Let's start with what we know: There are six teams on bye this week. The San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos are all off this week, good news for all of their currently injured players.
Of the teams playing in Week 6, at least one has given fantasy owners a heads-up regarding player status. Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith announced Wednesday that wide receiver Julio Jones will not play Sunday because of his injured hamstring. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the team hopes to have Jones back in Week 7. In the meantime, No. 3 receiver Harry Douglas will start opposite Roddy White. Douglas, who missed all of 2009 with a torn ACL, showed some brilliant flashes in the preseason and could see a target boost this week. Meanwhile, White, who has struggled off and on with a bruised thigh and some dropped balls (although he still leads the team in number of receptions and found the end zone in Week 5), continued with a limited practice schedule Wednesday but returned to full practice Thursday. White is expected to start Sunday as usual.
With that, we turn to other injured players who could impact your fantasy roster in Week 6.
Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans: Schaub took a big hit near his knee from Oakland Raiders defensive end Richard Seymour and appeared to be moving gingerly late in the game. Apparently, Schaub is also dealing with a sore shoulder, according to coach Gary Kubiak, and missed Wednesday's practice. However, Schaub returned to practice Thursday and it sounds as if he's in no danger of missing Sunday's game.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: As noted in Tuesday's blog entry, Blount took a helmet to his left knee in the Week 5 game against the San Francisco 49ers. He has not practiced yet this week and it appears he is unlikely to suit up in Week 6. Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman is certainly providing hints that the team plans to lean on veteran Earnest Graham, saying "... now this week he's going to get the majority of the reps, the majority of the carries." And Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times reported Thursday that Blount's injury could cause him to miss 1-2 games. He cited sources that say Blount is doubtful for Week 6 and questionable for Week 7.
Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis Colts: Add Addai to the long list of hamstring-injury sufferers. Addai left the Week 5 game in the second quarter with an injury to his right hamstring and underwent an MRI on Monday, although the results have not been shared. Addai did not practice Wednesday and the sense is he will not play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. After Friday we should get a better idea as to whether it will be Donald Brown or Delone Carter starting in his place.
Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins: Sometimes the bye week comes at just the right time and that appears to have been the case for Thomas. An additional week of rest for a hamstring injury that has bothered him since the preseason allowed Thomas to return to practice all week. With the Dolphins not playing until Monday night, his chances of being on the field are encouraging.
• Speaking of the bye week coming at the right time, it certainly appears to be the case for the collective offensive weaponry of the Dallas Cowboys. Tony Romo got a week to rest his broken rib and further the healing process. Running back Felix Jones was able to give his shoulder a week without contact. Wide receivers Miles Austin (hamstring) and Dez Bryant (thigh) were allowed to rest their wheels. All have been full participants in practice this week and all are expected to start Sunday. The Cowboys must have forgotten what it's like to have this many offensive threats on the field at once (not to mention a healthy Jason Witten, who does not appear on the injury report). While it remains to be seen whether all of them can make it through a game and still be healthy, they are putting their best lineup on the field to face the New England Patriots.
• Will the Patriots have all of their offensive weapons against the Cowboys, though? Maybe not. After a great performance Sunday, running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is now on the injury report because of a toe ailment. After being limited Wednesday, he didn't participate at all Thursday, which is definitely a concern. If he does not improve Friday, it could mean more work for Stevan Ridley this weekend. Meanwhile, teammate Danny Woodhead returned to limited practice this week after missing Week 5 with an ankle sprain.
Tight end Aaron Hernandez continues to sport a brace on his left knee designed to limit excess medial-lateral motion at the joint but is practicing. Hernandez played in Week 5 and at times appeared uncomfortable, but pressed through it and played for the majority of the game, even looking more comfortable as the game wore on. Hernandez is expected to play again Sunday.
• New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs is still not back in practice after a "mild" MCL sprain kept him out of Week 5. Jacobs said he was ready to run last Thursday but apparently his knee doesn't quite agree. Given his history of knee injuries and his style of running, there is good reason to be very cautious before he's ready to get back to the grind of running against contact. Friday's practice will speak volumes, but it's looking as if Jacobs could miss another week.
• Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall is off the injury report after serving as the "emergency" back in Week 5 due to a hamstring strain. Mendenhall has been a full participant in practice and is expected to play Sunday. Less clear is how the workload will end up being shared between Mendenhall and Isaac Redman.
• Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson is still recovering from a procedure on his injured hamstring and is not expected to play this week. Running back Arian Foster remains on the injury report, now listed as limited because of his quadriceps, but is still expected to be the starter and the feature back. Ben Tate has an Achilles injury listed along with the groin but was still a limited participant in practice. Derrick Ward was also limited with his high ankle sprain. As it stands, Tate appears to be second in line to Foster.
• Washington Redskins running back Tim Hightower and tight end Chris Cooley both continue to be limited in practice even after the bye week. Hightower had what coach Mike Shanahan referred to as a "sore" shoulder, while Cooley has been dealing with knee issues since undergoing offseason surgery. The Fredericksburg Freelance-Star reports Hightower actually injured his shoulder in the season opener but didn't disclose the injury and continued to play through it. Hightower insists he'll be ready to play this week. Meanwhile, John Keim of the Washington Examiner reports Cooley had fluid drained from his knee this week. It was Cooley who said before the season started that he expected to have to manage knee pain all season long. That appears to be playing itself out and his productivity has been limited as a result.
See you at the injury chat Friday at 11 a.m. and we'll have the latest injury updates affecting Week 6 in the Saturday morning blog!