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Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Turner not looking good; DeAngelo iffy

How many of you started Jerome Harrison in Week 15? Come on now, tell the truth. I'll bet a whole lot more folks started Calvin Johnson, Pierre Garcon, Michael Turner or even newcomer Arian Foster, based on good, logical reasoning about past performance and future expectations. Sadly, Johnson and company combined for a whopping total of three points. That's right: an average of less than one point per player.

All four had injuries that affected their performance. Johnson has a balky knee; Garcon left his game early with a bruised hand; Turner reinjured his ailing ankle on his first carry; and Foster, well, he suffered from that virus circulating among Houston running backs known as fumble-itis. Meanwhile, Harrison -- all by his lonesome -- scored more than 15 times the number of points that group put together. I guess you could say Harrison is at least healthy.

If your fantasy playoff battle took place against a Harrison owner (who didn't happen to have him on the bench), then you are no doubt suffering from post-playoff depression. Fortunately, it's curable, but it tends to last about eight months, which is when the next fantasy football season begins. As for those of you who were able to make it into the next round of playoffs, you are left wondering who Week 16's Jerome Harrison will be. I can't tell you that, but I can tell you whom we're looking at in the world of injuries this holiday week …

Michael Turner
Michael Turner's ankle has derailed many a fantasy team during the playoffs.

Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Turner has been pressing to get back on the field since injuring his right ankle, not once, not twice, but three times. Turner exited the game after just one carry Sunday after a hit to that ankle, and his status for Week 16 is again in question. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, coach Mike Smith reiterates that Turner will not automatically be shut down. Said Smith: "[Turner] is a quick healer. … We're hoping he'll respond and come back." There are certainly reasons to be concerned about repetitive injury to a joint as it is trying to heal, particularly when it comes to long-term health. In fantasy, if you've already been burned here, you know to stay away. Let Turner prove he can get through a full game while you get your fantasy points elsewhere.

Reggie Bush, RB, New Orleans Saints: Bush sustained a hamstring injury in the Saints' first loss of the season, but from the sound of things, this is a minor incident. Bush said he felt it grab right away, but he also characterized the injury as "very minor." In fact, despite a fairly significant injury history, Bush says he has never pulled a hamstring before, something that works in his favor toward progressing quickly. Fantasy owners can also feel good about coach Sean Payton's philosophy when it comes to resting players from the stretch run: He isn't planning on it. Payton told reporters Monday that the team is focused on each game, "right now," which means everyone needs to participate. Watch Bush in practice this week, but expect him to be available Sunday.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers: Williams suffered a left ankle sprain in the first quarter of Sunday's game but there has been little word out of Carolina as to the severity of the injury. Williams sat out Week 13 because of an ankle injury but returned in Week 14 and rushed for more than 80 yards. Williams practiced this past week without incident and seemed to be in good shape heading into the game against Minnesota. The Panthers have been able to lean on Jonathan Stewart when Williams has been hobbled. They may have to do so again if Williams struggles with the ankle this week.

Other quick hits:

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford may not return in Week 16. His left shoulder AC separation is still causing him some discomfort, and it sounds as if the Lions will not return him to the field until he has healed sufficiently. Coach Jim Schwartz told reporters Monday that Stafford's shoulder was "definitely still a concern." The question, then, is who will replace him. Schwartz has not decided whether it will be Daunte Culpepper or Drew Stanton.

• Staying in Detroit, wide receiver Calvin Johnson is clearly less effective when Matthew Stafford is not throwing to him and when his knees are giving him trouble. That combination was in effect Sunday, when Johnson failed to be a big fantasy factor. He is not likely to be 100 percent healthy this week, and we don't yet know who will be throwing to him. This will be a situation to watch.

Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook may be active in Week 16, but fantasy owners should not get too excited. Coach Andy Reid has indicated that Westbrook will have "limited reps," according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. This makes perfect sense, as he will need to ease back into game shape. If Westbrook does make an appearance, he likely won't have fantasy value in Week 16, but he might be worth grabbing for a possible Week 17 play.

Nate Burleson
Nate Burleson missed Week 15 with an ankle injury, and given the Seahawks' other woes, he might miss the rest of the season with not much time left.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Nate Burleson is already doubtful for Week 16, according to coach Jim Mora. Burleson sat out Week 15 with a high ankle sprain, and there was concern from the outset that he could be forced out for the rest of the season. While that has not happened yet, it certainly does not sound as though fantasy owners want to count on him for their playoffs. Best to look elsewhere. Meanwhile, teammate Julius Jones suffered a rib injury Sunday (again), which could mean more carries for Justin Forsett in Week 16.

New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks strained a hamstring in Monday night's contest but was quick to downplay the injury. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Nicks said the hamstring had been tight for two weeks, adding that this strain was nowhere near as serious as the injury he suffered during training camp. Nicks did not return after the injury Monday night, but the Giants were already dominating the game. Expect Nicks to be available in Week 16, barring a setback.

Indianapolis Colts receiver Pierre Garcon killed many a fantasy playoff dream when he left Thursday night's game early with a bruised hand. Although the injury did not appear serious, Garcon did not return for precautionary reasons, according to the Indianapolis Star. Coach Jim Caldwell hinted when he spoke to reporters Monday that starters might see limited playing time in Week 16, so fantasy owners will need to think twice about using Garcon this week.

• The Buffalo Bills lost not one but two quarterbacks this week to ankle injuries. Trent Edwards has been placed on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. Ryan Fitzpatrick is also expected out this week as a result of his right ankle injury. Fantasy owners should not put their hopes in the hands of Brian Brohm, who is expected to get the start in Week 16.

Oakland Raiders tight end Zach Miller missed Week 15 following his second concussion of the season. Miller hopes to play in Week 16.

See you at the injury chats (Tuesday 11 a.m.-noon and Sunday pregame 10-10:30 a.m. this week), and we'll have the latest injury updates affecting Week 16 in the Saturday morning blog.