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Fantasy football: The status' of Adrian Peterson, Josh Gordon, Kyle Rudolph

Adrian Peterson's status is up in the air, but the NFL should make a ruling soon.<Getty Images

As we navigate through the last of the bloated bye weeks, we can narrow our focus from depth to difference-makers. After all, fantasy football is not a cumulative game – it’s a week-to-week battle.

There are plenty of players out there that haven’t suited up in a long time. What to expect from three of the biggest names:

Flash Gordon

Fantasy’s No. 1 wide receiver from last season is finally nearing a return. Josh Gordon has been allowed at the team facility during his suspension, reportedly working “really hard” and is ready to hit the ground running in Week 12. A dynamic difference-maker that has proven he can overcome wobbly quarterback play, Gordon will immediately enter the top10 WR tier when he makes his season debut against the Falcons. This pass game is absolutely desperate for weaponry.

All Day's plea

Now that Adrian Peterson has pleaded to one misdemeanor count of assault – with not a mention of child abuse or domestic violence – the ball is in the NFL’s court. Will they reinstate him considering he’s already essentially been suspended for eight games with pay? No one seems to know right now. Even if there’s only a 25 percent chance Peterson plays for the Vikings again this season, he’s well worth adding and stashing as a top three running back talent. The coaches couldn’t keep him off the field if they got the green light, meaning Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata owners should be a little worried.

Red nosed Rudolph

Kyle Rudolph was not suspended like Gordon or Peterson, he was simply hurt. But he’s targeting Week 11 for his return from groin surgery and should quickly slide into a major role for tight end friendly coordinator Norv Turner. It’s interesting for fantasy owners as the tight end position is a barren and inconsistent wasteland behind the big three of Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas. Rudolph is a red-zone specialist (13 TDs in last 26 games) and was lining up in the slot plenty before his injury.

Pickups of the Week

Mark Sanchez, QB, Eagles – Was Nick Foles playing at an elite level? No. Was he lighting up the box score? Yes. Sanchez can do the same for Chip Kelly, god of offense.

Terrance West, RB, Browns – Cleveland coaches evaluated the tape and determined West is their best back right now. Sweet dreams, Ben Tate.

Michael Vick, QB, Jets — The spot doesn’t get much better for Vick, home against a woeful Steelers defense primed for a letdown. Troy Polamalu and Ryan Shazier are also out.

NFL Matchups

Fire up these borderline wideouts in Week 10:

Eric Decker vs. PIT – All year long, we’ve been using wideouts against William Gay and Cortez Allen. It’s a winning formula.

Marques Colston vs. SF – Thanks to Patrick Willis, the Niners do an excellent job on tight ends. Drew Brees will have to look to Colston.

Roddy White at TB – Coming off a bye, the aging White will have fresh legs to feast on the plentiful gaps in Lovie Smith’s zone.

NFL News

Tre Mason earned 19 of the Rams’ 23 running back carries in the Week 9 upset at San Francisco. Yet on Monday, Jeff Fisher still refused to name a starter, instead saying he’ll stick with a committee or hot-hand approach. Don’t buy it. Mason is separating here and the best news is that it’s happening as the schedule finally eases up. As a two-down back, he needs game flow on his side to be effective. Look for Mason to be a strong RB2 in Weeks 12-14 (at SD, vs. OAK, at WAS).

 
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