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’s Out?

Steve Smith Sr. (WR) – Smith left the game early last week with what is being called microfractures in his back. He is very likely to miss at least this week if not more. Kamar Aiken would step into the WR1 role if that does happen with a slew of journeyman and rookies rounding out the pass catching group.

Lance Dunbar (RB) – The Dallas pass catching 3rd down back and sometime WR caught a tough break last game. He tore his ACL and is now out for the year. Darren McFadden should see more 3rd down work, but Christine Michael and Joseph Randle also could factor in some. It is tough to know for sure until we see Dallas in more of those situations this week.

Ben Roethlisberger (QB)roethlisberger Big Ben is on the shelf for a few more weeks, so we will see Mike Vick get another start. He does welcome back suspended WR Martavius Bryant this weekend, so let’s see if they can get something going with the passing game now.

Eric Ebron (TE) – Ebron has a severely bruised knee that will keep him out a few weeks. If Brandon Pettigrew can go, he will likely start. If not we should see a ton of snaps for Tim Wright.

Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington (WRs) – Both guys are ruled out for Sunday already. Shorts with a shoulder injury and Washington with hamstring. Rookie Keith Mumphrey will likely get the start with another rookie in Jalean Strong likely handling WR3 duties. Both are cheap, interesting options here.

Victor Cruz (WR) – Everyone was excited to hear Cruz may be back last week, but now the reports are saying he is week’s away from returning. Randle and Beckham will continue to see the bulk of the targets.

Who is just hurt? Names to keep an Eye on

Andre Ellington (RB) – After reports of him practicing and being ready to go last week, Ellington did not play. He was limited again in practice on Wednesday, but reports say he should be ready to go this weekend.

Tevin Coleman (RB) – Coleman returned to practice in limited fashion yesterday with a rib injury. He looks likely to play this weekend, but reports are he will be a back up as Devonta Freeman has earned the right to stay in the starting Lineup with his recent good play.

Jacob Tamme (TE) – He suffered a concussion and was a limited participant in practice. Word is that he is on track to play Sunday.

Lorenzo Taliaferro (RB) – He sat out practice with the same foot injury he has struggled with all season. His status is up in the air. He should know more before Sunday, so be sure to check back Saturday when we update the injury report.

Crockett Gillmore (TE) – Gillmore has a calf issue that held him out last week. He sat Wednesday’s practice out as well and is danger of missing a second game. Rookie Maxx Williams took his place last week and would start again here if Gillmore can not go.

Lesean McCoy (RB) – His hamstring is still bothering him as he sat out Wednesday’s practice. If he can not go, we should see Karlos Williams and Boobie Dixon get the rock.

Karlos Williams (RB) – Williams is in the league’s concussion protocol. Unless he is cleared, he too may sit out Sunday’s game leaving Dixon as the main RB in that offense.

Sammy Watkins (WR) – Calf injury kept him out again from practice. Watkins is listed as questionable to doubtful for Sunday. Robert Wood got the snaps last week when he missed, so that will likely be the case if he can’t go here as well.

Alshon Jefferey (WR)Alshon JeffereyAlshon was limited again on Wednesday with the same hamstring problem he has been battling all season. It does look likely he will play this weekend, but we heard that last week as well. Check back Saturday to see if he was able to do more at practice, which should be a sign that he will or will not play.

Brian Hartline (WR) – Hartline sat out practice Wednesday and is in danger of missing Sunday with a rib injury. While he is not a huge piece of the offensive puzzle for the Browns, he has seen a few targets and catches each game. If he is out, we could see guys like Travis Benjamin and Gary Barnidge get a few more looks.

Demaryius Thomas (WR) – Thomas had a neck injury that kept him out of practice, but he is in no danger of missing the game. While it  is a concern, all reports say he will be in uniform for Sunday.

Brandon Pettigrew (TE) – He was limited agan in practice after missing the last few games. The Lions are hopeful he returns this weekend, but there is no news one way or the other yet.

Joique Bell (RB) – Bell was out again Wednesday with his ankle injury and is doubtful for Sunday. If he can not go, we should see Ameer Abdullah get some more run in this one.

DeVante Adams (WR) – Adams again was out for the Wednesday practice with his ankle injury. He is looking like he will not be ready to go which would mean more Ty Montgomery snaps and more work likely going towards starting wide outs Randall Cobb and James Jones.

Vontae Davis (CB) – We do not usually talk much about defensive players here unless they will have a big impact on the opposing offense. Vontae Davis was in a walking boot at practice Wednesday and the Colts play Thursday vs. the Texans. Vontae is a top CB in this league and would be the man responsible for slowing down DeAndre Hopkins who has been a monster so far this year. If Vontae is out, the Colts would be down to their fifth and sixth CB on the depth chart, so Hopkins could continue to be a highly targeted stud performer.

Andrew Luck (QB)USATSI_8829223_168381090_lowresThere is no definite word yet, but it looks likely from coach and player comments that Luck is not 100% and may sit this one out. If so, we will see Hasselbeck get another turn to start. Remember they play Thursday night, so it’s a short week.

Latavius Murray (RB) – The Raiders RB has a bad shoulder injury that was a reason he sat parts of the fourth quarter last week. He missed practice Wednesday, but is on track to play Sunday. Keep an eye on this one. He has a tough match up anyway against the Broncos, so be careful using him based off the two negatives we just discussed.

Michael Crabtree (WR) – His ankle has been bothering him for weeks and he has played through it. He did sit Wednesday out, but it looks precautionary at best. He should practice Thursday and Friday and be good for Sunday.

DeMarco Murray (RB) – Murray was active in week 4 although limited as was announced. He also has not been effective this year, so while he is likely to play, his workload may not increase.

Chargers Offensive line – They have a lot of injuries to deal with. Troutman is out, Franklin and Fluker are doubtful, and Dunlap is coming off a concussion. That’s two guards and two tackles who may not play. It is a definite concern for Rivers safety and any chance at getting a running game going.

Stevie Johnson (WR) – A hamstring injury is a problem for Stevie as he left the game late in the second half last week. His status is still uncertain as of now.

Malcolm Floyd (WR) – The Stevie injury hurts even more after Floyd left early on Sunday with a concussion. His status is up in the air as well and could mean the Chargers are down two WR options.

Marshan Lynch (RB)marshawn Lynch Marshawn sat out the last game and practice on Wednesday with a hamstring/calf injury. Early reports have him as being limited all week and coming down to a game time decision again. Thomas Rawls would be the guy to look for if he is out.

Fred Jackson (RB) – Jackson has a high ankle sprain which will sideline him for at least a couple weeks. That means if Marshawn is out, we should see an increase in snaps, carries, and catches for Thomas Rawls, especially if Marshawn is out too.

Vernon Davis (TE) – The knee injury on Davis is a big issue for him. He will likely be ut again in week 5 as he sat out practice Wednesday and look is already being talked about as a guy who will be limited at best all week.

DeSean Jackson (WR) – He practiced in limited fashion on Wednesday and says he is hopeful he plays this week. Reports from beat writers say next week is more likely for his return, so definitely monitor this situation for any more news later on in the week.

Jordan Reed (TE) – Reed had a tough weekend. He hurt his ankle and knee on top of a concussion. He sat out practice and is likely to miss the next game. If he does, Derek Carrier is likely to be the TE.