It’s playoff time!
It’s also time to start monitoring all the news and injury reports as we approach the all-important first round of the fantasy playoffs. As always, we’ll break down all of the pertinent news and notes for Week 14. There are certainly a lot of notes to hit. Let’s stack those wins in the playoffs:
In a week littered with close decisions and injury news to track, no player would have more of a trickle-down effect if he were to miss than Matthew Stafford. Lions’ HC Jim Caldwell is notoriously tight-lipped about injuries and gave a classic half answer on Wednesday, saying Matthew Stafford‘s hand injury is “not insignificant,” and he’s “not out of the woods, yet.” Thanks, coach! Look, if Stafford can’t go, the Lions will be in a world of trouble rolling out backup QB Jake Rudock against the Bucs. Furthermore, Stafford’s absence would hurt receivers Marvin Jones and Golden Tate in a dream spot against Tampa Bay. No team is allowing more PPR points per target to WRs than the Bucs are. It’s still early in the week, and Stafford hasn’t missed a game since 2010, but he appears to be legitimately questionable as we head towards the weekend. Stafford was “limited” in practice on Wednesday.
Still in the league’s concussion protocol on Wednesday, Joe Mixon looks incredibly questionable to play in Week 14. Seemingly, Giovani Bernard will have the entire Bengals’ backfield to himself in Week 14 against a Bears’ front-seven that has allowed 4.24 YPC to enemy backs over their last five games. In fact, Bernard played on 24-of-24 second-half snaps after Mixon (concussion) went down in Week 13 versus Pittsburgh, turning his 15 touches into 96 yards from scrimmage. Effectively, Bernard will take over Mixon’s near bell-cow role that featured a 67% snap percentage and 70% of team carries over the Bengals last five games before Mixon’s concussion. At $5,100 on FanDuel, Giovani Bernard will be mega-chalk in Week 14 if Mixon misses.
Sterling Shepard has dealt with some of the most unfortunate injury luck all year, and he’s back on the Giants’ injury report in Week 14 after not practicing on Wednesday with a hamstring issue. It’s a major bummer, considering Eli Manning will be back under center against Dallas. This year, Shepard has seen 27% of the Giants’ targets and 35% of air yards in Week 1 and Weeks 9-10 with Eli Manning at the helm and without Odell Beckham (ankle) in the lineup. In three games without Beckham in the lineup this year, Shepard has hit receiving lines of 7/44 (eight targets), 5/70 (nine targets), and 11/142 (13 targets). Hopefully, Shepard can shake his hammy ailment in time to play this Cowboys’ defense that routinely gets rinsed by slot WRs. He’ll legitimately possess low-end WR1 appeal in Week 14 if he is healthy.
On a slate where Rob Gronkowski is suspended, the TE position can ill-afford another big time loss. Unfortunately, Zach Ertz‘s (concussion) status is entirely up in the air for Week 14 as he did not practice on Wednesday. It would be a tremendous blow to (likely) many playoff teams if Ertz can’t go, considering his 5.5-catch, 63.9 YPG and 0.7 TDs/game average likely propelled many owners into the playoffs. In his place, Trey Burton will take over the majority of the Eagles’ TE duties if Ertz can’t clear concussion protocol in time to play. Burton hit the Broncos for 2/41/1 in Week 9 when Ertz missed, playing on a season-high 68% of snaps and running a pass route on 58% of Carson Wentz‘s dropbacks. Even though the Rams allow the fifth-fewest points per target to TEs, Burton will be on the TE1 streaming radar if Ertz can’t go, considering that the Eagles feature tight ends so heavily in their attack.
While Amari Cooper cleared concussion protocol on Wednesday, he still did not practice while nursing an ankle injury. He’s nevertheless very questionable for Week 14. If Cooper sits, it will naturally open up passing looks for Michael Crabtree as he comes off of a one-game suspension (chain snatched). Regardless, it’s an excellent spot for Crabtree as the Chiefs have allowed the sixth-most receptions and second-most yards per game to enemy wideouts this year. Cooper missing Week 14 would be a bummer considering his only good game of the 2017 season came against the Chiefs in Week 7.
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TNF News and Notes
For Atlanta, slot CB Brian Poole (back) is expected to play. G Andy Levitre (triceps) is out. … Looking like a true game-time decision, Mark Ingram (toe) DNP on Tuesday or Wednesday this week. CB Marshon Lattimore was limited in practice all week and is questionable to face Atlanta.
Offensive News and Notes
Greg Olsen (foot) is practicing in full for Week 14 against the Vikings. … Doug Martin (concussion) was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice. It puts him fully on track to play in Week 14. … The Texans are “hopeful” Will Fuller (ribs) will return for Week 14 against the 49ers. … Tyrod Taylor (knee) DNP on Wednesday while Kelvin Benjamin (knee) returned. … Dak Prescott (hand) is “good to go” for Week 14 against the Giants. … Adrian Peterson (neck) didn’t practice Wednesday. … Jordan Reed (hamstring) will not play Week 14 against the Chargers. … Rishard Matthews (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. … The Bengals placed WR John Ross (shoulder) on injured reserve, ending his season. … Ameer Abdullah (neck) was limited at Wednesday’s practice.
Defensive News and Notes
The Chiefs suspended CB Marcus Peters for Week 14 against the Raiders. … Cowboys LB Sean Lee (hamstring) returned to a limited practice on Wednesday. … Bengals S George Iloka‘s one-game suspension has been rescinded, and he will play Week 14 against the Bears. … Cincinnati placed LB Nick Vigil (ankle) on injured reserve, ending his season. … Packers placed CB Kevin King on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, ending his season. … Rams OLB Connor Barwin (forearm) is expected to miss Week 14 against the Eagles. … Giants placed LB Jonathan Casillas (neck, wrist) on injured reserve, ending his season.
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