NFL Week 13 Injury Report: Who Will Play, Who Will Sit?
As we nearly cross the finish line and get set for the playoffs, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be injuries that will be of major hindrance for fantasy owners down the stretch.
Week 13 is a crucial week in fantasy circles, and having a good grip on the injury situation is of paramount importance for fantasy owners. You see, Week 13 is usually the last regular season week for fantasy players, with the playoffs typically lasting from weeks 14-16. So now, more than ever, is when you need your studs to step up while also hoping they can get over what ails them.
Some players will give it a go and play a bit banged up this week, while some players will sit out once again since they are not healing at the rate that they would like to be.
So, who’s in and who’s out? Well, let me be your guide as to which of the following injured stars will most likely play and which ones will probably sit as well as to how you should handle their injury status.
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
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After initially being listed as doubtful to play in Sunday’s game against the Seahawks, the Bears have reversed course and now say that Forte will give it a go.
Forte has healed nicely and any chance of Michael Bush stepping up in his absence is now moot. Due to Forte being the stud that he is, you have to start him, as the Bears’ offense still revolves around him.
Having said that, the Seahawks have one of the more underrated defenses in the league and they do a decent job of stuffing the run, allowing 108.6 rushing yards per game which is good for 12th in the league. Unless you have great depth, Forte is a must start.
Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
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Darren McFadden is expected to make his highly-awaited return to the field this week after a three-week absence due to a high-ankle sprain.
The Raiders had McFadden participate in practice the last few days and he is now officially listed as questionable.
There is no questioning McFadden’s big-play ability, and although the matchup against the Browns—who have allowed 118.4 rushing yards per game and have given up nine rushing touchdowns—would be in his favor, this is the week to sit McFadden and let him feel his way around.
Expect the Raiders to keep Marcel Reece actively involved in the game plan considering how well he has thrived in McFadden’s absence. Look for the Raiders to ease McFadden—and also Mike Goodson, who could also be active this week—slowly back into the mix.
Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings
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Head coach Leslie Frazier briefly summed up the status of Percy Harvin’s lingering ankle issues this week when he said, "No setbacks, just no progress."
So it does not look like Harvin will suit up for the Vikings in their game against the Packers this weekend. Although he participated in some pass-catching drills, Harvin is still being listed as doubtful.
Harvin is one of the most-dynamic players in the NFL, and unfortunately, you have to just sit tight with him and hope he returns for the fantasy playoff run.
Don’t ever think of dropping Harvin, just sit tight for now.
DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
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Another player who is making a lot of progress in trying to return to action this week—but is not a lock to play this week—is DeMarco Murray. The Dallas Morning News is reporting that all signs seem to indicate that he will give it a go on Sunday night against the Eagles.
But, just like McFadden, Murray would be better left on the bench this week. Let’s see how Murray’s foot—which has knocked him out of commission for the last six games—responds to the cuts and turns that he will have to make on Sunday before we start trusting him again.
If you’re without good options at running back and are desperate then perhaps you could turn to Murray in a pinch. After all, the Cowboys will be facing a reeling Eagles’ squad who seem to have mailed in their season.
Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams
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Once again Amendola will be listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the 49ers. However, that was the same status that he had entering last week’s game against the Cardinals. Amendola still suited up, but only hauled in one catch for 38 yards.
Considering his doubtful status, his rustiness as well as the matchup, Amendola has to be treated as a guy to sit this week.
When you consider his schedule down the stretch, though, Amendola may prove to be a godsend, as he will get set to face the Bills, Vikings and Buccaneers in the fantasy playoff weeks.
Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys
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From the “don’t worry” department, Miles Austin—who has been battling a hip strain—looks like he will be fully ready to go come Sunday night when the Cowboys and Eagles square off.
Although he may be healthy enough to play in Sunday’s contest, it may be a wise idea to sit Austin anyway. Austin has been in a slump of late and has not scored in five straight games. He has also not topped 80 yards in his last four games.
So, while Austin is a worthy of a roster spot, he is a prime candidate to sit this week.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
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It finally appears that Antonio Brown will return for the Steelers this week after missing the last three games with a sprained ankle.
Brown’s return could not come at better time for the Steelers, whose offense is stuck in neutral—especially with Ben Roethlisberger banged up and Mike Wallace in coach Mike Tomlin’s doghouse. That being said, Brown can’t be considered a recommended start this week given that he’ll have Charlie Batch as his quarterback.
Brown is a player you could possibly cut bait with, as he has not been all that impressive this year in the first place. If Roethlisberger cannot return anytime soon, then Brown’s value will plummet and he will be a hard player to trust in the playoffs.
Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots
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Seemingly every week, Hernandez is on the injury report. Week 13 is no different, as he has once again been labeled as questionable for Sunday’s game at Miami with an ankle injury.
With Rob Gronkowski already ruled out, Hernandez would help the Patriots’ offense immensely if he can return to his vintage ways.
I wouldn’t worry too much about Hernandez’ status, and I love his matchup with the Dolphins this week. The Dolphins have allowed 261.7 passing yards per game, which is ranked 26th in the league.
Hernandez also has good history against the ‘Fins. Last year, he recorded 11 receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown in two games against Miami.
Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers
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If there was a player coming off a long layoff that may be worth rolling the dice on this week, it is Greg Jennings.
Jennings, who has missed the last seven games, has been practicing in full this week, and he will face a Vikings’ pass defense that he has absolutely torched in the past. In his last four games against Minnesota, Jennings has racked up 405 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 23 receptions.
You certainly could do a lot worse than Jennings. He is worth the gamble.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
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It’s not like this injury is all that devastating. Stewart has been a bust all season and he has not produced very consistent stats all year long.
Like Brown, Stewart is a prime candidate to possibly cut for healthier alternatives like Knowshon Moreno, Bryce Brown, or Shane Vereen, for instance.
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