Key trio missing for Giants: Heading into what could be a shootout against the undefeated Packers, the Giants were without WRs Hakeem Nicks (ribs, concussion) and Mario Manningham (knee) as well as RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) at Thursday’s practice. Combine that with WR Victor Cruz (hip) being added to the injury report and Eli Manning could be down quite a few weapons heading into a major showdown. Bradshaw says he plans to play this week, but keep an eye on him. The loss of multiple receivers could mean Devin Thomas, Brandon Stokely or Jerrel Jernigan seeing snaps, but it would mostly help TE Jake Ballard, whose value has grown in recent weeks. Regardless, this is a situation worth monitoring as Sunday approaches.
Peterson improving: Vikings’ RB Adrian Peterson (ankle) didn’t practice Thursday, but is making strides toward returning to game action. Last week, Toby Gerhart performed reasonably well for fantasy owners, finding his way into the end zone and scoring 12.30 points in NFL.com leagues. This week, Minnesota faces a Denver defense that, while resurgent, has still allowed 100-plus rushing yards in seven of their 11 games this year. If Peterson plays, it goes without saying that he should be in your lineup. But if you play in a deeper league, Gerhart is worthy of consideration as a No. 3 RB or a flex.
Benson misses practice again: For the second straight day, Bengals RB Cedric Benson (foot) was out of practice. Benson has played well recently, scoring a combined 36.10 points in his past two games. If he can’t go, Bernard Scott is the likely starter against the Steelers on Sunday. Scott’s only start this season came in Week 8 against Seattle, whose defense compares similarly to Pittsburgh when it comes to defending fantasy RBs. In that start, Scott performed admirably, rushing for 76 yards. If he answers the bell this week, he’s a flex play candidate in deeper leagues.
– Marcas Grant