<
>

Fantasy: Thursday night injury update

Alshon Jeffery scored 19 fantasy points in Week 13 but is battling a hamstring issue. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski

Both the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears played last Thursday, with neither team achieving a desirable outcome.

Playing in Thanksgiving Day games meant a short week of preparation, preventing players dealing with injuries from a full week of recovery. Both teams again find themselves in a Thursday game, but this time they will have had a full week between outings.

No excuses for a subpar performance this week, but there are still injuries for fantasy owners to consider:

Bears

Alshon Jeffery, WR, hamstring (Q): Last week, Jeffery’s teammate Brandon Marshall was listed on the injury report because of a nagging ankle sprain. The tandem has alternated appearances on the list multiple times this season because of their respective lower extremity injuries and subsequent flare-ups. Now it’s Jeffery’s turn. Hamstring issues had him on the injury report in September and again two weeks ago, but he has yet to miss a game. A short week last week may have contributed to his resurfacing on the report this week, and the question now is whether he will be able to continue his active streak.

Jeffery missed practice Monday and Tuesday but put in limited work Wednesday. According to ESPN's Michael C. Wright, coach Marc Trestman described Jeffery’s non-participation on Tuesday as “precautionary.” The scaling back of Jeffery at practice combined with the questionable tag is enough to make fantasy owners nervous. After all, many found their way to the playoffs based, at least in part, on his outstanding Thanksgiving Day performance, to the tune of nine receptions and two scores. There seem to be no major hints of concern from the team about Jeffery’s availability for Thursday night, but fantasy owners are advised to verify his status pregame.

Martellus Bennett, TE, foot (P): Bennett appears on the injury report this week with a foot injury, but he was able to practice fully Tuesday and Wednesday. The probable designation indicates the Bears expect him to play Thursday night.

Robbie Gould, K, right quadriceps (D): Gould has been associated with kicking for the Bears for so long that it seems automatic to have him in the lineup. Not this week. Gould comes into the game as doubtful, indicating the Bears are not planning on having his services. To further support the notion Gould will be absent, the Bears signed kicker Jay Feely on Wednesday.

Cowboys

Tony Romo, QB, back (P): Despite getting a day off of practice last week in advance of the Thanksgiving game, Romo had his worst outing in recent memory. In fairness, it should be noted that despite the official day off early in the week, Romo’s overall routine -- the one he has maintained since the start of the season -- was still disrupted. This week, the team returned to its standard number of days between games, allowing Romo several days of rest before a formal practice Monday. He was listed as a full participant each day, and there is no doubt he is going to take the field in Chicago. Now five weeks removed from the transverse process fractures in his back (and nearly a year removed from disk surgery), he is much further along in the overall healing process. Factor in that he has played some of his best football since the injury on the road and Romo should be set up for a better outing this week.

Terrance Williams, WR, finger (P): Williams played last week, just days removed from fracturing the tip of his left index finger. With another week of healing under his belt and a slate of practice sessions at full participation, there is little doubt that he will be available. The bigger question is whether that availability will translate into any more production this week. Most of Williams’ value early in the season wasn’t in his volume of catches; he has rarely had more than two per game. That could be easily overlooked when those receptions resulted in significant yardage gains or scoring opportunities. Williams has not scored a touchdown in the past five games, however, and has had only five catches in the past four contests. He is expected to play Thursday night, and the matchup would suggest he has a chance to remind fantasy owners why they drafted him.