Week 7: 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). With the BYE weeks in full swing (Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego will be resting in week 7), depth on fantasy rosters will be further tested.
A few lower tier QBs found their way to the trainer's table as Kevin Kolb suffered a rib injury that will keep him out multiple weeks, opening the door for John Skelton's return under center (likely good news for Larry Fitzgerald owners). KC's whipping boy Matt Cassel sat out the week 6 blowout loss to Tampa with a concussion and I'm sure any Chiefs fans that were in attendance let Brady Quinn hear the boos loud and clear.
Week 6 saw another backfield casualty as the Cowboys Demarco Murray suffered a foot injury that has him already ruled out for week 7. Felix Jones will be a hot waiver wire commodity, but Phillip Tanner could also work his way into the mix (especially in the red zone).
At the WR position, multiple big names remained in street clothes during week 6 as Greg Jennings and Pierre Garcon were reduced to cheerleaders. Jennings' absence has opened the door for James Jones to enjoy a breakout season. In Washington, the loss of Garcon has forced RG3 to rely more on his rushing ability, which was on full display during his monster week 6 performance against Minnesota that included a game clinching 76-yard TD run in the 4th quarter.
Mendenhall missed the first three games of this season after suffering a late season ACL injury that kept him sidelined for the Steelers' playoff loss in Denver. He had a productive debut against Philadelphia (81 yards and a TD) in week 5, but followed that up with a dud performance against Tennessee on Thursday night football (6 carries for 6 yards). He left the game with an Achilles issue, which has since been labeled as minor giving Mendy a chance to suit up for the week 7 matchup on Sunday night against the Bengals. Mendenhall is just 25 years old and has amassed 30 TDs over the past three seasons. His YPC has remained somewhat pedestrian, but Mendy could be worth a roll of the dice if he is active as the Bengals rank 21st against the run (117 YPG) and have allowed 8 rushing TDs.
Peterson played through his sore left ankle in the week 6 loss to Washington and finished with 129 yards. He sat out Wednesday's practice, but is fully expected to get the start against Arizona's 19th ranked run defense (113 YPG). AP is averaging 83 YPG on the ground, but has not reached the end zone since week 1 (when he scored 2 TDs against Jacksonville). Toby Gerhart remains one of the stronger handcuffs to own considering Purple Jesus is less than a year removed from ACL/MCL surgery.
Richardson suffered a rib cartilage injury that forced him from the week 6 win over the Bengals. He returned to practice on Wednesday and appears likely to start in a dream matchup against a Colts defense that was just carved up by Shonn Green and the Jets. The Colts 29th ranked run defense is allowing 159 YPG and have yield 8 rushing TDs (tied for 2nd most in the NFL). The rookie from Alabama is averaging an impressive 87 YPG and has scored five touchdowns over his first six NFL games. Securing Montario Hardesty (had 56 yards and TD in relief during week 6) is advisable insurance in case Richardson suffers a setback later in the week.
Frenchy has been a non-factor since his week one 4 catch 109 yard performance. He continues to battle a foot injury that rendered him inactive for the week 6 win over Minnesota (missed 3 games so far this season). Monday's MRI revealed an inflamed capsule underneath the second toe on Garcon's right foot, but the Redskins have ruled out turf toe for now (which would likely sideline the former Colt for multiple weeks). Santana Moss, Josh Morgan, and Leonard Hankerson appear likely to see the most playing time this week as Washington faces a Giant pass defense that has struggled so far this season. The G-men are ranked 21st against the pass (257 YPG).
Jennings missed his 2nd straight game in week 6 against Houston after re-aggravating a groin injury in the week 4 game over New Orleans. He missed Wednesday's practice and has vowed that he won't return to the lineup until he is 100% recovered, leaving his week 7 status in serious doubt. James Jones has filled in admirably (7 touchdowns on the season) and could be in line for another start this week when the Packers travel to St Louis to face a Ram defense yielding the fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs. Randall Cobb could also see an uptick in targets if Jennings sits out and could be a decent BYE week filler despite the very difficult matchup. On the season, the 29 year old Jennings has just 12 catches for 78 yards and one TD (not what he was hoping for in a contract year).