Week 6: Game Time Decisions - Injury Update
In this article we will profile some of the more fantasy relevant injuries that have cropped up and suggest which players are likely to benefit from increased playing time (some of the replacement players might be sitting on your waiver wire). With the BYE weeks in full swing (Chicago, New Orleans, Carolina, Jacksonville will be resting in week 6), depth on fantasy rosters will be further tested.
Week 5 saw the backfields of Arizona and Green Bay take a turn for the worse as Ryan Williams suffered a season ending shoulder injury and Cedric Benson is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a foot injury. Neither ground game will be on the fantasy radar except in the deepest of leagues as both teams are expected to employ a committee approach for the foreseeable future.
At the WR position, multiple big names remained in street clothes during week 5 as Greg Jennings and Hakeem Nicks were reduced to cheerleaders. Nicks apparently has returned to a limited practice and could return from his 3 week absence for the NFL Championship game rematch in San Francisco. The most prominent TE that has been missing in action is NewEngland's Aaron Hernandez. He has been sidelined since week 2 after suffering a severe ankle sprain, but is expected to return for this week's road matchup with a stout Seattle defense.
The 2nd overall pick in the 2012 has been one of the pleasant early season surprises in the fantasy world, but caused his owners near heart attacks when his reckless running style resulted in a devastating hit that knocked him from the week 5 loss in the 3rd quarter. Fellow rookie signal caller Kirk Cousins filled in admirably tossing a 77 yard TD to Santana Moss, but should be relegated back to the bench after RG3 was able to complete a limited Thursday practice. Griffin's dual threat ability (averaging 50 YPG on the ground) has made him a weekly top 5 fantasy option but he faces a stiff test this week. Washington faces Minnesota's 14th ranked pass defense in week 6 (226 YPG) and Griffin could find much less running room as the Vikings boast the 6th ranked run defense.
AP has been a medical miracle early this season as the ACL suffered in week 16 last season (in Washington) has not restricted his 2012 production in the least. He is averaging 84 YPG, but has just two TDs on the season. Peterson suffered an ankle injury early in the week 5 blowout win over the Titans and was only able to put in a limited Thursday practice. He has vowed to play this week as he returns to the scene of the crime against Washington – the same field that ended his 2011 season prematurely. The Redskin defense ranks a surprising 10th against the run (allowing just 88 YPG), but AP remains a weekly must start when he's not in street clothes.
After an impressive 2011 (942 yards and four TDs), everyone's favorite handcuff has failed to produce over the first month of the 2012 season. Through 4 games, Tate is averaging 29 YPG and has reached the end zone twice. Unless Arian Foster gets injured, Tate will continue to be a lower end flex play despite playing in arguably the league's best rushing attack. Tate missed the week 5 win over the Jets with a toe injury, but returned for a limited Wednesday practice and speculation is he will suit up for the Sunday game against Green Bay's 17th ranked run defense. Justin Forsett can be placed back on waiver wires.
Jennings sat out the week 5 loss to Indy after re-aggravating a groin injury in the week 4 game over New Orleans. He has vowed that he won't return to the lineup until he is 100% recovered, leaving his week 6 status in serious doubt (missed Thursday practice). James Jones has filled in admirably, hauling in four touchdowns over the past two games and could be in line for another start this week when the Packers travel to Houston to face a Texan defense yielding the 2nd fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs. Randall Cobb could also see an uptick in targets if Jennings sits out and could be a decent BYE week filler. On the season, the 29 year old Jennings has just 12 catches for 78 yards and one TD (not what he was hoping for in a contract year).
Nicks' troublesome foot injury forced him to miss the past three weeks, but he has returned to a limited Wednesday practice and could be in line to start for the week 6 trip to San Francisco. Ramses Barden had a breakout week 3 (9 catches for 138 yards), but suffered a concussion in the loss to Philly opening the door for Domenik Hixon to produce the 2nd 100 yard game of his career in week 4. Hixon came back to earth in week 5 (5 catches for 55 yards) as rookie Reuben Randle led the team in receiving against Cleveland. Bottom line is it has been near impossible to predict which Giants WR will benefit from Nicks' absence. Regardless of whether Nicks starts, the matchup with the 49ers will be a difficult test as they own the 2nd ranked pass defense allowing just 181 YPG.