- Stephania Bell, Fantasy Sports
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There are two notable things about the injury reports for Thursday night's game, the first game in the first week of fantasy playoffs. First (and of paramount importance to fantasy owners), none of the key fantasy players in the game is really in jeopardy of sitting out. Second, between the two teams there are 30 -- yes, 30! -- players listed on the injury report. In a year that feels particularly injury-laden, perhaps the presence of such a large number of players on the injury report shouldn't come as a huge surprise. It does serve as a reminder, however, that the success of any team -- be it real or fantasy -- may depend on how many key players are left standing at the end of the season.
Ben Tate, RB, ribs/ankle, (probable): Tate has essentially been a fixture on the injury report ever since he suffered rib fractures back in Week 7. Somewhat unbelievably, he has not missed a game since. Along the way, he has acquired some other ailments, including an ankle injury that is listed next to his name this week.
Although some fantasy owners were alarmed when he was listed as a non-participant Monday, it's worth noting that Monday was only a walk-through. Tate had a huge game in Week 13, putting up over 100 yards rushing and three scores against the Patriots. Given only four days until his next outing, it seems the rest was certainly warranted. Expect him on the field Thursday night against the Jaguars. While he may not match Sunday's performance, it's tough to imagine him not outperforming his stats of two weeks ago against the Jaguars, when he managed only 1 total yard rushing.
Cecil Shorts, groin, and Mike Brown, shoulder, WRs, (probable): Shorts is another regular on the injury report. He has been listed with a groin injury for multiple weeks, but ever since he played through an extremely painful SC (sternoclavicular) joint injury earlier in the season, there has been little doubt he would take the field each week. He is expected to do so again Thursday night.
Brown suffered an AC (acromioclavicular) joint injury in Week 11 against the Cardinals and sat out the following game. The shoulder has kept him on the injury report, although he did return to action Sunday. Brown notched only one catch, while rookie Ace Sanders -- who has seemingly emerged as the second-favorite receiving target since Justin Blackmon's suspension -- had eight. Brown is expected to play again Thursday night, although fantasy owners may want to look elsewhere for help in advancing in the playoffs.