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December 16, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Injuries with Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:03 AM)

Happy Friday everyone!Welcome to the injury chat - hope you're faring well in your fantasy playoffs! WHat's on your mind heading into Week 15?

Darren (MN)

Is AJ going to miss another week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:06 AM)

Darren: It sure looks that way. He hasn't practiced, but is doing some running. Still, with the Texans having already clinched a playoff spot, they're bound to be careful with their star receiver. No need to rush him back - makes you wonder what will happen over the next week?

Scott (ESPN Titletown Runner-Up Parkersburg, WV)

Any chance Greg Jennings plays again in regular season, or is he safe to drop? 59 point cushion in semis matchup heading into this weekend. Likely playing for Championship next wk & could really use the roster spot for a RB pickup. P.S. Hope the Niners smoke the Steelers Monday night!!!

Stephania Bell
  (11:10 AM)

Scott: Congrats on playing so well...I think it's safe to drop him. McCarthy hinted that he would be back for (reality ) playoffs and I trust they will play it safe. Go get a RB...and go Niners...

Eric (Pitt)

AP and Jimmy Graham? Both on track?

Stephania Bell
  (11:12 AM)

Eric: AP certainly appears to be doing the best he has in the last month. He's running, cutting well and apparently not limping like he was late last week. All the things the Vikings needed to see to put him back on the field. So barring a setback, yes, expect him. And Graham has practiced fully each day. Says he's not quite 100 percent, but much better and expects to play.

Cooper (Buffalo)

Chances D. Moore starts this week? What level of production could we possibly expect?

Stephania Bell
  (11:14 AM)

Cooper: Appears he's in line to be in the WR mix with Schilens and Heyward-Bey. Ford expected out. I'm not sure how much work he'll get after missing time with the foot and possibly not being 100 percent. But he'd be a reasonable flex play.

the cheese (greenbay)

Does Starks play or is Grant viable

Stephania Bell
  (11:15 AM)

Starks not expected to play. He hasn't tested the ankle since Tuesday when it did not go well and there's nothing positive there. Grant probably gets the start and Saine likely also still out with a concussion.

Keith (Chicago)

Thoughts on Big Ben, I have A Brown and need a big day from him on Monday...sorry Niners.

Stephania Bell
  (11:18 AM)

Keith: I think this is the one time I'm more concerned about Ben...but still can't write him off. He's just shown too many times that he can play when it defies all logic. That said, he's in a boot still, they're trying to fashion a special shoe. He would likely have some trouble stepping into that front foot (meaning more likely to throw passes that could be intercepted) and won't be as mobile. THe primary issue for the team will be whether he can move enough to protect himself.

Jenna Haze (Phoenix)

Hasselback gonna play this weekend?

Stephania Bell
  (11:20 AM)

Jenna: Surprisingly, it appears that way. last Sunday he felt a "pop" in his calf. He couldn't practice until Thursday, but then apparently did enough to make them think he'll be there. It's hard to have full confidence b/c I'm not sure he can last an entire game, but it looks like he'll start it.

Ryan (MN)

Any word on Maclin? Trying to figure out if I should play him over Blount. TB is going to get blown out.

Stephania Bell
  (11:22 AM)

Ryan: Understand the dilemma, but I'd have a hard time starting a guy who has been out multiple weeks, then couldn't finish the last game he started (and only had one catch before he elft). If Maclin makes it all the way through without issue, great - and you may leave some points on the bench, but I'd go with Blount.

grendel (boston)

love all your advice!! how is kevin smith progressing this week? i'd love to start him over gore in my ppr league...ty for all you do!!

Stephania Bell
  (11:24 AM)

grendel: smith returned to a limited practice yesterday after just working on the side with the rehab staff Weds. Detroit seems encouraged but it's not like the injury is completely behind him. The Lions hope to have him Sunday, but he will more than likely share with Maurice Morris. Smith may be able to do a lot with a little (as in plenty of yards with limited carries) but keep in mind that there's a decent chance he shares, has a setback or both.

Scott (KY)

How about Kyle Orton haven't heard much if he starts and play well will help my WR Bowe and I am hurting already since I lost Jennings?

Stephania Bell
  (11:25 AM)

Scott: He's been practicing both days this week, just taking fewer reps to protect the finger. Making throws not a problem but taking snaps still is. That will be an issue which may force more shotgun formations. But right now the Chiefs plan to have him as their starter.

Zito (Disney)

I benched Julio Jones for both Marshall and Spiller (in WR spot). Is Matt Moore starting?

Stephania Bell
  (11:27 AM)

Zito: Ouch. Sorry. Moore is on the right track., WIth concussions there's a progression that happens daily and so far he's doing well. If they increase his activity today and there's no setback between now and Sunday, expect he starts.

CJ (Michigan)

Who's starting in 'Zona -- Kolb or Helter Skelton?!

Tim (san diego) [via mobile]

Is hillis okay?

Stephania Bell
  (11:30 AM)

CJ: Looks like it will be Skelton.Tim: If by ok, you mean expected to play, then yes. And he's not on the injury report for the first time in, well, forever. But he was limited by the bad hip last week and we haven't seen a good game in, well, forever. So I wouldn't hold my breath. But yes, he's expected to start and the opportunity is there for him to show he was more than a one year wonder.

Colin (KY) [via mobile]

ANY word on McFadden? I'm hurting at my RB2 with him out and I'm in my first week of my championship matchup! If he doesn't play do you like Spiller, Grant, or Barber? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:32 AM)

Colin: He's not going to play. Still not practicing, clearly his foot not healing the way they hoped. Don't really like Spiller. Can't trust Barber. I lean towards Grant, if for no other reason than he will be the one getting the bulk of the work. DId ok last week.

tj (philly)

G'day Steffi Bad News!!!I have Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory Ingram gonna play this week?? My only other option is JStew as my RB2..HELP!!!! I'll buy you a steak.

Stephania Bell
  (11:33 AM)

tj: So you've heard I like steak. Ingram is not expected to play. Turf toe still an issue and hasn't practiced. So another opportunity for Ivory.

Rich (NY)

Any update to the injury to Laurent Robinson? Would you play him over Mike Williams (TB) and Crabtree?

Stephania Bell
  (11:34 AM)

Rich: They're holding him back in practice to allow his shoulder some extra recovery time. But as he showed last week he's more than capable of handling the load. I play him over both of your other options.

Dino (Montreal)

How do you feel about Nate Washington? He gutted it out last week and performed masterfully. Do you think he can make it this week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:38 AM)

Dino: I'm just wondering if he can pull that off twice. With another injury in the mix. Besides the ankle he was dealing with back spasms in the game and has been trying to address both this week. He hasn't practiced yet but Tennessee seemed confident he'd be out there Friday (no word yet). Of course last Friday he didn't practice either and Sunday was impressive. But he was mostly impressive with Locker in the game. Makes me wonder what to really expect this week, esp if Hasselbeck plays.

Ryan (Trenton, NJ)

Any update on P. Willis? Need another solid outing from the SF DEF.

Stephania Bell
  (11:40 AM)

Ryan: It's so early that we won't get a hint from the Niners just yet. Late last week they made it sound as if he'd return so my inclination is that he will. Of course, it would be nice to see him out doing some work beforehand to get a better clue. We should have a better idea Saturday.

Joe (Princeton)

Michael Vick and his injured ribs going against the jets.....what do you think? sit him for Grossman?

Stephania Bell
  (11:42 AM)

Hi Joe: How's one of my favorite towns? I'm not sure I could sit Vick for Grossman, even if I don't fully trust Vick. Vick is not out of the woods with the ribs - and we saw him getting worked on during the game last week - but another week's time means he's further along. So I would still roll with Vick.

Robert (Austin)

Any update on Forte? Do you think he comes back next week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:44 AM)

Robert: Too soon to say. Until he's actually doing something besides getting treatment, there's no gauge as to how he's prgoressing towards football.

Patrick (NJ)

Brady is listed as probable for "non-injury reasons." Do I pickup a backup QB for this week just in case or is this nothing to worry about?

Stephania Bell
  (11:44 AM)

Patrick: It's nothing. Trust me -this game is huge.

BoomBoom (Denver)

With Gore a bit hurt I'm not sure what to do in my flex spot (allows QB). Who would you play - Tarvaris Jackson or Frank Gore?

Stephania Bell
  (11:48 AM)

BoomBoom: I'd play Gore. He's not on the injury report, despite Harbaugh referencing how banged up he is. He's practicing fully and they want/need to win. He will play. It may be a tough matchup but nonetheless expect he plays and gets the majority of the work.

Josh (DC)

Bradford still hobbled enough to make Cinci DST a better play than Pit DST this week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:48 AM)

Josh: Yes

Shaun (South Russell, Ohio)

Benson listed as questionable? Is there a chance he misses the game?

Stephania Bell
  (11:49 AM)

Shaun: Don't think so. The pattern for a few weeks has been to limit him in practice, mostly though b/c of a foot issue. This week he's listed because of his back, but no one in Cinci seems to be waving major red flags. Especially if he practices today, I wouldn't worry about it.

BJ (Indiana)

Will Ray Lewis be back? Is that enough to start the Ravens over the Texans?

Stephania Bell
  (11:50 AM)

BJ: Yes, it appears this will be the week where Ray Lewis returns. Inspiration for the team. Like their D in a Sunday night game.

Brian (VA)

Hello again Stephania. Terrible start to my fantasy playoffs, playing against Roddy White and Matt Bryant. Can I count on Mario Manningham this week (knee OR hands), considering my other options are Malcom Floyd and Eric Decker?

Stephania Bell
  (11:52 AM)

Brian: haha. Can't help with the hands portion. But Manningham is not on the injury report (which I don't quite take to mean that his knee is miraculously fully healed, just that it's not an issue this week). Presume he starts - and contributes.

Jon (OH)

Is Dallas Clark playable this weekend? (Lost F. Davis)

Stephania Bell
  (11:54 AM)

Jon: Ugh. Hard to know right now as he's been missing practice with a neck issue (after suffering a burner in Week 14). No real clue from the Colts yet as to whether he plays, but given their situation, would you really put him out on the field?

Mike (Cleveland)

What is the word on Ahmad Bradshaw? And if you had to choose between him or Frank Gore this weekend, do you have a recommendation?

Stephania Bell
  (11:56 AM)

Mike: Bradshaw is being kept to the same routine of no practice early in the week. Expect he's back today. And expect he plays (hopefully no benching this time). Still, I lean towards Gore. Maybe a little biased. But since Bradshaw's return, we have one game with limited stats and another with limited playing time.

Dan (NYC)

Stephania--congrats on cashing in on your steak dinner with those weasels. Any news on Deion Branch? NE seems even more tight-lipped on this one than usual.

Stephania Bell
  (11:57 AM)

Dan: Why thank you. Branch is dealing with a groin injury. It explains the limitation in practice. But the fact he's been out on the field every day suggests he'll play.

Pokey (ny)

Fantasy finals this week!.. I have $1 left. Would you use it on Grossman or hope BIG BEN plays and pick up Batch as insurance instead?

Stephania Bell
  (12:00 PM)

Pokey: I'd do the latter - but understand, I think right now it's 50-50 as to whether Big Ben plays. You definiely need Batch insurance if you plan to roll the dice with Ben.

Stephania Bell
  (12:00 PM)

And on that note, time for me to move along. Hope you all have a great weekend and good luck in your fantasy playoffs!!!