No more bye weeks. It’s all up to health and strategy from here on out to get you to a fantasy football championship. Here are some updates on injured players, their status for the Week 12 games or the outlook for their replacements.
Willis McGahee, Ronnie Hillman, RBs, Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs
If you missed out on Trent Richardson, Doug Martin or David Wilson in your August fantasy drafts, Ronnie Hillman or Robert Turbin were likely the next men up. Hillman's path to playing time was not as clear as Richardson, Martin's or Turbin's, had Marshawn Lynch been suspended, and David Wilson fumbled away his opportunity from Week 1. Hillman was the only one set to play behind a 31-year-old running back with injury history in Willis McGahee. And if you were patient with Hillman and his own hamstring issues that stunted his development as a rookie, then it looks like it will start paying off in Week 12 of the NFL season. McGahee is on IR with a torn MCL and leg fracture and Hillman will partially get his shot. He had around 60 percent of the snaps when McGahee went down last week and will likely have to compete with Lance Ball and Knowshon Moreno for touches. But this is John Fox's draft pick and he gets his first start against a Chiefs defense ranked 24th against fantasy RBs in PPR scoring. Denver has the eighth-most rushing attempts in the NFL this season. While I'd normally be conservative about inserting Hillman on his first start, the matchup and Fox's propensity to run the ball have me stepping out of the box on this one. Consider Hillman a mid-level RB2 this week.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos
A neck injury forced an early exit for Dwayne Bowe from last week's game as he provided fantasy owners with a goose egg. He was limited in practice on Wednesday but was there in full on the final two days. He is expected to play in this 1 p.m. start. However, Denver is ranked 10th against fantasy receivers in PPR scoring. The two-touchdown day allowed to Danario Alexander last week was the first multiple-TD game the Broncos allowed to a receiver this season. Bowe has only received double-digit targets once since Week 4, eclipsed 80 yards once since Week 4 and has not scored since Week 4. Bowe is a solid receiver that is a hope-and-a-prayer play now on the league's worst scoring team when it comes to fantasy WRs. I'd rather have a high-upside player like a Danario Alexander in there at this point then have Bowe leave me with zero or be dependent upon Brady Quinn.
Percy Harvin, WR, Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears
Percy Harvin is still not ready to return from the ankle injury suffered against Seattle on Nov. 4. He missed the Week 10 game against Detroit and even the bye could not get him healthy in time for today's Bears game. Rookie Jarius Wright stepped in and caught three balls for 65 yards and a score on five targets in Week 10. But the Bears, although losers of their last two, have only allowed one TD and no receiver has gone over 60 or caught more than four balls in those two games. If it's not a healthy Harvin or an alive Adrian Peterson, there are no Vikings I'm playing today.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter