Injury review: Playoff implications
Earlier this week, it was reported that rookie quarterbacks Matthew Stafford (shoulder) and Mark Sanchez (knee) would be unavailable against Baltimore and Tampa Bay, respectively. Their absences bring Daunte Culpepper and Kellen Clemens onto the scene for the first round of the fantasy playoffs. Are you feeling confident if you're trotting out Calvin Johnson or Braylon Edwards? Does Clemens' presence mitigate the returns you can expect from Thomas Jones?
We'll be debating those issues, among countless others, in the Twitter-verse and on the radio show on Sunday. In the interim, I'm turning back to the locker rooms to update the pressing injury questions facing fantasy owners.
The Boston Globe reports that quarterback Tom Brady was back at practice on Friday and is expected to start against the Panthers. He's been battling a myriad of injuries, but his time off this week would likely be more easily attributed to the birth of his child.
The Philadelphia Inquirer advises that Andy Reid has declared running back Brian Westbrook out for Sunday's game against the Giants. LeSean McCoy's the primary option, and I certainly expect him to top the nine touches he garnered in Week 13. Leonard Weaver's still a factor, but McCoy remains the lead back.
DeSean Jackson's been available at practice this week, having recovered sufficiently from his concussion to get back onto the field as a receiver and returner.
The San Diego Tribune reports that linebacker Shawne Merriman (foot) and defensive lineman Luis Castillo (calf) were back at mid-week practices and are expected to be ready for Sunday's showdown in Dallas. There are one million stories related to this game, and the two head coaches factor into most of them.
The Florida Times-Union reports that Mike Sims-Walker was held out of practice on Friday after straining a calf muscle during Wednesday's workout. He'll be a game-time decision and was tagged doubtful.
John Henderson and Rashean Mathis were also listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Dolphins. Chad Henne was looking solid as a sleeper option this week, and these absences help fuel that argument.
The Charlotte Observer reports that Jake Delhomme's been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Patriots because of his broken finger. Matt Moore will start his second straight game.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution , Matt Ryan was available for only the walk-through portions of mid-week workouts. Jeff Schultz, who covers the team for the paper, says he doesn't believe Ryan's turf toe will allow him to return to the field. Chris Redman would get the start in this pivotal divisional battle against New Orleans.
The paper also tells us that Michael Turner was unavailable for Thursday's practice and that the explosive tailback will be a game-time decision. Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling would continue sharing the workload if Turner's ruled out.
The Washington Post reports that Clinton Portis was officially placed on injured reserve because of lingering effects from a concussion. Quinton Ganther, this week's sexy waiver wire pick, and Rock Cartwright will split time against the run-deficient Oakland defense.
The paper also tells us both Albert Haynesworth (ankle) and DeAngelo Hall (knee) will miss Sunday's game. Haynesworth re-injured his ankle last week against the Saints, while Hall's missed the past two games.
The Tennessean reports that Titans quarterback Vince Young aggravated a right knee injury during Thursday's practice and didn't suit up for Friday's workout. However, he did tell reporters he expects to play against the Rams. Jeff Fisher listed him as questionable on the official injury report.
The Miami Herald reports that linebacker Joey Porter, who's been battling knee and ankle injuries and missed the early-week practices, returned to work on Friday. His availability helps downgrade Maurice Jones-Drew slightly for Week 14.
The Minnesota Star-Tribune reports that Percy Harvin missed his third consecutive practice because of migraine headaches and has been tagged questionable for this week's game against Cincinnati. He's missed practice time and played in a game before this season, but he's one to watch at kickoff.
If you have any last-minute injury questions or need help with a sit-start question, you have plenty of options on Sunday morning and throughout the weekend. Nate Lundy, Peter Burns and I are answering your calls, texts and Tweets during the "FOX Fantasy Football" show on FOX Sports Radio (XM 142 and FOXSportsradio.com) between 10am-12pm ET/7-9am PT on Sunday. Hit the Twitter-verse at Twitter.com/fantasyfreaks or Twitter.com/swollendome.
You can also log in and chat with Roger Rotter on Sunday morning. He'll be breaking down all of the games and updating those pesky injury reports with his sit-start thoughts from 11am-1pm ET/8-10am PT on FOXSports.com.