Injury Report: No Antonio Brown Hampers the Steelers Offense

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 the Divisional Round of the playoffs:

Rob Gronkowski, Patriots, $14,100 – Contradicting reports surfaced earlier in the week as to whether or not Rob Gronkowski received an injection for his ailing knee. First ESPN reporter he did then NFL.com’s Ian Rappaport released a report saying he didn’t. In my opinion, ESPN would have no reason to lie so Rappaport was probably just reporting what the team wanted him to say after the report was leaked. Regardless of what you feel actually happened, Gronkowski is listed as questionable and is going to be “nowhere near 100-percent” heading into this game. As long as he is suiting up, which he is fully expected to, he remains a viable option. However, the injury does dissuade me from using him over the other two similarly-priced studs (Greg Olsen and Travis Kelce).

Julian Edelman/Danny Amendola, Patriots – Although Julian Edelman practiced on a limited basis all week, he was quoted as saying he is ready to go “full throttle” against the Kansas City Chiefs. Danny Amendola’s week of practice has been rather similar although he hasn’t commented publically on his status. Still the New England beat writers believe he will be able to give it a go as well. The Kansas City secondary has given it up to wide receivers (WRs) all season and I think Edelman is an elite option this week. While I’m fine with using Amendola, I would reserve rostering him for tournaments only because his role is unclear with the return of Edelman as well.

Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs, $12,100 – Last week, Jeremy Maclin was forced to leave the Wild Card game with what the team worried was a knee injury for some reason. After an MRI, it turns out it was just a high-ankle sprain which is a weird realization. This feels like it could be the team telling a fib. Well, either that or Maclin really could not tell where the pain was coming from (which I find hard to believe). Regardless, if we take the team for their word then a high-ankle sprain usually takes at least two weeks before a player can return to action. In other words, Maclin will almost assuredly miss this weekend’s tilt against the New England Patriots so search for other options. Both Albert Wilson and Chris Conley emerge as interesting options as they are both dirt cheap and should receive additional targets without Maclin.

Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks, $12,000 – After practicing last week, Marshawn Lynch suffered a setback in Friday’s practice to his abdomen injury and was declared inactive. There was no such setback this week and it appears Lynch is absolutely on track to return to the field against the Carolina Panthers. Due to the injury to backup Thomas Rawls, it’s unlikely this is any sort of committee. I expect Lynch to be thrown back into the fire and act as the true workhorse. While Christine Michael had a nice run, he was signed off the street and his talent is nowhere near comparable to “Beast Mode.” Despite the lengthy injury Lynch is returning from, I actually think he is one of the safest plays this weekend overall…and second safest running back (RB) play besides David Johnson.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, $13,200 – London Fletcher mentioned on the podcast his worries towards Ben Roethlisberger’s quality of play this weekend even if he does play. He left last week’s game against the Bengals in the fourth quarter with a shoulder issue. Early in the week, reports surfaced suggesting there was “no indication” whether or not Roethlisberger would be able to play against the Broncos. He did not make any throws in Wednesday’s practice in order to rest the shoulder. On Thursday, he practiced in a limited fashion and was upgraded to a full participant on Friday. Look, he’s going to play but he reportedly suffered torn ligaments in the shoulder so the effectiveness is absolutely a question. Martavis Bryant was an appealing option but is Roethlisberger going to have enough in the shoulder to throw a dart down field 50-plus yards? The nature of this injury downgrades Roethlisberger to a GPP-only consideration even though he torched Denver for 380-plus yards and three touchdowns (TDs) in the last meeting. No Antonio Brown certainly downgrades him a fair amount as well.

Antonio Brown, Steelers, $18,600 – Now that the movie “Concussion” has been released and the NFL has cracked down with its concussion policy, a player must pass with flying colors in order to play. Antonio Brown’s injury tested just how serious the NFL would be about their improved policy because losing one of their best players in a playoff game could seriously diminish the product on the field. Well Brown has officially been ruled out so the commitment apparently is real. All week Brown was on the field for practice but did not actually participate. Bengals’ corner Adam Jones swears Brown was faking the concussion but it doesn’t appear the training staff, Brown nor the NFL believe this head injury to be a phony. He will not play so look to Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant if you’re looking to roster a Steelers receiver. This is a big blow to the Steelers’ offense overall so with the injuries to Roethlisberger and Brown, they may just be worth avoiding for the most part.

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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