Assembling Your Team:
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (thumb) will undergo thumb surgery on Wednesday in Los Angeles with the hope that he can return in two to three weeks, according to owner Jim Irsay. We haven't received any other specific details on the nature of Taylor's thumb injury, but it's obviously serious enough to sideline him for at least a couple of weeks. The 24-year-old is coming off a two-touchdown performance in the Week 12 win over the Tampa Buccaneers and has dominated Indy's backfield touches the last four weeks, so it's a big loss for fantasy managers with only several more weeks until the playoffs begin in most leagues. Zack Moss, who was the lead back in Weeks 2-4 with Taylor on the PUP list due to an ankle injury, will now take over primary RB duties for the Colts and will have RB2 upside this weekend against the Tennessee Titans.
Veteran running back Kenyan Drake was released by the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday. The 29-year-old signed with Cleveland's practice squad on October 31, but he lasted just under a month with the organization. In a corresponding move, the Browns signed John Kelly Jr., who has been on and off the team's practice squad since 2020. Drake appears to be near the end of his NFL career after stops in Miami, Arizona, Baltimore, and Cleveland.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (hamstring) will be activated from Injured Reserve to the 53-man active roster on Tuesday. Jefferson has missed each of the team's last seven games after being placed on IR after Week 5 with a hamstring injury. Minnesota is on a bye in Week 13, so his potential return could come against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14. When Jefferson is active, he's a must-start option in all leagues. His ceiling could be reduced with Joshua Dobbs, Jaren Hall, or Nick Mullen under center, but his upside outweighs the risk. T.J. Hockenson, Jordan Addison, and K.J. Osborn will likely see reduced target shares when the reigning Offensive Player of the Year returns.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (thumb) could end up on Injured Reserve after suffering an apparent thumb injury in the Week 12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Taylor showed no signs of being injured during or directly after the game, but according to Stephen Holder of ESPN, it's a legitimate injury that could sideline him for an extended period of time. Zack Moss becomes a high-priority waiver add, as he was an RB1 in fantasy football through the first six weeks of the season with Taylor out or limited.
The Chicago Bears were unable to score a single offensive touchdown on Monday night against the division-rival Minnesota Vikings, but they got the win anyway by a score of 12-10 on the strength of kicker Cairo Santos' four made field goals. The 32-year-old veteran did miss one of his kicks but made the other four, including the game-winner with time expiring late in the fourth quarter. Santos wasn't at all on the fantasy radar this year until recently. In the last three games, he's seen a big boost in field-goal chances and has made 11 of his 12 field goals and all three of his extra points. Santos is still a bit of a stretch as a fantasy streamer at the position, but having quarterback Justin Fields back certainly gives him more upside.
Houston Texans kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn (quadriceps) is eligible to be activated from Injured Reserve after the Week 13 game against the Denver Broncos and he is making significant progress in his recovery from a strained quadriceps, according to sources. Houston waived fill-in kicker Matt Ammendola on Monday, but he's a possibility to rejoin the practice squad. Meanwhile, the team is working out veteran Brett Maher on Tuesday. When healthy, Fairbairn is the Texans' regular kicker. The 29-year-old is in his seventh year with the team and had made 18 of his 19 field-goal tries and all 14 of his extra-point opportunities this year in eight games played before injuring his quadriceps in the Week 9 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn secured three of his four targets for 34 yards in Monday night's upsetting 12-10 loss to the division-rival Chicago Bears to close out Week 12 action. This was Osborn's last chance for an elevated role in Minnesota's passing attack, but the Vikings offense struggled mightily all night against an inspired Bears defense. It didn't help that quarterback Joshua Dobbs was not on his game and had four interceptions. Minnesota will now go on their bye and All-Pro wideout Justin Jefferson (hamstring) will return from Injured Reserve in Week 14 to face the Las Vegas Raiders. It means that Osborn will be pushed further down the receiving pecking order. He can be dropped in 12-team redraft leagues at this point.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said that quarterback Kenny Pickett (ankle) is experiencing "ankle discomfort" that will limit him in the early portions of practice this week. The injury doesn't seem serious enough to cause him to miss the Week 13 game against the Arizona Cardinals, but it's something that bears watching for sure during the week. In the first game since offensive coordinator Matt Canada's firing in the Week 12 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Pickett showed improvement and went 24-for-33 for 278 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Hopefully, the 25-year-old signal-caller will be able to build on that this Sunday in a solid matchup against the visiting Cardinals. However, his ankle injury could limit his mobility outside the pocket.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (thumb), who had a 91-yard, two-touchdown performance in the Week 12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, suffered a thumb injury that is requiring further evaluation and puts his status in doubt going forward, according to sources. We'll get you up to speed when we know more on the condition of Taylor's thumb, but fantasy managers already scrambling for players not on bye in Week 13 will want to check to see if Zack Moss is available on your league's waiver wire. At best, Taylor should be considered up in the air to play this Sunday against the division-rival Tennessee Titans, and depending on what tests show on his thumb, he could be forced to miss additional time beyond this week. It could be a big blow to the Colts and to fantasy managers hoping to get into the playoffs.
The Carolina Panthers fired head coach Frank Reich on Monday after a 1-10 start in his first year with the organization, but they remain confident in their investment in rookie quarterback Bryce Young with the first overall pick in this year's draft despite his play not living up to that billing to this point. "We are totally confident in that pick," owner David Tepper said. The shakeup at head coach midway through his first NFL season won't make life any easier on Young as he tries to put forth positive momentum to close out the 2023 campaign. The 22-year-old also doesn't have many playmakers on the offensive side of the ball in Carolina. Young has completed 61.7% of his passes for 1,877 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions in his first 10 NFL starts. He has a chance to put up some decent numbers this weekend in a divisional clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney faced another unproductive outing in Week 12, securing just two catches on three targets for a mere six yards in the team's narrow 12-10 victory over the Vikings. Despite an 81% snap share, the 26-year-old struggled to leave a mark, extending his streak to three consecutive games with less than five PPR points. Throughout the season, he has only reached double-digit fantasy points twice. Over the last three games, Mooney has managed just five catches on eight targets, diminishing his value across most fantasy formats. Despite the improved passing attack with Justin Fields at the helm, Mooney remains overshadowed by DJ Moore and Cole Kmet in the offensive hierarchy. As the Bears enter their bye week in Week 13 before facing the Lions in Week 14who allow the seventh-most points per game to receiversMooney's fantasy outlook remains uncertain, urging managers to reevaluate his role on their rosters.
Chicago Bears running back Khalil Herbert was limited in the team's Week 12 victory over the Vikings, finishing with just six carries for 24 yards and two catches for 14 yards. Despite the absence of D'Onta Foreman due to an ankle injury, the 25-year-old was expected to shoulder a more significant workload. However, rookie Roschon Johnson took center stage, out-snapping Herbert 51-to-16 and registering 15 touches compared to Herbert's eight. This unexpected development raises concerns about Herbert's role for the rest of the season, particularly given the typical trend of increased involvement for rookies in skill positions as the season progresses. With the Bears on a bye in Week 13 and a matchup against the Lions in Week 14who allow the third-fewest points per game to running backsHerbert's fantasy outlook is uncertain. Fantasy managers are left questioning Herbert's future viability in lineups, emphasizing the need for increased opportunities in the coming weeks.
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields finished 27-of-37 for 217 passing yards along with 12 rushes for 59 yards in the team's 12-10 win over the Vikings in Week 12. The Ohio State alum was unable to lead the team on any touchdown drives and lost two fumbles, which hurt his overall fantasy output. He ended with just over 10 fantasy points, which is his lowest mark all season in a full game. The 24-year-old has now scored just one touchdown in the last two games after scoring eight touchdowns in his two healthy games prior in Weeks 4 and 5. The Bears are off in Week 13 and will take on the Lions again in Week 14, who allow the 6th-most points per game to quarterbacks this season. Thanks to his rushing upside, Fields remains a low-end QB1 option for the rest of the year.
Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet caught all seven of his targets for 43 yards in the team's 12-10 win over the Vikings in Week 12. This was the fourth time this season the Notre Dame alum finished with more than five catches in a game, but he was limited to just 43 yards, and 24 of those came on one reception. The 24-year-old trailed only DJ Moore in targets and has seen seven or more targets in four of the last five games. His production has been pretty stable with both Tyson Bagent and Justin Fields under center, but his ceiling is higher with Fields because of how much Fields elevates the offense's potential. The Bears are off in Week 13 and get the Lions again in Week 14, who allow the 13th-most points per game to tight ends this year. Kmet remains a solid TE1 option going forward.
Chicago Bears running back Roschon Johnson saw the most usage of his young career in the team's 12-10 win over the Vikings in Week 12. The rookie running back finished with a career-most 10 carries for 35 yards while also catching all five targets for 40 yards. This marked the most opportunities Johnson saw in a game all year and the first time he's seen 10 touches since Week 3. The 22-year-old was the clear leader in the backfield in Week 12, playing 51 snaps to Khalil Herbert's 15. With D'Onta Foreman (ankle) out, Johnson was expected to see some work alongside Herbert but ended up leading the backfield entirely. The Bears have a bye week in Week 13 and face the Lions in Week 14, who allow the third-fewest points per game to running backs.
Chicago Bears wide receiver DJ Moore continues to shine alongside quarterback Justin Fields, showcasing his ability in their Week 12 12-10 victory over the Vikings. Moore's impressive performance included 11 receptions on 13 targets, amassing 114 yards. This marked his fourth game of the season surpassing 100 receiving yards and his first with double-digit receptions. The former Panther has consistently excelled with Fields, recording a minimum of 20 PPR points in four of their seven games together, with no fewer than 13 points since Week 1. Looking ahead, the Bears have a bye in Week 13 but are set to face the Lions in Week 14, a team that has allowed the seventh-most points per game to receivers this season. Notably, Moore had a notable 96-yard game against the Lions in their Week 11 clash. Fantasy managers can confidently view Moore as a must-start option as long as Fields remains the starting quarterback.
Dynasty | Joshua Dobbs threw for 185 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions in the Vikings Monday night loss to the Bears. Dynasty Analysis: It was a poor night for Dobbs as the magic which has fueled his recent rise ran out yet again. The crafty quarterback has been a story in 2023 but head coach Kevin O'Connell refused to commit to the veteran in week 14. The team has a its bye in week 13. The question as to who starts may come down to whether the team believes they are positioned for a deep playoff run or if they would be better served in seeing what rookie Jaren Hall, or veteran Nick Mullens, could offer off the bench. As for Dobbs, as this game displayed, he doesn't possess the skillset that will allow him to survive adversity to remain a starter over the long term. Dobbs is listed as DLF's QB36.
Dynasty | Justin Fields led the Bears to a last second field goal and victory over the Vikings in week 12. Dynasty Analysis: Any way you slice it, it was an ugly performance by both teams. Fields was able to overcome two lost fumbles late in the game to secure the win. On the night, he threw for 217 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions but didn't help to answer any questions about his potential future in the Windy City. Still only 24, Fields faces an uncertain future as the team holds two first round selections in the upcoming NFL Draft, including the projected first-overall selection acquired from the Panthers as part of the trade that allowed Carolina to select Bryce Young. Listed as DLF's QB10, it's fair to say that it's possible Fields could have more success for another team in 2024 but may also benefit should he remain in Chicago with the team adding much needed receiver depth
Dynasty | Roschon Johnson saw 10 carries and five receptions for a combined 75 yards in the Bears victory over the Vikings in week 12. Dynasty Analysis: With D'Onta Foreman down with an injury, it was Johnson who saw 15 touches to that of assumed starter Khalil Herbert, who saw only eight. It's a true committee in Chicago with all three backs capable of production but without any clear leader. Without question, Johnson has the most dynasty appeal for the long term but the RBBC will be a frustrating variable making for inconsistent production, likely through the end of the year. It's a situation to avoid for now until a clear pecking order is established. Johnson is found as our RB38.
Free-agent LB Shaquille Leonard (Colts) is scheduled to visit the Philadelphia Eagles later this week.
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