Each week of the season the evolution of the NFL continues to unfold. Coaches are opening up their offenses, starters are being shaken up, injuries are mounting, bye weeks have arrived while defense are more defined. All this information is poured into building a starting lineup capable of outscoring our upcoming opponent (fantasy football surmised in one simple sentence). With most of our lineup already set, here are a number of key factors that could help make those gut wrenching decisions.
Friday’s Injury Report
The primary reason I asked to write this article was covering the Friday Injury Report. A mandate by the league to each NFL team, Friday’s report gives us the best indicator as to a player’s upcoming availability. Some of the easiest players to evaluate are those listed as “Probable/full participation in practice.” Each is nearly guaranteed to take the field. Examining week four we find; C.J. Spiller, Maurice Jones-Drew, Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Bush, Calvin Johnson and Josh Gordon. Each can be started as needed……….. Of course “out” and “doubtful” means these guys won’t take the field. No show, no dough. Players who will be grounded this week include; Miles Austin, Ahmad Bradshaw, Nate Burleson and Steven Jackson………
If you were one of the 18 readers who have been following my article, you know my disdain for the acronym GTD (Game Time Decision). Coaches who list players as “limited in practice,” and or “questionable” are the hardest to evaluate. Here’s my humble interpretation……… Both V. Jax and Mike Williams were declared limited/questionable on Friday. From the sounds of it, even if they do play it won’t be full go. With rookie a QB making his NFL debut, it’s probably best to leave Jackson and Williams on our bench………… The Patriots are notorious for sending smoke signals. My gut tells me Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski will sit this game out. However, if Gronk starts he warrants serious consideration as a ow end TE1 option (how’s that for a political answer).…………. The Raiders are saying Terrelle Pryor must pass a “team mandated” concussion test. If he’s active against the horrendous Skins defense he’s an excellent mid/lower QB1.……. Brandon Bolden is likely to sit giving Stevan Ridley very low end RB2 status.……… Ray Rice is a sketchy start. I’m also predicting he sits (making Bernard Pearce a mid RB2)……… Roddy White admitted he is “not where he wants to be.” Doesn’t sound good. Keep him on your bench until he proves otherwise……. Last but not least, Andre Johnson. For the past two weeks Andre Johnson has suffered in-game injuries leading to limited practices all week. Even if he plays, 80% won’t be good enough to beat the Seattle secondary. I’m benching him with ease.
From the department of redundancy I bring you; “While our weekly wrap up starts with the Injury Report, it will end with the Inactive Report. Released 15 minutes before kickoff, any player listed on the Inactive Report will not see the field, a guaranteed zero fantasy points. Even if your entire team appears primed and ready to roll, always, always check the inactive report. Make this mistake once and you’ll know what I’m talking about.”