The Training Room: Week 14 Injury Updates
Week 14 marks the start of fantasy playoffs for most owners! It's an exciting, yet very stressful and anxious time, as everything rides on just trying to advance. The overanalyzing, reading every piece of content you can find, and being nervous waiting for your players to produce can be overwhelming at times, but that's what makes fantasy football so much fun. The key is to remember to play your studs and trust the rankings, which speak for themselves. We're onto a different week, but injuries continue to pile up. Let's discuss the players returning from injury and those who could possibly miss the first round of the fantasy playoffs.
On The Mend
A.J. Green (Strained Hamstring): Green remains week-to-week and is unlikely to suit up this weekend. He'll need to get in some sort of practice in order for the Bengals to feel comfortable using him, and I'm not sure he's there yet. Projection: Misses Week 14. Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd will continue to see the targets that Green was seeing so if they are available in your league, it might not be a bad idea to pick them up.
Robert Griffin III (Fractured Coracoid Process): Griffin has been practicing in full, and with the Browns coming off a bye, there's a good chance that Griffin makes a few more starts this year. Projection: Starts Week 14. Griffin could get an extended look over the last few games because his exit so early in the season limited the ability of the Browns' front office to determine if he is a long term option.
Cody Kessler (Concussion): Kessler has been cleared to return to practice and should be a full participant this week. Projection: Active Week 14. With RGIII now healthy again, Kessler could take a back seat to Griffin to let the Browns evaluate what they have in him. Kessler won't be an option for the fantasy playoffs.
Jeremy Maclin (Strained Groin): Maclin has been participating in practice this week, which tentatively puts him on track to play on Thursday night. However, there's a good chance he ends up a game-time decision, as the Chiefs will be cautious in order to avoid another setback. Projection: Starts Week 14. Maclin could be on a limited snap count as he works his way back to full strength, so he makes for a risky play, especially in a very conservative offense.
Trevor Siemian (Sprained Foot): Siemian is out of the walking boot that he was in last week, which is an encouraging sign that he's progressing with his foot pain. He still remains day-to-day, so keep an eye on his status for this weekend's game against the Titans. Projection: Starts Week 14. Paxton Lynch has looked like a rookie in the two games he's played, so the Broncos will hope that Siemian will be ready come Sunday. There's a chance Siemian ends up being a game-time decision, but it is sounding like he'll try and play through some of the discomfort. I'm sure there are much better options out there, so Siemian would be a desperate play for the fantasy playoffs.
Ryan Mathews (Sprained MCL): Mathews returned to practice which puts him tentatively on track to play Sunday. He'll likely be listed questionable for the game, but barring any setbacks, he should be ready to return. Projection: Starts Week 14. The Eagles backfield is one to avoid as the distribution is all over the place, but if Mathews does return, he probably has the most upside to get in the end zone compared to Darren Sproles or Wendell Smallwood.
Robert Woods (Sprained MCL): Woods returned to a limited practice on Wednesday, which could put him in line to return this weekend barring setbacks. Projection: Starts Week 14. Woods could see limited snaps as he returns from the knee injury, but ultimately he's not a great option for fantasy playoffs.
Jordan Reed (Sprained AC Joint): Reed has not practice at all since injuring his shoulder on Thanksgiving day. Although Reed likely won't need much practice participation in order to play in a game, seeing him participate in any fashion would be an encouraging sign. He's still week-to-week at this point. Projection: Misses Week 14. Reed has struggled with injuries in the past when it comes to length of time it takes to return, so there's a good chance he misses the first week of fantasy playoffs.
Chris Ivory (Strained Hamstring): Ivory missed practice all week last week due to the hamstring injury. He'll remain week-to-week until we see any change in his practice status. Projection: Misses Week 14. Like Reed, Ivory has been one to struggle with recovering from soft tissue injuries, so I'm not sold that two weeks is all it's going to take for him to come back.
Allen Hurns (Strained Hamstring): Hurns didn't practice at all last week due to a hamstring injury he is dealing with, so he remains week-to-week as well. Projection: Misses Week 14. The Jaguars have nothing to play for in a lost season, so I see no reason to rush their players back on the field if they aren't full healthy.
Jordan Matthews (Sprained Ankle): Matthews was a limited participant in practice last Thursday before being held out last Friday due to soreness. He practiced on Wednesday, so that puts him on track to play this upcoming weekend barring any setbacks. Projection: Starts Week 14. The Eagles struggled to get much from their wide receivers last week, so Matthews should be a welcome addition for Carson Wentz and the offense.
The Training Room
Bottom Line: Jones came in and out of the game due to a foot or ankle issue during the game, with it later being revealed that Jones was dealing with a turf toe injury. Jones is considered day-to-day and has stated that he'll be fine to go Week 14.
Projection: Starts Week 14. Jones has been banged up on a pretty regular basis this year, but he still shows up every week and plays through it. There is some risk as turf toe injuries can be very limiting depending on the amount of pain the athlete is experiencing, but you're starting him if he's active. Possible Production Dropoff: ~30%. Jones has still been very effective in the games that he's played through injuries, but turf toe injuries are at risk for in game aggravations, so make sure you keep a close eye on his status for this weekend.
Bottom Line: There was no indication as to when Crowder suffered the injury as he played the entire game, but reports after the game state that Crowder was dealing with hip pointer.
Projection: Starts Week 14. Crowder will likely be limited in practice this week as hip pointers can be very uncomfortable and painful after the injury, but hopefully he should be able to suit up this weekend against the Eagles. Possible Production Dropoff: ~7%. I would be cautious looking at the dropoff, as the severity of Crowder's hip pointer could limit him more than we think.
Bottom Line: Washington left Sunday's game against the Saints with a left ankle injury and did not return. There have been reports stating that Washington's ankle injury is considered serious, but that he did not suffer a high ankle sprain.
Projection: Misses 2-4 games. Washington has been ineffective with the opportunities that he's had when he's been healthy, unfortunately he hasn't been healthy long enough to see what type of impact he could have. His injury is looking like a multi-week injury, and with the Lions signing Joique Bell, Washington is completely off the fantasy radar for the rest of the season.
Bottom Line: Miller landed on his right shoulder in the second quarter against the Packers and did not return. He is considered day-to-day currently with no concrete information as to what injury he is dealing with.
Projection: Misses 1-3 games. It sounds like Miller is dealing with some type of sprained AC joint, but he also does have a history of labral issues in that shoulder as well, so we'll keep tabs on what injury he's specifically dealing with when we get more information. For now, it sounds like Miller could potentially miss at least one game, if not more, depending on how severe the injury is, which puts Will Fuller back in the mix when it comes to target share.
Bottom Line: Sanu suffered the groin injury late in Sunday's game against the Chiefs and did not return. Coach Quinn did state that there might be a chance that Sanu practices on Thursday, but he declined to comment any further on the matter.
Projection: Misses Week 14. Groin strains are difficult to return from as a skilled position player so the constant cutting and change of direction puts a lot of stress on that tissue. With Julio Jones also banged up, the Falcons could turn to using more Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman out of the backfield, as well as Taylor Gabriel out wide.
Bottom Line: Humphries sustained a head injury in the second quarter of Sunday's game against the Chiefs and did not return. He has been placed in the league's concussion protocol and will need to be cleared before being eligible to play this Sunday against the Saints.
Projection: Misses Week 14. There has been a little longer wait with regards to concussions and return to play this year, which could be a product of the medical team catching them earlier, but also pressure from the league to recognize the importance of making sure they are 100% before being cleared. Humphries would have a great matchup against the Saints this week, but he'll be up against the clock to determine if he can suit up for Sunday.