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NOTE: This column is a living document and will be updated throughout the morning. Major changes to the content will be in red. Check back often for additions as gameday inactives are announced and lineup / depth chart changes are reported. I'll also be retweeting those reports with quick bits of analysis, so make sure you're following @JeneBramel and checking my timeline on Twitter.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta
The Buccaneers are mostly healthy. Da'Quan Bowers is questionable with a toe injury, but he hasn't been a big part of the defensive line rotation recently. The Falcons don't have the bodies to spread the field, which should keep Mason Foster in the lineup for 85%+ snaps.
Akeem Dent is questionable, but put in limited practices Thursday and Friday. Mike Smith wouldn't commit to a lineup after practice on Friday. Paul Worrilow is no longer on the injury report and could get the start and most of the snaps at one outside linebacker spot. Omar Gaither will continue to rotate as the base middle linebacker. There's not enough talent or clear opportunity here -- even if Dent plays -- to risk any of them in your lineup except in deep leagues.
St. Louis at Carolina
Cortland Finnegan is unlikely to play with a thigh injury. Darian Stewart missed practiced with an illness Friday but was listed probable. He's been the starter alongside Rodney McLeod over the past two weeks.
Robert Lester is probable to play after missing last week's game with a hamstring injury. The Panthers are expecting him to rotate with Quintin Mikell. Colin Jones may also be in the mix at safety again. Chase Blackburn will continue to start in a base defense only role at weak side linebacker. Charles Johnson is off the injury report. Hopefully, a return to his usual pass rush effectiveness follows.
Cincinnati at Detroit
The Bengals are healthy. None of the defensive line is on the injury report for the first time in ages and the secondary has only Terence Newman (probable - hamstring) of concern. The matchup with Detroit should be solid for both their pass rushers and Vontaze Burfict.
San Diego at Jacksonville
Donald Butler is unlikely to play after what appears to be an aggravation of his groin injury two weeks ago in practice. It was expected that Reggie Walker would step in and play every down again last week, but Andrew Gachkar started alongside Manti Te'o and Walker saw dime snaps only. The matchup for all is terrible, so it's best to avoid the situaiton entirely today. There's some big play value in the San Diego secondary. Both Shareece Wright and Richard Marshall fully practiced this week and should be good to go.
Jonathan Cyprien is questionable with a calf injury. He made it though only a limited Friday practice. He said he liked his chances but will be a game-time decision. If he can't play, the Jags will likely turn to Chris Prosinski.
Buffalo at Miami
The Buffalo secondary is in transition. Last week, they announced Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin, Aaron Williams and Jairus Byrd as starters, but Da'Norris Searcy and Jim Leonhard played every down. Byrd and Gilmore aren't on the injury report this week and should be full time players. That could formally push Williams back to safety, with Searcy sliding back to a subpackage role and Leonhard still deeper on the depth chart. Be leery of Searcy this week and there's a chance Williams could see an uptick in numbers. Nigel Bradham and Arthur Moats are back competing for snaps; neither has fantasy value. Kyle Williams is probable despite not practicing Friday with an illness.
Dannell Ellerbe told reporters he was going to play through his shoulder injury today, but he didn't practice all week and is doubtful. I think we'll likely see Jason Trusnik start for Ellerbe in the base package, with Jelani Jenkins taking subpackage snaps. The Dolphins should also get Cameron Wake back healthy. His practice reports were favorable all week and beat writers are reporting that he looked good on Friday. He's not guaranteed to resume his elite value yet, but he's hard to leave out of lineups today.
New England at New York Jets
New England lost Jerod Mayo to a pectoral tear last week. There are lots of ways they could approach his loss. Dane Fletcher has been a starter in the past, but only briefly after an injury knocked him out of the mix quickly. He has the most experience. Jamie Collins could also see snaps outside in the New England 4-3. That would give the Patriots one of the biggest 4-3 linebacker groups in the league. The every-down linebacker gigs are a tougher call. Brandon Spikes has been playing over Dont'a Hightower in the nickel over the past two games, but Hightower will reportedly get the helmet communicator. Regardless, we'll likely see lots of dime packages when needed. With the Jets unlikely to spread the field often, you can risk both Spikes and Hightower as LB3+ in lineups today while we see what the Patriots have in mind. Big play leagues might consider Collins as a matchup LB3 / LB4 in future weeks if he gets 30-40 snaps and some pass rushing duty. The Patriots will also be without Aqib Talib today with a hip flexor strain.
Dallas at Philadelphia
DeMarcus Ware will not play. His quad injury could keep him out multiple weeks. George Selvie is showing some wear in his first 50+ snap duty of his career. He's probable but hasn't been the same player recently. I expect they'll continue to manage his practice reps. Kyle Wilbur will get the bulk of the duty at defensive end for Ware. He's a boom-bust DL2 type for now. Bruce Carter was back playing every down last week and should remain there.
Patrick Chung continues to struggle with neck and shoulder issues. Though we didn't get much information about his condition, it's being reported as a nerve issue in Philadelphia. That could keep him out multiple weeks, but Chung has always been a durability risk. Earl Wolff will continue to play in his place.
Chicago at Washington
The Bears lost D.J. Williams to a torn pectoral muscle last week. Jon Bostic will step in, but with James Anderson probable after a full practice Friday, Bostic won't be an every-down player. There's room for him to grow into that role, but consider him a high variance LB3 / LB4 for now. Charles Tillman is still limited by multiple lower leg injuries. Corey Wootton got off to a strong start on the field, though not in the box scores, at defensive tackle last week. Shea McClellin didn't take advantage of the extra 5-10 snaps at defensive end, but has upside this week.
Washington is healthy coming out of the bye. There's still little clarity about the safety position opposite Brandon Meriweather, but there's no fantasy value there anyway. Give the Washington and Chicago IDPs a half-tier bump each this week given the long time solo neutral / assist heavy Washington stat crew.
San Francisco at Tennessee
Patrick Willis didn't play every down last week, but should be much closer to his usual workload this week after fully practicing all week. The matchup is so-so again, however, so don't expect Willis' usual numbers yet. Justin Smith is questionable with a shoulder injury but should play.
Moise Fokou is out with a knee injury. That puts Colin McCarthy back in the starting lineup and, very possibly, back in an every-down role. Zach Brown was essentially an every-down player before Fokou left last week. What that means for the dime packages with Fokou out is unknown. McCarthy hasn't looked good this year when he's played, but the matchup is good enough to consider him a boom-bust LB3. Brown is the better play. Derrick Morgan made it back to a limited practice on Friday. He's likely a game-time decision and would be limited at best if he goes. The Titans managed Bernard Pollard through an ankle injury all week, but he practiced fully on Friday and should be good to go.
Cleveland at Green Bay
The Browns get Jabaal Sheard back today, but he'll rotate heavily with Barkevious Mingo. Though he'll struggle at times, Mingo has earned his 40-50 snaps a game and the Green Bay matchup is high variance but high upside in sack-heavy leagues.
Brad Jones is out again and the now two week absence makes it likely that he could miss another 1-2 weeks with a hamstring strain. As expected, A.J. Hawk moved into an every-down role. While they liked him this preseason, even the Packers had to be pleasantly surprised at the strong play of Jamari Lattimore. He may earn nickel snaps and a bigger role soon. Mike Neal disappointed in his first full time duty with Clay Matthews out. Nick Perry was better than he's been at any point in his career. Neither are trustworthy this week.
Houston at Kansas City
We'll see what effect the lack of an NFL-ready quarterback has on J.J. Watt this month. His pass rush opportunities may decrease. That's not a reason to bench him. Watt generally doesn't need volume to produce and he'll make plays against the run. Just a note that defensive players are sensitive to situation, too. Danieal Manning is out with a fibular fracture. It won't be D.J Swearinger replacing him -- yet. For now, the Texans will start Shiloh Keo and keep Swearinger in his subpackage role.
The Chiefs are healthy. There's been no changes to the scheme, depth chart or play of their personnel. The big play guys are all sensitive to game situation and the usual variance of their positions. The matchup should be solid for all this week.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh
Josh Bynes had surgery to treat an infected finger on Friday and won't play today. He'll reportedly be replaced by Arthur Brown, who could become an every-down linebacker. It's a nice opportunity for Brown, but I wouldn't consider him more than a boom-bust LB3 in his first start. Jameel McClain was activated off the PUP list this week and could rotate on base downs ahead of Brown but won't see many snaps. Chris Canty, Courntey Upshaw, Haloti Ngata and Lardarius Webb are all on the injury report but expected to play.
Jarvis Jones is questionable with a concussion. He's been limited in drills and there's been no report on whether he'll be cleared for contact in time to play. There were rumblings that Shamarko Thomas could begin seeing more snaps in the base defense last week, but it didn't happen. Ryan Clark played every down and Thomas saw his usual subpackage duty, with starting base ILB Vince Williams sitting on passing downs. We'll see if the Clark / Thomas platoon begins in earnest this week.
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Denver at Indianapolis
Von Miller is back in the starting lineup and John Fox suggested he had a strong enough week of practice that he'll be in his usual SLB / DE role. Wesley Woodyard is listed questionable but was telling reporters that he'd play earlier in the week. Unless you have a hedge, it's very difficult to leave him in your lineup and risk the Sunday night zero. Danny Trevathan may be the only reasonable hedge among the Sunday night and Monday night hopefuls (unless Jon Beason or possibly Spencer Paysinger are available).
Jerrell Freeman and LaRon Landry are both back this week for Indianapolis. Last week, Kavell Conner was a healthy scratch despite arguably being their second strongest inside linebacker in the prior two weeks. Pat Angerer, Kelvin Sheppard and Mario Harvey all saw time after Freeman's concussion last week. None of their roles are clear and none are more than very risky matchup flyers this week.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Minnesota at New York Giants
Desmond Bishop tore an ACL last week after he finally cracked the starting lineup and is done for the year. Marvin Mitchell is back in the lineup. Both Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges are seeing special teams duty, however, so keep an eye on them in deeper leagues. Harrison Smith went on IR / designated for return with a turf toe injury this week. For now, the Vikings plan to use a committee of bodies to replace him. Andrew Sendejo will be listed as the starter but isn't likely to play every down.
Jon Beason started and played nearly every down last week. He looked more impressive than he'd been in Carolina and should continue in that role. Spencer Paysinger continues to play a Michael Boley - like role for Perry Fewell and is the other reasonable fantasy play. Will Hill saw his snap count drop with the return of Terrell Thomas. The rotation in the secondary should continue for another week. Jason Pierre-Paul missed two practices with an illness this week and is questionable. He's been too inconsistent to risk starting him with the uncertainty.
Best of luck in your fantasy games this weekend. Reading the Defense returns on Tuesday. Follow me on Twitter @JeneBramel for breaking news and analysis during the games today.