Bradshaw practices: For the first time in more than a month, Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) was back on the practice field Friday, increasing his chances that he could play in Sunday’s showdown with the undefeated Packers. With New York concerned about the status of WRs Hakeem Nicks (ribs/concussion) and Mario Manningham (knee), Bradshaw’s return would be welcomed by the team. And by fantasy owners. Green Bay’s defense has shown some vulnerabilities and the hard-running Bradshaw could be the player to exploit them. Sure, Brandon Jacobs will see some carries, but his inconsistency should open the door for Bradshaw to return to the No. 1 RB job. If he’s playing, get him in your lineup for what could turn out to be a high-scoring affair.
Freeman throwing at practice: After battling a shoulder injury and admitting to re-injuring his thumb at a shooting range, Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman was able to throw at Friday’s practice. Freeman has roundly been a fantasy disappointment in 2011, averaging less than 14 points per game, but Sunday’s matchup against the Panthers pits him against the NFL’s 24th-ranked defense. Even against a bad defense, Freeman isn’t going to suddenly become Tom Brady, but it does make him worth a look if you’re in a deeper league and struggling for someone to plug into your QB spot. If Freeman can’t play, Josh Johnson will get the start. In that case, look elsewhere for QB help.
Smith limited in practice: Lions RB Kevin Smith was limited in practice Friday after enduring a similar status on Thursday. That’s left a number of first-team reps for Keiland Williams in advance of Sunday night’s game against the Saints. Even against New Orleans’ 16th-ranked rushing defense, Detroit is still a pass-first football team. Smith could be considered a flex play in leagues with 12 or more teams, but it’s hard to say the same for Williams.
– Marcas Grant