With Sunday’s Week 14 games just hours away, our fantasy expert James Morris updates you on the latest injury news for players around the league.
Week 14 Fantasy Sunday Injury Update by James Morris
This week most leagues start the first round of their playoffs, so keeping up with the news and information on injuries from around the league is a must if you want a shot at the league title. As always, make sure you check back right before kick-off as I do update in the comment section with any last minute news.
On a side note, I noticed while doing some stats research that NFL.com has Detroit Lions WR Ryan Broyels projected for 10.00 fantasy points this week. Why is that making headlines you ask? Well, Broyels is on the I.R.! The moral of this story is to never filter your FA or start/sit decisions based on your leagues projected stats.
Ben Roethlisberger is finally ready to take the field for the Steelers, which means any offensive player gets a boost in fantasy terms. I still don’t trust him as the Chargers defense is in the middle of the pack (16th) when it comes to fantasy points allowed to QBs (19.7 PPG). At best I think Mike Wallace can be slotted as a WR3 until Big Ben proves he is good to go. Heath Miller on the other hand should be a good check-down option this weekend and I would start him as a low-end TE1 this week.
Jordy Nelson is officially out this week with a hamstring injury, which means Greg Jennings will be back in the starting spot for the Packers. Jennings will see a full workload this week and makes for a fine start with the league’s best QB throwing to him. Randall Cobb isn’t going away, so start him just as you always have to finish the season out.
Hakeem Nicks is still battling knee issues and word has been going around that he will miss this week’s game. The truth is he did get in a light practice on Friday and stayed after for some post-practice work with Eli Manning, which is a good sign for him to play. Giants beat writers expect him to play though, and I trust them more than any of the big-box websites since they are plugged in to the team. Because of the knee problems, I am bumping him down to a WR2 this week, but make sure you check back right before kick-off to see if he is in or out. You could handcuff Nicks with Rueben Randle, but only in deeper leagues where depth is an issue.
Percy Harvin landed on the I.R. this week, yet 88.4 percent of people still own him in NFL.com fantasy leagues. It just goes to show that people stop paying attention when they realize they are officially out of the playoff race. Make sure you cut him loose in your league and grab someone like Chris Givens for some sneaky points.
For anyone wondering, Rob Gronkowski hasn’t even resumed practicing yet for the Patriots, which means he isn’t even close to returning. The problem with the Patriots is that they list everyone on their team as Questionable every single week, and websites trying to push the story of Gronk coming back as early as week 14 were just looking to make headlines. A week 16 return is a best-case scenario with the team looking at the playoffs now, not the regular season.
Michael Turner (elbow) is expected to play for the Falcons today, but I am hearing that the injury could be used as an excuse for the team to reduce his workload even further in favor of Jacquizz Rodgers. Turner has seen more than 15 touches in a game since week 9, and has only topped 20 touches twice this season. He is a sketchy fantasy option this week (at best) and would be best left on the bench if at all possible.
The Jaguars team just got messier as Cecil Shorts (concussion), Rashad Jennings (concussion) and Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) are all out. Special Teams fullback Montell Owens will be the feature back, while undrafted rookie Kevin Elliot will start out wide and Jordan Shipley will man the slot. Did you know 89.9 percent of NFL.com fantasy owners still hold MJD on their rosters? Why? With nothing left to play for, and MJD wanting out of Jacksonville, the chances of us seeing him on the field this season are slim-to-none, with none winning the race. Just cut him loose! I wouldn’t start a single Jaguars player this week as the deck is looking like it is stacked against them this year.
Brandon LaFell is not expected to play for the Panthers, which means David Gettis draws the start opposite Steve Smith. LaFell was as inconsistent as they come for production, and won’t be missed by teams trying to figure out if this week would be the good week or not. Gettis isn’t a good option due to Cam Newton’s 57.5 percent completion mark this season, which currently ranks him 28th in the NFL among all qualified QBs.
Danny Amendola of the Rams is headed for a true game-time decision. But, even if he does suit up his snaps are likely to be limited to the point where his production is anyone’s guess. I personally wouldn’t take the risk in the fantasy playoffs with him, and would play Givens if you are desperate at WR.
Dustin Keller is out this week for the Jets. Given the multitude of problems the Jets have at the QB position, Keller is little more than TE depth these days. The 46.3 percent of people that own him in NFL.com leagues are barking up the wrong tree when looking at fantasy TEs. There are better options on the waiver wire right now.
The Arizona Cardinals are back to playing John Skelton at QB, which doesn’t really change the fantasy value of Larry Fitzgerald to finish the season out. It’s hard to sit Fitzgerald because he has the skills to produce no matter who is under center, but he hasn’t scored in the last 4 games, and only topped 100 yards (114) once this season back in week 3. Against the Seahawks hard-hitting defense, I wouldn’t put a single Cardinals offensive player in my line-up this week.
Mike Thomas draws the start for the Detroit Lions with Titus Young and Broyles on the I.R. If Thomas is a realistic option in your league, you are in one of the deepest leagues I have ever seen and I need to get in on that action next year!
Kansas City Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers is a game-time decision with a hamstring injury. While it doesn’t make the Chiefs defense any sexier of a fantasy option, it is something to keep an eye on if you own Josh Gordon from the Cleveland Browns. If Flowers is out, you will want to put Gordon in your flex spot for some sleeper points.
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