Perhaps the biggest news heading into Thursday night's game between the San Diego Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs is who is NOT on the injury report. The usual suspects appear to be largely healthy halfway through the season. Chargers running back Ryan Mathews? Healthy. Tight end Antonio Gates? Not ailing. Chiefs running back Peyton Hillis? He returned to action in Week 8 after missing time with an ankle injury. The key fantasy players from these two teams are expected to play. Still, with bye weeks and injuries compromising many a roster, we thought it worth mentioning a couple of players who might be being considered for substitute action.
Eddie Royal, hamstring (D) and Robert Meachem, hamstring (Q), WRs, San Diego Chargers: Royal injured his hamstring days prior to the Chargers' Monday night game against the Denver Broncos in Week 6 yet he still managed to play. With a bye week following, it seemed as though he might be able to escape missed playing time. But the hamstring has proven to be a bit more problematic, and Royal sat out Week 8 and on a short week looks doubtful for Week 9. Meachem also is dealing with a hamstring ailment this week. His injury was added to the insult of a big drop in Week 8, something he would like to undo as soon as possible. He may not get a chance this week. Meachem was limited in practice Tuesday but was downgraded to a non-participant Wednesday. He is listed as questionable and it may come down to a game-time decision.
The Chargers signed two wide receivers in the past week, both of whom could be active if Meachem and Royal are out. Danario Alexander came to the Chargers via the St. Louis Rams, who waived him in August after numerous injuries limited his ability to contribute. The last injury he was dealing with before the team let him go in August? A strained hamstring. Who knows? Maybe a change in venue will do the trick.
Seyi Ajirotutu is familiar to the Chargers as he was signed off their practice squad in 2010. In 2011, he moved to the Carolina Panthers but was released prior to the start of the 2012 season. The Chargers now have a need for wide receiver depth, and Ajirotutu was available to help fill it, but depth is the key word. Ajirotutu is not likely to offer much to fantasy owners, at least not yet.
Brady Quinn, Kansas City Chiefs, head (out): Quinn was forced out of the Week 8 game with a head injury and has not been medically cleared to return. Matt Cassel, who suffered a head injury of his own in Week 5, replaced Quinn last week and will get the start Thursday night.