Week 13: Game Time Decisions - Injury Update
In this article we will profile some of the more fantasy relevant injuries that have cropped up and suggest which players are likely to benefit from increased playing time (some of the replacement players might be sitting on your waiver wire).
The Week 10 injuries to Mike Vick and Big Ben have lingered, resulting in both team's offenses plummeting into the abyss. Vick is unlikely to return anytime soon in a lost Eagles season and Roethlisberger will do everything in his power to suit up for the crucial week 13 contest with Baltimore.
Lesean McCoy's week 11 concussion opened the door for rookie Bryce Brown to produce RB1 numbers against Carolina on Monday night. Brown appears likely to get another start against Dallas in week 13. Veteran Willis McGahee suffered a knee injury in week 11 that will keep him out for the remainder of the season. Knowshon Moreno got the surprise start (not Ronnie Hillman) and will be a hot waiver wire commodity despite a difficult week 13 matchup with Tampa's stout run defense. The Marcel Reece hype train might come to a screeching halt in week 13 with RUN DMC returning to practice. McFadden's long injury history makes him anything but a sure thing for the week 13 matchup with Cleveland. Fantasy owner's might also be able to welcome back RB Demarco Murray (been out since week 6) after he put in a limited practice. Murray would be a solid RB2 option against Philly's floundering defense.
The Packers Greg Jennings is eyeing a week 13 return (not an ideal scenario for an aging WR in a contract year), but the Packers have hardly missed a beat with the emergence of Randall Cobb. Jennings' likely return against Minnesota is bad news for James Jones owners. PPR monster Danny Amendola had just one week 12 catch and has battled multiple injuries (foot / collarbone). He could be on a snap count against the vaunted 49er defense in week 13 (look elsewhere if possible).
With the Steelers' season on the brink, Big Ben returned to a limited Wednesday practice and appears likely to be a game time decision for the 4:25 kickoff with the division leading Ravens. The 30 year old signal caller has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners as he's averaged 266 YPG with 17 TDs and just 4 INTs. In Ben's absence, Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch have struggled mightily the past two weeks, rendering all members of the Steeler passing attack virtually useless. Baltimore's pass defense is allowing the 8th fewest fantasy PPG to opposing quarterbacks (yielded the fewest passing TDs in the league despite losing their top 2 CBs Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith).
Forte was knocked out of the week 12 win over Minnesota in the 3rd quarter with an ankle injury (same foot that he injured earlier this season that forced him to miss the week 3 matchup in St Louis). Michael Bush reached pay dirt twice and would be the starter this week against Seattle if Forte is forced to sit out. Things are looking good for Forte starting week 13 as he practiced Wednesday and appears to have avoided a high ankle sprain. The 26 year old RB from Tulane signed a 4 year $30 million contract extension before this season and is averaging 86 total YPG. Forte has just three TDs on the season (goal line vulture Mike Bush as 5 scores) and will face a Seattle defense that ranks 12th against the run (109 YPG).
Like clockwork, RUN DMC suffered a week 9 high ankle sprain that limited him to just 7 carries for 17 yards. Over his first four seasons, Mcfadden was in street clothes for a whopping 19 games. The 25 year old RB has missed three games, but returned for Wednesday's practice and appears in line to return for the week 13 matchup with Cleveland's 19th ranked run defense. Marcel Reece has dominated the backfield touches in DMC's absence and should remain a solid flex play --especially in PPR leagues as he's amassed 15 catches over the past three weeks in the starting role.
The 2nd year RB injured his foot in week 6 and has been sidelined since. Murray's MRI revealed ligament damage in his sprained foot, but no broken bones or Lisfranc fracture. Murray averaged 90 total YPG over the first five games of the season. On Wednesday he returned to a limited practice (first since October 12th) and is listed as questionable for the Sunday Night matchup with a Philadelphia defense in total disarray. Felix Jones remains a must own, but has only topped 50 yards rushing in one game since Murray went down and has totaled 5 TDs.
Austin suffered a hip injury during the Thanksgiving day loss to Washington and ended the day with zero catches. He's apparently also battling a hamstring injury (sidelined him for 6 games last season) and was only able to put in a limited practice on Wednesday. The Cowboys face a porous Eagle secondary on Sunday night, but Austin owners should consider their alternatives based on the late kickoff and the fact that Austin could be a game time decision. Kevin Ogletree (also battling a concussion) would likely start if Austin sits out, but Ogletree has only had one productive week since his week 1 breakout performance (week 9 against Atlanta had 96 yards and a TD).