NFC North Blog
Some of you will be playing for fantasy titles in Week 17, but for the majority of us, this is the end. Championship Sunday is here, and it's time to be what this day is all about in fantasy football: A champion. Good luck to you all. To help your efforts, we'll be tracking this morning's game-time decisions and giving you the latest as the official inactives reports come out around 11:30 a.m. Eastern. Some of the bigger names we're tracking include Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins. Go get that ring!
Here is an injury story we'll be tracking throughout the week. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers strained a calf muscle in the early stages of Sunday's win over the Buccaneers. Rodgers played through the injury and compiled 31 completions on 40 attempts for 318 yards and one touchdown.
"It got really tight about halftime," Rodgers said about his calf. "Came in and got a little treatment and it loosened up a tad, but it was still pretty tight, and I had a hard time running. But I was able to move kind of in short segments in the picket, which was all I needed to do today."
For bookkeeping purposes, the Packers' backup quarterback is Matt Flynn.
The Detroit Lions' top receiver, Calvin Johnson, was a full participant at Thursday's practice and expects zero limitations Sunday against the Bears. The star receiver has been battling a sore ankle for much of the season, but it appears that it's completely healed.
Big news out of the Windy City earlier this afternoon: The Chicago Bears have benched their $126.7 million quarterback, Jay Cutler, for Sunday's game versus the Lions. Jimmy Clausen will get the start instead.
Clausen, a 2010 second-round pick of the Panthers', hasn't started a game since his rookie year and has a 3:9 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Week 15 represents the semifinals in most leagues. Today is for a chance to play for that brass ring. As such, many owners probably spent a lot of hours this week parsing over every bit of information available, dissecting matchups and breaking down statistical trends. A response: Don't overthink it. That's a difficult concept to comprehend with so much on the line, but the reality in fantasy is that this week is really no different than the previous 14. The reward for winning is greater, but that doesn't mean you have to make drastic changes to your strategy. You were trying to win before the fantasy playoffs and now you're trying to win in the fantasy playoffs. Do what you've been doing to get here. Nothing else matters. Keep deploying the best lineup you have and understand that once those kickoffs begin, it's all out of your hands.
Updating yesterday's report, Jeff Darlington is reporting that Falcons WR Julio Jones ran at practice Saturday and will test his hip out Sunday during warm-ups. He's a true game-time decision for the Falcons game with Pittsburgh.
According to Packers' ESPN reporter Mike Demovsky, Green Bay could implement a 50-50 split on carries between running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks in the team's Week 15 game at Buffalo. Lacy is dealing with a hip injury that he sustained in the Packers' Week 14 win against Atlanta.
When asked about his status for Week 15, Packers running back Eddie Lacy said that he "still has hurdles to clear" and that he won't "put the team at a disadvantage if he can't play effectively."
After spending much of the season nursing an ankle injury, Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson appears to be back to his old self. Johnson was a full participant at Thursday's practice and doesn't expect to be held back in any capacity when the Lions play Minnesota on Sunday.