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Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm

Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (ankle) did not practice Wednesday.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm

Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew (foot) missed practice again Thursday. The Lions may be down to their 4th-string tight end, rookie Jordan Thompson.

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm

Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (abdomen, groin) missed practice again Thursday.

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm

Dolphins TE Dion Sims (neck) took limited practice reps again Thursday.

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm

Titans TE Taylor Thompson (knee) took limited practice reps again Thursday.

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6:04pm

Seahawks TE Luke Willson (groin) practiced fully Wednesday. Cooper Helfet played well as the Seahawks’ starter, though Willson’s return will make the Seattle tight end even murkier than usual.

Redskins targeting Week 11 for RG3's return

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 12:50pm

PFT - [Full Article]

Jay Gruden recently hinted that Week 11 could be the date on which Redskins QB Robert Griffin III returns to action.

“I would guarantee Tampa, most likely, unless something happens between now and then,” Gruden told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday. “You’ve got a good bye week, you’ve got a couple weeks to make sure it’s ready. Obviously Robert is a quick healer. He works extremely hard in the training room. So the process could be sped up a little bit depending on how he feels.”

It’s highly unlikely that Griffin will play in Dallas on Monday night, and nearly as unlikely that he’d play on a short week in Minnesota the following Sunday.

Waiting until after the bye gives Griffin more than three more weeks not only to heal but also to prepare.

Fantasy Impact:

Once healthy, Griffin will return to a good situation that includes Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts and a now-healthy Jordan Reed. The Redskins are currently 14th in fantasy points generated from its passing game, and Griffin adds the extra dimension of being able to run the ball. Expect low-end QB1/high-end QB2 numbers upon his return. His playoff schedule is favorable with matchups against the Rams, Giants and Eagles from Week 14 to Week 16.

Bucs Beat: 'Wouldn't surprise' if team goes back to QB Josh McCown

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 12:06pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Buccaneers beat writer Pat Yasinskas: Coach Lovie Smith has been coy about his plans. My best guess is Mike Glennon will get at least one more start because Josh McCown returned to practice only this week and was out for more than a month. I think Glennon has played well enough to be the full-time starter, but I'm not sure Smith sees it that way. McCown was Smith's hand-picked quarterback and the two have history together from their Chicago days. Smith's history has shown he prefers to go with veterans. Back in Chicago, he once benched Kyle Orton, who was playing well, as soon as Rex Grossman got healthy. It wouldn't surprise me if Smith goes back to McCown.

Fantasy Impact:

Given the way that Glennon has played (solidly), this move wouldn't make much sense, but it's something for Glennon, Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans owners to file away.

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 12:01pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

There's an interesting side story in terms of defending Lions WR Golden Tate. Falcons free safety Dwight Lowery, who played with Jacksonville last year, was unable to finish the season due to an illegal block thrown by Tate when Tate played with Seattle. I don't see Lowery going the cheap-shot route to get back at Tate, but you better believe he'll try his best to make sure Tate doesn't beat the secondary with a long ball.

Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) misses, Calvin Johnson (ankle) back at practice on Thursday

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 10:07am

Tim Twentyman, Twitter - [Full Article]

Lions RB Reggie Bush sat out of practice on Thursday. WR Calvin Johnson practiced for the second straight day, and did "much more," per Twentyman.

Fantasy Impact:

Midweek downgrades are usually a bad sign, but we’ll see if Bush is able to practice on Friday before making any assumptions about his availability in a great matchup against the Falcons. If he can’t play Theo Riddick would assume the pass-catching role in the Lions backfield and would be a Sneaky Start given the matchup. As for Johnson, it looks like he's a game-time call, which means owners will need to set their rosters at around 8:30-9:00 a.m. ET for a 9:30 a.m. kickoff in London on Sunday morning.

Zimmer: Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon 'did better' in pass pro and 'ran the ball physically' in Week 7

Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 11:54pm

USA Today - [Full Article]

The Vikings have said they want to give Matta Asiata a similar number of carries, but Jerick McKinnon has made that difficult. McKinnon has 30 carries over the last two weeks, and Asiata has eight.

"Jerick has played well. I thought he did better in pass protection last week, I thought he ran the ball physically last week and he has a chance to make explosive plays, and that has nothing to do with Matt," HC Mike Zimmer said.

Pass protection, in many ways, is the most important part, and an area in which rookies, especially smaller ones like McKinnon, often struggle. While he has yielded plenty of pressure from opposing rushers, he made strides against the Bills.

Perhaps the Vikings have found their permanent replacement for Adrian Peterson, rather than just a complement.

Fantasy Impact:

It appears that McKinnon is on solid ground as the Vikings' starter. Owners should treat him as a RB2 moving forward.

Jaguars claim they will 'mix and match' at running back

Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 11:50pm

Jacksonville.com - [Full Article]

So do the Jaguars (1-6) ride the hot hand (Denard Robinson) or go back to Toby Gerhart? Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch wasn’t tipping his hand much on Wednesday as the team prepares for Sunday’s game against Miami (3-3) at EverBank Field.

“I think we’ll continue to mix and match a little bit,” Fisch said. “I don’t know exactly how that will all play out yet.”

That would seemingly be good news for Gerhart if Fisch isn’t ready to fully endorse the back that gave the offense a needed lift. Fisch did praise Robinson for his strong outing and his improvement.

Fantasy Impact:

Beat writer Michael DiRocco predicted earlier in the day that Robinson would be the lead back going forward and would see "15-20 carries...maybe even a little bit lower." We're betting that Gerhart stays involved when healthy, though Robinson has worked himself into a large role in the Jaguars' (modest) running game.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 11:42pm

Newsday - [Full Article]

But whether they're willing to admit it or not, Percy Harvin really does give Geno Smith and the Jets' decision-makers a better look at whether Geno can be the guy down the road. Or whether the Jets will need to give serious consideration to spending another high draft pick -- or going out on the free agent or trade market -- for a quarterback. With less and less patience when it comes to quarterback development in the NFL, these next nine games are pivotal to Smith's future.

If he can show consistent improvement with an explosive talent like Harvin on one side, the reliable Eric Decker on the other, and Jeremy Kerley, Jace Amaro and Jeff Cumberland as his other targets, then the Jets will get a better fix on whether Smith can be the guy.

Cardinals QB Carson Palmer no longer bothered by shoulder

Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 11:40pm

AZ Central - [Full Article]

Cardinals HC Bruce Arians was asked if the nerve problem in Carson Palmer's right shoulder is now a thing of the past.

"Yeah, knock on wood," Arians said, rapping three times on the top of table at which he was sitting. "Hopefully, we don't have to talk about that one anymore."

Later, Palmer seemed to confirm it, telling reporters he's reached the point where he rarely thinks about the shoulder.

"Yeah, I'm there right now," he said. "I'm actually able to lift with my upper body, which I wasn't able to lift for five weeks or whatever it was. I definitely had a lot of atrophy, so I'm starting to get some strength back and put a little extra weight up top, which is good.

Fantasy Impact:

Palmer's upcoming schedule is a lesson in extremes (PHI, STL and ATL in the next six weeks intermingled with matchups against DAL, DET and SEA) so he's best used as part of a QB committee.

Report: Titans plan to start QB Zach Mettenberger in Week 8

Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 11:32pm

Tennessean - [Full Article]

The Titans plan to start rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger against the Texans on Sunday, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The move could also signal the beginning of the end for quarterback Jake Locker in Tennessee. The fourth-year pro has missed the last two games with a thumb injury and has struggled with injuries throughout his career.

Indications are Mettenberger was informed of the decision Tuesday night. He was not in the locker room after practice Wednesday, when Locker was off-limits to the media. Charlie Whitehurst, who has three starts this season, said he was not allowed to talk to reporters.

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.