In most leagues this is championship week. It also means 80 percent or more of players are done for the season. For those who still remain, let’s take a look at the key injuries that can make or break your title dreams.
Adrian Peterson (foot, groin) was limited in practice the last couple days as was Toby Gerhart (hamstring) and Matt Asiata didn’t practice either so the Vikings’ running back situation looks like a big mess heading into this week against Cincinnati. Today should provide clarity as to who will do the running against the fifth-best rush defense in the league.
If Peterson’s available, you play him. Gerhart is more of desperation play and Asiata looks like someone to avoid all together. While Asiata scored three times last week, keep in mind his low yardage totals. Asiata should only be used in TD-only formats if both AP and Gerhart are out.
Aaron Rodgers of the Packers is another one of these questionable players who could make-or-break your title hopes Rodgers has been very guarded about his status this week and today will give more clarity. He’s suddenly relevant after Detroit has fallen apart and the Pack now has a chance to win the NFC North.
Green Bay hosts Pittsburgh this week and they are a top-10 team against the pass. I’m not overly sold on Rodgers if he comes back this week. Yes, he would provide the Green Bay offense a massive boost but it’s a lot different when the red practice jersey comes off and he’s in a live game. If you’ve made it this far without Rodgers evaluate your other quarterbacks on your roster and the free agents to find someone potentially more reliable. Jay Cutler (against Philly) looks like a nice option this week.
Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald (concussion) has not yet passed all of the concussion protocols required by the league to be able to go back on the field. The Cardinals are in Seattle this week and, as tough as it is, it’s time to bench him. Earlier this season Fitzgerald was held to two catches for less than 20 yards against the Seahawks. Last time in Seattle it was one catch for two yards in the 58-0 disaster of a game. RB Andre Ellington (knee) is the only recommended option this week and he’s a weak FLEX play at best.
Joe Flacco’s knee has him questionable this week with a mild sprain of the MCL. It’s something that can be effectively supported with a knee brace so I don’t have concerns about him this week against New England. It’s the lack of touchdowns and offense in general last week that’s more concerning. Flacco is a borderline QB play this week.
Buffalo RB Fred Jackson could have a positive impact on your team if he performs well against Miami. He’s dealing with a rib injury but we’ve seen players play through worse this season (see also: Tate, Ben) so I like him to be productive against the Dolphins. He’s more of a flex player unless your roster has been decimated.
Speaking of Tate, he finally went on IR this week with a fifth broken rib. Apparently he couldn’t take it anymore and that fifth rib was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Losing 12 in a row also hurts too and it’s surprising he wasn’t shut down earlier given how awful this season has been. Dennis Johnson gets the call at running back with Deji Karim backing him up. Houston hosts Denver this week so Johnson should get plenty of opportunities to carry the ball. Johnson also makes a nice FLEX this week.
Wes Welker (concussion) still isn’t cleared to come back on the field. The Broncos probably don’t need Welker to get the win over Houston so the prudent play is to hold him out and have him ready for the playoffs. I don’t expect him to play this week so make sure he is out of your lineup.
Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jaguars is questionable with a knee injury that kept him out of the lineup last week. Jordan Todman went off against Buffalo with about 140 yards of offense. Jacksonville has nothing to play for so it makes more sense to let M-J-D s-i-t on the bench this week. You should do the same. Todman has a nice matchup against the Titans who just allowed 145 rushing yards to Arizona and he makes an RB2 this week.
Daniel Thomas is questionable this week for Miami. We thought this guy was toast after damaging his ankle ligaments a couple weeks back but apparently he’s Superman in disguise. The Miami running back situation is a mess but it’s a favorable matchup this week against the Bills. While Thomas has scored three of the last four weeks, that’s the only way he should have value in this matchup—if he scores. And you can’t bet your whole season on it. Lamar Miller is the better play at the RB position since Miami has finally shown more confidence in him.
Danny Amendola (groin) is questionable for this week for New England at Baltimore. If he can’t go for some reason Julian Edelman will get the targets and Edelman has been one of the most frequently-targeted players in the league over the last few weeks. Aaron Dobson (foot) and Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) are also questionable so look at today’s report for more clarity; anyone beyond Edelman is a crapshoot.
Victor Cruz (knee) is done for the season for the Giants. As if things haven’t been bad enough, Eli Manning loses his best receiving threat for the game against Detroit. The Giants are pretty much toast coming into this one so the Detroit DST is a great play this week for those who stream DSTs.
We’ve seen a lot of players get hurt this season and its wreaked havoc on lineups. Hopefully, you’ve been able to navigate the minefield of injuries and are still alive at this point. Leave your questions below and next week, we’ll reveal the All-IR team to close the season out.