A handful of fantasy-relevant players are on the Patriots' injury report this week. As is customary with the Pats, most of them, including tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski , and running backs Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen , are listed as questionable. Wide receiver Julian Edelman stands apart from the crowd because he has been ruled out for the second consecutive game because of his hand injury.
Let's tackle the simple stuff first. Gronk was labeled as questionable last week with his hip injury, and he still turned in a 16-point fantasy game against the Bills. He's the least of anyone's worries here.
It's nice to hear that Hernandez was able to practice on Thursday and Friday in limited fashion. The "Q" gives you some hope, but he is not expected to go against the Broncos. Given that this is a late-afternoon start, it would be way to risky to put him in your lineup unless you have another late-game option.
Bolden is on the injury report with a knee injury, but there have also been reports that he's not really hurt, just sore after his 16-carry game in Buffalo. I don't think "general soreness" has ever caused any player to miss a meaningful game. Like Gronk, Bolden will play Sunday. Unlike Gronk, we have no idea how much he will play. The Broncos have been pretty firm against the run this year anyway, so I don't think this guessing game is more than a very average flex start. Vereen is a complete afterthought.
The fact that Edelman is out means more time on the field for Wes Welker . He's close to a must-start this week. But since it looks like Hernandez has more than a halfway decent chance of playing next week, I'll say again that you should be looking to trade Welker. Even if Edelman remains sidelined for a large chunk of time, it's not the playing time that concerns me with Welker; it's the targets. Hernandez is going to make a noticeable cut into his recent average upon return.