Here's what KFFL's inside sources are saying this week.
- So why Brian St. Pierre over Tony Pike? Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox thinks the former gives them a better chance to win. Maybe Fox is sticking it to management, who kind of forced him to play Jimmy Clausen. Expect Clausen (concussion) to re-enter the starting gig when he gets back.
- Carson Palmer (shoulder) probably will resist if the Cincinnati Bengals try to rest him or shut him down, even if they fall further out of playoff contention.
- The Detroit Lions' Shaun Hill was rusty and the object of careful offensive handling in his first week back from injury. Still, they're going to keep him in there over Drew Stanton because Hill, the superior passer, gives them a better chance to win.
The Houston Texans' Matt Schaub (knee) is expected to play this weekend. He has been running for his life for much of the season, and that probably won't change when Houston faces Rex Ryan's New York Jets.
Rough week may only get worse
- Issues for the Indianapolis Colts' Peyton Manning last week: Wideout Pierre Garcon's erratic play and dropsies; having to incorporate former practice squad receiver Brandon James, who doesn't know the hand signals; and the continued issues in the running game. The backups at running back and wideout are looking more like backups.
- Though the Kansas City Chiefs don't want to make it a habit, they would be comfortable if Matt Cassel were forced to throw in a comeback effort like he has in the last two games. He instilled some confidence in the coaching staff.
- The one thing Drew Brees seems to have focused on in his upcoming matchup with the Seattle Seahawks is their propensity for giving up big plays. Given the New Orleans Saints' problems coming up with them this year, they seem pretty intent to take a fair number of shots in this one.As long as he doesn't turn the ball over, Jason Campbell has a long leash as Oakland Raiders quarterback.
- San Francisco 49ers OC Mike Johnson enjoyed tinkering with Troy Smith's role last week, installing more designed rollouts to get him to throw on the move. Smith's arm strength has pleasantly surprised folks.
- Vince Young (Tennessee Titans) looks like his old mobile self. His ankle doesn't appear to be a concern.
- Donovan McNabb's extension means he's unlikely with the Washington Redskins past a pending 2011 season. There's sentiment that Daniel Snyder pushed for it, not Mike Shanahan. There was clearly some sort of disconnect between the QB and OC Kyle Shanahan. Mike, aka the Mastermind, will get to draft a QB next spring, though.
Regardless, to avoid looking bad, McNabb needs some weapons and - you heard that - to work on his conditioning. He needs a lot more (structure, protection) going for him now to be successful than he did six or seven years ago. "It's like a bad Brett Favre."
- Atlanta Falcons wideout Roddy White said they'll probably try to pound Michael Turner often this week to avoid facing the blitzes from Steve Spagnuolo's St. Louis Rams.
- Fred Jackson will carry just about a full workload for the Buffalo Bills this week. C.J. Spiller (hamstring) is on track to return for Week 12, but even then, it'll be more of the same split that was in play before Spiller took a spill.
- Recent Injured Reserve placement DeAngelo Williams (foot) has a bad foot sprain but probably would've returned to the Carolina Panthers within two to three weeks; however, the team needed a roster spot. Maybe there's a chance that since they were that cautious that they're thinking about re-signing him, but that's still up in the air.
- With DAW done and Jonathan Stewart (concussion) out for Week 11, Josh Vaughan will probably spell Mike Goodson again. Since Carolina cut Andre Brown, Vaughan is the only other back, yet he'll see just a handful of touches. Upon his return, Tyrell Sutton will phase Vaughan out.
- The Cincinnati Bengals will, as many expect, run often this week with Cedric Benson (foot), who's questionable but expected to play. They're facing the Buffalo Bills, after all, and Cincy wants to control the clock more.
- More Jason Garrett stability: The Dallas Cowboys will define Felix Jones as the majority guy and stick Marion Barber III only to closing role, like they did in Week 10.
- A correct offensive line group lends to a rejuvenated Knowshon Moreno being the undisputed carrier in the Denver Broncos' offense. Expect Denver to establish him as often as possible to help balance out the O.
- Expect Jahvid Best (toe) - who also has a shoulder injury but shouldn't be affected by it - to get the same workload as he did last week. The Detroit Lions will look to spread the ball out more this week against the Dallas Cowboys' dinged secondary.
- Though James Starks might lose out to Dimitri Nance for a 53-man spot this week, don't be surprised if the Green Bay Packers throw Starks onto the gameday dress list after that. Maybe he gets mixed into backfield work down the stretch. The running backs coach is excited about him.
- If Joseph Addai (neck) plays, it would surprise our Indianapolis Colts source, who guesses they would either have him at a full go, or don't dress him at all. They're playing the New England Patriots; it isn't a time to test out his condition.
The Minnesota Vikings kept Adrian Peterson out of some red zone snaps last week, chiefly because they ran packages that involved Toby Gerhart ... Just an explanation for next time they defy logic.
Bush in the hand worth a fantasy play?
- Riding a wave of momentum, Shonn Greene has a good chance to be the majority carrier for the New York Jets moving forward, but LaDainian Tomlinson's mix of receiving reps and carries will keep their workload about even.
- A nightmare season continues for Ryan Mathews (ankle). It doesn't look good for him to suit up Monday night. Mike Tolbert could be in for another full workload, with Darren Sproles sprinkled in.
- Looks like the San Francisco 49ers' field will see some sprinkling for their matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, likely leading to a ground-and-pound matchup between Frank Gore and LeGarrette Blount.
- The New Orleans Saints will probably have four backs active when Reggie Bush (fibula) - likely - plays this Sunday. The feeling: If you have to play one of these guys, make it Bush, and only in PPR leagues. If you can avoid the situation, do so. Chris Ivory is the best bet for most carries, but you can't expect him to hit double-digit attempts.
- Pierre Thomas (ankle) remains New Orleans' best ball carrier when he's healthy, and they miss him dearly in the screen game. So, when he does come back, it'll be in a big role. It might come too late for non-playoff fantasy football teams, though.
No matter what, expect to see Thomas suit up somewhere different in 2011.
- The Oakland Raiders' Darren McFadden may have some success against the Pittsburgh Steelers' stout D, which is down two starting ends. Ziggy Hood, in particular, has been a disappointment.
- Obviously, the Philadelphia Eagles are finally happy with Jerome Harrison's pass protection and familiarity with the playbook. Historically, Philly hasn't utilized its backup back consistently, though. Don't bank on much unless LeSean McCoy is seriously injured.
- The Steelers may not seem particularly confident in their running game. They're missing both starting tackles, certain matchups dissuade them from using it, and they're quick to believe that Ben Roethlisberger can win games for them.
But Pittsburgh has some evidence that they give up on it too easily. If the Steelers can run it, they will, which is good news for Rashard Mendenhall owners.
- The Washington Redskins expect to have Clinton Portis (groin) this weekend and may give him the ceremonial start. A 50-50 split of the workload between him and Keiland Williams is not much more than guesswork.
Speaking of Williams, the LSU product isn't a future franchise runner by any stretch. But he's definitely the type to put in efforts similar to the one he gave last week whenever his squad's top man is unavailable. Sounds like nice handcuff and surprise flex play material.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous publications, and recognized as a finalist in FSWA's awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he's on The Reality Check with Glenn Clark every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. He hits the airwaves every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
Don't miss these great reports....
Recent KFFL releases