Sunday Injury Notes and Fantasy Recommendations (W16)

This is championship week for many of you. As Roddy White proved last night, it’s not the week to get cute with lineup decisions. Even if your stud fantasy player has an injury concern that drops him a tier or more, the percentages are better to risk the stud than go with a marginal option with a slightly higher floor but less upside.

Robert Griffin III will start today. His three consecutive full practice sessions and the extra week of rehabilitation and healing should give the Washington coaching staff the confidence to put a full game plan in for Griffin. We may see Griffin rusty early and his rushing attempts will likely be down slightly, but consider him an elite quarterback play today. Fantasy recommendation: Start Griffin unless you have another clear top 5 option.

Dez Bryant struggled last week in his first live action with the tape and splinting necessary to protect his injured finger. He became more comfortable as the game progressed, but expect him to continue to catch the ball with his arms and body at times today. And there is again a risk that he’ll re-injure the finger despite wearing a splint today. I think both of those concerns are decreased this week, however, and Bryant’s fantasy matchup is very favorable. He may come off the field in clear running situations, but Romo will target him often. Fantasy recommendation: Start Bryant today.

Ahmad Bradshaw has a chance to play today. He traveled with the team after a limited practice session on Friday. The specifics of Bradshaw’s knee injury are still unknown, but I wouldn’t trust him to get a majority of the Giants’ running back snaps or touches with so little practice time. Fantasy recommendation: Bradshaw is a flex play at best today.

The Patriots listed nearly half of their roster as questionable again this week. That list includes Aaron Hernandez, who should be in all lineups today, and Rob Gronkowski, who’s likely to present those with Week 17 games with a very difficult decision next week. Wes Welker is also on the questionable list and was seen with a walking boot earlier in the week. That makes his status less clear than it has been over the past month and it’s possible he’ll see fewer snaps if the Patriots get ahead of the Jaguars early. Despite those considerations, I think his upside is strong enough to trust him in fantasy lineups. Fantasy recommendation: Welker is a solid WR3 today, with WR2+ upside in PPR leagues.

LeSean McCoy will start today, but Andy Reid says he will not see his pre-concussion workload. That has more to do with the time of year and the emergence of Bryce Brown than concern about another concussion. Despite Reid’s comment, I think it’s possible we may see McCoy get 15+ touches if he’s effective or if Brown struggles with ball security again. Fantasy recommendation: McCoy is a strong flex play and a consideration as a RB2 if you’re in need of a high upside play.

Expect the same Hakeem Nicks we’ve seen over the past two months today. He’s not healthy enough to make big downfield plays but he should see his usual 7-10 targets. That’s enough to consider him a solid WR3 in a championship week. Fantasy recommendation: Use Nicks as you normally would.

Sidney Rice is a game-time decision, so you’ll not know his status with certainty until later this evening. The nagging knee issues and inconsistent targets make Rice a risky WR3 play and the matchup isn’t favorable either. Fantasy recommendation: There’s no obvious hedge on the Seattle or San Francisco roster, so leave Rice on your bench unless you’ve no other viable options.

Torrey Smith has been cleared to return after suffering a concussion last week and should see his usual snap count today. Base your lineup decision on his boom-bust target and production numbers rather than concussion concerns. Fantasy recommendation: Smith remains an extreme boom-bust WR3.

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Categories: Sunday Expectations

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