Gavin Escobar - TE - Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys TE Gavin Escobar had career-highs with three receptions, 65 yard and two touchdowns in Week 7 against the New York Giants. It was his first multi-touchdown game.
Huddle Up: Escobar is far from the first option in Dallas' offense, but he's capitalizing on an expanded role by giving Tony Romo another viable red-zone option. And when Jason Witten finally hangs 'em up, Escobar looks to be capable of handling at least some of his workload.
Peyton Manning - QB - Denver Broncos
Updating a previous report, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning threw his third touchdown of the first half of Week 7 against the San Francisco 49ers to WR Demaryius Thomas in the second quarter. It was the 509th touchdown pass of Manning's career, as he moved into the top spot in NFL history for career touchdown passes.
Huddle Up: Manning carved up the 49ers all night, quickly securing the record before calling it an evening with the Broncos up by a healthy margin. He remains the top fantasy quarterback in the game, even without the record to pursue.
DeMarco Murray - RB - Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray is the first player in NFL history with over 100 rushing yards in each of his first seven games to begin a season, surpassing Hall of Fame RB Jim Brown.
Huddle Up: Murray is having a remarkable season, capitalizing on the Cowboys' renewed commitment to the ground game and a line that features the teams' last three first-round picks
Fred Jackson - RB - Buffalo Bills
Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson (groin) had an MRI Sunday, Oct. 19, and he will be out at least two weeks due to the groin injury he suffered in the Week 7 game against the Minnesota Vikings. The team has a bye in Week 9, so it is possible he returns in Week 10 and misses just one game.
Huddle Up: One game is a best-case scenario for Jackson; don't be surprised if it's closer to a month before he's back on the field. With CJ Spiller also out, Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown are left to handle the Bills' backfield workload.
Aldon Smith - LB - San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith was given a nine-game suspension for multiple violations of league policies before the season began. According to multiple sources, there's a chance the suspension could be lifted a game or two early.
Huddle Up: The league has tweaked a few rules this season, reducing a few suspensions along the way, so an early return for Smith is hardly out of the question. The Niners could use some good news on the defensive front, as they've been gutted by injury this season and just got sliced and diced by Peyton Manning.
Charlie Whitehurst - QB - Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (hand) is expected to be back in Week 8. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt said Sunday, Oct. 19, that Locker's hand was still sore this week. QB Charlie Whitehurst started in his absence in Week 7 against the Washington Redskins.
Huddle Up: Whitehurst hasn't been particularly impressive in Locker's absence. The next time Locker goes down, don't be surprised if Zach Mettenberger gets the call instead. In fact, with Locker's contract expiring at the end of the season it would behoove the Titans to get a look at Mettenberger to determine if he's their future at the position.
Calvin Johnson - WR - Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) would not give any indication whether he would play in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons. After the Week 7 game Sunday, Oct. 19, he simply said, 'maybe' as he was asked about his playing status next week.
Huddle Up: Megatron was apparently not even close to playing this week; not playing in London next week, with the Lions on the bye Week 9, would give him almost a full month of recovery time.
Reggie Bush - RB - Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) was not benched in the Week 7 game against the New Orleans Saints. Bush only played a handful of snaps in the second half in favor of RB Joique Bell because his ankle was bothering him, according to head coach Jim Caldwell.
Huddle Up: The Lions have a stable of backs they've needed to shuffle around due to nagging injuries, with Bell seeing the bulk of the work and Bush missing the bulk of the time. No word on if the injury will keep him out of next week's game; he'll likely miss some practice time and his fantasy owners will need to get up early on Sunday for the morning game to see if he'll be in the lineup.
Bryce Brown - RB - Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills RB Bryce Brown was inactive for the seventh time this season in Week 7 against the Minnesota Vikings. However, with injuries to RBs Fred Jackson (groin) and C.J. Spiller (collarbone), head coach Doug Marrone said Sunday, Oct. 19, that he would 'have no problem bringing up Bryce.'
Huddle Up: Brown's activation is almost a given with both Spiller and Jackson sidelined. Anthony Dixon will be the starter, but Brown has flashed in the past and could carve out a role at least until Jackson returns from his groin injury.
Kelvin Benjamin - WR - Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (concussion) traveled with the team and is on track to play Sunday, Oct. 19, in Week 7.
Huddle Up: Reports say all signs point to Benjamin playing on Sunday. Benjamin would be a strong WR2 against a beat-up Green Bay secondary that is already missing CB Sam Shields and could also be without CB Tramon Williams.
Juwan Thompson - RB - Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos RB Juwan Thompson is slotted behind RB Ronnie Hillman on the depth chart, and he is a versatile back. He never rushed for more than 500 yards in a season in college, but he caught the ball well, blocked well and played special teams. He even started a game at linebacker in college.
Huddle Up: Thompson will back up Ronnie Hillman on Sunday. He currently has little fantasy value though unless Hillman gets hurt.
Montee Ball - RB - Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos RB Montee Ball (groin) will have a difficult time regaining the featured-back role this season after his injury. It's beat writer Mike Klis' opinion that Ball never fully recovered from his appendectomy, which could have been a precursor to his groin injury.
Huddle Up: Ball was ineffective as the starter and Ronnie Hillman rushed for 100 yards in his first game as the No. 1 back against the Jets. It's likely the Broncos will use both running backs when Ball returns, with Hillman remaining the starter.
Zac Stacy - RB - St. Louis Rams
St. Louis Rams RB Zac Stacy may have his workload cut after offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer confirmed the team will use the running back with the hot hand late in the game. 'Early in the game, we try to get guys multiple touches (and) then we try to go with the hot hand late in the game,' Schottenheimer said. 'Most places that I've been that have really good running games, they had the people to spread the ball around. Different backs bring different types of plays.'
Huddle Up: Stacy, Benny Cunningham and Tre Mason will all be in line for carries in the coming weeks. It's a fantasy mess that is best left alone for the time being if possible. Mason has the highest ceiling of the threesome.
Charles Sims - RB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims (ankle) could return to practice soon and is eligible to return after the team's game against the Cleveland Browns Sunday. Nov. 2. Sims underwent ankle surgery this offseason and is on the Reserve/Injured list with a designation to return.
Huddle Up: Sims could help add a spark to a dormant Buccaneers running game. Sims is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and was expected to have a big role in the offense before getting injured. He's worth stashing in PPR leagues if you have the room.
DeAngelo Williams - RB - Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 7.
Huddle Up: Jonathan Stewart is expected to start this week for Carolina. He'll see a majority of the touches and is a flex play consideration against Green Bay.
Kelvin Benjamin - WR - Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (concussion) still needs to pass one more concussion tests before being cleared to play in Week 7.
Huddle Up: Benjamin will be a game-time decision this week, so owners will need to have another option ready to go.
Rashad Jennings - RB - New York Giants
New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) intends to start running next week in a pool and on a machine that will alleviate pressure. Jennings is hoping to return in Week 9.
Huddle Up: Andre Williams will continue to see the bulk of the carries while Jennings is out. Williams is a strong flex play option this week against Dallas even though he didn't do much in last week's blowout loss to Philadelphia.
Percy Harvin - WR - New York Jets
New York Jets WR Percy Harvin is onto his third NFL team, and he looks for more success than with the Seattle Seahawks. In Minnesota, he averaged 7.3 targets per game with 61.2 receiving yards per game and 34.2 yards per game after the catch (YAC). He ranked sixth in YAC. In Seattle, he managed just 4.5 targets per game, with only 25.0 receiving yards per game, 17.0 yards per catch and he ranked 99th in the league in YAC.
Huddle Up: Multiple reports are now surfacing that suggest Harvin's "anger management issues" led to his trade to the Jets. Only time will tell if being shipped off to his third team will result in any personal growth in that area. Maybe playing under a Rex Ryan regime will help, maybe not. At a minimum his talent on the field should be a benefit to QB Geno Smith and the Jets offense.
Russell Wilson - QB - Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson had a total QBR of 45.3 with former WR Percy Harvin on the field this season, and a QBR of 71.0 with him on the field.
Huddle Up: The Seahawks basically won a Super Bowl last year without Harvin but it's still a little surprising to see such a wide gap in Wilson's numbers. However, it shows fantasy owners shouldn't expect a decline in Wilson's production without Harvin.
Rob Gronkowski - TE - New England Patriots
New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski played 53 of his team's 57 offensive snaps in the Week 7 game against the New York Jets Thursday, Oct. 18. It was the first time all season he has played over 90 percent of the snaps in a game.
Huddle Up: Gronk is healthy again and playing virtually all of the Patriots offensive snaps. He's locked in as one of fantasy football's top two tight ends.
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