Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 9:22am
For the first time since his injury Broncos TE Julius Thomas was in uniform for a game, but he did not play a snap in the Broncos' 24-17 victory. Following the game Broncos head coach John Fox said Thomas could have played if the Broncos needed him.
Monday, Fox was asked how the decision was made to put Thomas in uniform, rather than make him a gameday inactive, and then not play the league's leader in touchdown receptions in the game.
"Just like every week, we have 53 men on the roster and we have to pick 46 to be active for the game," Fox said. "You have to sign documents, there is all kind of paperwork. There are guys who work out before games to see how they look and how they feel. We picked him as one of the 46."
Against the Bills, tight end Jacob Tamme played with a rib injury he had suffered in the Broncos' win in Kansas City the week before. Tamme was clearly limited by the injury and played just nine snaps in the game after taking a big hit on a reception just before halftime that resulted in a fumble.
Thomas had spent more than 30 minutes stretching, jogging and running some short routes for backup quarterback Brock Osweiler before last week's game the story said. It went on to say that last week Thomas said the injury to the left ankle is "nothing like" his previous ankle troubles, and he said he has good and bad days. Even with the team running the ball more, the story points out they've missed Thomas in the passing game as teams are now focusing their attention on wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Even if Julius Thomas is active again this week, owners will now be left to wonder if he gets on the field.
Buoyed by the cries of panicked fantasy football owners, Denver's passing game came under the spotlight this week and head coach John Fox had to answer for the quarterback with 36 passing touchdowns. That is tied for the most in the NFL.
"Our passing game is fine, you never know we might put our foot on the gas and throw it 50 times," Fox said, via ESPN.com. "I can't really predict what's going to happen because a lot of it is based on what an opponent does. ...There is nothing wrong with our passing game, we've just run it a little bit more the past few weeks. Just like there was nothing wrong with our run game ... when people were blowing fuses on that."
Over the last four weeks, Peyton Manning's numbers have been slightly grounded while the Broncos answered previous critics and developed their running game into playoff form. Last week against a very good Buffalo Bills front, Denver got strong performance from both C.J. Anderson and Juwan Thompson, which resulted in three rushing touchdowns. Manning's streak of 51 straight games with a passing touchdown came to an end and he had two picks.
Thinking anything is wrong with the Broncos is wasted energy, according to the story. Consider the fact that defenses are simply daring Manning and the Broncos to run the football, and have eliminated many of their extra pass rushers to increase the number of defenders they can place in coverage. Everyone knows what Manning is capable of, which is why developing a ground game is paramount, the piece went on to say. If you were lucky enough to survive Week 14 playoffs with Manning as your QB, it's certainly something to think about, but you may not be able to live with yourself benching Manning this time of year. Denver plays at San Diego Week 15 then at Cincy Monday night of Week 16. We haven't heard the last of Manning this season.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 9:07am
The Dolphins have a nickel and dime passing game, an injury-decimated offensive line that is better suited to run block than pass protect, and a tailback in Lamar Miller who has one of the highest yards per carry averages (4.8 per attempt) in the NFL.
YET, the Dolphins, which have the seventh highest rushing average in the NFL, are consistent about abandoning the run game, even when it is working.
It happens each and every game the Dolphins don't have a lead going into the fourth quarter. The run game will be effective in the first half, like the 57 rushing yards the Dolphins produced on 13 first half carries against the Ravens. You know, the first half where the Dolphins owned a 10-7 lead and controlled time of possession.
Then the Dolphins will dump the rushing attack like it was a cheap date who farted at the dinner table.
The story goes on to point out the Dolphins gave Miller three carries in the second half of Sunday's 28-13 Ravens loss, which features Miami holding a third-quarter lead early. The Dolphins got the ball first in the third quarter and ran the ball zero times, it continued. On the second possession of the second half Miller's first carry gained 10 yards, and then his next two carries each produced 2-yard losses. From that point Miami was pass happy. The writer went on to say that it doesn't take much for the coaches to pull Miller from the game either, something fantasy owners are likely familiar with. The way the Dolphins use their backs is frustrating for Miller owners, especially when the once-cut and now-back Daniel Thomas remains an option. Based on all of this, Miller is a risky play this time of year, perhaps even in a good matchup.
Falcons WR Julio Jones finished Monday night's game with 11 catches, 259 yards and a touchdown before leaving with a hip injury late in the fourth quarter.
Jones took an awkward shot on a catch in the red zone and never returned. Jones tried to get the injury loose on the sideline, but the Falcons shut him down for the night even though they were driving for their final touchdown of a 43-37 loss.
Falcons coach Mike Smith said after the game that the initial diagnosis on Jones' injury was unclear. But he didn't sound too concerned, which is some good news to take from this until we can learn a little more. Jones has been on fire lately so this will be an anxious time for owners heading into the Week 15 playoffs. Jones has a home game vs. Pittsburgh. It's an early afternoon contest so if it comes down to a game-time call there will at least be time for adjustments. Harry Douglas only had two catches on MNF but did have a TD. He would make for a solid handcuff option.
Monday, December 8, 2014, 7:21pm
Roddy White (ankle) is active. The Falcons will likely fall behind in this one, but the Packers feature a good secondary playing at home, and there is also snow to deal with. Harry Douglas (foot) is also active and could see more time. White certainly comes with some risks, but if you waited on him, start him as somewhat risky WR2 option. Reports indicate he looked pretty good in warmups.
Smith underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam to determine the severity of his knee injury.
Smith's knee swelled up following warmups Sunday in Miami.
The good news is there is no ligament tears, coach John Harbaugh confirmed Monday. Smith's status is undetermined for Sunday's game against the 2-11 Jacksonville Jaguars, but rest and rehabilitation should help, the story added.
Monday, December 8, 2014, 6:15pm
The former fourth-round pick, who was traded to the Bills from Tampa Bay this past April for a sixth-round pick, injured his calf last week during practice, though that likely was not the motivation for the decision.
Williams famously battled with Bills head coach Doug Marrone dating back to their days at Syracuse together, which is why the trade was puzzling in the first place.
The 27-year-old, who had 11 touchdowns as a rookie and nine during his 2012 season, had just eight catches in 2014. He has been active in just four of the past eight games the Bills have played.
Had a source connected to the Browns QB decision estimate there is a 99% chance Manziel starts Sun. Maybe even 99.5%
Keep in mind it's not an official word from the team even though La Canfora is a solid source. The Browns were in command against Indy in Week 14, but blew a lead and a key game for their playoff hopes.
QB Zach Mettenberger is out for the year with an AC joint separation, source said. This is following his MRI.
Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart has rushed for 240 yards on 32 carries in the past two games, but that doesn’t guarantee he’ll start on Sunday against Tampa Bay if DeAngelo Williams returns from injury.
“We’ll see as we go forward,’’ coach Ron Rivera said on Monday. “He most certainly is part of that mix of guys that we have. He’s part of who we are as a football team."
Rivera was just as vague on whether Williams, Carolina’s all-time leading rusher who has missed seven games with injuries this season, is on schedule to return against Tampa Bay.
Williams, 31, fractured a bone in his right hand during a Nov. 30 loss at Minnesota.
“We’ll see,’’ Rivera said. “We’ll see how it is. This is going to be a day-by-day process with him. As the hand gets stronger and heals up, we’ll go forward?"
While it appears to everyone Stewart has earned the job and a bulk of the carries, it sounds like Rivera isn't ruling out going back to the dreaded committee if Williams plays. At this point in the week, there are way too many "we'll sees" in Rivera's statements, so it will likely take a few days or even come down to a game-time call to sort this all out. Carolina hosts the Bucs in Week 15.
Colts HC Chuck Pagano on how much HC Reggie Wayne has left:
“I know he’s got more. How much that is? I don’t know how much that is, but I know he’s got more. He’ll deliver. He’ll be back.”
Following the game on Sunday, Pagano on Colts postgame radio said that Wayne was playing through a “torn tri” that he suffered in the Cincinnati game earlier this season. On Monday, Pagano reiterated that Wayne is battling through nagging injuries.
Against Cleveland, Wayne had just one reception in eight targets and did drop a few balls he might normally catch if healthy. He’s averaged three receptions for 37 yards in the games since his elbow/tri injuries as T.Y. Hilton has really emerged. Wayne’ s presence within the Colts offense is still key and Pagano clearly feels that No. 87 will continue to make plays for this team. Sunday would mark the 209th career game for Wayne, breaking the Colts franchise record.
Kirk Cousins has been the Redskins’ third-string quarterback ever since Week 9. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to stay there.
The Redskins’ quarterback situation has been in flux ever since Robert Griffin III suffered a dislocated ankle early in the team’s second game of the season. It is now as up in the air as it has been all year and Cousins could have a seat at the table.
Colt McCoy, who has risen from third string to starter over the course of the year, suffered a sprained neck late in Redskins’ 24-0 loss to the Rams. Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that Griffin should get the start on Sunday against the Giants if McCoy can’t go.
However, Gruden was not firm about anything involving the quarterbacks and he didn’t rule out Cousins getting another shot at some point during the last three games.
“I could see myself playing with Kirk, no doubt about it.,” said Gruden. “I like Kirk, I think he did some good things when he was in there. Obviously turnovers and third downs have really plagued us pretty hard.”
The Skins QB situation is a bit of a mess. Reports Sunday said it would depend on McCoy's health, and that he would start if possible. Washington actually has some decent matchups starting with the Giants in Week 15, then the Eagles followed by the Cowboys, but just about any Redskin comes with risk in the fantasy playoff season.
Monday, December 8, 2014, 2:07pm
He is considered day-to-day. The Panthers play at home in Week 15 in a potentially good matchup against the Bucs.
With WR Brandon Marshall out of the mix for what sources say will be the remainder of the season, the Bears likely will use second-year receiver Marquess Wilson in his place while moving Josh Morgan into the slot receiver's role.
As we said last week, Wilson is the pickup here, but he only caught two passes for 19 yards on five targets with Marshall knocked out of the game. He should be better prepared for a starting role with a week of preparation, but would be difficult to trust in the fantasy playoffs.