Week 8: 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 (Houston, Baltimore, Buffalo and Cincinnati will be resting in week 7), depth on fantasy rosters will be further tested.
Week 7 saw another backfield casualty as MJD suffered a foot injury that will open the door for dual threat Rashad Jennings to get the start for the next few weeks. The Cowboys' Demarco Murray is likely to miss his 2nd straight game with a foot injury, which should keep Felix Jones fantasy relevant for the week 8 matchup with the Giants (keep an eye on Phil Tanner to a lesser extent). Fragile Felix is also battling minor injuries, but is expected to get the week 8 start. Rookie phenom Trent Richardson's rib injury continues to hinder him, leaving his week 8 status in jeopardy (Montario Hardesty is a must own handcuff especially considering the potential start against a floundering Titan defense).
At the WR position, multiple big names remained in street clothes during week 7 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, but Leonard Hankerson and Santana Moss are worth considering if you need to add WR depth.
The depth at the TE position will be tested this week as Fred Davis is out for the season, Owen Daniels is resting and Jimmy Graham is listed as questionable as he continues to battle an ankle injury.
The ongoing foot issues are cause for concern for fantasy owners, but Bradshaw is expected to start despite missing Wednesday's practice. He's averaging an impressive 82 YPG with four TDs. Dallas' run defense is ranked 15th (105 YPG), but could see a drop off after the season ending injury to LB Sean Lee. If Bradshaw were to suffer a setback, Andre Brown would get the start with rookie David Wilson also factoring into the mix.
The oft-injured Uconn alum was a non-factor in week 9 after re-injuring his troublesome knee which has left him listed as questionable for the Thursday night game against Jacksonville. Brown missed weeks 6/7 after having his knee scoped, but returned to the lineup in week 8 and had a productive game against the weak Titan defense (14 carries for 80 yards). Signs point to Vick Ballard getting the week 10 start against a struggling Jags run defense. Jacksonville is allowing the 4th most fantasy PPG to opposing RBs. If Brown is unable to suit up, Ballard will be a lower end RB2 and solid bye week filler if he's sitting on your waiver wire.
Mendenhall missed the week 7 game against the Bengals, which opened the door for John Dwyer to produce a solid stat line as he finished with 17 carries for 122 yards. Mike Tomlin has yet to rule out Mendenhall or Isaac Redman for the week 8 meeting with Washington, further clouding the Steeler backfield for fantasy owners. Mendy 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 that was deemed unrelated to his offseason ACL surgery. Mendenhall is just 25 years old and has amassed 30 TDs over the past three seasons but all signs point to him having a scaled back workload for the foreseeable future after Dwyer impressed in week 7.
The 2nd year RB injured his foot in week 6 and was forced to miss the week 7 win over Carolina. Murray's MRI revealed ligament damage in his sprained foot, but no broken bones or Lisfranc fracture, so he should be back in the next few weeks. Felix Jones got the week 7 start (finished with 77 total yards), but fragile Felix missed the final two offensive series and appears likely to share time with Phillip Tanner in week 8 against the NY Giants. Jones missed the Wednesday practice, but is expected to start against the G-men. Murray has yet to be ruled out, but is listed as doubtful for week 8. The Giants run defense ranks 23rd against the run (126 YPG), but the potential timeshare between Jones and Tanner limits them both to flex plays.
The rookie of the year candidate was one of the busts of week 7 as he finished with just 8 carries for 8 yards against the porous Colts defense and was forced to leave the game after his rib injury proved to be too painful. Reports have surfaced that the Browns may elect to protect their prized rookie by holding him until week 11 (after the week 10 bye). Montario Hardesty could be in line for a start in week 8 against San Diego's #1 ranked run defense, allowing just 71 YPG. Richardson scored five touchdowns over his first six NFL games, but he might not be helping fantasy teams for the next few weeks as the Browns look to protect their investment in yet another lost season. He did participate in the team's Wednesday walk through, but seems like 50/50 at best to suit up this week.