NFC North Blog
It's Week 7 -- the halfway point of the fantasy regular season for most leagues. Is your team living up to expectations? Have you been plagued by injuries and underperforming players? Either way, remember that seven weeks still remain until the fantasy playoffs. A lot will change between now and then. Your fate is far from sealed.
As usual, we'll be here all morning long giving you the latest info on the injured stars in today's early games. Names we're watching include Jimmy Graham, Kelvin Benjamin and Jake Locker along with many more. Keep refreshing this post from 11:30 a.m. Eastern until the early kickoffs.
Minnesota running back Jerick McKinnon made the most of his opportunity Sunday. In the Vikings 17-16 loss to Buffalo, McKinnon got the start over RB Matt Asiata and posted his second career 100-plus yard rushing game.
Calvin Johnson has turned in miraculous plays with regularity during his career. Now it will take a miracle for him just to play Sunday. That's exactly what Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said Friday -- it would take a 'miracle' for the dominant wide receiver to be active against New Orleans. Johnson is listed as questionable, but he didn't practice for the second week in a row because of a high ankle sprain.
It's also highly likely that the Lions will be without rookies Eric Ebron and Theo Riddick. Ebron suffered a hamstring injury during the week while Riddick aggravated an existing hamstring injury in Detroit's Week 6 win over the Vikings. Both are officially listed as doubtful.
The good news is that running back Reggie Bush, as he guaranteed, is slated to return this weekend from a sprained ankle. He is listed as probable.
Rookie running back Jerick McKinnon will get his second start for the Minnesota Vikings when they head to Buffalo to take on the Bills in Week 7.
RB Matt Asiata, who took over for Adrian Peterson in Week 2, after the Vikings star landed in legal trouble over alleged child abuse, leads the team with 226 rushing yards on the season. However, McKinnon has run for 206 yards on 23 fewer carries.
Both backs figure to remain involved, but McKinnon figures to continue as the lead back after getting 11 carries to Asiata's two in Week 6. McKinnon ran for 40 yards on those carries while adding 6 catches for 42 yards.
The Vikings are coming off an embarrassing 17-3 loss in which they gained 212 total yards and committed three turnovers. However, rookie Jerick McKinnon doesn't deserve much of the blame; he accounted for 38.6 percent of the offense with 82 yards on 17 touches. His supposed timeshare mate, Matt Asiata, got the ball only three times, including two carries that resulted in -5 yards.
It was clear who the better running back was. But if head coach Mike Zimmer has it his way, he would prefer there be less of a workload gap between the two players. He said during a conference call with the media Wednesday that he would like give Asiata more touches and give McKinnon fewer touches.
Lions running back Reggie Bush missed Sunday's game against the Vikings due to a sprained ankle. And that's the only game he plans to miss. Bush said after the win that there is a '100 percent' chance he plays in Week 7 versus the Saints.
Jerick McKinnon led the Vikings on Sunday with 11 carries for 40 yards and six catches for 42 yards. McKinnon started at RB over Matt Asiata, who had previously been the Vikings' feature back. McKinnon has now recorded 46 touches in the last three games, for 280 total yards. Asiata recorded just three touches for 13 yards in the game.
When Lions head coach Jim Caldwell was asked Monday if he would consider sidelining star wideout Calvin Johnson until after the team's Week 9 to allow his injured ankle to completely heal, well, he didn't say no.
"The fact of the matter is I leave it up to the doctors," Caldwell said. "Those are the professionals. They know exactly what it takes, what can be done.
"Them, in conjunction with Calvin and how he feels, they treat not only symptoms and the situation but also the patient as well, in terms of what he feels. So they'll let us know what's the best avenue to take."
It should be noted that Caldwell also said Johnson and the team's other's banged-up stars -- Reggie Bush and Theo Riddick -- were "coming along and improving rapidly."
Johnson, who has been dealing with a high ankle sprain since Week 4, didn't play for the first time this season yesterday after aggravating the injury during the previous week's game.
We got a bit of a respite in Week 5, but the injuries returned with a vengeance in Week 6. Reggie Bush, Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Tom Brady, Vincent Jackson, Fred Jackson, Eric Decker -- that's just a sampling of the names we're tracking this morning. That doesn't even include the players who have already been ruled out (more on those guys below). So, this is going to be a pretty long post. Keep refreshing as we bring you the latest on the early games' injured stars once inactives reports are released at about 11:30 a.m. Eastern.