Injuries are part of Fantasy Football, unfortunately. Make sure to adjust your lineups accordingly heading into Week 14.
Sep 28, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes (29) breaks up a pass intended for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) during the third quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Falcons 41-28. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Considering the nature of the sport, fantasy football owners suffer their own sort of internal non-physical injuries—for the most part. Any freak injury to any of your players can and probably will decimate your entire team.
However, the good news is, not to sound like we’re cheering for someone’s injury to happen, but with one man’s opportunity gone, another’s presents itself.
With Week 13 in the books, fantasy owners everywhere are absolutely dismantled or pleased with their performances from the past week. Many of you may not even be in your fantasy playoffs at this point. It’s an unfortunate thing, but you can at least head into the offseason knowing it’ll be back next year. For those that survived a brutal injury-filled season, congratulations. Now the real work begins.
As always, Week 14 should promise to be another good one as we get ready to put last week behind us and prepare for the upcoming one. Choose wisely as it’s do-or-die time.
Without further ado, here’s an injury report heading into Week 14 fantasy football with the top five injuries to keep an eye on.
Oct 30, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills inside linebacker Zach Brown (53) watches as New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett (88) runs the ball during the second half at New Era Field. The Patriots beat the Bills 41-25. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
There’s no doubt that the loss of Rob Gronkowski hurts the New England Patriots‘ chance at a deep playoff run. However they do still have the best quarterback of all time in Tom Brady (as a Jets fan, that hurt to admit) and the evil emperor a.k.a. Bill Belichick. They also have another solidified tight end in Martellus Bennett.
The 29-year old has scored four touchdowns on 44 catches, going for 544 receiving yards. He’s been active in all of New England’s 12 games this year. However, he showcased a ton of tremendous talent and fantasy value in Weeks 1-5, when Gronk was out recovering from off-season surgery.
Bennett figures to benefit from Gronk’s absence the rest of the season, but with an ankle injury keeping him on the injury list, the risk may be greater than the reward.
He’s already put up a couple of duds this year, with the most recent one occurring last week—just catching for four yards on two receptions.
Up next are arguably two of the top defenses, Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos, over the two weeks. Baltimore has only allowed two touchdowns all season to tight ends and has limited the position to about five points per game. Tight ends have averaged about six points per game against Denver.
Certainly, we like that Brady is throwing to the veteran, but with a questionable status entering Monday night’s tilt, it tells us temper your expectations, and even more so the following in Denver. The position has been rather mild this season, so we get it, he may be the only option you have. Just be careful and prepare for the worst.
Sammy Watkins. Sammy-freakin’-Watkins. Man, it feels good to say his name again. It’s been a lost season and a long time since we last spoke about the wide receiver out of Clemson. Certainly, it’s not his fault as he took care of a foot injury that obviously affected his production.
We never like to see anyone get injured, but as we mentioned in the opening part of this piece, injuries are part of the game. Nonetheless, the good news is that Watkins has been practicing and the Buffalo Bills are in the hunt for a Wild Card.
The bad news is that it seems like the young star receiver is not 100 percent from the foot surgery he had earlier in the season. He’s currently listed as questionable entering Sunday’s match up against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Luckily it’s a home game for the Bills, but they are going to need Watkins to balance out their potent running back that’s led by LeSean McCoy and Mike Gillislee. The Steelers are not an elite defense by any means, but they have been tough and solid the past couple of weeks.
For what’s it worth, the Steelers have allowed 30 points in their past three games alone. The defense has been susceptible earlier in the season, but it looks like they may have woken up from a deep sleep as their poised to make a run at the playoffs.
It just doesn’t warrant much confidence for owners to invest consideration in starting the 23-year old wide out. It’s the playoffs and if you somehow still made it without Watkins, wait at least to see how he performs this week. Do not get cute.
Oct 2, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (86) scores a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the first half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
The 26-year star-but-often-injured tight end is yet again listed as questionable for Sunday’s divisional showdown against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Reed missed his third game of the season last week and could miss his fourth if his status doesn’t clear up. He’s currently dealing with the same shoulder injury that kept him out last week.
There’s no doubt that when healthy (that’s a big when) he’s an elite talent at a position where it could make or break a lot of deals for fantasy owners. He’s been terrific this season, catching for five touchdowns and 630 yards on 59 catches.
Those are elite tight end numbers. It’s a real shame because a talent like his would be something great for the team and fantasy football as a whole. This is sort of like the matter with Martellus Bennett, there may not be another option for a lot of owners that made the playoffs.
We get it, but we also would stress for every owner to start him with extremely low expectations. He has a high ceiling, but he could miss this game, or worst he could start and not be a factor. We’ll keep it simple, if he plays, start him. If there’s still lingering issues with his injury we strongly suggest to pick up his teammate Vernon Davis—as he’s been a factor in the passing game when Reed has been out.
Oct 23, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) carries the ball as Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Frank Zombo (51) defends during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
The former Alabama Crimson Tide has been solid for most of the season, on a struggling team. However, the New Orleans Saints have not been gun shy to go to their backup option when Ingram showed struggles throughout the season. That backup option is the journeyman tailback, Tim Hightower.
Focusing in on Ingram, he’s only scored three rushing touchdowns all season, and only one in his last four games. He’s also only rushed for more than 100 yards in that same span. It’s a little frustrating because he’s clearly the most talented tailback on that team.
He’s currently dealing with a toe and knee injury which might as well signal an alarming red flag right out of the gate. Those are injuries fantasy owners do want their running backs to deal with heading into the fantasy playoffs.
Up next is a tough divisional matchup against the playoff-hungry Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers have been prone to give up big plays against backs this season, but with an ailing Ingram, and an older Hightower, and on the road, who knows what can be expected.
For what it’s worth Ingram did play last week against the Detroit Lions despite being questionable entering the game. However, he didn’t marvel any owners who were counting on him to put up numbers. He rushed for 37 yards on seven carries. It’s possible we could see that same level production against Tampa.
Oct 7, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) breaks up a pass intended for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) in the second half at the Georgia Dome. The Jets won 30-28. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
There’s just no way Pro Bowl wideout Julio Jones, who caught for 300 yards earlier in this year, is going to miss Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams right? Probably not. But he’s still listed as questionable dealing with a toe injury.
He’s been playing banged up this season so we’re expecting him to be out there in LA, but maybe owners will want to tempt their high expectations just a bit. The Rams do propose a highly favorable matchup, as they rank 22nd in the league defending the pass.
But we don’t need to tell you how good or bad a defense is because you start Jones either way. The thing is there have been some games this season in which Julio has burned fantasy owners badly.
In Week 12, he only caught for 35 yards on only four catches. Granted it was against the Kansas City Chiefs, but it was a home game and it was Julio Jones.
In Week 3, he was a bit banged up going into that Monday Night game against the New Orleans Saints. Something was wrong or something was off because he just had one catch for 16 yards in that. Then in Week 5 at the Denver Broncos and Week 8 against the Green Bay Packers, he disappointed yet again. He only caught for only 29 yards in both games, granted it was a tough match up against Denver.
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But still, Jones has shown signs of being human and having a number of bad fantasy games this season. It’s the playoffs and injury or tough match up, you’re going to start Matt Ryan‘s favorite weapon. However, can you imagine if he were to miss this week’s tilt? That would be a travesty, but it would also be the theme of this fantasy football season—no one is immune to the injury bug.