DeMarco Murray, Jimmy Graham, Greg Jennings and Rashard Mendenhall have already been ruled out. I also expect Pierre Garcon to be inactive. I’ll have more on their prospects for Week 8 (all are still questionable at best) and beyond in tomorrow’s debriefing column. There are still a handful of key game-time decisions and high upside fantasy plays with concerning injuries to consider.
Trent Richardson says his rib cartilage injury isn’t causing any pain and he’s expected to play today after a full week of limited practice. He’ll be wearing protective armor and likely take a painkilling injection, but that’s not a guarantee that he’ll make it through the game without a setback. Expect the Browns to try to get Richardson 20+ touches today, but it won’t be surprising if he rotates heavily with Montario Hardesty. That decision may not be made until the team sees how effective Hardesty looks in an early series. Fantasy recommendation: The Indianapolis matchup is too good not to have Richardson in fantasy lineups. Temper any expectations for an elite fantasy day, but consider him a RB2 with upside.
Dez Bryant has reportedly been dealing with groin soreness for some time, though it’s not been severe enough to cause him to miss practice or be listed on the injury report until this week. It’s always a concern when a player is added to the injury report after not practicing on Friday, but multiple sources are reporting that Bryant will play today. Fantasy recommendation: The groin injury is a concern, but the matchup is strong. Bryant is safe to start as a WR3 unless there are concerns reported during pregame warmups.
There are reports this morning that Ahmad Bradshaw will play, but I still think he’s closer to a game-time decision. Bradshaw denies that the foot soreness he’s had this week is related to his recurrent stress fracture issues or near the surgical screw that limited him for much of last season. He says he was stepped on last week. But it’s hard to buy that explanation after Bradshaw missed practice on Friday. The Giants have been successful with Andre Brown as their primary back and David Wilson has begun showing signs of his expected explosiveness. Even if Bradshaw plays, expect his workload to be cut back significantly from what it had been in the previous two weeks. Fantasy recommendation: Trust Bradshaw as a flex play only. Consider him as a RB2 if pregame reports are reassuring and you have no other top 25 options during this heavy bye week.
Hakeem Nicks did not look comfortable running routes at all last week, but he played 80% of the Giants’ offensive snaps and then strung together three limited practices without a setback this week. That’s a strong suggestion that the knee swelling has settled and that the foot soreness is less of a concern than it’s been. I’d still like to see Nicks return to his full level of explosiveness and there’s always a risk that either nagging injury is aggravated today, but I’m much more optimistic on him than I was last week. Fantasy recommendation: Nicks is comfortably in the WR2 tier today. Start him unless you have multiple other strong options.
Though added to the injury report midweek, Vincent Jackson is probable to play with a calf injury. But there’s some risk here. Calf injuries usually limit explosiveness in short areas and could hinder Jackson’s ability to get off the line and out of his breaks. There’s also a risk of aggravation, since we’re just outside 72 hours since the injury. Fantasy recommendation: The injury seems minor and Jackson’s matchup is very favorable. Consider him a risk-reward WR2/WR3 with WR1 upside today.
Terrell Suggs has been activated off the PUP list. Though it’s still uncertain whether he’ll play today, I think it’s more likely that he’s active than not. Not yet six months removed from surgery to repair what was termed a partial tear in his Achilles tendon, don’t expect to see Suggs as more than a situational pass rusher today. Fantasy recommendation: Suggs shouldn’t be in fantasy lineups until he proves he’s in form and able to take a majority of his team’s defensive snaps.
Colin McCarthy hasn’t been ruled out officially, but he’s been back in a walking boot for over a week. It’s not clear whether there was a significant tweak of his high ankle sprain two Thursday’s ago or whether the injury continues to limit his effectiveness too much to play. I expect he’ll be inactive today and would consider him questionable for Week 8. Fantasy recommendation: Consider McCarthy as a LB3 only if the pregame reports are surprisingly positive.
Categories: Sunday Expectations