For most fantasy owners, this is the make or break week. Last week of the regular season with playoff berths on the line. We’ve already been dealt huge blows across the league for some fantasy studs, guys like Rob Gronkowski being out for the season (I already cried my tears of sadness) and A.J. Green likely missing the next 3 weeks with a grade two hamstring strain. Now, we scramble and try to make the best decisions we can in order to get into the playoffs any way we can.
As always, the injury designations are as follows:
Questionable (Q): The most ambiguous of all the designations, this essentially means that a player is uncertain to play in the coming week. This can be interpreted in a multitude of ways, but there is no scale or percentage likelihood that a guy will suit up. Because the league decided to get rid of the Probable tag, any player who has uncertainty about their availability will fall into this category, which muddies the waters a bit for us.
Doubtful (D): This means that the player is unlikely to play. This should not change much from how it was used in the past, as players who were listed her typically did not end up playing on Sunday or Monday.
Out (O): Pretty straightforward: he’s not playing.
To make it easy, we’ll structure it in order from most tenuous positions down to the guys who are likely to play. If I don’t list a guy on here, chances are he’s either in no risk of missing the week or has been ruled out.
Good luck this week!
Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints (toe injury, Q): Ingram missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, participating in a limited fashion on Friday. Not much is known about the specifics of his injury and it’s pretty promising that he didn’t require any immobilization via a boot at all this week. Toe injuries are tough for RB’s and WR’s because of how important pushing off and change of direction are, two functions that can be significantly limited by big toe injuries. The likely scenario for Ingram is a pre-game warm up and test to see how it feels, then make a decision from there. My gut tells me he’s pretty limited if he does play, but there remains a good chance that he sits and we see a lot more of Tim Hightower. As always, though, check the inactive report pre-game for confirmation.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (ankle, Q): The dreaded day of Wednesday, limited practice Thursday, then no practice Friday. Never a good progression in week for a guy who clearly was struggling with the ankle sprain during this past Monday night’s loss to the Packers. Despite confidence from Coach Pederson, this looks to be a situation that could come down to the wire that’s worth monitoring. But it bears repeating that he likely will not be 100% if he does happen to play, so you’re betting on him being effective enough to make a difference in an offense that’s struggled for weeks.
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins (back, Q): I feel like I’m such a buzzkill this week as the bad news keeps rolling on, but after not practicing all week, we have another fantasy relevant WR who will likely miss this weekend’s game. Parker was limited to only side work on Friday and did not do anything football-specific this week in practice, which is never a good sign for a guy’s availability on Sunday. Expect this is be in limbo until pre-game warm-ups, but you should plan to look elsewhere this week as Parker has a good chance of missing Sunday’s game.
Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions (thigh, Q): Despite being limited every day this week, it was noted that Jones was significantly limited and cautious with his movements during practice on Friday. Also, the Lions signed WR T.J. Jones from the practice squad, so it appears that there’s a legitimate chance that Jones misses Sunday’s game against the Saints. Jones has been pretty disappointing in the second half of the season after getting off to such a hot start, but with all those mouths to feed in the Lions offense, it’s tough to expect a hobbled Jones to be a difference maker even if he plays this week. He will likely attempt to test it out pre game, so check it out prior to kick off as a decision may not be made until then.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills (foot, Q): Watkins sat out of practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday and Friday. He continues to deal with lingering soreness and pain secondary to the offseason 5th metatarsal surgery where a pin was inserted to stabilize a fracture. Watkins has been consistently limited by pain since the beginning of the season and all signs point to this being his pattern for the rest of the year. The team will try to be smart in managing his reps during the week and he may continue to be on a limited snap count as he was this past week depending on how he responds to the demands of in-game stresses. The most troubling thing for Watkins owners is that he carries a relatively high risk of leaving a game due to soreness or re-injuring due to the fact that he’s clearly not 100%. He will remain the ultimate boom or bust player, but the expectation is that he will play this week. For how long? Who knows.
Tyrell Williams, WR, San Diego Chargers (labral tear, Q): Williams sat out all week expect for a limited practice on Friday and expects to play with a brace on Sunday. Williams will likely have to play through some pain and loss of range of motion, especially overhead, but this type of injury comes down to in-game management and pain tolerance levels. He will have some difficulty reaching overhead for passes and absorbing force through the shoulder while blocking, but he should be healthy enough to be out there this Sunday despite being less than 100%. One thing to note: he does carry moderate in-game injury risk as one overhead reach, fall onto an outstretched arm, landing on the shoulder could cause an exacerbation big enough to keep him out.
Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars (back, D): Missed Week 12 and then followed that up with no practice this week, which is a recipe for missing yet another week for the Jaguars’ tight end. Despite probably wanting to be out there against his former team, the combination of a doubtful tag and not participating in practice or a game in two weeks means he’s likely out for another week. I mean, it’s not like you were really that happy about playing him this week anyways, right?
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (foot, Q): After missing the last couple weeks, he was able to return to full practice participation and will likely play this week. However, with Doug Martin back and resuming his role as lead back, expect this to be in a back up role, which significantly limits his fantasy value.