Fantasy football injury notebook - Week 12

Adrian Peterson could be a risky fantasy start this week. Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports

To worry or not to worry?

Several players have what could be classified as “iffy” status heading toward the weekend. Many fantasy owners share a similarly shaky status with regards to playoff brackets. A win or a loss this week could prove to be the deciding factor in their future fortunes. Every player on the roster needs to pull his weight and if he can’t, then as they say, it’s next man up. In an effort to help fantasy owners evaluate just how concerned they should be about several key players, we discuss whether it’s time to worry about finding a replacement for them.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings (groin): Worry ... a little. After last week’s outing, coach Leslie Frazier indicated Peterson’s groin strain impacted his performance. Even Peterson acknowledged the pain bothered him “a lot.” As of Thursday, Peterson still hadn’t practiced. He insists he will play Sunday and, based on his track record, it’s hard to doubt him. The bigger concern would be that he starts the game but does not finish if the groin proves to be problematic. With the Vikings sitting at 2-8 in the NFC North cellar, it would not make sense to risk further injury to Peterson if he appears to be struggling with the injury.

Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals (shoulder): Not to worry. Floyd came out and played last week after spraining the AC joint in his right shoulder and put up 193 yards and a touchdown. Limited practices are not a surprise to protect Floyd’s shoulder between games, but expect to see him on the field Sunday.

Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts (calf): Worry. If the limited production wasn’t already a concern, add a late-week calf injury to the mix. Richardson popped up on Thursday’s injury report as limited due to the calf. So far there are no indications that he would sit out Sunday’s game against Arizona. But, if teammate Donald Brown’s increased workload and productivity weren’t enough of a threat to Richardson’s value, the presence of a leg injury certainly doesn’t help.

Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers (knee): Not to worry. Despite leaving Sunday’s game early with a knee injury, Allen has put in full practices on consecutive days this week. Combine that with coach Mike McCoy’s vote of confidence in Allen’s playing status at the start of the week and there seems little doubt we will see him against the Chiefs.

Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins (concussion): Start worrying. Granted, Reed’s team does not play until Monday night so Thursday is the first issued practice report. With the extra day, it’s possible Reed will not make an appearance in practice until Friday. Regardless, he will still need to pass all phases of the post-concussion protocol. The more important element is that in order for Reed to take the field Monday, he will need to remain symptom-free until kickoff. Fantasy owners who choose to wait until Monday night will face some risk, although depending on the level of Reed’s activity between now and then, there should be better clues as to how he is progressing.

Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos (knee): Worry. Thomas may have avoided a major injury last Sunday when he appeared to hyperextend his knee, but it doesn’t mean he’s home free. The aftereffects of that brief exaggeration of his knee’s range of motion could leave Thomas with swelling, soreness and stiffness for days. Thomas did not practice Wednesday, which did not come as a surprise. In his return to practice Thursday, Thomas was limited. If he continues to be limited Friday it will raise questions about his status for Sunday. The Broncos play in a night game against the Patriots, so if Thomas comes in as questionable, fantasy owners would need a Sunday night or Monday night backup plan. (And consider that one of those options, Jordan Reed -- whose team plays Monday night -- could be questionable himself.)