Portis & Barber Hurting, But You May Not Have Wanted To Play Them Anyway
Alright, I've got nothing more to say to prepare you for this... I give you the injuries to watch as of Wednesday for week 14 of fantasy football:
Ben Roethlisberger- "Big Ben" injured his knee in practice Wednesday and had to leave. It doesn’t sound serious, but keep an eye on if he practices or not on Thursday or Friday. I don’t like this matchup for Ben even if he does play, as Pittsburgh’s pass protection has been brutal this year, and Dallas is second in the NFL with 40 sacks so they’re likely to put plenty of pressure on whoever is behind center for the Steelers.
Matt Schaub- After missing the last 4 games due to a knee injury, he participated fully in practice Wednesday and is slated to start Sunday at Green Bay. Still though, at Green Bay in a game the Packers absolutely must have to stay alive in the NFC North race, and with Schaub unlikely to be on top of his game after missing a month, this isn’t a good week to play him.
Trent Edwards- Officially a “Game-Time Decision” with a groin injury, speculation is that J.P. Losman’s going to be starting this game Sunday in Toronto against the Dolphins. I’d just stay away from both of them this week.
Clinton Portis- The neck injury Portis suffered against the Ravens is still bothering him, and he’s officially a “Game-Time Decision” for Sunday night at Baltimore. Although it’s tough to sit Portis if he can play, going up against Baltimore’s #3 ranked run defense in front of what’s sure to be a pumped up crowd isn’t a great matchup. I’d start about 20 running backs ahead of him this week, assuming he plays of course.
Marion Barber- The Cowboys running back sat out Wednesday’s practice with a toe injury. It sounds like he’ll sit out practice Thursday as well and will probably need to practice fully Friday to play on Sunday at Pittsburgh. Like Portis though, this isn’t a good matchup for Barber if he can even play. The Steelers have the best run defense in the NFL, allowing only 71.2 rushing yards per game, and have allowed just 5 touchdowns on the ground.
Ryan Grant- He was able to go for the whole practice Wednesday, so he should be able to play Sunday at home against the Texans. Brandon Jackson impressed Sunday though with 11 carries for 80 yards, and may take some touches from Grant regardless of health. That is of course if Brandon Jackson can go, as he missed practice on Wednesday with a quad injury, but it sounds like he’s probable.
Derrick Mason- The shoulder he dislocated in week 10 is still keeping him limited in practice, but he’s played in every game. He caught 6 passes for 91 yards and a TD against the Bengals this past Sunday, so he’s doing just fine.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh- After getting a concussion Sunday against the Ravens, Houshmandzadeh sat out practice Wednesday. It sounds like he’s okay though and should be able to play Sunday at Indianapolis.
Arnaz Battle & Josh Morgan- The San Francisco wide receivers sound “Questionable” at best for Sunday’s game against the Jets. Battle’s missed the last 4 games with a foot injury, while the rookie Morgan’s been sidelined for the last 3 games with a groin injury. Either of them would’ve been a nice sleeper in deep leagues this week, as I think Shaun Hill will have a nice game against a Jets defense that Jay Cutler threw for 357 against last Sunday. Now Jason Hill’s value for this week increases and would be a nice pickup on the waiver wire if you’re looking for a wide receiver.
Kellen Winslow- He’s officially out Sunday with a high ankle sprain, and that injury can keep players out for weeks, so they might just put him on injured reserve. With Ken Dorsey at quarterback after Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson went down for the year with injuries, you want nothing to do with him anyway.
UPDATE(12/4, 7:20PM ET): Ben Roethlisberger had a full practice today, and should be fine to start sunday against Dallas.
Marion Barber missed practice today and the Cowboys are sound very worried about his chances to play. Pick up Tashard Choice if he's still available in your league.
Derrick Mason was held out again today, keep an eye on him. I'd think they're just being careful with his shoulder and he'll play.
Arnaz Battle practiced fully today, and is expected to play. Josh Morgan was limited in practice and is status is still in question.So, what I said about Jason Hill being a sleeper... I don't feel as good about that anymore if at least one of these guys comeback.
Chiefs wide receiver Mark Bradley missed practice today with a calf injury, so he's another guy to watch.
UPDATE(12/5, 3:35 PM ET): Brian Westbrook and Joseph Addai are each "Questionable". Westbrook's battling the knee and ankle injuries that have bothered him over the last few weeks, but he still put up a league-leading 39 fantasy points last week. Lorenzo Booker is Westbrook's backup with Correll Buckhalter "Doubtful". Dominic Rhodes is Addai's backup and would be a great play against the Bengals at home if Addai can't go due to a knee injury.
Bills quarterback Trent Edwards is officially out, so J.P. Losman will get the start against the Dolphins Sunday in Toronto.
Marion Barber sounds like a "Game-Time Decision", so follow that closely on Sunday morning.
Matt Hasselbeck is "Doubtful" with a back injury, so Seneca Wallace is likely the starting quarterback for the Seahawks Sunday against the Patriots. So this hurts you if you had an offensive player like John Carlson from the Seahawks this week.
Furthermore, the Vikings' Williamses will be allowed to play this Sunday against the Lions, so that really hurts Kevin Smith's value.
You can read more of my fantasy analysis, as well as get links to great fantasy rankings, projections, and much more on my Week 14 Fantasy Football Roundup. Feel free to comment or ask any questions, and you can always e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org.