Key fantasy injuries for Week 7

October, 18, 2014
Oct 18
4:33
PM ET
JohnsonAP Photo/Bill HaberAll signs point to wide receiver Calvin Johnson resting for another week.
Welcome to Week 7! This marks the fourth of the bye weeks. There are two teams on bye: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Philadelphia Eagles. As usual, there are some game-time decisions, but the final injury reports give some guidance as to who’s in and who’s out.

As a reminder, 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. 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 definitely not playing Sunday. As painful as it might be to see this designation next to a player on your fantasy roster, at least you know in advance of the game that he's sitting out, and you can plan accordingly.

Probable (P): This designation indicates that a player has a greater than 50 percent chance of playing. Most players listed here are expected to play, barring a setback between the final injury report and kickoff.

Questionable (Q): This is the fantasy owner's most dreaded player designation, yet it manages to be the one most frequently utilized by teams (often to keep everyone guessing). It means a player's status is on the fence; there is a 50-50 chance that he's on the field come game time, although as many fantasy owners have come to learn, many teams utilize the questionable designation for any player with a hint of injury. Whether a player ends up active or inactive often comes down to a game-time decision based on how he performs during warm-ups. It is important for fantasy owners to check status reports leading up to the game.

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. Fantasy owners who need to make roster adjustments beforehand can feel fairly confident about sitting a player listed as doubtful.

Good luck in Week 7, everyone! May your players stay healthy and win for you.

Quarterbacks

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys, back/ankle, (P): Romo has proven his health at this point, and it is showing up in his performance. Why change the routine? No practice Wednesday, full practice Thursday and Friday. Romo starts in a big-time divisional matchup when the Giants visit the Cowboys on Sunday.

Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans, right hand, (Q): Locker’s bruised thumb and hand appear to be faring better this week after more time for the swelling to resolve and the mobility and grip to return. Locker was a limited participant throughout the week and still has a chance to suit up Sunday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt indicated the team would see how Locker was doing this weekend but also acknowledged Charlie Whitehurst’s improvement over time. The situation remains cloudy with the Titans unlikely to clear things up before pregame warmups Sunday.

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals, right shoulder, (P): Palmer threw the ball more in Week 6 than anyone anticipated … and apparently was just fine. It was one thing to get through the entire game, the bigger concern was whether he would experience problems the following day. Palmer said his arm felt great, despite some fatigue, adding it was just a matter of working his way back into throwing shape following the nerve contusion.

He is not completely out of the woods, however; the team is still exercising caution with his workload during the week. Palmer was held to limited work Wednesday and Thursday but was upgraded to full participant status Friday. The probable tag reflects the team’s confidence that he will be ready to roll once again this Sunday when the Cardinals visit Palmer’s former team, the Oakland Raiders.

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins, ankle, (P): Tannehill appears on the injury report because of his ankle. He was limited Wednesday but was listed as a full participant Thursday and Friday. At probable, he is expected to make his normal start Sunday in Chicago.

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders, ankle/knee, (P): Carr played in Week 6 after being listed as questionable; this week, listed as probable, he is certainly expected to start. Carr suffered a high ankle sprain and an MCL sprain in Week 4, but the injuries were mild enough to allow him to recover during the team’s subsequent bye week. He emerged from last week’s game with no setback, and after limited practice Wednesday, he returned to full practice Thursday and Friday.

Running Backs

DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys, illness, (P): Murray was sidelined with an undisclosed illness Wednesday but was listed as a full participant both Thursday and Friday. He continues to be the workhorse 'back of not only the Cowboys, but the entire league, and he has now posted six consecutive 100-yard rushing games. He’ll try to make it seven Sunday against the Giants.

Arian Foster, Houston Texans, groin, (no designation yet): Foster has seemingly overcome his hamstring issue to resume his productivity on the field. He makes an appearance on the injury report this week for a different reason -- a groin injury. Although Foster was limited Thursday (the first day of the Texans’ injury report, given the Monday night game), he was bumped up to full participation Friday. Barring a setback over the weekend, the expectation is that Foster will be on the field in Pittsburgh on Monday night to face the Steelers.

Ben Tate, Cleveland Browns, finger, (P): Tate was listed on the report last week because of a finger injury and played through it. After full participation in practice each day this week, he is expected to do so again. Plan on Tate starting against the Jaguars on Sunday.

Theo Riddick, hamstring, (D) and Reggie Bush, ankle, (P), Detroit Lions: Bush sat out last week with an ankle injury, but Riddick played. Expect their roles to be reversed this week as Riddick, who aggravated his hamstring in Week 6, is likely to be sidelined as the doubtful tag indicates. Bush, on the other hand, returned to limited practice Wednesday and Thursday, increasing to full practice Friday. His probable designation indicates the Lions plan on him being available when they host the Saints this weekend.

Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins, knee, (P): Miller was a limited participant in practice each day to not overload his knee. After all, the Dolphins just lost Knowshon Moreno for the remainder of the season to a torn ACL. They need Miller on the field Sunday, and they will have him.

Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams, ankle, (P): Stacy may be on the injury report, but he is fully expected to take the field Sunday. After a day off Wednesday to rest his ankle, Stacy practiced fully both Thursday and Friday. The Rams are spreading the rushing workload around their backfield, but Stacy will be one of those available to contribute.

Mark Ingram, hand, and Pierre Thomas, illness, New Orleans Saints, (P): Ingram has missed the past four weeks following surgery to repair a fracture in his hand (below the base of his thumb), but he is now ready to return. Ingram practiced fully each day this week and made it clear to reporters he was able to do everything without limitation. “I’ve been doing everything, catching, running, blocking,” Ingram said. “So whatever’s asked of me, I’m ready to do it.” Thomas was added to the injury report Thursday when he missed practice because of an undisclosed illness. He was back Friday as a limited participant, and the probable tag tells us the Saints are feeling good about his availability for Sunday’s game in Detroit.

Jonathan Stewart, knee, (P) and Darrin Reaves, calf, (Q), Carolina Panthers: Injuries continue to challenge the Panthers' backfield, and each week it isn’t so much "next man up" as it is "last man standing." This week, Stewart is in line to return after missing time with a knee sprain. Reaves is listed as questionable, but he was able to practice on a limited basis two out of three days. Chris Ogbonnaya is available and healthy, but DeAngelo Williams and Fozzy Whittaker have already been ruled out.

Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals, foot, (P): This injury report is unlikely to change across the season. Ellington continues to practice on a limited basis daily. At probable, he is again expected to play.

Wide Receivers

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, ankle, (Q): Despite all signs pointing to the likelihood of the Lions’ top receiver being sidelined again this week with a high ankle sprain, coach Jim Caldwell has left the door open for his return, citing an “unbelievable tolerance for pain” in guys like Johnson. Caldwell told reporters athletes like Johnson who take great care of their bodies tend to not only push through pain better but also recover more quickly. This appears to be the rationale for the questionable designation for Johnson, opening the possibility for a game-time decision Sunday.

The midweek clues would certainly suggest Johnson rests another week, including Johnson’s own comment implying he would not return until he could perform at his usual elite level.

"There's no point in being on the field if I can't go out there and do what I got to do," he said. "Do what I got to do and do it to a high level that I'm used to doing it at."

Even Caldwell had revisited the possibility of a multiweek absence, hinting that the Lions could hold him out through the team’s Week 9 bye, if necessary. Obviously, Johnson is a game-changer, and the team will re-evaluate his health on a weekly basis before committing to a decision. But is he really healthy enough to return to the “high-level” form that he referenced?

Johnson did not practice at all this week, and there has been no outward sign to suggest he is ready to play in a game. He is, however, Calvin Johnson, and that means the team will afford him the extended time -- perhaps right up until pregame warm-ups -- to determine his readiness. Fantasy owners have to hope the team’s decision helps make their own easier by sitting him an additional week; otherwise no one can really be sure what to expect.

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals toe, (D): Reasons to expect Green to sit in Week 7: Green did not practice all week. Green is listed as doubtful, indicating the team is preparing for him to be absent. And, most importantly perhaps, Green told ESPN’s Bob Holtzman last week that he expected to sit out this contest.

Green’s flare-up of his right big toe injury in the middle of last week led to further consultation with specialists, a walking boot and the expectation he would have to rest the toe for a period of time in order to potentially return and play effectively for the remainder of the season. Just how long that rest period will be is unclear and will likely depend on a number of factors including, most notably, what the level of discomfort is in Green’s toe as time progresses. For now, the important thing for fantasy owners is that he is expected to miss this week’s game, and with teammate Marvin Jones (ankle) now on injured reserve, Mohamed Sanu is likely to continue his increased role.

Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers, concussion, (Q): When Benjamin showed up to the team facility Monday and informed the Panthers of his headache, the team immediately placed him on the concussion protocol. Naturally there was a question as to whether Benjamin would progress enough by the weekend to be able to play. So far, the signs are extremely encouraging. He returned to the field Thursday, which, despite being listed as a nonparticipant in practice, is a sign of progress, as it moved him from indoors to the busier, brighter environment outside, even if he was just an observer. Benjamin participated in practice on a limited basis Friday and did everything alongside his teammates. The questionable tag allows for the possibility of any recurrent symptoms, but with clearance to return, Benjamin should play, barring a late setback.

Julio Jones, ankle, (P) and Devin Hester, hamstring, (P); Atlanta Falcons: Both Jones and Hester are expected to play just as the probable tag indicates. Coach Mike Smith made it clear early in the season he would protect players via limiting practice reps during the week in order to preserve their health for Sunday. To that end, both receivers were limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday but returned to full work Friday. They will both be on the field Sunday against the Ravens.

Cordarelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings, hip, (P): Patterson played last week despite appearing on the injury report, and this week he increased his practice participation. He is expected to play.

Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals, groin, (P): After a limited day Wednesday, Floyd participated in full both Thursday and Friday. He is expected to be on the field with Carson Palmer when the Cardinals face the Raiders.

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, shoulder, (P): Bryant is almost as much of a regular on this report as his quarterback. Like his quarterback, he plays every week. On Sundays, there is no hint that the shoulder is an issue, and Bryant practices fully every day. Count on him to be on the field Sunday against their divisional foe, the New York Giants.

Andre Johnson, ankle, and DeAndre Hopkins, hand, Houston Texans, (no designation yet): Both receivers are expected to be available after participating in some measure of practice this week.

Steve Johnson, San Francisco 49ers, hip, (P): Johnson landed hard on his hip in Week 6 and was a little slow to get up. No doubt he has been getting some treatment during the short week, but he was still able to practice each day, including a full session Friday. It appears he will be on the field for the 49ers on Sunday.

Eddie Royal, San Diego Chargers, elbow, (P): Royal’s status is not in question, as he has practiced in full each day this week.

Tight Ends

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints, shoulder, (Q): It literally is a question mark when it comes to Graham’s status for Sunday, even for him. Graham returned to practice on a limited basis late in the week, but as ESPN.com reporter Mike Triplett noted, it will be a game-time decision. Graham told reporters he’s hopeful but won’t know until Sunday. “They’ve done a great job here [the training and medical staff], but you know we’ll see on Sunday,” Graham said. “I actually don’t know. … Hopefully maybe in two days I’ll feel better.” Hopefully.

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers, back, (P): Davis is still on the injury report because of his back, but this week it is not a threat to his status. Despite the short week, Davis has been a full participant in practice each day. He is expected to start Sunday night against the Broncos.

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers, ankle, (P): He was able to practice fully Thursday and Friday after having the day off Wednesday. Olsen is one of Newton’s top targets, and he will be available for him again Sunday.

Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions, hamstring, (D): As ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein points out, with Ebron expected to be sidelined and Joseph Fauria already ruled out, not to mention the very questionable status of Calvin Johnson, tight end Brandon Pettigrew could play a larger role in the passing game.

Out:

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.

Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos, groin: Ball is out again this week after suffering a groin injury in Week 5.

Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants, knee: Jennings is out again this week with a sprained MCL. The Giants have a bye in Week 8, and he could return, if all progresses well, in Week 9.

Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars, ankle: Gerhart continues to be plagued by the bad ankle and will miss another week.

Harry Douglas, WR, Atlanta Falcons, foot: Douglas is out once again because of his foot injury. He remains unable to practice.

Fozzy Whittaker, thigh, and DeAngelo Williams, ankle, RBs, Carolina Panthers: Williams has already missed time due to the ankle injury and will sit out again this week. Whittaker was originally listed as doubtful with a thigh injury and was downgraded to out Saturday.

Ryan Mathews, knee, and Donald Brown, concussion, RBs, San Diego Chargers: More Branden Oliver.

Shonn Greene, RB, Tennessee Titans, hamstring: Greene was again listed as doubtful due to his hamstring injury, and he hasn’t yet returned to practice. After being downgraded to out Saturday, Sankey is again expected to take the lead.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington, ankle: Griffin continues to gradually increase his activity in practice but remains without a formal timetable to return.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minesota Vikings, abdomen/groin: Rudolph is not new to the list but is not yet back in practice. He is out again in Week 7.

Joseph Fauria, TE, Detroit Lions, ankle: Fauria injured his ankle in Week 3 and is still not able to practice. He will likely be joined on the sideline this week by fellow tight end Eric Ebron, who is nursing a hamstring strain.

Off the Injury Report:

Jordan Reed, TE, Washington, hamstring: It has taken five weeks, but Jordan is currently off the injury report, apparently recovered from the hamstring injury that cost him Weeks 2 through 5. He appeared to come out of last Sunday’s game with no setbacks and does not return to the injury report.

Be sure to check out Fantasy Football Now, Sundays on ESPN2 at 11 a.m. ET for last-minute inactives, rankings, injury impact and more!

Video: Panthers injury updates

October, 17, 2014
Oct 17
3:15
PM ET
Stephania Bell discusses the health of the Carolina Panthers' backfield and if Kelvin Benjamin will play in Week 7.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo underwent surgery on his right patellar tendon on Thursday morning, according to Tom E. Curran of Comcast SportsNet.

To gain a better understanding of the road ahead for Mayo, here are notes from a Thursday afternoon conversation with ESPN injury analyst and physical therapist Stephania Bell:

Important injury disclaimer. This is a similar injury to what was sustained by Giants receiver Victor Cruz, so there has been no shortage of discussion in recent days about recovery for players following surgery on the patellar tendon. There are different places the tendon can tear. Every tear might have a different dimension. And the health of the tendon prior to the tear is always an important consideration in any analysis relative to the repair and recovery process. These specifics aren’t known with Mayo, which is critical context. “You can’t put every player in the same package,” Bell said, adding that without being privy to the specifics of Mayo's injury, the discussion is limited to speaking in general terms.

Timetable is lengthy. On average, recovery is usually between eight months to one year. “It could take longer, but rarely would it take less,” Bell said, adding that the football-based seasonal calendar is something to consider (e.g. the start of training camp, in late July, would be the nine-month mark and some rehab-based decisions could be made with this in mind).

What happens after surgery. Mayo’s right leg will either be immobile in the early phases after surgery or have “protected/controlled motion.” It depends on the philosophy of those overseeing the rehab, with some varying outlooks on what allows the repair to best heal. The next phase in the process from there would be to regain motion and strength in the quadriceps and eventually move toward more aggressive work such as running and football-type activity.

Biggest challenge in the process. With any player in this situation, “the biggest challenge is restoring full range of motion when talking about bending.” After the repair, the leg is usually kept straight to allow it to heal, and as bending is introduced, the hardest work can come when trying to exceed a bend beyond 90 degrees. “It can be tight after surgery,” Bell said, adding that another significant challenge is getting full girth and circumference back in the quad as the tendon is basically the attachment between the quad muscle and shin bone.

Studies of note. Bell pointed out a study from the American Journal of Sports Medicine that provided more background on the topic. The findings of the study were that 19 of 24 players who suffered the injury returned to play.

Summary with Mayo’s road ahead. Bell pointed out that this is a “difficult, lengthy rehab” but noted the data above in saying “it’s very encouraging” from a standpoint of a player being able to return and potentially function at a high level. Bell highlighted the difference between Cruz and Mayo, as Cruz relies on down-the-field speed, while Mayo needs quickness/explosiveness for his position. Thus, it's hard to compare them because the demands of their positions are unique. Overall, when it comes to “explosiveness and power, those things take a while to come back.” Bell added this: “The Patriots have an excellent medical staff to oversee bringing him back from this injury. I see it as a situation where there is reason to be optimistic about his future.”

Jets-Patriots injury preview

October, 16, 2014
Oct 16
11:17
AM ET

Both teams playing in Thursday night’s game suffered major personnel losses due to injury in Week 6, with little time to recover. The New York Jets lost cornerback Dee Milliner to an Achilles tendon rupture and guard Brian Winters to a torn ACL. Both have been placed on injured reserve. The New England Patriots are expected to place running back Stevan Ridley on injured reserve after he suffered a major right knee injury Sunday (torn ACL and MCL). The biggest blow for the Patriots, however, may have come on the defensive side of the ball with the loss of linebacker Jerod Mayo, also to a right knee injury. Mayo, whose 2013 season also ended prematurely due to injury (torn pectoral muscle), is a candidate to move to injured reserve in the near future.

Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots, ankle (probable): Brady rolled his ankle in practice last Friday and was listed as questionable heading into Week 6. Two days later he posted his best numbers of the season, completing 73 percent of his passes for 361 yards and four touchdowns, much to the delight of fantasy owners who stuck it out with him after a slow start. The Patriots made the necessary adjustments to allow the Brady of old to resurface; his appearance on the injury report was -- and still is -- of far less significance. Despite being listed as a limited participant in practice each day, Brady will start without issue Thursday night.

Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets, hamstring (probable): This is the first week in about a month where Decker’s status is something other than questionable. He remains on the injury report because of his hamstring, but the probable tag indicates the Jets expect to have him on the field Thursday night. Coach Rex Ryan has expressed varying degrees of hope for Decker’s availability each week, but it has often come down to a game-time decision.

In Week 3, Decker was given the green light to play days after aggravating a hamstring strain, even though he appeared tentative in pregame warm-ups. He lasted just 12 plays before having to leave with renewed tightness. In Week 4, Decker was again listed as questionable but managed to get through the game against the Detroit Lions, even finding the end zone. In Week 5, Decker -- who had been pulled from practice earlier in the week due to a flare-up with the hamstring -- traveled to San Diego but was held out of the game. Decker was active in Week 6 after again being listed as questionable, but he was more productive and appeared healthier, perhaps a result of having the prior week to rest. He apparently came out of Sunday’s contest no worse for the wear, able to practice daily in advance of the Thursday night game. Monday was a walk-through for the Jets, but Decker participated on a limited basis Tuesday and was upgraded to full participation on Wednesday. While it’s too soon to say Decker’s hamstring issues are completely behind him (after all, the last month has been a series of ups and downs), it is easier to have confidence that he will indeed start in Week 7.

Chris Johnson, RB, New York Jets, ankle (probable): Johnson has been a regular on the injury report with an ankle ailment, but he routinely shows up as a full participant in practice. He hasn’t missed a game yet, and Thursday will be no different. Unfortunately for Johnson, it is Chris Ivory who continues to get the majority of the work.

Jace Amaro, TE, New York Jets, knee (probable): After being listed as a limited participant for Monday’s practice (an estimate since the team conducted only a walk-through), Amaro put in full practices both Tuesday and Wednesday. He enters Thursday’s game listed as probable, indicating the team plans to have him on the field against the Patriots. After a week in which he saw the most targets and amassed the most receiving yards of any member of the Jets' offense, and scored a touchdown, Amaro appears to be an increasingly valuable presence for quarterback Geno Smith.


Video: Lions injury update

October, 14, 2014
Oct 14
5:44
PM ET
Stephania Bell has the latest updates on some injured Detroit Lions stars.
videoStephania Bell has the latest updates on Darren Sproles' knee injury.

Key fantasy injuries for Week 6

October, 11, 2014
Oct 11
4:02
PM ET
Tony RomoMatthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsTony Romo will play in Seattle on Sunday.
Welcome to Week 6. This marks the third of the bye weeks. Once again, just two teams are getting a break: the Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints. As usual, there are some game-time decisions, but the final injury reports give some guidance as to who’s in and who’s out.

As a reminder, 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. 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 definitely not playing Sunday. As painful as it might be to see this designation next to a player on your fantasy roster, at least you know in advance of the game that he's sitting out, and you can plan accordingly.

Probable (P): This designation indicates that a player has a greater than 50 percent chance of playing. Most players listed here are expected to play, barring a setback between the final injury report and kickoff.

Questionable (Q): This is the fantasy owner's most dreaded player designation, yet it manages to be the one used most frequently by teams (often to keep everyone guessing). It means a player's status is on the fence; there is a 50-50 chance that he's on the field come game time, although as many fantasy owners have come to learn, many teams use the questionable designation for any player with a hint of injury. Whether a player ends up active or inactive often comes down to a game-time decision based on how he performs during warm-ups. It is important for fantasy owners to check status reports leading up to the game.

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. Fantasy owners who need to make roster adjustments beforehand can feel fairly confident about sitting a player listed as doubtful.

Good luck in Week 6, everyone! May your players stay healthy and win for you.

Quarterbacks

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys, back, (P): No practice Wednesday, full practice Thursday and Friday. This is Romo’s current routine. He will play in Seattle on Sunday.

Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings, ankle, (P): Bridgewater missed the Week 5 game only because it came on a Thursday night and he was close to suiting up then. He has practiced fully all week and is expected to start Sunday.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots, ankle, (Q): Uh-oh. Brady showed up on the injury report Friday as a limited participant due to an ankle injury, with a questionable designation. It’s no secret that Brady has been absorbing some extra blows this season, but no word as to whether that has anything to do with this ailment. The good news is we already know Brady made the trip to Buffalo. Based on experience, it’s hard to imagine Brady sitting and watching from the sideline.

Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans, right hand, (Q): Locker bruised his thumb last week, adding an ailment to the same wrist and hand that was injured in Week 3, causing him to sit out the following Sunday. Locker did not practice all week, making it difficult to envision him starting Sunday.

Carson Palmer, right shoulder and Drew Stanton, concussion, Arizona Cardinals, (Q): Coach Bruce Arians made it clear that the Cardinals' quarterback situation is truly up in the air. "Honest to God, the first time in 20 years I really don't know who's starting," Arians said. "We'll see how it goes. They're all ready.” Not exactly clarity. According to ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss, Palmer threw on a limited basis Friday, then flew to Colorado to receive additional treatment. Despite his reported improvement, it’s hard to envision Palmer’s arm suddenly able to endure a full four quarters of football. Stanton, meanwhile, was working his way through the post-concussion protocol and participated in Friday’s workout on a limited basis. On Friday night, he was cleared to play, and reports are that he will start if Palmer cannot. Everyone is going to have to wait until game time to find out, though, and this one doesn’t tip until 4:25 p.m. ET.

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders, ankle/knee, (Q): Carr was hobbling in Week 4 after a twisting injury to his lower leg which resulted in a high ankle sprain and an MCL sprain in his knee. The bye couldn’t have come at a better time. Although Carr was limited in practice throughout the week, the prevailing thought is that he will start for the Raiders against the Chargers Sunday.

Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, right thumb, (D): There’s no question as to who is starting for the Bucs: It’s Mike Glennon. McCown remains sidelined from practice with a sprained thumb.

Running Backs

Lamar Miller, foot and Knowshon Moreno, elbow, Miami Dolphins, (P): Miller has been handling the bulk of the workload while Moreno has been out. Although he appears on the injury report, Miller is again expected to be active Sunday when the Dolphins host the Packers. He is likely to be joined by Moreno who, despite hinting at being out for another month as recently as a week ago, practiced daily and is expected to be active. Moreno told ESPN.com’s James Walker that the brace he is wearing (to protect against hyperextension) on his left elbow is uncomfortable, but comfort is secondary to protection. Given his monthlong absence and not knowing how effective he will be early in his return, it’s hard to expect Moreno to immediately be back in early season form. But, he should be back.

Ben Tate, Cleveland Browns, finger, (P): In Week 5, Tate proved his knee had recovered nicely from the sprain he suffered in Week 1. He is listed on this week’s report not because of the knee, but due to a finger injury. Tate was a full participant in practice each day, though, and is expected to play again this week.

Joique Bell, concussion, (P); Theo Riddick, hamstring, (P) and Reggie Bush, ankle, (Q), Detroit Lions: Here’s the good news. Bell is expected to return after missing Week 5 due to a concussion. Riddick, despite a hamstring ailment practiced fully each day alongside Bell and is also expected to be available. The not-so- good news relates to Bush who suffered an ankle injury last Sunday and did not practice all week. Bush seemed dismissive of the injury early on, suggesting it was not particularly serious and yet he never made his way to the practice field. Apparently he is taking notes on his teammate Calvin Johnson’s situation and Bush told ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein he doesn’t want to risk re-injury. Despite downplaying the injury early in the week, Bush has become more cautious as the week has progressed. It sounds like the Lions will lean on Bell and Riddick.

Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills, ankle/illness, (Q): Jackson was a limited practice participant both Wednesday and Thursday, and his absence from Friday’s workout raised suspicion his condition had worsened. Jackson missed Friday however due to illness, not injury. According to ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak, a source says Jackson “should be good to go” for Sunday’s matchup against the Patriots. Fantasy owners should be sure to check the inactives before kickoff.

Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams, calf, (no designation yet): Stacy did not participate in practice Thursday, raising eyebrows as to his status, despite coach Jeff Fisher’s assurances early in the week that he expected him to play. Stacy was back in full practice Friday however, a more reassuring sight. While there is no official designation at the time of this writing, Stacy is expected to play Monday night.

Matt Asiata, Minnesota Vikings, groin, (P): Despite his appearance on the injury report, Asiata was a full participant in practice each day this week. At probable, he is expected to play.

Jonathan Stewart, knee, (Q) and Darrin Reaves, hip, (P), Carolina Panthers: The injury carousel that is the Carolina backfield continues to turn, rotating names in the process. Fozzy Whittaker is now off the injury report and DeAngelo Williams has already been ruled out. Reaves did not practice Wednesday but full practices both Thursday and Friday, along with the probable tag, indicate the hip is not a serious concern. Perhaps the biggest change in a positive direction is the status of Stewart, who came into Week 5 as doubtful (and did not play) but moves up to questionable this week. When Stewart injured his knee in Week 3 it was originally reported as a “severe” sprain, hinting at an extended absence. By this week however, Stewart was able to turn in back-to-back limited practices on Thursday and Friday. While the news is encouraging, he is not completely healthy and his game status remains a question mark. In fact, Stewart will be a game-time decision but coach Ron Rivera indicated if he plays, he’ll lead the charge for the backfield.

Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans, hamstring, (D): Alert to Bishop Sankey fans and fantasy owners: He appears in line to start. Coach Ken Whisenhunt has been saying for a while now that Sankey would get more opportunities in time. With Greene likely sidelined due to a hamstring injury that prevented him from practicing Thursday and Friday, the time appears to be now.

Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals, foot, (P): Ellington remains on the injury report as he continues with limited workout during the week. At probable, he is again expected to play.

Chris Johnson, New York Jets, ankle, (P): Johnson continues to practice fully each day and is expected to start again Sunday when the Jets host the Broncos.

Storm Johnson, Jacksonville Jaguars, ankle, (P): Johnson practiced fully each day and is expected to play. He could see increased opportunities this week with Toby Gerhart ruled out before Sunday.

Wide Receivers

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, ankle, (D): Most fantasy owners have already ruled Johnson out of their lineups even if the Lions haven’t officially done so yet. The doubtful tag, rarely associated with Johnson, reflects the low expectations the team has of anything changing drastically prior to kickoff. At this point, everyone has seen how the high ankle sprain has limited Johnson’s mobility, and it wasn’t helped when he took a “whack” to his right leg last Sunday, as coach Jim Caldwell described it. Unable to practice all week and protected with a walking boot, Johnson’s season outlook would be much improved if he were to rest and afford the ankle an opportunity to heal to some degree. Johnson is not likely to sit on the sideline until he is 100 percent, but 75 to 80 percent of Johnson is better than most. It’s the less than 50 percent of Johnson that has taken the field the last two weeks that everyone would rather not see.

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals toe, (Q): Green’s setback midweek with the big toe of his right foot has him looking far more doubtful than questionable for Sunday. In fact, ESPN’s Bob Holzman reported Friday that, according to sources, Green is expected to sit out Sunday’s game. The questionable designation from the Bengals suggests the team is leaving the door open for significant improvement between the time of the filing of the injury report and kickoff, but common sense hints at that being unlikely. After all, this is not the first setback for Green, and the severity of the problem seems amplified with reports of Green visiting with specialists to confer about next steps. Even if -- or rather when -- he does return to the field, there is no predicting how the toe will hold up to the task. Fantasy owners no doubt recall Week 2 when Green was forced out of the game after just five snaps (and zero catches) due to a flare-up of the toe. As recently as Week 5, he was more A.J. Green-like, racking up 81 yards and a score. But three days later, he left practice before things even got underway, doing something to aggravate his toe during the stretching portion of the session. On Friday, Green observed practice sporting a walking boot, and if early reports hold true, he will be observing similarly on Sunday.

Julio Jones, ankle, (P) and Devin Hester, hamstring, (Q); Atlanta Falcons: The status of Jones is not in doubt given the probable tag, although he continues to see limited work early in the week. Jones was back in full practice Friday and is expected to start as usual on Sunday. Hester comes in at questionable because of a hamstring issue that kept him out of practice entirely on Wednesday and Thursday. He returned to limited practice Friday and according to ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure, Hester plan to play Sunday as the Falcons host the matchup against his former team.

Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks, thigh, (P): Fantasy owners have to be relieved to see Harvin listed as probable after he was added to Thursday’s injury report as a non-participant in practice with a thigh injury. He was back to full practice status Friday and the probable tag indicates the team expects to have him on the field. If only his scores would just count this time…

Allen Hurns, WR, foot; Marqise Lee, WR, hamstring and Cecil Shorts, WR, hamstring, Jacksonville Jaguars: Hey, three of the Jaguars’ top four receivers might be listed on the injury report but they’re all probable and they all practiced fully each day. That’s a big improvement over virtually every other week this year. With the exception of running back Toby Gerhart, it appears the Jaguars will have their most complete complement of offensive players available since the start of the season.

Cordarelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings, hip, (P): Although his practice outings were controlled early in the week, Patterson returned to full practice Friday. At probable, he is expected to play as the Vikings host the Lions.

Eric Decker, New York Jets, hamstring, (Q): Decker remains listed as questionable this week but seemingly has a better chance to play. He was a limited participant in practice each day (unlike last week where he missed two days, then sat out Sunday against the Chargers). Whether he takes the field or not is the first order of business, but even if he does, there is still no guarantee his hamstring holds up. He has endured several setbacks and was not able to do as much in practice late in the week as coach Rex Ryan had hoped. He remains a risky play, even if active.

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, shoulder, (P): Bryant continues to practice fully each day and continues to play despite the shoulder ailment each week. Based on some of the spectacular catches he has made recently, the shoulder doesn’t appear to be a limiting factor. The Seattle defense could prove to be more challenging this week.

Keenan Allen, quadriceps, (P) and Malcom Floyd, calf, (Q), San Diego Chargers: Allen will play after moving up to a full practice Friday. Allen has been on the injury report with various soft tissue injuries for the bulk of the season but has played anyway. Floyd however appears here with a calf injury, which kept him to limited practice all week. The questionable tag indicates the team’s hesitation to commit to whether he’ll be ready to roll against the Raiders. This is a late game, so fantasy owners need to have a backup plan if Floyd doesn’t go.

Mike Evans, groin and Vincent Jackson, rib, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Q): Evans was originally expected to miss multiple weeks with a groin injury but his progress has been fairly swift. He was able to get in limited work in practice each day and heads into the weekend listed as questionable. Meanwhile Jackson, who did not let a hairline fracture in his wrist keep him off the field, has been slowed this week by a rib injury. After sitting out Wednesday and Thursday, Jackson was able to participate on a limited basis Friday, hinting at his availability for Sunday’s contest against the Ravens.

Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins, foot, (P): Wallace was held to limited practice daily because of a foot issue but is listed as probable and is expected to play.

Tight Ends

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers, back, (no designation yet): Monday night games are maddening when it comes to players with uncertain status. Davis has at least been in practice each day this week, albeit on a limited basis and wearing a non-contact jersey. It appears he is on track to play Monday night, but fantasy owners are always advised to carry insurance in these situations.

Jordan Reed, Washington, hamstring, (Q): At the midpoint of the week, Reed indicated if there were no setbacks in advance of Sunday, he expected to play. The questionable tag indicates there is still no guarantee that he does. Reed has been just a limited participant throughout the week but this is his first week of daily practice since injuring his hamstring in Week 1. According to ESPN.com’s John Keim, coach Jay Gruden says Reed will work out in Arizona and is a game-time decision but there is optimism around the team, including from Reed, that he will indeed suit up. Until he gets through a game where he proves he can run full speed without a setback however, there will still be some apprehension as to whether he is truly past the injury.

Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns, ankle/shoulder, (P): Cameron has added an ankle ailment to his ongoing shoulder issue, but neither is going to keep him off the field this week. He has been a full practice participant throughout the week and is expected to start against the Steelers.

Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans, shoulder, (P): Walker has already said the shoulder is likely to be an issue he will have to manage across the course of the season. The good news is that it is not interfering with his ability to be productive.

Out:

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.

Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos, groin: Ball had to be helped from the field after injuring his groin last Sunday. It appears the injury will sideline him for several weeks.

Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants, knee: Jennings sprained his left MCL in Week 5 and is not yet able to practice. The Giants have a bye in Week 8, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he were to be out until the break has passed.

Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars, ankle: Last week we announced Gerhart was finally off the injury report. Within 24 hours he was back on it after aggravating an ankle in last Sunday’s game. The setback was significant enough to declare him out early this week. Enter Storm Johnson (alongside Denard Robinson and Jordan Todman).

Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals, ankle: Jones was originally listed as questionable Friday, but on Saturday his status was downgraded to Out. This surprises no one as Jones did not practice at all this week and never really appeared as if he had a chance to play.

Harry Douglas, WR, Atlanta Falcons, foot: Douglas remains out with a foot injury. He has not been able to practice, suggesting the injury is more serious than originally thought.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers, ankle: Williams remains out with an ankle injury suffered in Week 4. He has not yet practiced.

Ryan Mathews, knee and Donald Brown, concussion, RBs, San Diego Chargers: Mathews has been out since Week 2 with an MCL sprain in his right knee. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune he has yet to resume running, suggesting his return is at least a couple weeks off. He is joined on the sideline this week by Brown, who suffered a concussion last Sunday. With Danny Woodhead also out (for the year), the running duties could be primarily fulfilled by Branden Oliver, who notched over 100 yards and a score in Week 5.

Robert Griffin, QB, Washington, ankle: Griffin has not played since injuring his ankle in Week 2 but he appears to be making progress. Coach Jay Gruden indicated there is no set timetable for Griffin’s return, and he has yet to increase his running workload.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings, abdomen/groin: Rudolph remains out with a core muscle injury suffered in Week 3. He is not expected to return for at least another month.

Joseph Fauria, TE, Detroit Lions, ankle: Fauria injured his ankle in Week 3 and is still not able to practice.

Off the Injury Report!

Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots, knee, (P): Gronkowski has quietly moved off the injury report this week after easing into the season. A full complement of snaps, perhaps? It looks as if that will be the case going forward, barring, of course, any new injury.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills, ribs: The rib injury that has been keeping Watkins on the injury report since the preseason now appears to be a thing of the past. He hadn’t appeared limited of late but this validates his recovery.

Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers, back: Gore’s regular appearance on the injury report never kept him off the field on game day, but it’s still nice to see him moved off the list. One less question for a Monday night game.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears, ankle: Marshall’s status has improved each of the last two weeks along with the health of his ankle. This week he graduates from the injury report, and hopefully for fantasy owners will not be revisiting it anytime soon.

Odell Beckham, WR, New York Giants, hamstring: That didn’t take long! Well, actually, it took six weeks from the start of the season but as soon as Beckham appeared in his first NFL game, he was promptly removed from the subsequent injury report. Apparently the Giants are confident his hamstring is healthy. After netting 44 yards and a touchdown in his debut, Beckham could be in line for even more work going forward.

Be sure to check out Fantasy Football Now, Sundays on ESPN2 at 11:00 a.m. ET for last-minute inactives, rankings, injury impact and more!

Video: Detroit Lions injuries

October, 10, 2014
Oct 10
2:26
PM ET
Stephania Bell discusses the statuses of Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush for Week 6.

Video: Knowshon Moreno's status

October, 10, 2014
Oct 10
2:23
PM ET
Stephania Bell discusses the latest on when Knowshon Moreno will return from injury.

Colts-Texans injury preview

October, 9, 2014
Oct 9
11:05
AM ET
Arian FosterAP Photo/Brandon WadeArian Foster is dinged up heading into Week 6, a familiar condition for the Texans rusher.
This week's installment of "Thursday Night Football" has the Indianapolis Colts traveling to take on their division rival Houston Texans. The Colts don't have any fantasy-relevant injuries to update, but there are three players for Houston whom I've been keeping tabs on this week:

Andre Johnson, WR, ankle (Questionable): Johnson’s status is the only one in question for the Texans. All other players are listed as probable, with the exception of two defensive players who have already been ruled out (Jadeveon Clowney and Darryl Morris).

Johnson is trying to manage an ankle injury and thus far has been playing through it. In Week 5, Johnson was also listed as questionable but ended up active and had five catches on the day. Although he was listed as a non-participant for each practice day in this short week, the veteran is certainly capable of showing up for a game with limited preparation. In fact, as ESPN.com’s Tania Ganguli reported, coach Bill O’Brien has acknowledged the veterans are able to provide more input into how much they are able to do during the week with an eye on game day.

Fantasy owners would be advised to verify Johnson’s status before kickoff, but it appears likely he will take the field.

Arian Foster, RB, hamstring; Alfred Blue, RB, knee (Probable): The probable tag indicates that the Texans plan on having both backs available Thursday night, but it’s worth noting that both are listed on the injury report. Thursday reports are sometimes deceptive, particularly as the season progresses, because so many players have bumps and bruises that will limit their practice time and require treatment, necessitating an appearance on the report. Their status coming into the game may not be in jeopardy, though.

That is seemingly the case for both Foster and Blue. Both were listed as non-participants in Monday’s practice, limited for Tuesday and full for Wednesday, but all practice reports were estimations, since the team conducted walk-throughs each of the three days, according to the official league report. This reflects the priority for teams playing Thursday night following a Sunday game: Allow the players enough recovery so they can perform up to par while minimizing injury risk on just four days' rest.

Perhaps the most encouraging sign of Foster’s relative health is his most recent performance: He racked up 157 yards and two scores on 23 carries in Week 5, his most productive of three high-yield games this season. He has played in four games total, but in Week 4 -- the game after he sat out a week to rest his hamstring -- Foster managed only six yards on eight attempts.

Meanwhile, Blue is healthy enough to be available, but he has primarily had a supporting role thus far. Expect both players to be ready to go Thursday night.

Video: Detroit Lions injuries

October, 7, 2014
Oct 7
1:46
PM ET
Stephania Bell discusses the latest on Calvin Johnson's and Reggie Bush's injuries.
Stephania Bell discusses when we can expect to see Montee Ball back on the field.

Video: Rashad Jennings injury

October, 7, 2014
Oct 7
1:42
PM ET
Stephania Bell discusses how much time Rashad Jennings could miss with his sprained MCL injury.
Jamaal CharlesAP Photo/Charlie RiedelWhile still listed on the injury report, there is little doubt that Jamaal Charles will start Sunday.
Welcome to Week 5! This marks the second of the bye weeks, but only two teams are getting a break: the Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins. As usual, there are some game-time decisions for Week 5, but the final injury reports give some guidance as to who’s in and who’s out.

As a reminder, 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. 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 definitely not playing Sunday. As painful as it might be to see this designation next to a player on your fantasy roster, at least you know in advance of the game that he's sitting out and can plan accordingly.

Probable (P): This designation indicates that a player has a greater than 50 percent chance of playing. Most players listed here are expected to play, barring a setback between the final injury report and kickoff.

Questionable (Q): This is the fantasy owner's most dreaded player designation, yet it is the one most frequently used by teams (often to keep everyone guessing). It means a player's status is on the fence. There is a 50-50 chance that he is on the field come game time, although as many fantasy owners have come to learn, many teams use the questionable designation for any player with a hint of injury. Whether a player ends up active or inactive often comes down to a game-time decision based on how he performs during warm-ups. It is important for fantasy owners to check status reports leading up to the game.

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. Fantasy owners who need to make roster adjustments beforehand can feel fairly confident about sitting a player listed as doubtful.

Good luck in Week 5, everyone! May your players stay healthy and win for you.

Quarterbacks

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys, back (P): Romo has been on a similar practice schedule for several weeks, and it seems to be working well for him. Expect him to start again Sunday when the Texans come to town.

Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans, right wrist (P): Locker’s wrist showed signs of improvement late last week, but he wasn’t quite ready to play four quarters of football. Now he is. After practicing fully each day and proving to his coaching staff that the wrist was no longer a liability, Locker is listed as probable and is expected to start against the Browns.

Running backs

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs, ankle (P): If there were any questions about Charles’ ankle heading into last Monday night’s game, it’s safe to say they were answered. His amazing performance erased any lingering concerns, and while he is still listed on the injury report, no one is concerned about his status. After all, on a short week following that performance, he needed some rest. Charles was back in full practice Friday and is expected to start against the 49ers on Sunday.

Arian Foster, Houston Texans, hamstring (P): Thankfully, the Texans have designated Foster as probable this week so there is little doubt about his Sunday status. What isn’t known is how productive he will be. Foster netted only six yards rushing in Week 4, and that was on eight attempts. He did manage seven receptions, but after putting up big numbers the first two weeks of the season, this performance was underwhelming. Foster has indicated that he didn’t feel fully recovered when he played last week and it showed. The encouraging aspect is that his status is improved heading into this week’s game, despite practicing just Thursday and Friday on a limited basis. The Texans travel to the Cowboys, and Foster is expected to get the start.

Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals, foot (P): Ever since Ellington’s foot became a known issue in Week 1, it was clear he would routinely appear on the injury report but would play through the ailment. The bye week can only have helped quiet any soreness or inflammation. Ellington practiced daily on a limited basis and at probable is expected to play against the Broncos.

Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens, thigh (P): Pierce was listed as active last week after being included on the injury report because of a thigh injury but didn’t register a single carry. After the game, Pierce said he was held out as a precaution. This week he practiced in full every day and would presumably be healthy enough to participate, but his role is in question. In other words, Pierce should be active but his potential workload is anything but predictable.

Ben Tate, Cleveland Browns, knee (P): After injuring his knee in Week 1, Tate was relegated to rehab for a few weeks. He worked in practice on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday, upgrading to a full practice Friday. The probable tag indicates the Browns expect to have him available Sunday when they visit the Titans. It’s worth noting that Tate later described his status as “questionable,” noting he would have to see how the knee felt Saturday or if there was any swelling after the increased work Friday. It goes without saying that the designation of probable, when issued, presumes no delayed setback. Lean toward Tate playing, but be sure to double check pregame inactives.

Jonathan Stewart, knee (D), and Fozzy Whittaker, thigh (P), Carolina Panthers: The only thing that can be said with certainty is that the Panthers’ backfield is a mess. Mike Tolbert (remember him?) is out for an extended period with a leg fracture, DeAngelo Williams has already been officially ruled out for this week, and Stewart’s doubtful tag virtually ensures he will miss this one as well. Whittaker has been sidelined with a thigh injury but at least showed enough progress late this week to be listed as probable. He went from not practicing Wednesday to limited work Thursday followed by a full practice Friday. As long as there are no setbacks before Sunday he should be available. Darrin Reaves, recently promoted to the Panthers’ active roster from the practice squad, and recently signed former Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya will share the workload with Whittaker. Coach Ron Rivera said they will go with the “hot hand.” Terrific.

Chris Johnson, New York Jets, ankle (P): Johnson continues to practice fully each day and is expected to start again Sunday in San Diego.

Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers, back (P): Gore was listed on the report last week with his back but suited up Sunday. He is expected to do the same again this week.

Wide receivers

Calvin Johnson, ankle (Q), and Golden Tate, hamstring (P), Detroit Lions: Tate’s probable designation tells us the Lions really aren’t concerned about his status heading into Sunday’s contest. Tate participated in limited practices Thursday and Friday, enough to convince the team he is ready to go. Everyone is most concerned with the status of Johnson, however, especially after coach Jim Caldwell’s comments that Johnson could miss a game, if necessary, to rest his sore ankle. "That possibility always exists," Caldwell said. "Just kind of depends on how one progresses during the course of the week. There are some times that they move forward enough that they won't have any significant setbacks, and other times you don't feel that way. You have to wait until the end of the week and react accordingly." As ESPN’s Michael Rothstein reports, Johnson said Wednesday that his ankle felt much better than it did at the same time last week. Nonetheless, his practice routine was identical to last week (no practice Wednesday or Thursday and limited work Friday) and Caldwell’s remarks came after Johnson said he had improved. The takeaway is that he is not yet 100 percent, but Johnson has played (rather frequently) at less than full health and has often performed quite well under those circumstances. Then every so often he posts a week like the last one, where he had only two receptions for 12 yards. Unfortunately, there aren’t many clues in advance as to which version of Johnson fans and fantasy owners are going to see. Of course, the first order of business is to ensure he’s even suiting up. While his familiar practice routine and own acknowledgment that the ankle feels better would hint at Johnson playing, fantasy owners should check pregame inactives. The Lions play in a 1 p.m. ET game against the Bills.

Julio Jones, ankle (P), and Devin Hester, ankle (P), Atlanta Falcons: Consider this the rotating receiver corps injury report. Roddy White is finally healthy enough to have put in a full week of practice, but Harry Douglas remains out another week. Jones and Hester fall somewhere in between. Neither is dealing with an injury of grave concern, just enough to limit their practice exposure. Both receivers participated in limited practices Wednesday and Thursday but upgraded to full on Friday. Both are expected to play against the Giants.

Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears, ankle (P): Judging from his increased practice workload, Marshall’s ankle is much improved over last week. He was a full participant every day, and his designation has been upgraded to probable. This bodes well for fantasy owners. Expect Marshall to be in better shape heading into Sunday’s contest in Carolina.

Odell Beckham, New York Giants, hamstring (Q): It appears the rookie first-round draft pick will make his debut for the Giants this week. ESPN’s Dan Graziano nicely outlined what he thinks folks can expect from Beckham in his first NFL appearance and how the Giants plan to use him. There’s still reason to be concerned about Beckham’s hamstring. After all, the problem first surfaced in organized team activities and caused Beckham to miss virtually all of training camp. This appearance could be a good first test.

Sammy Watkins, ribs (P), and Marquise Goodwin, concussion (P), Buffalo Bills: Goodwin missed last week’s contest following a concussion suffered in Week 3. He has not caught a pass this year. Who knows if that will change with quarterback Kyle Orton at the helm. Surely Orton will be looking for Watkins, who continues to put in full practices, despite the lingering rib injury. Both Watkins and Goodwin are listed as probable and are expected to be available Sunday when the Bills visit the Lions.

Andre Johnson, Houston Texans, ankle (Q): While his teammate Arian Foster’s status has improved this week, Johnson’s has gone the other direction. Johnson has been restricted in practice through the early part of the season but has suited up each week. This week, Johnson returned to limited practice Thursday after a day off Wednesday but was held out Friday. Earlier in the week, Johnson insisted his ankle was fine, but the late downturn in practice and questionable tag suggest otherwise. Fantasy owners will want to be sure to double check his status before game time.

Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers, groin (P): After practicing on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday, Wheaton turned in a full practice Friday. The probable designation indicates the Steelers expect him to be on the field in Jacksonville.

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers, foot (P): Crabtree is on the injury report again this week, is again listed as probable and is expected to play. He left last week’s game in the first quarter but was able to return. Full practices throughout the week are reassuring of his status.

Eric Decker, New York Jets, hamstring (Q): Decker is officially a game-time decision after not practicing late in the week due to lingering issues with his hamstring. Even if he does play, it’s hard to have confidence in his ability to get through a game when he has not been able to get through practice because of recurring tightness. He was a nonparticipant Thursday and Friday. A long flight to San Diego certainly doesn’t help his cause.

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, shoulder (P): Bryant has already played through the shoulder injury for a couple of weeks, and this week should be no different. Considering Bryant practiced fully each day, expect him to start as usual Sunday.

A.J. Green, toe (P), and Marvin Jones, ankle (D), Cincinnati Bengals: Jones is coming off foot surgery but looked to be moving closer to a return, especially given that he practiced during last week’s bye. But Jones injured his ankle early this week, and that has set him back. He sat out all practices, and the doubtful tag indicates he will not be on the field Sunday. His teammate Green had not appeared on the injury report early in the week but popped up there Friday as a limited participant because of his toe. Green left the Week 2 game early after aggravating the toe but returned the following week and posted just over 100 yards receiving. The bye week seemed to come at an opportune time to give the toe some rest. The team does not appear overly concerned about Green’s short practice day Friday or appearance here since it lists him as probable. He is expected to play Sunday night in New England.

DeSean Jackson, Washington, shoulder (no designation): Jackson has been a full participant in practice throughout the week and appears on track to suit up Monday night, just as he has since originally spraining his left AC joint in Week 2.

Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles, hamstring (P): Maclin appears on the injury report because of his hamstring but practiced fully every day. His status is not in question for Sunday as the Eagles host the Rams.

Tight ends

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers, back (Q): It has been a rough start to the season for Davis. Out Week 3 with an ankle injury, Davis managed to make it back the following week only to leave with a different ailment. Davis developed back spasms that forced him out in the third quarter. Negative X-rays provided some reassurance that at least there was no fracture, but the spasms have lingered and he hasn’t practiced all week. An optimistic Davis after last Sunday’s game (“I’ll be all right. I’m not worried about it.”) is now sounding much more guarded. According to ESPN's Paul Gutierrez, when asked if he would play this week, Davis responded, "I'm not sure. … Still healing. Small chance.” Davis indicated he would know the answer by Saturday. If that is the case, perhaps the 49ers will be kind enough to let fantasy owners know in advance since this game kicks off late Sunday.

Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns, shoulder (P): The bye in Week 4 may have seemed early for some teams, but it came at just the right time for Cameron, who has been playing with an AC sprain that dates back to training camp. A week of rest and no contact offers an additional window of healing. Cameron's full practices each day this week attest to his improved condition. Expect him to play Sunday in Tennessee.

Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots, knee (P): Gronkowski continues to increase his presence on the practice field, working as a full participant each day this week for the first time since the season began. Will this translate to more time on the playing field? Fantasy owners surely hope that is the case.

Niles Paul, concussion, and Jordan Reed, hamstring, Washington (no designation): There is no official designation for the two tight ends since the game isn’t until Monday night, but the practice report gives clues. Paul, who suffered a concussion in Week 4, has seen a progressive increase in his activity, including a full practice Friday. It appears he is in line to play Monday night, barring a recurrence of any concussion-related symptoms prior to kickoff. It’s a good thing Washington will have him because it appears Reed may not yet be ready to return. Still working his way back from a Week 1 hamstring injury, Reed has been able to do only limited work and has not yet run at full speed. In fact, Reed did not practice at all Saturday. Although his status is up in the air for Monday night, it’s hard to have confidence in his availability.

Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans, shoulder (P): Walker played last week despite the shoulder injury and managed 84 yards and a touchdown. He may not be 100 percent, but he’s still productive. After limited practices Wednesday and Thursday, Walker turned in a full workout Friday. He is expected to play Sunday.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ankle (Q): Seferian-Jenkins missed Weeks 2 and 3 with an ankle injury but returned in Week 4. He was out of practice Wednesday and participated on a limited basis Thursday and Friday, suggesting he is not out of the woods with the ankle. The questionable designation reflects the uncertainty around his status, so fantasy owners are advised to check pregame inactives. With Mike Evans out for several weeks, it would seem Seferian-Jenkins’ production could go up, but he has to be on the field first.

Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers, hamstring (P): Green sat out last Sunday after a late-week hamstring strain. Apparently it was not too serious since Green was back in full practice Thursday and Friday this week. Now listed as probable, Green is expected to play. His teammate Antonio Gates is not even on the injury report, so the Chargers’ tight ends appear to be getting healthier.

Out

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.

Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals, right shoulder: Palmer’s nerve issue in his throwing shoulder took a downturn in the last week, and he remains sidelined. Drew Stanton gets another start.

Harry Douglas, WR, Atlanta Falcons, foot: Douglas will sit out another week with his foot injury. Earlier in the week he had hinted at not “rushing back,” and his inability to practice spoke volumes. Perhaps next week will be the week.

Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions, concussion: Bell will need to progress through the team’s concussion protocol. He rests in Week 5.

Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions, hamstring: After not practicing all week, Riddick will observe this game from the sideline.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers, ankle: Williams has been bitten by the injury bug virtually all season; first it was his hamstring and now the ankle. He has not practiced and will sit this one out.

Donnie Avery, WR, Kansas City Chiefs, groin: Avery is out for an extended time after undergoing core muscle repair surgery this week.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers, knee: Mathews remains sidelined with his sprained right knee. He has not returned to practice and is still likely a few weeks away from doing so.

Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints, hand: Ingram remains out with a broken hand sustained in Week 2.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington, ankle: Griffin remains out following the ankle injury suffered in Week 2, but there has been an encouraging development: Griffin came out to stretch with his teammates Saturday morning. Every step onto the practice field, even for stretching, is a positive.

Marqise Lee, WR, hamstring, and Cecil Shorts, WR, hamstring, Jacksonville Jaguars: Hamstring injuries continue to plague the Jaguars, especially Shorts, who simply cannot seem to get healthy.

Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, groin: Evans is expected to miss several weeks with a groin injury.

Joseph Fauria, TE, Detroit Lions, ankle: Fauria injured his ankle in Week 3 and was not able to practice this week.

Off the injury report

Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons, hamstring: The veteran missed a week and eased into the following week after suffering a hamstring strain. He must have escaped without a setback, fortunately for the Falcons since his fellow receivers are a bit banged up.

Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers, hamstring: Gates is finally off the injury report, signaling that the team is no longer concerned about his hamstring. His productivity never seemed to be affected by the injury, so he should continue to be a regular Philip Rivers target.

Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars, ankle: Maybe coming off the injury report will help with his production. Maybe.

Be sure to check out "Fantasy Football Now," 11 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2, for last-minute inactives, rankings, injury impact and more!
Stephania Bell discusses the status of two key Cleveland Browns players, Ben Tate and Jordan Cameron, for Week 5.

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