Fantasy Injury Ward Redux – Week 5
Dr. Dave Pratt breaks down injuries of notable fantasy football players heading into Week 5 of the Regular Season.
Fantasy Injury Ward Redux – Week 5
Week 5 is upon us. It marks the completion of one quarter of the regular season. It is also the second of the bye weeks. With many players being game-time decisions this week, fantasy owners will need to be very alert to players’ game-time statuses.
As a reminder, there are five status designations players can have: active, probable, questionable, doubtful and out. The active and out designations are self-explanatory. The probable designation signifies a player has a greater than 50 percent chance of being active for the game. Questionable means the player essentially has a 50-50 chance of playing. Doubtful means the player has less than a 25 percent chance of playing.
Teddy Bridgewater suffered an ankle sprain in Week 4. His MRI came back as negative. He has been diagnosed with a low-grade high ankle sprain, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports. Low-grade high ankle sprains commonly take players one to three weeks to recover. Bridgewater was inactive in Thursday’s game against the Packers—which was a smart decision by the Vikings. On Thursday, coach Mike Zimmer said he was expecting Bridgewater to be back in the lineup in Week 6.
Derek Carr left last Sunday’s game early with a knee and ankle injury. During a scramble, Carr’s toes got caught in the ground as he was attempting to perform a feet-first slide. When his left foot got caught, his lower leg was excessively externally rotated (turned outward) and his left knee was forced into an extreme valgus angle (the angle of “knock knees”). The excessive external rotation of the lower leg caused him to suffer a high ankle sprain, and the valgus forces on the knee caused him to have a MCL sprain. If both of the injuries are mild to moderate in severity, he will only miss 2-4 weeks in total. On Wednesday, Carr stated he is confident he will play in Week 6, per Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times.
Robert Griffin III suffered an apparent dislocation of the subtalar joint during Week 2. He is now ambulating in a walking boot. He will need to rehabilitate his ankle for the next three to five weeks.
Shaun Hill suffered a quadriceps strain in Week 1, and he just finished his first week of full-practice participation. He is listed as probable for Sunday’s game. However, earlier this week, coach Jeff Fisher announced Austin Davis as the Rams starting quarterback for the foreseeable future. Hill will backup Davis for the time being.
Jake Locker sprained his right wrist in Week 3. In Week 4, he did not practice until Friday, when he was a limited participant. Locker was rested on Monday, and he has since been a full participant in all Titans practices. He is listed as probable for Sunday’s matchup against the Browns. His fantasy owners should expect him to play on Sunday, but better options are likely available—as he is outside the top 20 for Week 6.
Joshua McCown injured the thumb on his throwing hand during Week 3. McCown hit his thumb on the helmet of a defender during the end of his throwing motion. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported McCown has a torn ligament in his thumb.
The ligament is most likely the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the thumb. If that were the affected ligament, the stability of McCown’s thumb would be compromised. Also, the normal healing time for such an injury is four to six weeks. If surgery is required, it could take McCown upward of four months to return to play. However, it is just speculation that McCown tore his UCL.
McCown is listed as questionable for Week 5. However, since he has yet been cleared to throw, there is no chance he will play on Sunday. Mike Glennon will be the starter.
Carson Palmer will be inactive in Week 5. After throwing the ball earlier this week, his symptoms of right shoulder numbness and weakness were exacerbated.
This week, he was diagnosed with an axillary nerve contusion of the right shoulder. The axillary nerve innervates the muscles of the shoulder that are big contributors to a quarterback’s throwing motion: the deltoid and teres minor muscles. The nerve also transmits lateral shoulder sensation. The contusion of this nerve severely affects Palmer’s throwing motion, and it is causing numbness throughout the lateral aspect of his shoulder.
The healing rate of a nerve injury is very slow and difficult to predict. Palmer’s recent symptom exacerbation is a discouraging sign for his prognosis. At this time, Palmer appears to be many weeks away from returning to play. His fantasy owners should not expect his return until he is able to perform consecutive full-practices without an exacerbation of his symptoms. Drew Stanton will be the Cardinals starting quarterback in Week 5.
Joique Bell suffered a concussion in Week 4. Late this week, he was cleared for physical activity, but was also ruled out for Sunday’s game. Bell is on track to return to gameplay in Week 6.
Ahmad Bradshaw temporarily left last Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. Shortly thereafter, he returned to finish the game. He was spotted wearing a walking boot after the game. Considering his lengthy history of foot/ankle injuries, and that he finished the game, he was likely wearing the boot as a precaution—and a means to rest the foot. He was a full participant in Thursday and Friday’s practices. He will be active in Sunday’s game, and he is a top-25 RB for Week 5.
Andre Ellington is still suffering from a peroneus longus (i.e. fibularis longus) tendon strain. He has continued to manage the injury conservatively throughout the weeks. Thus far, he has looked good on the field. Following the Cardinals bye week, his legs should be fresh for Sunday’s matchup against the Broncos. He is a clear-cut high-end RB2 in Week 5.
Arian Foster was inactive in Week 3 due to a hamstring injury—just one of the many throughout his career. He was listed as questionable for Week 4, but he wound up playing. In that game, he had a heavy workload in the first half, and a significantly reduced workload in the second half. He never reached his normal top-end speed during that game, and his reduced workload throughout the game may have been due to accumulating discomfort or fatigue of the injured hamstring. Overall, he did not look like his normal-healthy self.
This week, he did not practice on Wednesday, and was a limited participant in Thursday and Friday’s practices. This reduced workload throughout the week was a means of resting him for Sunday, and not an indication that he had a setback. He is officially listed as probable for Sunday.
It is worth noting that Foster possesses a few risk factors that increase his chances of suffering another hamstring injury in the near future: having a history of recurrent hamstring strains, having recently suffered a hamstring strain and having a history of significant sciatic nerve irritation. Considering the massive workload he had during the first quarter of the season, Foster’s fantasy owners should seriously consider acquiring Alfred Blue as a handcuff, or trading Foster for a less-risky player of comparable value.
Mark Ingram has suffered a fracture of his hand, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He is on schedule to return in Week 7.
Ryan Mathews sprained his MCL (knee) in Week 2. He is expected to miss four to five weeks total.
Knowshon Moreno suffered a dislocated elbow during Week 2. He is expected to miss four to eight weeks total. He told teammates he is planning play in Week 6 against the Packers, as reported by the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. Unfortunately for Moreno, he has minimal control on how fast he can recover from this injury.
As of now, he possibly could return to play in Week 6. As it pertains to fantasy, it will be difficult to trust Moreno enough to start him in his first game back from this injury. His fantasy owners should keep him on their benches until he proves he is once again healthy—and until the situation in the Miami backfield becomes clear.
Jonathan Stewart suffered a MCL (knee) sprain in Week 3. This is the same ligament that he sprained last season, and caused him to miss the entire month of December. Such a recurrent sprain of a ligament makes the joint less stable, and it increases the player’s chance of reinjuring the joint in the future.
Stewart was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice, but did not participate in Thursday and Friday’s practices. His reduced participation in practices throughout the week is a poor sign for his availability for this week’s game. Stewart is doubtful for Week 5.
Ben Tate suffered a MCL sprain (knee) in Week 1. He was a limited participant in Wednesday and Thursday’s practices, and he was a full participant on Friday. Tate is officially listed as probable for Sunday’s game, but he considers himself to be questionable, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.
All signs point toward Tate making his return on Sunday, but he will likely have a limited workload. Expect to see a three-headed monster in the Cleveland backfield in Week 5: Isaiah Crowell, Terrance West and Tate. All three running backs are no more than flex considerations this week.
DeAngelo Williams was inactive in Week 3 due to a hamstring injury. Then, in Week 4, he left the game early due to an ankle injury. He has since stated that he suffered a high ankle sprain, per Larry Hartstein of CBS Sports. He had the foot casted until Friday. Williams is officially out for Week 5. He is questionable for Week 6.
Donnie Avery left Monday’s game with a groin injury. He has been diagnosed with a sports hernia, and he will require surgery. He will be out for at least six weeks.
Odell Beckham has yet to play a single snap this season due to a lingering hamstring injury that dates back to the offseason. Beckham is expected to make his regular-season debut on Sunday.
Jarrett Boykin was inactive in Week 4 and Week 5 due to a knee and a groin injury. Coach Mike McCarthy said Boykin’s injury is worse than originally expected, and he expects Boykin could miss Week 6 as well. For the time being, Davante Adams will continue to occupy the Packers’ WR3 role.
Michael Crabtree left last Sunday’s game temporarily with a foot injury. On the sidelines, he was rolling the bottom of his foot on a tennis ball. That is a sign of a plantar fascia issue. He went to the locker room—likely to have his arch taped—and returned to play shortly thereafter. His foot issue doesn’t appear to be serious. He is listed as probable for Week 5.
Eric Decker has been dealing with a lingering hamstring strain since Week 2. This week, he exacerbated his symptoms during practice, and he was not able to participate in Thursday and Friday’s practices. Decker is a game-time decision for Sunday’s game. Because he has recently been unable to finish a practice without experiencing increased hamstring tightness, Decker is unsafe to start in fantasy regardless of his game-time status. Even if he plays, he could exit the game at any time due to an exacerbation of his symptoms. His fantasy owners should find a safer alterative for this week.
Harry Douglas injured his foot in Week 3, and he was inactive in Week 4. Coach Mike Smith has indicated that the imaging of Douglas’ foot came back negative, per the Falcons’ official website. Nevertheless, Douglas will be inactive in Week 5.
Mike Evans suffered a groin strain in Week 4. According to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports, Evans is expected to be out for two to three weeks total. The Buccaneers’ bye week is in three weeks, so Evans will likely get that extra week of rest. He is officially listed as out for Week 6.
AJ Green popped up on the Bengals’ injury report on Friday due to a toe injury. Green has been dealing with a chronic toe injury since the preseason. He has been managing his toe injury well since Week 2, when he had to leave the game early. Green was a limited participant in Friday’s practice. He is listed as probable for Week 5. He is expected to play on Sunday.
Andre Johnson left last Sunday’s game temporarily due to an ankle injury. Johnson felt a pop in his ankle, left the game to be evaluated, and returned to finish the contest. Johnson likely suffered a sprain. The symptoms for that sort of injury can be at its worst 24-48 hours after the initial onset: inflammation and stiffness worsen throughout that time.
Johnson did not practice on Wednesday. He then was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice, and sat out of Friday’s practice. His reduced participation in practices throughout the week is an indication he exacerbated his symptoms. He has been downgraded to questionable for Sunday’s game. Luckily for his fantasy owners, Johnson plays in an early game on Sunday. His owners should be sure to check his status prior to kickoff.
Calvin Johnson continues to be on the Lions’ injury report with an ankle injury. He played in Week 4 with the injury, but he was mainly a decoy. During that game, he primarily blocked and ran routes at submaximal speeds. This week, he did not participate in Wednesday and Thursday’s practices, and he was a limited participant in Friday’s practice. Despite coach Jim Caldwell’s comments suggesting Johnson could be sat for the week, it is more likely that Johnson will play on Sunday.
At this time, the most likely scenario for this Sunday’s game is Johnson will be active at less than 100 percent health. Johnson has a history of playing at an elite level despite being on the injury report. He also has a history of being active in games while injured, and then simply being a decoy for the opposing defense. It is difficult to predict which outcome will arise on Sunday. Nevertheless, his fantasy owners should start him if he is active. His upside far outweighs his downside. His owners need to check his status prior to kickoff.
Marqise Lee was inactive in Week 4 due to a lingering hamstring injury, and he is now officially listed as out for Week 5.
Jeremy Maclin is on the Eagles’ injury report with a hamstring injury. He practiced fully all week, and he is listed as probable for Sunday’s game. He is expected to play without any limitations.
Brandon Marshall has been dealing with a lingering ankle injury for the past three weeks. Luckily for his fantasy owners, he has recently turned the corner. He was a full participant in each of this week’s practices, and he is listed as probable for Sunday’s game. Marshall is a top-10 WR for Week 5.
Cecil Shorts left last Sunday’s game due to suffering another hamstring strain. He will be inactive in Week 5.
Golden Tate suffered an apparently mild hamstring strain during practice this week. He was a limited participant in Thursday and Friday’s practices. Because he is listed as probable for Sunday’s game, the Lions are not concerned about his availability. Therefore, his fantasy owners should also not be concerned.
Vernon Davis was inactive in Week 3 due to a sprained deltoid ligament in his ankle. He returned to play in Week 4, and he received a big hit to his back during the game. After the game, it was announce that the x-ray of his back was negative, and he was suffering from a muscle spasm. As former Marshawn Lynch owners may recall, back spasms can be sporadic and troublesome.
Davis did not participate in any practices this week, and he is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Unfortunately for his fantasy owners, he plays in a late game on Sunday. Any of his owners that do not have a viable replacement for Davis in the later games are advised to start another tight end during the early games. However, his owners that do have a viable replacement should hold tight and check Davis’s status prior to kickoff. He is a game-time decision.
Joseph Fauria was inactive in Week 4 due to a sprained ankle. As reported by Michael Rothstein of ESPN, in slapstick fashion, Fauria injured his ankle while chasing his puppy. He is officially listed as out for Week 5.
Ladarius Green was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game due to a hamstring injury, and he ended up playing. Unfortunately for his fantasy owners, he did not record a single reception in the game. He is probable to play in Week 5, but his fantasy value is red lining for the time being.
Niles Paul suffered a concussion in Week 4. He returned to practice on Tuesday, and he completed his first full practice since the injury on Friday. He has officially been cleared to play, and he is expected to play on Monday.
Jordan Reed has been recovering from a relatively severe grade II hamstring strain. He has missed three weeks of play due to this injury. He has only been able to practice in a limited capacity throughout this week, and he has yet to run at full speed. He also did not participate in Saturday’s practice. All signs indicate he will be inactive for Monday’s game. Luckily for Washington, at least Niles Paul will be active at the tight end position.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins missed Week 2 and Week 3 with an ankle injury. He was a limited participant in Thursday and Friday’s practices. He is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. His fantasy owners should check his status prior to kickoff.
Jared Allen was inactive in Week 4 due to pneumonia. He practiced fully on Friday, and he is expected to play on Sunday against the Panthers.
Jeremiah Ratliff left Week 2 with a concussion, and he did not play in Week 3 or 4. He has yet to complete the NFL concussion protocol. He is out for Week 5.
Kyle Williams left the game early in Week 4 due to a knee injury. He is doubtful for Week 5.
Nigel Bradham left Sunday’s game early due to a knee injury. He is doubtful for Week 5.
Bruce Carter suffered a quadriceps strain in Week 4. He will likely be out 2-4 weeks. He is doubtful for Week 5.
Thomas Davis was inactive in Week 4 due to a hip injury, and he will also be inactive in Week 5.
Jerrell Freeman was inactive in Week 4 due to a hamstring injury. He was a full participant in Friday’s practice. He is expected to play on Sunday.
Koa Misi was inactive for Sunday’s game against the Raiders due to a lingering ankle injury. He has the bye week to continue healing and rehabbing the ankle.
Nick Roach has missed the past three games due to a concussion. He will also miss Week 5. We will be inactive for Sunday’s game.
Ryan Shazier suffered a MCL (knee) sprain in Week 3, according to Kevin Patra of NFL.com. He was inactive in Week 4. It is believed to be a minor sprain. He will likely be out two-to-four weeks total. He is out for Week 5.
Eric Berry suffered a severe left ankle sprain in Week 2. He was inactive in Week 3 and Week 4. He will also be inactive in Week 5.
Jairus Byrd tore the lateral meniscus in his knee during Thursday’s practice. The Saints have placed him on their IR. Byrd is out for the rest of the season.
Morris Claiborne suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee during Week 4. He will be out for the rest of the season.
Calvin Pryor left Sunday’s game early due to a thigh injury. He is probable for Week 5.
Shareece Wright suffered a knee injury in Week 4. He is out for Week 5.