Week 14: Game Time Decisions - Injury Updates
In this article we profile players that are battling injuries, leaving their playing status in jeopardy for the upcoming week. Most leagues are entering week one of the playoffs, so owners will need to stay on top of practice reports and inactive lists that are released any hour before kickoff to ensure that you don't have a dreaded goose egg in your starting lineup.
The free agent to be suffered a high ankle sprain in week 10 and his absence has opened the door for Josh McCown to emerge as a waiver wire darling. Head coach Marc Trestman's pass happy offense has allowed McCown to remain on the QB1 radar and that should continue this week if he gets his 4th straight start as the Bears host a Cowboys defense allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing signal callers. Dallas is yielding 26 fantasy PPG and an average of 311 passing yards per contest. Through six games, McCown is averaging 244 yards while tossing nine touchdowns and just one interception. Cutler has yet to be cleared, but will have an extra day with the Bears playing on Monday night. Whichever player ends up under center should produce top 10 quarterback numbers against a weak Dallas pass defense.
The king of the discount double check suffered a broken collarbone in the week 9 loss to Chicago and has missed the past four games. He participated in individual drills on Wednesday, but appears likely to sit out another week unless there is major improvement before Saturday. The Packers' offense has tanked with Rodgers in street clothes as Matt Flynn emerged from the Thanksgiving blowout loss in Detroit as one of the bigger fantasy turkeys of week 13. Flynn totaled just 139 yards passing against a weak Lion pass defense, but he took first team reps on Wednesday and should start if Rodgers is kept out of action this week when the Packers host a very generous Atlanta pass defense. Through eight games, Rodgers was averaging 277 yards passing with 15 touchdowns and just three interceptions. His absence has been a major downgrade for all three WRs (Jordy Nelson, James Jones, and Jarrett Boykin). Nelson has been held without a touchdown since Rodgers left the lineup. Atlanta's defense is allowing the 15th most fantasy PPGs to opposing wide receivers, so Nelson and James Jones could surprise despite Flynn's less than impressive skill set.
The rookie from Michigan State suffered concussion like symptoms during the Thanksgiving night loss to Baltimore, but he was a full participant in Wednesday's practice and appears likely to get the week 14 start against Miami barring any setbacks. On the season, Bell is averaging 94 total yards per game with five touchdowns and has elevated value in PPR leagues based on his 33 catches for 319 yards. In week 14, the Steelers host a Miami defense that has struggled to stop the run as they are allowing the eighth most fantasy PPG to the running back position, including an average of 106 rushing yards per contest. Jonathan Dwyer would likely start if Bell were to regress, but he's failed to impress in the past and would just be a desperation flex play at best despite the favorable matchup.
The rookie from Clemson suffered a knee injury in practice last week that kept him out of the week 13 loss in Philadelphia. Rashard Mendenhall rushed 18 times for 76 yards in Sunday's loss and was stuffed at the goal line. Mendy is averaging just 42 yards per game with five touchdowns on the season. Ellington was unable to practice Wednesday and his absence would make Mendenhall worth flex consideration against a St Louis defense allowing the 4th most fantasy PPG to opposing rushers. If Ellington can return this week, he is the much better fantasy option in the Cardinal backfield based on superior explosion (averaging six yards per carry) and receiving ability (28 catches on the season).
Harvin suffered a setback following offseason hip surgery and needed an injection last week, leaving his status for the 4pm kickoff against the 49ers in major jeopardy. Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin will likely get the start in week 14 in a difficult matchup against a San Francisco defense allowing the eighth lowest fantasy PPG to wide receivers, including just six touchdowns to the position all season. The former Viking signed a six year $67 million contract this offseason, but has yet to justify the big payday (just one catch for 17 yards this season). In four seasons in Minnesota, Harvin missed 10 games but was a dynamic option when in uniform. In 2011, Harvin played a full 16 games (only time in his career) and hauled in 87 passes for 967 yards and six touchdowns. He also added 51 carries for 342 yards. He should provide solid borderline WR2 numbers (especially in PPR leagues), but the injury risk and fact that Seattle is one of the more run focused offenses in the league will limit Harvin's fantasy upside for the remainder of the season. With Seattle likely to clinch home field in the next two weeks, there is a very real chance that Harvin is held out until the playoffs. Those in re-draft leagues that need a roster spot can send Harvin to the waiver wire.