Week 17: 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).
As we enter the final week of the regular season, those that have fantasy seasons running through week 17 will have to consider injuries as well as motivation as many teams could be packing it in for the winter or resting starters for playoff push. Atlanta, Indianapolis and Cincinnati have their playoff position locked in, so they might have their starting units on the sidelines for some of this week's action. Baltimore also doesn't have much to play for as they will have either the 3rd or 4th seed and must play in round 1 of the playoffs, so expect them to tread with caution this week (Anquan Boldin owners beware).
There are a multitude of injuries at the WR position, so fantasy owners would be wise to check the inactive lists that are released an hour or so before kickoff. The Packers are fighting for a bye in round 1, but will have an injury riddled WR corps as they enter the Metrodome. Jordy Nelson (hamstring) has returned to practice, but Randall Cobb's ankle injury kept him sidelined during Thursday's practice session and he's shaping up as a game time decision. With the Giants' playoff hopes on life support, Hakeem Nicks appears inclined to shut it down as he's been hobbled for most of the season with knee/foot issues.
At running back, many big names are hobbled and might be missing in action for week 17. Ahmad Bradshaw battled foot/knee issues in week 16 and might not be able to go this week, opening the door for rookie David Wilson against a floundering Eagle defense. Trent Richardson has hit the rookie wall and foot /ankle injuries could keep him in street clothes in Pittsburgh (best case he'll likely split carries). Matt Forte might have suffered a high ankle sprain, leaving his status in jeopardy for the Bears' must win game against Detroit.
The TE position is a walking wounded as Heath Miller and Scott Chandler suffered season ending injuries in week 16. Rob Gronkowski is a major question mark and the 49ers' Vernon Davis is dealing with a concussion, which could open the door for Delanie Walker to gain some fantasy relevance as San Fran looks to clinch the NFC West with a win against a beleaguered Arizona Cardinal team.
The 32 year old former Dog fighting promoter has not played a full 16 games since 2006 and this season won't be any different after Vick was knocked from the week 10 loss to Dallas with a concussion. Andy Reid noted that it was a significant injury and many speculated that Vick played his final snap for the Eagles. Rookie 3rd round pick Nick Foles has started the past seven games, but suffered a broken hand during the week 16 loss to Washington and was placed on injured reserve. Through nine games, Vick averaged 241 YPG through the air and added 34 YPG on the ground. His 11:9 TD:INT leaves a lot to be desired, but the matchup with the Giants' 28th ranked pass defense should allow the dual threat QB to showcase his talents for future employers as most expect he'll be released this offseason as the Eagles enter rebuilding mode. In the week 4 win over the G-men, Vick completed 19 of 30 passes for 241 yards, one TD and added 6 carries for 49 yards.
With the G-men's playoff hopes on life support following a 34-0 drubbing in Atlanta, Bradshaw (knee sprain) returned to the lineup against Baltimore but finished with just 9 carries for 39 yards. After missing Wednesday's practice, Bradshaw was able to get through the Thursday session without any setbacks and appears likely to start the season finale against Philadelphia. On the season, Bradshaw is averaging 86 total YPG with five touchdowns. The Eagles' injury riddled defense is ranked 20th against the run (122 YPG). In the week 4 loss to Philly, Bradshaw rushed just 13 times for 39 yards, but added 3 catches for 38 yards. He remains just a RB2 at best as the G-men figure to keep rookie David Wilson involved and the Philadelphia defense has improved over the past 5 weeks as they are yielding the 6th fewest fantasy PPG to opposing RBs.Injury Status: Out - Foot
Forte was knocked out of the week 16 win over Arizona after aggravating his ankle injury (same foot that he injured earlier this season that forced him to miss the week 3 matchup in St Louis). The Bears placed Michael Bush on injured reserve last week, so Armando Allen and Kahlil Bell would likely share the workload in a must win game against Detroit if Forte can't suit up. Forte was in a walking boot after the week 16 win and missed Wednesday's practice, so he could be a dreaded game time decision. The 26 year old RB from Tulane signed a 4 year $30 million contract extension before this season and is averaging 94 total YPG, but has just 5 touchdowns on the season. In the week 7 matchup against the Lions, Forte finished with 22 carries for 96 yards. Detroit's defense ranks 18th against the run (119 YPG), but Khalil Bell would be a flex play at best if Forte is unable to play.
The 2nd year RB from Hawaii missed the week 16 win over the Titans with a concussion, which opened the door for veteran Ryan Grant to produce solid fantasy stat line (80 yards and two touchdowns). Green has returned to full practice, but will likely be splitting carries with Grant and Dujuan Harris as the Pack employ a committee approach against Minnesota. In the week 13 win over the Vikings, Green had 12 carries for 58 yards. He remains a lower end flex at best as Green has failed to reach the end zone this season and will be hard pressed to 15 touches in a crowded backfield.
The 2nd year WR from Kentucky was forced from the Packers' week 16 blowout win over the Titans after sustaining an ankle injury during a 3rd quarter punt return. Green Bay will be looking to secure a first round bye with a win over Minnesota, but have to do it without their leading WR as Cobb missed Thursday's practice and leaving his week 17 status in major doubt. Greg Jennings and James Jones figure to benefit from additional snaps, with Jordy Nelson also expected to return to the lineup after missing the past three games with a hamstring injury. In the week 13 win over the Vikings in Lambeau, Cobb posted 6 catches for 62 yards. On the season he has amassed 80 catches for 954 yards with 8 TDs. Minnesota's pass defense is ranked 23rd (244 YPG).