Here's a tip for fantasy owners in the final championship week: Don't put New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs in your lineup. He'll be undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee next week for what the Newark Star-Ledger is reporting will be a "clean up" procedure. His knee has reportedly been sore and swollen of late and the hope is that he will be ready to go well in advance of training camp. Jacobs has been placed on injured reserve, and the primary running back duties will go to Ahmad Bradshaw, who has been working through foot and ankle injuries of his own this year.
Speaking of players named Brandon that fantasy owners should be concerned about, Brandon Marshall's appearance on the injury practice report this week induced a mild panic in the fantasy world. Marshall apparently suffered a hamstring injury in Wednesday's practice and there was immediate concern as to whether this would impact his availability for Week 17. According to ESPN news reports, Marshall was "seen grabbing the back of his right leg during the portion of practice open to the media." The hallmark of a hamstring strain is the instinctive grab of the back of the thigh by the athlete, as if to prevent the muscle from rolling up into a ball. Once the player has identified the hamstring as the culprit in this manner, the question then becomes how serious the injury truly is.
Did the athlete experience tightness or cramping, which would suggest a strain of the minor variety? Or was it a pulling or tearing sensation, which would hint at a more severe type of strain? While we don't know the specifics of what Marshall experienced, we do have a hint that the injury was relatively minor. ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that a team source has indicated that Marshall is expected to play against the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday in what is a must-win scenario for the Denver Broncos. Expecting to play and playing at 100 percent are not necessarily the same, however, as many fantasy owners are acutely aware.
This situation bears watching over the next couple of days to see what Marshall is able to do in practice. At this point, it sounds as though fantasy owners can expect him to be on the field, but how much he will be able to contribute is still unclear. The good news is that this is not the same hamstring Marshall strained in the preseason nor is it on the same side as his surgically-repaired hip.
Be sure to check back on Saturday for post-Friday NFL injury report updates on all your fantasy players heading into this final championship weekend.
See you at the final episode of "Fantasy Football Now" this Sunday on ESPN2 and ESPN.com from 11:30 a.m. ET to kickoff for last minute inactives, rankings and more! Happy new year everyone! Be safe and be healthy.