I must say, I feel like there's a void in my life now that I'm not writing about Joseph Addai every week. It's like when your oldest goes off to college. At least I still have Darren McFadden to keep me company for awhile. So let's open The Hurt Locker before I get all misty-eyed and start leafing through old pictures and report cards and baby teeth.
Miles Austin: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was optimistic he would get Austin back for this week's game, but that seems to be a reach right now as he's only been able to ride the stationary bike at practice. Laurent Robinson is the No. 1 fantasy WR in Dallas so you're playing him, and now Dez Bryant's production won't be affected as much, so he remains a good No. 2 or flex play.
Cedric Benson: A DNP this week, but there's not a lot I'm concerned about yet. He's a must-start against the Steelers, as he has a pretty good track record against them. But have Bernard Scott ready just in case.
Josh Freeman: He's been limited in practice this week but is at least making progress. He could be a game-time decision for Sunday, so have a backup plan ready. Matt Moore has a terrific matchup this week and is worth a whirl.
Darren McFadden: He just started walking without his boot this week and the Raiders are being cautious, not wanting him back until he's 100 percent. You can see this coming down the tunnel for fantasy owners -- he's going to return for the semifinals and finals in fantasy and no one is going to have any idea what to do. Play him? Not play him? We'll fry that fish when it's appropriate, but for now, keep riding Michael Bush. He's the only Oakland RB with any fantasy value.
Adrian Peterson: Peterson has been ruled out of Sunday's game, in which case, you start Toby Gerhart. If you don't have Gerhart, then you're pretty desperate so Donald Brown, C.J. Spiller or Dexter McCluster are your best alternatives that might still be available.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz: Welcome to the Giants' portion of our column. That's it? Larry Csonka and Joe Morris aren't on the report too? The easy one first. Victor Cruz was back at practice, returning punts and looking like his hip was fine, so he's in the clear to start this week. Bradshaw practiced Friday, and appears to be on his way to playing Sunday. Manningham is sitting out this week, but has an outside chance to play Sunday against Green Bay although it will likely go right up until game time just like last week. Still, even if he plays, there are other better options. Nicks is the real toughie. Cleared from his concussion symptoms, his rib issue remains problematic. But if he plays, he's in your lineup.
Kevin Smith: He returned to practice for the Lions this week, much quicker than initially expected. This is a pretty easy situation. If Smith plays, you start him as a No. 2 because he's been on fire since taking over as the No. 1 RB in Detroit. That means you sit Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams. However if Smith doesn't play, then Morris or Williams are decent flex options. Though not as dynamic as Smith, they still have the potential for 10 fantasy points.
>> James Starks has been recovering well from his sprained knee, and with 10 days to heal he should be set for the Giants on Sunday. Still, it's hard to recommend anyone in that backfield right now, even though Green Bay has terrific RB matchups the rest of the season. To reach double digits in fantasy points in the Packers backfield is too lofty a goalâ¦
>> Sam Bradford's taken a step back in his recovery and A.J. Feeley may start this week against San Francisco. Even if Bradford is healthy, he's not nearly worth starting right nowâ¦
>> Denarius Moore has been hobbled all week and is day-to-day. He's also tough to play even if he does go. The hobbled Raiders' weapon at least means good things for Darrius Heyward-Bey, who by default has been targeted more by Carson Palmer as a result. If you're in a spot, Hey-Bey could be a flex.
See Jason Smith on NFL Fantasy Live, airing Sundays at 11:30am ET on the Red Zone Channel, and Tuesday-Friday on NFL Network at 2 p.m. ET and 12 a.m. ET/9 p.m. PT. He writes fantasy and other NFL pith on NFL.com daily. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.