Going into Week 5 of the fantasy football season, it appears that the injury report is at it's longest yet. Mixing that with bye weeks, fantasy owners have to be on top of their game as to who is available to go this week. Below you will find a long list of players who have injuries that need to be addressed in your lineup or may open some doors for waiver wire options.
Brett Favre, Vikings
Favre gets Randy Moss this week...finally. He also has some tendinitis in his throwing elbow. It’s not going to be enough to put a damper on his playing time, but something to watch going forward. There is that ankle thing too.
Jay Cutler, Bears
Cutler is out after the beating he took against the Giants. Todd Collins gets the start. Downgrade all Bears except maybe Matt Forte this week. He should return next week for the Seahawks game.
Drew Brees, Saints
Drew is listed as "Probable" with a knee injury. We are thinking it is going to take more than that to keep the guy off the field and you have to play him.
Matthew Stafford, Lions
Although he is on the recovery train, it appears that Stafford will remain out for a few more weeks. Shaun Hill makes for a fantastic waiver wire start against the Rams this week. Imagine what the Lions could have put up with a healthy Stafford.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
Like mentioned in previous weeks, it is going to take more than an injury report to keep this guy off the field. His ankle is "probable," but we think the Jags ride him against the Bills this week.
Peyton Hillis/Jerome Harrison, Browns
Was his reign as waiver-wire king short lived? Hillis is listed as "questionable" with a thigh injury. On the flip side, Harrison and his thigh are getting better. Hillis is expected to go on Sunday, but we have to wonder if his new-found role as the 20-carry guy is going to suffer—not only in this game, but moving forward too. What happens if Harrison gets hot again?
Pierre Thomas, Saints
Thomas is out once again. Ladell Betts and Chris Ivory will get the carries against the Cardinals. If the Saints get out ahead, look for them to test what they have in Ivory.
Ray Rice, Ravens
Rice and his knee have had fantasy owners going crazy this season so far. This is the week they should get their high draft pick back to form against the Broncos. He has practiced all week, which is a great sign. If you are not a frustrated Rice owner, but you know one, you could possibly get him in a trade given his performance so far.
Jahvid Best, Lions
Best is "questionable" with his turf toe. With the Rams on the schedule this week this is a bummer for Best owners (myself being one of them). He is expected to play, but you are going to want to keep tabs on this one. We will update in the comments as we hear anything.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
Bradshaw is listed as "questionable," but he is getting the starter reps. Of course with the listing you want to keep an eye on him, but he should be a solid play this week.
Ryan Mathews, Chargers
Mathews is "probable" and will be getting back in the game more and more. With Mike Tolbert running well we are just wondering what it is going to do in the long run to Mathews' load. He will still be the lead back, but it isn’t what we envisioned for him as a workhorse if Tolbert sticks around on game day.
Steven Jackson, Rams
Jackson and his groin should be good to go against the Lions. This game has the potential to be a fantasy blow up. Whodathunkit?
DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
Williams has been sick this week, but practiced on Friday, which is always what you want to look for. It should be a run-heavy week for the Panthers.
Darren McFadden, Raiders
Just when McFadden finds fantasy football relevance, he is sidelined with a hammy. He will watch Michael Bush campaign for future carries this week from the bench.
LeSean McCoy, Eagles
While his "questionable" listing led us to question (really?) what would happen this week, it appears that McCoy is going to go against the Niners. This is going to make a statement of toughness for McCoy that owners shouldn’t forget if he has a solid, full game.
Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
Knowshon and his hammy are going to miss this week’s game against the Ravens. What a disappointment for the owners that thought they got Moreno at a value in drafts this year and were counting on him as a RB2.
Joseph Addai/Donald Brown, Colts
Both of these backs are listed as "questionable." Addai is the most likely to play and has practiced all week. Brown appears out of the equation.
Clinton Portis, Redskins
As mentioned earlier in the week, all signs are pointing to "Yes" for Ryan Torain in Washington. Portis is out 4-6 weeks. Some Washington writers think he has played his last game with the team. If Torain stays healthy and productive there isn’t much reason to think Portis comes back and produces. Big IF given Torain’s history though.
Andre Johnson, Texans
Johnson’s ankle still has him listed as "questionable." He is not going to be the WR1 for you that he usually is, but if he is playing you have to play him. Keep an eye out as we may not know until Sunday morning if he goes.
Chad Ochocinco, Bengals
Although he missed practice on Friday, which is when you want to see guys practice, Ochocinco is listed as probable with a groin issue and should play. Vets can get by with not practicing on Friday, but you are going to want to keep an ear out. This game against the Bucs can be a big one for the Bengals skill position players.
Steve Smith, Panthers
A sprained ankle and bye week are going to keep Smith out of fantasy lineups for a couple of weeks. Don’t bother with picking up his backups in redraft leagues, there are better options on the wire.
Steve Breaston/Early Doucet, Cardinals
Why do these matter you ask? It isn’t so much about them as it is Larry Fitzgerald, who is finally finding himself on the other end of the injury news. We know Fitz is the go-to guy, but this will make it even more so for rookie QB Max Hall who is getting the start this week. The Saints are hurting in the secondary and have not been putting pressure on the QB. Even with a concentration on Fitz, more targets equal more opportunities.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys
Bryant has been practicing and should return to form this week. He had hip and rib issues going into the bye week, but he should regain his spot in the lineup, downgrading Roy Williams.
Reggie Wayne/Austin Collie/Pierre Garcon, Colts
Wayne is the only sure thing here. Garcon has been listed as "questionable" and "probable" on different sources. His stock depends on if Collie is playing. Collie is "questionable." Watch how it plays out. If you have other options for Collie and Garcon you may want to pencil them in for now.
Jason Witten, Cowboys
Witten and his sprained MCL have been practicing all week and should be a go against the Titans.
Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings
Shiancoe is "probable" with a hammy, but he should play. The bigger concern here is to think about what will happen to his targets with Favre having a new toy in Randy Moss. He has been known to force some balls and this could take away from Visanthe Shiancoe’s looks.
Kellen Winslow, Bucs
Winslow and his knee should be good to go this week. He is looking like the only relevant fantasy option in Tampa Bay right now.