Week 12 of the NFL season was brutal on the injury front, and there are certain lessons that you should have learned.
There are assumptions to be made, as well. We all know that assumptions and lessons are entirely different things, though. One rests in history and knowledge while the other resides in the world of the fantastic and irresponsible.
Some may seem clear to you. But what exactly is it that seems clear? The lesson learned, or the assumption you are making?
Let's clear the air. This is your Week 13 fantasy injury report.
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles - Jackson has been placed on non-season ending IR with fractured ribs. According to Zach Berman of Philly.com, long time "third WR" Jason Avant (who is returning from a hamstring injury himself) is not necessarily a shoe-in to fill Jackson's role to round out Philly's lost season:
Avant is listed as the starting receiver with DeSean Jackson on injured reserve. Avant wouldn't reveal how he'll be used, but he's typically a slot receiver. It's more likely Damaris Johnson and Riley Cooper would fill Jackson's spot.
My take: I don't want any part of the Eagles passing game, but if I had to dip my toes into this murky mess, I like Riley Cooper. He has the "second-team connection" with rookie QB Nick Foles and is, sadly, the most physically imposing WR the Eagles have left on their roster.
Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers - Alexander (thigh) was a full participant in Wednesday practice.
My take: He's gonna go. Roll with Alexander as you normally would, but be wary of Bengals CB Leon Hall. Whoever Hall shadows will be the goat this week, and if you look at the Chargers as a unit, Alexander may represent their greatest threat. As we saw in Week 12, teams are getting wise to the quick slant that worked so well in Weeks 9 through 11.
Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys - ESPN Dallas is reporting that Miles Austin is likely to go on Sunday.
My take: If you own Miles Austin, prepare to have him in your fantasy lineup this week. He is likely to have one of his biggest games of the season in Week 13 vs. the Philadelphia Eagles.
My take: That's not good. I predicted a Chris Givens monster last week in Amendola's absence, but I am not predicting anything monstrous this week in San Francisco. No winners here except Frank Gore owners.
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots - Edelman was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice, according to the Boston Herald.
My take: The fact that Edelman practiced in any fashion would indicate that he at least passed his initial baseline test, which is important in anticipating his return. Michael Vick has still not passed his. If Edelman goes this week against the Miami Dolphins, I feel he will be utilized heavily if the run struggles, which it is likely to.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers - Steelers beat writer Mike Bires tweeted today that Antonio Brown says he will "definitely play" in Week 13.
My take: It doesn't matter if Ben Roethlisberger remains out. All Pittsburgh WRs are relegated to pathetic WR3-4 status in his absence.
Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings - The Vikings are not giving any detailed updates on Harvin's status, but one thing is obvious: They need him back.
My take: If Harvin is unable to practice fully even once this week, be wary, and keep an eye on rookie Jarius Wright against my 10th best fantasy WR matchup for Week 13.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers - Stewart is likely to miss the next several games with a high ankle sprain according to Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.
My take: It's hard to trust DeAngelo Williams, but the matchup in Week 13 with the Kansas City Chiefs is favorable and 'tis the season to be starting untrustworthy RBs. Ask people who started Bryce Brown last week. The guy hadn't started a game since high school.
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles - Zach Berman of Philly.com, who is quickly becoming an expert in NFL concussion protocol while monitoring Mike Vick and Shady McCoy, reports that McCoy is still in 'Phase 1' of a five-step process in returning to on-field action.
My take: McCoy will not go this weekend, and would you? Andy Reid has lost the locker room and people are very obviously quitting on the season in Philly. Backup RB Bryce Brown does have something to prove, however, and is an electric talent. While Brown may have won his fantasy owners their Week 13 contests with his 178-yard, two touchdown performance, he did lose the game for the Eagles with his fumbling. Reid won't want to trust Brown given the circumstances, but he'll have to.
Andre Brown, New York Giants - Andre Brown is done for the season after suffering a broken fibula in Week 12's Sunday night victory over the Green Bay Packers.
My take: This news is best for owners of Ahmad Bradshaw as the New York staff has not trusted rookie David Wilson since he came in and put his own fumblitis on display early as a pro. Wilson cannot pass protect and is far from a complete back, so expect his role to stay "complementary" in Brown's absence.
""He looked fine. He's going to be okay, I'm sure. I hope."
My take: Seattle has gone from a horrible matchup for opposing fantasy RBs to an absolute cream puff. If Forte returns, I would expect him to be on a relative snap count, so expect a larger role out of Michael Bush who will draw duty breaking the rush defense in.
Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys - According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, DeMarco Murray has returned to Cowboys practice while Felix Jones is now absent.
My take: The Eagles are a joke, but normally I would not expect the Cowboys to take the training wheels completely off of DeMarco Murray in his first game back from an early season foot injury. With the news that Felix Jones looks very iffy to go with his lingering knee and back injuries, they may be forced to. The run game has been the Cowboys' Achilles' heel all season, and they are desperate to get that aspect of their offense back on track in a late season push for the still-winnable NFC East.
The good news is that the injury report at the TE position is pretty slim this week.
Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts - Fleener has returned to Colts practice from the shoulder injury which has sidelined him for a good part of the 2012 season's second half.
My take: While Fleener faces my third-best Week 13 matchup for tight ends in the Detroit Lions, so does his rookie teammate Dwayne Allen. The chemistry has not been there with long time Stanford teammate and QB Andrew Luck the way that many fantasy owners were hoping. If you have been holding out for a Fleener return, you are doing things wrong.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings - Unlike the Philadelphia Eagles, the Minnesota Vikings still have something to play for. Apparently, the concussion process moves a little quicker in this case, as ESPN is reporting that Kyle Rudolph has already been cleared to return.
My take: Rudolph is undependable unless Percy Harvin is not in the game, which could very well be the case again in Week 13. If you have been rolling with Rudolph previously, he appears to be a safe bet to be on the field Sunday.
Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns - According to The Cleveland Plains-Dealer, Brandon Weeden has been cleared from the Week 12 concussion suffered against the Pittsburgh Steelers and will start against the Oakland Raiders Sunday.
My take: I expect a monster game out of Browns RB Trent Richardson, as the Raiders have a way of making every back they face look like Jim Brown. The running game should open up opportunities for Weeden to do what he loves most, though. Weeden will have opportunities to take shots downfield which serves as a very positive indicator for playmaking rookie WR Josh Gordon.
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles - According to me, we will not see Mike Vick again this season, and we might not ever see him in an Eagles uniform ever again.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers - The Beaver County Times is reporting that it is "unlikely" that Roethlisberger will make his return in Week 13's division matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.
My take: I would be "unlikely" to play too if I was just two weeks removed from having a broken rib jabbing into my lung in a life-threatening manner. There was some faint hope that Big Ben would do what everyone has come to expect of him: play hurt. It appears that even Roethlisberger, one of the league's toughest and grittiest QBs when dealing with injuries, won't be rushed back. This is horrible news for owners of Heath Miller, Mike Wallace or anything else connected to the very wimpy 38-year-old arm of backup QB Charlie Batch.