- Stephania Bell, Fantasy Sports
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It’s Week 5, and four teams are enjoying bye weeks. The Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins are all using the week to rest and recover. The Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns played Thursday night and practically require an injury report of their own next week. That leaves 24 teams with games to play Sunday -- be it day, night or really late night -- and two more on Monday night. Whom should you be concerned about for your fantasy teams? Here’s what we know as of Saturday afternoon:
Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders, concussion (P): Pryor suffered a concussion in the Monday night game in Week 3 and, despite making good progress late in the week, was unable to play last week after his request for a tinted visor prompted increased concern. If a player shows any hint of recurrent concussion symptoms, even after being medically cleared, the proper thing to do is keep him off the field of play.
Pryor was relegated to the role of observer for Week 4, but he is expected to reclaim his role of starting quarterback Sunday night. The game won’t kickoff until 11:35 p.m. ET, but given that he practiced in full every day and that the team has listed him as probable, fantasy owners can feel secure in knowing that Pryor is expected to play.
Eddie Lacy, concussion, and Johnathan Franklin, foot, Green Bay Packers (P): Lacy and Franklin both benefited from a bye week between injuries. After practicing fully each day, both are expected to play Sunday while teammate James Starks remains out with a knee injury.
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs, toes (P): Charles emerged from last week’s game with serious blisters, which likely contributed to his limited practice sessions Thursday and Friday. The probable tag tells us the team expects him on the field against the Titans.
Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots, knee (Q): With Stevan Ridley already ruled out, the Patriots could use Bolden’s presence Sunday in Cincinnati along with LeGarrette Blount. Bolden is still hampered by a knee injury suffered in the preseason and continued to be limited in practice throughout the week. He has been playing for the past two weeks and seems likely to suit up again, but he is not at full health.
Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders, hamstring (D): At least the Raiders are removing some of the mystery around McFadden’s status by indicating he is unlikely to play Sunday. It does not come as a huge surprise given that McFadden has not practiced since suffering the injury last week. The doubtful tag (as opposed to an early rule out) still leaves the door open for him to suit up, but would any fantasy owner really want to trust that situation, especially late Sunday night?
Rashad Jennings has been taking first-team reps and is likely to start. Marcel Reece, listed as questionable, participated on a limited basis throughout the week and has a chance to play, but the call may not come until game time.
Ryan Mathews, hamstring, San Diego Chargers (P): We never like to see players added to the injury report Friday, but that’s what happened with Mathews. He was listed as limited Friday because of the hamstring yet is listed as probable. The Chargers obviously expect him to play barring a downturn before Sunday, but this does make one nervous about what could happen in a game.
Chris Ivory, hamstring, New York Jets (no designation): Ivory is still on the mend from his hamstring injury, although he did return to limited practice Friday. His status may not be decided until Monday evening.
Danny Amendola, groin, Kenbrell Thompkins, shoulder, and Aaron Dobson, neck, New England Patriots (Q): The Patriots have a number of legitimate question marks heading into Week 5, especially at wide receiver. Amendola’s injury has been discussed since Week 1, but on Friday, I outlined what the concerns are as of this moment.
Thompkins landed awkwardly in last week’s game and is dealing with a sore shoulder. He practiced on a limited basis each day and seems likely to suit up, telling ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss that he is “fine.”
Dobson left last week’s game in the second half with a neck injury. While an MRI was negative, Dobson has still been limited in practice.
At this point, it is unclear which receivers will be active and, among them, how the work would be divided. The Patriots also added Austin Collie to the mix, and the expectation is that he could step in if others aren’t able to go.
This is a cloudy situation, and there is not likely to be much clarity before Sunday. Thankfully, this is an early game in Cincinnati.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, knee (Q): We’re used to Johnson missing some practice during the week. We aren’t used to seeing him come into the weekend with a questionable designation. Johnson has been on the injury report because of his knee but has played anyway. This week, he missed practice Wednesday and Thursday but managed to return for limited work Friday. There seem to be no rumblings about Johnson missing this week’s game, but fantasy owners will want to double check Sunday morning.
Andre Johnson, Houston Texans, shin (Q): Johnson had some soreness in his shin after Week 5 but was practicing on a limited basis late in the week and is expected to play. The questionable tag suggests the team will put him through warm-ups as a final check before signing off on his return. This is a night game Sunday against the 49ers, so fantasy owners should have a backup plan just in case.
Roddy White, ankle, and Julio Jones, knee, Atlanta Falcons (no designation): This is a Monday night game, so the status of these players is not yet official. Both have played each week, and we would expect them to do the same again. Although White looked better last week, he aggravated his ankle in Week 4, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution. At this point, he’s trying to get to the bye (Week 6) to hopefully turn a real corner in how his ankle feels.
Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys, hamstring (D): The doubtful tag tells us all we need to know about where Austin is in his recovery process. Although he is improving, he’s not at the point where the Cowboys are comfortable putting him back out on the field. Expect him to miss this game against the Broncos.
Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears, foot (P): After a scare for fantasy owners when Marshall did not practice Wednesday or Thursday, confidence was restored when he returned to limited practice Friday. Although his foot may not feel perfect, it appears Marshall will take the field Sunday.
Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars, groin (Q): Shorts did not practice this week, which normally would suggest a player might sit out the game. Coach Gus Bradley has maintained all week, however, that he expected Shorts to play. This is the same injury Shorts has been dealing with for weeks, but he typically is listed as probable. This is an early game, and fantasy owners will want to double check his status. Also, Justin Blackmon is expected to return this week.
Eric Decker, Denver Broncos, ankle/shoulder (P): Decker adds another body part (ankle) to the injury report but plays anyway.
Marlon Brown, thigh, and Jacoby Jones, knee, Baltimore Ravens (Q): Jones is participating in practice on a limited basis as he returns from an MCL sprain. It seems early for him to play in a game, despite the fact the Ravens could use him given their injuries. Brown has a hamstring strain and was out of practice until Friday, when he returned for limited work. His availability could be a game-time call.
Stephen Hill, concussion, and Santonio Holmes, hamstring, New York Jets (no designation): Holmes has not practiced since suffering the hamstring injury and is expected to be out this week. Hill returned to limited practice Friday, marking his first such activity since suffering a concussion. His status remains uncertain and, as we saw with Pryor, can change at the last minute. The Jets play in a Monday night game against the Falcons.
Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers, concussion (P): The probable tag is a good sign that Finley’s progress post-concussion has been steady. He is expected to play.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers, hamstring (Q): Despite being listed as questionable, the expectation is that Davis will play Sunday night, especially since he played with the injury 10 days ago. He practiced on a limited basis each day and is expected to do so again. With that said, fantasy owners should have an emergency backup plan given this is a night game.
Steven Jackson, RB, Atlanta Falcons, hamstring: Jackson was spotted at practice this week, but he was observing, not participating. Last week, there were reports he could be out through the team’s Week 6 bye. The next question will be whether he will be ready to go by the following Sunday. Don’t count on much from the Falcons in the way of updates while the team is off next week, but practice reports heading into Week 7 will be telling.
Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots, knee: Ridley was not able to practice all week after suffering a bruise to the area just above his knee. The hope was that he would be able to resume activity late in the week and perhaps be available Sunday, but time was not on his side. Barring a setback, this should not be more than a one-week injury for Ridley.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Indianapolis Colts, neck: Bradshaw is evaluating his options -- including surgery -- with regards to next steps for treating his neck. He will miss this week, and his future remains uncertain.
James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers, knee: Last week’s bye wasn’t enough to allow Starks’ knee to recover. He did not practice all week and is out for Week 5.
Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints, toe: Ingram missed Weeks 3 and 4 with the toe injury and will now miss Week 5. He has still been unable to practice, something he will need to do before returning to play.
Lance Moore, WR, New Orleans Saints, hand: After injuring his hand in Week 3, Moore sat out the team’s Week 4 Monday night game. While neither Moore nor the Saints have offered any details about the injury, Moore’s inability to practice all week said enough. He will miss Week 5, and there is no announced timetable for his return.
Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans, hip/knee: Locker went to the hospital last week after absorbing hits that injured his knee and his hip. A sprained hip and a sprained MCL in his knee will likely keep Locker sidelined for several weeks, but the injuries were less serious than they initially appeared.
Shonn Greene, RB, Tennessee Titans, knee: Greene underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Sept. 16 and is still in recovery mode. He is not yet practicing. In the meantime, Jackie Battle will back up Chris Johnson.
Quinton Patton, WR, San Francisco 49ers, foot: Patton fractured his foot and is expected to miss several weeks. In the meantime, Kyle Williams retains the No. 2 spot, but the 49ers have hinted at an increasing role for Jonathan Baldwin as early as this week.
Nate Burleson, WR, Detroit Lions, forearm: Burleson fractured both bones in his forearm, underwent surgery to repair the damage and is out for an extended time. The team hopes he will be able to return late in the season.
Off the injury report
Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens: Rice was a question mark leading up to last Sunday’s game because of a strained hip flexor, which kept him out of action in Week 3. Rice played but had only five carries for 17 yards, perhaps as much a function of how the Ravens simply didn’t run the ball as anything else. At least he came out no worse for the wear, despite being on the field for more than 40 snaps.
Rice does not appear on this week’s injury report and should be in good shape heading into Week 5. Teammate Bernard Pierce didn’t run much last week either and was reportedly dealing with a calf issue, per The Baltimore Sun. Pierce also does not appear on the team’s injury report.
Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions: Bush ran last Sunday like there were no issues with his knee whatsoever. Now the Lions hope it stays that way. The week started off well with Bush not appearing anywhere on the team’s injury report after rushing for 139 yards and a touchdown in Week 4 with a few receptions to boot. A healthy Bush will face the off-the-bye-week Packers on Sunday.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, and Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Fitzgerald has a healthy hamstring once again and is free of the injury report designation. Mendenhall is also off the report this week. He has been plagued by various ailments, including a knee injury from the preseason and a toe injury in recent weeks. A healthy Mendenhall would be a nice change of pace.
Daryl Richardson, RB, St. Louis Rams: Richardson does not appear on this week’s injury report after spending several weeks there with a foot injury. Just how much his foot ailment was responsible for his lackluster running is unclear (averaging only 2.7 yards per carry), but the real question is whether a healthier Richardson will even be the starter. There seems to be some mystery as to how this situation will play out, but ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner indicates Zac Stacy could be in the mix.
Kenjon Barner, RB, Carolina Panthers: Barner has been on every injury report since the season opened after suffering a foot sprain in the preseason -- until this week. He returned to practice last week and hopes to make his NFL regular-season debut soon, perhaps as early as this week.
It’s Week 5, and four teams are enjoying bye weeks. The Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins are all using the week to rest and recover.