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 6 Injury Report
Adrian Peterson – Probable: A tragedy beyond words occurred to Peterson and his family this week, but it looks as though All Day will take the field on Sunday in Carolina. The Panthers boast a pretty decent run defense, but things like what happened to Peterson often bring elite players’ performances to the next level.
C.J. Spiller – Questionable: Indications seem to be that Spiller will be ready to go on Sunday against the Bengals despite being Questionable. This is hardly a favourable matchup against a formidable Cinci run defense, and Spiller is having a less than terrific year himself as Fred Jackson continues to perform well. While he’s a home run threat to maybe break a big one he’s been held to under 100 total yards in all but one game this year, has only reached paydirt once, and has been totally absent from the passing game the past two weeks – don’t start him based on just the name, there are better options out there probably.
Marshawn Lynch – Questionable: The Seahawks rode the run game last week and we should anticipate more of the game. Lynch didn’t reach the endzone (he had 4TD in 4gp coming in) but did break 100 on the ground for the first time in the year. Pete Carroll isn’t concerned in the least about Lynch being Questionable and nor should you be – in fact if you’re lucky perhaps he’ll cross the line twice to get that average back up to a TD/game.
Arian Foster – Probable: Foster is going to go all “DeMarco Murray” on the Rams this week. On paper he’s easily the best RB you can have in your lineup, his workload is going up, and despite being limited throughout the week there’s no reason to think he won’t be 110% on Sunday.
Jamaal Charles – Probable: Charles owners feel free to breath your sighs of relief. Though there was never much question about it, no one likes to see their star RB not practicing for any reason. He returned to practice on Friday, and will be on the field come Sunday, looking to extend his run of 100+ total yard, 1 touchdown games to six weeks to start the year. Bank on it.
Frank Gore – Probable: Frank has a pretty tough matchup this weekend against one of the more underrated defenses in the NFL, but he’s likely still a must start as he’s had nearly 40 carries, over 225 yards, and two TDs over the past two weeks. Owners surely cringed when Dixon vultured one late, but Gore will likely be the guy the 49ers look to again this week provided the game doesn’t get out of hand.
Stevan Ridley – Questionable: Ah, New England and their always questionable use of the Questionable tag. Blount put one on the ground last week, Bolden is kind of dinged up, and Ridley is fully expected to play. Can you trust Bill to plug him in as much as you’d like? Who knows. If you’re stumped there’s a chance it’s a big week for Ridley. If you’re stumped there’s also a chance that it’s going to be worse with him in your lineup. Use at your own risk.
Alfred Morris – Probable: Morris has failed to live up to his rookie season, but he’s still a borderline RB2 most weeks depending on your options. He practiced fully all week, won’t be missing the game against the Cowboys for certain, but this might not be the best match-up. The ‘Boys have been very good to opposing QBs, and not so much to opposing RBs – they average less than 100 yards allowed on the ground weekly, and have allowed only two running backs to cross the chalk this year.
Ryan Mathews – Probable: It shouldn’t matter that this is MNF as we won’t be 100% sure until then, because Ryan Mathews isn’t the guy that Rivers is looking to most often anymore: Danny Woodhead has taken over that role. Mathews has been medically cleared to go, so if you’re super stuck and your waiver wire is bare then maybe you plug him in – it looks like he’ll be on the field. That’s about where it ends, though.
Zac Stacy – Questionable: Stacy is going to start his second straight, and they’re hoping to see an uptick in his touches this week. He posted good numbers last week on 14 carries for 78 yards – certainly the best the Rams have gotten from a RB all year, but he didn’t reach paydirt which is something you want to see from your fake game running backs. Stacy has an interesting matchup this week: on one hand there’s the possibility that Houston plays the way we know they’re capable of and the game gets out of control due to a lack of Rams defense. On the other hand? Houston have allowed nearly 130 yards/game to opposing RBs throughout the year, which sounds pretty appetizing.
Oakland’s Backfield – Marcel Reece (Probable), Rashad Jennings (Questionable) and Darren McFadden (Questionable): What a mess. McFadden has provided some pretty clear indications that he’s not 100%, even if he plays. Jennings is clearly the second option, but has been limited all week, and Reece is in the best health but who knows what his role will be. I’d fade all three on Sunday against a Chiefs D that have only allowed two ground score all year.
Shonn Greene – Out: This news is positive for CJ2K owners, as he’ll get another week to try to prove he’s not a total bust on the year. Greene is more likely to cut into his carries than Battle is when he does return, and if Johnson doesn’t improve on his sub-2ypc average from the past two weeks than that’s sure to happen.
Bernard Pierce – Questionable: Ray Rice‘s touches have been back up the past two weeks, and it’s been Rice getting the important job of finding the points. Pierce has been involved all week on a limited basis, but he’s not a reasonable start with the resurgence of Rice [at least resurgent workload of Rice]. You can hang onto him if you’ve got the spot in case Ray gets nicked up along the way, but Pierce is likely not worthy of cracking your lineup for the foreseeable future.
Mark Ingram – Questionable: 2013 has to be shaping up as one of the least productive years from the entire Saints backfield on the ground that we’ve seen in quite some time. Aside from two TD weeks from Sproles and Thomas over the past two games, we’ve seen very little from the trio in terms of production on the ground. Ingrams availability impacts Thomas’ and Sproles’ touches, and it’s hard to know for certain right now if he’ll play. Regardless, who knows where the scores will be coming from, and they’ll likely be to one of the other two through the air when they do come.
Mike Goodson and Chris Ivory – Probable: Another messy backfield in terms of who knows who will receive what work, Goodson has cut into Powell’s third down snaps, Ivory will steal a few carries from him, and you shouldn’t have any of the 3 in your lineup. They probably shouldn’t even be on your bench.
Calvin Johnson – Questionable: Johnson is more likely to play this week than last (and his owners rejoice), but he remains a guy you should be checking into on Sunday before the games start up. Not much to love about the Lions’ passing game without him in the lineup: Durham was nothing special and Ryan Broyles apparently…I dunno…slept with Stafford’s wife or kicked Matt in the balls or something…something terrible, to make Stafford just have no interest in throwing him the ball. Megatron and Stafford owners should hope he’s out there.
Andre Johnson – Questionable: What a stud this fella would be if he had a real QB tossing him the football. Despite earlier indications that he’d be a game-time decision, Johnson himself says that he’s feeling better than last week and will be ready to roll on Sunday. The Rams pose an awful defense for him to exploit should Matt Schaub not totally blow.
Larry Fitzgerald – Questionable: Late starts and bad hamstrings make for rough decisions, but the Cards and Fitz haven’t been producing as well as one might hope and face a tough opponent in the 49ers. If Larry posts his six consecutive sub-100 yard game and doesn’t find himself a touchdown for the second consecutive week [and fourth time in the past five weeks], well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Steve Johnson – Questionable: Although I can’t see into the future, from where I sit it doesn’t look very good for Johnson to suit up against the Bengals on Sunday. He didn’t practice all week, he left town for personal reasons mid-week, it’s just not a terrific situation that he’s facing. Even if by chance he does reach the field he’s got Thad Lewis hurling the football…time to bench Stevie.
Danny Amendola – Questionable: Another Pat we should fully expect to be on the field despite the tag. Amendola and the whole Pats offense had a rough week last week, but things may be better this time around. He’s probably a WR3 type start if you need him on Sunday.
Mike Williams – Questionable: Sketchy territory here. On one hand you absolutely want him to play, as this is an insanely good matchup – on the other hand? Limited when he did practice, and didn’t do it at all on Friday. If Williams is your plan, you better have a backup and check back just before the games start.
Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown – Questionable: Looks like both these borderline WR3 are returning to the lineup this week, which leads me to suggest that neither is actually on the right side of that border to play on your fake team. Both limited throughout the week, snap counts may be kept in check, and who knows how things will go from there.
Miles Austin and Dwayne Harris – Probable: Austin returns this week after a two week absence, but hasn’t hit had more than 50 yards since the first week of the season and hasn’t scored all year. This game is bound to be a shootout with the Redskins wonky defense, but Austin may be on a snap count to limit the risk of overdoing his hamstrings. Dwayne Harris returns as well, and that doesn’t mean much for fantasy owners outside of the concern that it’ll likely be a pass or two less tossed in the direction of Terrance Williams. Williams will be a guy you’ll have to give strong consideration to owning if he’s able to continue his strong production of the past two weeks with Austin and Harris on the field.
Cecil Shorts – Probable: Shorts will play on Sunday, and there are a few positives to take from that. First, Chad Henne is under center and not the god-awful Blaine Gabbart. Second, for as good as the Broncos offense has been, their defense has been lacklustre. It’s a good sign for Shorts and Justin Blackmon owners that perhaps some garbage time points are in order…and they count as much as first quarter ones in the fake game.
Sidney Rice – Probable: Rice probably shouldn’t even be on your radar, but if he is it’s worth noting that his knees have been bothering him so he may not see a full compliment of snaps. Aside from a 70+ yard and 2 score performance against the Jaguars (which our grandparents could likely replicate), Rice hasn’t had a TD or breached 50 yards in a game. You shouldn’t need me to tell you to sit him, but just in case…sit him.
Santonio Holmes – Out: Holmes is a bit like Sidney Rice – you shouldn’t need me to be telling you to sit him. He’s not in an ideal situation and he won’t be playing week seven. More on the Jets TEs in the section below, but his absense helps one of them in particular.
Owen Daniels – Out: Daniels is on the IR, but is targeting a late season return. He hadn’t scored since the second week, but had posted some decent numbers from the TE position despite that, having shy of 150 yards in the past two weeks. Garrett Graham probably finds himself as a borderline TE1 until we see otherwise, as he’s about to get a lot of attention it would seem.
Rob Gronkowski – Questionable: Finally a Pat where the questionable tag is a serious marking. Word around has it that Dr. Andrews is holding Gronk back, as he’s been working as a second opinion on his recovery. Who knows if he’ll clear him tomorrow, but I’d be fully prepared to have someone else on my roster ready to go just in case.
Greg Olsen – Probable: Olsen has been posting very nice yardage this year, but hasn’t been coming up with the touchdowns to go along with it. He’s a top 10 TE, but likely near the back end of that. If Cam Newton can start producing like we’ve seen him do in the past, then that should improve, but for now it’s been a rough year for all things Panthers. Pretty nice matchup this week for Olsen who is almost guaranteed to be on the field as he faces the Minnesota Vikings.
Heath Miller – Probable: No snap count for Miller in his last game out in week 4, as he was on the field for nearly 100% of the Steelers plays. His presence makes a big difference for a guy like Big Ben, who nailed him for a 70 yards passing against the Vikings. Miller will see the Jets this weekend and should be in for a 50-70 yard performance again. Finding the endzone would be a big plus for this guy, but as he’s expected to play he’s a back end TE1.
Zach Miller – Questionable: Another guy like his teammate Rice that I shouldn’t need you to sit. He’s had less than 20 yards in the past two weeks combined, and has only found paydirt in one game [against the Jags, which hardly counts]. Many better options exist…just not running a TE at all is almost as good as plugging Zach in.
Tony Scheffler – Out: Scheff hasn’t been cleared from his concussion to return to play, so unlikely that he’ll be out there on Sunday. Wasn’t much of a fantasy start, but should increase the looks Brandon Pettigrew is receiving. Pettigrew has eclipsed 50 yards the past two weeks but has yet to find the endzone on the year.
Anthony Fasano – Doubtful: Looks as though it’s going to be another week of Sean McGrath from the TE spot for the Chiefs. Fasano hasn’t practiced all week, and Travis Kelce is ruled out. If McGrath can start getting some endzone looks he’s going to be a useful guy, even when Fasano returns one might assume.
Kellen Winslow – Suspended: Like so many pro athletes before him, Winslow was shocked to hear that he had been suspended for PEDs. He’ll sit the next four weeks, and Jeff Cumberland will catch touchdowns. Cumberland has scored TDs in consecutive weeks and is worth putting on your watch list, if he continues to develop rapport with Geno Smith he may be an interesting play in the weeks ahead.