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December 27, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Injuries with Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (3:04 PM)

Ah...I can see by the dwindling number in the chat room that most fantasy football playoffs are now behind us. But some of you - diehards that you are - are in Week 17 matchups. And you might have the toughest challenge since there is more than just injury to factor into the equation. Many teams may field altered rosters as they either save up for the playoffs or use this week to scout younger talent. Ugh. I feel for you.

George (livonia, MI)

Based upon the severity of Felix Jones' hamstring injury, what is the probability (expressed as a percentage) that Jones can play the entire game against the Eagles? thanks

Stephania Bell
  (3:06 PM)

George: I would love to be able to be that precise - but even if I were the one taking care of him (and I'm not, for the record), I wouldn't be able to tell you that. Here's the assessment: The fact he was able to get the majority of last week's game off was great for him. If we presume he increases his work this week and has no setbacks, I expect the Cowboys will be looking to lean on him for the bulk of the game (with some switch outs for Morris), but no one will know how his hamstring will hold up until he tests it. So do I think he plays the whole game? Yes, assuming no setback. Can he? No way to know.

Stephania Bell
  (3:09 PM)

And I also see from George's question - that it was for the Eagles game. So apparently the season has taken a toll on me as well. But consider that I provided the answer for this week's game against the Giants.

LeAnne (Washington)

Stephania, what's the latest on Big Ben? Will he start this weekend?

Ryan (Texas)

Whats the latest on Roy Helu?

Stephania Bell
  (3:11 PM)

Ryan: Well, we now know that it was the pain he was having during pregame warmups while trying to push off with the toe that kept him out of the lineup. With Royster doing so well, would say unless Helu shows he can practice without issue we could see ROyster get another start.

jeff (cleveland)

will mccoy be a go on sunday or are they gonna play it safe and sit him?

Stephania Bell
  (3:13 PM)

Jeff: I think if McCoy's ankle is fine, he will play. He made it sound like a big question but then Andy Reid made it sound like it wasn't. I think he plays - and they clearly want to win, regardless of their status, so I imagine he plays a decent amount.

john (pendleton)

Since you have welker on your fantasy team..Do you think Brady and him play this week? or will they sit..

Stephania Bell
  (3:15 PM)

John: Well, I did, but my season is over. Sigh. But I do absolutely think they play. At stake still is home field advantage through playoffs which they would love to have. And NE typically plays starters until they're winning by 50.

Ryan T (San Antonio)

Hello Stephania, thank you for all the advice this season. Hope you had a good Christmas. With the eagles being eliminated what are should we be worried about McCoy for wk 17? Also, do you think DET sits Kevin Smith with his bum ankle??

Stephania Bell
  (3:18 PM)

Ryan: Thank you for your nice note. It was a lovely holiday - hope yours was too. We talked McCoy. But I think Smith's status is a lot less predictable. He essentially didn't do much in the second half as Maurice Morris got the bulk of the work. Then they signed Joique Bell. Gotta believe that means they're saving Smith for the postseason.

Sarah (Milwaukee, WI)

Do I start Kevin Smith this week or Peyton Hillis? I was one of those unfortunate AP owners that does not have his backup...

Stephania Bell
  (3:20 PM)

Sarah: Bummer. Are you sure you can't still get him? Lot of leagues where Gerhart was available still. But given your two choices, I go with Hillis. Based on my answer to last question and I think Hillis wants to finish strong after a less than stellar season marred by injury. May be an audtion for other teams so he has something to play for here.

Reid (Knoxville)

Is Andre Johnson going to play this week and if yes, would you start him?

Stephania Bell
  (3:22 PM)

Reid: I believe he does. He wanted some gametime before playoffs and was back in practice Monday paving the way for playing. Long as there are no surprises between now and then, he will play. Will it be all game? Probably not. So you don't know what you get. But it depends on my choices. So many teams resting players for playoffs that a half even of Andre Johnson may be worthwhile.

John (Syracuse)

afternoon stephania! Is CJ0K good to go on sun? Also out of CJ0k,Kahlil Bell,and Miles Austin who do i play in my flex in a PPR league its for the championship please help!

Stephania Bell
  (3:26 PM)

John: I believe he'll play - but will he be full strength? Not sure. He didn't look awesome Saturday but then he hasn't quite often this year. I think the ankle is still an issue - but should get better as the week goes on. The Titans still have a wild card scenario so they want to win. I probably play him - the Bears are out of it (although Bell will still try to run well, but I'm not counting on him) and Dallas receiving game may be impacted by Romo injury...so I guess I go with Johnson and hope he's better than he's been.

Jason (San Diego)

I know in today's podcast you guys said NO will be playing their guys to try and win and beat the niners but I'm still a bit worried...should I be at all concerned about Brees sitting?

Stephania Bell
  (3:27 PM)

Jason: I think they may not play the entire game -but I think they play to win. SO if I had Brees, I'd be starting him b/c I think he's in it for long enough to have a scoring impact, which is all you need.

Jeremy (Washington)

Hi Stephania...lots of injuries to my team (AP & Jennings). I'll be starting Khalil Bell and Gerhart but was wondering if I have anything to worry about Barber coming back to steal carries from Bell. Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:29 PM)

Jeremy: If anything, Barber is moving down while Bell is moving up. He won't be a threat to him this weekend.

james (middletown)

will ballard be able to play this week.Thank you for all of the help this year

Stephania Bell
  (3:29 PM)

James: You're welcome! I don't think Ballard will be back. Still having trouble running so don't expect he'll be ready to play by the weekend.

Chandler (Tulsa)

How healthy do you think Gore is right now? And can we expect P-Willy back for our Niners this week or will they wait until the playoffs? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:31 PM)

Chandler: Think Gore is in pretty good shape. They need to win this week to secure that first round bye so expect him to get some good playing time. And yes, I do expect Willis back this week. At least it looks that way right now.

Kevin (Albany)

I've got Finley and thinking the Packers hardly play (argh KC!). Anyway which TE should I roll with if not Finley: Fasano (is he back?), Cook, Dixon, Shockey, or Chandler? Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (3:35 PM)

Kevin: Think you're right on Packers saving guys. Fasano hasn' been cleared as far as I know to return to practice but that could happen soon - and if it does, then he'll play. Otherwise I probably go with Cook or Chandler.

jim (bayside)

Hi Stephania-V.Jax is annoying without the groin injusry-cut him loose for Denarius Moore-thanks and have a great New Year.

Stephania Bell
  (3:36 PM)

Jim: Sounds like you've already made your decision...but it's not a bad one. VJax is hurt, not sure if we see him this week. Moore coming off a way better game than his first game back. Like Moore trending up in a game Oakland needs to win.

Sarah (Milwaukee)

Following up from previous question, no Gerhart is not available. What are your thoughts about Brandon Saine over Peyton Hillis?

Stephania Bell
  (3:37 PM)

Still like Hillis over an unknown mix in GB.

Tom (Pitt)

Stephania, How do you think AJ Green does this week with injury still bothering him/ how did he look on tape last week? Start him over Marshall? Merry Holiday.

Stephania Bell
  (3:40 PM)

Tom: Thanks and same to you. I know he didn't have a lot of catches - but he did have a really impressive one in double coverage (although his teammate Jerome Simpson stole all the highlight thunder) so I don't really think it can all be blamed on the injury. Marshall had an impressive outing though too. But he might face Revis this week so I probably go Green.

Scott (Western Massachusetts)

Was McGahee injured last week? How would you advise me to choose among McGahee, K Smith, and Helu -- both the latter out week 17? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:41 PM)

Scott: No - and he'll play this week. Of the 3, he's the guy I'd go with for reasons I addressed earlier.

Kelly (Atlanta)

I love my hometown hero Gonzales, but do I start him or Hernandez this week? Both of them did very poorly Week 16.

Stephania Bell
  (3:45 PM)

Kelly: I probably stick with Gonzalez. Tihnk Gronkowski remains more of the reception guy for NE, although clearly when he's the focus fo the defense, Hernandez gives them an amazing option. But Gonzalez to me is more consistently targeted.

Wayne (Pittsburgh)

Do you think Big Ben plays this week? Many conflicting reports and as a Steelers fan I'd rather us rest him. Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (3:47 PM)

Wayne: I think the conflict is real. Not sure they've decided how they will play this one and it may depend, in part, on how he is as week progresses. I do think he plays, unless he's reallys truggling to move, but they have reason to try to win.

Andy (Chicago)

any word on Run DMC? If he plays would he be worth starting over a guy like Helu or Benson?

Stephania Bell
  (3:49 PM)

Andy: I'd be surprised if he does although the Raiders seem to be hinting at the possibility. But honestly, even if he does, it's hard to imagine that he's doing much. Could only imagine that he would play a teeny amount. just not seeing it.

jason (chicago)

you think chris ivory gets the most touches for NO? With Ingram out and hoping they rest the other 2?

Stephania Bell
  (3:50 PM)

Jason: Ivory looked really good last night. But I don't get the sense anyone's resting. Think everyone touches the ball so how it shakes out is anyone's guess.

Peter (Texas)

Hey Stephania...now that AP is on IR I would like to drop him but can't (he's still on the undroppable list)...can you send something along to find out about getting him removed from it before tonight's waiver claims? Thanks for all you do.

Stephania Bell
  (3:50 PM)

Peter: I know nothing about this but promise to ask. And thank you...

Tim (Seattle)

Dynasty question: Wes Welker has been as studly as ever since coming back from an ACL injury. Will Charles and AP be their old selves next year?

Stephania Bell
  (3:52 PM)

Tim: He has been - but really he has been far better this year. And typically there is this 2nd year phenomenon post-injury that happens. So Charles is way ahead of AP and had a less complicated injury. Charles has a better chance, I believe, in being back to his old self by next season. AP can get back but it will probably take some extra time.

Mark R. (Cincy)

Hello Stephania, love your advice. Do you think Michael Turner plays a full game? Thanks for all your help this year.

Stephania Bell
  (3:53 PM)

Mark: Not convinced. And I'm not convinced he's really fine. Wonder how much the groin is an issue. No one's saying it is...but he hasn't looked quite the same.

Natw (NJ)

In light of being eliominated, wIll the Chargers play it safe this weekend with Gates? Really no reason to risk furthur issues with his foot

Stephania Bell
  (3:56 PM)

Don't see Gates sitting the whole game. I could see that if the game gets out of hand maybe they use him less -but still playing for pride and if he's not doing significantly worse in that particular game, then that one game won't make a huge difference as far as his overall foot health.

Adam (San Antonio)

What are your thoughts about Isaac Redman or Kendall Hunter playing this week? If you are in a bind, would you start one of these?

Stephania Bell
  (3:57 PM)

Adam: I'd be reluctant to start either one unless at flex and if desperate. See them as potentially coming in...but when? How much can you really count on them?

Stephania Bell
  (3:58 PM)

OK gang - I am signing off. Longer thoughts on Adrian Peterson's knee injury in today's blog which should post shortly. Best of luck in Week 17!! And there will be a final football season chat on Friday at 11 a.m. Hope to see you there!