Week 16: 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 for their Fantasy Super Bowl. Robert Griffin III returned to practice and all signs point to him being under center for this week's contest against a floundering Eagles defense.
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 is unlikely to play in week 16, so James Jones and Greg Jennings are worth starting against the Titans' porous secondary. Sidney Rice is battling multiple injuries and the Sunday Night start makes him a major risk (especially when you consider he's facing a solid 49er defense).
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 Baltimore. Carolina's Jonathan Stewart is expected to miss his 4th straight game, allowing Deangelo Williams to remain a solid flex play despite the presence of goal line vulture Mike Tolbert (2 TDs in week 15).
Fantasy owners desperate to replace injured TEs Jared Cook, Brandon Pettigrew or Dustin Keller might want to take a flier on Brent Celek as he's expected to return to the lineup in week 16 against a Washington defense that has struggled to defend the tight end.
If you survived the fantasy playoffs while the #1 fantasy scoring QB was sidelined, fantasy owners could be in luck as RG3 practiced in full on Wednesday and appears to have a solid chance of suiting up when the Redskin travel to Philly to face an Eagles defense that has struggled mightily in the 2nd half of the season (over the last 5 weeks the Eagles are allowing the most fantasy PPG to opposing QBs). Fellow rookie Kirk Cousins filled in admirably during the week 15 win in Cleveland as the Michigan State alum completed 26-of-37 passes for 329 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Griffin is dealing with an LCL sprain to his right knee and best case his mobility will likely be limited. In the week 11 meeting with Philly, RG3 completed just 14 of 15 passes, but tossed 4 TDs and totaled 12 carries for 84 yards. 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).
With the G-men's playoff hopes on life support following a 34-0 drubbing in Atlanta, Bradshaw (knee sprain) has guaranteed that he'll return for the must win game in Baltimore. On the season, Bradshaw is averaging 89 total YPG with five touchdowns. He missed Thursday's practice and (despite the guarantee) appears like a potential game time decision for the 4pm kickoff. Rookie David Wilson disappointed owners that expected a duplication of his 100 yard two TD performance against the Saints in week 14 as he tallied just 12 times for 55 yards (Kregg Lumpkin rushed nine times for 42 yards) in the blowout loss to Atlanta. The Ravens' injury riddled defense is allowing the 12th most fantasy PPG to RBs over the past five weeks, so Wilson should remain on the RB2 radar if Bradshaw is forced to miss the week 16 game.Injury Status: Injured Reserve
Much like the entire Eagles dream team, the 4th year RB from Pittsburgh is having a disappointing season by his standards as he's posted just 5 touchdowns through 10 games (had 20 TDs in 2011). In the week 11 loss to Washington, McCoy suffered a concussion that has kept him in street clothes for the past 4 weeks. Before exiting the game against Washington, McCoy had 15 carries for 45 yards and added 6 catches for 67 yards. Rookie Bryce Brown (Kansas State) topped 160 yards in each of his first two starts, but has fallen off a cliff over the past two weeks totaling 28 carries for 40 yards. McCoy is expected to get the week 16 start against Washington, but lame duck coach Andy Reid has stated that he'll be eased back into the lineup. It is difficult to expect more than 15 carries for McCoy, which limits him to more of a lower end RB2 against a Washington defense that ranks 6th against the run (96 YPG).
The 3rd year WR from Oklahoma State suffered a fractured left index finger in week 14, but was able to play in week 15 and finished with 4 catches for 59 yards and TD in the win over Pittsburgh. Bryant had a few targets glance off his hands, but should be good to go for a dream matchup with a Saints defense allowing the 3rd most fantasy PPG on the season to WRs.
Nelson re-injured his hamstring in the week 13 win over Minnesota and was unable to suit up for the week 15 win in Chicago. The 5th year WR from Kansas State had a breakout 2011 season (15 TDs), but has regressed in 2012 due to injury issues and Randall Cobb's emergence as he's averaging 60 YPG with 6 TDs through 12 games. The Packers have clinched the NFC North division, but are still playing for a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Nelson missed Wednesday's practice and appears likely to miss his 3rd straight game when the Packers host a floundering Titan defense. James Jones is coming off a 3-TD performance and should be locked into lineups against Tennessee's mediocre pass defense (ranked 19th). Veteran free agent to be Greg Jennings will also see an uptick in playing time, but has just 9 catches for 123 yards over the past three weeks and remains just a borderline WR3.