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NOTE: This column is a living document and may 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.
Cincinnati at Cleveland
Vontaze Burfict was placed on injured reserve this week. That locks Vinny Rey into a starting job. I've been speculating all week we could see either Rey or Emmanuel Lamur moved out of the nickel package for Rey Maualuga due to poor play and cumulative durability questions. There has been no indication that will happen today, but keep it in the back of your mind for next week.
Karlos Dansby is a game time decision after another week of limited practice. I think he'll play today, but I'm not certain he's healthy enough to play every down and could be part of a three way rotation. Craig Robertson would drop a tier in expectation if Dansby is active, but should still be safe to trust as a LB3 with some upside. The home stat crew is favorable and will help Robertson's floor.
Green Bay at Buffalo
The Packers used a rotation of Sam Barrington on base downs and Brad Jones in the dime last week, with A.J. Hawk playing sparingly. Barrington has some upside today, with the Buffalo stat crew among the most favorable in the league, but isn't more than a low ceiling LB3.
Da'Norris Searcy is out this week with a hamstring injury. He'll be replaced by Duke Williams, who isn't a bad desperation DB play in deeper leagues. Aaron Rodgers has been very good in the pocket behind an improving offensive line. While the pass rush matchup isn't as bad as last week's Denver matchup, it's still worth thinking about using other options than Jerry Hughes or Mario Williams if you have them.
Houston at Indianapolis
There's too much rotation in Houston to trust anyone in the back seven right now. D.J. Swearinger Sr played more last week with Kendrick Lewis out, but the secondary is healthy today. I'd avoid everyone other than Watt today, unless Swearinger or Lewis are among your best DB options.
The Colts are healthy. LaRon Landry has yet to play full time and was limited by illness until Friday. He's not likely to earn more snaps this week.
Jacksonville at Baltimore
Jeremiah George was active last week but did not play a defensive snap. J.T. Thomas is on the injury report with an ankle injury but fully practiced all week and should continue in his every-down middle linebacker role.
The Ravens are healthy and have no expected depth chart changes today.
Miami at New England
Both Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi are doubtful. I expect Philip Wheeler and Kelvin Sheppard to start outside and Jason Trusnik in the middle. Wheeler and Trusnik are likely your every-down linebackers. Wheeler is the most trustworthy of the group and I'd tier him as a high variance LB2. Trusnik is a LB3 with upside in deeper, tackle-heavy leagues. Both players get a small bump in expectation with the favorable New England stat crew.
Dont'a Hightower, Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich are all questionable and game time decisions today. Jones seems optimistic he'll play, but check the inactive list for all three before game time. Previously, I felt Jones would be a situational player only. With Dominique Easley on injured reserve and Ninkovich's status unknown, the two extra weeks of conditioning Jones has had may be enough to convince the Patriots to play him extensively.
Oakland at Kansas City
Sio Moore was ruled out late this week with a hip injury. That's a surprise to those following the team. Moore had played through the injury for two weeks and there had been no reports of a setback. With luck, it'll be a minor issue and Moore will return next week. But we're close to the end of the season, and any setback may shut Moore down until 2015. It's not clear who the Raiders will use in Moore's place. There are only two options on the depth chart. Neither have any experience and neither would play every down.
Phillip Gaines is doubtful with a concussion. Tamba Hali was limited again by his chronic knee issues, but will play. Joe Mays replaced James-Michael Johnson in the base defense last week and should be the starter again today.
Pittsburgh at Atlanta
Ryan Shazier was active last week but did not play a defensive snap. He's off the injury report entirely today. Mike Tomlin said he'll have to earn snaps back as the Steelers like what they're getting from Vince Williams and Sean Spence. Avoid the situation entirely. James Harrison could be back today and would rotate with Jarvis Jones.
William Moore is questionable and likely a game time decision at best after not practicing this week. Kemal Ishmael left the game briefly last week but is not on the injury report and would be a solid play if Moore is inactive.
Tampa Bay at Carolina
Lavonte David was cleared to play after last week's concussion and will start. Mason Foster was able to practice some this week, but the tone of the beat writers is that he won't play today. I expect Danny Lansanah to play every down whether Foster is active or not. Lansanah will play middle linebacker if Foster can't go. Clinton McDonald is listed questionable but still hasn't returned to practice. The Panthers are a solid pass rushing matchup and Jacquies Smith is a strong lineup play.
The Panthers are healthy and have no expected depth chart changes.
Washington at New York Giants
Keenan Robinson will not play today. He'll be replaced by Will Compton. It's a great matchup and a very favorable stat crew. Both Compton and Perry Riley have LB3 floors with LB1 upside today. Brandon Meriweather will again be replaced by Philip Thomas.
Jameel McClain had a veteran day of rest on Wednesday before returning to two consecutive full practices. He's good to go. Stevie Brown continues to play full time over Quintin Demps, but there may be lots of dime snaps again this week with Jacquian Williams out. Mark Herzlich and Devon Kennard will be the base outside linebackers, but are very unlikely to see any subpackage snaps.
Denver at San Diego
The Broncos have a few minor injuries to the defensive line rotation, but are healthy. Danny Trevathan was activated on Saturday and will play today. It's likely Trevathan will play only in nickel situations, as the consensus from writers close to the team has always been the Broncos want to ease him back. Brandon Marshall remains a strong start today. Roster Trevathan, but keep him on your bench for now.
The Chargers are a mess for fantasy purposes. 19 defenders saw 20 or more snaps last week, with only the starting corners and Eric Weddle playing every down. Other than Weddle (and possibly Shareece Wright today), this group should be avoided.
Minnesota at Detroit
Anthony Barr is out again this week, putting Gerald Hodges in a solid fantasy position as an every-down outside linebacker. Robert Blanton was also ruled out after not practicing with knee and ankle injuries all week. Andrew Sendejo will probably start for Blanton, which could give Harrison Smith more snaps around the box. Sharrif Floyd is also out with his nagging knee injury.
Tahir Whitehead was added to the injury report on Thursday with a shoulder injury, was limited on Friday and is questionable. He's expected to play, but Josh Bynes will continue to replace him in the nickel. The Lions have no expected depth chart changes today.
New York Jets at Tennessee
Muhammad Wilkerson was ruled out late this week. Hopefully, that means he's close but not quite ready and there were no Friday setbacks. Jason Babin played nearly every down last week with Wilkerson out and Quinton Coples seeing time as a defensive end. That should continue in a very good matchup today. Consider him a high upside bet if you're a big underdog in a sack-heavy league.
Michael Griffin seems indestructible. He's questionable with a back injury and is already playing with a harness on his dislocated shoulder. He fully practiced Friday, however, and seems more probable than questionable. Avery Williamson's recent trend isn't good, but this is a solid matchup and he can be started with confidence today.
San Francisco at Seattle
The Niners moved NaVorro Bowman to injured reserve this week. Anything else would've been a surprise. Glenn Dorsey remains out as well. Tramaine Brock and Chris Culliver are questionable but your primary IDP options are all good to go today. The Seattle stat crew is painful for defensive numbers. Though not a reason to bench Chris Borland, lower your expectation a bit today unless you get the same number of points for assists as solos.
The Seahawks are healthy and have no expected depth chart changes.
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Dallas at Philadelphia
Rolando McClain is fully practicing and the Cowboys are healthy with no expected depth chart changes. I think we'll see McClain play nearly every down, with Dallas using a small number of dime packages against the Eagles.
The Eagles are healthy with no expected depth chart changes.
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
New Orleans at Chicago
David Hawthorne is on the injury report with a new hip injury, but fully practiced on Saturday and should play every down. Kenny Vaccaro was reportedly benched this week, but both Sean Payton and Rob Ryan laughed off the report. It's too risky to trust Vaccaro this week, but despite his poor play at times this year, it never made sense the Saints would sit Vaccaro in favor of their other options.
D.J. Williams was placed on injured reserve with a neck injury this week. That accelerates the timetable for Christian Jones, who was already seeing nickel snaps and will now almost assuredly be an every-down player. I think we'll see Jon Bostic move inside, with Jones taking Bostic's base defensive position. Both players are LB3 with upside on Monday night. Chris Conte is doubtful with a back injury. Jay Ratliff was looking good for a return, then didn't practice on Saturday. I'd avoid Ratliff and look at other options in DT-required leagues this week.
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.