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Fantasy Football: Week 12 starts, sits

11.22.13 at 10:28 am ET
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Welcome to the starts and sits for Week 12. I’€™ve done my best to find some options from across the spectrum while avoiding the really obvious stuff. This is the last bye week for the NFL, so things get a lot easier going forward for those whose teams are still in the thick of things. If you require more assistance or clarity, head over to Rotobahn and check out our full lineup rankings. Also, make sure you check out the Fantasy Football Podcast with Jim Hackett sponsored by our friends at Mohegan Sun. And, as always, I’€™ll be here Sunday morning for our chat to help with your Week 12 lineup decisions.



Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Browns

He’€™s gone off in two out of the last three games, and he’€™s worth a look based on upside alone. He probably will have his best receiver taken away because Cleveland’€™s Joe Haden is one of the league’s best cornerbacks, but Big Ben has other places he can go with the ball.

Carson Palmer, Cardinals vs. Colts

He’€™ll have his ups and downs in this weekend’€™s game because Indy can get a pass rush going sometimes, but he’€™ll have enough moments throwing to Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd to have a solid fantasy outing.

Josh McCown, Bears at Rams

He’€™s not fun to watch, but like Shaun Hill on the Lions, he gets the job done. Coach Marc Trestman has done his usual magnificent job with his quarterbacks, and you can expect some solid stats in Week 12. The Rams simply cannot match up with the size and athleticism of the Chicago receivers and tight ends. The Rams could get lit up if they fail to rush the passer, which is the strength of their defense. McCown is a solid option in 12-team leagues.

Mike Glennon, Bucs at Lions

This is a deep play. Glennon is a bit risky on the road, but I like the matchup with the Tampa receivers going against the Detroit defensive backs. I also think the Bucs can hold up better than most teams against the Lions’ nasty front four. Glennon can play for you in a 12-team league if you’€™re in a bind. The same can be said for Scott Tolzien of the Packers and and Case Keenum of the Texans.


Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins vs. Panthers

He’€™s got bad protection, broken weapons and a bad Week 1 matchup. He may get some volume stats, but you can do better in most formats. Leave Tannehill on the bench this week if you have other options.

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Read More: Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer, Josh McCown, Mike Glennon

Jonathan Kraft on D&C: ‘I’ve never heard Bill [Belichick] say a bad word about Wes [Welker]’

11.22.13 at 9:54 am ET
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Patriots president Jonathan Kraft checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to talk about Sunday night’s showdown with the AFC-leading Broncos and other Patriots news.

The game marks the return of former Patriot Wes Welker, who is expected to play after suffering a concussion in Denver’s last game. Kraft said he has a special place in his heart for Welker, who played six incredibly productive seasons in Foxboro.

“How do you not, as a football fan, forget just being a Patriots fan, how do you not have huge admiration for Wes?” Kraft said. “The thing I always say about him, aside from the fact he’s a wonderful guy that I’ve had the privilege of knowing, when I stand next to him — and I’m no physical specimen — there’s really not a lot of difference in terms of what you look at when the two of us are standing next to each other. And then you watch him step on a football field and do what he does, it’s indescribable. If you love the game and you appreciate what the game is, and then you look at him and you look at what he was given in terms of just the basic physical attributes, and then you watch what he does, you have to be in awe of him. And I am in awe of him.

“Unfortunately, I watch him in a different color uniform and I’m still in awe of him and what he does on the football field. It’s exceptional and amazing.”

Welker departed the Patriots under mysterious circumstances, as New England did not appear to try its hardest to sign Tom Brady‘s favorite receiver. Kraft said he has no reason to believe it was anything personal between Welker and Bill Belichick.

“I don’t believe that’s the case,” Kraft said. “I’ve seen no sign of that from Bill. ‘€¦ Bill, when he’s building a team, leave emotion out of it completely. He truly does what he feels is in the best interest of the team. And he has a dollar value in mind and structures that can work for different people. And regardless of how he feels about you personally, not as a football player, because I know as a football player he has the utmost for Wes, a huge amount of respect, not just for physical toughness that he has, but Wes gets the game of football. He’s incredibly intelligent. You saw him walk in here in 2007 and instantly get our offense and get on the same wavelength with Tommy. And I think Bill values those things highly.

“I’ve never heard Bill say a bad word about Wes. And even if he did have emotions about him as a person — and I have no reason to believe that he does — that are the way [the WEEI hosts] are describing, I don’t believe he would let that impact a decision that was good for the football team.”

Belichick famously held Welker out of the starting lineup in the Patriots’ playoff loss to the Jets in January 2011 after Welker tweaked New York coach Rex Ryan in a press conference leading up to the game. Kraft said he does not question Belichick’s decisions on matters such as that — at least not professionally.

“You’ve got to have confidence in your head coach, and you have to let him do what he thinks is right. Bill has the ability to do that,” Kraft said. “As a fan, you can sit back and question anything. That’s why all of sports are fun to watch, but I don’t think anything is more fun to watch and follow than football, because there’s so much to discuss. There are more players, there are more situations, each play is scripted.

“You have those discussions, and I understand the question, but I would never question Bill’s ability to make the right decision. Is every decision he makes right? Obviously not. No one’s perfect. But to sit back and question what he’s doing isn’t something that I do, isn’t something that anyone up here does. His track record speaks for itself. That doesn’t mean that as a fan you don’t sit there and say things, but he know what he’s doing.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, Wes Welker

Wes Welker on returning to New England: ‘It’s a big game’

11.21.13 at 10:25 pm ET
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Thanks to the Broncos PR staff, here’s a transcript of the Thursday Q&A between Wes Welker and the Denver media.

On not going sleeveless in the cold weather: ‘€œNo, not for practice. Maybe for a game, but not for practice. Try and bundle up, stay warm.’€

On being excited for the Patriots game: ‘€œDefinitely excited. It’€™s a big game, a big matchup. Great environment and everything else. I really look forward to it.’€

On if it will be strange playing in New England as a visitor: ‘€œSince Miami, yeah, I’€™m sure it will be, a little bit. But it’€™s another game, another field’€”it’€™s still the same size and everything else. I’€™m familiar with it, so that’€™s an advantage for sure.’€

On whether he has shared some of his experiences from New England with players in the locker room: ‘€œTrying to the best I can, just try and enlighten those guys and help them out the best I can. And really just preparing myself.’€

On how he’€™s feeling: ‘€œFeeling good.’€

On whether he will play on Sunday: ‘€œThat’€™s what I’€™m hoping for. Just listen to what the doctors say and go from there.’€

On his recovery process this week: ‘€œJust meeting with the independent doctors and going through multiple tests and everything else.’€

On how he felt in practice: ‘€œI felt fine. I feel fine. I’€™m just preparing myself, getting ready and hopefully just get cleared for Sunday.’€

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Patriots injury report Thursday: No changes for Pats; Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, Peyton Manning return for Broncos

11.21.13 at 5:15 pm ET
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FOXBORO — There were no changes on Thursday’s injury report for the Patriots but several big names returned to the practice field for the Broncos 72 hours before Sunday night’s big game at Gillette Stadium.

In an indication that he will likely be ready to play, wide receiver Wes Welker had a helmet on and took part in Broncos practice, but was limited. Welker sustained a blow to the neck in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s win over the Chiefs and appeared shaken on the field.

He was not expected to practice until Friday while undergoing concussion protocol, making Thursday’s appearance somewhat surprising. Welker will still have to pass concussion protocol and testing by doctors before being cleared for Sunday night.

Also returning Thursday for the Broncos were tight end Julius Thomas (knee) and quarterback Peyton Manning (ankle). Thomas was limited while Manning fully participated in practice and is expected to be a full go for Sunday.

For the Patriots, cornerbacks Aqib Talib (hip), Alfonzo Dennard (knee), Kyle Arrington (groin) and safety Steve Gregory (finger) were again all limited on Thursday. The only player who was missing was Michael Hoomanawanui, who injured his knee in Monday’s loss to the Panthers.


Read More: Denver Broncos, Julius Thomas, New England Patriots, nfl

Patriots have same injury report, with Hoomanawanui the only absence

11.21.13 at 5:09 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” For the second consecutive day, the Patriots had the same series of players on the injury report, as tight end Michael Hoomanawanui was absent and several of the recently hobbled defensive backs — including cornerbacks Aqib Talib (hip), Alfonzo Dennard (knee), Kyle Arrington (groin) and safety Steve Gregory (finger) — were all limited.

Here’€™s the complete report:

Did Not Practice
TE Michael Hoomanawanui (knee)

Limited Participation
WR Danny Amendola (groin)
CB Kyle Arrington (groin)
CB Alfonzo Dennard (knee)
S Steve Gregory (finger)
TE Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm/hamstring)
LB Brandon Spikes (knee)
CB Aqib Talib (hip)
RB Leon Washington (ankle)

Full Participation
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder)
WR Matthew Slater (wrist)
RB Shane Vereen (wrist)

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Report: Gene Steratore will work as referee for Patriots-Broncos … again

11.21.13 at 1:24 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Gene Steratore will work as the referee for Sunday’s Patriots-Broncos contest, according to our friends at Football Zebras.

This will be the second Patriots game of the 2013 season for Steratore and his crew — they served as the officials for Patriots-Bengals on Oct. 6 in Cincinnati. The 50-year-old Steratore, who also works as a Division 1 men’€™s college basketball referee, has worked as an NFL official since 2003.

An interesting note: Sunday night will mark the third straight game Steratore has served as ref for a Patriots-Broncos game in Foxboro. He was at Gillette with his crew on Oct. 7, 2012 for the Patriots-Broncos game, a 31-21 win for New England. He also served as an official for the 2011 divisional playoff between the Patriots and Denver at Gillette Stadium (a game where New England crushed Tim Tebow and the Broncos, 45-10).

For more on Steratore’s history as an official, check out his page at Pro Football Reference.

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Michael Hoomanawanui only one missing from start of Patriots practice

11.21.13 at 12:32 pm ET
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FOXBORO — For the second straight day, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui was the only player missing from the start of Patriots practice, a session held on the upper fields behind Gillette Stadium in sweats and shells. (Hoomanawanui suffered a knee injury in the loss to the Panthers.) The Patriots continue their prep work for Sunday night’s game against the Broncos in Foxboro.

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