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Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is currently expected to receive interest from the Carolina Panthers again for their upcoming head-coaching vacancy, according to a source. Johnson's name continues to come up in Panthers discussions at this time. The Lions OC reportedly declined a second interview with Carolina for the same opening last offseason, and his withdrawal paved the way towards the hiring of Frank Reich, who was fired earlier this week. Plenty of teams with head-coaching openings this offseason will have eyes for Johnson, who has built Detroit's offense into one of the better units in the league the last two seasons. Johnson's biggest task if he were to join Carolina would be getting No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young right after starting his NFL career with a 1-10 record.
The Houston Texans re-signed kicker Matt Ammendola to their practice squad on Wednesday after the team waived him on Monday. Houston won't get Ka'imi Fairbairn back until at least Week 14, as he's on Injured Reserve and is required to miss one more game. Ammendola has kicked for Houston in all three games with Fairbairn out, but he missed both of his field-goal attempts in the three-point loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars last week and also missed his lone field-goal try in Week 11. The 26-year-old will likely kick for the Texans again this Sunday against the Denver Broncos, but once Fairbairn is back healthy, the Texans will most likely move on from Ammendola. Fantasy managers should look elsewhere at the position in Week 13.
The New England Patriots are preparing quarterback Bailey Zappe to start this Sunday against the visiting Los Angeles Chargers, according to sources. The Athletic's Jeff Howe says that it should be Zappe's job in Week 13 if all goes as expected. Zappe was seen taking first-team repetitions at practice on Wednesday with rookie Malik Cunningham, and not Mac Jones, working as his backup. This move had been coming for a while, with the 24-year-old Zappe having already replaced Jones mid-game on a couple of occasions, including each of the last two games. There's no guarantee Zappe will be all that much of an improvement over Jones, but at this point, the Patriots are just looking for some kind of spark on the offensive side of the ball.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Calvin Austin III (ankle) was unable to practice on Wednesday after suffering an ankle injury in the Week 12 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. "He might be limited some in the early portions of the week," said head coach Mike Tomlin. "We'll let the quality of that, and the amount of that participation be our guide in terms of his availability." The 24-year-old could be truly questionable to play this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. He hasn't been a fantasy option this year anyway, catching only 16 passes for 170 yards and one touchdown in 11 games. Austin's season-high six receptions came in the season opener and he's gone over 50 receiving yards in a game just once all year.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (ankle) is dealing with what head coach Mike Tomlin called "ankle discomfort" that was supposedly going to limit him in the early portions of the week. However, Pickett was able to practice in full on Wednesday It sure sounds like the 25-year-old will be alright for a strong Week 13 matchup against the visiting Arizona Cardinals. He has been one of the most underwhelming QBs in a bad Steelers offense in 2023, but he looked better in the first week without now fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada in the Week 12 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, and he has a good matchup to keep building momentum at home. Pickett's ankle injury could limit his mobility somewhat, though.
New Orleans Saints rookie running back Kendre Miller (ankle) did not practice with the rest of the team on Wednesday. Miller has had a tough rookie season in the NFL due to a few injuries and so much missed time. The 21-year-old hasn't practiced or played since suffering a sprained ankle in Week 9. Miller has just 28 rushing attempts through his first seven NFL games for 83 yards while catching nine of his 10 targets for 111 yards through the air. The third-rounder from TCU could have an exciting future at this level in years to come, but it's unlikely he'll do much the rest of the way as long as both Alvin Kamara and Jamaal Williams are healthy. Miller needs to get healthy first and foremost. He's purely a dynasty/keeper league stash at the moment.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Rashid Shaheed (thigh) was unable to practice with the rest of the team on Wednesday. Shaheed suffered a thigh injury early in the Week 12 loss to the Atlanta Falcons and never returned. It's not a long-term injury and he's considered day-to-day, but it was reported earlier this week that he's unlikely to play in Week 13 against the Detroit Lions. The Saints also lost No. 1 receiver Chris Olave to a concussion on Sunday, but he at least practiced on Wednesday. And with Michael Thomas (knee) on Injured Reserve, it could mean starting roles for rookie A.T. Perry, Keith Kirkwood and Lynn Bowden on Sunday. It's probably not safe to rely on using Shaheed as a flex option in a Week 13 that includes six teams on bye.
New Orleans Saints kicker Blake Grupe (groin) was listed as limited in Wednesday's practice as the team prepares for Week 13 against the Detroit Lions. Grupe was apparently injured in the Week 12 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, as the Saints signed Austin Seibert to their practice squad on Monday just in case Grupe is unable to play this upcoming weekend against Detroit. The Saints are calling the 25-year-old day-to-day for now. It means that if you have Grupe as your starting kicker in fantasy lineups this week, you'll want to prepare for the possibility that you'll have to make a late-week adjustment if he's questionable or out. Grupe has been a top-10 fantasy kicker in 2023 by going 24-for-30 on field goals.
Miami Dolphins tight end Durham Smythe (ankle) was limited in Wednesday's practice by an ankle injury. Smythe has operated as Miami's No. 1 tight end in 2023, although that role has only translated to 18 catches for 178 yards in an offense that doesn't prioritize getting the ball to the tight end. Smythe will hope to get upgraded to a full practice by Friday as his team gears up to take on the Washington Commanders in Week 13. If he doesn't end up playing, rookie Julian Hill would take over the TE1 in Miami.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Chase Claypool (knee) was limited in practice on Wednesday ahead of his team's Week 13 matchup against the Washington Commanders. Claypool has not taken the field since Week 9 against the Kansas City Chiefs but he could be heading in the right direction as Week 13 approaches. Stay tuned to his participation in practices on Thursday and Friday.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (ankle) got in a full practice on Wednesday as his team began preparing to take on the Cleveland Browns in Week 13. Kupp was quiet in Week 12 as he caught just three passes for 18 yards but his ability to practice fully on Wednesday shows that he is not having issues stemming from the low-ankle sprain he suffered in Week 11. Assuming he doesn't suffer any setbacks in practice for the remainder of the week, it looks like Kupp will be all systems go heading into Week 13.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Ben Skowronek (hip) got in a full practice on Wednesday ahead of his team's Week 13 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. Skowronek injured his hip during Week 11 but he was able to play through the injury in a Week 12 win over the Arizona Cardinals. His ability to practice fully on Wednesday indicates that he is trending in the right direction heading into Week 13. Assuming he doesn't get downgraded on Thursday or Friday, it appears that Skowronek will be on the field in Week 13.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (arm laceration) practiced fully on Wednesday ahead of his team's Week 13 matchup against the Washington Commanders. The quarterback suffered a cut on his right arm during his team's Week 12 win over the New York Jets but was able to play through the laceration with a bandage on his arm. Tagovailoa's ability to practice fully on Wednesday indicates that he is not in danger of missing his team's Week 13 game against a vulnerable Washington pass defense.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Skyy Moore (knee) was listed as a full participant in practice on Wednesday ahead of his team's Week 13 matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Moore didn't appear to suffer any injuries in a Week 12 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, so his being listed as a full participant on the injury report doesn't appear to be a major issue. That being said, it will be worth monitoring his participation in practice sessions on Thursday and Friday. Stay tuned.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney (hip/ankle) practiced fully on Wednesday ahead of his team's Week 13 matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Toney missed Week 12's win over the Las Vegas Raiders with ankle and hip injuries but he is trending in the right direction heading into Week 13. Keep an eye on practice reports on Thursday and Friday but it appears that Toney will be back in the mix in Week 13. His return would most likely cut into Skyy Moore's chances.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (toe) did not practice on Wednesday. The veteran wideout will look to upgrade his participation on Thursday or Friday as the Colts prepare to take on the Tennessee Titans in Week 13. McKenzie has not been a major part of the Indy offense in Week 13, although he has been active on special teams.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Drew Ogletree (foot) practiced fully on Wednesday ahead of his team's Week 13 matchup against the Tennessee Titans. Ogletree has missed the past two games with a foot injury but he is trending in the right direction with a full practice under his belt already as the Colts kicked off preparations for Week 13. Provided he doesn't suffer a setback, it appears as though Ogletree will be back on the field in Week 13 but it will be worth monitoring his participation in practices throughout the remainder of the week.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice (foot) practiced fully on Wednesday. Rice had a breakout game in Week 12, hauling in eight catches for 107 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Las Vegas Raiders. His listing on the injury report on Wednesday comes as somewhat of a surprise, although his ability to practice fully indicates that this is a minor issue for the rookie. That being said, it will be worth monitoring his practice status throughout the remainder of the week as the Chiefs prepare to face off against the Green Bay Packers in Week 13.
Detroit Lions running back David Montgomery was limited with a foot injury in Wednesday's practice. Montgomery's foot issue is a new injury as he's dealt with rib and thigh issues this season thus far. The veteran tailback will hope to get upgraded to a full practice by Friday, although his final injury status heading into a Week 13 matchup against the New Orleans Saints will be worth monitoring. If Montgomery doesn't end up playing, Jahmyr Gibbs would see an uptick in work on Sunday.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jayden Reed (chest) did not participate in practice on Wednesday. Reed first popped up on the injury report with a chest injury last week but he ultimately wound up playing through the pain in a win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. It is possible that the Packers are just taking it easy on the rookie heading into a Week 13 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. That being said, it will be worth monitoring Reed's practice participation on Thursday and Friday this week. A Reed absence would mean more work for Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Dontayvion Wicks (knee), although Wicks is dealing with a knee injury that limited him in Wednesday's practice.
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