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 statuses 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.
There are no more byes in the 2015 season, but three games have already been played this week. The Thanksgiving Day games included the Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. The remaining 26 teams will face off Sunday and Monday.
Good luck in Week 12, everyone!
Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets, left thumb, (P): Fitzpatrick has already returned to action since undergoing surgery to repair ligament damage in his non-throwing thumb. At this point, there is no doubt he will take the field to face the Dolphins.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings, left shoulder, (P): Bridgewater remains on the injury report due to his left shoulder but has practiced fully each day and is expected to start against the Falcons.
Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills, right shoulder, (P): Taylor was visibly uncomfortable after landing hard on his right shoulder Monday night and while he stayed in the game, he continued to reach for his shoulder as if he could willfully work out some of the soreness. According to Taylor, he “kind of jammed it up a little bit,” but he was back throwing in practice Thursday. Apparently he did enough in Friday’s workout to convince coach Rex Ryan he’s ready to go and Taylor will start Sunday against the Chiefs.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals, groin, (P): It’s somewhat surprising given the hits he’s taken in his career that Dalton has never missed a game. That won’t change this week despite his presence on the injury report with a groin strain. In fact, Dalton only had one day of limited practice (Wednesday) then finished out the week strong. He will lead the Bengals Sunday when they host the Rams.
Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans, concussion, (P): Hoyer ceded the starting position to T.J. Yates in Week 11 when he was forced to sit out due to a concussion. But Hoyer was cleared to return to full practice this week and did so daily without incident. Hoyer makes the start against the Saints Sunday.
Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs, hamstring, (Q): This is the time of year when depth at a position can be tested, as the Chiefs are learning. After losing Jamaal Charles to a torn ACL in Week 5, the team has come to rely on West, who has outperformed Knile Davis, to sit atop the running back depth chart. But now West has a hamstring injury that may force him to sit out this week and the question for fantasy owners will be who benefits in his absence. It would seem Spencer Ware is likely to get the bulk of the work after he stepped in last Sunday when West exited to post a mere 96 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs have still kept the door ajar for West by listing him as questionable, but he hasn’t practiced all week. Barring a dramatic overnight improvement, it would appear unlikely West suits up, potentially setting up a big day for Ware.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins, rib, (P): Morris posted more than 100 yards in Week 10, the week he initially sustained a rib injury. The following week, though, Morris aggravated the rib injury -- reported to be a contusion -- early in the first quarter. His early departure from the game left him with a total of zero yards on two carries. This week Morris was surprisingly a full participant in practice each day, but that certainly bodes well for his chances to play, despite last week’s setback. At probable, the team expects to have him on the field, but the question may be for how long.
Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals, knee, (P): Johnson has been a pleasant surprise this season, perhaps no more so than in Week 3 when he ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns against the 49ers. Well, guess who the Cardinals are visiting this Sunday? Johnson would certainly like an opportunity to match his most productive game of the season and it appears he’ll get that chance. After being limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, he was listed as a full participant Friday. The probable designation confirms the team plans on Johnson being on the field for this divisional matchup.
Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints, shoulder, (P): Ingram comes off the team’s bye week still listed on the injury report with a shoulder injury, but it isn’t a major concern. Ingram turned in a full practice Friday after two limited days Wednesday and Thursday. The probable tag tells us the team plans for him to start.
Alfred Blue, back and Chris Polk, knee/hamstring, Houston Texans, (P): Both players are listed on the injury report this week but neither appears to be in any danger of missing this game. Polk was a full participant each day but Blue was a late addition as a limited participant Friday. Normally that would be a cause for concern, but the team’s decision to list him as probable indicates it shouldn’t be. Still, fantasy owners should double check Blue’s status prior to kickoff to ensure there have been no late setbacks.
Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins, elbow, (P): Ajayi didn’t step onto the playing field until the second half of the season, but his presence has garnered a lot of attention. Despite being listed on the injury report with an elbow issue, Ajayi was a full participant throughout the week. He is expected to play Sunday behind Lamar Miller.
Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks, knee, (P): Your knee would be sore, too, if you carried the ball more than 30 times for 200-plus yards and supplemented it with 46 receiving yards, as Rawls did last week. The good news is that he is fully expected to start again this week, despite appearing on the injury report. Marshawn Lynch is out for at least a month following core muscle surgery and the Seahawks intend to have Rawls continue to fill in during his absence.
Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts, ankle, (P): Gore is one of the most durable backs in the NFL. He’ll prove it again this week when he makes his 11th straight start for the Colts. Gore practiced fully Thursday and Friday and should not be limited.
Eric Decker, knee and Brandon Marshall, toe/ankle, New York Jets, (P): Once again, these two star Jets receivers appear on the injury report, listed as probable. They continue to participate in the majority of practice sessions and neither one’s status is in jeopardy heading into Sunday.
Jarvis Landry, knee and Rishard Matthews, illness, Miami Dolphins, (Q): Landry injured his knee in Week 11 but it never appeared serious, as he was able to practice intermittently this week. In fact, Landry rested Wednesday then returned to a limited session Thursday. Normally a subsequent absence from Friday practice would raise concern but according to Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell, the rest was deliberate. As always, fantasy owners are encouraged to verify a player’s status before kickoff, but it appears Landry will be on the field against the Jets who, incidentally, will be without cornerback Darrelle Revis this Sunday.
As for Matthews, he was a very late addition to the injury report (Saturday) as questionable with an illness. No word on what exactly is ailing him, but fantasy owners should be prepared in the event he is not well enough to suit up Sunday.
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos, ankle/finger, (P): Sanders’ upgrade to probable this week reflects the improvement in his ankle over the last week. Sanders was unable to play in Week 11 after his ankle stiffened up in cold conditions, preventing him from running effectively. This week, Sanders was kept to limited work early in the week and then moved up to full practice Friday. Notably, he was moving much better in throughout the week and the team is far more confident in his ability to play this Sunday night. As the designation indicates, expect Sanders to suit up against the Patriots.
Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans, knee, (P): Wright sprained his MCL at the start of November and hasn’t played since. This marks the first week Wright has made a strong showing in practice. He was a full participant Thursday and Friday after a limited appearance Wednesday. Coach Mike Mularkey was optimistic about Wright’s chances of facing the Raiders early in the week and carried the optimism through to Friday. Listed as probable, Wright is expected to make his first start in four weeks.
Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers, hamstring, (P): Boldin played last week despite not being 100 percent healthy and made his presence felt via some impressive receptions. Those catches appeared to cost him somewhat, as Boldin could be seen limping at various points throughout the game. The good news is that he is continuing to progress overall, as the upgrade to probable status this week indicates. After fully participating in this week’s practice sessions, Boldin is expected to play against his former team on Sunday.
John Brown, hamstring, (P), Michael Floyd, hamstring, (Q) and Larry Fitzgerald, ankle, (P), Arizona Cardinals: Floyd was the only one of this trio who sat out in Week 11 and his status is the only one in question for Week 12. Fitzgerald has been playing consistently despite being listed on the injury report for multiple weeks with his ankle ailment. Brown has been up and down with the hamstring injuries for more than a month, but this probable designation reflects an improvement in his health. It also indicates increasing confidence from the Cardinals that Brown will not only be available, but is expected to play in his regular role. Meanwhile, Floyd is still questionable despite practicing on a limited basis daily. On Friday, Floyd was able to demonstrate enough in practice to leave the door open for him to play. Coach Bruce Arians has taken an approach of allowing players coming off hamstring injuries to prove their readiness in pregame warmups, though being active hasn’t always translated to game action (see: John Brown in Week 8). Fantasy owners should note this is a late game kicking off at 4:05 p.m. ET.
Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars, thigh/foot, (P): Hurns has proved to be one of the most resilient wide receivers in the league, bouncing back weekly from injuries to play in games. But in Week 11, the injuries took a toll and Hurns was hurt by a short week, resulting in only 19 receiving yards for him on the night. Now with ten days between games, Hurns has to feel better heading into the matchup against the Chargers. His limited practices this week also likely helped give him additional recovery for the final quarter of the season. Expect Hurns to be on the field Sunday.
Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints, knee, (P): Snead has been on the injury report for the bulk of the past month due to his knee, but it wasn’t until Week 10 when he went without a catch that it seemed to really limit him. The Saints’ bye may have come at just the right time and Snead returned to full participation daily this past week. At probable, he is expected to play and hopefully have a more productive outing.
Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers, shoulder, (P): There was reason to be concerned that Floyd’s career was going to end with an injury when he landed hard on his shoulder in Week 9. Despite tearing his labrum, Floyd was determined not to let that be the way he made his professional exit. His daily practice this week, including a full session on Friday, was enough to have the Chargers list him as probable. His primary concern is landing on the shoulder in such a way as to aggravate it, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune -- a definite risk but apparently one worth taking for Floyd.
Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks, ankle, (P): There isn’t much to worry about here as coach Pete Carroll expressed confidence early in the week that Baldwin would be able to play. After resting Wednesday, Baldwin practiced fully Thursday and Friday. His production has been up and down but at least fantasy owners know in advance he will be on the field.
Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals, hamstring, (P): Jones was added to the injury report this week with the ailment so common to wide receivers, a hamstring strain. It must be a mild issue since Jones was able to turn in back to back full practices Thursday and Friday. At probable, he is expected to play.
Nate Washington, Houston Texans, hip, (P): Washington has played through this injury in multiple weeks so his presence here is not a surprise. He continues to practice fully throughout the week and is expected on the field Sunday when the Texans host the Saints.
Antonio Gates, hip and Ladarius Green, ankle, San Diego Chargers, (P): There is some good news when it comes to the health status of both tight ends. Gates has had the “knee” removed from next to his name on the injury report, making the hip injury his sole concern. Green has been upgraded to probable (from his previous listing as questionable), meaning he is expected to be on the field this week. Still, Green’s role is clearly secondary to that of Gates. A healthier Gates means more comfort for Philip Rivers -- and happy fantasy owners.
Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals, knee, (P): Eifert has been fantasy gold for his ability to find the end zone, not to mention a favorite target for Andy Dalton when the Bengals are in the red zone. Thankfully for Dalton and for fantasy owners, Eifert is expected to take the field Sunday. He practiced in full each day and should not be limited Sunday.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs, groin/ankle (P): Kelce has become such a fixture on the weekly injury reports that his presence here goes almost unnoticed. But this week is different. Beyond the groin injury that he has been battling through for multiple weeks, Kelce injured his ankle in practice Friday, making his status for Sunday iffy. While the injury doesn’t appear to be serious, it’s another lower extremity injury for the already banged-up Kelce. Fantasy owners should be sure to check on Kelce’s status prior to kickoff.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, shoulder, (D): There’s really not much to offer related to this situation when all the Buccaneers have let on is that Seferian-Jenkins still hasn’t been cleared for contact. At least he’s listed as doubtful this week making this an easy call for fantasy owners who somehow have still been holding out hope.
Owen Daniels, Denver Broncos, knee, (P): Daniels is only dealing with the knee issue now (no longer listed with a shoulder injury) and there is every expectation he will play again this week.
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: Manning paid a visit to noted foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson this week and is expected to miss at least two more weeks while his foot tries to heal. Brock Osweiler starts against the Patriots.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks, abdomen: Lynch went to visit Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia for a consultation regarding his core muscle injury and stayed for surgery. The Seahawks have indicated they hope to have him back in about a month but it’s possible he sits out the remainder of the regular season.
Devonta Freeman, RB, concussion and Leonard Hankerson, WR, hamstring, Atlanta Falcons: Freeman suffered a concussion in Week 11 and is still in recovery mode. Tevin Coleman gets the start at running back for the Falcons. Hankerson appeared to have turned a corner with his hamstring injury in advance of last week’s game. Not only was he targeted six times, he turned one of his four receptions into a touchdown. Apparently his hamstring paid the price though as Hankerson was not able to practice all week and has already been ruled out for Sunday.
Julian Edelman, foot and Danny Amendola, knee,WR, New England Patriots: Edelman has been out since injuring his foot in Week 10 and undergoing subsequent surgery. He is expected to miss the rest of the regular season. With the team already thin at wide receiver, the Pats suffered additional insults in Week 11 when Aaron Dobson suffered an ankle injury that has since landed him on injured reserve and Amendola sprained his knee. Thankfully for the Patriots, Amendola’s injury appears to be a short-term situation; in fact, he was listed as questionable after making an appearance in practice Thursday and Friday. On Saturday however the decision was made to have him stay home and not make the trip to Denver as he gets another week of healing under his belt. Fantasy owners should be aware that he could return as early as next week.
Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cleveland Browns, concussion: On Saturday, Hawkins was ruled out for Monday night’s game due to a concussion. He was not able to practice all week so this does not come as a surprise.
Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers, foot: Still not practicing. Hyde will miss his fourth consecutive game due to a foot injury.
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