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Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) questionable, RB Reggie Bush (ankle) doubtful

Friday, October 24, 2014, 11:31am

Lions.com - [Full Article]

All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson will truly be a game-time decision for the Detroit Lions in Sunday’s game vs. Atlanta at Wembley Stadium.

Running back Reggie Bush, however, isn’t likely to play.

Bush, who practiced in limited fashion on Wednesday, but sat out Thursday and Friday because of a sore ankle, is listed as doubtful to play on Friday’s injury report.

Fantasy Impact:

If Johnson plays, owners are obligated to start him against a bad Falcons pass defense. We'll know for sure if he's active around 8:00 a.m. Eastern on Sunday morning, so owners should set their alarm clocks. As for Bush, the doubtful tag means that he's very likely out for Week 8. That means Theo Riddick (hamstring, probable) will be a Sneaky Start in a great matchup against Atlanta. With Bush sidelined against Minnesota, he had eight touches for 81 yards and a TD in the first half of the Minnesota game (before injuring his hamstring). Joique Bell is also a top 12 play with the Lions' other primary rusher sidelined.

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Colts Beat: Discussing the defense

Friday, October 24, 2014, 10:09am

ESPN - [Full Article]

Colts beat writer Mike Wells on the team's surprising defensive prowess: I didn’t think this defense had a chance once linebacker Robert Mathis, last season’s sack leader, was lost for the season with a torn Achilles. The unit appeared to be headed for a rough season after it had only one sack over the first two games. But defensive coordinator Greg Manusky has taken a hold-nothing-back approach with his defense. With two cornerbacks who can blanket receivers, Greg Toler and Vontae Davis, Manusky is loading the box and constantly blitzing. That is why the Colts have 20 sacks and nine turnovers during their five-game winning streak. They have also held their past four opponents to 4-of-41 on third down. People might not have respected the Colts' defense before, but now teams have to take notice.

Fantasy Impact:

The unit has averaged 12.9 FP per game over the last five weeks, but has had the benefit of facing Chad Henne/Blake Bortles, Charlie Whitehurst, Ryan Fitzpatrick and an A.J. Green-less Bengals team. Starting with Week 12, the Colts defense has a pretty nice schedule to close the season.

Jets Beat: Expect '20 or 30' snaps for WR Percy Harvin

Friday, October 24, 2014, 9:41am

ESPN - [Full Article]

Jets beat writer Rich Cimini on the immediate impact of Percy Harvin: The Jets haven't revealed too much, as you'd expect, but I expect him to play a good chunk of the snaps on offense. Will he play 50-plus snaps? I doubt it, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's out there for 20 or 30. They will have a Percy package that will include his signature plays -- jet sweeps, bubble screens, etc. -- but I also think they will give him an opportunity to be a conventional wide receiver. This much we do know: He will return kickoffs and, possibly, punts. Harvin's arrival definitely adds intrigue to the season. Now we'll see if he's worth the hype. My gut tells me he won't make a significant impact. It's hard to integrate a new receiver into the offense without having had the benefit of training camp.

Fantasy Impact:

We're not expecting much from Harvin in his first game with the Jets, but there's the chance that they force-feed him 10 touches and he pops one for a touchdown.

Rams Beat: Tre Mason will be given 'every opportunity to develop a hot hand'

Friday, October 24, 2014, 9:36am

STL Today - [Full Article]

Most likely, Rams RB Tre Mason will be given every opportunity to develop a hot hand vs. the Chiefs after his eye-opening display against Seattle. He brings a speed element and a higher potential for the explosive play than Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham.

“(Mason) certainly played well last week,” OC Brian Schottenheimer said. “Popped a couple big runs. Some of it is that they haven’t seen him. Now teams get a better idea of what he’s about.

“I think there’s some things he needs to do, taking care of the football. Obviously that last play was a little scary, but wow, what a talented young man.”

Fantasy Impact:

This is our feeling too, despite Jeff Fisher's comments that Zac Stacy could see 25 carries this week. Mason showed more pop than either Stacy or Benny Cunningham, who now has a mild knee issue. Mason isn't a safe start, but he has upside in a so-so matchup against the Chiefs.

Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman making his case to be the starter

Friday, October 24, 2014, 9:25am

Denver Post - [Full Article]

Based on what Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman has done over the past four games — most notably his 109 yards on 20 carries Thursday — Denver coach John Fox may be hard-pressed to put Ball back in the starting lineup. Not only has Hillman been able to hang onto the football, he may just hang onto his job.

"You can see he's getting comfortable," Fox said. "The more you do it, the better you're going to get at it. And I think the more reps we give him and keep him on the field and kind of do the plays to his advantage which we're trying to do — he'll keep having success."

For the first time in his career Thursday, Hillman ran out the Broncos' tunnel — a tradition reserved for the team's starters. Based on what he's been doing, we may see a lot more of that of that to come.

Fantasy Impact:

Hillman has racked up 347 yards on 73 carries for a 4.75 YPC in the last four games. He looks quick, decisive and continues to run hard. Most importantly, he hasn't put the ball on the ground, which has been his issue in the past. Montee Ball wasn't exactly bad through the first three and a half games, but he had a couple of tough matchups and the line wasn't blocking very well at that point in the season. Our guess is that Hillman continues to run as the starter with Ball taking over the short yardage role currently occupied by Juwan Thompson. If Hillman's fumbling problems resurface, Ball could get another crack at the starting job this season.

Titans plan to stick with QB Zach Mettenberger

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 7:30pm

NFL.com - [Full Article]

Barring an injury to or a faceplant from rookie Zach Mettenberger, Jake Locker has likely started his last game for the Tennessee Titans.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt confirmed Thursday that Mettenberger will be under center Sunday versus the Houston Texans.

"We're going with Zach," Whisenhunt emphasized, "and we're going to stay with Zach."

Fantasy Impact:

Here's the scouting report on Mettenberger from NFL.com's Nolan Nawrocki: "Pure dropback, strong-armed thrower who will require patient, confidence-building play-calling and a clean pocket to function at a high level in the NFL. Has starter talent in a vertical, downfield passing attack if he can learn to take command of a huddle and continue progressing as a decision-maker." Mettenberger under center could be a good thing for Justin Hunter, who is the Titans' best deep threat. Conversely, Kendall Wright may not see as many short passes if Mettenberger insists on pushing the ball down the field.

Jets Beat: Don't expect much from WR Percy Harvin in Week 8

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 7:23pm

NJ.com - [Full Article]

Percy Harvin will get opportunities to be more than a slot receiver or gadget player with the Jets, who need a fast outside receiver to stretch the field deep, and prevent defenses from focusing too much on the rushing attack or receiver Eric Decker.

“Eventually, I’m sure he will be (more than a gadget player),” said wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal. “But the fine line is, he’s been here such a little (amount of) time. By overloading a player like this, you don’t want to take away his speed. So if he’s thinking too much in a game, if you overload him mentally, he won’t play fast. That’s the fine line right now. Does he have ability to be more than a gadget guy? Absolutely.”

That is the key word with Harvin, as he learns coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast offense – eventually. Mornhinweg said he is excited about Harvin’s potential in his offense, but seemed to downplay expectations about Harvin’s impact on Bills-Jets, while noting that the coaches and Harvin still have a few more days to determine just how (and how much) he will be involved in this week’s offensive game plan.

“He’s just getting himself sort of integrated right now, so we’ll see,” Mornhinweg said. “We’ll see exactly how he can integrate himself. He’s been here how many days? Six days. It’s been sort of a speed deal here for him (with learning the offense). He’s trying to get his feet on the floor, literally. We’re going to run our offense, and at some point integrate Percy. This is very, very early stages here."

Fantasy Impact:

This could be one of those situations where the Jets force-feed Harvin 10 touches and he breaks one for a touchdown, but it's more likely that he doesn't have a big impact offensively.

How the Colts plan to replace Reggie Wayne, if necessary

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 7:16pm

Indy Star - [Full Article]

Colts WRs Hakeem Nicks and Donte Moncrief have one thing in common: Both could take on greater roles if Reggie Wayne is out of the lineup.

"I think the ball is being spread around, and (Nicks') opportunities are going to come," offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. "The more (defenses) adjust to take away certain receivers, tight ends or whoever it may be, it's just a matter of time before a pro like Hakeem has an opportunity to capitalize on the right matchup."

Regarding Moncrief, Hamilton said coaches have already gained enough confidence to play him in key situations without fear of the moment being too big.

"He's ahead of schedule," Hamilton said. "He's a guy that we feel like at any given moment we can plug him in and he'll be ready to go out there and perform at the level that's expected."

Fantasy Impact:

There isn't a clear cut winner if Wayne is sidelined, but Moncrief did out-snap Nicks in Week 7, while Nicks has far more experience.

Thursday Night Football Inactives: Chargers vs. Broncos

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 7:10pm

Chargers
Jeremiah Attaochu OLB
Donald Brown RB
Brandon Flowers CB
Cordarro Law DE
Ryan Mathews RB
Manti Te'o ILB

 

Broncos
Montee Ball RB
Kapri Bibbs RB
Omar Bolden SS
Ben Garland G
Steven Johnson LB
Michael Schofield T
Mitch Unrein DT

Fantasy Impact:

For the Chargers, RB Branden Oliver will continue to receive a heavy workload with Mathews and Brown out. Ronnie Brown will also receive a few touches.

For the Broncos, RB Ronnie Hillman continues to fill in for an injured Ball. Juwan Thompson and C.J. Anderson will work behind him. Rookie WR Cody Latimer is active for the Broncos for the first time in a while, though we're not expecting much production from the rookie with the entire Denver receiving corps healthy and accounted for.

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm

Patriots QB Tom Brady (ankle) took full practice reps again Thursday. Brady should be fine to face the Bears.

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm

Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) took limited practice reps Thursday. Griffin is not expected to play on Monday night. Colt McCoy will get the start. He completed 11 of 12 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown in Week 7, though his numbers were inflated by a 70-yard catch and run by Pierre Garcon. HC Jay Gruden implied that Griffin may be back in Week 11.

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm

Titans QB Jake Locker (right hand) took limited practice reps again Thursday. Zach Mettenberger will get the start for the Titans. He has a strong arm, which may be good for deep threat Justin Hunter.

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm

Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (right thumb) took limited practice reps again Thursday. We’re expecting Mike Glennon to continue to start for the Bucs.

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm

Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) missed practice Thursday. No worries here. The Cowboys don’t play until Monday night, so Romo is just getting his usual rest.

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm

Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (ribs) took limited practice reps again Thursday. We’re expecting Bernard to play in a tough matchup against the Ravens. He may not find much room to run, but he racked up 19 catches for 150 yards and a TD in his three meetings with the Ravens.