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?

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.

UPDATE: No need to worry about a game time decision here. Thomas Rawls is starting, Marshaw is 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.

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. (SEE BELOW)

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.

UPDATE: Neither Williams nor McCoy are going to play and the initial thought was Boobie Dixon as the guy who was to get the start. Apparently he is banged up, so Cierre Wood and The Newly signed Boom Herron will all be in the mix.

Vernon Davis (TE) – The knee injury on Davis is a big issue for him. He will likely be out 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.

UPDATE: Davis is out. The targets should go towards the WRs in this one, but I would not expect this struggling offense to do much of anything here.

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.

UPDATE: That’s a lot of targets missing now that both Reed and D-Jax are confirmed out. They could be trailing and needing to throw here, which would put Crowder and Garcon in play as the likeliest two that will see 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.

UPDATE: Ellington is going to play, which leaves a crowded backfield in Arizona with him, and the two Johnson’s, David and Chris.

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.

UPDATE: Coleman will play, but is relegated to a back up role as expected. He may see a few carries, but they will be breaking him in slow. He should not have a big impact on Freeman’s workload.

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

UPDATE: He passed through the concussion protocol and is in line to start as expected.

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.

UPDATE: Taliaferro is now upgraded to probable and looks ready to go after a few practices this week. He will take a few carries from Forsett and especially some in the red zone, which is a problem for Forsett owners.

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.

UPDATE: Rookie Maxx Williams will get the start again with Gillmore being ruled out. There is not a ton of upside, but he is a cheap option if you need one.

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.

UPDATE: He is not officially ruled out yet, but it is very unlikely he plays. The direct snap beneficiary is Robert Wood, but the increased targets have gone to Charles Clay.

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.

UPDATE: Another guy who is not definite yet, but is looking very likely to miss this game. This could be a major problem. (See Below)

UPDATE: Eddie Royal sat out all week with a bad ankle injury as well, so the Bears are very thin at WR. Marquise Wilson and Josh Bellamy will get the increased snaps, but it’s tough to think the targets won’t go to Forte and Bennett.

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.

UPDATE: He has not practiced, so it is very unlikely he plays. Travis Benjamin may see a few more underneath routes in short yardage passing situations, so him or Barnidge will pick up the slack there.

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.

UPDATE: Thomas is good to go and has a really nice match up here. With the run game struggling, I would not be shocked to see him put up close to 10 catches.

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.

UPDATE: Pettigrew is likely to play. with Ebron out, he and Tim Wright will see a lot of work at the TE spot. Neither guy is exciting, especially if they eat into each other’s snaps.

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.

UPDATE: Joique is out, which means we get to see Ameer Abdullah with 15 or so touches against a much weaker D than last week.

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.

UPDATE: Adams has been downgraded to doubtful for Sunday. Ty Montgomery should take his place and see a few more snaps.

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.

%{color:#ff6C00}*UPDATE:*%  Both Murray and teammate Michael Crabtree below are slated to play Sunday. Murray had the more serious of the two injuries with his shoulder, so he is the one I would be more concerned with. Both guys should be in though.

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.

UPDATE: Murray looks good to go, but is he really healthy. He has not performed well all year, which leads me to believe something is still bothering him. He is slated to see the lion’s share of the work, but Sproles and Matthews should see some as well as both have been more effective.

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.

UPDATE: It looks like they will be missing at least two or three of their starting lineman for this one. It’s going to affect the run and passing games, so just keep that in mind.

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.

UPDATE: Stevie Johnson is looking like he will be ut, but Malcolm floyd should be in. H could see a few more targets if he soaks up most of the snaps left open by Stevie as expected.

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.

UPDATE: Thomas Rawls was an exciting option for a moment when Marshawn was ruled out, but the news that Jackson will play has tempered that. He should see third down work only as he is still hobbled. He will see the field though as the Seahawks do not trust Rawls in pass protection and that offensive line is suspect at best.