Injury concerns regarding players heading into the Sunday and Monday games can be critical. Each Saturday, this entry will be dedicated to those who appear on the official NFL game-status injury report and how their status might impact fantasy teams.
For those who might be new to this blog: Injury reports provide some insight to a player's status. The NFL requires teams to submit practice injury reports several times a week, identifying the body part that is involved in the injury. This year, there has been a change in the language of injury reporting, per the league office. The most notable change is the removal of the "probable" designation. For more detailed information on the changes and what they mean, click here.
Early in the week, the practice injury reports indicate whether a player did not practice, was limited in practice or was a full participant in practice. On Fridays, all teams file a game-status injury report assigning one of the following designations: questionable, doubtful or out. The designations listed here reflect the injury reports filed with the league office Friday evening. Teams playing Monday night do not have to issue their designations until Saturday. The explanation for each designation is as follows.
Out: This is the easy one -- the guy is not playing Sunday.
Questionable (Q): This remains the most dreaded player designation. By definition it means a player is "uncertain to play." How uncertain is uncertain? There is no percentage or measurement scale, leaving this classification rather vague. Whether a player ends up active or inactive often comes down to a game-time decision based on how he feels on game-day morning or how he performs during warm-ups. Final inactives are due 90 minutes before kickoff.
Doubtful (D): The doubtful designation means a player is unlikely to play that week. Rarely does a player labeled as doubtful end up playing, unless he experiences a major turnaround before game time.
Each week in the Saturday blog, we run down a list of key fantasy players, by position, who appear in the Friday injury report along with the injured body part as listed on the report, player status and any relevant developments or insight. The primary fantasy positions are covered (quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end).
This season, at the end of each positional section, there is a subgrouping of players, "Players off game-status injury report." The probable tag no longer exists, so players who would have been listed as probable in previous seasons are now simply removed from the report. This means there will be players who appear in the practice injury reports during the week but will not appear on the game-status report Friday, since they are presumed active for game day. They are included in this blog so that fantasy owners can see where players who were on the practice injury report during the week have been upgraded in advance of the games.
At the end, key fantasy players listed Friday as "out" for the week's games will appear as a group.
On Thursday night, the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Washington Redskins. With the bye weeks now in the rearview mirror, there are 15 games yet to be played whose fantasy-relevant injured players are represented here.
Good luck in Week 13, everyone!
Players off game-status injury report
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, right thumb/right shoulder, 4:25 p.m. ET: Newton indicated this week that his thumb was indeed sore, and coach Ron Rivera acknowledged it might have been a factor in his performance last Sunday. The good news is his thumb appears to be improving. And after a full practice session on Friday, Newton was removed from the pregame injury report.
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers, shoulder, (Q), 4:25 p.m. ET: All the Panthers will reveal when it comes to McCaffrey's shoulder is that he took a big hit against the Jets and he is working his way back toward action. Whether that action comes on Sunday or is delayed a week is a legitimate question. His presence on the field would be missed by the Panthers' offense and special teams as a whole. Also, it's worth noting that McCaffrey had more than 100 receiving yards alone when the Panthers faced the Saints earlier this year. Although he did not practice on Wednesday, McCaffrey was involved in limited practice on Thursday and Friday. How he responds to the two consecutive practices -- and weighing the benefits of resting him one week to better protect him for the four remaining games -- could factor into his status. McCaffrey did say he was feeling better late in the week, so he does appear to be progressing. His name might be one of the most monitored during pregame inactives, but this is a late-game kickoff, so prepare to have a fill-in on standby.
Adrian Peterson, Arizona Cardinals, neck, (Q), 4:25 p.m. ET: Like McCaffrey, Peterson wasn't known to have an injury issue after last Sunday's game; it wasn't until Peterson was held out of Wednesday's practice that reports of a neck ailment surfaced. In fact, Peterson was held out of all practices this week, lending credence to the questionable designation he carries. Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said Thursday that Peterson was fine, but his absence from all practices still raises concern. According to ESPN.com's Josh Weinfuss, Peterson said he was feeling "pretty good," despite not practicing all week, but was guarded when it came to his status for Sunday, saying only, "I don't know. We'll see." Coach Bruce Arians indicated Peterson did not need to practice in order to play. This is shaping up to be a game-time decision and, sigh, it is a late-afternoon kickoff.
Players off game-status injury report
Mike Davis, Seattle Seahawks, groin, 8:30 p.m. ET: Davis was fun to watch in his Seahawks debut in Week 11, but it was short-lived, as he was forced out with a groin injury. Davis missed Week 12 after being listed as doubtful, but there is more reason for optimism this week. Davis practiced on a limited basis Wednesday but was upgraded to full sessions Thursday and Friday. His removal from the injury report indicates the Seahawks expect to have him available Sunday night, but their rotation of running backs makes it hard to trust any single one.
Isaiah Crowell, shoulder, Cleveland Browns, 4:05 p.m. ET: Crowell has been on the practice injury report for several weeks now, but he continues to be removed from the pregame injury report. After a full-practice listing for the team's walk-through on Friday (the same pattern as last week), Crowell is ready to play against the Chargers.
Kerwynn Williams, Arizona Cardinals, ribs, 4:25 p.m. ET: Williams has been dealing with cracked ribs and was limited in practice throughout the week as a result. His removal from the pregame injury report is key, though, given the very questionable status of Adrian Peterson. If Peterson does not play, Williams would expect to see more action.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers, toe, (Q), Monday night: It's never good when a player is a late addition to the injury report; it's worse when said player's team doesn't play until Monday night. Brown was added to the team's injury report on Friday as a non-practice participant and he remained sidelined on Saturday. While the team does not consider his toe injury serious, according to ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler, even mild toe injuries can compromise a player's effectiveness. Fowler said the team is hopeful that Brown will play but is prepared to utilize JuJu Smith-Schuster (removed from the injury report after missing last week's game with a minor hamstring strain) and other backups if he can't go. Those with fantasy considerations have some decision-making to do in advance of Monday night, given that Brown's status is not a lock.
Cordarelle Patterson, Oakland Raiders, hip, (Q), 4:25 p.m. ET: The Raiders need Patterson on the field. Michael Crabtree is serving a one-game suspension. Amari Cooper is out with a concussion and an ankle sprain. The good news here is that Patterson has already played through this injury once (last week), and the limited reps might have been part of the design to rest him, with the knowledge he would be needed Sunday. The Raiders have a late kickoff, but there are at least encouraging signs that Patterson will take the field alongside Seth Roberts.
Players off game-status injury report
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals, illness, Monday night: Whew. Green was added to the practice injury report on Friday with an illness, but he was listed as a full participant on Saturday and was removed from the team's pregame injury report. Green will play Monday night against the Steelers.
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants, illness, 4:25 p.m. ET: Migraines kept Shepard off the field for the past two games, but he is feeling much better now. After putting in full practices each day, Shepard has been removed from the pregame injury report and is expected to face the Raiders on Sunday.
Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers, toe, 4:25 p.m. ET: Funchess already has played through the toe ailment and will do so again this week. Funchess got Wednesday off to rest the foot but participated in full on Thursday and Friday.
Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles, foot, 8:30 p.m. ET: Jeffery was a question mark last week, but he managed to take the field and had a nice outing to boot. This week, he only had one limited day of practice (Wednesday), then he was a full participant for the remainder of the week. Besides, who wouldn't be feeling better just one day after signing a four-year, $52 million extension?
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers, hamstring, Monday night: The hamstring issue must have indeed been "small," as coach Mike Tomlin described it last week. He sat in Week 12, but Smith-Schuster was removed from the pregame injury report after practicing in full each day this week, and he will play Monday night. In fact, if Brown ends up sitting because of his ailing toe, Smith-Schuster could be in line for an even bigger night.
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers, foot, (Q), 4:25 p.m. ET: The much-anticipated return of Olsen from injured reserve turned out to be a disappointment for everyone, especially for Olsen himself. The good news is that the soreness in his surgically repaired right foot was nothing more than, well, soreness, as imaging results showed no evidence of re-injury to the bone. Still, pain and discomfort are the only markers to guide activity as the bone continues to remodel itself at a microscopic level for several months following this type of injury. Olsen said he actually felt good enough to try to return in the second half of last week's game, but wisdom prevailed as the medical staff held him out. He has not practiced yet this week and, despite the questionable tag, this has the feel of a one-week waiting period before he is permitted to return as a cautionary measure. Consider that the Panthers are traveling to New Orleans this week to face the Saints -- on turf. The Panthers' home field at Bank of America Stadium is a natural Bermuda grass, and they will be back in Week 14 to begin a three-week series of home games. Although his status will be made official before game time, it would not come as a surprise to see Olsen rested for an additional week. This is a late-afternoon start, so fantasy players still considering Olsen should have a backup plan in place.
Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks, ankle, (Q), 8:30 p.m. ET: The questionable tag is a bit of a surprise, given that there doesn't seem to be much doubt about Graham's status. Despite not practicing Wednesday or Thursday, Graham was not on Friday's injury report. He has caught 16 passes in the past three games, four of them for touchdowns -- not a bad ratio. The pattern seems to be working for Graham and the Seahawks. Still, those who have him in their lineup should confirm his status Sunday night.
Players off game-status injury report
Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati Bengals, wrist, Monday night: Kroft played through the injury in Week 12, so it is no surprise that he will play again this week. Kroft had two full practices on Friday and Saturday in advance of the matchup against the Steelers. It is particularly helpful that the Bengals removed him from the pregame injury report, because the team plays on Monday night.
This space is intended for a list of key players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status, who are officially listed as "out" for the upcoming game.
Ty Montgomery, RB, Green Bay Packers, ribs/wrist, 1 p.m. ET: Montgomery has been sidelined since aggravating a rib injury in Week 10, but his wrist injury apparently tipped the scales downward. Montgomery has been placed on injured reserve.
Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders, concussion/ankle: It never looked as if the chances were good for Cooper to return from not one but two injuries sustained in Week 12. He did not practice at all and will miss this week. The Raiders also will be without wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who is serving a one-game suspension.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Buffalo Bills, knee: Benjamin has been doing more work on the side this week as he rehabs from a meniscus tear in his right knee. He also told reporters that he definitely plans to come back this season. Benjamin indicated early in the week that he did not expect to take the field this Sunday, but he did appear optimistic about the potential for a Week 14 return. Stay tuned.
Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots, shoulder: This will be the fourth straight game Hogan has missed since suffering a brutal hit to his shoulder. As he is not yet practicing, it is difficult to project a return date at this time, but there is no indication he will be shut down.
Matt Moore, QB, Miami Dolphins, foot: Most are already aware that Jay Cutler is starting, but Moore's injury becomes significant if something should happen to force Cutler out of the game. With Moore out, David Fales becomes the backup to Cutler as the Dolphins host the Broncos.
Be sure to check out Fantasy Football Now this Sunday on ESPN2 at 10 a.m. ET (note new start time -- a full three hours of news and analysis) for last-minute inactives, rankings, injury impact and more!
Games are underway
The following players were previously listed above, however, their games are underway and rosters are locked.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, right shoulder, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Winston missed the past three games because of a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder, but he made significant improvement during his down time by combining a PRP injection with rest and rehab. After undergoing re-evaluation by the medical staff this week, Winston was cleared to resume throwing and returned to practice on Wednesday. Not only did he return, he was a full participant for three consecutive days, a pretty solid indication that his shoulder has made real improvement. Before being shut down, Winston's practice pattern after suffering the injury in Week 6 was to avoid throwing until late in the week -- usually Friday -- and then play on Sunday. Whether his struggles in the three weeks that followed were a result of impairment to his shoulder, poor play or both, at least it now appears that Winston truly has had a full week of preparation heading into the Week 13 contest. That said, he is still listed as questionable, so his status needs to be verified before kickoff.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions, ankle, 1 p.m. ET: It was apparent to anyone watching the Lions' Thanksgiving Day game that Stafford was hurting after getting his ankle rolled up on in the fourth quarter. He left the game briefly and had his ankle evaluated and heavily wrapped, then he returned to the field -- just as Stafford often does when hurt. But he struggled somewhat in the remaining minutes of the game, completing just 3 of 6 passes. He was limping after the game while insisting he would be all right -- and indeed, he seems to be all right. X-rays taken of his ankle were reported to be negative, and Stafford showed up at practice on Wednesday as a full participant. He repeated the effort on Thursday and Friday, and now he is off the pregame injury report. On Monday, Stafford said his ankle was feeling better; and undoubtedly, the additional recovery time this week has helped. But he is not likely completely past the injury, and it could become a factor as the game progresses.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots, Achilles, 1 p.m. ET: As expected, Brady played through the sore Achilles tendon in Week 12. Also as expected, the injury really didn't manifest itself in terms of Brady's ability to execute in the game. It also didn't go away. Brady was on the practice injury report this week and did not practice on Wednesday. On Thursday, he was a limited participant, and by Friday, he was removed from the report entirely. He also was left off the pregame injury report, so there is no need to worry about his status heading into Buffalo this weekend.
Matt Forte, New York Jets, knee, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Forte headed into last week's game listed as questionable and he ended up being active, so it would seem that would bode well for this week. The workload split was something worth watching, knowing that Forte's recent bout of swelling was triggered after Week 9, when he had his heaviest workload of the season (14 carries, 77 yards and two touchdowns, with four receptions thrown in for good measure). The work was indeed split, not just two ways, but three, as Forte had 10 carries, Bilal Powell had nine carries and Eli McGuire had five. None of the three ran exceptionally well, but that could also be attributed, at least in part, to a solid Carolina run defense. As for this week, Forte did not practice on Wednesday but had two limited practices on Thursday and Friday (as compared to last week, when he had only one limited practice). His status is expected to be a game-time decision against the Chiefs; and it would appear that if he does play, the work split will continue.
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers, knee, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: When Jones sprained his MCL three weeks ago, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported it was projected to be a three- to six-week absence, making a return this Sunday on the early side of the timetable. Still, Jones was on the practice field this week on a limited basis each day in what coach Mike McCarthy referred to as a "trial return." Each day's involvement in practice is predicated on a healthy response to the previous work day, so the three consecutive days is a plus. Listed as questionable, Jones is shaping up to be a game-time decision. With Ty Montgomery now on the injured reserve list, the backfield would likely be a two-back combo of Jamaal Williams and Jones, who, if active, might have a smaller workload, initially.
Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens, calf, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Previously, it was Ravens running back Terrance West who was dealing with a calf injury. The injury cost West five weeks, and he has been a healthy scratch the past two weeks. This week, it was Collins who appeared on the injury report because of his calf, although he played well into the fourth quarter of Monday night's game. After not practicing Wednesday, Collins returned to full practice on Thursday and did so again on Friday. Those back-to-back practices would suggest he is on the plus side of questionable, although it will be important to check game-day inactives to see who the Ravens plan to put on the field.
Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions, neck, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Another running back with a Q next to his name, another neck injury. Abdullah was not at practice on Wednesday or Thursday but he did turn in a limited practice on Friday. According to ESPN.com's Michael Rothstein, Abdullah's response when asked if he was playing Sunday was, "Sure hope so, but you got to ask Coach Caldwell." We know by now that Jim Caldwell is not going to show his hand before game time. Be sure to check pregame inactives, folks.
Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons, concussion, 1 p.m. ET: Freeman was cleared from the concussion protocol earlier this week after missing the past two games. Not only was he a full participant in practices this week, he was removed from the team's pregame injury report and will face the Vikings, barring a setback.
LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills, knee, 1 p.m. ET: McCoy's surprise appearance on Thursday's injury report because of his knee naturally caused some concern. But when coach Sean McDermott spoke to reporters on Friday about the decision to hold McCoy from Friday's practice, he did not sound concerned, saying it was just general knee soreness and he expected to have him available Sunday. Given McCoy's removal from the pregame injury report, it appears McDermott's lack of concern about his featured back's availability was justified.
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars, ankle, 1 p.m. ET: Fournette continues to appear on the team's injury report, but this week he was a full participant daily (as compared to last week, when he was limited throughout). He is expected to play when the Jaguars host the Colts on Sunday.
Lamar Miller, Houston Texans, knee, 1 p.m. ET: Miller was seen sliding off the field and into a group of sideline personnel on Monday night, and the team's medical staff promptly appeared to evaluate his knee. Nothing appeared serious, because Miller returned to action, but he did end up making an appearance on the team's injury report this week. He did not practice Wednesday but was a limited participant Thursday and Friday. His removal from the pregame injury report signals he will indeed play.
DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans, illness, 1 p.m. ET: Murray was a late add to the injury report Thursday because of an illness, but he overcame it quickly. A full participant on Friday, Murray is expected to play and will continue to split time with Derrick Henry.
Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans, hamstring, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Matthews sat out Week 12 after a hamstring issue popped up Nov. 23. His status is again in jeopardy this week, as he did not practice until Friday, and even then, he was limited. ESPN.com's Cameron Wolfe notes that Matthews did do mini-sprints in practice on Thursday and apparently responded well enough to be out running routes early on Friday. Still, the team is qualifying him as a game-time decision and will likely wait to see how he looks and feels during pregame warm-ups before making the call.
DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, foot, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: There is much going on with Tampa Bay on the injury front, and outside of the return of quarterback Jameis Winston, most of it is not encouraging. Jackson was an addition to this week's injury report because of his foot and was held out of practice Wednesday. He returned to limited practices Thursday and Friday, but he still comes into Sunday as questionable. Pregame inactive reports will be worth monitoring.
Jordan Matthews, knee, Buffalo Bills, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Matthews sat out Week 11 because of his knee. Although he returned last week, his involvement was limited, as he had only two receptions, but he did see the field for 42 offensive snaps. Again this week, Matthews remained limited in practice, and again he is listed as questionable. Fantasy players will want to confirm his status before game time, but his pattern -- a repeat of last week -- suggests he will be active.
Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts, groin, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Looking for a receiver to plug into your fantasy lineup and fill a hole at the last minute? You might not want to count on Moncrief, who is questionable with a groin injury after first being added to the team's injury report on Thursday. On Friday, he did manage to turn in a full practice, but the team likely wants to see how he responds before committing to him being active. He has not been a big target for Jacoby Brissett, although he did find the end zone in Week 10 on one big play. There is uncertainty regarding his status until pregame inactives are due Sunday morning.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons, ankle, 1 p.m. ET: Jones is listed with only one body part next to his name this week, an improvement over last week, when his knee also was on the injury report. Jones continues to get limited practice reps in order to conserve him for game day, and his removal from the pregame injury report confirms his availability.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans, foot, 1 p.m. ET: Hopkins also was listed here last week because of his foot, but he looked just fine in the Monday night game. Again, Hopkins was listed as limited early, but Wednesday was only a walk-through session. He was upgraded to full practice on Thursday and Friday and was removed from the pregame injury report.
Danny Amendola, New England Patriots, knee, 1 p.m. ET: This represents an improvement for Amendola, who typically comes into game day as questionable. He still appeared on the injury report, but only on Wednesday and Thursday this week, as a limited participant. By Friday, he was removed, and it goes without saying that he will play.
Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars, knee, 1 p.m. ET: It would be newsworthy if Lee did not appear on the practice injury report. Again, he was a limited practice participant throughout the week and his removal from the pregame injury report signals he will be available.
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos, ankle, 1 p.m. ET: Since returning from his ankle injury in Week 9, Sanders has remained on the team's practice injury report. This week, however, Sanders was upgraded to full practices on Thursday and Friday, after getting a day off on Wednesday. His removal from the pregame injury report indicates he is expected to play against the Dolphins.
Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins, knee, 1 p.m. ET: This is not the first time Landry has popped up on the injury report because of his knee. But when he showed up Thursday as a limited participant, it did raise some concern. After being listed as a full participant on Friday, followed by his removal from the pregame injury report, fantasy players need not be concerned about his Sunday status.
Robby Anderson, New York Jets, ankle, 1 p.m. ET: Anderson has been on fire of late, and the ankle issue that keeps him on the injury report has not been a factor when it comes to his performance. That remains the same this week, as Anderson practiced in full again each day. He will play as the Jets host the Chiefs.
Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills, knee, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Clay continues to be listed as questionable following his return from knee surgery in Week 10, but each week he is active and each week he is a little more productive. That is again expected to be the case after Clay practiced daily on a limited basis. Kelvin Benjamin remains sidelined, and Jordan Matthews has been limited by a knee issue of his own. Clay should continue to be one of the players Tyrod Taylor is seeking out.
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hip, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Brate played last week, despite an ankle injury. This week, it's his hip that has him on the injury report, but he is still expected to play. After limited practices on Thursday and Friday, Brate was listed as questionable, but coach Dirk Koetter said he would be "fine" to play Sunday. Expect Brate to take the field against the Packers.