrew (WI)

Congratulations on the steak dinner tonight! Any updates on Matt Forte? Any chance he's a viable play in week 17?

Stephania Bell
  (3:24 PM)

Andrew: Thanks! I am saving up my appetite - hungry right now. Not much to say about Forte because the focus is rest and recovery right now. Once he's running again we get a better idea and the issue after MCL sprain is can the athlete get full, pain-free range back to start doing more vigorous work. Until then you have to make a guess. If I've got room, I stash him. Why not?

Zach (Chicago)

Stephania, I got both Run DMC and Denarius Moore on my bench and I am hoping for a return this week for if not both atleast one. Do you think I can get one of them?

Stephania Bell
  (3:27 PM)

Zach: I count on nothing with McFadden now. Tricky semantics going on over in Oakland around the nature of his injury. Very murky. And he won't need surgery but he's clearly either worse than projected or had a setback. Even if he returns - which now looks iffy but Hue Jackson still maintains he expects him to come back - he won't get the full workload out of the gate. Imagine they'd test him - and I don't want that in my playoffs. Moore however seems to have a shot since he was feeling better last week.

Brandon (Maryland)

Stephania, After back-to-back season ending injuries, is Jim Leonhard's career potentially over?

Stephania Bell
  (3:28 PM)

Brandon: Just taped a video hit for that which will be on ESPNNewYork.com later (shameless plug) - but essentially, this could be career-threatening. Tough injury on same leg he broke last year which ended his season then. Sad for him.

Jeff (IL)

After three years of fantasy football and three years of playoff appearances I finally won my first playoff game. 78-78 match that I won the tiebreaker on. Lynch and Seahawks D/ST same my season. Looking for a good luck and congrats if possible! Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (3:29 PM)

Jeff: good luck/congrats - and I'd be looking for Seattle D folks if still available.

Craig (NY)

What is the status of Big Ben for this week?

Stephania Bell
  (3:32 PM)

Craig: Officially, questionable. But that can't be a surprise. Tomlin says he needs to practice to play. But that won't have to happen until much later in the week. Even then, he can become a gtd. I would normally say I expect a player out. Bradford had same injury to same ankle and look at how it's gone for him, even after sitting out a couple games. But frankly, I'm surprised Ben only suffered a Grade 1 and if that's the case, then I lean a little more towards him playing...because that's just what he does.

Greg (College Station, TX)

How did Ahmad Bradshaw look to you in his limited touches this weekend? Unsure if the limited production was due to the disciplinary action, or if he's healthy enough to risk starting this week. Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (3:33 PM)

Greg: As long as there's no setback, I think he'll play each week. And as long as he doesn't miss any more curfews, we hopefully get a full game out of him. I'd start him - don't think he'll be late again after getting embarrassed on Sunday night.

Keith (Chicago)

Manningham good to go from here on out?

Stephania Bell
  (3:35 PM)

Keith: His is a situation that could be in flux weekly b/c it's all dependent on how his knee responds to the activity of the week before. Unfortunately you can't assume that since he played he's fine; it's not that kind of injury. His really comes down to the wire week to week.

Kyle (Dallas)

Heard anything about Mark Ingram's toe? Is he practicing?

Stephania Bell
  (3:37 PM)

Kyle: No practice yet for Saints so we won't know until Weds. He made it sound like the toe was minor but the Saints, for once, have more healthy backs than not. If he's limited, they'll go with Ivory again.

Nick (Canada)

Is AP gonna be suiting up this week?Really could've used his points in the first week of a 2 week semi final

Stephania Bell
  (3:39 PM)

Nick: This is the first week I feel like AP has a good chance of playing. Based on the fact he increased his activity last week and was lobbying to play. Glad they did not play him since he could not run without limping. Better to protect him. But the additional rest may have helped him turn the corner. Assuming he can run normally and get through several days of work, I think he will play.

Bruce (NH)

How do you think it will affect Antonio Brown's performance if Big Ben can't go?

Stephania Bell
  (3:40 PM)

Bruce: Still like Antonio Brown. Batch was ok last year when Ben was out - Brown has proven to be such a target that he'd be impossible to ignore.

Adam (Pittsburgh)

Murray's injury ruined my chances at a title this year. How do you think he projects as my keeper next year? Thanks and keep up the great work!

Stephania Bell
  (3:41 PM)

Adam: Think of how much it ruined his year! But I am sorry for your loss...I think he'll be ready by the time next season rolls around. I'd be willing to keep him in my league.

Dave (Boston)

Would you take any other WR over Hakeem Nicks for your team at this point?

Stephania Bell
  (3:42 PM)

Dave: No.

Kathy (PA)

Any news on Matt Moore? I have to decide between Marshall (vs. Buff), VJax (vs. Balt) or Bowe (vs. GB) this week

Stephania Bell
  (3:43 PM)

Kathy: Just that the team is saying all the right things and they expect him to be back. But when dealing with a head injury, the athlete has to go through all the necessary steps to be cleared to return - and that takes time. Should know more by Thursday.

Bryce (TX)

Sorry just joined the chat - gotta pay the bills. Any Stevie updates - hand issues? Thanks much

Stephania Bell
  (3:45 PM)

Bryce: I get it - we're all working for a living. And we haven't talked Stevie yet. Apparently he was having some issues - including numbness in his hand. Per SJ, he said they explained the injury to him but he didn't understand it. Classic. Does sound like he thinks he will play.

Steve (Pittsburgh)

Gore has me worried. Limited touches, tough matchup, and a coach saying "he has some stuff". Crazy to consider benching him for Barber or Stewart this week?

Stephania Bell
  (3:47 PM)

Steve: I agree that this would worry me - as a fantasy owner. No idea what the Niners will do right now. They want that first round bye. But they also need Gore for playoffs and don't want to risk a setback. My guess is they won't totally keep him down but they will keep him off the field to some degree. Last time they planned to limit his touches he had a hundred yard game. So it's hard tot ake this at face value. And yet, I'm still not sure I bench him for either of those two.

john (mass)

Stephania does Megatron have somethin' wrong we just haven't heard about? or is it just double & triple teams? thx!

Stephania Bell
  (3:49 PM)

John: He's OK healthwise - they're admittedly struggling with getting the ball to him. He took a crushing hit to the chest last week but was not on any postgame injury report.

Mike (KY)

Dez Bryant - only 2 targets for 1 reception (glad it was a good one). Please tell me he had a phantom injury and is over it and ready for next game. How's Austin holding up?

Stephania Bell
  (3:50 PM)

Mike: I think Austin is ok - occasionally looked rusty. Perhaps a little gunshy although we won't hear that. I think RObinson is the clear fave - and showed the shoulder is not going to slow him down. Then Austin, and I think he'll be better this week. Then Bryant who is totally inconsistent - could have a nothing day or a huge day.

JW (MA)

Hey Starphania! is "Beanie" good to go? but still just an injury waitin' to happen? thanks

Stephania Bell
  (3:52 PM)

JW: Yep - and that's pretty much how it's been for weeks. No reason to think he won't play but expect he won't practice fully and then we'll see him Sunday.

Matt (Orlando)

Nate Washington... toughed it out on Sunday and he exploded. With the bum ankle (and back spasms?), would be gutsy to plug him in this week I know, but nothing a few painkillers can't fix *right*?

Stephania Bell
  (3:55 PM)

Matt: He's definitely hurting. Last week he didn't practice a single day but then managed to play - and played pretty darn well - but may ahve paid a price. Not sure I'm comfortable saying this early that he's a lock to go - I didn't think he was a lock last week.

Karl Welzein (Grand Blanc, MI)

How impressed are you with the way Antonio Gates has held up considering his setbacks early in the year?

Stephania Bell
  (3:57 PM)

Karl: Very. It's been somewhat of a surprise. And I think he's hurting - but he is performing well despite that. Still has me concerned about what's in store for him next year - but so far, doing pretty well this season - and looks (so far) like he'll make it the rest of the way.

Brandon (Seattle, WA)

I understand you have a lot of questions - but the fact I never see mine posted, is that the only reason, or is it because you don't know the answer to them? Thanks for the clarification... I must ask good questions, cause I NEVER see mine posted or answered...

Stephania Bell
  (3:58 PM)

And since you told me you're not coming back, the reason theJimmy Graham question you sent wasn't posted was b/c it was already answered. I try to spread it around folks to get issues on a lot of players answered. Sorry I can't post every single question but there are several hundred.

Joe (Bronx, NY)

Was BJGE hurt this weekend? Saw far too much of Danny Woodhead for my liking. Or is it just Bellichek being his old self

Stephania Bell
  (4:00 PM)

Joe: No new BJGE injury - at least not that anyone has reported - but we know he has had some issues with the toe across the season. So whether it was specifically related to him or whether it was just tactical on the part of the Patriots is a guess.

Bar Y (NY, NY)

San Francisco D Question. Any news on Willis?

Stephania Bell
  (4:02 PM)

The 49ers have hinted all along at Willis missing one game. Assuming he can get back into practice and run without any issues, I think they will let him play Monday night.

Joe (Pittsburgh)

MoJo Drew on a short week vs. Falcons or Reggie Bush vs. Buffalo?

Stephania Bell
  (4:03 PM)

Joe: I've been high on MJD all year and won't stop now. If anything, think he's amped after last week and I like him against the Falcons. Panthers ran on them last week...

Stephania Bell
  (4:04 PM)

OK gang- -time for me to go. Have to wrap up the blog for today and get it posted! There will be updates throughout the week including on Twitter if news breaks. Good luck to those who are still in the mix!!