|ESPN.com: Bell||[Print without images]|
|Reggie Bush is expected to be able to play in Week 5.|
The Cardinals and the Rams played Thursday night. Cardinals running back Ryan Williams left the game late with a left shoulder injury, and Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola was lost for more than a month with a sternoclavicular joint injury. Four teams are on bye this week: the Lions, Cowboys, Raiders and Buccaneers. Several key players have already been ruled out in advance of this week's games, but there are still some question marks.
Here are the players we're discussing heading into Sunday of Week 5:
Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings, knee (P): Ponder was held to limited work Wednesday and Thursday to give his knee some rest, but a full practice Friday and a "probable" tag indicate he is expected to play.
Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers, knee (P): Everything is shaping up for Mendenhall to take the field Sunday. On Thursday we discussed his readiness to return, but expectations should be tempered for his first outing.
Arian Foster, hamstring and Ben Tate, toe, Houston Texans (no designation yet): Foster has been a full participant in practice each day despite his presence on the injury report. Expect him to play Monday night.
Tate, on the other hand, is much less of a certainty. He did not practice early in the week because of a toe injury, and coach Gary Kubiak said the Texans would rest him until Saturday. Saturday morning, Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle reported that Kubiak says he expects Tate to go but is also "very comfortable" with Justin Forsett. In other words, it really could go either way. The decision might not come in time for fantasy owners to deliberate, so plan accordingly.
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears, ankle (P): Forte returned to game action in Week 4 but is still in recovery mode from his ankle injury. He practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday then put in a full practice Friday. The expectation is that he will play, but how much he is able to do remains to be seen.
Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins, hip (P): Last week, there was real concern about Bush's knee after he took a hit from a helmet, but he was able to run well in practice and then play in Sunday's game. This week, there was no real mention of anything significant coming out of the game. Bush was listed on Wednesday's practice report as limited because of the hip but was able to practice fully Thursday and Friday. At "probable," his status is more certain heading into Week 5.
Evan Royster, Washington Redskins, knee (Q): Royster is downgraded this week with his strained patellar tendon compared with last week. He has been only a limited participant in practice and clearly is not at full strength. The Redskins are going to continue to lean on Alfred Morris.
Brandon Jacobs, San Francisco 49ers, knee (Q): Jacobs has increased his practice activity this week and says he is eager to get out on the playing field. Whether the 49ers are ready for him to factor into the game yet, however, is another matter, and he is questionable heading into Sunday.
Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins, foot (P): Now that Garcon has returned to play, the biggest question this week was how his foot would respond. Although Garcon acknowledges he is not yet 100 percent, his full participation in practice every day and his "probable" tag are proof that he is improving.
Domenik Hixon, New York Giants, concussion (P): With Nicks out, the Giants are happy to have Hixon back in the mix after he missed time after a concussion. Hixon was a full participant in practice every day and is expected to play.
Andre Johnson, Houston Texans, groin (no designation yet): The Texans continue to rest Johnson early in the week so as to protect him for game time. With the Texans not playing until Monday night, there was no reason to press him early in the week. Expect Johnson to play.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons, hand (P): Jones has said his hand is no longer an issue, and he practiced fully every day this week. There's really no doubt that he will play, but fantasy owners are hoping for more productivity this week.
Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans, ankle (Q): Britt is listed as questionable, but it seems as if the likelihood of him playing borders more on doubtful. Britt still has not returned to practice since injuring his ankle two weeks ago. Although he did some running Thursday, the soreness in his ankle is lingering and Britt did not even venture outside Friday, according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. The Titans play in a late game Sunday, and, although Britt hasn't been ruled out, it's hard to imagine him playing, or being highly productive even if he does manage to suit up.
Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens, ankle (P): There was little doubt Smith would play when he was in practice to start the week, but no limitations throughout the week and the "probable" tag are further confirmation.
Mohamed Massaquoi, Cleveland Browns, hamstring (D): Massaquoi has not practiced all week with a hamstring injury, and the "doubtful" tag indicates the team does not expect him Sunday.
Stephen Hill, New York Jets, hamstring (no designation yet): Hill did not play in Week 4 and is still being held out of practice so far this week. His chances of playing do not look good.
Rob Gronkowski, hip and Aaron Hernandez, ankle, New England Patriots (Q): Of the two, Gronkowski is more likely to play. Both have been limited in practice this week, but Hernandez was just getting back out to the field for the first time since injuring his ankle in Week 2. It's a great sign that Hernandez is making progress, but it seems a bit early to expect much out of him.
Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans, shoulder (P): Cook practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday but returned to full practice Friday. His upgrade to probable this week is a good sign that the Titans expect to have him again this week.
Dustin Keller, New York Jets, hamstring (no designation yet): Keller has not played since Week 1 and still has not practiced this week. With this game not happening until Monday night, Keller is far too risky.
This space is intended for a list of key players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status, who are officially listed as "out" for the upcoming game.
Hakeem Nicks, foot/knee and Ramses Barden, concussion, WRs, New York Giants: The announcement this week that Nicks would be absent was not nearly the surprise last week's was. Now the question is how much longer the knee and foot will continue to hamper him. Barden suffered a concussion in Week 4 and will miss this week as a result.
Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers, groin: We knew this was coming fairly early in the week. Jennings says he will remain out until his groin is fully healthy. This might not be the only week he misses.
Lance Moore, WR, New Orleans Saints, hamstring: Moore has not practiced all week because of the injury.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Kansas City Chiefs, ankle: Hillis continues to be limited by his sprained ankle and has not yet returned to practice.
Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots, hand: After not practicing for the second straight week, Edelman is out again this Sunday.
Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans, shoulder: His listing here is a formality as the Titans ruled him out fairly early in the week. What is less clear is how much time Locker is expected to miss. Don't be surprised if it ends up being multiple weeks.
Nate Kaeding, K, San Diego Chargers, groin: Kaeding is out again this week with a groin injury.
Be sure to check out "Fantasy Football Now" at 11 a.m. ET this Sunday on ESPN2 for last-minute inactives, rankings, injury impact and more!