Week 9: 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 (New England, San Francisco, St Louis, and the NY Jets will be resting in week 9), depth on fantasy rosters will be further tested.
For the first time in awhile, week 8 didn't result in any more significant injuries to the fantasy elite. MJD suffered a week 7 foot injury that opens the door for dual threat Rashad Jennings to get the start for the next few weeks (MJD already ruled out for week 9). Rookie phenom Trent Richardson's rib injury was a non factor as he topped 100 yards and reached the end zone during the week 8 win over San Diego. Dallas' backfield has floundered since Demarco Murray's week 6 injury, but they are holding out hope that their top rusher can return for a crucial Sunday night game against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons.
At the WR position, multiple big names remained in street clothes during week 8 as Greg Jennings and Pierre Garcon have been reduced to cheerleaders for the foreseeable future. Jennings is expected to have surgery this week that will keep him sidelined for the next 3 weeks (not an ideal scenario for an aging WR in a contract year). James Jones and Randall Cobb will remain solid options in the near term. Aaron Rodgers struggled against Jacksonville, but should welcome Jordy Nelson back to the lineup for the week 9 matchup with Arizona in Lambeau.
The rookie from Texas A&M suffered a knee injury during the week 8 blowout win over the Jets and was replaced by Matt Moore (131 yards and a TD after taking over late in the 1st quarter). Monday's MRI revealed a left knee bone bruise and a deep thigh bruise, but no structural damage. Tannehill returned to Wednesday's practice and appears likely to start in week 9 against Indianapolis. The Dolphin QB has not been fantasy relevant through 7 starts, averaging just 210 yards with 4 TDs and 6 INTs. Despite the favorable matchup with a mediocre Colts pass defense, those looking for a bye week filler will need to look elsewhere in week 9.
Dwyer is coming off back-to-back 100 yard games, but suffered a quad injury during the week 8 win over Washington. The 3rd year RB from Georgia Tech downplayed the injury on Monday and expects to suit up for the week 9 matchup against a NY Giants defense that ranks 19th against the run (113 YPG). The Steelers backfield could become more of a committee if Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman are able to return from injury, although most Steelers insiders expect Dwyer to retain the starting job. Dwyer has yet to find the end zone, but his straight ahead power running style has helped the Steelers win back to back games.
LeShoure appeared to have both of his ankles rolled during the week 8 win over Seattle and missed the 4th quarter. Joique Bell filled in and he remains a solid PPR option with Leshoure expected to get the week 9 start. The 2nd year RB from Illinois is averaging 61 YPG, but has just one touchdown through five games (was suspended the first two games of the season). In week 9, Detroit travels to Jacksonville to face a Jaguar defense allowing the 5th most fantasy points to opposing RBs, making Leshoure a solid RB2. Leshoure missed Wednesday's practice, but head coach Jim Schwartz stated it was for personal reasons (not sure we believe that).
The 2nd year RB injured his foot in week 6 and has been sidelined the past two weeks. Murray's MRI revealed ligament damage in his sprained foot, but no broken bones or Lisfranc fracture, so he a chance to return for the week 9 matchup with Atlanta. Felix Jones had just 13 carries for 19 yards in the week 8 loss to the Giants; Murray hasn't practiced since October 12th and averaged 90 total YPG over the first five games of the season. Murray is listed as questionable for the week 9 matchup in Atlanta. The Falcons defense ranks 26th against the run (136 YPG) and have allowed 8 rushing TDs. If Murray is unable to go, Felix Jones will start. Phillip Tanner could steal goal line touches, limiting them both to flex plays at best (despite the favorable matchup).
The Madden curse is in full effect as Megatron has been one of the bigger busts to date this season. The consensus first round pick has just one TD through 8 games. CJ is battling a knee injury, but has yet to miss any action. He has been solid in the yardage department, averaging 91 YPG making him one of the better buy low targets. The TDs are bound to start pouring in (but he won't come close to the 16 TD he posted in 2012). In week 9, Detroit faces the Jags 23rd ranked pass defense allowing 251 YPG.