Key fantasy football injury updates for Week 12 – ESPN

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Welcome to Week 12! Well, the second part of Week 12, anyway. Six teams played on Thanksgiving Day, and with no teams on bye this week, there are 26 teams left with games to play. All of them will play Sunday, except the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers, who play on Monday night.

Injury concerns regarding players heading into the Sunday and Monday games can be critical. Each Saturday, this entry will be dedicated to each player who appears on the official weekly NFL game status injury report and how his status might impact fantasy teams.

1 Related

For those who might be new to this feature, injury reports provide some insight into a player’s status. The NFL requires teams to submit practice injury reports several times a week, identifying the body part that is involved in the injury. This year, there has been a change in the language of injury reporting, per the league office. The most notable change is the removal of the “probable” designation. For more detailed information on the changes and what they mean, click here.

Early in the week, the practice injury reports indicate whether a player did not practice, was limited in practice or was a full participant in practice. On Fridays, all teams file a game status injury report assigning one of the following designations: questionable, doubtful or out. The designations listed here reflect the injury reports filed with the league office Friday evening. Teams playing Monday night do not have to issue their designations until Saturday. The explanation for each designation is as follows:

Out: This is the easy one: The guy is not playing this week.

Questionable (Q): This remains the most dreaded player designation. By definition it means a player is “uncertain to play.” How uncertain is uncertain? There is no percentage or measurement scale, so this classification remains rather vague. Whether a player ends up active or inactive often comes down to a game-time decision based on how he feels on game-day morning or how he performs during warm-ups. Final inactives are due 90 minutes before kickoff.

Doubtful (D): The doubtful designation means a player is unlikely to play that week. Rarely does a player labeled as doubtful end up playing, unless he experiences a major turnaround before game time.

Each week in this Saturday feature, we run down a list of key fantasy players, by position, who appear in the Friday injury report, along with the injured body part as listed on the report, player status and any relevant developments or insight. The primary fantasy positions are covered (quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end).

This year, at the end of each positional section, there is a subgroup of players: “Players off game status injury report.” The probable tag no longer exists, so players who would have been listed as probable in previous years are now simply removed from the report. This means there will be players who appear in the practice injury reports during the week but will not appear on the game-status report Friday, since they are presumed active for game day. They are included in this article so that fantasy owners can see where players who were on the practice injury report during the week have been upgraded in advance of the games.

At the end, key fantasy players listed Friday as “out” for the week’s games will appear as a group.

Good luck in Week 12, everyone!

Quarterbacks

Tom Brady, New England Patriots, knee, (Q): Brady is no stranger to injury reports, so much so that fantasy owners tend to dismiss it whenever he makes an appearance. But this week is different. Brady did not practice for two consecutive days due to a knee injury sustained in Week 11. Brady took a hit to his right lower thigh just above the knee, and he admitted to some soreness postgame. After his missed Wednesday and Thursday practices triggered some alarms for fans and fantasy owners, Brady returned to limited practice Friday and spoke to reporters afterward, another positive sign. ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss reported there is little to no concern about Brady’s availability for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, but it is always worth verifying his status before game time. This happens to be a late game (4:25 p.m. ET), so fantasy owners should make sure there is someone they can insert into their lineup at the last minute should Brady be a surprise inactive.

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears, right shoulder, (D): Cutler is contending with a reported labral tear in his shoulder, and the conversation earlier this week revolved around whether or not the injury signaled the end of his season. Such injuries are not uncommon among throwers, and their presence rarely forces an abrupt end to a season, provided the athlete is still able to throw. Cutler finished out last week’s game but was reportedly seeking other opinions this week with regards to his injury. Coach John Fox told reporters Cutler’s injury was not season-ending and that he was day-to-day, but the practice reports certainly suggest he is not in the mix for this week. Cutler did not practice at all and comes up on the game status report as doubtful. If he sits, as it appears he will, it will be Matt Barkley under center for the Bears.

Players off game status injury report:

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals, right shoulder: Dalton remains on the practice injury report because of a sore shoulder but practiced in full both Thursday and Friday after a limited outing Wednesday. His removal from the game status injury report indicates he will be under center as usual on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills, right shoulder: Taylor appears on the Bills’ injury report due to shoulder soreness, but there was never any doubt that he would play this week. A full participant in practice daily and removal from the game status injury report confirm he will be on the field to face the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars, right shoulder: At one point during the Week 11 game, Bortles was spotted on the sideline undergoing evaluation on his throwing shoulder. It did not keep him from returning to that game, nor did it keep him out of practice this week. Bortles was a full participant daily, and his removal from the game status injury report confirms his availability for Sunday’s game against the Bills.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, knee: Anyone who has watched Wilson in recent weeks can see the improvement in his health via his increased mobility both within and outside the pocket. He remains on the injury report during the week but continues to be removed from the game status injury report at week’s end. He will make his usual start on Sunday.

Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos, left shoulder: Siemian has appeared regularly on the injury report since injuring his nonthrowing shoulder in Week 4. Other than missing the subsequent week’s action, Siemian has played through any discomfort, although it appears the shoulder continues to bother him. He remains on the injury report but continues as a full participant daily, and his removal from the game status injury report indicates he will play.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets, knee: Fitzpatrick has already played through his knee injury, and coach Todd Bowles has once again named him the starter. After full practices daily and removal from the game status injury report, Fitzpatrick will be active against the Patriots.

Running backs

LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills, thumb, (Q): MCoy appears on the injury report again, but not because of his hamstring. This time it’s a dislocated left thumb (suffered in Week 11) that was the culprit, an injury that required a procedure Sunday night to reduce the dislocation. The team expressed optimism all along that McCoy would be available by the Week 12 game, and that appears to be the case. He was out on the practice field every day this week, listed as a limited participant but inspiring enough confidence in coach Rex Ryan to lead him to say he expects McCoy not only to play but also to get the majority of the carries. With Mike Gillislee already ruled out because of a hamstring injury, it appears the team will indeed lean on McCoy, with Jonathan Williams and Reggie Bush available behind him. Given that the issue was with the top half of McCoy’s left thumb, it should not present an issue for him in terms of ballhandling.

Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints, concussion, (Q): Ingram suffered a head injury in the Saints’ Week 11 game, something the team hadn’t confirmed as a concussion until the first practices of this week. Both coach Sean Payton and Ingram himself expressed confidence about his return to practice, with Ingram declaring himself 100 percent recovered on Wednesday and insistent he would play. Still, he was listed as a limited participant in practice each day, and he comes into Sunday’s game as questionable. It’s unclear whether he is simply waiting on clearance from the independent neurological consultant or whether he has even been cleared for contact, as the Saints have remained silent on the specifics. Thankfully, this is an early game against the Los Angeles Rams, so fantasy owners will know his status when the pregame inactives are announced.

Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders, ankle, (Q): Murray came into last Monday night’s game in Mexico City listed as questionable because of his ankle. He played in that game, and while his yardage on the ground was not overwhelming, his yardage in the passing game boosted his fantasy value. Murray was a limited participant in practice each day this week — just as he was last week — leading us to believe he will be active for this week’s game against the Carolina Panthers. It’s worth noting this is a late game (4:25 p.m. ET), so fantasy owners should have a backup plan in place in the event Murray is a surprise inactive.

T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars, ankle, (Q): Yeldon suffered an ankle sprain in Week 11 and was held out of practice all week as a result. Treatment and rest may have been more important than practice, as Yeldon is listed as questionable, and the team expects him to be able to play on Sunday in Buffalo. The question remains as to how much time he’ll see; it will likely be a matter of how well he performs and how his ankle tolerates the early activity.

Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, foot, (Q): This marks the first week Rodgers has returned to practice since injuring his foot in Week 8. He was a limited participant on Wednesday and Thursday, then upgraded to full on Friday. The questionable tag leaves the door open for Rodgers to be active this week, but even if he is, he would not be expected to carry a full workload. A healthy Doug Martin will still be the primary ball carrier for the Buccaneers.

Players off game status injury report:

Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons, hamstring: The Falcons will welcome Coleman back this week after a three-game absence due to a hamstring strain. When Coleman returned to practice this Monday, coach Dan Quinn indicated he was at 100 percent health. His full participation daily showed the team was not concerned about limiting him, and his removal from the game status report shows they expect him to contribute on Sunday.

Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles, rib: It’s pretty remarkable that Sproles could go from fracturing his seventh rib in last week’s game to completely off the injury report in advance of this week’s Monday night contest, but that’s precisely what happened. Earlier in the week, coach Doug Pederson indicated Sproles’ injury was in a “safe” area and that his ability to play would be determined by how he was able to make it through the week — in other words, pain tolerance. Sproles has shown plenty of toughness in his career, but a rib injury, even when not an actual fracture, can cause significant pain to the point of making it difficult for the athlete to breathe, twist, turn and stretch, not to mention absorb physical contact. This week, Sproles has made a convincing case to return, participating fully in each of the team’s practices. His removal from the game status injury report Saturday indicates the team plans to have him available Monday night. The expected workload for Sproles is uncertain, however, not only because of his recent injury, but also because of the injury to Ryan Mathews. With Mathews ruled out due to a knee injury, Wendell Smallwood will definitely have a role in this week’s game, and it could end up being substantial.

Matt Forte, New York Jets, knee: Forte continues to make a weekly appearance on the injury report and continues to be removed from the game status injury report. It’s worth noting that Forte didn’t even take a day off practice this week as he often does. Instead, he is listed as a full participant daily. Expect him to be a full go against the Patriots this Sunday.

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