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Del Pilar's Digest: Fantasyland injury report

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Recent posts by William Del Pilar

Around Fantasyland: Tight ends

Posted June 02, 2012 @ 10 a.m.

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Posted Dec. 26, 2011 @ 5:23 p.m. ET
By William Del Pilar

Injury report entering Week 17

This week brings players whose teams have clinched, and teams will be resting top players. Make sure if you replace any of your injured players, your replacement is set to play. Look for backups, players playing for contracts or their jobs as prime candidates to produce in Week 17. Who could those players be? Well, it all depends on the players listed below and how they fare in the trainer's room. Can Big Ben come back? Will Tony Romo be 100 percent? Too many question marks this week doesn't help us with our final week but it's not time to run out of gas yet.


Cowboys QB Tony Romo (bruised hand) left the game in the first quarter and the hand swelled up, but reports state he could have returned. In this case, with the Giants beating the Jets, they knocked the Eagles out of the playoff hunt, allowing the Cowboys to remove their injured starters to rest them. Romo will be back for the one-and-done against the Giants.

Vikings QB Christian Ponder (concussion) left the game and did not return, and with the Bears on tap next week, the rookie could struggle. He has not played well the last three weeks and before going down in Week 16, his two-game average using Weeks 14-15 was 117.5 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. His yardage is too low, despite the TDs, to trust Ponder in Week 17, if he returns. Look for Joe Webb to start if he can't go and Webb has been making great fantasy strides with statistical production and warrants fantasy consideration if he starts.

Browns QB Colt McCoy (concussion) did not play with Seneca Wallace starting, but outside RB Peyton Hillis, the Browns have no fantasy players of note. Wallace could start again this week as the early word is that McCoy won't play in Week 17.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (high ankle sprain) did not play in Week 16 with Charlie Batch getting the start. Look for updates on Big Ben, but if he's not 100 percent, he could sit again. Batch is capable of handing the ball off to Rashard Mendenhall against one of the lesser run defenses in the league, the Browns.

Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb (concussion) is still suffering symptoms from his concussion and remains day-to-day. With the Cardinals out of the playoff hunt, the team could just sit him. His play has ranged from average to poor and he has now missed six games this season with a potential seventh coming up. Look for John Skelton to start if Kolb can't go, but Skelton showed why he's a backup in Week 16 with erratic play until the fourth quarter.  Neither should be given heavy consideration to start against the Seahawks.

Rams QB A.J. Feeley (thumb) and Sam Bradford (ankle) are day-to-day, but probably won't play in Week 17 with Kellen Clemens getting the start. Clemens has no fantasy value after going 9-of-24 for 91 yards and no TDs and no interceptions last week.

Bears QB Jay Cutler (finger) did not play in Week 16. However, he may return in Week 17, though unlikely. Josh McCown, making his first start for the Bears this year, threw for 242 yards and one TD with two interceptions to create some fantasy value for the receivers after three weeks of nothing with Caleb Hanie. However, all this may be too little too late with one game left.

Running backs

RB Adrian Peterson (knee) suffered a devastating injury, tearing both the ACL and MCL in his left knee. I've always been a believer that it takes two full seasons to come back to full strength from this injury and doctors will have to wait for his MCL to heal before operating, delaying the rehabilitation process. He may not be ready for the 2012 season and surely won't be 100 percent. Those who take him are likely to be disappointed. Look for Toby Gerhart (11-109-0) to be the feature back in Week 17 and heading into 2012. He warrants fantasy consideration in Week 17 against the Bears.

Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (ankle) has had an elite fantasy season with a per game average of 22.8 utilizations for 108.3 yards from scrimmage and 1.3 TDs. The Eagles' season is done and the team may simply sit him out, as there's nothing to play for and why risk your team's best player on a meaningless game? Keep an eye on updates throughout the week, but Maurice Jones-Drew has a 128-yard lead on him for the rushing title and that may be too much to overcome even if MJD falters in Week 17. Plan on seeing Ronnie Brown and Dion Lewis to see most of, if not all the carries.

Dolphins RB Daniel Thomas (knee) left the game last week and did not return going 2-3-0, but has no fantasy value with Reggie Bush (22-113-0 rushing and 2-26-0 on three targets) playing as well as he has. However, Bush did suffer a leg injury at the end of the game so keep an eye for updates, but Bush states it's no issue and he's able to walk and expects to play in Week 17.

Redskins RB Roy Helu (toe, ankle) did not play in Week 16 for fantasy owners after his nagging injuries got the best of him. Evan Royster (19-132-0 rushing and 2-15-0 on four targets receiving) and Ryan Torain (4-8-0) carried the load with Royster showing he has earned more playing time. Look for Helu updates, but since it's nagging injuries, another week of rest should have him ready with fantasy value. However, his value has lowered a bit with Royster's performance, as he could share time in Week 17 with Helu.

Titans RB Chris Johnson (15-56-0) was not limited by his ankle, but did take a pain-killing injection prior to kickoff. He still couldn't perform for a second straight week despite a solid matchup. In his defense, the Jaguars' secondary was depleted and a point of attack the Titans had to exploit. That doesn't help CJ2K owners and he ends most fantasy seasons on a three-game average of 20.7 utilizations for 77 yards from scrimmage and zero TDs. Those are flex-back or injury fill-in numbers. He will be extremely hard to justify starting this week against the Texans.

Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew (24-103-1 rushing and 6-21-0 on 10 targets) remains a bull in the offense and continues to post elite numbers despite defenses focusing to stop him every week. He is dealing with an ankle injury but we don't believe it will bother him entering Week 17.

Cowboys RB Felix Jones (hamstring) left the game as planned once the Cowboys found out the Giants beat the Eagles, rendering their game meaningless. DeMarco Murray (ankle) is also injury-prone and it could be that neither he nor Jones can be a feature back because of injuries. Look for a time-share from these two next season. For Week 17, Jones warrants heavy consideration after going 16-106-0 rushing and 6-31-0 receiving in Week 14 against the G-men.

Lions RB Kevin Smith (15-49-1 rushing and 2-12-1 on three targets) may have only had 61 yards from scrimmage, but his two TDs made up for it. That's the benefit of a high-powered offense. It can overcome lackluster performances with the team's ability to score TDs. Smith missed parts of the third quarter after appearing to aggravate an injury and the team could hold him out. If it's still unknown by kickoff, Smith warrants fantasy consideration against the Packers. Maurice Morris (5-22-0 rushing and 1-10-0 receiving) came in to relieve him and carries value if Smith can't play.

Cardinals RB Beanie Wells (14-53-0 rushing and 1-8-0 receiving) has been struggling with his knee and his weekly maintenance of his injury. The knee must be getting worse with a three-game average of 14.7 attempts for 43.7 yards and 0.3 TDs. He faces a Seattle team that can be run on, and he can score a cheap TD anytime as he has 10 so far.

Packers RB John Starks (ankle) aggravated his ankle and to be frank, I'm not sure why he was even in the lineup with Brandon Saine (1-8-0) playing and Ryan Grant (8-44-0 rushing and 2-34-0 on two targets) starting. I can't see them risking Starks in Week 17 and believe they will provide him with two weeks of rest before they have to play again. Look for Saine to possibly carry the load if the Packers decide to rest Grant also.

Raiders RB Darren McFadden (foot) did not play in Week 16 and you can't trust him if he returns this week, as reports state there's a chance he could play. I wouldn't count on him as anything outside an injury fill-in, as he's not in game shape and has yet to play with QB Carson Palmer. His return would also lower the value of Michael Bush (23-70-0 rushing and 2-24-0 on three targets) who has been playing at the level of a No. 1 fantasy back.

Bears RB Matt Forté (knee) did not play in Week 16 with Kahlil Bell (23-121-0 rushing and 4-38-0 receiving on four targets) providing positive results, carried the load. Forté stated he was gearing up for the playoffs if the team could make it. They have not, giving him no value for Week 17 in what could have been a potential tune up game. 


Wide receivers

Texans WR Andre Johnson (ankle) did not play and at this point has no fantasy value entering the final week of the season as the Texans' offense is slowly but surely slowing down. With more film, teams are figuring out how to stop Yates and the passing attack to focus on the rushing attack. There's a chance Johnson suits up, but with the team locked into its playoff seed, outside of developing chemistry with Yates, he has no reason to play. If he does he warrants starting as a flex WR.

Giants WR Mario Manningham (knee) did not play and at this point he's become to undependable. While he had a solid outing in Week 14 he's missed three of the last five games and Victor Cruz has asserted himself as the top WR with Hakeem Nicks also maintaining high value. That's pushed Manningham aside. He has some value if he can play in deep leagues but will likely be a late-week decision.

Chargers WR Vincent Jackson (groin) could not do much, going 2-41-0 despite seven targets and playing from behind. He was a risk going in and most knew it, but the matchup was there forcing many owners to start him in case he had an elite performance. He did not, but monitor updates this week. He has value heading into Oakland despite a 1-22-0 performance in Week 10 against them.

Raiders WR Jacoby Ford (foot) did not play in Week 16 and has no fantasy value. Darrius Heyward-Bey (4-70-0 on five targets) has stepped up and would probably start anyway even if Ford returns. Ford plans on testing the foot this week.

Packers WR Greg Jennings (knee) did not play in Week 16 and won't play in Week 17, as his regular season is over with the Packers looking towards the playoffs. The previous week, TE Jermichael Finley (3-83-0 on 10 targets in Week 15, 3-20-1 on six targets in Week 16) and WR Randall Cobb (4-53-0 on four targets in Week 15, 2-22-0 on three targets in Week 16) were the beneficiaries of Jenning's absence. This week it was James Jones (4-50-2 on six targets) with a huge game for those that played him — probably only larger league owners. Take your pick for Week 17 as it could be anyone, including Donald Driver (2-29-0 on three targets) who has three TDs the last four games.

Tight ends

Giants TE Jake Ballard (knee) did not play in Week 16 after missing a great fantasy opportunity and his Week 17 status is not known. It will be based on the extent of the knee injury and where it stands in the healing process. He has some fantasy value if he can suit up, as Travis Beckum (chest) and Bear Pascoe (ribs) filled in for him in Week 16 but neither saw a catch. 

Dolphins TE Anthony Fasano (head) did not play in Week 16, missing a great opportunity against the Patriots, but he has minimal value against the Jets. Look for updates throughout the week.


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