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 play this week based on their practice reports. This is just my opinion but here are my takes on injured players heading into week 13:
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Buccaneers, $5,000 – Although still officially listed as questionable, Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been cleared for contact and “looks like a go” according to Rick Stroud on Twitter. The significance of this update affects a few fantasy commodities. For one, the short reign of Cameron Brate (scored a touchdown (TD) in two straight) appears to be over as he’ll slide back down the depth chart. Also, Seferian-Jenkins is priced at the absolute bare minimum so he could prove to be an interesting alternative to the heavily-owned Scott Chandler in tournaments. Last but not least, Jameis Winston only threw for 177 yards and one TD against Atlanta in week seven so having a full arsenal of weapons can only help. He also ran for a TD in that game so, at only $10,500, he can be used as a contrarian GPP option as he continues to improve.
Danny Amendola, Patriots, $9,200 – Honestly this is the injury situation I’ll be watching the closest this week because Danny Amendola possesses serious upside assuming he suits up. Tom Brady’s weapons are few and far between now that Rob Gronkowski will join Julian Edelman on the sidelines as injury inactives. Last week Scott Chandler set season-highs in snap rate, routes run, catches, targets and yards last week according to Adam Levitan on Twitter but I still do not fully trust him. He is not Gronkowski nor anything close. However, Amendola’s skill set is awfully reminiscent of Edelman’s and he would have a guaranteed huge role if active (and he could stay on the field). Unfortunately he plays for Coach Bill Belichick and is listed as questionable with no real substantive updates available. For what it’s worth, the beat writers expect him to play and the Eagles secondary is subpar. He plays in the 4:00pm EST set of games so there may be no clarity to the situation until after kickoff. For that reason, he needs to be avoided in cash games but is a prime GPP target as long as you factor in he could easily put up a goose egg.
DeSean Jackson, Redskins, $10,100 – DeSean Jackson missed practice Saturday with an “illness” but he is still listed as probable for Monday Night Football against the Cowboys. Last week Jackson was firmly supplanted on my radar (and I used him) because the Giants’ secondary allows the most passing yards of any team and that seemed to fit the skill set of a game who can rack up a ton on a single play. In week 13, Jackson and the Redskins will square off against a full-strength Cowboys secondary. Only three teams allow fewer fantasy points per game to the wide receiver (WR) position than the Cowboys so quite obviously this matchup isn’t nearly as juicy. Jackson has scored a TD in back-to-back games but he’s nothing more than a YOLO GPP option especially because he will not be at 100-percent. Spend up for Jeremy Maclin or down for Brandon LaFell if looking for a receiver in that price range for cash games.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons, $15,000 – There’s not much to report on the injury front here because Devonta Freeman has passed the NFL’s concussion protocol and is cleared to play. Some may fear a back coming off a concussion but not me. The more fearsome aspect of the matchup is the Buccaneers defense which is only allowing 97.5 rushing yards per game and 3.5 yards per carry (YPC). Well the matchup certainly improves with the absence of Gerald McCoy who is listed as doubtful. Freeman registered 131 yards on 27 touches (including six receptions) earlier this season against Tampa Bay so he can fully be relied upon as a RB1 once again.
Marlon Brown, Ravens, $6,300 – Here’s a player who should have been nowhere near fantasy consideration as-is but the fact that he’s listed as doubtful is noteworthy. His absence means the Ravens will continue to feature a heavy dose of both Kamar Aiken and Chris Givens without fear of a weird rotation. The problem: Joe Flacco is out for the season so Matt Schaub will be under center slinging the pigskin. He is a clear downgrade despite past success but the Browns do allow the sixth most fantasy points to the WR position. Look for Schaub to establish a go-to guy early, as is the case for many second stringers, and rely on them for the majority of the day. For my money, I think Givens could be the guy to own as they have played together extensively on second team reps in practice. None of the pass-catchers are particularly safe options and all-in-all Javarious Allen is the Raven to roster.
Michael Floyd, Cardinals, $7,400 – Another week, another Cardinals WR listed as questionable. It almost seems like Coach Bruce Arians likes to do this to torment fantasy owners pondering which pass-catcher to use. Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown are listed as probable so they are the safe options to deploy against the recently susceptible Rams defense. According to Rotoworld, Floyd is expected to be in the lineup Sunday so I’m going to trust their take here and just assume all three weapons will be active. While the passing attack is certainly intriguing every week, David Johnson is my Cardinal of choice. Sure he’ll be heavily owned but he’s one of those guys people will fade in tournaments in order to create an advantage and I don’t think this is the week to do it. Johnson is expected to touch the ball “up to 25 times” according to his coach and only costs $6,700 on FantasyDraft. I’ll take 100-percent of him…please and thank you.
Sam Bradford, Eagles, $10,200 – Does it really matter who starts at QB for the Philadelphia Eagles at this point? The team is in shambles having lost four of their last five games and they’ve only broken the 20-point plateau once during that streak (it came via the win, naturally). Coach Bill Belichick never has the most talented defense but schemes ways to mess with the opposing offense. His defenses are feisty and rarely are there opportunities to roster players against them without fear of dud…especially because he likes to eliminate the opposing team’s top option on offense. In other words, stay far away from Bradford even though he will return from his shoulder injury this week.
Willie Snead, Saints, $8,800 – A calf injury will likely hold Willie Snead out of this week’s game against the Carolina Panthers. This means Drew Brees will be down a weapon against a fierce defense so he really could use all the help he can get. Brandin Cooks will likely be another man down even though he’ll be active. What does that mean? Well, Josh Norman is probably the game’s best corner and he’ll be shadowing the tiny WR so I think he’ll essentially be taken out of the game. Mark Ingram should be relied upon heavily against a defense allowing the 10th least amount of fantasy points to the RB position. Although Carolina allows below-average fantasy point totals to opposing WRs and tight ends (TEs), Marques Colston, Brandon Coleman and Benjamin Watson are the only real options in the passing game. If I had to choose one, I’d take Watson who at least has a chance to blow up falling into the top target role by default.
Zach Miller, Bears, $6,000 – According to Adam Levitan, the 49ers allow 6.9 yards per play on the road which ranks dead last in the NFL. The 49ers also rank as a middle of the road defense against opposing TEs which is why this is a situation to monitor. Martellus Bennett is listed as probable and will play the majority of snaps but Zach Miller could/would eat into his snaps if active. Right now he is listed as questionable with a rib injury but it seems like he is on track to play. He did practice in a limited capacity towards the end of the week and I’d give him a 75-percent chance to suit up. I hadn’t been on Bennett for most of the week as I have been leaning towards Alshon Jeffery but Bennett could be a solid GPP option. The Bears need this game to keep their playoff hopes alive and Jeffery/Bennett are where the major concentration of targets are headed in Jay Cutler’s offense. Monitor the situation as Bennett would receive a slight bump if the recently ascending Miller were forced to wear street clothes on Sunday.