by Will Overton
It’s time again to take a look at the league’s injury report heading into this weekend’s games. Granted a lot can change in the next 24 hours, but it’s important to keep tabs on these guys status leading up to game time. You never know what will happen tomorrow morning that might prevent you from making changes so it’s best to stay on top of things now. The playoffs are right around the corner and you need to be at full strength right now more than ever.
You also want to be able to know what positions you may need to pickup a guy as a just in case situation. This week is the super bye week, with six teams sitting out, and benches are getting more thin so you need to know what guys you are going to need to replace.
Here is the latest injury news on a handful of fantasy playmakers:
Julio Jones – WR, Atlanta Falcons: This one is an odd case. Last Sunday Julio Jones tweaked his ankle against the New Orleans Saints, he came back later in the game and finished it out. Yet he hasn’t practiced all week long and we’re told his ankle has swelled up quite a bit. He’s now a questionable play for this Sunday. I wouldn’t be concerned about the missing practices, if Jones is ok he’ll play, end of story. The problem is an ankle injury can be better one day and worse the next so he’s a true game time decision.
Michael Turner – RB, Atlanta Falcons: All week Turner has been limited in practice because of a groin injury. And he’s coming off a performance where he ran for 15 yards on 13 carries against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. The Cardinals are also a pretty bad defense against the run this week, but it’s hard to trust Turner right now, especially if he’s not 100% which he doesn’t appear to be. He’s not a must start even if he plays, depending on who else you have.
Calvin Johnson – WR, Detroit Lions: The knee is still bothering Calvin Johnson, and he’s been limited in the last two days of practice. But the knee has been bothering him for a while now and he hasn’t missed any time at all. In fact he’s coming off his best game of the season last week and is playing Green Bay this week who he has a career history of torching regularly. He’ll play and he should be one of the better WR’s of the week.
Owen Daniels – TE, Houston Texans: After missing last week’s game against the Bears all bets are off for Daniels playing this week against the Jaguars. Daniels is dealing with a back issue and he was limited in practice all week, including yesterday. Chances are he’ll be a game time decision based on how the back feels on game day. It’s not a game the Texans have to have Daniels for to win though and they opt to rest him another week if he’s not 100%. I’d definitely make sure to have a backup ready to go just in case.
Aaron Hernandez – TE, New England Patriots: Most of the Patriots team ends up on the injury report and most of them end up as questionable. A lot of times it’s all for nothing, but Aaron Hernandez has been questionable for a couple weeks now and he’s yet to play. Hernandez was questionable again this week after not being able to full practice all week. Most assume that Hernandez won’t play again this week against the Colts. If you own Hernandez you probably already have a replacement in place for him. I wouldn’t count on Hernandez yet again this week.
Wes Welker – WR, New England Patriots: He sat out Wednesday and Thursday with an ankle injury making owners wonder a bit about his health. Welker is dealing with an ankle injury, but he was able to practice on Friday in what is being called a limited practice. Welker however reported that he didn’t feel limited at all in practice and he’s ready to go this week. The Pats are secretive about their injuries, but I tend to trust what Welker is saying and that he’ll be good to go come Sunday.
Darren Sproles – RB, New Orleans Saints: He’s missed the last two weeks of the season after having surgery on his hand, but there is a chance he returns this Sunday against the Raiders. If Sproles comes back this week it’s a nice matchup for him against the Raiders. There are still a lot of question marks though. For one Sproles hand was quite swelled up yesterday in practice. If that doesn’t change in the next two days I doubt the Saints take a chance on playing him Sunday. Secondly, we don’t know how many snaps he’ll play if he can go. Not being 100% and with Chris Ivory further muddling up the picture in New Orleans it’s going to be tough to know how many touches he gets and it’s going to be tough to trust him.
Rashard Mendenhall – RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: The most recent injury report listed Rashard Mendenhall as probable for this week which is a big boost. The Steelers have already announced that Mendenhall will be the starter and with Ben Roethlisberger out they will lean heavily on the run against the Ravens who have struggled to stop it so far this season. Mendenhall will be splitting carries with Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, but Mendenhall should get the bulk and could have a surprisingly good game.
Ryan Matthews – RB, San Diego Chargers: Neck stiffness has kept Matthews out of practice twice this week. He did get into practice yesterday though and is now listed as questionable. Reports are already being circulated that even if Matthews plays he may be on a limited snap count this week. He has a nice history against the Broncos, but he also hasn’t topped 100 yards in any games this season and he only has one TD so far. Chances are if he plays he’s still one of your top three backs, but I think it’s fair to say he’s lost must play status.
Pierre Garcon – WR, Washington Redskins: He’s missed the last four weeks with a foot injury, and six weeks total with the injury. Garcon showed big play potential in week one, but hasn’t been able to do anything since because of this injury. This week Garcon was able to get in a full week of practice though which is a good sign. And reports from Garcon and the team indicate a high degree of hopefulness that he plays this Sunday against the Eagles. It’s hard to know what to expect, but his potential could make him a flex play if he’s going to go Sunday.