Jock to Doc take: Although Bush was limited this week in practice due to a hip issue, the Palm Beach Post reported that the Dolphins’ back “looks fine.” Bush seems to be on track to start, seeing that his knee issue last week did not affect his status against Arizona.
Health Rating: Reggie Bush @ 75%
Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts
Packers WR Greg Jennings (groin)
Jock to Doc take: Greg Jennings has been ruled out of Week 4’s game against the Colts, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. With Jennings focusing on rehab, fantasy owners of backup James Jones should note that he will be a much larger part of the Green Bay offense in Indianapolis this Sunday.
Health Rating: Greg Jennings @ 45%
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
Ravens WR Torrey Smith (ankle)
Jock to Doc take: Although Smith suffered a minor ankle injury last week, he was a full participant in practice this week, according the Ravens’ official website. Torrey Smith will play Sunday and is a must-start against a shaky Chiefs defense.
Chiefs WR Jon Baldwin (hamstring)
Jock to Doc take: According to Kansas City SB Nation, the Chiefs’ starting wideout practiced in a limited fashion Thursday after sitting out Wednesday. Coach Romeo Crennel stated that the team will “see what he does” Friday and Saturday, indicating that his status for Sunday will be a game-time decision.
Health Rating: Torrey Smith @ 80%, Jon Baldwin @ 60%
Cleveland Browns at New York Giants
Browns WRs Mohamed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin (hamstring)
Jock to Doc take: The statuses of both receivers are up in the air due to hamstring issues. While neither of them practiced Wednesday or Thursday, according to Cleveland SB Nation, owners should monitor their workload, if any, during Friday’s practice. It seems both receivers will make a game-time decision, but it will surprise me if both Travis and Massaquoi are playing in New York.
Giants WR Hakeem Nicks (knee)
Jock to Doc take: Nicks will miss his second straight game, according to NFL.com. With backup Ramses Barden (concussion) doubtful, Domenik Hixon is next in line to be a highly targeted receiver of Eli Manning’s passing attack.
Health Rating: Mohamed Massaquoi @ 65%, Benjamin Travis @ 65%, Hakeem Nicks @ 20%
Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers
Rashard Mendenhall (knee)
Jock to Doc take: Mendenhall participated in full during Pittsburgh’s Thursday practice and believes that he will make his season debut against Philadelphia this week, according to the Steelers’ official website. Coming off an ACL surgery, Mendenhall seems to be a risky pick to start this week, but fantasy owners should marvel at his miraculous recovery time. His workload may be small this week, but look for Mendenhall to carry the Steelers’ rushing attack as the season goes on.
Health Rating: Rashard Mendenhall @ 75%
Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins
Redskins WR Pierce Garcon (foot)
Jock to Doc take: According to the Washington Post, Garcon noted that his foot will “take time to heal” and that “it’s going to take some time to feel like [his] old self.” Garcon will start Sunday and believes he will play at full speed against a hot Falcons team, but it may take a few weeks for RGIII’s weapon to put up the kind of numbers he did at the beginning of the season.
Falcons WR Julio Jones (hand)
Jock to Doc take: Jones seems to have fully recovered from his hand laceration. “I’m fine;” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I’m ready to go.” Fantasy owners should be excited instead of worrying as Jones and Matt Ryan duel against a mediocre Redskins secondary.
Health Rating: Pierce Garcon @ 70%, Julio Jones @ 88%
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (soreness)
Jock to Doc take: Any running back that runs as hard as Marshawn Lynch will experience an ailing body following the game. Lynch was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, according to 710 ESPN Seattle, and should play this Sunday in Carolina. Expect to see a probable status by Friday.
Health Rating: Marshawn Lynch @ 85%
Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars
Bears RB Matt Forte (ankle)
Jock to Doc take: Although Forte came out after the first play during Monday night’s game in Dallas, he came back and ran for 52 yards on 13 tries after his ankle was taped up. He has been limited in practice this week and Lovie Smith, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, noted, “He didn’t come away with anything other than normal soreness from a game in his ankle.” Despite the soreness, Forte is a highly favored start this week as he goes against a Jaguars defense that allows over 150 rushing yards a game.
Jaguars WR Laurent Robinson (concussion)
Jock to Doc take: Robinson has not been ruled out for Sunday’s game but has sat out of practice this week due to another concussion, according to the Florida Times-Union. Robinson’s status is doubtful this week and owners should look to start another receiver in his place.
Health Rating: Matt Forte @ 78%, Laurent Robinson @ 55%
Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings
Vikings QB Christian Ponder (knee)
Jock to Doc take: Ponder has been experiencing some knee soreness and was limited this week in practice, according to ESPN 1500 AM Twin Cities. Coach Leslie Frazier said that his starter had some pain Wednesday but it did not bother him on Thursday. Ponder will undoubtedly start barring any setbacks.
Titans WR Kenny Britt (ankle)
Jock to Doc take: With starting quarterback Jake Locker inactive this week, the Tennessean reports that backup Matt Hasselbeck will likely be without receiver Kenny Britt, who did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. Although Britt ran some Thursday, Coach Mike Munchak noted that Britt is not doing as much as the team hoped. Britt is highly questionable for Sunday’s game unless Friday’s practice tells differently.
Health Rating: Christian Ponder @ 82%, Kenny Britt @ 50%
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle)
Jock to Doc take: Aaron Hernandez reportedly had a “hitch in his step” as he ran a few warmup pass routes and took part in opening drills, according to the Patriots website. There is a remote possibility that we will see Hernandez this week against Denver, but a Week 6 return seems much more likely as the Patriots continue to prepare him for his return.
Health Rating: Aaron Hernandez @ 60%
Buffalo Bills at San Francisco 49ers
Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder)
Jock to Doc take: Spiller was present during Thursday’s practice, according to the Bills’ official website, and is expected to play on Sunday against a tough 49ers defense. Spiller still noted that he is “taking it day by day” and it is possibility that Fred Jackson will more reps at tailback. Look for the two backs to be a dangerous tandem in a few weeks as they both continue to recover.
Bills RB Fred Jackson (knee)
Jock to Doc take: Jackson stated that he feels much better and will continue to feel better as the season goes on and he is expected to play in San Francisco on Sunday. With both Jackson and Spiller recovering from injuries, fantasy owners should closely monitor the workloads of both backs Friday in order to make a decision on who to start.
Health Rating: C.J. Spiller @ 70%, Fred Jackson @ 80%
San Diego Chargers at New Orleans Saints
Chargers K Nate Kaeding (groin)
Jock to Doc take: Kaeding did not practice Thursday, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, as has reportedly suffered some groin issues. Nick Novak is expected to kick Sunday night in New Orleans.
Saints WR Lance Moore (hamstring)
Jock to Doc take: Lance Moore was absent during Thursday’s practice and continues to struggle with a hamstring injury, according to the Saints’ team website. Friday’s practice will speak volumes of his status for Sunday night, but at this point Moore seems like a highly risky pick this week.
Health Rating: Nate Kaeding @ 60%, Lance Moore @ 65%
Houston Texans at New York Jets
Texans RB Ben Tate (toe)
Jock to Doc take: Tate has reportedly been suffering a toe issue this week, according to the Texans’ official website. Coach Gary Kubiak noted that the team is preparing Justin Forsett to complement Arian Foster and the Texans’ rushing attack on Monday night, so it is likely that Ben Tate will not suit up or will get a smaller-than-normal workload this week.
Jets WR Stephen Hill, TE Dustin Keller (hamstring)
Jock to Doc take: According to the Jets’ website, neither Hill nor Keller participated in Thursday’s practice due to hamstring issues, which exacerbates the Jets’ present woes. With Santonio Holmes out, I expect Coach Rex Ryan to play them if they are able, and the Jets’ weekend practice should give us an idea of their statuses. Although both have a larger chance of playing due to an extra day of rest, starting either receiver is a risky move seeing that the Texans’ defense is No. 1 in the NFL.
Health Rating: Ben Tate @ 65%, Stephen Hill @ 70%, Dustin Keller @ 75%
Health Ratings: So what do the numbers mean?
100-85% = NFL players are tough and despite injuries still perform at a high level. Let’s be honest, when is an NFL athlete really physically 100%…practically never. With a rating in this range expect players to perform at peak levels.
70-85% = In this range a players performance will be affected but they can still get the job done.
55-70% = Players with a rating this low will require assistance to do their jobs. The team might be better served by placing these warriors on the inactive list. Only some All-Pros can get the job done when rated this poorly.
40-55% = These players need some more time to heal. Unlikely to be active unless miraculous healing occurs or my rating was based on erroneous information.
25-40% = Players will not play but show signs of recovery opening the door for a return to the active roster the following week.
< 25% = Players will not play and there is concern that additional games may be missed.