The Training Room: Week 14 Injury Updates
The fantasy playoffs are upon us. This is what you've been working for all season! Grinding on the waiver wire, making trades, dropping players that have been underperforming and much more have gotten you to this point. If you're in the big dance, kudos to you!
With the fantasy playoffs here, this is not the time to get cute and start overhauling your lineup with crazy ideas. Start the guys who have gotten you to this point, and for the guys who are returning from injury, keep a close eye on their practice participation in hopes they are trending in the right direction to play. Those who are returning from multi-week injuries, I would be more concerned about as effectiveness might limit their upside, but for those who missed just one game due to injury, I would play as you normally would. Each injury is different and requires some different judgement based on location and severity, but that's why we do this column to help take the guessing out of your decisions.
On The Mend
Andrew Luck (Kidney Laceration/Abdominal Strain): Luck remains week-to-week, so hopefully if you can grab a win in the playoffs this week, he'll enter the conversation for you to consider Week 15. Projection: Luck misses Week 14. There was some conversation on social media that the Colts thought Luck could return this week, but that fizzled quickly. The Colts won't do anything to jeopardize their franchise QB's health this year, even though they are still in the thick of the playoff chase.
Rob Gronkowski (Bruised Knee): Adam Schefter is reporting there isn't a lot of optimism Gronk will give it a go this weekend against the Texans. Gronk will continue to be week-to-week and given the way the Patriots handle their injury reports, we might not know anything until later in the week. Projection: Gronkowski misses Week 14. Fire up Scott Chandler again as he'll continue to get a decent amount of targets in Gronk's absence.
Tyler Eifert (Stinger): Eifert is day-to-day with the lingering symptoms he suffered from the Stinger in Week 12. Keep a close eye on whether or not he's able to return to practice this week, as if he's not able to practice early in the week, it might not bode well for his return. Projection: Eifert misses Week 14. The Bengals will look to hold onto the No.1 seed in the AFC, but will do so without their star TE for another week. Update 12/9/15: ESPN's Bob Holtzman reported that the expectation is for Eifert to play this week if he suffers no setbacks. Keep an eye on his practice participation to see how he's progressing.
Heath Miller (Bruised Ribs): Miller will continue to be day-to-day as he tries to get the rib pain under control. The fact he was a limited participant last Friday is an encouraging sign he could be trending in the right direction. Projection: Miller starts Week 14. Miller might be limited by the pain he's experiencing in his rib region, so I would make sure to have a backup plan just in case.
Allen Hurns (Concussion): Hurns was cleared to practice and return to game action this past Monday. Barring any setbacks, Hurns should return to a prominant role in the Jaguars offense. Projection: Hurns starts Week 14. The Jaguars have a great matchup against the Colts, as the Colts just let Antonio Brown and Martavius Bryant rack up big fantasy points against them. I don't believe Hurns will be limited in this game, so I would say it's safe to use him as you normally would.
Kevin White (Surgery for Shin Splints): The Bears have until the 15th of December to activate White. It sounds like the Bears might be willing to see what the rookie looks like in the final games of the season. Projection: White misses Week 14. It seems like he's close, but he'll still need to get his conditioning down to be able to play his first snaps this season.
Ryan Mathews (Concussion): Mathews passed through the last phase of the concussion protocol this past Monday and was able to practice on Tuesday. He's finally on track to return this upcoming weekend in a big game against the Bills. Projection: Mathews is active Week 14. The Eagles will get a nice boost with Mathews returning as he was the most effective runner they had prior to him getting hurt. It's unclear how much they'll use him, but if he's able to play, I wouldn't expect too many limitations from him so he could be someone to grab off the waivers if he isn't on a roster already.
Karlos Williams (Sprained Shoulder): Williams will continue to be day-to-day, with Coach Ryan saying there's a possibility he could play this upcoming weekend. Projection: Williams is active Week 14. Williams won't be a great option for the fantasy playoffs, especially with how effective Shady McCoy has been over the past month.
Andre Ellington (Turf Toe): Ellington will continue to be day-to-day, but with the Cardinals on a short week, he looks doubtful to suit up. Projection: Ellington misses Week 14. Ellington will have ample time to try and get his toe ready for Week 15 against the Eagles.
Rishard Matthews (Broken Ribs): Matthews will continue to be week-to-week with the brokens ribs, but he doesn't look likely to suit up this weekend. Projection: Matthews misses Week 14. There's a chance he could possibly play Week 15 if he can get his pain under control, but even that is up in the air.
The Training Room
Bottom Line: Anderson will be day-to-day with his ankle sprain and will most likely miss practice or be limited during the week to get his ankle healthy. It is unclear if the ankle injury he sustained this past Sunday is to the same ankle he injured at the beginning of the season.
Projection: Anderson is active for Week 14. The Broncos are fighting for the top spot in the AFC, and with the Broncos running the ball more efficiently since Peyton went out, they should continue to ride Anderson and Ronnie Hillman moving forward. There's a chance Anderson could be limited, but barring any setbacks, I think it's ok to use him as you usually would.
Bottom Line: Davis will try and work through the concussion protocol in the hope he can suit up this weekend against the Raiders. The Raiders have struggled against TEs, but Davis has not been a huge factor since he arrived in Denver.
Projection: Davis misses Week 13. Owen Daniels and Virgil Green will take over the targets that were going Davis' way. Even if Davis is able to get cleared before this weekend, I'm not sure I'd trust him, even with a good matchup with the Raiders.
Bottom Line: McDonald, like Davis, will be in the league's concussion protocol and will be considered day-to-day.
Projection: McDonald is active for Week 14. With the 49ers putting Garrett Celek on IR with a high ankle sprain, McDonald could be in for more targets if plays against the lowly Cleveland Browns defense.
Bottom Line: There haven't been many updates on Gillmore's status since he hurt his back early in the game this past Sunday against the Dolphins. The lack of information about what he is dealing with makes me think he'll be more week-to-week at this point.
Bottom Line: Groin strains are usually multi-week injuries, so I would be surprised to see Stevie suit up this weekend. With the Chargers not really playing for much, I don't see them rushing Stevie back on the field until he's healthy, which may not be until the season is over.
Projection: Johnson misses 2-3 games. Stevie is in danger of missing the rest of the regular season if his groin pain doesn't progress fast enough. If your'e hurting for WR depth and have the room to keep him on your bench, I would suggest doing so until we get further information on his availability the rest of the season.
Bottom Line: Stills looks to have re-injured the ankle injury that he was questionable to play with heading into Week 13. He was able to return to the game against the Ravens after aggravating the ankle, so it will be interesting to see if he'll be able to suit up this weekend.
Projection: Stills is active Week 14. Stills is not an option for the fantasy playoffs. DaVante Parker is someone to pick up if you haven't already.
Bottom Line: Head coach Mike McCoy is considering Inman day-to-day after suffering a neck injury this past Sunday against the Broncos.
Projection: Inman misses Week 14. Medical staff and athletic trainers are being more cautious with any head or neck injury, so it's great to hear Inman is only day-to-day after being carted off in a stretcher this past weekend. He'll have a chance to play Week 15, and with Stevie Johnson out with a groin injury, he could be a sneaky play with the Chargers struggling for playmakers.