Did you make it?
Things get crazy now that it’s the fantasy playoffs. Some teams feel the pressure, and some can let it go, throwing the fantasy equivalent of a Hail Mary in hopes that they can sneak past a juggernaut.
Context is everything, which means that injuries not only have to be known but understood. We’ll be talking about Carson Palmer, Dennis Pitta, Reggie Bush and more today.
Welcome to Week 14 of the Sunday Morning Med Check with Will Carroll and Tyler Brooke, where we give you all of the latest news on injured players heading into the early afternoon games. We’ll be working the phones and checking with sources for any news we can find to make sure your team is ready to win this week.
Will is going to be your injury consultant, working the phones to find out what he can about players and their current status. Meanwhile, Tyler will be checking in on other sources to give you the latest news provided by local beat writers and NFL insiders.
Remember, inactive lists come out 90 minutes before game time. We’ll discuss the big ones, but for a complete list, check out NFL.com.
We’ll also be answering any fantasy football questions you may have. Be sure to tweet Tyler (@TylerDBrooke) and/or Will (@injuryexpert) using #BRFantasy, and we will answer your questions on the live blog. Also be sure to watch Fantasy Live starting at noon Eastern for even more help with your lineup.
Let’s get started!
That’s going to do it today for the Sunday Morning Med Check. Thanks for sticking with us, reading all morning and asking plenty of great questions. Make sure to set your lineups before that deadline, and best of luck in the playoffs.
— scott duda (@scottduda) December 8, 2013
With Reggie Bush possibly out after getting re-injured during warmups, I think Joique Bell could have a big game. He’ll possibly be the go-to guy, and in the snow, he could get a ton of carries. -TB
— Asif Deen (@deenasif) December 8, 2013
Not a big fan of either option, but I really dislike starting a fullback who is forced to play running back against the New York Jets. Nate Burleson had a nice game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and even though he was shut down against the Green Bay Packers, he should have another game more like the former going against the Philadelphia Eagles. -TB
97.1 sideline reporter @ajortiz3 said Bush may have re-aggravated calf injury. Slipped, slammed helmet down and was surrounded by trainers.
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) December 8, 2013
Big update right here. It appears that Reggie Bush might have re-aggravated his calf injury during warmups in the snowy weather. That’s not a good sign if he intends to play, so plan on adjusting accordingly. -TB
@injuryexpert nicks or Andre Holmes? Sproles or Donald brown?
— Jamon Hernandez (@Jamon_Hernandez) December 8, 2013
I don’t trust any player for the Oakland Raiders this week, so I’m taking Hakeem Nicks in the first one. For the second, Darren Sproles is the pick with higher upside, so go with him. Donald Brown has looked good at times, but the odds of him having a huge game are incredibly small, especially against the Cincinnati Bengals. -TB
@injuryexpert ur thoughts bench Gordon for A.Morris for my flex? My other Wr’s are B.Marshall & D.Thomas
— Jesse T. Martinez (@JesseTMartinez1) December 8, 2013
Even in a matchup against the New England Patriots, Josh Gordon is simply a must-start player. Over the past three games, Gordon has caught 29 passes for 623 yards and four touchdowns.
Regardless of who his quarterback is, Gordon just keeps making big plays. He’s having an incredible season, and I expect that to continue throughout the rest of the season. -TB
Austin Collie active today for Pats. I hadn’t even realized he re-signed. No Thompkins or Dobson for Pats.
— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) December 8, 2013
Interesting note by Will, as Austin Collie, who recently re-signed with the New England Patriots, is active today. Both Thompkins and Dobson are inactive, so that could give Collie a chance to get on the field, although he’s probably not a legitimate fantasy option. -TB
There’s very little information on Delanie Walker heading into the late afternoon game for the Tennessee Titans. The team has been pretty quiet, and that’s not a good sign for him after suffering a concussion last week against the Indianapolis Colts.
If he’s your starting tight end, it’s probably smart to grab a backup for one of the later games. There’s still a chance that he plays, but we will see if he’s on the inactive list 90 minutes before kickoff. If he’s inactive, make sure to have a Plan B. -TB
@injuryexpert koo last 1. Flex. Sproles. Tolbert or T. Underwood?
— A$AP Maine (@__DallasSmith2) December 8, 2013
Since it’s the playoffs, I’d personally go with Darren Sproles. Since he’s in the flex spot, you can afford to play a guy that’s high-risk, high-reward. The Carolina Panthers may have one of the best defenses in the league, but Sproles could still find ways to get into the end zone. -TB
Sources tell me that Aaron Rodgers is pushing hard for a Week 15 return, regardless of how the Packers do today. The last scan, does Tuesday, was not the last image. There’s a difference between a CT scan, which gives a better view, and an x-ray, which can be easily done and compared. Rodgers has had more of the latter, but will have another CT on Monday or Tuesday. The expectation is that he’ll be given clearance for more practice and even contact, but that a game decision won’t come until late in the week.
Jordan Reed to miss third consecutive game Sunday against Chiefs; Brandon Meriweather, Darrel Young also out: http://t.co/iCTiF8z3h0
— Zac Boyer (@ZacBoyer) December 8, 2013
It seems like Jordan Reed still isn’t ready to go, as he will miss his third straight game after suffering a concussion. He showed some real promise this season, but this is a big concern for the young tight end. -TB
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 8, 2013
After being a healthy scratch last week due to “fumbleitis”, New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley is active today against the Cleveland Browns. He’s a risky fantasy start this week, mostly because it’s unclear how big his role will be in the offense. -TB
Reggie Bush and Chris Houston will both play and start today. Inactives: Slay, Moore, Greenwood, Leshoure, Austin, Harris and Hilliard
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) December 8, 2013
Reggie Bush will be playing today. The Philadelphia Eagles don’t have the strongest defense, so even if Bush is limited in this game, he’s still worth starting. -TB
The Raiders haven’t made it official, but multiple reports say that Rashad Jennings is out today. That means Marcel Reese will get the start and the touches, though it’s hard to say he should be anything other than a desperation flex for any playoff team. Actually, it’s hard to start any Raider today or going forward.
— Shane Chojnacki (@ShaneInYaFace) December 8, 2013
For the first one, go with Vincent Jackson. We just heard that he’s good to go, and he’s the team’s No. 1 option. Considering how well Mike Glennon has played this year, I expect him to find Jackson more than a few times.
We still haven’t heard anything on Jordan Reed, and I don’t think that’s a good sign for the young tight end. Go with Martellus Bennett at tight end, considering the Cowboys have one of the worst pass defenses in the league. -TB
WR Vincent Jackson (hamstring) is a GO for the Bucs today.
— Roy Cummings (@RCummingsTBO) December 8, 2013
It looks like Vincent Jackson is good to go today against the Buffalo Bills. That’s big news for fantasy owners, and considering how well Mike Glennon and Jackson have played lately, the star receiver should be starting in all leagues. -TB
For those asking about #Raiders RB Rashad Jennings, source says he’s OUT with a concussion. Had been going trough the protocol
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 8, 2013
The reliable Ian Rapoport from NFL.com is reporting that Oakland Raiders running back Rashad Jennings won’t be playing today against the New York Jets. With all of their running backs hurt, it looks like fullback Marcel Reece will be starting in the backfield, but I wouldn’t consider starting him in any league, especially against that tough Jets run defense. -TB
Bones heal. That’s the key fact you have to know for Dennis Pitta. Pitta’s unusual hip fracture (which could also be defined as a pelvis fracture) has healed up, helped by the surgical fixation. He’s now been activated and after showing that the hip is functional in practice, he’ll play today.
Don’t expect too much. While Pitta is a nice target for Joe Flacco, he’s likely to get an “ease in” game as the medical staff keeps a close eye on him. The red zone is the big hope, but crossing routes and hard cuts are probably off the board. Thinking of his return like Michael Crabtree’s is probably optimistic. This is more like Percy Harvin a couple weeks back, hopefully without the post-game problems.
I would wait-and-see on Pitta this week, but he’s a good hold. There is some upside for him this week and 7/8 seed hopers might need to roll the dice.
One of the biggest game time decisions today is Delanie Walker of the Titans. He suffered a nasty looking concussion last week against the Colts and it wasn’t clear whether or not he’d been cleared to play as of Saturday. Mike Munchak and the medical staff will put Walker through pre-game paces, which indicates that he has been cleared, but doesn’t clear up whether or not he’ll play. Is that clear?
Walker has a tough matchup but has been a big target for Ryan Fitzpatrick since Jake Locker’s injury. The late start is a killer. My advice is to lay off Walker today, but if you’re going to wait, you have to have some sort of Plan B TE at the ready. Jacob Tamme or Jared Cook are the best reasonable options who aren’t well owned in most leagues.
— Jake Raz (@jrazz89) December 8, 2013
Both quarterbacks have had great seasons, but Nick Foles is the hottest QB in the league right now. He’s thrown 19 touchdowns and had zero interceptions this season, lighting up one of the toughest secondaries in the NFL in the Arizona Cardinals.
The Detroit Lions struggle against the pass, so expect yet another big fantasy performances from Foles. -TB
@injuryexpert Harry Douglas or Michael Floyd today?
— Linny Vama (@vlams) December 8, 2013
While I would normally go with Michael Floyd in this situation, the fact that Carson Palmer is dealing with an elbow injury and they’re going against the St. Louis Rams, I like the matchup between Harry Douglas and the secondary for the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers are struggling mightily on defense recently, and Douglas has been targeted at least 10 times in each of the last three games. I expect that pattern to continue, and for him to have a big day. -TB
There’s a benefit to doing three sports sometimes. If you’re a Pacers or NBA fan, this Reggie Bush calf strain is going to sound familiar to you. Danny Granger is dealing with the same issue for the same reasons. Both Bush and Granger have degenerative knee problems. There’s not much cushion left in there, which makes keeping them productive a matter of maintenance. Any small change can throw the whole thing off.
For Bush and Granger, the acute issue is a minor calf strain. Bush will be able to play, but the Lions are watching his gait closely. Any minor change there could result in more or at least different stresses on the knee. Expect Bush to get a few less touches and to be more involved in the passing game, allowing him to get in space and not require much pushing. Joique Bell becomes a solid flex play off that, even against a tough Eagles front.
Sometimes doing two sports gives a unique perspective. In baseball, Tommy John surgery is all too common. In football, it’s rare, with only a handful of QBs having undergone the procedure. Without explaining the differences, any injury to Carson Palmer’s throwing elbow is a huge fantasy concern.
While Palmer isn’t a top tier fantasy option, he’s given Larry Fitzgerald the “good enough” arm he needed to work well in Bruce Arians’ offense. Palmer sprained his elbow last week, but it does appear he’ll play today. The concern is whether or not the soreness and inflammation will prevent him from finding Fitzgerald.
The sprain is minor, according to sources, but Palmer missed nearly an entire season with a previous sprain. That means that the ligament is scarred and slightly weaker than a normal, healthy ligament to begin with. It doesn’t take a full thickness tear to weaken the ligament either. Most surgeons will recommend surgery and replacement with just a one-third tear.
Watch to see if Palmer has normal velocity and control. Passes in warmups won’t be full-go, but look to see that he’s throwing even those on a line and that receivers aren’t leaning or reaching. I expect Palmer to be good enough, but to avoid taxing the ligament with deep balls or hard, deep outs.