Fantasy Football Week 14: Latest Updates on Injured Stars
We've made it to Week 14 of the fantasy football season, and that means that in many fantasy leagues we've reached the playoffs and the tournament is underway that will conclude with the crowning of the 2012 champion.
The beginning of the playoffs also ratchets up the pressure, as every team you face had a fairly successful season, meaning that the days of the "gimme" win have regretfully come and gone.
That makes it all the more important to stay up-to-date on the latest injury news from around the NFL, and here's a look at some updates on fantasy-relevant stars.
Darren McFadden Set to Return
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Fantasy owners of Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden have been banging their heads against the wall after the fifth-year pro suffered yet another injury, but after missing the last four games with a sprained ankle, it appears that McFadden is set to return to action.
According to The Sports Network via The Kansas City Star, McFadden is probable for Thursday night's game with the Denver Broncos after being upgraded to a full practice on Wednesday.
With Marcel Reece nursing a sore hamstring of his own, McFadden could be in for a fairly heavy workload this week, but it's hard to trust McFadden as more than a low-end fantasy RB2 in an unfavorable matchup with a solid Denver defense.
Big Ben Looking Good in Practice
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The Pittsburgh Steelers are fighting for the playoffs right now, and if Wednesday's practice was any indication, then the team will have its starting quarterback back when it faces the San Diego Chargers Sunday.
Ben Roethlisberger, who has missed the past three games with rib and shoulder injuries, threw the ball well in practice Wednesday, and head coach Mike Tomlin told the Associated Press via ESPN that he was impressed by what he saw from his signal-caller.
"I thought it was a positive day for Ben," Tomlin said. "He threw the ball around both vertically and horizontally. I thought the ball had good velocity, particularly in a few instances. So, it was positive."
The return of Roethlisberger would be excellent news for fantasy owners of all members of the Pittsburgh passing attack in that with the ninth-year veteran back under center, the Steelers might actually have one.
Percy Harvin Done for the Year
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UPDATE: The Minnesota Vikings' website reports that the team has placed Percy Harvin on injured reserve, ending his season.
The news isn't nearly as good for Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin, as it appears that the fourth-year pro's ankle injury is more severe than was originally believed.
A day after 1500 ESPN reported that Harvin's ankle sprain involved a complete ligament tear, Harvin was predictably absent from practice, and when asked by reporters if Harvin would play again this year, head coach Leslie Frazier replied that it was "hard to say," according to Kevin Seifert of ESPN.
Fantasy owners obviously need to make alternate plans for Week 14, and frankly it would be folly at this point to count on Harvin making any sort of impact in the fantasy playoffs.
Cecil Shorts Not Cleared to Practice
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Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts has been one of the biggest fantasy surprises at his position in 2012, but the rookie's Week 14 availability is very much in doubt amid conflicting reports about his recovery from the concussion he sustained last week.
Despite Shorts reportedly passing his post-concussion tests, head coach Mike Mularkey stated that he is still experiencing symptoms, and Shorts was absent from practice on Wednesday according to The Associated Press via The Washington Post.
Putting aside the fact that it makes no sense for a player to still be experiencing concussion symptoms but have passed tests, if Shorts really is still feeling the effects of last week's head shot, his odds of suiting up in Week 14 aren't good, and fantasy owners should definitely have a Plan B in place.
Jordy Nelson Unlikely to Face Lions
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The Green Bay Packers have been hard-pressed to keep their wide receiver corps together this season, and just when the team finally got Greg Jennings back, it appears it's lost Jordy Nelson again.
The fifth-year pro, who has battled a hamstring injury over the past several weeks, aggravated that injury before last week's win over the Minnesota Vikings and is not expected to play this week, according to ESPN.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy indicated that he didn't "know how many weeks Jordy would be out," and much like with Percy Harvin, fantasy owners would be well-served to resign themselves to the fact that by the time Nelson returns to action it will be too late to help most fantasy squads.