Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday morning updates -- Week 14

Good morning, Fools. Damn glad to see you. If you're still reading, that means you're probably in the playoffs, as all Fools should be. I had a rough go last week (scored 2nd highest points in one league, but played the highest, natch), and missed out on the 2nd seed (and the bye) in both my leagues, so I'm sitting in the 3rd and 5th seeds respectively.

It's time to get serious now. And there are lots of interesting developments to report on around the NFL this morning...

Wow...things are getting a little silly in Philly. The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is saying that Darren Sproles will be the featured RB today against the Bills, and DeMarco Murray could be the #4 back, if he plays at all. Ryan Mathews will be mixed in as he returns from his concussion, along with Kenjon Barner. If this news is accurate, Sproles is worth serious flex consideration and Murray should be on your bench.

Meanwhile, Jordan Matthews will be a game-time call for the Eagles due to his back issues.

Rapoport is also reporting that former Redskin Tim Hightower will assume Mark Ingram's role in the Saints' offense, not CJ Spiller, who has apparently struggled to pick up the offense. Spiller will remain in his limited change-of-pace role, but Hightower is the RB to own going forward, as of now. Grab him if he's out there (as I just did), but I'm not ready to recommend starting him just yet. 

Both Ronnie Hillman and CJ Anderson (ankle) have been limited in practice all week, but Hillman is expected to start. Anderson will be a game-time decision and is less-likely to play than Hillman. Juwan Thompson should see plenty of carries today, too.

Eddie Lacy is expected to return to his starting role against a solid Dallas run defense today. He has apparently worked his way out of his coach's doghouse. James Starks should return to your bench.

Matt Schaub will not play today, leaving the Ravens' QB position in Jimmy Clausen's unsteady hands. That spells trouble for Kamar Aiken and, frankly, makes me even more nervous about Buck Allen against the Seahawks. I'm counting on him in one league, and I'll stick with him since it's a PPR. (He had 12 receptions on 13 targets last week.) But the Clausen thing gives me the willies.

Philip Rivers (flu) will play today, but he shouldn't be in your lineup against the Chiefs.

If you've been hanging onto Carlos Hyde for some reason, you can kiss him goodbye now. He's been placed on IR due to his foot injury. Also, no doubt, due to the solid work of Shaun Draughn in his absence (not to mention the 49ers' lost season).

After reports late this week that Brandin Cooks had suffered a concussion in practice and was doubtful to play today, the Saints have changed their tune and said the wideout did not have a concussion and he will play. Interesting. That certainly makes me feel better about Drew Brees, and it lowers my projections for Willie Snead and, to a lesser extent, Ben Watson. If Cooks is your guy, you can safely return him to your lineup.

Travis Benjamin (shoulder) and Gary Barnidge (ankle) are nursing injuries, but both are expected to be available to catch passes from Johnny Backup. And while the 49ers are playing much better on defense lately, both receivers should be in for decent outings.

Rishard Matthews is out for the Dolphins, leaving the door open again for rookie DeVante Parker to continue his rapid ascent. I like his chances against the Giants, but not so much that I'm starting him over more established options. My main worry is how few times Tannehill passed last week, despite the favorable matchup. Miami is emphasizing its running game, which makes sense, meaning very few opportunities for Jarvis Landry and Parker to excel. The rookie has produced despite the low volume, but there's no doubt he comes with plenty of risk.

There's a 50/50 chance that Rob Gronkowski plays tonight. He made the trip to Houston and he has reportedly looked good in practice. Given their two-game losing skid, you figure the Pats would love to get Gronk back on the field if at all possible, even if mainly as a decoy. If he's your guy, he's worth holding out for. Consider picking up Ryan Griffith, Jordan Cameron or Will Tye for a fall-back plan, or Scott Chandler, whose status is also uncertain.

Finally, weather could be a factor in three games today: Green Bay/Dallas, KC/San Diego and Chicago/Washington. There's a high chance of rain and wind in all three cities, with the heaviest expected early on in Kansas City. The conditions could affect the passing and kicking games, so if you're having trouble making a decision between a couple of otherwise-equal guys, this could be your deciding factor.

That's it for now, Fools. Best of luck to all, and I hope to see you again right here next week as we move forward toward championship glory! Inactive and other late-breaking news coming up in just minutes via Twitter (@ladd_biro).

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