Anyone experienced in playing fantasy football knows that NFL player performance is difficult to predict on a year to year basis. That’s in large part because of injuries. The other components making it difficult are teams divulging very little information and teams simply not putting their best players on the field. Sometimes teams do things that are flat out stupid. Exhibit A for the last two points: Stefon Diggs, who started the year as an inactive for the Vikings’ first three games. Nobody knows precisely why the Vikings had their best wide receiver inactive for the first three games but it obviously had something to do with them not knowing exactly what they had in the rookie. So as the folks that play fantasy football, we have attempt to know what even the teams themselves don’t know. I bring up Stefon Diggs because I nearly wrote a paragraph on him and Adam Thielen in my Week 4 Injury Report. We knew their roles were increasing that week due to injures to wide receivers Charles Johnson and Jarius Wright. I ultimately scrapped it as unnecessary due to the fact that the Vikings bye was the following week and it seemed like it would be difficult to hold Stefon Diggs through the bye what with him being a player the Vikings didn’t truly believe in yet.
This brings me to James Jones, a very unspectacular wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers and what I wrote about him and Davante Adams earlier in the year: That when Adams came back from his injury he wouldn’t have the same number of targets waiting for him when he came back that he was getting before the injury because of Jones’ superior performance. Then I’d say that proved to be wrong as James Jones put up three terrible games during the Packers three game losing streak while receiving only 10 targets in those games. The lack of targets were partly due to not as many targets to go around but also Davante Adams did receive an astonishing 21 targets in Green Bay’s loss to Detroit.
I think this may very well fall into the “team doing something stupid” category. Looking at each player’s yards per target gives us an idea of which player has been more productive this year. Davante Adams has 308 yards on 53 targets for 5.81 yards per target. James DeAndre Jones has 592 yards on 50 targets for 11.84 yards per target. Also James Jones has bested Adams’ career yards per target every year except the year he was in Oakland. So all of that just to say something that you may have already known: Sometimes fantasy writers give bad advice that’s only bad because NFL teams are too stupid to get out of their own way. James Jones was never going to keep up his early season production that came due unsustainable touchdown efficiency. But if he doesn’t at least see more targets the rest of the way than Adams, I’m not quite sure what to think. Now feast on the week 12 injury report.
Justin Forsett (arm) is out for the season due to fractured bones in his forearm. Javorious Allen will see the majority of work at running back this year while Justin Forsett is expected to make a full recovery for next year. Assuming they don’t make any ‘writing on the wall’ type of moves at running back in the offseason, I would expect Forsett to beat out Allen and Lorenzo Taliaferro as the running back to own next year, but the roles might not be as clearly defined as they were headed into this year.
Joe Flacco (knee, ACL and MCL) will miss the remainder of the season as well. It’s likely that he’ll be ok for next year, possibly not 100% at first but still very functional. Obviously the Ravens offense has taken a big hit, making it hard to predict the game to game production for any skill player on the team.
Danny Amendola (knee, PCL) is exactly the type that would get injured right after being thrust into a greater role due to a teammate’s injury. Expect him to miss a game or two or three, probably not more. I think that means you hold him in 12 team leagues unless you can get one of the top adds of the week. With the waiver periods for most league having passed already this does you no good… But I’d say it’s a rule of thumb that you shouldn’t drop an every week starter for a player you are unlikely to start during the dropped player’s absence.
Aaron Dobson (ankle) reportedly has suffered a high ankle sprain. So he’ll be missing some time. He was only worth owning in deep leagues anyway. Keshawn Martin is on his way back soon, which makes him worth consideration in 14+ team leagues for as long as Amendola remains out. Chris Harper is the other New England wide receiver worth checking into, unless/until they sign someone.
Devonta Freeman (concussion) has a chance to play Sunday but concussions are both clear cut and unpredictable at the same time. They are clear cut because if a player has passed the concussion protocol then he will play. They are unpredictable because the time it takes to be cleared seems to vary a lot on a player by player basis. The “Full Participation” they listed for their Wednesday practice reports is either misleading or flat out wrong according to other information out there.
Charcandrick West (hamstring) appears somewhat likely to play at this point.
So now I leave you with the practice reports for week 12 of the NFL season. These are the same reports that each team is required to give the league after every day of practice. Teams that play Thursday have a full injury report with the “Out/Doubtful/Questionable/Probable” designations due by Wednesday. Teams that play Sunday (or Saturday) only have a practice report due Wednesday and teams that play Monday have nothing at all due by Wednesday, which is when this post is written.
No Practice Information Reported (Monday Night Football)
Martellus Bennett – TE – No Participation
Ka’Deem Carey – RB – No Participation
Matt Forte – RB – Limited Participation
Alshon Jeffery – WR – Limited Participation
Eddie Royal – WR – No Participation
Marquess Wilson – WR – Full Participation
No Practice Information Reported (Monday Night Football)
Green Bay Packers
Jared Abbrederis – WR – No Participation
Davante Adams – WR – Full Participation
Eddie Lacy – RB – Full Participation
Ty Montgomery – WR – No Participation
Aaron Ripkowski – RB – Full Participation
Toby Gerhart – RB – Full Participation
Allen Hurns – WR – Limited Participation
Nic Jacobs – TE – Limited Participation
Bernard Pierce – RB – No Participation
Neal Sterling – WR – No Participation
New England Patriots
Danny Amendola – WR – No Participation
Aaron Dobson – WR – No Participation
Julian Edelman – WR – No Participation
Keshawn Martin – WR – Limited Participation
Matthew Slater – WR – No Participation
Michael Williams – TE – Limited Participation
New York Jets
Kellen Davis – TE – No Participation
Eric Decker – WR – Full Participation
Ryan Fitzpatrick – QB – Full Participation
Brandon Marshall – WR – Limited Participation
Devin Smith – WR – Full Participation
Matt Spaeth – TE – Full Participation
I should be available to answer questions on this Thanksgiving Day. Thanks for reading and enjoy the holiday.
Lance is also available on Twitter @RotoLance.