Fantasy Injury Ward – Week 5
Dr. Dave Pratt breaks down injuries of notable fantasy football players heading into Week 5 of the Regular Season.
Fantasy Injury Ward – Week 5
Heading into Week 5, the injury report is filled with marquee fantasy players who are suffering from lingering ankle injuries. It is also filled with the usual suspects of the chronically injured: Cecil Shorts, Vernon Davis, and DeAngelo Williams, just to name a few. However, the injury headlines of the week go to two young-starting quarterbacks who were knocked out of their games on Sunday.
Teddy Bridgewater suffered an ankle sprain during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game. 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 one to three weeks of recovery time. Bridgewater didn’t participate in Monday’s practice. Coach Mike Zimmer said that he’s “hopeful” that Bridgewater will be able to play in Thursday’s game against the Packers.
As for his fantasy value in Week 5, if Bridgewater doesn’t recover enough by Tuesday to at least be a limited participant in practice, he will be entering Thursday night’s game with almost no physical preparation. A rookie with little-to-no preparation is a recipe for disaster. Even a low-severity high ankle sprain can be exacerbated with early return to play. Bridgewater’s risk in fantasy far exceeds his upside in Week 5.
Derek Carr left Sunday’s game early with a knee and ankle injury. During the Raiders’ shellacking from the Dolphins, Carr awkwardly twisted and bent his left ankle and knee at the end of a scramble. During the play, 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 is consistent with a mechanism causing a high ankle sprain. The extreme valgus angle applied to the knee is consistent with a mechanism causing an MCL tear or sprain. At this time, Carr is believed to have suffered both a MCL sprain of the left knee and a left high ankle sprain. The severity of the injuries will be unknown until an MRI is conducted. If both of the injuries are mild to moderate in severity, he could only miss 2-4 weeks. If either injury is more severe, he could be out for longer than a month.
Robert Griffin III suffered an apparent dislocation of the subtalar joint during Week 2. As of last week, he had his hard cast replaced with a walking boot. He will now need to rehabilitate his ankle for the next four to six weeks, as reported by the Washington Times’ Zac Boyer.
Jake Locker sprained his right wrist in Week 3. Last week, he did not practice until Friday, when he was a limited participant. Locker was rested on Monday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt expects him to practice on Wednesday, per John Glennon of The Tennessean. Locker is still questionable for Sunday’s game against Cleveland. More will be known throughout the week regarding his status for Week 5.
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—which will be determined in the coming days—it could take McCown upward of four months to return to play. However, it is just speculation that McCown tore his UCL. He is still questionable for Week 5, and more will be known regarding his status in the coming days.
Carson Palmer was out for Week 3 due to a nerve injury in his throwing arm. Drew Stanton has been the starting quarterback in his stead. Palmer’s exact diagnosis is unknown. However, his reported symptoms and mechanism of injury are consistent with chronic burner syndrome. Due to the time he has already missed, he likely has a more severe peripheral nerve injury (grade II or III). A grade-II injury consists of motor weakness that lasts for longer than two weeks. Typically 80 to 90 percent of the cases recover by six weeks. A grade-III injury consists of extremity weakness that lasts longer than one year, and could involve permanent motor weakness. Therefore, the longer the time he misses, the less optimistic his fantasy owners should be with his value for the rest of the season.
Last week, during the Cardinals’ bye week, Palmer sounded confident that he would be ready to play in Week 5. However, he now sounds less optimistic. Coach Bruce Arians echoed the same amount of concern regarding Palmer’s Week 5 status, and said it will come down to his performance in Wednesday and Thursday’s practices. Palmer is questionable for Week 5.
Joique Bell suffered a concussion in Week 4. He will need to complete the league’s concussion protocol to be cleared to play in Week 5. He is questionable for Sunday’s matchup against the Bills.
Ahmad Bradshaw temporarily left 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 is probable for Sunday’s matchup against the Ravens.
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. He has looked good on the field recently. Following the Cardinals bye week, his legs should be fresh for Sunday’s matchup against the Broncos.
Arian Foster was inactive in Week 3 due to a hamstring injury. He was questionable all last week, but was able to play on Sunday. He had a heavy workload in the first half, but he never looked like he reached his top-end speed. He simply did not look like his normal-healthy self. In the second half of the game, Alfred Blue received most of the carries, and Foster was limited to passing downs.
Foster did not appear to have an exacerbation of his hamstring symptoms. Therefore, with another week removed from this injury’s onset—just one of the many hamstring injuries throughout his career—he is expected to look better in the Texans’ matchup against the Cowboys. He is questionable for Week 5, and his practice participation throughout the week will be a clear indication of his availability for Sunday.
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 clearer.
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 Friday’s practice, but he still looked significantly impaired. He will be re-evaluated this week. His status for Week 5 is questionable.
Ben Tate suffered a MCL sprain (knee) in Week 1. He returned to practice on Tuesday, which is a good sign for his availability for Sunday’s matchup against the Titans. His fantasy owners should monitor his practice participation throughout the week.
DeAngelo Williams was inactive in Week 3 due to a hamstring injury. Then, on Sunday, 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. The severity of his injury is unknown, but Williams believes he will miss “a few weeks.” He is doubtful for Week 5.
Donnie Avery left Monday’s game with a groin injury. The severity of the injury is unknown. He will likely miss two to four weeks. He is doubtful for Week 5.
Jarrett Boykin was inactive in Week 4 due to a knee and a groin injury. He did not practice on Tuesday, which does not bode well for his availability for Thursday’s game. He is day to day at this time.
Michael Crabtree left 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 normally 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. Crabtree’s recent injury is not a significant concern, but it is a reminder of his recent-significant history of foot injuries. He is probable for Week 5.
Eric Decker suffered a hamstring strain in Week 2. He played in Week 3 against the Bears, but he left the game early due to discomfort in his injured hamstring. He was expected to be limited in Week 4, but he instead had four receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown. He looked good running, and appears to have put the hamstring injury behind him. He is expected to play on Sunday.
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. Smith stated that he expects Douglas to be back at practice on Wednesday. Douglas is questionable for 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. The Buccaneers’ bye week is in three weeks, so Evans will likely get that extra week of rest.
Andre Johnson left 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 game. The symptoms for this sort of injury can be at its worst 24-48 hours after the initial onset: inflammation and stiffness can worsen throughout that time. Even though Johnson appears to be fine, it wouldn’t hurt for his fantasy owners to check his practice participation throughout the week. Nevertheless, Johnson is expected to play in Week 5.
Calvin Johnson was added to the injury report last week with an ankle injury. Johnson was questionable for Week 4 due to a sprained ankle. He ended up playing on Sunday, but he was mainly a decoy. He blocked and ran routes at submaximal speeds. He will have another week to rest and rehabilitate the injured ankle. His fantasy owners should monitor his practice participation throughout the week to gauge his Week 5 availability. He is probable to play in Sunday’s matchup against the Bills.
Marqise Lee was inactive in Week 4 due to a lingering hamstring injury. He is expected to return to practice later in the week. He will likely be inactive in Week 5.
Brandon Marshall has been dealing with an ankle injury for the past three weeks. He was able to play in Week 2—despite being limited in his ability to run and cut at game speed. Then, when he played in Week 3, his injury was exacerbated by a kick to that same ankle. In Week 4, he played at a limited capacity. We have not seen Marshall run at his normal high-end speed since the onset of this injury.
Marshall’s slow recovery is beginning to look inconsistent with a mild or moderate low ankle sprain. He may be suffering from a more severe low ankle sprain, or possibly from a mild high ankle sprain. He will have another week to rest and rehabilitate the ankle before play against Carolina on Sunday, so his fantasy owners should be optimistic. Even if he is not back to 100% health by Sunday—which he likely will not—he still has a good chance of scoring a touchdown or two, being that he is Jay Cutler’s favorite red-zone target. As of now, he is probable to play in Week 5.
Cecil Shorts left Sunday’s game early due to a muscle strain in his thigh. The Jaguars announced that they do not expect Shorts to be ready to play in Week 5. His fantasy value continues to be on the decline due to continued soft tissue injuries. He is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Steelers.
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. Nevertheless, as of now, Davis appears to be available for Week 5. His fantasy owners should monitor his practice participation throughout the week.
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 questionable 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. Because the Redskins’ next game is not until Monday, he has a chance of completing the NFL concussion protocol by that time. Nevertheless, his status for Week 5 is questionable.
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 recently told the media that he has a 50 percent chance of playing on Monday against the Seahawks. Regardless of what Reed says, his practice participation throughout the week will be the true indicator of his Week 5 availability. If he does not fully participate in consecutive practices this week, he will most certainly not play on Monday. He remains to be questionable for Week 5.
Jared Allen was inactive in Week 4 due to pneumonia. He is day to day at this time.
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 questionable for Week 5.
Sealver Siliga injured his foot in Week 3. On Saturday, he was placed on the Patriots’ IR with a designation to return.
Randy Starks was inactive in Week 4 due to a back injury. The Dolphins are on a bye this week, so Starks could be ready to return by the Dolphins’ next game in Week 6.
Kyle Williams left the game early in Week 4 due to a knee injury. He is questionable for Week 5.
Nigel Bradham left Sunday’s game early due to a knee injury. He is questionable for Week 5.
Bruce Carter suffered a quadriceps strain in Week 4. He will likely be out 2-4 weeks.
Thomas Davis was inactive in Week 4 due to a hip injury. He is day to day at this time.
Jerrell Freeman was inactive in Week 4 due to a hamstring injury. He is questionable for Week 5.
Brad Jones was inactive in Week 4 due to a quadriceps strain. He is day to day at this time.
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 is day to day at this time.
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 one-to-four weeks. He is questionable for Week 5.
Eric Berry suffered a severe left ankle sprain in Week 2. He was inactive in Week 3 and Week 4. He is questionable for Week 5.
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 questionable for Week 5.
Shareece Wright suffered a knee injury in Week 4. He is scheduled to have an MRI on knee early this week. He is questionable for Week 5.