The life of an NFL superstar comes with the side effect of pain. Bumps and bruises pile up—especially here in Week 15. Reggie Bush, Eddie Lacy and other top fantasy stars are dealing with nagging injuries heading into the games.
It can be tough to know who’s worth starting and who needs to sit.
However, given the information at hand regarding their injury status and a look at the matchups, owners can be confident about making a decision.
So, who should you start and who should you bench?
Start: Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy gutted through a painful ankle injury in Week 14 against the Atlanta Falcons. After the game, he admitted to Paul Imig of Fox Sports Wisconsin that his ankle slowed him down.
“I definitely couldn’t push off of it as much as I wanted to. I could feel it whenever I ran and, if I was healthy, I could have broken a couple of tackles. But I couldn’t because I couldn’t push off,” he said.
Still, despite the painful injury, Lacy totaled 90 yards and one touchdown, making fantasy owners happy with a 14-point performance.
Though the team’s website indicates that he has yet to practice this week, ESPNWisconsin.com’s Jason Wilde reported that Lacy should be ready to go.
More McCarthy on Eddie Lacy: “The medical staff feels confident he’ll be ready to go.” #Packers
— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) December 12, 2013
The matchup in Week 15 is a dream for Lacy. Green Bay will be in Dallas to take on the Cowboys, and no team in the league gives up more fantasy points to running backs.
Projected Stats: 120 total yards, 2 TDs.
Sit: Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions
Reggie Bush had planned to play in Week 14, but a slip-up during warm-ups caused him to aggravate a calf injury and forced him to watch from the sideline.
Like Lacy, Bush hadn’t practiced as of Thursday. Also like Lacy, Bush is expected to play in Week 15. Tim Twentyman of the Lions reports that Bush will practice on Friday and the running back “feels good”:
Reggie Bush said he’ll practice tomorrow and today was just precautionary. Says he feels good.
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) December 12, 2013
Baltimore’s defense isn’t kind to running backs, though. It comes into the game as the No. 4-ranked defense against fantasy running backs, allowing just 11.8 points per game.
Bush recently struggled against other top teams, scoring just three and nine points against Pittsburgh (Week 11) and Tampa Bay (Week 12), respectively. His struggles will continue against Baltimore in Week 15.
Projected Stats: 80 total yards, 0 TDs.
Start: Tony Gonzalez, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Tony Gonzalez has been dealing with a painful toe injury for a few weeks, but he’s played through the pain and caught a touchdown pass in his last two games.
Not bad for a 37-year-old former basketball star, eh?
As usual, the veteran hasn’t been a full participant during practice, but there’s no way Gonzalez is going to miss the game. Jay Adams of AtlantaFalcoms.com reports that head coach Mike Smith expects his star to play as much as humanly possible during the final three games of the season.
Tony wants to savor every snap that he has left. We know that he has a finite number of snaps left in this season now that we know there’s just three more games, there’s no postseason. Tony wants to play as many snaps as he can. He gives us the best chance to win when he’s in there, so I would imagine Tony’s going to play a lot of games these past three games.
— Atlanta_Falcons (@Atlanta_Falcons) December 9, 2013
Gonzalez’s quest for a strong finish will be granted, at least for one week, when the Falcons take on Washington in Week 15.
Washington is a wreck in general. Mike Shanahan appears to be on his way out after leading his team to a 3-10 record and the team’s defense has been in shambles all season long. Tight ends typically have a field day against this unit, which ranks No. 26 in the NFL.
Projected Stats: 7 catches, 95 yards, 1 TD.
Sit: Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Hamstring injuries are tricky—at best.
ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas reports that Tampa Bay’s star receiver, Vincent Jackson, has been limited during practice with a hamstring injury as the Buccaneers prepare to take on the San Francisco 49ers in Week 15.
Injury update: Vincent Jackson limited http://t.co/YaejKHe8Nj
— ESPN NFL Nation (@ESPN_NFLNation) December 12, 2013
It’s been a rough three-game stretch for the talented receiver while dealing with this nagging injury, as he’s caught just eight passes for 206 yards and one touchdown.
The 49ers don’t exactly represent the kind of sparkling opportunity for a big turnaround. San Francisco features the No. 6-ranked defense against fantasy wide receivers, allowing just 15.7 points per game.
Projected Stats: 4 catches, 60 yards, 0 TDs.
All fantasy stats and information courtesy of ESPN.com.
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