We’re coming down to the last week of the regular season in most leagues and the first week of the playoffs in others. Hopefully you have your playoff spot wrapped up and are planning your path to postseason glory.
But Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) shouldn’t be a part of those plans. He practiced yesterday for the first time in the month since he suffered his collarbone injury against the Bears. Matt Flynn is expected to get the start this week against Atlanta at Lambeau Field.
If you’re hanging on to the hopes of having Rodgers for the playoffs, don’t. The Packers are 0-4-1 without him this season and his absence has dragged down the values of the Green Bay wide receivers. At 5-6-1 their only real chance of trying to make the playoffs is to win the NFC North. They have virtually no shot at a wild card and losses to Philadelphia and San Francisco really hurt their chances in that regard.
The right move for Green Bay to make is to shut him down for the year. It’s not worth it for the team to risk a second injury to their franchise player in the hopes of finishing 9-6-1 if they ran the table for the final four weeks. We’ve also heard Randall Cobb (broken leg) say he’s not likely to return this season.
The Packers shouldn’t risk it and neither should your fantasy team. I’m going to go out on a logical limb here and say if Detroit wins and Green Bay loses this week, Rodgers will be put on IR next week. That’s just my speculative guess—but it would make sense.
We’re going to focus on the more fantasy-relevant players at this point of the season. These are the guys that you could legitimately play or need some health clarification on.
Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer (throwing elbow) was limited to soft throws in practice the last couple days. He injured the same elbow four years ago and nearly had Tommy John surgery to fix the problem. He didn’t have the surgery and with this new injury I wonder how accurate Palmer is going to be this week against the Rams. Backup quarterback Drew Stanton has taken first team reps and makes for a super-deep sleeper.
Buffalo RB CJ Spiller (ankle) is probable after getting dinged up against Atlanta. It certainly didn’t slow him down on the field. Start Spiller with confidence this week.
Carolina is expecting the return of defensive lineman Charles Johnson this week when they take on the Saints. Johnson leads Carolina with 8.5 sacks and 34 quarterback pressures. He will make it more uncomfortable for Drew Brees this weekend and gives the Carolina DST a lift.
Jay Cutler’s ankle will keep him off the field against Dallas. Josh McCown looks like a good backup starter/2nd starter against a weak pass defense. Use McCown this week if you want but Cutler is looking to be back under center next week.
Both Cleveland quarterbacks are dealing with concussions symptoms. Jason Campbell took the first-team reps in practice while Brandon Weeden has not yet been cleared to practice. Neither would be good starts this late in the season against New England.
Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (shoulder) was limited in practice Thursday but will be good to go against the Titans.
Detroit running back Reggie Bush (right calf) was working on the side in individual drills at practice yesterday. He should be good to go this week but double-check the inactive list Sunday to make sure.
Shane Vereen (wrist) and Danny Amendola (groin) both will play against Cleveland. Vereen is a great play with Stevan Ridley fumbling the ball all over the field. It’s hard to say who Joe Haden of the Browns will be matched up with so I’d be a little more cautious about Amendola. That and the dude seems to made out of glass. Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) is a desperate play at best this week.
Rashad Jennings of the Raiders (concussion) is expected to play this week. With Darren McFadden (ankle) getting hurt again, Jennings looks to be the player to shoulder the load the rest of the way. He’ll have a tough matchup with the Jets to temper your expectations a bit.
Le’Veon Bell (concussion) has practiced in full and will be good to go for Pittsburgh against a soft Miami defense. Bell could be poised for another solid game so get him in your lineup.
San Francisco running back Frank Gore (ankle) practiced in full and looks to be a good start in a tough matchup with Seattle.
Tampa Bay wide receiver Vincent Jackson (hamstring) was limited in practice but will be good for Sunday against Buffalo which is a very enticing matchup. Start him unless he has a setback the next two days.
Go forth and get the win you need to make the playoffs…it’s doctor’s orders.