AFC West Blog
The Broncos kick off Week 15 on Thursday when they host the Chargers. They may very well be without wide receiver Wes Welker for that game. On Sunday, Welker collided with Titans safety Bernard Pollard late in the first half as he was attempting to catch a low pass. Welker went to the sidelines after spending a short time lying on the field and was diagnosed with a concussion. This is Welker's second concussion of the season; he suffered his first one in Week 11.
Welker caught five passes for 61 yards and a touchdown before being ruled out for the rest of the game.
Now it's really time to put up or shut up as we have reached Jim Mora's favorite part of the season: The playoffs. Well, the fantasy playoffs. Per usual, I'll be here all morning to provide updates on the active and inactive players in today's early games. I'll be tracking the statuses of Rashad Jennings, Jordan Reed, Reggie Bush, Vincent Jackson, Tony Gonzalez, Adrian Peterson and others, so it's going to be a busy morning. Starting at about 11:30 a.m. Eastern, keep refreshing this post until the early kickoffs for all of the news on who's in and who's out.
Running back Rashad Jennings was cleared for limited practice Wednesday, just six days after taking a knee to the back of the head and suffering a concussion against the Cowboys. And Jennings' quick recovery is extremely important for the Raiders, who probably don't know which running back would replace him if he suffers a setback. Darren McFadden picked up an ankle injury during that Thanksgiving game and is injured "more than we initially thought," according to head coach Dennis Allen. Allen added that he hopes to have McFadden back on the field soon, but doesn't know when that will actually happen.
Third-string running back Jeremy Stewart also didn't practice Wednesday. He injured a knee during the Cowboys game.
In a perfect world, all of your teams would be 12-0 with nothing to think about other than how much you will dominate in your playoffs. But the truth is many of you who are reading this have your season on the line today, staring at a "win or go home" situation. Good luck to you all.
To help you out, I'll be here all morning to give you the latest on the injured stars heading into today's morning games. Adrian Peterson, Andre Ellington, DeAngelo Williams, Chris Ivory, and Santonio Holmes are just a few of the names I'm watching. Keep refreshing this post until the early kickoffs for all of the news regarding the morning's actives and inactives.
-- In late-game news, ESPN's Adam Schefter says Broncos TE Julius Thomas' chances of playing today versus the Chiefs are "iffy at best." This is unexpected after Thomas practice in some fashion every day this week. The Broncos-Chiefs game doesn't kickoff until after 4 p.m. Eastern. If you can't wait on Thomas, don't risk a zero. Find other options.
-- Buccaneers CB Darrelle Revis is active after missing time last week due to a groin injury. That will make things a little tougher for Steve Smith, but Revis is probably not close to 100 percent healthy. Smith, by the way, is active.
-- In other late-game news, Redskins TE Jordan Reed has been officially cleared to play. He didn't play last week due to a concussion, but he has passed all of his tests leading up to tonight's game versus the Giants, he is a fine TE1 now.
-- Cardinals RB Andre Ellington is officially inactive due to his knee injury. Rashard Mendenhall will get a few extra carries, and Stepfan Taylor should be the team's No. 2 RB today versus the Eagles.
-- Patriots RB Stevan Ridley is INACTIVE, a healthy scratch for today's game versus the Texans. This is what happens when you fumble three games in a row for a Bill Belichick team. Shane Vereen will continue to be a PPR beast, and Brandon Bolden should lead the team in early down work. He is a flex option now.
-- All of the other Patriots on the injury report -- Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, Danny Amendola, Vereen -- are all active. Use as you would. Amendola is more of a WR3 after a few down weeks, but Gronk remains a must-start. Patriots CB Aqib Talib is also active despite a nagging hip injury. He should be on Andre Johnson all day.
-- Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez is active despite toe injury. He was listed as questionable but remains a low-end TE1.
-- Jets WR Santonio Holmes (hamstring) is active. WR Jeremy Kerley (elbow) is not. Both shouldn't be in your lineup versus Miami's good pass defense.
-- Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams is inactive due to his quad injury. Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert are active. Stewart will start and get the majority of the early down work, but none of these guys are more than so-so flex plays against the Bucs, who have a solid run defense.
-- Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is active despite limited practice due to a groin injury. A monster day could be on the horizon for Peterson against the Bears.
-- Titans WR Kendall Wright is active. He was listed as probable with an ankle injury. Continue to trot Wright out there as a WR2 in PPR leagues, a WR3 in standard.
-- Colts WR T.Y. Hilton is active despite a shoulder injury. I think he's more of a WR3 today versus a Titans pass defense that has allowed just two passing touchdowns since Week 4.
-- Jets RB Chris Ivory is active. He has a balky ankle, but is on the RB2 radar against a leaky Dolphins run defense. He could be a workhorse if the Jets get out front of the Dolphins.
-- Bears RB Matt Forte is active one week after hyperextending his knee. He is an obvious must-start against the Vikings.
-- Jaguars WR Mike Brown is active. He was listed as questionable with a shoulder injury. He is a desperation WR4, but know that No. 2 wideouts have had a lot of success against the Browns, so there's a little upside there.
-- Dolphins WR Rishard Matthews. He probably isn't worth your time. He has really fallen off since his two-touchdown game a few weeks ago.
-- Eagles QB Michael Vick is active. He'll back up Nick Foles.
After sitting on Wednesday and Thursday, Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was able to practice Friday despite a hamstring injury. But can he play Sunday against the Bengals? Gates left room for doubt when he spoke to the media after the last practice of the week.
"It's tricky," Gates said. "It's different. It's one of those injuries where you can't fully grasp whether or not you can do something because it's all running. Everything is based off running and power and holding off people on blocks, and the hamstring is a big part of that. Without the lower body, you couldn't play in this league. I'll see how it goes. I'm going to attack this rehab. I've got two more days. That's the best part about it."
Gates also said he is "not sure" he could play if he had to on Friday. Good thing he didn't have to.
First off, here's to everyone who reads this enjoying a terrific Thanksgiving. You know the drill: Football, food, more football, more food. And if there's any spare time, you can talk to your family every once in a while.
This will be a modified version of my usual Sunday morning injury report, dedicated to the three games that await us today. This post will be updated throughout the day as the inactives report for each game come in (about 90 minutes prior to each kickoff). There aren't many fantasy-relevant players whose status is in question today other than Raiders running back Darren McFadden, who is expected to play. But if there are any surprises, we'll let you know.
It may be hard to believe, but it sounds like Chargers running back Ryan Mathews will make a quick recovery after suffering a soft-tissue injury on Sunday. Although he aggravated a hamstring strain during the Chargers' win over the Chiefs, Mathews returned to practice on Thursday, putting in a limited session.
Tight end Antonio Gates missed his second straight day of practice due his own hamstring injury. However, ESPN.com's Eric D. Williams wrote Wednesday night that Mathews and Gates "should be fine and ready" for Sunday's meeting with the Bengals.
There was an encouraging sight for all Broncos fans at Thursday's practice: The presence of running back Knowshon Moreno. He went through limited practice. Moreno's status for Week 13 is up in the air after he sustained a deep bone bruise in his right ankle during Sunday's loss to the Patriots, but today's activity bodes well for his chances of playing Sunday versus the Chiefs.
Raiders running back Rashad Jennings suffered a concussion late in Thursday's loss to the Cowboys. Jennings was concussed when the knee of a Dallas defensive player colided with the back of Jennings' helmet. He was motionless for a few moments before wobbling off the field and into the locker room. Jennings finished the day with 43 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns.
The Raiders will probably have their full complement of running backs available against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, but they will remain short-handed at wide receiver. Darren McFadden is officially listed as questionable, but is tentatively expected to be active for the first time since suffering another hamstring injury on Nov. 3. However, Rashad Jennings will remain Oakland's lead runner after gaining 553 yards from scrimmage while McFadden was injured.
Speaking of injured, wide receiver Denarius Moore is, and he has been ruled out for Week 13 and hasn't practiced since suffering an unspecified shoulder injury 10 days ago.