Brees + Weapons = Look Out
It looks like the Saints' offense may finally be at full strength this week after the injured foursome of Reggie Bush, Marques Colston, Jeremy Shockey, and David Patten all practiced on at least a limited basis Thursday. Bush and Shockey look like the biggest question marks heading into Week 7 and may be game-time decisions, but Colston appears to be a near-lock to rejoin the starting lineup.
Drew Brees didn't miss a beat without both Colston and Shockey, turning Lance Moore into a fantasy asset while throwing for 1,013 yards and seven touchdowns over the past three games. New Orleans put 31, 27, and 34 points on the board during that stretch and may finally provide Brees his full compliment of weapons this week. Expect plenty of damage even against a strong Carolina defense.
Checking back on everyone's status before setting your lineup Sunday morning is a must, but assuming full health Brees is an elite QB1, Colston is a must-start WR1, Bush is mid-level RB1, Shockey is a low-level TE1, and Moore drops down into WR2/FLEX territory after quietly racking up 307 yards and two scores on 26 catches during the past four games.
While Brees goes for his fifth straight 300-yard game and prepares to blow past the 2,000-yard mark in just seven weeks, here are some other notes from around football .
* Tony Romo returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis, throwing passes from the shotgun formation while Brad Johnson took first-team reps. Owner Jerry Jones said afterward that Romo looked "promising" and "could very well play" in Week 7 against the Rams. However, John Clayton of ESPN reports that it would be a "major upset" if Romo suits up Sunday. In other words, who knows.
If Romo does play he'll wear a custom-made splint on his broken pinkie and will be risking further damage to the finger. He may also struggle, although even at significantly less than 100 percent Romo should be able to pile up stats versus the lowly Rams. He figures to be at best a game-time decision, but the matchup is so juicy that fantasy teams really have no choice but to wait it out.
* News broke earlier this week that Larry Johnson is set to face assault charges in December stemming from a nightclub incident and the Chiefs suspended him Thursday for "violating team rules." However, coach Herm Edwards said that the suspension and assault charges aren't related, and according to John Clayton of ESPN the suspension came from Johnson "being late or missing a meeting."
Whatever the case Johnson will sit out Sunday's game against the Titans, which qualifies as good news for his per-carry average. Kolby Smith starts in his place, but the Titans are nearly impossible to run on and the Chiefs will likely trail early, so Jamaal Charles should also see plenty of action in the passing game. Neither player is a good fantasy option, but Charles has some decent PPR upside.
* Joseph Addai reportedly has a partially torn hamstring that will keep him out for 2-4 weeks, but hasn't been ruled out yet for Week 7 and coach Tony Dungy said Thursday that the injury "isn't that serious." Dungy is never very forthcoming with injuries and added that he "hadn't heard" reports of Addai's hamstring being torn, but whether that's a smokescreen or not count on Dominic Rhodes starting.
* Willie Parker sat out his second straight practice Thursday, leading coach Mike Tomlin to admit that the Steelers are "maybe not as hopeful as we were earlier in the week." Parker reportedly got healthy during Pittsburgh's bye, but aggravated his knee sprain by stepping in a hole Monday. If Parker sits-and right now that looks likely-Mewelde Moore becomes a strong RB2 play versus the Bengals.
Two-Minute Drill:Calvin Johnson (concussion) practiced Thursday and will begin the post-Roy Williams era this week with plenty of targets . Tony Gonzalez has complained about the Chiefs' unwillingness to trade him, but according to Adam Schefter of NFL Network he vetoed a possible deal to the Bills . Aaron Rodgers (shoulder) threw during practice Thursday for the first time in weeks and looks set to have a big Week 7 against the Colts . Kevin Smith (shoulder) resumed practicing Thursday, taking a chunk out of Rudi Johnson's value . As expected, Seneca Wallace took all the first-team practice reps Thursday and will start this week in place of Matt Hasselbeck . Chad Ocho Cinco suggested Wednesday that his lack of targets may be due to the Bengals being upset over his offseason threat to sit out the year . Thanks to Javon Walker and Ronald Curry struggling, coach Tom Cable said Thursday that seventh rounder Chaz Schilens will begin to see more action offensively . Matt Forte is absent from the injury report, but doesn't figure to have much success running against the Vikings this week.
Red Zone: Coach Jon Gruden said Thursday that Joey Galloway (foot) is "50-50" to return this week . Laurence Maroney (shoulder) and LaMont Jordan (calf) sat out practice Thursday, so Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk may be splitting snaps again Monday night . Tony Scheffler is a strong TE1 option this week if healthy, but may be a game-time call after being limited in practice Thursday . Jon Kitna (back) said Wednesday that he won't be rehabbing at the Lions' facility because of "tension" with the team . Chris Chambers (ankle) sat out his second straight practice Thursday and looks iffy to return in Week 7 . Eddie Royal (ankle) put in a full practice Thursday and seems ready to suit up Monday night as a nice WR3 option . Mike Walker was released from the hospital Thursday after battling an infected knee, but no timetable has been laid out for his return . Justin Gage (knee) missed his second straight practice Thursday and looks unlikely to return in Week 7 . Coach Mike McCarthy revealed Thursday that James Jones is still unavailable because "he's re-injured the same knee the same way almost every time" in practice.