The good news is that the studs you have on your fantasy team who have gotten you to this point of the season stayed healthy in Week 14. The bad news is the role players who can make or break your week any given week got a bit banged up on Sunday. It’s time to see how serious the injuries were, and if you will need to find some type of replacement before the start of Week 15.
Vince Young, QB, Tennessee Titans
While Young isn’t owned in a lot of fantasy leagues, his mere presence in the lineup can do a number of things for his teammates. Young injured his right hamstring this past Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, but says he could have returned to the game if it had been a closer contest. Head coach Jeff Fisher is describing the hamstring injury as mild and figures to have his quarterback back next week against the Miami Dolphins.
Bruce Gradkowski, QB, Oakland Raiders
While Gradkowski isn’t a fantasy star, or likely someone you would even start for that matter, his play of late may have led you to play the likes of Zach Miller, Darren McFadden, Justin Fargas, etc. Well, you may want to rethink playing those guys, as Gradkowski sprained, and partially tore, ligaments in both of his knees, likely ending his season.
While tests still need to be done, it doesn’t sound good for Oakland’s signal caller. The infamous JaMarcus Russell, who filled in Sunday when Gradkowski went down, looks to be the replacement at quarterback as Oakland will get one more look at its former No. 1 overall pick.
Matt Ryan, QB, & Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan missed another game for the Falcons with his toe injury as he was told by the medical staff to not give it a go against the New Orleans Saints. Turner, who is still battling an ankle injury, also sat out based on the advice from the medical staff. Considering how close both guys were to playing this past week, you will likely be able to deploy them into your lineup in Week 15, but don’t be surprised if neither guy is 100 percent.
Kevin Smith, RB, Detroit Lions
Smith went down with a significant knee injury against the Baltimore Ravens that may cause him to miss the rest of the season. While further tests will be taken to find out the extent of the injury, head coach Jim Schwartz did not sound optimistic about his running back’s health. If Smith misses the last three games for the Lions, a combination of Maurice Morris and Aaron Brown will be used. Considering the fact that these two will be in a RBBC for a team netting just slightly more than 16 points per game, neither is a particularly enticing option for fantasy purposes.
Nate Burleson, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Burleson left the Seahawks’ game against the Houston Texans with an ankle injury and did not return. Tests will be done to find out the extent of his injury. Burleson has continually seen his number of targets drop in recent weeks, due to his teammate T.J. Houshmandzadeh wanting the ball more.
However, Burleson has been the better Seattle receiver this season. Though, fantasy owners should note that, over the last three weeks, he has not recorded more than 54 yards receiving, which means he is disappearing from the offense at a bad time for fantasy owners. Add in the ankle injury, and he is not worth starting as we move forward.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Reports are that Maclin aggravated a left foot injury in the first half of the Eagles’ game against the New York Giants. Reports out of Philadelphia are that the receiver tore a strand in his plantar fascia, which is medical talk for, “he’s not playing in Week 15.”
Head coach Andy Reid says there is an outside possibility he can return for the team’s Week 16 contest, but even that is uncertain. With Maclin out, Jason Avant, and Reggie Brown will see more playing time for Philly. While it is recommended you stay away from Brown, Avant could make for a solid third WR option.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Houshmandzadeh had to leave his game Sunday against the Houston Texans after falling on his head. While Houshmanzadeh has stated he is fine, any type of injury to the head is going to raise a flag in the NFL.
Don’t be surprised, even if he says he is OK, that he gets held out a week as a precaution. Besides, Houshmanzadeh has had a horrendous season, with only two 100-yard games and three touchdowns all year. You likely should not be putting your trust in him at this time of the year.
Percy Harvin, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Harvin was inactive against the Cincinnati Bengals after having migraines over the last couple of days. This sounds like something he should be able to get over in the next few days, which means he should be safe to play next week. However, Harvin’s situation should be monitored throughout the week. If his migraines flare up again at any time during the week, fantasy owners should put a back-up plan in place.
Lance Moore, WR, New Orleans Saints
While Moore missed his sixth-straight game with an ankle/hamstring injury, he was listed as the Saints inactive emergency third quarterback. That means he could have possibly played, but also means he may not be a big difference maker in the New Orleans offense any more. Considering how many weapons the Saints have, it’s tough seeing him having a big impact the rest of the way, meaning you could probably drop him from your team if you haven’t already done so.
DeMarcus Ware, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Ware was released from the hospital after spraining his neck on a nasty collision with San Diego Charger’s guard Brandyn Dombrowski. Even though Ware was aware and alert with full movement and strength in his extremities, neck injuries are too serious to simply walk off.
Ware will likely be questionable all week long, and you probably won’t know his status until game time. If you have another option in IDP leagues, you may want to go with that. The Dallas Cowboys take on the New Orleans Saints, which means even with Ware, you probably shouldn’t play their defense.
Remember, injuries happen all the time. Even if it is your star who goes down, finding the replacements before the other owners in your fantasy football league may be the difference at the end of the year. With that being said it will benefit you to check out our "Fantasy Football Week 15 Waiver Wire - Pick Them Up " article to identify which players to pick up.
Have a guy on our injury list and not sure what to do with your roster? Contact our injury expert Greg Warnock for advice. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org