Week 17: Game Time Decisions - Injury Updates
Steve Smith has been diagnosed with a sprained PCL and is highly unlikely to face Atlanta in Week 17. The 34-year-old should be back for the Panthers' first playoff game as he avoided any ligament tears or ACL/MCL damage. Smith had a disappointing regular season, finishing with just 64 catches, 745 yards, four touchdowns and zero 100-yard games. Ted Ginn and Brandon LaFell are expected to start in a very favorable matchup against a Falcons defense allowing the seventh most fantasy PPG to wide receivers. Cam Newton passed for 249 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in the week nine meeting with Atlanta.
The Steelers' playoff hopes are on life support as they will need to defeat Cleveland and then hope for losses from Baltimore, Miami and San Diego. Sanders suffered a knee injury during the week 16 win over Green Bay, but an MRI revealed just a sprained lateral meniscus giving him a shot to play in week 17. He missed Thursday's practice and will likely be listed as a game time decision. Sanders has reached the end zone in four of the past five games (just six total touchdowns this season) and is averaging just 50 yards per game. Rookie Markus Wheaton veteran Jerricho Cotchery would see an uptick in targets if Sanders is unable to suit up for the week 17 contest with Cleveland.
The Lions' playoff hopes went up in smoke with a week 16 home overtime loss to the Giants. Megatron has been battling a knee injury and was limited to passing downs against New York, finishing with a disappointing three catches for 43 yards. The 28-year-old is averaging 107 yards per game with 12 touchdowns (solid rebound season after he posted just five touchdowns last season). Johnson missed Thursday's practice and could very well be held out of action for a meaningless season finale in Minnesota. Nate Burleson and Kris Durham would start and be well worth fantasy consideration against a floundering Minnesota pass defense allowing the second most fantasy PPG to opposing wide receivers. In the week one win over Minnesota, Matt Stafford passed for 357 yards with two touchdowns.