Week 6: Game Time Decisions - Injury Updates
In this article we profile players that are struggling to get into uniform for the coming week. A few guys have already been ruled out for Week Five including Giants' running back David Wilson (who is dealing with a neck injury that could cost him multiple weeks). Brandon Jacobs and Da'Rel Scott will split the backfield tonight in Chicago, so expect a heavy reliance on Eli Manning and the passing game. Atlanta will use the bye week in hopes of finding answers at the wide receiver position. Julio Jones has been ruled out for the season with a foot injury and reports suggest that Roddy White could miss the first game of his career when the Falcons return to action. Harry Douglas will be a hot commodity on waiver wires, but he's yet to produce when given a chance to start, so temper your expectations. Multiple teams will be breaking in new signal callers in Week Five as Nick Foles (Philadelphia), Thad Lewis (Buffalo), and Brandon Weeden (Cleveland) will be filling in for injured starters Mike Vick, EJ Manuel and Brian Hoyer. None of the newly anointed starters should be starting unless you are desperate.
Ryan Mathews took a knee to the helmet and suffered a concussion that knocked him out of the Week Four loss to Oakland. The yearly fantasy disappointment is averaging 47 yards per game on the ground with just one touchdown. He'll need to pass the league mandated concussion tests if he plans to play in the Monday night game against Indianapolis. The 4th year running back from Fresno State University missed 10 games during his first three seasons and durability concerns continue to cloud his fantasy potential. If Mathews is unable to go, Danny Woodhead would vault onto the RB2 radar, despite the difficult matchup with a resurgent Colts defense allowing the sixth fewest fantasy PPG to opposing ground games.
The rookie from Vanderbilt had quite a debut before suffering a rib injury during the Week Five victory over Jacksonville. The human bowling ball (5-foot-8-inch, 215 pounds) posted 14 carries for 82 yards (impressive 5.5 YPC) and is expected to get the start over Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead when the Rams travel to Houston. Stacy missed Wednesday's practice, but head coach Jeff Fischer fully expects him to suit up for the Week Six game against a Texan defense that has surprisingly struggled to defend the run. Houston is allowing the 11th most fantasy PPG to opposing running backs, yielding 100 YPG and four touchdowns to running backs. Consider Stacy to be a solid flex play if he's able to play this week.
To the surprise of no one in the fantasy universe, RUN DMC missed the Week Five win over San Diego after sustaining a hamstring injury in Week Four. During his previous five seasons, Mcfadden has been sidelined for 23 games due to injury. Rashad Jennings got the Week Five start against San Diego, but finished with just 10 carries for 41 yards before he was also forced from the game with a hamstring injury. Mcfadden and Jennings returned to Wednesday's practice and both could play this week in a difficult matchup against Kansas City. It's worth noting that the Raiders have a week seven bye, so the coaching staff might decide to keep the oft injured Mcfadden in street clothes. The Chiefs' run defense is allowing the eighth fewest points to running backs and have given up just one rushing TD on the season.
Ridley is shaping up as one of the bigger fantasy busts of the season as he was selected in the 2nd/3rd round of most drafts, but is averaging just 43 yards per game and has yet to reach the end zone. He suffered a thigh injury that sidelined him for the 13-6 Week Five loss to the Bengals, but has returned to practice in hopes of suiting up for the Patriots' week six game against the Saints in Foxboro. The Pats backfield has evolved into a dreaded committee with Legarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden sharing touches with Ridley. In weeks three and four, Ridley failed to play 40 percent of the team's snaps, but Blount failed to impress during his Week Five start and lost a critical fumble that could put him back in Belichick's dog house. In 2012, Ridley averaged 79 yards per game and scored 12 touchdowns. He makes for a decent buy low target as the Patriots' offense should improve in the second half of the season - especially with the expected return of Gronkowski this week.
Megatron was a surprise inactive in Week Five as a knee injury kept him from suiting up and the entire Detroit offense floundered in his absence. Matt Stafford struggled, finishing with 262 yards and one touchdown as the Lions fell 22-9 to the division rival Packers. Both tight ends were the leading receivers for the Lions in Week Five as Brandon Pettigrew had four catches for 59 yards, while Tony Scheffler finished with four grabs for 55 yards. The two starting WRs - Kris Durham and Ryan Broyles - totaled just five catches for 57 yards. Johnson hadn't missed a game since 2009, but was not able to practice on Wednesday, leaving his Week Six status in jeopardy for a difficult matchup with Joe Haden and the Browns. Cleveland is allowing the fifth fewest PPG to opposing pass catchers. If CJ is ruled out, Stafford owners would be wise to consider their alternatives before penciling the Lions quarterback into their Week Six lineups.