As the NFL’s injuries mount, so does the pressure in fantasy football leagues.
Some leagues are entering their playoffs this week, while other leagues are only one week away from the postseason. So the significance of every injury in the NFL has been multiplied by 1,000. One strained hamstring, mild concussion or torn toenail could be the difference between someone winning a league or winning diddly-squat.
Here is the latest injury report for some key players for Week 14 and how their injures will impact fantasy football:
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles (QB)
The verdict is in, and for the second time in Vick’s life the verdict did not go in his favor.
Philadelphia has decided to go with rookie Nick Foles at quarterback for the remainder of the season regardless of whether or not Vick passes his concussion tests. So Vick has nosedived from being one of fantasy’s most valuable players to being as valuable as David Carr is the span of two seasons.
The only quarterback’s value that might be beneath Vick’s is Arizona’s Ryan Lindley ,since Vick can only put up zeroes by not playing while Lindley can put up negative numbers with all of his turnovers.
You might as well pick up Foles now if he is available. While I might compare him more to Kyle Orton than Drew Brees at this point of his young career—793 passing yards and two TDs in four games—he plays in a pass-first system and on a hapless team that will be trailing most of its games and throwing a ton to catch up.
Heck, Foles’ next game comes against the 32nd-ranked pass defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so in deeper leagues he may be in line for a fantasy start!
As for Vick, he can be dropped in most fantasy leagues. If you want to hold on to him in a dynasty league because you think he can reclaim his past speed and glory by becoming the starting signal-caller of the Jacksonville Jaguars or Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, feel free. Otherwise, drop him for a warm body who starts.
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles (RB)
McCoy was making strides in his concussion tests, but his status is highly doubtful for Week 14 because he still has symptoms. And with backfield mate Vick already being shut down for the season with his own concussion, the chances the same could happen to McCoy have probably quadrupled.
The problem for McCoy is there is no real reason to rush him back. Philadelphia has no playoff hopes, and backup Bryce Brown just had back-to-back 165-plus-yard, multi-TD performances. So the only reason for McCoy to play at this point is if he wanted to do a solid for his loyal fantasy owners.
Don’t bank on McCoy suiting up this Sunday, and even if he miraculously does he would likely only share carries with burner Brown. With coaches and coordinators being fired and players getting benched and going on injured reserve, Philadelphia is in a state of flux, and McCoy’s season could be another casualty.
Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings (WR)
Fantasy owners should have known that Harvin could not remain injury-free for two straight seasons. His frequent migraine headaches were not the problem this time, though. A nagging ankle injury that never got better has officially landed him on injured reserve.
Harvin is definitely someone to protect in dynasty leagues and some keeper leagues, but in year-to-year leagues he can be released. I would love to say that someone else on Minnesota is a nice candidate to pick it up because that receiver will benefit from Harvin not being around, but I can’t.
Jerome Simpson has been non-existent—six receptions for 54 yards in three games—while Harvin has been out, as has Michael Jenkins (four catches for 29 yards in past three games). And with quarterback Christian Ponder slinging passes over the sidelines, only an above-average playmaker like a healthy Harvin would have any chance to be a fantasy force anyway.
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers (WR)
Nelson has had more leg problems this season than an injury-prone tap dancer, and they have cropped up again after he was finally healthy for all of two weeks.
Nelson suffered a hamstring injury early in Green Bay’s game against the Minnesota Vikings last week and is not likely to play this week, according to ESPN.com. This again increases the fantasy values of James Jones and Randall Cobb, just like it has the other times Nelson has been banged-up.
Did you notice how Jones, who was invisible for the two weeks Nelson returned in-between injuries (four catches, 33 yards, no TD) found where the end zone was shortly after Nelson was re-injured in the Minnesota matchup?
Do not use Nelson this week, but give more thought to using Jones or Cobb now that they will receive more targets in Nelson’s absence.
James Starks, Green Bay Packers (RB)
Fantasy owners who have Starks on their rosters would probably like to hand Starks over to the SAMCRO motorcycle gang from Sons of Anarchy and have him roughed up a bit for what he has put them through this year.
Starks, who has had little-to-zero fantasy value all season, finally scored his first touchdown last week and seemed like maybe, just maybe, he might have some fantasy value down the stretch. Yet suddenly this week Starks’ knee bothered him and now he could miss multiple games and possibly the season, according to Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Green Bay signed longtime favorite Ryan Grant for insurance and experience, but it is doubtful Grant can help a fantasy team. Granted, running back is the one position where guys come out of nowhere to blow up big-time (Bryce Brown?), but Grant looked washed-up two years ago so it is hard to fathom him being worthwhile now.
Alex Green will be the one getting the bulk of the carries (lucky us!), and he has not distinguished himself as the next Jim Brown. This season he has not scored in 124 touches and is averaging 3.3 yards per carry. Green is a real poor man’s Shonn Greene. If you are starved for a RB, pick up Green and pray.
Ryan Broyles, Detroit Lions (WR)
You have to feel for Broyles and his fantasy owners. After being ignored for most of the season like he was Adam Sandler at an audition for a Shakespearean play, Broyles burst onto the fantasy scene on Thanksgiving Day with 126 yards, only to tear his ACL the following week.
Broyles is out for the season and can be dropped in all fantasy formats considering he might not be ready for the start of next season.
So does this actually mean that Titus Young, the cancer of all cancers, could get his starting job back if he promises to line up in the right spots in formations?
You have a better chance seeing Kid Rock and Eminem becoming the offensive and defensive coordinators! Young was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. He probably would not have played another down for Detroit if he had a clean bill of health, though.
Former Jacksonville receiver Mike Thomas, who drops as many passes as he catches, is first in line to get the targets that would normally go Broyles’ way. Since Detroit throws as much as any team in the NFL, and since Calvin Johnson gets double-covered a lot, Thomas is a fantasy sleeper on waiver wires. Just know going in that he will drop some sure touchdown passes and drive you bonkers