Johnson held out of practice: For the second straight day, Lions WR Calvin Johnson (Achilles) missed practice, jeopardizing his chances to play Sunday against the Packers. With a wild-card spot already in hand, it’s possible Detroit holds him out of action this week in order to prepare for the first round of the playoffs. Even if he does play, it’s hard to imagine coach Jim Schwartz risking him for an entire four quarters. Start making contingency plans, just as long as you’re aware that you’ll never find anything close to equal value. Grab a guy like Titus Young off the waiver wire — he’s scored in two of his past three games and is earning more looks from QB Matthew Stafford.
Bush out for second straight day: Dolphins RB Reggie Bush (knee) missed a second practice Thursday in advance of Sunday’s game against the Jets. Bush has been one of the hottest fantasy backs in the second half of the season, scoring double-digit fantasy points in eight of his past nine games. Even against Gang Green earlier this season, the former USC star ran for 71 yards on just 10 carries while still splitting touches with Daniel Thomas. Now that Bush is the undisputed feature back in Miami, he’s worth a start as a No. 2 RB this week … if he’s playing. If he doesn’t play, consider plugging Thomas into your flex spot.
Brady’s shoulder is OK: The non-throwing shoulder of Patriots QB Tom Brady has been closely watched this week. After missing Wednesday’s practice for “non-injury related” reasons, he was back on the field stretching with the team on Thursday. By all accounts, New England expects its field general to be ready to go when they host Buffalo this week. Certainly Bill Belichick has been known to play some tricks with his injury reports, but it’s hard to imagine him pulling a fast one with Brady — especially when a win earns the Patriots the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Start Brady with confidence.
– Marcas Grant