When we last convened here there was fear, loathing, and despair. There was also gut rot due to the entire frozen pizza I ate late Sunday (#bloglife).

But it was here roughly 15 hours ago when we wondered if LeSean McCoy would return this week in some capacity, leading to a muddled mess in the Eagles’ backfield, and confusion and chaos throughout the week.

It’s probably bad form to encourage you to forget words that are written around these parts. But yeah, you can forget everything I wrote about McCoy last night now and the possibility that he’ll return Thursday against the Bengals, bringing with him deep head fogs among both his fantasy owners, and those who have Bryce Brown on their fake teams.

At the time when I wrote those words they were true, because I’m not a scumbag liar. But then as the story developed we learned that although McCoy has been cleared to practice — which is still a significant step — he needs to see an independent neurologist to be cleared to play in a game. That meant the quick turnaround prior to a Thursday night game was likely to claim another victim. Curse you, NFL and your desire to profit from your crappy primetime schedule.

When it’s not being a complete jerk and telling me to come back and try again later, my crystal ball tells me that if this game were to be played in a more normal Sunday time slot, there’s a far greater chance McCoy owners would get their stud and likely top three overall pick back for the semi-final week. But alas, fate has dealt us a mighty blow once again.

McCoy will indeed sit Thursday, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, leaving the starting running back job solely in Bryce¬† Brown’s hands for at least one more week. And that sounds wonderful if you choose to only remember Brown’s 372 yards from scrimmage on nine yards per touch in his two starts prior to Week 14. That’s the kind of production only possible in old school NFL Blitz games, and only if you pumped Brown with every steroid and horse tranquilizer available. But there he was, gashing two very meh run defenses (Cowboys and Panthers).

Of course, by doing that you’ll be forgetting his six yards on 12 carries against the Buccaneers Sunday, a day that’s already on par with the average output of a middle schooler playing two-hand touch before we look just a little further down his stat line, and see that his longest run in that game was 11 yards. His 11 other carries then netted a total of -5 yards. Youch.

So with the importance of this decision heightened, which Brown should you expect Thursday? Welp, the Bengals’ run defense ain’t no Bucs run defense, because no run defense resides in the posh neighborhood occupied solely by the Bucs. They’re giving up an average of 78.2 rushing yards per game, while the Texans and 49ers are tied for second, but significantly back at 90.8. That’s a similar gap to what we saw last year when the Niners were the dominant run defense (77.3 YPC), and the second place team was 15.3 yards behind.

Alright, fair enough. But the Bengals are still ranked 11th (105.4 YPC), meaning that after he took a steaming dump against the league’s best run defense, Brown is now only going down by about one weight class. This is the same Bengals defense that held DeMarco Murray to just 53 yards on 21 carries this past Sunday, and two weeks ago Ryan Mathews was limited to just 26 yards.

You should still start Brown, though, but view him as a mid-tier RB2. If Reggie Bush is stashed on your bench, you’re maybe only moderately crazy for entertaining a Brown for Bush swap in your RB2 spot. Bush — who just posted 103 all-purpose yards against the Niners — opposes the Jaguars and their 31st-ranked run defense.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • Don’t worry, guys, Chan Gailey thinks that Tashard Choice sucks, so he won’t be Fred Jackson-ing C.J. Spiller. Or so he says…[BuffaloBills.com]
  • Let’s pour one out for Dwayne Bowe, who’s season is most likely over due to a rib injury. So long, garbage man. [Bill Williamson]
  • Brandon Lloyd is good at making mirages. [Rotoworld]
  • Aaron Rodgers has failed to reach 16 fantasy points in four consecutive games. Ugh? [Christopher Harris]

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