One of the most challenging tasks that any owner faces during the course of the fake football season is managing those injuries that crop up along the way. Often we’re kept down to the wire wondering if players will play, limited in practice and listed on the injury report, and sometimes if they do there’s very little in the way of assurances that they’re going to play 100% of their normal snaps, or ability.
On Saturdays we’re going to take a look every week at the players are fit that very description, and how their situations may impact your fantasy squad for the upcoming weekend.
Week 4 Injury Report
Ray Rice – Questionable: Rice’s availability for the upcoming week is seems murky at best – he’s questionable and he’s practiced throughout the week on a limited basis, but he’s admitted to being a true game time decision. You’ll need to monitor the situation tomorrow morning, just in case. If you’ve got a healthy back that might produce decent numbers then you can probably roll with them safely, because with Pierce there to spell Rice he may not see a full workload even if he is available for the game.
Reggie Bush – Probable: Bush owners that doesn’t own Joique Bell will be thrilled to hear that after a few full practices throughout the week, Reggie is expected back on Sunday. He’s been a true RB1 when he’s suited up this season, and even though Joique has performed admirably in his place there’s no reason to believe that Reggie won’t regain his spot atop the depth chart in full on Sunday.
C.J. Spiller – Probable: Spiller owners who paid the big bucks for him [often as a top five pick] must really be starting to wonder if he’s going to round into form this year. Although his injury seems of no real concern [he had no setbacks while practicing all week], his production has to be – he’s had only just one 100 yard game this season, and hasn’t found the endzone yet. Risky business with C.J., despite his undeniable skill.
Steven Jackson – Out: It was believed last week that Snelling was the back to own in Steven Jackson‘s absence, and that may well be the case still as he posted good numbers on the ground and through the air while reaching paydirt in the Falcons week 3 win. However, Jacquizz Rodgers racked up 20 touches of his own (18 carries, 2 receptions) and posted just shy of 100 yards himself, which doesn’t leave the situation any clearer heading into a Sunday Night Football match against the Patriots.
Maurice Jones-Drew – Probable: MJD will likely be on the field against the Colts this Sunday, but until he stops struggling in true Jaguars form he’s an incredibly risky fantasy start. He hasn’t yet put up 50 yards on the ground in a single game, and has only broke that in total yardage once in three weeks.
Le’Veon Bell – Probable: Coming off his foot injury, Bell is likely to see his first action of the season on Sunday. That said, don’t be too excited to get him into your roster as the Steelers are likely to ease him back into action rather than risk overdoing it and flaring up his injury.
Chris Ivory – Out: The Jets’ offseason acquisition has struggled early in the season and now has picked up a hamstring injury leaving him out indefinitely with no known return date. Backup Bilal Powell was effective in his spot, and should get the bulk of the carries out of the backfield again this week. If they stick to their guns of running the ball like they did versus the Bills, the volume will be there.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Probable: The Lawfirm practiced in full late this week and there seems little doubt he’ll play. Carries and Touchdowns were split evenly with Giovani Bernard last Sunday, but Bernard continues to produce more YPC and didn’t lose a fumble in the affair. The real risk for this Sunday, like last week, doesn’t lay in whether BJGE plays or not, it lays in whether he can hold onto any semblance of the starting gig.
Rashard Mendenhall – Probable: Mendenhall’s playing was never really in question, but what is in question if you still own [and plan to start] him is why you’re not looking elsewhere for production? His numbers are nothing to boast about, and he’s not receiving 20 total touches a game, last week receiving just 10. Although Andre Ellington hasn’t made a huge difference to Rashard’s workload, he has continued to be post impressive numbers and the breakthrough could come any week. I’d steer clear.
Ahmad Bradshaw – Out: Bradshaw’s neck kept him out of practice all week, and that’s something that teams rarely mess with. He won’t play Sunday and Trent Richardson will get a true chance to shine against the lowly Jags.
Mark Ingram – Questionable: Looks like Ingram will not play again this week, but the Saints backfield remains a mystery to behold. There’s limited value in Pierre Thomas via PPR if Ingram isn’t playing, but there’s not enough carries to go around for all mouthes to be fed.
Miles Austin – Out: News of the week for Jason Witten and Dez Bryant owners – Miles Austin will not play this week due to hamstring issues. Despite his offseason work via training to rectify the issue, you’ve got to wonder if he has it in him to be reliable any more on the year. If you can find a reasonable dance partner who believes he won’t be sidelined long-term, now’s the time to trade. There’s no reliable fantasy option available on the Cowboys in terms of an Austin replacement, so search elsewhere if need be.
Andre Johnson – Questionable: AJ says he’s going to play, but the tag suggests there’s at least a chance the Texans hold their star wideout off the roster. Johnson noted throughout the week that his leg felt better with practice, but even if he goes he’s in for one heck of a hard week against the Seahawks secondary [though if he's playing you're going to be hard pressed not to start him, naturally].
Calvin Johnson – Probable: Megatron practiced the end of the week and his title of probable is more of a formality than anything else. With Peanut not patrolling the secondary on Sunday, Johnson will be able to presumably run roughshod over the Bears. Following his stinker in week one he’s put up 3 TD and over 200 yards the last two weeks.
Roddy White and Julio Jones – Questionable: Questionable Julio Jones has put up over 100 yards each of the past two weeks, receiving 20 grabs in that timeframe. Questionable Roddy White hasn’t put up 25 yards in a game this season, and continues to note that he’s not where he wants to be in terms of his health. That should answer any questions about who you start and who you don’t – Rod sits, Julio goes.
Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson – Questionable: Another duo of wideouts who are both expected to suit up on Sunday, there have to be concerns about their lack of practice time during the week with newly appointed starting QB, Mike Glennon.
Larry Fitzgerald – Probable: Fitz practiced in full all week. He’s coming off two weeks of less than stellar numbers, and this week faces a possible trip to Revis island… still, he’s worth the start as per usual.
Danny Amendola – Questionable: The Patriots always play fast and loose with the injury designations. Depending on your source Amendola might be suited up, or he might be spending another week on the sideline. Regardless, his return seems near and he’s very risky this week to play – even if he gets back on the field there’s still a chance they limit his snaps as Brady’s rapport seems to be growing with rookie wideouts Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins.
Stevie Johnson – Probable: Johnson [like his teammate C.J. Spiller] has practiced in full throughout the week and is expected to play. He’s been producing good numbers throughout three weeks of the year, picking up scores in two of them. Against Baltimore’s secondary that ranks in the bottom ten in both of yards allowed [~270/gm] and touchdowns allowed [seven total through three weeks], Johnson is a decent play.
T.Y. Hilton – Probable: No fear to Eugene’s owners, he’ll be on the field on Sunday against the lacklustre Jaguars. Hilton has it in him to have big games, but he’s seeming to be a very true boom-or-bust wideout with no middle ground. Three weeks into the season he’s posted games of 20 yards, 124 yards and 13 yards.
Santonio Holmes – Probable: The Jet showed last week he still has some big games in his repertoire, with 154 yards and a score. He was held out of practice last week, but it seems to just be precautionary. Tennessee is a middle of the pack pass D, so there’s a chance that Holmes booms again as rookie Geno Smith learns he can rely on him.
Lance Moore – Doubtful: One would hope that three weeks into the year you’re done with starting Moore until he shows he can produce, as he’s amassed just 44 yards on the year. Hard to know whether to turn to Kenny Stills or Robert Meachem as both have shown short flashes, but neither yet seems worthy of a spot on Sunday.
Kenny Britt – Questionable: Word out of Tennessee seems as though Britt will be a game time decision and perhaps less likely to play than to suit up. It’s also surfaced out of Tenn that Locker requested Britt be sat in favour of Justin Hunter on the Titans’ winning drive last week, where Justin snagged a 34 yard TD score. He might be the guy to plug in place of Kenny.
Rob Gronkowski – Questionable: Gronk spike might have to wait another week it seems. Much like Amendola, according to some reports he’s likely to suit up, and others seem like he’s going to have another week to recover. A tough match-up in Atlanta against the Falcons might cause the Pats to give him a little push, as Brady would certainly welcome one of his most trustworthy targets back into the fold. Best to keep an eye on if he makes the journey, and if he does, if he warms-up without issue. Be ready to deploy him, or another TE if necessary.
Jordan Reed – Questionable: A couple of nice weeks through the first three games have made Reed a bit of a waiver wire darling, but it sounds as though a thigh injury will keep him sidelined this Sunday leaving those who happily used their selections to grab him in the lurk.
Heath Miller – Probable: Miller is expected to be out in full force in just his second week. He produced 35 yards on 3 grabs in his first week back and was limited by snap restrictions, if you’re hurting at TE at all, Ben’s safety blanket might not be a bad idea.