It's C.J. Anderson's job in Denver
A few weeks ago, it looked like we might be seeing a changing of the guard in Denver. His low point came in Week 12, when he rushed the ball just five times in a 21-14 loss to the Raiders, making two straight games that Devontae Booker has out-touched him. In three games since, however, Anderson has firmly reestablished himself as the go-to back, picking up at least 19 touches in each game, for a total of 73 touches, to just 26 for Booker.
Anderson was especially effective Thursday, rushing for 158 yards, the third-most of his career, on 30 carries. He still hasn't found the end zone in his last four games, but Anderson is going to be tough to bench down the stretch given his workload.
Brock Osweiler played better than he ever has
Trevor Siemian was knocked out with a dislocated left shoulder Thursday, an injury that should end his season, and Osweiler came in in relief. And he carved the Colts' defense up. Which might say more about the Colts' defense than anything else. Osweiler completed 12 of 17 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns, and added another score on a scramble.
We'll chalk this one up to a fluke, because it's going to take a lot more than one relief performance against one of the league's worst defenses to change the narrative on Osweiler. He'll be the Broncos' starter the rest of the way, but there's no reason to rely on him. And, given the way he spread the ball around – three players had between 60 and 69 receiving yards – there's not much optimism to take from this passing attack still.
Marlon Mack didn't get much of a chance
This seemed like a perfect opportunity for Mack. Frank Gore was coming off a career-high 36 carries in Week 14, and had just three days to recover before Thursday's matchup. Indeed, Gore suffered a leg injury that kept him out for much of the first half against the Broncos, and limited him to 10 carries and three catches while playing 28 of 54 snaps.
However, despite playing 24 snaps of his own, Mack just wasn't much of a factor. He carried the ball six times for 14 yards and didn't have a single catch on one target. Mack has shown real promise as a rookie, but the Colts just don't trust him yet. You weren't relying on him in Week 15, I hope, but any chance that he might be a late-season breakout looks dead at this point.
- DeAndre Hopkins (toe) did not practice Thursday… Mid-week additions to the injury report are never what you want to see, especially not with elite Fantasy players. We don't know much about Hopkins' injury, so we'll have to keep a close eye on the injury report Friday to see what his status will be. Hopkins already has the odds stacked against him in Week 15, playing with a third-string QB in T.J. Yates, against the best pass defense in the NFL in the Jaguars. Still, I'm starting him if he's healthy.
- Leonard Fournette (quad) missed practice yet again… We're used to shrugging off practice issues with Fournette at this point, as he's missed plenty with a lingering ankle injury this season. This is a new issue, however Fournette told reporters Thursday via ESPN he will play in Week 15 against the Texans. The Jaguars are hoping to clinch a playoff berth this weekend, and Fournette would go a long way toward helping them achieve that goal – along with our Fantasy aspirations, obviously.
- Joe Mixon (concussion) returned to practice… He still has to go through the concussion protocol, but Mixon is finally showing signs of progress. He was limited on Thursday, after missing Wednesday's practice, so this is a good sign. We should know about his status for Week 15 Friday.
- Adrian Peterson (neck) was placed on IR… The Cardinals never gave many details on this injury, but it looked like we were headed this way before long. Expect Kerwynn Williams to see plenty of touches in Week 15 against Washington, as he has 37 in the last two games.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster (hamstring) was added to the injury report… Hamstring injuries are tricky, and we don't know what to make of this one. Smith-Schuster was officially limited Thursday, but it's not clear if that means he left practice early, which would be a more ominous sign for his chances of playing. Smith-Schuster missed Week 12 with a hamstring injury, so he's no stranger to this kind of issue.
- Ameer Abdullah (neck) is not listed on the injury report for Week 15… We should see Abdullah back on the field Saturday – remember, there are Saturday games this week – but it's not clear what his role will be. He's not a recommended start either way.
- Amari Cooper (ankle) is not expected to play in Week 15… Cooper probably rushed himself back from the injury in Week 14, and it looks like his chances of helping you at all for the remainder of the season might be slim. This has been a disappointing season all along for Cooper.
- Damien Williams (shoulder) was able to put in a limited practice… Well, this isn't what we want to see. Kenyan Drake has been a revelation in Williams' absence, so hopefully his (potential) return won't mean much of a reduced role for Drake. We'll see how he fairs Friday.
- Kyle Rudolph (ankle) missed practice for the second day in a row… If you've been relying on Rudolph all year, it's time to find another option. If he can get on the practice field Friday, he may be able to play, but you need to have backups ready to go.
- Tevin Coleman (concussion) is still in the protocol… It looks like Coleman is still a long shot to play in Week 15, though the Monday kickoff does give him an extra day to recover. Still, that also means you might not have anyone to switch into the lineup to replace him if he doesn't play, so you need to have an alternative ready now.