A bit of trickery this week in the final edition of The Hurt Locker. What injuries are real, what aren't? Who could be held out as a precaution and who's really banged up? It's sort of like a spy movie. What to believe? Which scenarios are real? We'll leave no stone or player unturned in our quest to get you all the health updates for your championship week.
Tom Brady: His shoulder X-ray was precautionary, and he was listed as probable Friday. With the Patriots looking to wrap up home field for the playoffs, there's no need to worry about him playing this week.
Jermichael Finley: Even though he returned to practice, to hear him talk this week he doesn't sound like he's up for playing Sunday, saying it might be best for him to sit out and rest. This means you'll need a TE and the Titans' Jared Cook and the Ravens' Ed Dickson are good choices, as is Anthony Fasano, considering how poorly the Jets cover TEs.
Vincent Jackson: With nothing to play for, he could miss Sunday's season finale, which means Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown are pretty nice handcuffs to have, and Floyd becomes a flex starter. He's really come on lately and if things fall right for him, he could be a breakout fantasy player in 2012.
Andre Johnson: All signs point to him playing on Sunday, and the Texans sorely need him back as they prepare for the playoffs. But the thing is, he's only going to play a limited number of snaps. Now that could change as the game goes on and if he's feeling good but it's hard to play someone who may only see three to five targets from a rookie QB still finding his way. If you have someone on your bench you think can get you more than five points, play him over Johnson. If he was going to play the entire game, that would be different.
Chris Johnson: He says his ankle feels much better than it did last week. His main worry is not being able to cut, but if he goes, he goes for you. Mike Munchak sounded pretty sure he was going to play, and they need him in a must-win situation.
Ryan Mathews: His calf has flared up and the team is hopeful he can play Sunday, and returning to practice is a great sign. However with it being a meaningless game for San Diego, unless he's fully recovered I can't see them risking his long-term health. And believe it or not, Kahlil Bell is owned in less than 13 percent of all NFL.com leagues. Toby Gerhart is owned in just 28 percent, so check your waiver wire.
Ben Roethlisberger: His week off has him on track to play Sunday, but it might not be the full game. It's too dicey to play him but just the fact that he's going to go means you can play Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown since they'll at least have a decent amount of plays with him.
Tony Romo: I know his hand still is bothering him, but he's been practicing and the Cowboys wideouts say they can't tell that Romo's hurt. So you can play him expecting a big night on Sunday against the Giants.
Kevin Smith: He might be held out against the Packers for precautionary reasons -- the stakes aren't high enough to risk his health in a game that doesn't have utmost importance. Make alternate plans and snap up Maurice Morris as a handcuff.
James Starks looks to be out again Sunday against Detroit, and with nothing at stake I don't even think Ryan Grant is worth a play. If you're desperate, John Kuhn has been a great TD vulture and Brandon Saine should see a lot of time as wellâ¦
Mario Manningham is practicing this week, and if you have a need at flex or WR he might be a decent play against Dallas even though he hasn't been on the radar screen latelyâ¦
Nothing new with Darren McFadden, the team still has no idea when he's going to return from his mysterious foot injuryâ¦
The Vikings' plan is for Christian Ponder to start Sunday, and while you're not playing him, the good news is that you're playing Toby Gerhart or Percy Harvin regardless because they've produced no matter who the QB has been...
Peyton Hillis has been limited but he's expected to play this weekend, he's a great flex option as he's come on strong the last couple of weeks. Interesting how guys looking to get paid somehow find a way...
Mike Tolbert hasn't been able to really go this week, so monitor him up until game-time. If Ryan Mathews plays, Tolbert would sit on your bench anyway. He's only worth a start if he goes and Mathews doesn't.
See Jason Smith on "NFL Fantasy Live," airing Sundays at 11:30 a.m. ET on the "NFL RedZone" 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.