Stephania Bell: Kyle Rudolph
November, 7, 2013
By Stephania Bell | ESPN.com
Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY SportsFrequent red-zone target Kyle Rudolph may miss the rest of the 2013 season.Thursday night's matchup between the Washington Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings isn't overwhelmingly heavy on injuries to fantasy-relevant players. This is somewhat remarkable for a midweek game more than halfway through the season. The biggest physical issue for each team may be the standard Thursday night challenge of between-game recovery.
The bumps and bruises, aches and pains that are the result of every Sunday game are "fresher" on Thursday, having three fewer days than normal to dissipate. ESPN.com's John Keim notes that recovery throughout the week may not only be influenced by age-related wear and tear but may also be somewhat related to position.
The players in the trenches absorb as much of a physical toll as anyone else in the course of an NFL game, but you won't see their names on your fantasy roster. With that in mind, here are a couple of players whose injury status might affect your lineups.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, foot, (OUT): There's no question as to Rudolph's status. He's out this week and for several more after sustaining a foot fracture in Sunday's game. Initial X-rays did not show the break, but later tests brought the bad news. With standard healing time for a fracture hovering around six weeks -- although there can be good evidence of bony repair sooner -- it's reasonable to consider the possibility that Rudolph might not return at all this season.
In his absence, John Carlson is expected to get the start. Carlson is ranked No. 20 in the ESPN.com fantasy staff TE rankings this week.
Leonard Hankerson, WR, hamstring, (P): Hankerson is listed on the injury report this week because of a hamstring issue, which naturally raises concern with only three days' rest between games. This is not the first time Hankerson has had a hamstring issue crop up this year, as he also dealt with the injury in late September. He did not miss any time because of the hamstring, nor did he miss any time with a recent foot injury.
Once again, it appears Hankerson will play. After being listed as limited for Monday's practice (which, it should be noted, was an estimation, because the team did not conduct a full practice), Hankerson was a full participant Tuesday, typically the most significant workday in advance of a Thursday game. He was a full participant again on Wednesday and, listed as probable, is expected to take the field Thursday night. He cracked the bottom of the published WR ranking list for the week.
London Fletcher, LB, knee, (P): Fletcher makes an appearance in this column simply because his consecutive-game streak is so impressive despite whatever physical ailments he has encountered along the way. He has yet to miss a game in his career, almost unheard of for a player in the middle of his 16th year in the league.
Fletcher is dealing with knee swelling, which led him to have the joint drained on Monday. That's apparently not enough to keep him off the field Thursday, and at 38 years young, Fletcher will make yet another start.