- Nobody expects the knee surgeries to end Steve E. Smith's career, but his 2011 debut date is uncertain. He isn't under contract for 2011. Eli Manning's affinity for Smith increases the chances that the New York Giants bring him back on some sort of incentive-laden deal, but it's too early to tell.
- Greg Jennings owners are in a bind. The explosive wideout's stock is hurt big-time with Matt Flynn likely taking the Green Bay Packers' snaps in Week 15. Who are your other wideout options?
- DeSean Jackson (foot) is expected to play but might be chiefly a decoy for the Philadelphia Eagles.
- Tennessee Titans pecking order: Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, Damian Williams, Justin Gage and Randy Moss. The team is high on Williams and wants to see more of him. Tennessee doesn't want to take Britt off the field, so Moss is left on the sidelines. In fact, Moss has taken to his mentor role and is trying to put on a happy face so he can land a contract next season, with Tennessee or someone else.
- The similarities of the Green Bay Packers' defense to the Pittsburgh Steelers' should mean a big day for the New England Patriots' interior options: Wes Welker and tight end Rob Gronkowski.
- Louis Murphy has a shot to be the Oakland Raiders' go-to possession (ahem, PPR desperation) wideout; he has caught Jason Campbell's eye recently.
- Mike X. Williams (ankle) and Ben Obomanu (hand) are expected to start for the Seattle Seahawks. Brandon Stokley (hamstring) remains No. 3 in the pecking order. The Seahawks are hoping Golden Tate rises up to overtake Ruvell Martin.
- Don't panic over the other Mike Williams' struggles. While Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman isn't force-feeding it to the rookie wideout, he's spreading the ball more and is making better decisions. Maybe this pays off if Freeman is patient and allows Williams to get open.
Also, Freeman continues to get more comfortable with Arrelious Benn, who could be a factor this week against a vulnerable Detroit Lions secondary.
- Our Denver Broncos sage said Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha doesn't always follow a Broncos wideout, meaning Brandon Lloyd might find some opportunities to produce. Our Raiders whisperer reminded us of Asomugha's dominance over Lloyd in their last meeting, though. Plus, Tim Tebow taking snaps could negate Lloyd's potential anyway.
- A potential beneficiary if Tim Tebow has to start or play a bunch for the Denver Broncos? Eddie Royal, who could be a nice option for dump-offs in the middle of the field.
- Expect the big, physical David Nelson and the slot-built Donald Jones to pick up the target scraps from Injured Reserve inhabitant Lee Evans. The Bills will also include Naaman Roosevelt in four-wide sets; the former practice squadder has excellent hands and solid short-area quickness.
- The absence of Todd Heap could up red zone chances for Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin.
- Brandon Marshall says he's playing on one leg right now, and as a result, he's still more of a decoy.
That's one reason the club signed Kevin Curtis. He appears to be in good shape, and he should learn the playbook quickly; he scored a 48 on the Wonderlic in 2003. The Miami Dolphins needed a wideout who can read a D and make proper route adjustments. (See: Chad Henne's struggles.) That man wasn't one of their rookies.
- Never woulda guessed it: Santonio Holmes is extremely fired up for the New York Jets' matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Holmes owners just hope that Mark Sanchez can find him, maybe on a quick slant or three to avoid that dangerous Dick LeBeau pass rush.
- Austin Collie's return won't affect Pierre Garcon's targets because they didn't suffer when Collie was healthy before - and because the Indianapolis Colts have to throw the rock so much. Indy will come out firing against the Jacksonville Jaguars and won't stop.
Incidentally, the Haitian hasn't dropped a pass in four games. He's running the route tree with Peyton Manning in pre-game warm-ups now, the way Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne used to.
- PPR machine Danny Amendola's production has trailed off because - c'mon, this is at least a little surprising - defenses are shading coverage toward him. Don't expect that to change. At least it could mean good things for Brandon Gibson, Laurent Robinson and Danario Alexander.
Around the league
- Warning: Because of the shoddy field conditions and last-minute preparation for the Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears game, we might see Vikes veterans pull out of playing for their own safety. Stay informed with Hot off the Wire.
- The Buffalo Bills might have an easier time running on a tough Miami Dolphins defense this time around; center Eric Wood has done well replacing the injured Geoff Hangartner (knee).
- Fantasy footballers should have their Atlanta Falcons available to them through Week 17. The New Orleans Saints can still catch them, and it's not head coach Mike Smith's style to rest his big pieces for an entire contest.
- Caution: Even when the Chicago Bears are rolling, they have a razor thin margin for error. On offense, they don't make big plays, but they do make ... mistakes. If they don't create turnovers, they're vulnerable.
- Eric Mangini's future lies in the balance. If the Cleveland Browns lose to the Cincinnati Bengals this weekend, he's probably gone. He's a good bet to return if he wins out; 2-1 probably gets him about a 50-50 shot.
- Are Rex Ryan and Co. the best liars in the world, or did they really have nothing to do with Sal Alosi's mischievous sideline plans? Our source leans toward the latter. The staff will determine Alosi's fate after the season.
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Thanks again, fire away, and good luck!
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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