Fantasy owners can deal with injuries from week to week. It's a part of the game. What drives the average owner crazy, however, is players who are listed as "game-time decisions" or those who are limited at practice during the week.
Do you start them? Do you use your waiver priority trying to ensure you have that player's handcuff? Can you take the risk that they'll play even if they have a later start time on Sunday or Monday night?
For the following three players, I say nay. These guys may be stars (or at least top options at their positions), but each is too risky to start this week. Consider yourself warned.
Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers
Jennings is the perfect storm of fantasy lineup danger—he's coming off a missed week, his status remains up in the air for this week, he's got a really tough matchup against the Houston Texans and the Packers don't play until Sunday evening, meaning fantasy owners could be left with no options if they start Jennings and he doesn't play.
Translation: Stay away unless it is announced before 1 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon that he will play. If there is no clear indication before then, go with a backup plan while you can still start those players in the afternoon games.
And honestly, even then I don't love Jennings this week against the Texans. Houston is giving up the least fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in the NFL this year (15.2 per game) and the fourth fewest passing yards per week (190.2).
There are safer options. Take them.
Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers
See Jennings, Greg.
Finley is trying to come back from a dislocated shoulder a week ago, and like Jennings, could be the dreaded "game-time decision" this week.
Unlike Jennings, he has a more reasonable matchups. The Texans have allowed touchdowns in the past three weeks, and Finley could become a reliable check-down for Aaron Rodgers over the middle if the Texans' pass rush gives him fits.
Still, you have to worry about the 8:20 start. Chances are, you can't risk getting burnt if Finley remains a game-time decision. Be prepared to move in a different direction.
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
At some point, Hakeem Nicks will return from his knee injury. That may not be this week, however.
From Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:
Coughlin hopeful Nicks can play. Says he doesn't know if Nicks' knee swelling had gone down but says Nicks has moved well— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) October 11, 2012
With a 4:25 p.m. ET start against the San Francisco 49ers and Nicks likely to be a game-time decision, most owners can't risk waiting to find out whether or not the star wideout will play. Oh, and about those 49ers—they have the second-ranked pass defense in the league (181.2 yards per game) and are fifth in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers.
I'd avoid Nicks this week.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets know when to apply the infield fly rule.