Injury concerns regarding players heading into the Sunday and Monday games can be critical. Each week, this Saturday blog entry will be dedicated to those who appear on the official Friday NFL injury report and how their status may impact fantasy teams.
For those who may be new to this blog: Injury reports provide some insight to a player's status. The NFL requires teams to submit their injury reports several times a week, identifying the body part that is involved in the injury. Early in the week, these reports will indicate whether a player is not practicing, is limited in practice or is a full participant in practice. On Fridays, all players on the injury report are assigned one of the following designations by their teams: probable, questionable, doubtful or out. The designations in this blog reflect the injury reports filed with the league office on Friday evening. Teams playing Monday night do not have to issue their designations until Saturday. The explanation for each designation is as follows:
Out: This is the easy one; the guy's not playing Sunday.
Probable (P): This designation indicates a player is expected to play, barring a setback between the final injury report and kickoff.
Questionable (Q): This is the most dreaded player designation, yet it manages to be the one most frequently utilized by teams (sometimes to keep everyone guessing). It means a player's status is on the fence; there is technically a 50-50 chance that he will be on the field come game time, although some teams utilize the questionable designation far more broadly. Whether a player ends up active or inactive often comes down to a game-time decision based on how he feels on game-day morning or how he performs during warm-ups. Final inactives are due 90 minutes before kickoff.
Doubtful (D): The doubtful designation means a player has theoretically less than a 25 percent chance of playing that week. Rarely does a player labeled as doubtful end up playing, unless he experiences a major turnaround before game time.
Each week in the Saturday blog, we run down a list of key fantasy players, by position, who appear in the Friday injury report, along with the injured body part as listed on the report, player status and any relevant developments or insight. The primary fantasy positions are covered (quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end). At the end, key fantasy players listed Friday as "out" for that week's games will appear as a group.
Good luck in Week 11, everyone!
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, right shoulder, (P): Rodgers has been getting banged up more than usual lately, and it’s forcing him on the injury report. The good news is that his status for Sunday isn’t in question, and according to coach Mike McCarthy, he was throwing fine in practice. Rodgers elevated to full participation on Thursday, the heaviest practice day of the week. As long as he doesn’t absorb too much punishment in the game, this shouldn’t be a huge factor.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets, left thumb, (P): After Fitzpatrick sustained a ligament injury to his non-throwing thumb, it was only a matter of time before he underwent surgery to repair it. He and the Jets chose the Friday after the team’s Thursday night game to give him an extra few recovery days without impacting his availability. All appears to have worked out well as Fitzpatrick returned to practice this week and immediately began handling snaps under center without issue. The probable tag indicates the team’s expectation that he will start on Sunday, as usual.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings, left shoulder, (P): Last week, it was a concussion that threatened Bridgewater’s status, but he was ultimately cleared to play. Unfortunately, he took a hit in that game that resulted in soreness in his left shoulder. He was able to practice fully throughout the week, though, and is expected to make his usual start for the Vikings.
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears, knee, (Q): Forte’s moderate MCL sprain in Week 8 was always expected to cause him to miss at least two weeks, but now, approaching three weeks post-injury, his status is a little cloudier. While he has been able to do some things in practice, he has mainly focused on straight-line movement. He was held out of the team’s Thursday practice this week not because of a setback but because the team was working on turf. Although he is no longer experiencing pain, Forte did tell ESPN.com’s Jeff Dickerson that he still has to contend with swelling, indicating his knee is not quite 100 percent.
The Bears play again Thursday in a Thanksgiving Day game, and Forte is careful about not overdoing it upon his return and setting himself back. He acknowledged the talent of Jeremy Langford and noted he might not have to be the every-down back with Langford alongside him. Forte’s status for Sunday may not be made official until just before game time, but even if he plays Sunday, Langford will at least play a role, perhaps even the more significant role. The concern for fantasy owners might be what to expect beyond Week 9 as the volume previously delivered by Forte may no longer be guaranteed.
Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks, abdomen, (Q): Lynch was listed with the same ailment last week when it cropped up in practice, yet was able to play through it, so it would seem he should be able to do so again. At least that’s what his coach thinks. Despite Lynch’s questionable status, Pete Carroll seemed optimistic he would be available Sunday, describing him as questionable. Naturally, fantasy owners will want to confirm his official status before kickoff and have a backup plan ready, just in case.
Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys, groin, (Q): McFadden was one of those dreaded late-week additions to the injury report after apparently injuring his groin in practice. While the injury doesn’t sound particularly serious and all indications are that McFadden will indeed play, it still raises the question as to whether he can be expected to carry a normal workload. McFadden has proven reliable for the Cowboys so far this season, but his injury history is hard to overlook. Perhaps that is part of the reason the team held him to limited practices and described it as a proactive approach, hoping to ensure his availability on Sunday. The Cowboys did add Robert Turbin to their backfield this week, and he is likely to pick up the work behind McFadden. Just how much work, that is, remains to be seen.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings, hamstring, (P): Peterson has been racking up some yardage lately, so it comes as no surprise that he might be feeling the effects in his legs. On the injury report with a hamstring issue, Peterson returned to full practice Friday after two consecutive days of limited work. The Vikings don’t appear worried, listing him as probable, so fantasy owners shouldn’t be concerned either.
Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos, quadriceps, (P): Hillman continues to show up on the injury report with a sore quad, but he continues to be listed as probable and coach Gary Kubiak continues to designate him as the starter. Both Hillman and Anderson will continue to get work, but you never know how the division of work will go until the game is played. Sigh.
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers, groin, (P): Lacy sat out Week 10 with a groin injury but not before he had been relegated to the No. 2 role behind teammate James Starks. Between a week off and perhaps a wake-up call, Lacy practiced fully all week, prompting head coach Mike McCarthy to comment about how good Lacy looked in practice. Starks is still first in line for carries, at least for now, but Lacy is definitely healthier and is likely to be active Sunday.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins, rib, (P): Morris may have sustained a rib injury in last week’s game, but it didn’t keep him from finishing or acquiring more than 100 total yards on the day. Listed as a full practice participant throughout the week and designated probable, Morris is expected to play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, foot/knee (P): Bryant will play again this week despite his continued presence on the injury report. Tony Romo was activated off of injury reserve and will also play Sunday, marking his return from a seven-game absence due to a shoulder injury. Bryant continues to get Wednesdays off, but he did practice on a limited basis both Thursday and Friday. If he and Romo can rediscover their pre-injury chemistry, that could signal some positive changes in Dallas.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, ankle, (P): The main worries about Johnson’s ankle potentially causing him to miss time appear to be behind him. After practicing both Thursday and Friday, listed as probable, Johnson is expected to be on the field Sunday.
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears, groin, (Q): Jeffery has been beset by multiple soft tissue injuries, but this latest issue didn’t appear to be as serious. After all, he suited up last Sunday just days after sustaining the groin injury in practice. He may have been on the field but wasn’t much of a factor in the game, managing only three catches for 23 yards. The events late this week add further cause for concern. Jeffery did not practice Thursday or Friday and is shaping up to be a game-time decision.
Eric Decker, knee, and Brandon Marshall, toe/ankle, New York Jets, (P): By now, fantasy owners are accustomed to seeing these two Jets receivers on the injury report. The reassuring element this week is that they are both listed as probable, inspiring much more confidence as to their availability for Sunday’s game.
James Jones, Green Bacy Packers, quadriceps, (P): This has always been classified as a mild quad strain but the probable tag is reassuring nonetheless. Jones is expected to play Sunday as the Packers look to put together a better offensive performance than in recent weeks.
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos, ankle/finger, (Q): Sanders’ ankle continues to present enough of a problem that his status won’t be decided until game time. His first day of practice this week wasn’t until Friday and even that outing was limited. Although he played last week, he was obviously at less than full health and is still trying to get to that point. Kubiak said Sanders has a chance to play Sunday, but it is hard to know what to expect, given his current limitations and a new quarterback, Brock Osweiler, at the helm.
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, knee, (Q): Jackson returned to the practice field for the first time since injuring his knee in Week 7 and somewhat surprisingly worked on back-to-back days. The sentiment early in the week was that he was likely headed for another missed game, but the questionable tag indicates the door is still open. The decision may come down to how Jackson feels Sunday morning, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he is ultimately held out another week.
Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers, hamstring, (Q): Boldin missed two games, then had a bye week, only to return to limited practice this week. He has not yet fully recovered from the hamstring injury that sidelined him recently, and the team travels to Seattle for an unfavorable matchup. Boldin is expected to be a game-time decision.
Leonard Hankerson, Atlanta Falcons, hamstring, (P): Hankerson finally turned a corner in his recovery from a hamstring injury that has kept him off the field since Week 7. Limited practices early in the week were followed by a full practice outing Friday. Better yet, coach Dan Quinn has already stated that Hankerson will play Sunday , taking any guesswork out of the equation for fantasy owners.
John Brown, hamstring, (Q), Michael Floyd, hamstring, (Q) and Larry Fitzgerald, ankle, (P), Arizona Cardinals: With Brown, Floyd and Fitzgerald not playing until Sunday night, their status creates some challenges for fantasy owners. The most concern likely centers on Floyd, who injured his hamstring in Week 10 and was forced out of the game early. He hasn’t practiced at all this week, making it appear less likely -- although not impossible -- that he’ll take the field Sunday night. Given Floyd’s uncertainty, the status of Brown becomes that much more important. Brown has been dealing with hamstring issues for multiple weeks with varying results. Last Sunday, he was active against the Seahawks and played about two-thirds of the offensive snaps, but the box score had a zero next to his name. Targeted only three times in the game, Brown had no receptions and was simply not a factor against the Seahawks. This week, he participated in consecutive, albeit limited, practice days Thursday and Friday and will be a game-time decision Sunday. He has yet to miss a game this season, but in his past two games, Brown has not recorded a catch despite the separation of a bye week in between. It would seem that with another week of relative light work under his belt and a potentially compromised Floyd, Brown would have more opportunities to get back on track in Week 11, as long as his hamstrings cooperate. In the meantime, Fitzgerald remains on the injury report because of his ankle, but as the probable tag indicates, he is the least concerning of the three. Fitzgerald is expected to start, but Brown and Floyd will be game-time calls.
Nate Washington, hip, and DeAndre Hopkins, knee, Houston Texans, (P): Washington has already played through this injury and will do so again this week. Hopkins raised some eyebrows when he didn’t practice either Wednesday or Thursday. He declared himself 100 percent ready to go, however, and based on his probable designation, it appears as if the team agrees with him. Both receivers will be on the field to support T.J. Yates in his start against the Jets.
Antonio Gates, knee/hip, (P) and Ladarius Green, ankle, (Q), San Diego Chargers: Gates practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Friday with a day off Thursday in between. Green returned to practice Friday for the first time since injuring his ankle in Week 8 and it was only to do limited work. In fact, Green’s assessment of his ankle would hint at him sitting out another week. The probable status for Gates is encouraging, despite him clearly not being fully healthy. His quick return from a sprained MCL may have contributed to the accompanying hip problem he is dealing with now, but as Gates has shown in the past, it will take a substantial injury to force him completely out of a game. He still often manages to be a red zone threat even when he is not at his best. Fantasy owners can feel confident that Gates will be on the field to provide another receiving option for Rivers, but he may be somewhat compromised.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, shoulder, (Q): It borders on the bizarre that Seferian-Jenkins continues to be listed as questionable when he truly doesn’t appear closer to taking the field. He remains limited in practice and has not been cleared for contact, according to coach Lovie Smith. This is the eighth week in a row that Seferian-Jenkins is expected to miss. Fantasy owners need to continue to look elsewhere.
Owen Daniels, Denver Broncos, shoulder/knee, (P): Daniels played through these injuries last week, practiced fully every day this week and will play through them again.
This space is intended for a list of key players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status, who are officially listed as out for the upcoming game.
Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos, foot/rib cage: This week, we learned that Manning tore the plantar fascia in his left foot. Reported to be a partial tear, this will likely be a week-to-week situation for Manning.
Ryan Mathews, RB, concussion, and Sam Bradford, QB, concussion/shoulder, Philadelphia Eagles: Neither of the two practiced during the week following a Sunday where both suffered concussions. Bradford simultaneously sustained an AC sprain to his left shoulder. It’s too early to speculate on their statuses for next week.
Malcom Floyd, WR, San Diego Chargers, shoulder: Floyd tore his labrum in Week 9 on a hard fall. He is not yet practicing and has no specific timetable for a return.
Eddie Royal, WR, Chicago Bears, knee: Royal is out for the third week in a row because of a knee injury.
Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers, foot: Hyde has been out since Week 7 with a foot injury and is not even participating in practice yet. He sits again in Week 11.
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