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NFL Injuries & News for Week 15 and Fantasy Playoffs


week-16-fantasy-championships-start-lineup-picks

As you get ready for Week 15 and the playoffs of the fantasy football season, injuries are an integral part of your lineup research.  RotoBaller has you covered with injury reports from around the league after last Sunday’s action.  If you’ve got some questionable players heading into Week 15 and the playoffs, be sure to stay on top of their most recent health updates.

 

NFL Injuries & News for Week 15

 

Arizona Cardinals:

  • D/ST: DB Tyrann Mathieu tore his left ACL and MCL in Week 14.
    • Analysis: A really tough break for a potential rookie of the year candidate and a pretty good IDP player as well.  Unfortunately, the Honey Badger will miss the rest of the season, possibly the entirety of the summer training camp, and is very questionable for Week 1 in 2014.  AZ's D takes a hit in the secondary, but hopefully should be okay going forward.

 

Baltimore Ravens:

  • D/ST: LB Elvis Dumervil was inactive for Week 14 against the Vikings.
    • Analysis: He's week-to-week with an ankle injury and as Baltimore's sacks leader, it puts quite a damper on playing the Baltimore D going forward unless he is good to go for Week 15 and beyond.  Still, keep starting the Baltimore D as needed.

 

Carolina Panthers:

  • RB: Jonathan Stewart tore his MCL in the Week 14 game against New Orleans.
    • Analysis: The Panthers are hoping he will be ready by Week 17, but it's doubtful that will happen.  At this point, Carolina is hoping J-Stew is going to be ready for the NFL playoffs.  What's that mean?  Drop him like he's hot off your fantasy rosters if you were using him at all.

 

Chicago Bears:

  • QB: Jay Cutler (ankle) was inactive for the Monday Night Football match-up against the Cowboys.
    • Analysis: Long story short, McCown has been white hot with a 11:1 TD-to-INT ratio and Cutler had a 13:8 TD-to-INT ratio.  Granted, Cutler has played 8 games and gone 4-4 and McCown has played 5 and gone 3-2; however, some of that win-loss record can be placed squarely on the Chicago D's shoulders.  Trestman hasn't named a Week 15 starter; however, it might be easier to hide behind Cutler's injury for at least next week regardless of what Trestman says about Cutler being "the team's starter."  Ideally, fantasy owners should try to roster both of them.

 

Dallas Cowboys:

  • D/ST: CB Morris Claiborne (hamstring) was ruled out and LB Sean Lee left Week 14's game against the Bears with a neck injury.
    • Analysis: Lee's return to the Cowboys defense was a big boost for a team that hasn't done as well without him.  Unfortunately, they still haven't done well with him, but they've done worse without him.  The expectation is that Lee is day-to-day as there is no structural damage and he should be good to go for Week 15 against Green Bay.  Fantasy owners shouldn't be starting the Dallas D, but those in IDP leagues should be relieved the injury isn't serious.  Claiborne didn't travel with the team and may well be out for Week 15; however, nothing has been stated by the team yet.

 

Denver Broncos:

  • WR: Wes Welker (concussion) did not participate in Tuesday's practice.
    • Analysis: Considering the Broncos play the Chargers on Thursday Night Football, it's highly unlikely he'll play in the game and will probably be ruled out the day before the game.  It's been his second concussion in two weeks so the team will play it safe even after the week's game.  TE Jacob Tamme will take his spot as the slot receiver, but he's likely no more than a desperation FLEX play.  Expect Julius Thomas, Demaryius Thomas, and Eric Decker to get most of the attention from Peyton Manning.

 

Detroit Lions:

  • RB: Reggie Bush (calf) was declared out for the Week 14 game against the Eagles.
    • Analysis: He was declared inactive after the Lions already reported him active as he aggravated a pre-existing calf injury from the week before during warm-ups (talk about being a game-time decision...fantasy owners were more than crushed).  Bush is likely going to be questionable all week leading into the game with the Ravens in Week 15.  He'll be a RB1/2 if he plays, but regardless, owners should run to the waiver wire/free agent list to make sure they can grab Joique Bell pronto.

 

Green Bay Packers:

  • QB: Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) has yet to be medically cleared and the team is "pessimistic" about Rodgers being cleared for Week 15 against Dallas.
    • Analysis: Seeing as how the Packers are only a half-game behind both the Lions and Bears (oh my!) for the division, the possibility is still there that Rodgers comes back sometime before the regular season ends.  That being said, Week 15 would mark six weeks since he had the injury, and Rodgers himself admitted he was still feeling some pain "doing the simple stuff" in practice last week.  Look to Matt Flynn likely making another start and owners of all GB players should keep their fingers crossed (though mercifully, the game is against the Cowboys' terrible D).
  • RB: Eddie Lacy (ankle) is day-to-day according to reports.
    • Analysis: He played through the injury in the Week 14 win against the Falcons, but admitted the injury bothered him.  Lacy looked ineffective after the injury, and he himself admitted as such.  The good news is that he did re-take the field after the injury so it's highly likely he avoided any sort of major high-ankle sprain.  At this point, Lacy has a 50-50 shot to start against the Cowboys, with his status being updated as the week goes on.  Expect James Starks to start if Lacy cannot (and as such, owners should have Lacy handcuffed to Starks ASAP if they haven't done so already).

 

Kansas City Chiefs:

  • TE: Anthony Fasano (head, knee) was inactive for Week 14 against Washington.
    • Analysis: While his knee sprain was more of a day-to-day ailment, the concussion symptoms lingered and as such Fasano was did not pass the NFL concussion protocol.  Regardless, he is a low-end desperation TE2 at best regardless of his status for Week 15.  Sean McGrath started in his place and isn't even in the TE2 conversation.  Regardless, Fasano may be worth keeping an eye on due to all the injuries at the TE position league-wide.

 

Miami Dolphins:

  • RB: Lamar Miller (concussion) was cleared to practice by Tuesday.
    • Analysis: The shocking part is that Daniel Thomas was somehow able to play in Miller's stead after being "left for dead" by various media reports due to his ankle injury.  In fact, the team itself did not envision Thomas playing at all for Week 14.  What's that mean for Miller?  Seeing how he's on the right track to clear the NFL concussion protocol, it's back to a timeshare in Miami for the RB position, making both players no more than a desperation FLEX play (especially considering how the Dolphins coaching staff incredulously "never discussed" what Miller could do with more carries).

 

Minnesota Vikings:

  • RB: Adrian Peterson has a sprained right foot and Toby Gerhart has a hamstring strain.
    • Analysis: It's stating the obvious, but neither injury is good news for AP owners.  Even though AP is now sporting a walking boot, the silver lining here is that there was no major structural damage or fracture on Peterson's foot.  However, considering the team's 3-9-1 record, that may dictate how quickly he does come back from the injury, and he could very well be done for the rest of the year.  That being said, AP owners should run to stash Gerhart as he'll take-over backfield duties if AP is ruled out for any period of time.  However, Gerhart himself is dealing with a "tweaked" hammy from the game against Baltimore, and the severity of that isn't fully known.  It did not appear to be a significant pull and Gerhart is likely to suit up for Week 15, but his status will be updated throughout the week.  For those who are desperate, Matt Asiata is the Vikings 3rd string RB, though it's likely there are better options out on the waiver wire/free agent list.

 

New England Patriots:.

  • WR: Aaron Dobson (foot) is dealing with a sprain and Kenbrell Thompkins has a hip injury.
    • Analysis: Dobson hasn't played a snap since going down in Week 12 even though he was originally active for Week 13.  Beyond the reports of a foot sprain there have not been any specifics.  As for Thompkins, he was listed as questionable for Week 14 until being listed as inactive before the game against the Browns.  Neither player should be on the fantasy radar as they've only shown spurts of skill throughout the season; however, those in very deep leagues desperate for a filler could look to Josh Boyce as he'll man the "X" spot.
  • TE: Rob Gronkowski was placed on IR with a torn right ACL and MCL.
    • Analysis: It's an unfortunate end to the dominant TE's injury-plagued season and it certainly has many concerned going into the 2014 season with his injury history (after all, he missed his entire junior year of college football after going through a back operation.  Gronk is still only 24; however, the injury-prone tag will likely come up going forward until he can show otherwise.  He'll likely miss most of the summer training camp and be questionable for Week 1 in 2014.  Fantasy owners should run to grab other TE options available on their waiver wire/free agent list (e.g. Coby Fleener, Delaine Walker, Rob Housler, etc.).

 

New York Giants:

  • D/ST: Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) was inactive for Week 14 against San Diego.
    • Analysis: With the Giants officially eliminated from playoff contention, the expectation is that JPP will likely be shut down to get rest.  Coming off of back surgery, he wasn't himself all year and a shoulder injury in Week 10 only made things worse.  Sitting JPP down would also give the Giants the opportunity to start rookie Damontre Moore and give him much needed reps.  From a D/ST perspective, it was likely the case fantasy owners were not using the Giants, but IDP league owners should likely drop JPP at this point regardless of him sitting or not.

 

Oakland Raiders:

  • WR: Denarius Moore (shoulder) did not play for the Week 14 game against the Jets.
    • Analysis: The news is the same from last week and at this point, Andre Holmes is the WR4/5 that owners should consider owning.  Until Moore comes back and shows some consistency with QB Matt McGloin, he's pretty much droppable.
  • RB: Rashad Jennings (head) passed concussion protocol.
    • Analysis: Barring any re-occurrence of symptoms, he should be starting against the Chiefs for Week 15.  However, expect Marcel Reece to cut into Jennings' playing time, with likely a 80-20 or 70-30 split in playing time favoring Jennings.  He's squarely in the low-end RB2 conversation, regardless of Kansas City's recent struggles on defense.

 

Seattle Seahawks:

  • WR: Percy Harvin (hip) did not play in Week 14 against San Francisco.
    • Analysis: Harvin was doubtful before the game and was ruled out a few days prior.  He's still dealing with soreness in his surgically repaired hip and at this point, he's week-to-week.  It is likely that Seattle may just hold Harvin out of the regular season until the NFL playoffs and as such, for fantasy purposes, Harvin can no longer be considered a viable option at WR.  Drop him like a ton of bricks if you need the roster space to grab somebody else; however, those with roster flexibility can certainly still hold out hope for Week 16; however, it is likely not worth it at this point for the fantasy playoffs.

 

St. Louis Rams:

  • WR: Tavon Austin left the Week 14 game against Arizona with an ankle injury.
    • Analysis: He hurt his ankle on a 56-yard run on an end-around against the Cardinals and after he attempted to field a punt, Austin left the game to ice up the ankle but never returned.  He is day-to-day at this point, but the first round pick isn't worth owning at this point for re-draft leagues in the fantasy playoffs.  Austin hasn't done much all season, so there should be no expectations for him contributing now.

 

Tennessee Titans:

  • WR: WR Kendall Wright is dealing with shoulder and ankle injuries.
    • Analysis: This likely explains his quiet day against the Broncos in Week 14 and also why he had his snaps reduced in that game as well.  Granted, some of Denver's defensive work on Wright affected his output as well.  Wright's injuries are no more than day-to-day and he should be good to against the Cardinals who lost slot CB Tyrann Mathieu to a season-ending knee injury.  Fire him up as a WR2 in PPR leagues, and as a good WR3 play in standard leagues for Week 15, as clearly, the Honey Badger won't care since he's on IR.
  • TE: Delanie Walker was inactive for Week 14 against Denver.
    • Analysis: First off, apologies for listing as a Rams player for last week (Week 13); clearly a mistake on my part.  That being said, Walker should go through his final concussion tests sometime this week.  Coach Munchak is expecting Walker to play and seeing as how it has been two weeks since the concussion, it's most likely going to happen.  Owners thin at TE (looking at you, Gronkowski owners) should pick up Walker if he's still available.

 

Washington Redskins:

  • QB: Robert Griffin III is reportedly going to be inactive for Week 15.
    • Analysis: Not an active injury per-se, but Griffin's knee has been a concern all season; however, seeing as how Coach Shanahan allowed RG III to play in snow conditions in Week 14, this looks more like a move to get himself fired and/or some personal vendettas taken care of.  Shanahan has mentioned that if he does bench Griffin, it will be for the final three games of the season, not just Week 15 as to "protect the franchise quarterback."  For whatever it's worth, Shanahan should have kept RG III benched for the first three games of the season, not the last three games of the season as his back-up, Kirk Cousins did quite well in his place last season.  At this point, RG III should be dropped if possible to free up roster space.  Those who were starting Griffin should grab Cousins ASAP and maybe even drop RG III for another QB as well.
  • TE: Jordan Reed (concussion) was inactive for the Week 14 match-up against Kansas City
    • Analysis: Reed was reportedly feeling a lot better on the Friday prior to the game, but he still missed his 3rd straight game.  When a concussion lingers as much as Reed's has, it raises a red flag for future concussions re-occurring.  That being said, with the Redskins' season in the tank, it's possible they could shut down their start TE for the rest of the season.  Keep monitoring his status, but Reed owners should have already grabbed a back-up plan at TE already.



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