The Training Room: Week 15 Injury Updates
Congrats to those who have LeVeon Bell on their teams, as the running back might've single handedly put you into the next round of the fantasy playoffs. Duds were plentiful in Week 14, as injuries to Melvin Gordon, Matt Forte, Donte Moncrief, and others cost fantasy owners an opportunity to at least be competitive in their bid to advance. That's how the fantasy football goes, though. Many teams are still firmly entrenched in the playoff hunt, which means that the likelihood of players being rested at this point very low, which helps when making decisions about players for Week 15. Let's check out the injuries for this week to determine whether or not you've got a good shot to get to the title game, or if you're going to need to hope for a miracle and some upside to get there.
On The Mend
A.J. Green (Strained Hamstring): Green is scheduled to practice this week, but how much he practices will be a telling sign as to whether or not the Bengals are seriously considering him to play. Projection: Starts Week 15. I'm just as surprised as you guys currently reading this. I didn't think there was a chance Green would return this season, but not everything is as it seems. Severity of strains can always vary depending on how much pain the athlete is in. I would expect the Bengals to possibly limit the amount of Green's snaps, but I would expect them to get him involved like they normally do.
Adrian Peterson (Meniscal Repair): Peterson returned to practice and was activated off I.R., giving him a three-week window to possibly return from his meniscal repair. Barring any setbacks, there's a possibility Peterson will return to game action next week. Projection: Misses Week 15. Peterson continues to defy the odds of healing and returns from injuries faster than I've anyone seen before. Those who are still in the hunt should consider picking him up if he is somehow on your waiver wire.
Julio Jones (Turf Toe): Coach Quinn states that Jones is not dealing with turf toe, but rather a toe sprain. Regardless, is shaping up to be another game-time decision this upcoming weekend, as he likely won't practice much at all this week. Projection: Starts Week 15. Although Jones was inactive last weekend, there was an outside shot that he would play, so the chances of him suiting up this week are better. It is good news that he is not dealing with turf toe, but he is clearly still affected by the toe, so be sure to see how he is doing if he does return to practice at some point later this week.
Mohamed Sanu (Strained Groin): Sanu practiced in limited fashion on Wednesday, putting him in line to potentially return this weekend against the 49ers. Projection: Starts Week 15. Sanu's availability definitely will affect whether or not Julio returns, as they should have no trouble getting a win against the 49ers. If Sanu plays but Julio doesn't, I still like Taylor Gabriel as the main beneficiary of Julio not being available.
Chris Ivory (Strained Hamstring): Ivory remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, although he did return to practice in a limited fashion. He's considered day-to-day at this point, but is trending in the right direction. Projection: Active Week 15. Ivory will return to split reps with T.J. Yeldon, thus lowering his upside and ceiling. He's very tough to recommend confidently during the fantasy playoffs.
Allen Hurns (Strained Hamstring): Hurns remains week-to-week and has yet to return to practice after sustaining a hamstring injury. There's a possibility that he does return to practice this week, but again the Jaguars do not have much to play for, so I don't see the Jaguars rushing players back, especially if they aren't full 100% yet. Projection: Misses Week 15. Marqise Lee saw more opportunities last week with Hurns sidelined, so he could be a sneaky pickup, although the Jaguars are facing a Houston defense ranked in the top 10 against wide receivers.
Adam Humphries (Concussion): Humphries was able to get in limited practices late last week which puts him on track to play this Sunday against the Cowboys if he's cleared through the concussion protocol. Projection: Starts Week 15. The Cowboys will make a concerted effort to try and shut down Mike Evans, so Humphries and Cameron Brate could be direct beneficiaries.
The Training Room
Bottom Line: Rodgers hurt his calf on the third play of the game, but was able to play through it. He's considered day-to-day, but there aren't many concerns as to whether or not he'll be available for Week 15 against the Bears.
Projection: Starts Week 15. Rodgers will likely miss time at practice this week to rest up the soft tissue ailments he's currently experiencing. Rodgers' mobility may be limited. He is likely to stay in the pocket so he doesn't re-aggravate the calf or hamstring injuries, but will be a solid play against the Bears.
Bottom Line: Tannehill took a low hit from Calais Campbell in the third quarter, and although he was able to remove himself from the game, he did not return. The initial concern is that Tannehill is dealing with a sprained ACL/MCL, but he is seeking a second opinion to make sure he will not require surgery for his knee.
Projection: Misses rest of regular season. We are still waiting on more concrete news on Tannehill's knee and whether or not surgery is an option for him, although it's sounding more and more likely he won't need one. However, the Dolphins will likely proceed with caution with the future in mind so the likelihood Tannehill plays again this season is not very high.
Bottom Line: Moncrief left Sunday's game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. He had been dealing with hamstring discomfort over the past few weeks and may have re-aggravated the injury.
Proejction: Misses 2-3 games. The Colts signing Devin Street off their practice squad could be an indication that Moncrief's hamstring is a concern not only for this week, but potentially longer. Hamstring strains are usually multi-week injuries, so the likelihood Moncrief is available again for the fantasy playoffs is currently up in the air.
Bottom Line: Forte was ruled out of this past Sunday's game against the 49ers early in the contest. He did not return and later stated he was feeling cracking and popping in his knee, which prompted him to get checked out by the training staff on the sideline. Forte had an MRI on Monday which revealed a torn meniscus. He was able to practice on a limited basis on Thursday.
Projection: Misses one game. With one less day to recover for a Saturday game, Forte is likely to be a game time decision that will ultimately come down to how his knee feels as he goes through warm-ups. Bilal Powell had a great game last week against a weak 49ers defense, and although there's still a chance Forte suits up this week, Powell is a must-add in leagues where he is still available.
Bottom Line: Gordon was ruled out quickly after suffering a hip/knee injury this past weekend against the Panthers. Although early reports had Gordon's hip being a significant injury, he seems to have avoided any major issues and is dealing with a sprained hip and knee.
Projection: Misses 1-2 games. Even though Gordon is considered week-to-week, he's unlikely to play this week and very questionable to play even Week 16. There's an outside chance he returns this season, but the Chargers will likely play it safe with him.
Bottom Line: Stafford suffered the finger dislocation in the first quarter of this past Sunday's game against the Bears. He had the finger worked on and wore a glove the rest of the game and complete the game without issues. He's day-to-day, but all signs point to him playing.
Projection: Starts Week 15. Stafford will get the nod this weekend despite the injury to finger on his throwing hand. He'll wear a glove and possibly some padding around the finger to help protect it, but should be fine for Week 15.
Bottom Line: Sproles took a big hit on a punt return in the fourth quarter against the Redskins, with Coach Gruden later confirming that Sproles was placed in the concussion protocol.
Projection: Misses one game. As stated before here in this column, length of time to return from a concussion is a little over a week, so Sproles will likely be available Week 16 after he passes through the concussion protocol.
Bottom Line: Cook missed the second half of the game against the Seahawks due to the injury. He is considered day-to-day currently, but there doesn't seem to be significant concern about his health status heading into Week 15.
Projection: Starts Week 15. Cook has been too inconsistent to trust as Rodgers does spread the ball around to so many different targets each week. He is not someone I would want in my fantasy playoff lineup. Possible Production Dropoff: ~37%. This is the historical average of a 10-game sample where a TE was considered either probable or questionable/doubtful with a chest injury. Cook has been way too volatile this season to feel confident in and I would look elsewhere.