Michael Bush - RB - Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals RB Michael Bush fits the role of a big, bruising ball carrier who can be effective in the red zone and at the goal line, and head coach Bruce Arians is hoping Bush can fill the role that RB Jonathan Dwyer had. 'We really miss John,' Arians said. 'I like our backs but we need a guy that's going to pound it in there and close out some games in short yardage and goal-line situations,' Arians said. Bush has 12 touchdowns on 26 goal-line carries in his career. Arians said Bush is in 'great shape' after not having played this year.
Huddle Up: It certainly sounds like Bush will immediately be supplanting Stepfan Taylor as the Cards' short-yardage/change-of-pace back. Meanwhile, it's not good news but it's far from crippling for Andre Ellington's owners as he'll still be counted heavily as a pass-catcher and a big-play back without playing to his weaknesses by repeatedly running him the gut.
Calvin Johnson - WR - Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson hasn't been putting up big numbers this season, but he denies that he's starting to decline. He's on pace to finish with fewer than 1,000 yards receiving for the first time since 2009, but he continues to say that he's the same player he was when he set the single-season record for receiving yards two years ago. 'I think that the biggest thing you can kind of just take a look at is: Does he still run by people?' head coach Jim Caldwell said. 'The answer to that would be yes. Is he still able to lay out, catch the ball and do things that he normally does? Yes. And I think that that's what matters.' Since returning from a sprained ankle, Johnson has also faced three of the league's top defenses.
Huddle Up: The defenses of the Bears and Bucs should be more to the liking of Megatron and the Lions' offense the next two weeks, but if the issues continue, it just might be the rule and not the exception.
Latavius Murray - RB - Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) was back at practice Wednesday, Nov. 25, though his participation status was undisclosed.
Huddle Up: He's still not in the clear yet, but it's a solid sign pointing toward Murray playing this Sunday in St. Louis.
Arian Foster - RB - Houston Texans
Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has an excellent chance to return in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans after missing the last two games.
Huddle Up: Alfred Blue should still get some work as well, but Foster is a must-start if he's active going against the Titans, who give up the second-most fantasy points to opposing RBs.
Julius Thomas - TE - Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited at practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.
Huddle Up: It's the first practice of the week for the Broncos, and Thomas will likely have to show more later in the week to avoid missing a second straight game.
Zach Ertz - TE - Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz (oblique) fully participated in practice and is probable for Week 13.
Huddle Up: Ertz hasn't missed a game this season and should be out there Thursday in Dallas, but his biggest fantasy threat is the increased looks fellow TE Brent Celek has been getting in recent weeks. Go ahead and roll with Ertz if you need to but weigh your TE options carefully.
Geno Smith - QB - New York Jets
New York Jets QB Geno Smith will return to the starting quarterback role in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins, after QB Michael Vick saw only three starts. The feeling around the team is that general manager John Idzik insisted that head coach Rex Ryan start Smith over Vick. 'The main factor is you want to give your guys a chance to win the game,' Ryan said. 'That's the No. 1 factor you look into. But that's what we did. We feel good. Geno last time out had a good game against Miami (in Week 17 last season).'
Huddle Up: The Jets need to find out if Smith has a long-term future with the franchise, and need him off the bench and in live action to make that determination. It mainly boils down to decision-making and keeping the turnovers to a minimum. If he can do that, it shouldn't affect what limited fantasy values there are for the team's other offensive skill players.
Matt Slater - WR - New England Patriots
New England Patriots WR Matthew Slater agreed to a two-year, $4 million extension through the 2016 season Wednesday, Nov. 26.
Huddle Up: Slater is more of a special teams contributor than a fantasy threat, the kind of interchangeable piece Bill Belichick loves to employ.
Colt McCoy - QB - Washington Redskins
Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has officially been benched in favor of QB Colt McCoy in Week 13. Head coach Jay Gruden informed the team Wednesday, Nov. 26. However, Griffin still appears to be part of the team's long-term plan, another source said Tuesday.
Huddle Up: RG3 has struggled this season; it's going to take time and reps in Jay Gruden's offense for him to get comfortable, and right now the team would rather take a shot at maybe winning a game with McCoy at the helm than hopefully developing Griffin into the quarterback he can be in this offense. So any talk of an actual long-term plan in Washington is laughable.
Colt McCoy - QB - Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins are planning to start QB Colt McCoy in Week 13 against the Indianapolis Colts in place of struggling QB Robert Griffin III, according to a team source.
Huddle Up: Things are a mess in D.C. -- and we're not just talking politics. McCoy did, however, lead the Skins to their last win -- a 20-17 victory in Dallas in Week 8 -- throwing for 299 yards and rushing for 16 yards and a TD in his lone start, so this should be a welcome fantasy change for the team's pass-catchers. (Hey, it can't get much worse). Meanwhile, the question is whether RGIII has made his last start for Washington.
Marshawn Lynch - RB - Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (back) was listed as a limited participant for the second straight day of practice Tuesday, Nov. 25.
Huddle Up: Lynch hasn't been near 100 percent all season, but he'll be out there Thursday night for the grudge match against the Niners, and his fantasy owners will be hoping for better results than his 15-39 rushing performance in Week 11.
Reggie Bush - RB - Detroit Lions
Updating a previous report, Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice Tuesday, Nov. 25, with a back injury added to his status. Bush missed the last two games with an ankle injury. There was no further information on his back ailment.
Huddle Up: Yikes -- this sounds rather grim for the RB, who's missed three of the last four -- and five games in all -- this season. Keep an eye out for further updates, but don't expect the news to be promising.
Doug Martin - RB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin says he's the same running back he was as a rookie in 2012 when he took the league by storm. However, he's averaging just 2.8 yards per carry and has only 193 rushing yards and one score this season, but he's missed two games with a knee injury and three with an ankle ailment. He's healthy now, but he only mustered 27 yards on 11 carries in Week 12 while sharing time with RBs Charles Sims and Bobby Rainey.
Huddle Up: Martin had more rushes than Rainey and Sims combined (7) in Week 11, but continues to do little with them. None of the backs, though, are getting much help, and coach Lovie Smith has called out the team's offensive line. See if that makes any difference, but don't have any of three RBs in your lineup while waiting to find out.
Troy Polamalu - S - Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers SS Troy Polamalu (knee) and CB Ike Taylor (forearm) both are expected to play in the team's Week 13 game, according to head coach Mike Tomlin.
Huddle Up: IDP alert as fantasy's 11th-ranked defense gets two key pieces back for the stretch run.
Brian Hoyer - QB - Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer was never in danger of being benched in favor of QB Johnny Manziel in the team's Week 12 win over the Atlanta Falcons, according to head coach Mike Pettine. Hoyer threw three interceptions in the game. Pettine praised Hoyer for shaking off his mistakes and leading the team to a game-winning drive.
Huddle Up: Hoyer is the first Cleveland QB to post back-to-back 300-yard games in 31 years, but he needs to work in a few more TD tosses -- he has 1 in his last 3 games -- and cut down on turnovers to become a better fantasy bet.
Brandon Marshall - WR - Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall (ankle) was limited in practice for the second straight day Tuesday, Nov. 25.
Huddle Up: Marshall should be good to go in the first game of the Turkey Day tripleheader, and his fantasy owners will be hoping for more than the three catches for 32 yards he delivered in Week 12.
Clay Harbor - TE - Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars TE Clay Harbor has been demoted to third string after the return of TE Marcedes Lewis. TE Nic Jacobs has kept the No. 2 job, as Harbor played just six snaps in Week 12.
Huddle Up: Harbor had his mid-season run of fantasy relevance, but it's now Lewis' gig that he's back from an eight-game injury absence.
Michael Bush - RB - Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals signed free-agent RB Michael Bush (Bears) and cut RB Kerwynn Williams Tuesday, Nov. 25.
Huddle Up: The Cards' running game has slumped of late, and Bush could definitely see some carries as the big back in the rotation.
Connor Barth - PK - Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos signed free-agent PK Connor Barth (Buccaneers) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Nov. 25, after waiving PK Brandon McManus, according to a source.
Huddle Up: For those who prefer kickers playing for high-scoring teams, Barth is the new man in the Mile High City.
Blake Bortles - QB - Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles went 15-for-27 for just 146 yards and an interception in the team's Week 12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and he hasn't tossed a touchdown in the last two games. Head coach Gus Bradley was critical of the whole offense, but he indicated that the team expects more from the rookie quarterback. Bradley said Bortles has been holding the ball too long in the pocket, and his decision making hasn't been up to par.
Huddle Up: The Jags have topped 20 points only twice in Bortles' eight starts, and the rookie owns an ugly 16-8 turnover-to-TD pass ratio. Still, going to back to Chad Henne isn't a viable option at this point for the 1-10 Jags so Bradley is trying to light a fire under the QB any way he can. Bortles remains an interesting dynasty-league piece but steer clear this year in re-draft leagues if at all possible.
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