Week 15: 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 will have their fingers crossed that the #1 fantasy producer at the QB position will be able to suit up in week 15. Robert Griffin III is expected to be a game time decision and idifficult to trust Mike Shanahan, but for now signs point toward RG3 being under center. The Bears' Jay Cutler has been battered and bruised behind a porous O-line and reports have surfaced that he's dealing with knee and neck injuries, but is expected to be in uniform when the Bears host division leader Green Bay.
There are a multitude of injuries at the WR position, so fantasy owners would be wise to check the inactive lists that are released an hour or so before kickoff. The Packers' Jordy Nelson and Dwayne Bowe are unlikely to play in week 15, so Greg Jennings and Jon Baldwin will see a boost in targets. Dez Bryant (finger), Cecil Shorts (concussion), Roddy White (knee), and Sidney Rice (foot) are a few of the more high profile players that are at risk for missing this week's crucial fantasy playoff fantasy week action.
At running back, Ahmad Bradshaw is the biggest name that is questionable as rookie David Wilson could get a chance to shine with a full workload against a generous Atlanta defense. Carolina's Jonathan Stewart is expected to miss his 3rd straight game, but owners of Deangelo Williams should temper their expectations for a matchup with a solid San Diego run defense.
The fate of fantasy owners of RG3 rests in the hands of the Redskins medical staff as he's been labeled as a game time decision for the week 15 matchup with Cleveland's 12th ranked pass defense. The rookie from Baylor was forced from the 4th quarter against Baltimore after suffering a LCL sprain to his right knee. Fellow rookie Kirk Cousins filled in admirably tossing the game tying TD and 2-point conversion, but is not a recommended option if RG3 can't go. For now, I expect Griffin to suit up as he's returned to limited practices and Washington is in must win mode as they fight for the final wild card spot. Joe Haden and the Cleveland Browns are allowing the 6th fewest fantasy PPG to opposing QBs over the last 5 weeks which limits the upside potential of RG3 for week 15. If he suits up, RG3 (the #1 fantasy scorer at the QB position) should be in your lineup unless you also are lucky enough to own another top 5 option (Newton, Brady, Brees, A-Rod or Peyton Manning)Injury Status: Out - Knee
Another week and another injury for the Giants lead RB. Bradshaw suffered a knee sprain and was unable to practice on Thursday, making him a major question mark for the week 15 matchup with an Atlanta defense allowing the 6th most fantasy PPG to RBs over the past five weeks. Rookie David Wilson posted 13 carries for 100 yards and 2 TDs in last week's win over New Orleans and will have high end RB2 appeal if he gets the start against a struggling Falcon rush defense. On the season, Bradshaw is averaging 89 total YPG with five touchdowns, but appears unlikely to play this week. Owners that missed out on handcuffing with David Wilson should consider other potential waiver wire options Joique Bell (DET) and Bilal Powell (NYJ) as both have favorable week 15 matchups.Injury Status: Out - Foot
J-Stew (ankle sprain) missed Wednesday's practice and appears likely to miss his 3rd straight game when the Panthers travel to San Diego in week 15. Deangelo Williams should dominate backfield touches and has amassed 180 total yards with one touchdown over the past two weeks in a starting role. The Chargers defense has been stout against the run and are allowing the 5th fewest fantasy PPG to RBs over the past five weeks. With Cam Newton stealing red zone carries and facing a difficult matchup, Deangelo is just a flex play at best for this week.
The 3rd year WR from Oklahoma State has been on quite a tear, amassing 438 yards and six touchdowns over the past four weeks. He suffered a fractured left index finger that had the Cowboys fearing that they lost their best WR for the season. Bryant has delayed surgery and is expected to suit up for a critical 4pm kickoff against Pittsburgh as Dallas is in a log jam for the final wildcard spot. His productivity is a major question mark and the Steelers' pass defense ranks among the best in the league, allowing the fewest YPG (169). On a positive note, the Steeler secondary will be without their best CB Ike Taylor. Bryant sported a padded glove in Thursday's practice and barring any setbacks, signs point to him suiting up for week 15 in a borderline must win game for the Cowboys.
Nelson re-injured his hamstring in the week 13 win over Minnesota and was sidelined for the Sunday Night win over Detroit. After missing Thursday's practice, Nelson was labeled a long shot by head coach Mike McCarthy for the crucial week 15 division battle in Soldier Field. Greg Jennings will likely start again, but was held to just 1 catch against a woeful Lion secondary and should be considered a lower end WR3 in a road matchup with Chicago's 6th ranked pass defense. 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. Nelson owners should keep him rostered as he could produce major dividends if he can return for the week 16 matchup with a floundering Titan defense.