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December 20, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Injuries with Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (3:03 PM)

Happy TUesday everyone. Glad to see some of you are still surviving your fantasy playoffs right down to the wire. And yes, there are always injury concerns. So let's get to 'em.

Jake (Snakesville)

Stephania, what are your thought on Andre Johnson? Worth playing in the championship over M. Austin or L. Robinson?

Stephania Bell
  (3:05 PM)

Sorry Jake: If championship is this week, he's already ruled out...I think he might make an appearance next week but too soon to say. And even then, I'd want to know what the options were (like right now I'd play Robinson over him) b/c I'm not sure they allow him to play an entire game. They are going to be ultra-conservative heading into playoffs.

Zito (Disney)

Run DMC? Honestly, he's out this week?

Stephania Bell
  (3:08 PM)

Zito: Have to believe that's likely. Have not heard anything official yet. But I wouldn't trust even if he was reportedly playing. He is not in football shape. No way he can play a full game. I'm not convinced he'll be back - and if he is - I think they ease him back into a workload.

Chandler (Tulsa)

We all saw Helu getting his hamstring looked at last you have any more info or was it just some random tightness? Thanks and how 'bout them Niners!

Stephania Bell
  (3:10 PM)

Chandler: He was getting stretched out on the sidelines for all to see. He downplayed it later saying he was just banged up a bit. Sounds like he has a toe issue and a knee issue that have bothered him and it was a problem Sunday. Definitely worth monitoring during the week but no hint as of now that he doesn't play.

Brad (Phoenix, AZ)

Hey Stephania...My wife is a DPT and everytime I watch an ESPN show and you come on, she actually watches for a little bit. So thank you for that!!!! Any worry about Steve Johnson?

Stephania Bell
  (3:13 PM)

Brad: Please tell her hello - and thank you! A little worry about SJohnson. Aggravated the groin injury that has nagged at him during much of the season. He says he wanted to go back in the game but the team held him out. He did not practice today. Seems like he will play through (as he has done in the past) but want to see how he looks during the week in practice to see how he's progressing.

Chooch (NM)

hi stephania, heard felix jones missed practice today. then i heard something about a tight hamstring and that he missed part of last week's game with cramps. how much of this is precaution and is there a real injury here? thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:15 PM)

Chooch: True. Was not in practice today. Sense from beat writers right now is that this was precaution (following the tightening up of the hammy). After losing Murray, they really do not want to lose Jones, who we already know has had shoulder and ankle injuries this year. So they probably will take it easy on him during the week in the hope it pays off for Saturday.

Brett (Australia)

Is A.J Green's shoulder injury serious? How much should I expect it to limit him this wknd vs the Cards?

Stephania Bell
  (3:18 PM)

Brett: It's serious in the sense that he has a Grade 3 separation, or commplete tear of the ligaments. But he still might be able to play. Will come down to pain, how functional his arm is. One of the hardest things after this injury is getting your arm over your head. If he can raise it enough to catch passes, he'll play. Dealt with a similar injury to the opposite shoulder in college and says he can play. So...we'll see.

Jason (Boston)

A big thank you to your 49ers!!!!! Will Big Ben or Greg Jennings play during the rest of the regular season?

Stephania Bell
  (3:20 PM)

Jason: Finally some Niners love! I think Ben probably plays, assuming no downward trend of his ankle this week, given the fact they lost last night. At least I think he plays through the first half or three-quarters vs the Rams. I don't think Jennings will be back before playoffs.

Michael Scarn (Scranton)

Is Miles Austin fully healthy and a safe play now?

Stephania Bell
  (3:21 PM)

Michael: No way to say for sure. Look at how some of these guys play a few weeks before something happens. But getting through an entire game without a setback gives more confidence than we had last week and each week without a problem increases the confidence. Put it this way. If I had him in my league, I'd start him.

Bill (Atlanta)

If there any chance Forte comes back now that the bears are all but out of playoff contention, and if not is his back up Bell the guy there now?

Stephania Bell
  (3:24 PM)

Bill: Forte even said he really would only have his sights set on the playoffs. Don't think he'll be back in regular season, especially if not meaningful.

Rick (Philly)

You think Peterson gets more touches this week than last, or is he still hurt, or are they just in shut-down mode now?

Stephania Bell
  (3:26 PM)

Rick: Think it depends how the week goes. He wanted more but he also wasn't quite up to himself. If he shows he's fine in practice, I think they'll let the leash out some more, but might not yet give him the traditional workload. Some may depend on how he looks like he's running in the game, so may not be that easy to predict.

Dan (Fantasy Finalsville)

In the finals going againast a tough opponent. So I need to actually ask a question about one of his players... What's the dealio with Mcgahee, any chance he might not play? Thanks for all the help this year Steph!

Stephania Bell
  (3:29 PM)

Dan: Well, there's always a chance. But I'd say it's looking like he'll play. McGahee has played through just about everything this year and only missed a week after hand surgery. Coach Fox never really acknowledged this latest hamstring as an "injury" and seemed to downplay it. He was at practice today (no word yet if limited) but either way. the fact he was out there early this week is a strong sign, as long as there's no setback.

Mark (pa)

What is the offical rule on QB fumbles when the center makes a bad snap

Stephania Bell
  (3:31 PM)

Mark - and the other many, many of you asking: I do not know. But I want you to know that I have sent a question to the folks that do and hope to get an answer before we are done here.

Michael (Pittsburgh)

Is Kevin Smith ok with his ankle issues? He played in the first half but not much after that. Would you play him or Khalil Bell?

Stephania Bell
  (3:35 PM)

Michael: If by OK you mean has a chance to be active, then yes, it would seem so. But if you saw him you probably know he's not at full strength and his touches evaporated as game went on (of course they weren't running as much). I'd go with Bell at this point - and not just because he's my namesake. I just don't know what to expect from Smith. Could go either way.

Diana (pa)

Will the Drew Brees fumble stand. clearly it was the centers fault

Stephania Bell
  (3:36 PM)

Diana: Sorry to say but by the official NFL scoring, apparently Brees is charged with it. So it stands as his fumble. Boo. Don't kill the messenger.

Debi (NYC)

Hey Stephania--what's up with Shonn Greene's finger? Does it prevent him from playing? Thank you!

Stephania Bell
  (3:38 PM)

Debi: He tore a tendon in his pinky finger. It won't keep him from playing since he was able to finish the game with it this past week. So he should be fine.

Geoff (DC)

Is Maclin a full go or still limited? Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (3:42 PM)

Geoff: He came through the game with no apparent setback. And he did last through the entire game so that's a good sign. I'm not necessarily convinced it's entirely behind him. We'll see what they do with him in practice. But I imagine he plays going forward (of course assuming nothing goes backwards, always a possibility).

Mike (Louisville)

What can we expect from Chris Johnson's ankle? is Harper worth picking up as a handcuff?

Stephania Bell
  (3:44 PM)

Mike: No one in Tennessee seems too concerned. Said his ankle was sore after the game but so far, no hint he won't play. I'd grab the handcuff if you can, just in case. Nothing to lose at this point. But right now sounds like you won't need him.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Stephania, congrats on your Niners win over the Steelers. Their victory enabled me to win an office pool here at work. Will Patrick Willis be back for them next game?

Stephania Bell
  (3:45 PM)

Al: Why thank you. Glad it was a win-win for me and you. Sounds like Willis is doing much better and sounds like he thinks he will be back to play against Seattle. We will need him in that game.

Casey (Minneapolis)

Hey Stephania, With Turner's groin and him slowing down towards the end of the year, what would you think about starting Spiller in the championship rather than Turner? I'm in the championship for the first time ever!!!!

Stephania Bell
  (3:49 PM)

Casey: Wow - congrats - and this is a tough call. I'm not usually in favor of benching a guy who's at the top tier of his position...but he hasn't been able to play like that guy much lately and the groin seems to at least be a part of that. Week 11 was last great game. Still, he has a longer rest than most heading into this week. I still think I go with Turner, even though I might regret it...

AA (Joliet)

MJD...concerned about that anle?

Stephania Bell
  (3:50 PM)

AA: No. They had some early work after Thurs night game. After all the work he's given them this year, believe they're saving him up for the game. Expect he plays.

Chip (NC)

Not an injury question, but need your NFC West expertise. I've been riding the Houston D/ST all year but picked up Seattle a couple of weeks ago. How do you see the SF v Sea game playing out. Seattle D is so hot, but SF does not make many mistakes! Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:53 PM)

Chip: Seattle always presents a problem for SF. Always. And I worry after they come off a late game, very short week. But they know that a bye in the playoffs is at stake with New Orleans staying hot. So I think they get the need to stay focused and if anyone can help them do that, it's Harbaugh. Think the defense is still rock solid, esp if Willis back and hopefully offense does enough to eek it out.

Dave (Finals)

Any word on Ballard?

Stephania Bell
  (3:54 PM)

Dave: I think it could be it for him. Coughlin said expected to miss time. Well, there are only 2 weeks left and it's a sprained PCL. NOt his first time either. So 2 weeks would be pretty quick. Almost certain to miss this week, think high chance next week too.

Jamie (ATL)

Any concern for DMC for NEXT year (ala Gates)? We all know he is made of glass, but will this foot thing recur?

Stephania Bell
  (3:55 PM)

Jamie: At this point it's a question of making sure it gets all the way better. Without him returning yet, we have no evidence that it's fully recovered. I think the offseason will be enough to allow him to recover, presuming nothing makes it worse. But he does need to get better first.

JT (Ohio)

No love for Wade Phillips questions?

Stephania Bell
  (3:57 PM)

JT: Just don't know the answer.

Laff (Chicago)

Hi Steph,What kind of impact to do you think Fred Jackson's injury will have on him for next year? I'm thinking about keeping him.THanks

Stephania Bell
  (3:58 PM)

Laff: He should have plenty of time to recover by next year. This is one where if it happened in Week 2, I'd worry about how he looked when he tried to come back later in the season. But with the whole offseason, I presume if fracture heals well, he should be fine.

Stephania Bell
  (4:02 PM)

Tommy in the war room: thanks for the messages and Pierce in Brooklyn, don't know who will play TE for Giants b/c Beckum and Pascoe both have some injuries. To everyone else: Good Luck in Week 16!!! Don't forget to set all lineups early.