Three and out: Don’t bother starting Hillis

Hillis listed as questionable: The Browns are expecting RB Peyton Hillis (hip) to start Thursday against the Steelers. For a guy who hasn’t produced much more than headaches on and off the field, Cleveland has been awfully devoted to the former Arkansas Razorback. Especially when Chris Ogbonnaya has been the team’s most productive RB this season. Nonetheless, coach Pat Shurmur continues to use Hillis as his No. 1 RB. Hillis’ inconsistency makes it hard enough to advise starting him on a good week, but with Pittsburgh’s seventh-ranked rushing defense on tap, you can forget about using him in Week 14.

Peterson says he’ll decide when to return: Adrian Peterson (ankle) says he’s about “70 percent” to the field for the Vikings. Minnesota (and fantasy owners) would certainly like that to be this week at Detroit, don’t be surprised if the team exercises caution. We shouldn’t need to tell you that if Peterson’s playing, he’s starting for your team. But we’d be remiss not to add our own warning. While A.D. at 70 or 80 percent is better than a lot of backs on the waiver wire, he’s still likely to be hampered. The upside is that Detroit’s defense hasn’t been quite so lights out recently. And with DT Ndamukong Suh out serving a suspension, there could be running room in the middle of the field. Of course, if Peterson’s on the shelf again this week, don’t hesitate to start Toby Gerhart in a RB2 or flex position.

Johnson a game-time decision: It’s been a frustrating year for Texans WR Andre Johnson (hamstring) and this week, coach Gary Kubiak says Johnson is “day-to-day” for Sunday’s tilt at the Bengals. For proof of how volatile the fantasy value of a receiver can be, look no further than Johnson. Aside from his tender hamstring, the big wideout also will have to contend with Cincinnati’s 10th-ranked pass defense…and he’ll have to do it with T.J. Yates at quarterback. It’s hard to recommend sitting Johnson because he is such a playmaker, but you should strongly consider downgrading him in your lineup for someone with a better matchup.

— Marcas Grant

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