Fantasy Football Injuries, Inactives and Weather

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Week 7 NFL Season Schedule 

Thursday, Oct. 16
Jets at Patriots, 8:25 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 19
Falcons at Ravens, 1:00 p.m.
Titans at Redskins, 1:00 p.m.
Seahawks at Rams, 1:00 p.m.
Browns at Jaguars, 1:00 p.m.
Bengals at Colts, 1:00 p.m.
Vikings at Bills, 1:00 p.m.
Dolphins at Bears, 1:00 p.m.
Saints at Lions, 1:00 p.m.
Panthers at Packers, 1:00 p.m.
Chiefs at Chargers, 4:05 p.m.
Cardinals at Raiders, 4:25 p.m.
Giants at Cowboys, 4:25 p.m.
49ers at Broncos, 8:30 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 20
Texans at Steelers, 8:30 p.m.

Bye-Week: Buccaneers, Eagles

Week 7 Key Injuries (Heading Into Gameday)

QUARTERBACKS 

Robert Griffin III, dislocated ankle, QB (O): Back at practice, but not ready to get back on the field. This will continue to be week-to-week as he attempts to come back from a dislocated ankle. He’s well ahead of schedule, but with his injury history, I can’t imagine there will be any rush to get him on the field and risk an even more serious injury. We’ll update next week as he has been ruled out for Week 7.

RUNNING BACKS

Reggie Bush, sprained ankle, RB (P): Bush was a full participant in practice this week coming back from a sprained ankle and looks like he’ll be out there. There shouldn’t be much concern with re-injury and he appears to have looked like his dynamic self during practice this week, which is a great sign considering his best attribute is making people miss, which the ankle contributes to greatly. Expect Bush to jump right back into things and split carries with Joique Bell and resume his role as the pass catcher out of the backfield.

Mark Ingram, hand, RB (P): Ingram is expected to make his return to the field this week against the Lions. Ingram was a full participant in practice on Friday and looks to be ready to get back on the field. They’ll protect the hand with a splint/brace of some sorts, which shouldn’t affect his ability to handle the ball too much. Expect him to be relatively eased back into things, but he should get a decent amount of carries right off the bat.

Jake Locker, bruised thumb, QB (Q): Locker was a limited participant in practice on Friday with Charlie Whitehurst taking the bulk of first team reps, which seems to indicate that Locker is on pace to miss another start this week. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said that Locker is still dealing with soreness in his thumb, which is very problematic as the thumb provides a ton of the control required to throw a football. And if a player has significant pain/soreness, it would make it very difficult to maintain ball security and put any zip on passes downfield. Locker hasn’t officially been ruled out, but the likelihood of him starting is very low at this point. Double check tomorrow morning, but expect to go a different route.

Knowshon Moreno, torn ACL, RB: The Miami Dolphins RB suffered a torn ACL during Sunday’s heartbreaking loss to the Green Bay Packers. Moreno will miss the rest of the season and is staring at a 6-12 month recovery time should his rehabilitation process go smoothly.

Expect the Dolphins to lean more heavily on Lamar Miller for the rest of the season as he will more than likely resume his role as lead back for the ‘Phins.

Stevan Ridley, torn ACL/MCL, RB: The New England Patriots starting tailback tore both his ACL and MCL during Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills. He will miss the rest of the season and is looking at an approximately 6-12 month rehab and recovery time.

Look for RBs Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen to get the majority of carries in Ridley’s absence, with Vereen holding slightly more value than Bolden.

Jonathan Stewart, sprained MCL, RB (P): Stewart practiced in full all week and will play this Sunday. He’s expected to get the majority of carries in the Panthers’ decimated backfield, so there’s potential value to be had, although he’s never done much with that potential in the past.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Kelvin Benjamin, concussion, WR (Q): The good news is that Benjamin returned to practice on Friday, which is a sign that he was symptom-free and could return to the field. However, his response the next day to that practice and his ability to continue to be symptom-free will help decide whether he will play or not. He also must be cleared by an independent neurologist in order to be ready to go for Sunday’s game. We’ll likely hear about this sometime today or tomorrow morning, but it appears he’s headed in the right direction so long as he doesn’t have an unexpected return of symptoms.

Victor Cruz, torn patellar tendon, WR: Tough news out of New York as the Giants lost their star WR to a torn patellar tendon and he will miss the rest of the 2014 season. Cruz suffered the injury during Sunday’s contest while attempting to jump for a ball thrown his way in the end zone. Cruz underwent successful surgery on Tuesday and could be looking at a recovery time upwards of 12 months.

Watching video of the injury, you can see Cruz attempting to load and jump to catch the ball thrown his way; however, while trying to straighten his knees to jump, his right knee is never able to extend, which is the primary function of the quadriceps muscle (the patellar tendon attaches the quadriceps muscle to the tibia, or shin bone). The inability of his knee to extend indicates at all indicates a likely full tear, which was reportedly repaired on Tuesday.

Cruz will fight an uphill battle as he looks to come back from this injury, One name that comes to mind is Cadillac Williams, who was able to come back and have a relatively successful career. While the research does favor a return to the playing field for athletes coming back from this injury, there is not indication of the level of their athletic play. Essentially, the research says there’s a high likelihood they get back onto the field, but there isn’t a lot of anecdotal evidence that they can come back at their previous level of play.

The rehabilitation will focus on regaining range of motion (ROM) as close to normal as possible, full strength of the quadriceps muscle, and explosiveness that is expected of a skills player. The quads are the power house muscle of the legs, so any remaining deficits in this muscle group can take away a player’s burst, vertical jump, and dynamic mobility, which are all things Cruz has relied on to get to the level he was playing at.

Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr.will shoulder the load in Cruz’s absence and both guys should be very fantasy relevant for the rest of the 2014 season.

A.J. Green, sprained ligament in foot, WR: The Cincinnati Bengals WR is seeing a specialist this Friday to determine the extent of the injury suffered to his big toe. Green initially injured the toe back in Week 2, which he was able to come back from relatively quickly before re-injuring it again in practice heading into Week 6. Green was carted off the practice field when he suffered the re-aggravation.

Word is that Green is dealing with a sprained ligament on the underside of the right big toe, which can prove to be quite painful with walking, let alone running, and can lead to a ton of instability around the toe. This could lead to compensation and potential injury to another joint close by, which could prove to be disastrous. The fact that Green is seeing multiple specialists for this issue leads me to believe that they’re worried about this injury and there remains the possibility that he will be shut down for a short period of time to allow the ligament to heal.

However, since we do not know the severity of the ligament sprain, if other structures are involved, and how limited he really is, all we can do is speculate. Green has been sporting a walking boot, which is designed to immobilize the injured region to allow the tissue to heal without strain being placed on it. Don’t read much into this as it can be a precaution or it could be necessary, we just don’t know at this point. We’ll update this later in the week as it develops.

Update: Green was not able to practice all week and looks like he won’t play on Sunday despite the doubtful tag. Green has not been able to show he can run, jump, and cut without placing excessive strain on the injured toe. And with the location of the sprained ligament under his big toe, it makes it nearly impossible for his toes to extend (toe moves towards top of foot) without significant stress on the injured ligament, not to mention pain. Expect Green to continue being week to week until he can get back to running without pain.

Andre Johnson, ankle, WR (?): Johnson was a limited participant in practice this week, but with this being the Monday night game and Johnson being consistently given rest throughout the week, expect this to be more precautionary than anything else. He’ll play Monday and he should be pretty close to 100% come game time.

Calvin Johnson, high ankle sprain, WR: The news just keeps getting worse for stud receivers around the NFL, as the Detroit Lions’ WR could potentially miss 3 more week as he recovers from a high ankle sprain. Johnson missed Week 6 and played ineffectively during Weeks 4 and 5 as he attempted to play through his injury. The right move is to allow Megatron to rest, but how much rest he actually needs remains to be seen and will be a fluid storyline depending on his symptoms and how quickly he can regain the ability to plant, cut, and jump without limitation.

The Lions have a bye in Week 9, which means it’s more than conceivable that Johnson could be sat for two more weeks to give him another 3 full weeks to recover. This would allow Johnson the potential to be fully healthy for the last seven weeks of the season and decreases the likelihood of another setback.

We’ll update this story as it progresses, but at this point, expect to head into Week 7 without Megatron in your lineup.

Update: Johnson did not practice all week and remains up in the air regarding his status for Week 7. It remains highly unlikely that he suits up for tomorrow’s game against the New Orleans Saints and I truly believe there’s the potential that he misses two more games heading into the Lions Week 9 bye. Again, this will continue to be a fluid situation as it was above for Green, but the last thing the Lions need to is get Johnson back on the field before he’s ready, suffer a re-aggravation, and then miss another extended period of time at the end of the season. But in regards to Week 7, expect him to miss this game.

Marvin Jones, foot injury, WR: The Cincinnati Bengals WR was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve Tuesday after suffering a setback as he made his way back from off-season foot surgery. Jones re-injured his foot during his first day of practice after suffering a Jones fracture in the off-season, which is a fracture of the 5th metatarsal in the foot. Jones did not play a snap for the Bengals this season.

Expect Mohamed Sanu to continue to play a role in the Bengals’ offense the rest of the season regardless of when A.J. Green gets back on the field. Sanu will more than likely have WR2/3 value for the rest of the 2014 season.

In regards to Jones’ expected prognosis, except him to be able to return in plenty of time prior to training camp heading into the 2015 season. All indications are that Jones will have surgery to correct his latest problem. There are some indications that the right ankle is what will be operated on, which is a re-aggravation of an ankle issue Jones had dating back to February. More to come on his prognosis for next season once more information is available.

Tight Ends

Eric Ebron, hamstring strain, TE (D): Ebron is expect to miss this Sunday’s game as he deals with a hamstring strain. He was not able to practice all week, and this typically indicates a guy will miss time when he can’t get back onto the field at all with this type of muscle injury. He’ll head into next week doubtful as well and if he cannot get back even in a limited fashion to practice next week, expect him to miss even more time.

Jimmy Graham, sprained AC joint, TE: Graham suffered a sprained shoulder during the New Orleans Saints’ Week 5 win and is iffy at best for their Week 7 contest against the Detroit Lions. The Saints are coming off a Week 6 bye.

Graham is reportedly dealing with a sprained acromioclavicular joint, the same injury that Browns’ TE Jordan Cameron had been dealing with earlier in the season. This type of injury can really affect a player’s ability to reach overhead, block, and brace themselves while falling, all of which are significant parts of Graham’s job description. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that Graham will miss another 2-3 weeks, which if true, would lead me to believe that he’s dealing with a moderate grade II ligament sprain.

A grade II sprain actually disrupts the integrity of the ligament, leading to tearing of the fibers and instability at the joint. This type of injury can be very painful and really easy to aggravate, which is why the Saints will tread lightly with their prized TE. Expect more to be known by Thursday or Friday about Graham’s availability, but I would not count of having him back for Week 7 and it’s not looking good at this point for Week 8 either.

Ben Watson and Josh Hill will shoulder the load in Graham’s absence.

Update: Graham was a limited participant in practice on Friday and heads into Sunday’s contest questionable and a game-time decision. Graham seems to be coming along well this week, with the limited participation being a positive sign for him moving forward. Whether he plays or not, he’s going into this contest less than 100%, that I know for sure. And with the high re-injury rate for this type of condition that could be re-aggravated from a fall onto the shoulder, reaching too high overhead, or accepting impact on a block, he remains a high risk/reward play on Sunday. There was some talk about Graham only playing in the red zone, which obviously limits his yardage impact, but at the very least allows him to score 1 touchdown and achieve solid value. This will come down to a game time decision, so expect to be scouring the inactive list tomorrow morning to get confirmation.

Week 7 Severe Weather Conditions

No information at this time.

Week 7 Team Management Advice

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