One of the Thanksgiving highlights for football fans is the availability of NFL games across the holiday. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, it means getting a jump on setting lineups, a tricky proposition when three games take place on Thursday. To that end, it's helpful when the injury reports add clarity in advance.
The Colts have done precisely that, ruling out quarterback Andrew Luck on Wednesday due to a concussion. As for the other players whose status is in question for Thursday, well, here are the latest updates based on team injury reports.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (12:30 p.m. ET)
Stefon Diggs, WR, knee, (Q): There was no injury reported for Diggs immediately after the team's Week 11 game, yet he appeared on Monday's practice injury report with a designation of limited. The designation was just a projection, however, as the team did not actually conduct practice Monday. On Tuesday, when there was indeed a practice session, Diggs was a nonparticipant, elevating concerns about the nature of his knee injury and his availability for Thursday's game. Those concerns appear to have been justified as ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that Diggs is unlikely to play after he did not practice again on Wednesday.
Fantasy owners who have benefited in recent weeks from Diggs' high target volume should make alternate plans for Thursday. One option might be fellow Vikings' receiver Adam Thielen, who had five receptions for 65 yards and a score on Sunday. Also worth noting: When Diggs sat out with a groin injury against the Texans in Week 5, Thielen racked up his biggest numbers this season: 127 yards and a touchdown.
Theo Riddick, RB, ankle, (Q): Fantasy owners should be accustomed by now to seeing Riddick in the game status injury report with a "q" next to his name. They should also be accustomed to him playing on Sundays, serving as a favored outlet receiver for quarterback Matthew Stafford. This week should be no different. Riddick continues to receive limited practice reps during the week to protect the ankle he injured earlier this season. With only three full recovery days between games this week, that rest becomes even more important. Expect Riddick to suit up against the Vikings on Thursday, but fantasy owners should still confirm his status when pregame inactives are announced.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (4:30 p.m. ET)
DeSean Jackson, WR, shoulder, (Q): Jackson sat out Week 10 because of his shoulder injury but was able to do enough in practice last week to return to action Sunday. Although he didn't post huge numbers, Jackson had no reported setbacks. This week he was listed as a limited participant Monday and Tuesday and then upgraded to full practice Wednesday. It's worth noting the team did not actually practice Monday (making the limited designation a projection) and Tuesday and Wednesday practices were just walk-throughs. The expectation is that Jackson will play Thursday, but fantasy owners should confirm his status pregame.
Redskins off game status injury report
Jamison Crowder, WR, back: Given the way Crowder has been performing, no one wants to see his name crop up on the injury report. Yet there he was on Monday, listed with a back injury. Reassuringly, he was listed a full participant in each of the practice sessions, although they were just estimations. But it does indicate confidence from the medical staff that Crowder could have taken every rep had there been a routine practice. His removal from the injury report further supports the notion that he should not be limited in Thursday's game.
Dez Bryant, WR, back, (Q): Bryant was listed as questionable because of his back heading into Week 11, but he played -- as he has every week since returning to action one month ago from a tibial plateau fracture -- and posted 80 yards and two touchdowns. He certainly didn't look to be in any discomfort. Still, players who get treatment during the week or are limited in practice reps are included on the injury report, so Bryant appears here again this week. He was listed as a full participant daily, although Monday's practice was just a walk-through. The questionable tag seems a bit extreme given that Bryant's activity and his game play pattern of the last few weeks makes his chances of playing seem more likely. Fantasy owners are advised to confirm his status before kickoff, but it would be a big surprise if he did not play.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts (8:30 p.m. ET)
Steelers off game status injury report
Sammie Coates, WR, finger: Coates has been on the injury report for several weeks because of two broken fingers. Although he has played, he has been severely hampered as far as his receiving ability to the tune of zero catches in his last three games. He has been a full participant in practice each day this week and is off the game status injury report, signaling his availability, and the Steelers continue to use him on special teams. Fantasy owners can't trust him to produce receiving yards, though, until they see evidence that he can.
Donte Moncrief, WR, hamstring, (Q): Moncrief didn't appear on the injury report until Wednesday, and then he showed up as limited because of his hamstring. The Colts offered no detail on the injury, but the combination of the late addition and the questionable designation are not something fantasy owners want to see. Without knowing the severity of what led Moncrief to be added to the injury report, it's hard to gauge how risky a play he would be if he ends up as active. Combine those elements with the fact that he will have a different quarterback under center, Scott Tolzien, and this is not shaping up as an ideal scenario.
Andrew Luck, QB, concussion (OUT): Luck finished the Week 11 game. He even chatted with the media afterward. It wasn't until later that he began not feeling well and reported those symptoms to the medical staff, who determined he suffered a concussion. Thus, he immediately entered the concussion protocol. While the necessary steps to achieve clearance to return are function-based, not time-based, it is still a relatively rare occurrence when a player who suffers a concussion on Sunday returns for a Thursday game (WR Davonte Adams of the Green Bay Packers did so earlier this year). Luck was not in practice at all this week, and by Wednesday it became apparent he would not play. The team ruled him out Wednesday afternoon.
For questions about the new injury reporting language, click here.