As was the case a few weeks earlier this season, many of the more significant injury concerns have already been ruled out today, including DeMarco Murray, Greg Jennings, Pierre Garcon, Aaron Hernandez and Maurice Jones-Drew. I’ll revisit those situations in tomorrow’s debriefing.
It’s no longer worth perseverating on whether Jimmy Graham has a high ankle sprain or not, though he’s at a higher risk of tweaking the ankle and missing more time if it’s a high ankle injury than not. All reports suggest that he’s closer to playing this week – no surprise there – and is very much a game-time decision. If he’s had no swelling or minor setbacks after his limited practices this week, I expect that he’ll be active tonight. How much he plays, how effective he’ll be and whether he’ll avoid an in-game aggravation are still important unknowns. Best guess is that an active Graham would be used around the red zone and could be healthy enough to see 75% of his usual targets. Fantasy recommendation: Start Graham if he’s active and hope his high leverage targets hit big.
Initial reports are that Jordy Nelson had a hamstring “tighten up” during practice Wednesday. Midweek muscle pulls are always concerning for a wide receiver and Nelson was held out of practice both Thursday and Friday. I think it’s unlikely that Nelson plays today, as it’s doubtful the Packers want to risk a prolonged injury with Greg Jennings already on the shelf for 3-6 weeks. If Nelson is active, the risk that he’s removed early (either with an aggravation or a big Green Bay lead) is high. Fantasy recommendation: Sit Nelson even if he’s active.
Trent Richardson is further along in his recovery this week than last, which shouldn’t be surprising. It’s not yet clear, however, whether he’ll be more willing to initiate contact and run with authority between the tackles. He did neither last week and Pat Shurmur had a fairly quick hook with him. Richardson will be active today and Montario Hardesty isn’t fully healthy, which strongly suggests that Richardson could get a longer rope this week. Fantasy recommendation: A more favorable matchup would be nice, but Richardson is safe to consider a RB2 today.
Calvin Johnson is on the injury report with a knee issue and was limited during Friday’s practice. There’s no concern that he’ll miss today’s game, however, and there was no indication that a leg injury of any kind was the reason for his subpar statistical performance in Week 7. Fantasy recommendation: The matchup is tough, but if you own Johnson he belongs in your lineup.
There’s no clear precedent for Danny Amendola’s sternoclavicular joint injury. And it’s not surprising that Amendola is already pushing to return. Though there were no major associated injuries with the dislocation – no fractures or damage to any of the vital surrounding structures – it’s generally accepted that ligament injuries associated with dislocations take 4-6 weeks to heal. Amendola is just three weeks from his injury. Since there’s no easy way to brace the SC joint and the risk of extreme injury with another dislocation is high, I very much doubt Amendola is cleared for contact and plays today. It’s much more likely that the Rams hold him out through their Week 9 bye and re-evaluate. Fantasy recommendation: Hope that the Rams sit him until at least Week 10.
The practice participation reports aren’t encouraging for Ahmad Bradshaw, but he’s proven that he can be effective on a sore foot in multiple games over multiple seasons. Last week, Bradshaw looked healthy enough and his per-touch numbers were reassuring. He’ll rotate with Andre Brown again today, but is expected to play. Fantasy recommendation: Bradshaw can be trusted as a RB2/flex option. But it’s a late game, so have a hedge in place if you can.
Jay Cutler practiced fully all week and will play today. It’s likely that his throwing motion will be affected and the Bears may keep his deep drops to a minimum to try to limit the number of big hits he could take. There’s always a risk of re-injury or more ineffectiveness than expected with a rib injury, but Cutler’s practice participation is reassuring. Fantasy recommendation: Cutler is a reasonable bye week QB1 in a favorable matchup against Carolina.
Donald Brown fully practiced on Friday and should play. Expect the Colts to ease him back into form in rotation with Vick Ballard. Brown wasn’t doing much with 15-20 touches before his injury and he’s not likely to have an impact today even with the favorable matchup in Tennessee. Fantasy recommendation: Brown is a flex RB play at best today.
Categories: Sunday Expectations