Week 16: 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. 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.
A few players have already been ruled out for fantasy Super Bowl week including RBs Ben Tate, Jonathan Stewart and WR Cecil Shorts. Houston's Dennis Johnson will get the start against Denver, while Deangelo Williams could be worthy of flex consideration against the Saints. The Jags' Ace Sanders is worth considering in deeper leagues, but he has just one touchdown all season (more of a PPR league option as he hauled in 20 catches from weeks 11 through 13). Buffalo WR Stevie Johnson is expected to miss the week 16 game following the death of his mother. Rookie Robert Woods will see an uptick in targets, but has a difficult matchup against CB Brent Grimes and a Miami Dolphins defense allowing the seventh fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers.
The king of the discount double check suffered a broken collarbone in the week 9 loss to Chicago and has missed the past six games. Matt Flynn kept the Packers' playoff hopes alive with a stunning second half comeback win over Dallas in week 15. He completed 26-of-39 passes for 299 yards, four touchdowns and an interception during Green Bay's 37-36 week 15 victory. Flynn took first team reps on Thursday and appears likely to get another start when the Packers host the Steelers in week 16. 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). Flynn remains nothing more than a game manager, despite his impressive week 15 performance as he benefitted from a very favorable matchup with a Dallas defense allowing the most fantasy PPG to opposing quarterbacks. In week 16, the Packers face a Steelers defense allowing the ninth fewest fantasy PPG to opposing signal callers on the season. It is worth noting that the Steelers have struggled in recent weeks as they've yielded nine touchdowns with just three interceptions over the past five games, while allowing an average of 275 yards per game through the air.
Adrian Peterson escaped a major injury during the week 14 loss to Baltimore as he was diagnosed with a foot sprain. AP and free agent to be Toby Gerhart remained in street clothes for the Vikings' impressive 48-30 victory over Philadelphia in week 15. Third stringer Matt Asiata got the start and carried the ball 30 times for just 50 yards, but did score three short yardage touchdowns. Peterson practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday and barring any setbacks he is expected to return to the lineup for the week 16 matchup with the Bengals. In 2013, AP has failed to match his 2012 season for the ages as he's averaging 93 rushing yards per game (averaged 131 YPG last year). Purple Jesus remains a must start despite a difficult matchup. The Cincinnati run defense has been solid this season as they are allowing the sixth fewest fantasy PPG to the running back position (just three touchdowns allowed to RBs this season).
Maurice Jones-Drew suffered a hamstring injury during the week 14 win over Houston and was sidelined for the week 15 contest against Buffalo. Jordan Todman rushed for 109 yards on 25 carries and added four catches for 44 yards on a team high eight targets. He should remain the workhorse again this week in a favorable matchup against a struggling Titan run defense that is allowing the second most fantasy PPG to opposing running backs over the past five weeks. Denard Robinson had just two carries in week 15 and will likely be the number two RB with MJD's status in major doubt. Jones-Drew won't try to practice until Friday and will be a major risk even if he's able to play (missed 10 games last season due to injury). Todman is in his second NFL season out of UConn and the smallish back (just 5'9, 195 pounds) should finish with solid RB2 numbers, especially in a PPR league. He impressed in the preseason, totaling 29 carries for 223 yards (7.68 YPC) with two touchdowns.
Victor Cruz suffered a concussion and knee sprain during the week 15 shutout loss to Seattle and the remainder of his season is in major doubt in a lost season for the G-men. Cruz is averaging 71 yards per game, but has just four touchdowns after totaling 19 touchdowns during his first two NFL seasons. He missed Thursday's practice and Reuben Randle is expected to start opposite Hakeem Nicks when the Giants travel to Detroit. The second year WR from LSU is averaging an impressive 15.4 yards per catch with six touchdowns. Randle is worth considering as a WR3 against an injury riddled Lions secondary that is allowing the fourth most fantasy PPG to opposing wide receivers.
The 30-year-old pass catcher suffered a concussion during the week 15 win victory in Tennessee, but returned to practice on Thursday after passing concussion tests and appears likely to suit up for a difficult matchup with Richard Sherman and the Seahawks in Seattle. In his 10th NFL season, Fitzgerald is averaging 59 yards per game and has hauled in 10 touchdowns (fifth time in his career that he topped 10 scores in a season). Fitz was held to just two catches for 17 yards in the week 7 meeting with Seattle. His fantasy owners should consider their alternatives for week 16 as Fitzgerald has failed to top 20 yards the past three times he's faced the Seahawks. http://www.fftoolbox.com/football/head-to-head-stats.cfm?player_id=7393&opponent=SEA. The Seattle defense is allowing the third fewest fantasy PPG to opposing wide receivers and have allowed just four touchdowns to the position.