Here are a few snippets from yesterday's 4th & Long column, along with some other updates from around the league.
Colin Kaepernick will get another start for the 49ers over Alex Smith, who is essentially being benched since he’s been medically cleared to play. At this stage of the season, I'd hate to start such a green QB; but you can't argue with his favorable matchup against the sieve-like Saints defense. You also have to feel pretty good about Michael Crabtree's and Vernon Davis' chances on Sunday, after Kaepernick's solid start last weekend.
Jay Cutler could be back for the Bears on Sunday, which is especially good news for Brandon Marshall's owners. I wouldn’t risk Cutler in my starting lineup – fully healthy or not – but there’s no arguing that his presence is an upgrade for both Marshall and Matt Forte.
If you were toying with dropping Ben Roethlisberger due to the discouraging news that initially surrounded his shoulder injury, don't do it. Word now is that he could return as soon as Week 13. And we’ve seen plenty of evidence in years past that Big Ben can play extremely well when hurt.
Andy Dalton is on a terrific roll, with seven total touchdowns over the past two weeks. Meanwhile, the Raiders have given up 93 points over the same period. Cha-ching!
Cincinnati hasn't allowed a passing score over its past two games, while Carson Palmer has been tearing up a series of poor pass defenses. As much as he would love to make his former team regret they let him go, Palmer's hot hand is likely to cool off this weekend.
The way to move the ball against the Bucs is through the air, not on the ground. Michael Turner has had an up-and-down season, but this game has all the trappings of a disaster.
Looks like at least one more week of the Marcel Reece Experiment, as Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson miss another game with their bum ankles. Reece has been a pleasant surprise so far, and he should continue to deliver capably in Cincinnati.
Injuries to his foot and neck are hounding Ahmad Bradshaw this week, and his status for Sunday night’s game could come down to the wire. Given the late start, you’d be wise to go with a safer option in the early games, or have Andre Brown ready in the wings in case Bradshaw can’t go. [UPDATE: Bradshaw should play; but expect significant appearances from both Brown and rookie David Wilson.]
Danny Amendola is in a walking boot, thanks to the foot injury he sustained last weekend. His status is in jeopardy heading into Sunday's late games. Plan accordingly. [UPDATE: Amendola is now officially doubtful. Find a sub.]
Denarius Moore is dealing with a bum hammy, but he should play Sunday. I'm benching him this week due to the injury, the tough matchup, and his lackluster performance in Week 11.
Don't expect to see Percy Harvin (ankle) back this weekend.
Julio Jones will likely give it a go on his ailing ankle; and despite his limited contributions in Week 11, you can’t afford to bench him against the Buccaneers’ hapless secondary.
It sounds like Greg Jennings is nearing a return, finally. Don't expect him back this weekend, but Week 13 is a real possibility. It would be great to let him get a game under his belt before trusting him in the fantasy postseason.
Laurent Robinson has been placed on IR due to his fourth concussion of the season. It’s hard to believe, in this day and age, that he was even given the opportunity to incur a third blow to the head, much less four. Litigation, anyone?
Originally published on the blog Fantasy Fools