Stephania Bell: Julius Thomas
November, 21, 2013
By Stephania Bell | ESPN.com
Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY SportsAdrian Peterson could be a risky fantasy start this week.
To worry or not to worry?
Several players have what could be classified as “iffy” status heading toward the weekend. Many fantasy owners share a similarly shaky status with regards to playoff brackets. A win or a loss this week could prove to be the deciding factor in their future fortunes. Every player on the roster needs to pull his weight and if he can’t, then as they say, it’s next man up. In an effort to help fantasy owners evaluate just how concerned they should be about several key players, we discuss whether it’s time to worry about finding a replacement for them.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings (groin): Worry ... a little. After last week’s outing, coach Leslie Frazier indicated Peterson’s groin strain impacted his performance. Even Peterson acknowledged the pain bothered him “a lot.” As of Thursday, Peterson still hadn’t practiced. He insists he will play Sunday and, based on his track record, it’s hard to doubt him. The bigger concern would be that he starts the game but does not finish if the groin proves to be problematic. With the Vikings sitting at 2-8 in the NFC North cellar, it would not make sense to risk further injury to Peterson if he appears to be struggling with the injury.
Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals (shoulder): Not to worry. Floyd came out and played last week after spraining the AC joint in his right shoulder and put up 193 yards and a touchdown. Limited practices are not a surprise to protect Floyd’s shoulder between games, but expect to see him on the field Sunday.
Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts (calf): Worry. If the limited production wasn’t already a concern, add a late-week calf injury to the mix. Richardson popped up on Thursday’s injury report as limited due to the calf. So far there are no indications that he would sit out Sunday’s game against Arizona. But, if teammate Donald Brown’s increased workload and productivity weren’t enough of a threat to Richardson’s value, the presence of a leg injury certainly doesn’t help.
Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers (knee): Not to worry. Despite leaving Sunday’s game early with a knee injury, Allen has put in full practices on consecutive days this week. Combine that with coach Mike McCoy’s vote of confidence in Allen’s playing status at the start of the week and there seems little doubt we will see him against the Chiefs.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins (concussion): Start worrying. Granted, Reed’s team does not play until Monday night so Thursday is the first issued practice report. With the extra day, it’s possible Reed will not make an appearance in practice until Friday. Regardless, he will still need to pass all phases of the post-concussion protocol. The more important element is that in order for Reed to take the field Monday, he will need to remain symptom-free until kickoff. Fantasy owners who choose to wait until Monday night will face some risk, although depending on the level of Reed’s activity between now and then, there should be better clues as to how he is progressing.
Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos (knee): Worry. Thomas may have avoided a major injury last Sunday when he appeared to hyperextend his knee, but it doesn’t mean he’s home free. The aftereffects of that brief exaggeration of his knee’s range of motion could leave Thomas with swelling, soreness and stiffness for days. Thomas did not practice Wednesday, which did not come as a surprise. In his return to practice Thursday, Thomas was limited. If he continues to be limited Friday it will raise questions about his status for Sunday. The Broncos play in a night game against the Patriots, so if Thomas comes in as questionable, fantasy owners would need a Sunday night or Monday night backup plan. (And consider that one of those options, Jordan Reed -- whose team plays Monday night -- could be questionable himself.)
October, 29, 2013
By Stephania Bell | ESPN.com
Phil Sears/USA TODAY SportsMichael Vick (No. 7) and Nick Foles are both recovering from injuries.It’s a quick-hit Tuesday.
Fortunately, this week was a little less dire than last in terms of the volume of serious injuries. There were still some of the season-ending variety, however, and more than enough scares for a Halloween week. The Miami Dolphins lost wide receiver Brandon Gibson to a torn patellar tendon, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved wide receiver Mike Williams to injured reserve after his hamstring injury worsened, and injury-plagued Detroit Lions wide receiver Ryan Broyles -- who has spent the last two years recovering from torn ACLs in each knee -- tore his Achilles tendon and once again is lost for the season. Some injuries really don't seem fair.
In the meantime, the majority of players are dealing with injury concerns of a lesser nature, but these maladies are still serious enough to threaten playing time. Here are some quick takes on who may be out, and who may be returning soon.
Michael Vick (hamstring) and Nick Foles (concussion), QBs, Philadelphia Eagles: Vick returned to action after missing the Eagles’ last two games, but made a quick exit when he re-injured his hamstring. Vick said he felt a "pop," and coach Chip Kelly has already said he is not expecting to have Vick in Week 9. Given that three weeks after the initial injury it only took Vick three series to suffer a setback, this is hardly looking like a fast track to recovery. According to ESPN's Ed Werder, this episode is not considered to be as severe as the initial injury and he will continue to be evaluated weekly. While it's impossible to say just how long Vick will miss, plan on more than a week, given the ease with which he suffered a setback.
Then there's the question of what happens once Vick is finally deemed healthy. That question might be answered based on the play of the one who fills in for him. Foles was out in Week 8 due to a concussion sustained the week before, leaving Matt Barkley to fill in, but Foles returned to practice Tuesday for the first time. If Foles continues to be well through the rest of the week, he is expected to start Sunday.
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins, (knee): Griffin left Sunday's game late with an apparent injury to his left knee, which is the one that is not surgically repaired. While the fanbase and fantasy owners may not have liked the sight of Griffin heading to the treatment table on the sideline -- escorted by Dr. James Andrews -- the good news is that everything checked out just fine. The decision was made to hold him out for the remainder of the game, despite Griffin lobbying to return. Coach Mike Shanahan later told reporters he expects Griffin to return to practice Wednesday, and it looks as if he will make his usual Sunday start.
Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos, (ankle): It's great when players help us out with their injury updates. Like Thomas, for instance, whom fantasy owners can thank for his tweet regarding the status of his ankle. On Monday, Thomas tweeted the following message: "Just left the facility MRI showed it wasn't a high ankle sprain so I won't be down long. Be back soon #CantWait"
The Broncos have a bye this week, so Thomas will have an opportunity to rest. No guarantees just yet that he will be ready to return in Week 10, but this can certainly be viewed as positive news. Perhaps he and his quarterback can work on their ankle rehab together.
Arian Foster (hamstring) and Ben Tate (ribs), RBs, Houston Texans: The Texans had a bye last week, so their running backs should be healthy now, right? Not so fast. Foster suffered a hamstring strain which forced an early exit in Week 7, and Tate left that game with four cracked ribs. While both undoubtedly benefited from the rest, it's not reasonable to expect that they have healed completely.
Fractures can take multiple weeks to heal, and the challenge for Tate will be pain tolerance. Foster's history of soft tissue injuries makes his injury somewhat worrisome, but he has shown himself to be fairly resilient in the past. Whether either back has healed enough to suit up Sunday is the question, and it's not like there's an overabundance of confidence in Houston. Coach Gary Kubiak made his unease about the situation clear when asked if he was concerned.
"On a scale of what? One to ...? The highest number, whatever that is," Kubiak said, adding, "I don't think we're going to know anything until later in the week."
According to ESPN.com's Tania Ganguli, Tate says his pain has improved, and he expects to play Sunday, while Foster expects to "work toward" playing. We will see. Judging from the fact the Texans signed three running backs to their active roster Monday, there is reason for both Foster and Tate fantasy owners to be concerned.
• St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy was sidelined late in the fourth quarter of Monday night's game with what has been labeled an ankle sprain. The Rams have to be hoping this will not keep him from playing Sunday against Tennessee.
• Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller sat out Week 8. Will he also miss Week 9? It sounds like the groundwork is being laid for that possibility. Coach Doug Marrone told reporters Monday that Spiller is dealing with a high ankle sprain, and that he will be re-evaluated this week. Meanwhile, teammate Steve Johnson has a hip flexor strain, and is expected to be limited in practice. Johnson has had various hip and back ailments so far this season, and this latest issue starts to prompt questions about whether he can get healthy enough to play four quarters before the team's Week 12 bye.
• Keep an eye on New York Giants running back Andre Brown (fibula fracture), who says he'll be ready to go in Week 10 when the Giants come off a bye. Brandon Jacobs thinks his hamstring will allow him to run again in Week 10 also, so the Giants may have some decisions to make at the position.
• Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson (forearm fracture) says he's eyeing a Nov. 10 return.