Here are a few snippets from yesterday's 4th & Long column for Sporting News' Fantasy Source, followed by other updates from around the league:
Jay Cutler (neck, knee) appears set to play in the crucial divisional matchup with Green Bay. That's great news for Brandon Marshall owners, and Cutler's presence will open the running lanes up a bit more for Matt Forte. Few fantasy squads are relying on Cutler's direct contributions, but there's no denying his value to the players around him.
The loss of Fred Jackson (knee) for the duration of the season should boost C.J. Spiller's value a bit, but in truth, Spiller has been the main man for a couple of weeks now, and the results haven't been quite as salty as we expected. Nevertheless, he remains a must-start against the Seahawks when the teams clash in Toronto this weekend.
I've managed to make the second round of the playoffs in one league despite selecting Darren McFadden with my second draft pick. Run-DMC's fragility has once again spoiled his season, but he wasn't even that effective when he was operating at 100 percent. Still, like Charlie Brown lining up to kick a football held by Lucy, I'm inserting McFadden into my starting lineup in hopes that he'll redeem himself against the soft Chiefs run defense. Coach Dennis Allen has said that the tailback's ankle is okay, and he'll be "a full go" Sunday. Please, Lucy; don't yank that ball away!
Those who jumped on David Wilson earlier this week after his masterful 327-all-purpose-yards breakout game should be tracking Ahmad Bradshaw's status very closely. Current speculation is that Bradshaw (knee) may not even make the trip to Atlanta, which would open the door to a healthy workload for the electrifying rookie. However, if the veteran toughs it out (as he's been known to do throughout his career), Wilson's starting value will be significantly diminished.[UPDATE: Bradshaw has subsequently been ruled out. Start Wilson with confidence.]
Some things used to make sense to me. For instance, as a young Ladd I answered affirmatively to the iconic question "Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?" Today, I have no clue what that means. I'm similarly befuddled that Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) is still owned in more than 90 percent of fantasy leagues. You can't even see a little silhouetto of the man, so what exactly are you waiting for? MJD is already disgruntled over his contract status, so why would he risk further injury by returning to a 2-11 team?
I'm not sure why Cecil Shorts would rush back from his concussion, either, especially after seeing how repeated blows to the head landed teammate Laurent Robinson on IR just a few weeks ago. Even if he plays, Shorts is a risky start against a Dolphins pass defense that has held up well against the likes of Tom Brady and Colin Kaepernick in recent weeks. Shorts won't be 100 percent, while Chad Henne has cooled off significantly since his Week 11 outburst.
All signs point to Dez Bryant risking permanent digit disfigurement and playing Sunday against the Steelers. There's something inherently risky about starting a wide receiver with a broken finger, but with CB Ike Taylor (ankle) out, Bryant's prospects for continued success are heightened.
I sure thought Greg Jennings (groin) would contribute more than he did last week. Then again, I've been expecting more from Aaron Rodgers lately, too. Jordy Nelson (hamstring) is all but certain to miss another week [UPDATE: Nelson has been ruled out for Week 15], so Jennings will get another chance to reward his patient owners against a reeling Bears defense. Whether or not you start him all comes down to your available alternatives. Jennings is the ultimate high-risk, high-reward prospect.
If Dwayne Bowe (ribs) doesn't play again this season, will anybody notice?
Don't be surprised if Sidney Rice misses the contest in Canada, eh? Though he has shed his walking boot, his foot has kept him out of practice all week and he'll likely be a game-time decision. [UPDATE: Rice now appears to be on track to play. But he comes with some risk.]
Danny Amendola (heel, foot) will also be an 11th-hour call. Only PPR-leaguers should consider him if he suits up for the Vikings game. Otherwise, the risk-reward ratio skews negative. [UPDATE: Amendola now listed as probable for Sunday's contest.]
A balky knee has Roddy White in question for Sunday's matchup with the Giants. You know you have to play him if he is active, but there's an outside chance the injury won't subside in time. [UPDATE: Roddy missed Friday's practice, increasing his chances of missing the first game of his career.]
If Jared Cook (shoulder) or Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) is your tight end, you need to make alternative arrangements. With Bowe out and no other viable weapon in the Chiefs' receiving corps, Tony Moeaki is a free agent sleeper to consider.
Other Saturday updates:
Jonathan Stewart (ankle), Chris Ivory (hamstring), Davone Bess (back) and Rob Gronkowski (arm) will not play in Week 15.
Ronnie Brown (hamstring) is doubtful, giving a slight boost to Ryan Mathews' mediocre value this week.
Hakeem Nicks (knee) is now listed as probable.
About the author
Ladd Biro was named 2010 "Football Writer of the Year" by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Ladd's nationally syndicated columns have appeared in more than 20 publications -- including the Dallas Morning News, San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Sun-Times and Sporting News magazine -- since 2003. During the NFL season, he can be heard nationwide on Sporting News Radio as host of the weekly "Fantasy Files" program, dispensing his unique blend of wit and wisdom. Since 2009, all his written fantasy content can be found on the Fantasy Fools blog.