Welcome to the Thanksgiving Day edition of the injury game preview. As usual, there are three games being played on Thursday, and there are injuries to players of note in two of those three games. The Minnesota Vikings travel to the home of the Detroit Lions for the early kickoff (12:30 p.m. ET), and there are no major fantasy-relevant injuries in that contest. As for the other two games? Well, perhaps you want to keep reading.
In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving, and don't forget to set those fantasy lineups!
New York Giants at Washington Redskins, 8:30 p.m. ET
Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants, migraines, (Q): Shepard was a surprise addition to the team's injury report last Saturday with what was listed as an illness. On Sunday, Shepard was declared inactive, and it turns out that migraines were to blame. It is unclear whether he has past experience with migraines; it is apparent, however, that this is an ongoing situation. Shepard was listed as a limited participant due to illness on Monday, but the practice report was an estimation as the team conducted a walk-through.
On Tuesday, Shepard was downgraded and listed as "did not practice." ESPN.com's Jordan Ranaan reported Wednesday that Shepard traveled with the team to Washington, despite the fact that he would have again been listed as a non-practice participant if the team had held a practice. Ranaan notes that Shepard has been undergoing various tests throughout the week, but when he attempted some light running, the migraines returned. Given that he did not respond well to light activity during the week, it's difficult to imagine him taking the field Thursday night, yet he is on the road with the team.
Samaje Perine, RB, Washington Redskins, finger, (Q): Perine comes into Thursday night's game listed as questionable after a finger injury held him to limited practice sessions throughout the week. With the loss of Rob Kelley to injured reserve with ankle and knee injuries, Perine had the opportunity for increased work. The running back reserves have been thinned in Washington, not only with the loss of Kelley but also with Chris Thompson suffering a fibula fracture on Sunday. Now Perine has to contend with a finger injury, but it does not appear to be anything serious. The expectation is that Perine will indeed be able to play, and limiting his practice reps during the week might have been the best step in helping to ensure that happens.
Players off-game status injury report
Orleans Darkwa, RB, New York Giants, hamstring: Darkwa popped up on this week's injury report with a hamstring injury. Given that he was listed as a limited participant Monday and Tuesday, his status for Thursday's game never truly appeared in jeopardy. Coming off a 20-carry game Sunday, the Giants no doubt wanted to limit his workload amidst limited rest in a short week. His removal from the pregame injury report indicates that he is expected to play.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington, hamstring: Despite his reported improvement last week combined with sitting out another game on Sunday, Reed was not present in practices early this week, hinting at yet another miss. The hint has now turned into a direct statement, with the team ruling out Reed in advance of Thursday night's game. There are now 10 days until the next game, and it would appear that he will have a much better chance of being ready to go at that point. This will mark the fourth consecutive missed game for Reed and his fifth on the season.
Already kicked off: Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. ET
Tyron Smith, OT, Dallas Cowboys, groin, (Q): Rarely do non-skill-position players earn spots in this column, as they are not regulars on fantasy rosters, but the argument could easily be made that Smith's presence impacts multiple players. Just ask his quarterback, Dak Prescott, who has been sacked 12 times in Smith's absence and who recently expressed concern about the Chargers' pass rush. Smith most recently has been dealing with a groin injury but also has a back injury that has been intermittently problematic since the preseason.
Smith was seen warming up on the field in advance of Sunday night's game, and there was some thought that he would be well enough to return to action by Thanksgiving Day. To that end, he has been a limited practice participant throughout the week, taking snaps with the first team. He comes into the game as questionable, but ESPN.com's Todd Archer notes that he is expected to be available. Having the Pro Bowler Smith protecting his blind side would certainly give Prescott -- and many fantasy footballers -- reason to be extra thankful.
Travis Benjamin, WR, Los Angeles Chargers, abdomen, (Q): Benjamin has been limited in practice during this short week as the result of an abdominal injury sustained in Week 11. Despite leaving last week's game early with the injury, Benjamin was not considered to be seriously in jeopardy of missing Thursday's game, especially given his presence at the Monday walk-through. Still, the questionable tag indicates that there is uncertainty about whether he will take the field, and those considering using him in their lineup should be sure to check pregame inactives.