Injuries play a key part in our decision making process for daily fantasy games. The opportunity created for low cost players on offense and the match up opportunities to exploit on defense can be the difference between winning and losing. This article will try to list all the injuries that could create value for your fantasy rosters and the likelihood that each event will occur.
WHO IS OUT?
Tyrann Mathieu (FS/CB) – The man who has shut down slot WR all season for Arizona is out for the year. This could be a problem for them against Green Bay, so keep an eye on it. The “Honey Badger” had been one of the top graded slot coverage guys in the entire league this season.
Robert Woods (WR) – The Buffalo WR is done for the year with his groin injury. Watkins has seen all the targets in that offense lately anyway and losing Woods does not hurt too much.
Cecil Shorts (WR) – Shorts is very doubtful to play after not practicing at all. If he is out, rookie Jaleen Strong would likely see an uptick in snaps and targets.
TJ Yeldon (RB) – Yeldon is not practicing and will miss week 16. Denard Robinson will take his place and should have a solid game against a Saints team that has given up the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this year.
Odell Beckham (WR) – Beckham is suspended for his antics last week. He lost the appeal and deserves every minute of this suspension for losing his mind in that game against the Panthers. Rueben Randle becomes WR1 and Dwayne Harris should get an uptick too.
Marcus Mariota (QB) – Mariota is out for the week and may be done for the year. Zach Mettenberger is the new signal caller. The Texans D scored 20 fantasy points the first time these two teams played. That was also a game without Mariota and Mettenberger starting. Just something to think about here.
WHO TO KEEP AN EYE ON?
Carson Palmer (QB) – He showed up on injury report and was limited in practice Wednesday. It seems to be more of a maintenance day for the veteran, so his status is not really in doubt for Sunday.
UPDATE: Palmer was never going to miss this game and the rest was just to help him stay sharp. Roll him out if you were planning on doing so.
Andre Ellington (RB) – Sat out practice again on Wednesday. We have no set timetable and no idea when we will see him again. David Johnson has been great with Ellington out, so I would continue to roll him out until I hear a reason not to.
UPDATE: Ellington is expected to play. He should see some work as a change of pace back to David Johnson. The real question is how much will he eat into the huge workload Johnson has seen in recent weeks? I do not think he eats into it much, but he will definitely se some work. It does tick down Johnson a tad, but he is still lkely to see the majority of carries. It does not throw me off Johnson, but I definitely like him less now.
LeSean McCoy (RB) – I’m not sure what is going on here. Reports say he tore his MCL, which should be a season ending injury at this point. Rex Ryan said he thinks there is a chance Shady McCoy does play. I assume this is just Rex blowing smoke as reports I read have Shady done for the year. I will be going on that assumption. As you will see, his replacement depends on how the next injury we talk about shakes out.
UPDATE: McCoy is out for week 16 after missing practices all week. Karlos Williams is the likeliest beneficiary, but we may see Mike Gillisleee get more work too.
Karlos Williams (RB) – Williams was active last week, but not a big part of the game plan. He played 11 snaps and had only 4 carries. He is not 100% and might not be this week either. Mike Gillislee actually had a few more carries, snaps, and touches. He would probably be the beneficiary with Shady out if Williams is not up to the job.
UPDATE: McCoy is out and the word is that Williams is helathy enough handle a majority of the workload. Gillislee will see some snaps and touches too, so it’s not a straight all in on Karlos Williams. He should be in a good spot to produce a nice return for cheap though.
Charles Clay (TE) – Clay may miss another game after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday of this week with an injury. Buffalo could use him with Shady now likely out, but missing practice is not a good sign.
UPDATE: Clay is out and Chris Gragg is likely to handle TE duties. The increased targets will probably go Sammy Watkins way, so he gets a tick up too.
Jonathan Stewart (RB) – He did not practice Wednesday and is unlikely to play this weekend. We saw no definite word of this, but it looks like another week of Cameron Artis-Payne and Fozzy Whitaker splitting work.
UPDATE: Stewart is indeed out for week 16. We should see more passing from Carolina as has been the case recently. Payne, Whitaker, and Tolbert may all get some carries.
Spencer Ware (RB) – Ware was limited again in practice. He was active on Sunday, but stayed on the sidelines. Charcandrick West was the beneficiary of that lack of work for Ware and the same may be the case here.
UPDATE: So Ware will be back on the field and is supposed to get his short yardage role back. He is not someone I would look to roll out with few carries expected. This is big news for Charcandrick West lovers though as it likely means West will not see goal line work. He may still have a good game between the twenties running and catching passes, but his upside is capped with out the TD potential.
Rishard Matthews (WR) – Matthews was very good before his injury and is now back to full practice status. The concern among Miami fans is whether he or Davante Parker will start. The concern among fantasy players is that both will see field time and that limits the upside on both guys.
UPDATE: In an interesting developement, Matthews was limited on Friday and downgraded to questionable. According to Rotoworld, he is unlikely to go and Devante Parker would step in his place. Parker has been solid and now makes an intriguing cheap option for Sunday.
Adrian Peterson (RB) – all reports all that he will play, but they also said he was going to practice Thursday and he really was not out there much. Some beat Writers are very concerned about this, and when they get concerned it makes sense to listen. These guys are around the team more than anyone else and you never know what inside information they get from other players and team officials.
UPDATE: Peterson did practice on Friday and looks ready to go on Sunday. He said himself that he is definitely playing, so I would not be too concerned with this.
Alshon Jeffery (WR) – Alshon left the last game early and missed practice on Wednesday. He has been banged up all season and missed a bunch of practices in the last few weeks. He is definitely not 100% healthy and with Chicago out of it, they may take it easy on him.
UPDATE: It looks more and more like we will not have Alshon in uniform. Even if he is, I would be very concerned that he plays a full amount of snaps. I love Alshon, but I think the prudent move is to stay away this week.
Eddie Royal (WR) – Royal had a solid game last time out. the good news is he is healthy and should be active again here. If Alshon sits, he becomes the WR1 for Chicago.
UPDATE: Royal is questionable but likely to play. He may even get a bump up here as Bennett and Alshon are out, so someone needs to catch passes. With Wilson already on the shelf, the options at WR are very thin.
AJ Green (WR) – Green was hurt in practice last week and popped up as questionable on Saturday. He did play Sunday, but was a non-factor and had to leave early in the game anyway. He is on track to play Sunday, but I would be very careful. He will likely not be up to his usual self and he has a back up QB in a tough matchup.
UPDATE: AJ Green is probable to play Monday, but that back is still an issue. Throw in the tough matchup and the back up QB and it kind of feels like a situation you want to avoid here.
Tyler Eifert (TE) – Conflicting reports are coming out about Eifert. He is working out on the sidelines, but is still in concussion protocol. Bengals beat writers say he is out, but coach Lewis says that is not entirely accurate. He has not practiced in full this week, so it is looking likely he sits. Tyler Kroft would be the replacement and the matchup against the Broncos is sneaky good for tight ends. They have struggling to stop teams down the middle and they lost another safety last week, so that is how Cincy should attack this defense.
UPDATE: Eifert is still not cleared to play, so Tyler Kroft is the replacement. He actually has a solid matchup against a defense that is good on the outside but suspect over the middle, especially with the safeties banged up. It is not ideal, but he is a cheap option to consider at TE.
Dez Bryant (WR) – The Cowboys are not ready to shut down Dez, and they called his miss of practice on Wednesday a maintenance day. I would have thought nothing of it, but he then missed Thursday too, so his status is in doubt. I do not know one way or the other, but I am concerned about his availability now.
UPDATE: Dez did not step foot on the practice field this week and is probably out. It does not bode well for a weak passing game that has struggled anyway. The likeliest beneficiary is Jason Witten.
Jason Witten (TE) – Witten sat out Wednesday’s practice, but he is a warrior. This guy plays through every injury. If Witten is out, then the ailment is pretty serious. I doubt any of his nicks and bruises keep him down, so I would be fine expecting him to play this Sunday.
UPDATE: Witten is a gamer, so I do not mind him sitting out or being limited at practice. He says he will play and that is usually good enough for me with him. I would expect to see him in uniform on Sunday and making catches.
Peyton Manning (QB) – Manning has not done any on field work in about a week. There is a good chance he will not even be in uniform for this game. Brock Osweiler was already announced as the starter again, so at best Peyton would be an emergency situation type of role.
UPDATE: Manning is definitely out this week. He does have a workout session on Saturday that could determine if he plays again this season. For this week though, it is going to be Brock.
Calvin Johnson (WR) – Calvin Johnson did not practice Wednesday. Calvin Johnson has rarely practiced all year. He has played every week, but the production has not been good. Calvin is likely to be in uniform, but not the guy you think he is to be honest.
UPDATE: Calvin is going to play after being limited all week in practice. It’s not a matter of if he plays, it’s a matter of how much he does on the field. It’s been a heavy dose of Tate the last few weeks with Megatron obviously hurting and not 100%. Temper the expectations for the stud WR here.
Eddie Lacy (RB) – This is an interesting one. Lacy did not see a lot of volume in the second half last week and people were mad about it. Turns out he had a rib injury that also kept him out of practice on Wednesday. Lacy was starting to be fantasy relevant again, but this news could derail that train of thought quickly. James Starks would benefit if Lacy can not go.
UPDATE: Lacy is upgraded to probable. This is actually tough news for us. If he was out, Starks would have been a really solid play. With both in and Lacy banged up, the role will likely be split up. That really takes both guys off the table for me.
Brian Hoyer (QB) – This is one to watch. Hoyer was cleared to practice on a limited basis, but not to play with the concussion he suffered last week. Branden Weeden is still listed as the probable starter. That could change if Hoyer is cleared, but either way it’s a solid matchup vs. a weak Colts secondary for one of the two.
UPDATE: Hoyer is not ging to play with his concussion problem. Yates is already out, so Branden Weeden is the likely starter. This probably ticks down the WR crew, although they do have a good matchup against a shaky Indy pass D.
Matt Hasselbeck (QB) – Talk about a tough dude. The 40 year old has a broken jaw and is still out there practicing and getting ready to start this game. His play has suffered the last few weeks with a 50% completion rate and much lower aDOT lately. I would be cautious about using anyone on that Indy offense.
UPDATE: He is a gamer and will try to gut it out as epected. His production has been noticably down, s temper any expectations for him.
Donte Moncrief (WR) – He has not practiced, but he also did not practice last week and still played. In fact he caught a TD and had a decent day. I do not think he is near 100%, but he may likely suit up again.
UPDATE: He got in a limited practice on Friday, but his status is still up in the air. If he can not go, we should see more Phillip Dorsett.
PATRIOTS WIDE RECEIVERS (Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Brandon Lafell) – All three guys sat out Wednesday’s practice. Edelman is trying to return from injury, but we have no idea if he will play. Some reports say he is out another week and others say he is trying to play if Amendola can not. Amendola also sat out with a knee issue. Original word was he is definitely out, but he practice in a limited fashion and now is only listed as doubtful. Lafell is the healthiest of the bunch. His was likely a maintenance day. He should be available and could have a good day if the others can not go.
UPDATE: Ok, so Edelman is practicing, but has not been cleared to play. Lafell is the likeliest to go on Sunday, but is still listed as questionable. Amendola was limited all week in practice and is more doubtful to play than anything else. All of them are game time decisions and we really have no clear answers as of now.
Drew Brees (QB) – Brees practiced on a limited basis and is doubtful for this weekend. If he can not go, we should see MAtt Flynn under center in New Orleans. This would probably be a big blow to all the WR options.
UPDATE: Brees says he is playing. Beat Writers think he will but are less certain. It is going to be a game time decision unless we hear something before then.
Doug Baldwin (WR) – Baldwin did miss Wednesday’s practice and is listed as questionable. Be sure to check back later in the week. If his status does chancge for the worse, it will be a big deal. He has been the hottest WR option in football lately, so Kearse and Lockett would have to pick up the slack.
UPDATE: Baldwin got in a full practice on Friday, but coach Pete Carroll still insists he is a game time decision. My gut tells me he should play if he was able to practice in full, but we will have to keep an eye on it.
Shaun Draughn (RB) – Draughn is not likely to miss, but he did sit out practice. The 49ers would go to a committee of guys like Gaskins and Dujuan Harris if Draughn is out.
UPDATE: Draughn is out, therefore Gaskins will likely be the lead dog. Harris may also see some carries, but none are really guys I would look to play.
Vincent Jackson (WR) – It is not definite yet, but it looks unlikely V-Jax will play. Dye has seen the snaps with V-Jax out, but the targets have gone to Mike Evans. Evans sees massive target numbers with no V-Jax and I would expect that to continue.
UPDATE: V-Jax is indeed out and Evans should see tons of targets.
Kendall Wright (WR) – Wright will finally be back on the field for the Titans. Their slot man was out for a few games, so he will be a welcome addition.
UPDATE: Wright should be back in uniform. It may affect the numbers of targets for guys like Walker and Beckham, but all three should see some looks.
DeSean Jackson (WR) – He sat out Wednesday, but was back Thursday. There is very little chance he does not play, so I would not worry. He actually has a good matchup too.
UPDATE: D Jax practiced Friday and is now active for the Saturday game. He has a good matchup and could produce a nice number here.