Injury Report: Gurley is Good to Go

I am not a doctor nor do I play one on television. However, I am willing to give my best guesses as to whether or not certain potential impact players will play this week based on their practice reports. This is just my opinion, but here are my takes on injured players heading into week three:

Chris Ivory, Jets, $9,600 – Surprise, surprise, Chris Ivory is yet again listed on the injury report with injuries to both his quad and groin. According to Manish Mehta on Twitter, Ivory expects to play on Sunday, but it looks like an official call will not be made until after his pre-game warmup. It’s certainly looking good for his prospects, but he’s better reserved for tournament formats due to the injuries. The game flow may actually favor Bilal Powell, who will play on passing downs and caught four passes last week. If Ivory does not play, Powell makes for a no-brainer start as he would receive the lion’s share of touches in a faster paced game than usual.

DeMarco Murray, Eagles, $12,600 –The Hives famously sing a song titled “Hate To Say I Told You So,” and that’s how I feel about DeMarco Murray. In the preseason I wrote an article outlining players to avoid in 2015. Players coming off seasons of 370-plus carries understandably possess terrible track records in the following season outside of a few extreme outliers. It’s not like Murray has enjoyed an injury-free career, which should have raised the worry meter even higher despite landing with the fastest-paced offense in the NFL. Murray is now listed as questionable heading into week three with a hamstring injury. Even though he is expected to play, he is a shaky option against a stout Jets run defense. His workload may also be reduced to keep him fresh for the long haul, so I would just avoid the Philadelphia running back (RB) situation if at all possible. Focus on Nelson Agholor as the preferred option in the Eagles offense. UPDATE: DeMarco Murray is out. Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews emerge as nice, cheap options.

Eddie Lacy, Packers, $14,000 – Battling an ankle injury, Eddie Lacy is listed as questionable to play against the Chiefs. He practiced on a limited basis on both Thursday and Friday, which is mildly encouraging. I’ll give him a 65 percent chance of playing, but officially he’s going to end up a game-time decision. Regardless, the Chiefs have allowed the second-lowest fantasy point total to opposing RBs, so it’s going to be a rough go at it. Even assuming Lacy does play, I’ll give him a 25 percent chance of producing a point total that would justify the price (almost the same price as both Le’Veon Bell and Adrian Peterson). Instead, go with Randall Cobb, because the Chiefs have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (WRs). Also if Lacy is declared out, James Starks will be allotted all the touches he can handle. By sheer volume alone he would be worth cash game consideration.

Eddie Royal, Bears, $7,200 – This game has all the makings of a blowout. Things could get ugly rather quickly for a struggling Bears team and that includes the Jay Cutler-less offense. Eddie Royal is listed as questionable, but practiced on a limited basis at the end of the week and is expected to play. Let me make this as clear as possible: avoid the Bears at all costs. Without their starting QB and WR (Alshon Jeffery), the team simply will not be able to compete with the Seahawks. Even Matt Forte is an easy fade for me, despite the reception upside, because Jimmy Clausen barely warrants any attention. The team will load the box and the Bears are likely going to get crushed.

Eric Decker, Jets, $9,900 – Listed as questionable with a knee injury, I’ll give Decker a 20 percent chance of playing at best. He did not practice all week, which is never a good sign and usually signifies an inactive. This game belongs to Brandon Marshall, as he’ll face an Eagles team that has struggled to cover number-one receivers (Julio Jones and Terrance Williams) in back-to-back weeks. The Jets will also likely speed up their game plan some and throw more often than usual. Fire up Marshall and expect a big game with him likely earning a few more targets if/when Decker sits. If by some miracle Decker suits up there still is no reason to use him.

Jordan Cameron, Dolphins, $7,700 – Groin injuries are never fun, but Jordan Cameron is expected to play through his on Sunday. According to Rotoworld, Cameron has drawn 11 targets from Ryan Tannehill in six quarters this year so he is working his way into the offense. Unfortunately most tight ends (TEs) are not Rob Gronkowski and will not be able to exploit this Bills defense that allowed the fewest fantasy points to TEs in 2014. I’ll give Cameron a 90 percent chance of playing but a 30 percent chance of outperforming his price tag, because I think the WRs will be the focus in the passing game. UPDATE: He will play.

Ladarius Green, Chargers, $7,100 – If there’s one injury the NFL does not mess around with, it’s a concussion. Due to the hundred-plus million dollars in lawsuits and newly instituted concussion policies, the NFL forces teams to make absolutely sure a player is symptom free before they are allowed to play. Ladarius Green was still dealing with symptoms on Friday afternoon (including headaches), so there’s almost no chance he plays on Sunday. Assuming he sits, John Phillips will start at TE and is worth a look for the absolute minimum, even though his skill set suggests he’s more of a blocking specialist.

Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks, $14,400 – Long referred to as “Beast Mode” due to his brutal running style and his ability to avoid injury, Marshawn Lynch actually feels like an underdog to play this weekend. Supposedly, a source tells ProFootballTalk the Seahawks are “cautiously optimistic” Lynch will play, so it sounds like a nearly 50/50 proposition. If he plays it likely means he’s healthy, and I would feel just fine unleashing the beast in a game where the team is a big favorite and sports the second-highest implied Vegas total of the weekend (29 points). If he does not, Fred Jackson is the guy and presents a very difficult value to pass up against the lowly, aforementioned Bears.

Matthew Stafford, Lions, $12,400 – Okay, so Matthew Stafford is the only one on this list listed as “probable,” but I think Stephania Bell of ESPN made some interesting points in regards to him. Before we get to her commentary, it should be noted that  I already made Stafford the coverboy to this week’s “Players to Avoid” article without even taking the injury into consideration. Bell describes an injury Stafford suffered in last week’s game as “bruised ribs” that resulted in “soreness, wincing, guarded movement and an overall appearance of someone in significant discomfort.” According to her, rotation in general can be painful to the injury, so essentially it will hurt every time he throws. Oh, by the way, Denver’s defense has looked awfully ferocious thus far, so I would be fading Stafford regardless of health.

Todd Gurley, Rams, $9,000 – Strangely, Todd Gurley is officially listed as “questionable,” yet Coach Jeff Fisher started talking about the workload distribution in the backfield on Friday. Fisher says Gurley and Tre Mason split first-team reps “evenly” this week, which should continue into the game. Look, Mason has done nothing to “lose” the job but Gurley may be talented enough to rip it away from anyone standing in his way. In spite of the “Q” designation, there’s a 100 percent chance Gurley plays and he’ll be one of the guys I watch closest this week to see how to value him moving forward. Using him in a tournament this week could be a classic case of getting ahead of the curve. UPDATE: He will play and receive “8-12 carries.”

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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