Week 14: 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).
Fantasy owners should be able to welcome back some of their fallen stars in time for the start of most fantasy playoffs as Big Ben and Darren Mcfadden are expected to return from their extended absences in week 14. McFadden will likely be splitting the workload with Marcel Reece, limiting his upside against a solid Denver defense on Thursday Night Football. Big Ben should be able to pickup where he left off as the Steeler QB will benefit from facing a Charger defense that has been very generous to opposing QBs.
The WR position took a major hit as Percy Harvin has been placed on IR, ending his season; owners will have to look outside the Viking roster for replacements as none of the Minnesota WRs have stepped up to claim fantasy relevance. Jordy Nelson owner should also be preparing to be without him for at least one week as his hamstring injury resurfaced in week 13, leaving his status for Sunday Night in major jeopardy.
Philly's lost season has transitioned into a youth movement as QB Nick Foles and RB Bryce Brown are expected to get another start in week 14 against Tampa. Brown has been a pleasant surprise over the past two weeks and should retain RB2 value despite the difficult matchup. Foles, on the other hand, is a lower end QB2 at best, despite the matchup with the Bucs' league worst pass defense.
With the Steelers' season on the brink, Charlie Batch pulled off an improbable week 13 win in Baltimore. The 37 year old QB completed 25-of-36 passes for 276 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Despite the solid performance, fantasy owners of the Steeler WR corps are praying for a Big Ben return and should get their wish for the week 14 matchup with a soft San Diego secondary (allowed 21 passing touchdowns in 12 games). San Diego's pass defense is allowing the 15th fewest fantasy PPG to opposing quarterbacks. Big Ben returned to a limited Wednesday practice and appears likely to return from his 3-week hiatus barring any setbacks. The 30 year old signal caller has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners as he's averaged 266 YPG with 17 TDs and just 4 INTs. The Steeler QB should be a solid top 12 option for week 14 and his expected return puts WRs Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown back on the WR3 radar.
Week 13 turned out to be false hope for DMC owners as the Raiders opted to rest their star RB in what has become another lost season in the Black Hole. Over his first four seasons, Mcfadden was in street clothes for a whopping 19 games. He suffered a week 9 high ankle sprain, but put in a full Wednesday practice and could get the feature role for the Thursday night matchup with a stout Denver run defense (allowing 7th lowest fantasy PPG to RBs). Marcel Reece has dominated the backfield touches in DMC's absence, but is battling quad/hamstring injuries that have him very questionable on a short week. DMC is a major roll of the dice, but should produce solid lower end RB2/Flex numbers if given the full workload.
Harvin suffered an ankle injury in the week 9 loss to Seattle and reports have surfaced that the remainder of his season is in jeopardy based on the severity of the injury. In his absence, rookie Jarius Wright has filled in and TE Kyle Rudolph has scored in three straight weeks. The Viking offense has sputtered the past two weeks without Harvin and this week they face another stiff test as they host the Bears' opportunistic, yet injury riddled, defense that will be missing LB Brian Urlacher and possibly a few members of the secondary. The 4th year WR from Florida is averaging 75 YPG with 4 TDs, but appears likely to miss his 4th straight game in week 14. Kyle Rudolph should continue to produce solid TE1 numbers, but no other member of the Viking WR corps is fantasy relevant.Injury Status: Injured Reserve
Nelson re-injured his hamstring in the week 13 win over Minnesota and head coach Mike McCarthy was quoted as saying that the Packers' #1 WR will be hard pressed to be in uniform this week (missed Wednesday's practice). Nelson had a breakout 2011 season (15 TDs), but has regressed in 2012 due to injury issues and Randall Cobb's emergence. The 5th year WR from Kansas State is averaging 60 YPG with 6 TDs through 12 games. James Jones leads the team with 9 touchdowns and should see additional playing time as long as Nelson remains out. All three Packer WRs (Cobb, Jennings, Jones) are worth considering for the week 14 Sunday Night matchup with a Detroit defense allowing the most fantasy PPG to opposing WRs over the past 5 weeks.
The 26 year old South Carolina alum caught six balls for 99 yards and the game winning OT touchdown in the Seahawks' upset win over the Bears in Week 13. Rice suffered a brutal hit on the game winner, but has passed his concussion tests and was able to complete a limited Wednesday practice. He is trending towards being in uniform for a potential showdown with Arizona CB Patrick Peterson. In the week 1 meeting with Arizona, Rice finished with 4 catches for 36 yards and a TD. He has emerged as an elite red zone option (amassed 5 TDs over the past five games) and is averaging 4 catches for 61 YPG over his last 8 contests.