The Cardinals have placed RB Chris Johnson (leg) on IR-designated-for-return. He's not eligible to play unless Arizona makes the Super Bowl. The Cardinals will move forward with RBs David Johnson, Stepfan Taylor and Kerwynn Williams. RB Andre Ellington is week-to-week with turf toe.
The Patriots issued a typically vague statement on TE Rob Gronkowski on Tuesday. Here it is: "During Sunday night’s game, Rob Gronkowski sustained a bone bruise/sprain of his right knee. His status will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis and listed accordingly on the practice participation and injury reports. There is no timetable for his readiness to return, which will be determined in the days or hours prior to the appropriate game. Any timetable reported prior to that final determination would be speculative." There's no new information here and no specific target date for Gronkowski's return. The latest reports from the media have him expected to miss 1-2 weeks. We'll continue to track his status.
Colts HC Chuck Pagano didn't exactly have encouraging words Monday night for anyone who owns RB Frank Gore in fantasy: “He’s beat to crap. He’s like everybody else. He took some shots (against the Buccaneers). But he’s a warrior. He’s a tough son of a gun and he finds a way to get himself right by Sunday and he’ll be right come Sunday night (at Pittsburgh) and we’re going to need him.” This seems like a bit more than the usual "everyone's hurt by this point in the season" stuff, especially when you consider that Gore has finished 4 straight games with less than 3.3 yards per carry. That included season-low efficiency in his 34-yard Week 11 at Atlanta and then a new low with 24 yards on 19 carries against the Bucs on Sunday. Gore will remain the feature back in Indy, which keeps him in fantasy-starter territory amid a tattered RB landscape. But his ceiling looks a lot lower now than it did just a few weeks ago. And if Ben Roethlisberger's ready for Sunday night's game in Pittsburgh, then we'd bet on game flow working against the Colts running the ball as well.
Patriots LB Jamie Collins plans to play against the Eagles this Sunday, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. Collins missed the past 4 games with a still-unspecified illness, but he did return to practice Friday before the Denver trip. It's not clear how big a role he'll take on right away -- and we're talking about the Patriots, so it probably won't be clear before Sunday afternoon's kickoff. That adds risk to Collins' IDP profile. But he's a top-10 fantasy LB when playing full time. So he'll make sense at least in LB3 range, unless we do hear some specifics on his role in the meantime.
Browns QB Josh McCown broke his collarbone in Monday night's loss to the Ravens and is done for the season, HC Mike Pettine announced. All things considered, McCown was impressive this year, completing 63.7% of his passes with 12 TDs vs. 4 INTs. He couldn't stay healthy, though, and turns 37 next July. McCown clearly isn't Cleveland's QB of the future, although he is signed for 2 more years. Pettine refused to say on Tuesday whether Johnny Manziel or Austin Davis will start this weekend's game against the Bengals.
Eagles TE Zach Ertz (concussion) practiced on Tuesday. He also practiced last Wednesday before missing the Thanksgiving loss to the Lions. Ertz seems to be on track to return for this weekend's game against the Patriots. New England ranks 4th in fantasy points allowed to TEs, but volume could make Ertz a low-end fantasy option.
Just a couple of hours after Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger said he didn't sustain a concussion in last week's loss to the Seahawks, HC Mike Tomlin said his QB is in the concussion protocol. This has been a wacky situation from the start. We'll just have to keep an eye on Big Ben's practice participation this week. We're still tentatively expecting him to play against the Colts on Sunday night.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger said in a Tuesday radio appearance that he's healthy and ready to play against the Colts on Sunday night. He added that he was never officially diagnosed with a concussion. He'll be a high-end QB1 in that plus matchup. Roethlisberger has averaged 358.5 passing yards in his 6 full games this season.
Falcons HC Dan Quinn confirmed that RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) is on track to return for Sunday's game against the Bucs. “We anticipate getting Free back,” Quinn said. “He was able to participate in all of the meetings and do all of the stuff today. We’re heading into the week anticipating full action with him.” RB Tevin Coleman played well in spurts against Minnesota last week, but he lost a fumble and dropped 2 passes. Freeman should return as the clear lead back and will be a good bet for 20+ touches.
Eagles QB Sam Bradford will test his injured shoulder in Tuesday's practice. "I just don't know exactly where we are from a throwing standpoint," HC Chip Kelly said. "He threw a little bit in Detroit, wasn't ready to play last Thursday obviously . . . And a big test will be [Tuesday], him throwing the ball and seeing there's residual soreness in terms of being able to continue." We'll keep an eye on Bradford's progress this week, but neither he nor QB Mark Sanchez will be a recommended fantasy play in New England.