Shark Bites

The Titans are planning to start rookie QB Zach Mettenberger against the Texans this weekend, according to insider Jim Wyatt.  It signals a shift to full-on rebuild mode for the 2-5 Titans.  QB Jake Locker can't stay healthy and has been inconsistent when on the field.  QB Charlie Whitehurst certainly isn't the answer.  So Tennessee will get a look at its 6th-round rookie.  Mettenberger is a 6'5, 224-pounder with a big arm who played in a pro-style offense at LSU.  He completed 69% of his passes with a 9.7 yards-per-attempt average this preseason, but that came against scrubs.  Mettenberger went 2-of-5 for 17 yards and an INT in a brief Week 4 appearance.  He can't be much worse than what Tennessee has gotten out of its QBs so far, but we doubt he'll be an upgrade, either.

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Cardinals QB Carson Palmer and his coach Bruce Arians each told reporters Wednesday that the nerve in his right shoulder is no longer an issue, according to AZCentral.com. Palmer says he has returned to lifting with his upper body in the weight room, which required some strength rebuilding after his time away. And Arians added that Palmer is "full-tilt" in practices. The Cardinals QB has thrown for 250+ yards and 2 TDs in each of his 3 games this season and looks like a platoon play the rest of the way. He's a good fantasy football option against the Eagles this weekend.

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Texans LB Brian Cushing will miss at least a week to rest his bothersome left knee, according to a report from Pro Football Talk. Cushing appeared on the injury report the past 3 weeks because of the knee, which he has reportedly had drained "a few times recently." It's the same knee in which he tore the ACL last season. Beyond Week 8, the Texans have just 1 more game before the bye. Don't be surprised if Cushing misses that one, too. Mike Mohamed is listed as Cushing's backup but started next to Cushing against Pittsburgh. Justin Tuggle has shared snaps lately and seems the most likely to step into the lineup. We'll see if either can turn into an IDP factor over the next week or 2, but neither is worth adding in most IDP leagues right now.

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Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) put in a limited practice on Wednesday.  It's an upgrade over last week, when he sat out Wednesday's workout.  We'd like to see Graham get in a full practice on Thursday or Friday, but he'll be nearly impossible to bench in fantasy this week regardless.  Saints-Packers should be one of the highest scoring games of the season.

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We didn't learn much about the Bills' Week 8 backfield plans on Wednesday.  RB Anthony Dixon took the 1st-team reps in the portion of practice open to the media -- no surprise considering he's still listed above RB Bryce Brown on the depth chart.  HC Doug Marrone said afterward that he "doesn't really know yet" how the snaps will be divvied.  Dixon confirmed, though, that he's planning to work with Brown as a "combination."  Both guys figure to see plenty of action against a tough Jets run defense this weekend.  That makes neither a strong fantasy play.

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Colts HC Chuck Pagano confirmed that the MRI on WR Reggie Wayne's injured elbow revealed "nothing significant."  Pagano labeled Wayne "day-to-day."  Previous reports had him likely to miss a game or 2, so we'd still consider him unlikely to play against the Steelers this weekend.  But we'll continue to track his status.

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Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) has been ruled out for Thursday night's game against the Broncos.  He's yet to resume practicing and has no timetable for return.  Branden Oliver will once again serve as San Diego's feature back but is more of a RB2  this week against a tough Denver run defense.

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Jets HC Rex Ryan admitted that WR Percy Harvin will play a "small role on offense" against the Bills this weekend.  He'll have had just 9 days to study the playbook.  Look for Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley to lead Jets WRs in snaps, with Harvin playing in certain packages.  He can't be trusted in Week 8 fantasy lineups.  Ryan added that Harvin will return kickoffs and "maybe" punts.

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Redskins insider Dianne Marie Russini hears from multiple sources that there's "no chance" QB Robert Griffin (ankle) plays against the Cowboys on Monday night.  RG3 practiced on Wednesday and was actually the 1st QB through in drills.  But it sounds like it'll be Colt McCoy under center this week.  It's bad news for all of Washington's skill players.  Look for RG3 to return for Week 9.

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Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday.  He's downplayed the severity of the injury, but he's not a lock to be available for this weekend's game against the Steelers.  We'll update his status again tomorrow.

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Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart (foot) put in a limited practice on Wednesday -- his first in 2 weeks.  It gives him a shot to return for this weekend's game against the Dolphins, although it'd be in a secondary role behind Denard Robinson.  Gerhart isn't a Week 8 fantasy option.

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Packers RB James Starks (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday.  The ankle injury isn't believed to be serious, but we can't consider him a lock to play against the Saints on Sunday night.  If he can't go, it'd be a nice boost to RB Eddie Lacy's Week 8 outlook.

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11 hours ago

Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) remained out of practice on Wednesday.  He was spotted jogging off to the side, though.  Green has a chance to play against the Ravens on Sunday, but he'd likely need to get in at least 1 practice this week.  Check back tomorrow for another update.

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Bucs RB Charles Sims (ankle) returned to practice on Wednesday. The rookie won’t play on Sunday, but he has a real shot at suiting up for a Week 9 tilt at Cleveland.  Given the mess that is Tampa Bay's backfield, Sims will have an opportunity to carve out a sizable role.  He's worth stashing in deeper PPR leagues for his pass catching prowess. 

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Lions WR Calvin Johnson didn't take part in the portion of Wednesday's practice open to the media, but he was officially listed as a limited participant.  "I'm getting better; I'll tell you that much," Johnson said afterward. "Moving around a lot more, so I'm feeling good."  Johnson at least has a chance to play against the Falcons this weekend, but we still wouldn't bet on it.  Check back tomorrow for another update.

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Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday.  He's resumed running, but with Detroit's bye coming up next week, it'd make sense for them to hold Johnson out of Sunday's game against the Falcons.  Owners can't be counting on him playing at this point.

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Patriots DE/OLB Chandler Jones will miss the next month because of a hip injury, according to the Boston Globe. Jones apparently suffered the injury in the 2nd quarter but played through it, missing just 3 snaps for the game. New England previous played rookie DL Dominique Easley in Jones' end spot when Jones was limited by a shoulder injury. The team also traded for Titans LB Akeem Ayers on Tuesday, a player who fits the 3-4 OLB role that Jones has also seen more of this year. Neither presents anything near the IDP scoring potential of Jones. Look for the Patriots to get more creative with their blitzing, which could mean a few more chances for LBs Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins. Jones' absence -- more than that of ILB Jerod Mayo -- can only hurt the team D for fantasy football purposes.

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