Happy return: Welcome back, Josh Gordon!
This is the week many of you have been waiting for: Browns WR Josh Gordon is back from his suspension, and will play in Week 12. According to this cleveland.com story, Browns head coach Mike Pettine says Gordon will be eased back into the offense, but Falcons head coach Mike Smith – whose 32nd-ranked pass defense will host Gordon this week – thinks Pettine is full of it.
Gordon’s activities over the past 11 weeks have basically included strength and conditioning, along with catching balls from a JUGS machine. Is he in "football shape?" Heck if I know, but my Week 12 rankings will have him somewhere in the WR15-20 range. It’s hard to imagine the Browns not targeting Gordon fairly often.
In other news …
On Tuesday morning, the NFL suspended Adrian Peterson for at least the rest of the 2014 season. Peterson will reportedly file a grievance, but it’s a longshot that he’ll help your fantasy team. Move on.
Saints WR Brandin Cooks is expected to miss 4-6 weeks due to a broken thumb. Marques Colston got a higher-than-normal eight targets on Sunday. We can upgrade him, but he’s still probably not the old Marques Colston.
Injured Broncos update: TE Julius Thomas (ankle) is TBD for Week 12, WR Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) will need to go through the NFL’s concussion protocol before we know more, and RB Montee Ball (groin) is expected to miss two or three games. With Ronnie Hillman possibly out for up to six weeks, C.J. Anderson is unquestionably the man in the Bronco backfield.
With Ahmad Bradshaw possibly done for the season due to a broken leg, Trent Richardson will get busier for the Colts, and Daniel Herron will back him up. Or, Andrew Luck will just throw 70 times per game.
On the bright side for the Colts, Dwayne Allen’s ankle sprain isn’t bad, and he might play this week.
Remember your byes: The Panthers are Steelers are off in Week 12.
Thursday’s game is Chiefs at Raiders. Zzz ….
Speaking of the Raiders, when asked Monday about RB Latavius Murray, interim head coach Tony Sparano said, "yeah, you’re going to see more of him." The electric Murray carried four times for 43 yards against the Chargers in Week 11, and looked better than his backfield mates. He’s a worthwhile pickup and a home-run threat, but starting him on your fantasy squad this week seems ambitious.
Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) expects to play this week.
Here’s a breakdown on how Ryan Mathews was eased back into action against the Raiders. A busier Mathews + Donald Brown getting passing-down work = an unproductive Branden Oliver. Oh, well – we’ll always have Weeks 5 and 6.
Ben Tate is losing playing time with the Browns because his rookie teammates have "a little more pop," according to Pettine. The workloads of Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West might be inconsistent, but it sounds like Tate is firmly behind both in the pecking order.
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald expects to play this week despite a sprained knee ligament.
Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph was eased back into action in Week 11, but should get busier as he shakes off some rust.
The Redskins are calling TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) day to day.
See you back here Friday morning.