It's that time again, guys. Time to stalk practice, and let you know who has been sitting out and who has been flourishing.
With seven weeks in the bag, injuries are starting to pile up and our fantasy teams are taking the brunt of the load. Good thing you have a nerd on your side.
Let's start 'em and sit 'em for the upcoming NFL week.
When Andre Johnson went down to a phantom tackle a few weeks back, he looked like he might not return this year. But Johnson has improved with each passing day and should be ready to go on Sunday versus Jacksonville.
The Jags are coming off a stunning win on Monday night against the seemingly strong Ravens. The Texans, though, have a very different attack.
Jacksonville is 10th in the NFL against the run, and it used its smothering front line and linebackers to slow down Ray Rice. Houston is a little more balanced than the Jags, and Johnson is hungry.
With the sixth-ranked passing defense, Johnson will have his hands full with the Jaguars' secondary. But the fact that he's been sidelined for a few weeks now means he'll want to contribute heavily to a Houston win.
Jahvid Best is a very startable back when he's healthy. He's got a more than capable quarterback in Matthew Stafford, who has more than capable targets (Megatron, Pettigrew). But Jahvid is listed as doubtful this week against Denver.
Best was concussed against the bruising San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago and he still hasn't recovered. It's unfortunate for Best owners, too, since the Broncos defense has been anything but daunting.
Best and the Lions have Week 9 off with a bye, but look for Jahvid to come back fully rested against the rival Bears.
Cheer up, Hines. You're going up against the worst passing defense in the NFL on Sunday.
That's right. The Pats are the team in question and they allow 322.2 passing yards per game (31.1 yards more than 31st place Green Bay). Hines Ward might have a huge game.
With only 258 yards receiving and just two scores in 2011, Ward isn't off to much of a start. His ankle injury has earned him a questionable status, but Hines is tough and says it "will take a lot" to keep him off the field.
Watch for Big Ben to air it out against New England. He'll probably spread it out to multiple targets, but Hines has always been a personal favorite of his.
Daniel Thomas has been limping around since his encounter with the New York Jets a couple of weeks ago. His hamstring injury doesn't seem to be improving and he has been listed as questionable against the Giants this weekend.
Thomas' hamstring is so bad that he missed Wednesday's practice (according to the Miami Herald). If Thomas were good to go, he might have a field day against the G-Men. They are 27th in the NFL versus the ground attack, allowing 127.7 yards per game.
I know what you're thinking. Peyton Hillis is banged up. His hamstring has been an issue all year and the Browns only have their featured back listed as questionable.
But Cleveland's head coach, Pat Shurmur says Hillis will be a "full go" on Sunday against the 49ers.
San Francisco boasts the second best rushing defense in the NFL (allowing just 74.7 yards per game), but few running backs run like Hillis. He's a bruiser, and if San Fran wants to remain one of the elite teams in the league, it needs to prove it can stop the bulky back.
Look for Hillis to wear down his opponent. Candlestick isn't exactly known to be a factor when it comes to noise. And the Browns might rush Hillis 25 times or more if he's up to it.
If you're starting Mark Ingram every week, I pity you. Darren Sproles is getting a lot of action out of the Saints backfield and Pierre Thomas has been no slouch as a legitimate second option. But nevertheless, Ingram is still owned in a high percentage of league because of his ability to vulture scores.
Ingram has a heel injury that should keep him off the field Sunday against the Rams. He's listed as questionable and did not practice on Wednesday—two reasons to keep him on your fantasy bench.
Thanks, Matt. Next thing you're going to tell me is that the Colts suck and Tom Brady is a "good" quarterback. First of all, easy on the attitude. Second of all, AP has a bum ankle.
He's still listed as probable for Minnesota's matchup with the soft Carolina Panthers, but Peterson didn't practice on Wednesday.
Don't sweat it, though. "All Day" could break 100 yards with a few scores on one leg against the 29th best team against the run (Carolina).
Without the 'Skins' defensive prowess, there's no way they would be a respectable 3-3 this season. In the wide-open NFC East, they'll need to hunker down to get some big wins over the next few weeks. On the fantasy front, Washington's defense is a bad start this weekend.
You see, the Redskins have the Bills, who can score some points. Points against your defense means a tiny bonus, and we all know how close our fantasy matchups can get. One or two points could seal it.
On top of having to deal with Buffalo this week, the Redskins are banged up all over the place on the defensive side of the ball. DeAngelo Hall, London Fletcher and Oshiomogho Atogwe are all listed as questionable.