Three and out: Don’t give up on Johnson yet

Johnson ruled out: For the eighth time this season, Texans WR Andre Johnson (hamstring) will miss a game, adding to the frustration and disappointment of fantasy owners trying to figure out what to do with the big wideout. Even more frustrating is the thought that it’s hard to give up on him completely right now. Next week, the Texans host the Colts and their 22nd ranked pass defense. With Houston playing for a shot at the top seed in the AFC, there’s little chance that they’ll sit Johnson if he’s ready to go. Which means if you’re fortunate enough to survive this week and move to your league’s championship round, you have to hold on to him.

Peterson probable, Ingram out: The Vikings and the Saints will meet Sunday with their marquee running backs in different states of health. RB Adrian Peterson (ankle) is listed as probable, and he says he will play for the benefit of fantasy owners everywhere. However his counterpart, Mark Ingram (toe) won’t suit up for the Saints. The choice is easy… start Peterson. But use caution if you’re thinking about going with Pierre Thomas or Darren Sproles. For all of their problems stopping the passing game, the Minnesota defense has been pretty good against the run — it’s ranked ninth in the league in rushing defense. Expect big numbers from New Orleans’ passing game and not so much for any of the Saints backs.

Smith expected to start: After three straight days of practice, all signs point to RB Kevin Smith (ankle) starting against the Raiders on Sunday. Oakland’s defense has been gashed by opposing running backs, allowing 120-plus rushing yards in six of its past seven games — including an 85-yard, two-touchdown performance by the heretofore disappointing RB Ryan Grant. Consider Smith to be a solid No. 2 RB or flex play this week.

— Marcas Grant

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