After hurricanes and blizzards, we have finally reached Week 10 of the NFL season where the players play for pay (thanks Mike Francesa). Your fantasy league’s playoffs are already around the corner so you should be fully prepared to make your move in the standings right now. Injuries continue to wreak havoc on everyone’s rosters, but the good news is that there are only two weeks left where teams have byes. This should help expand the pool of available free agents who can step in for you. So without further adieu, here is the Week 8 edition of the walking wounded for fantasy football.
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1. Calvin Johnson (WR-DET). A pattern has developed for Lions star wide receiver Calvin Johnson who again has not practiced all week because of a lingering knee injury. Johnson alleges that he sustained nerve damage back in Week 4 which could have contributed to some of the other maladies he has been suffering from throughout the season. As the top fantasy wide receiver coming into the season, he has been disappointing in terms of his statistical production. That being said, he will likely be out on the field despite not practicing during the week and should unquestionably be in your lineup no matter what.
2. Percy Harvin (WR-MIN). Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin is reportedly day to day with an ankle sprain that has caused him to miss a few days of practice this week. While Minnesota is hopeful that he can return to practice and play this weekend, there were reports that surfaced indicated that Harvin was limping significantly through the locker room Thursday. He had said earlier in the week that he was a long shot to play on Sunday, so you should start making plans to possibly replace him in your lineup.
3. Darren NcFadden (RB-OAK). This underwhelming season for Darren McFadden took a turn for the worse when he suffered a high-ankle sprain last week. As of Thursday he was still in a walking boot which is not encouraging for his prospects to play this week. Typically high-ankle sprains take several weeks to heal, so it would not be surprising if DMC missed a few more games. His backup, Mike Goodson, also suffered the same injury so it is plausible that Oakland will be relying on their 3rd and 4th string running backs. Is Napoleon Kaufman ready to return yet?
4. Jordy Nelson (WR-GB). Continuing the trend of ankle injuries, Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson suffered a sprained ankle during Week 9 against Arizona. This injury was on top of a separate hamstring injury so his status for next week is uncertain at this time. Green Bay is on a bye this week so he will have extra time to heal. However, with Greg Jennings still out and Nelson banged up, the fantasy value for Randall Cobb and James Jones continues to soar with Aaron Rodgers playing ridonculously. And by the way, the word “ridonculous” is worthy of a discount double-check.
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5. Marshawn Lynch (RB-SEA). Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has been dealing with both a back and wrist injury. He has smartly taken time off during the season to rest his back for game day, but now he is also dealing with a wrist issue. Fantasy owners are praying that he plays this week against the New York Jets who have one of the worst run defenses in the league. Lynch, currently second in the league in rushing yards, could be in for a monster game if he is able to suit up and play four quarters. Keep a close eye on his progress for the rest of the week and keep him active unless we hear otherwise.
6. Hakeem Nicks (WR-NYG). Unfortunately Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has become a regular in this weekly column as he continues to deal with a balky knee. He missed practice earlier this week when his knee swelled up, but he did participate in the team walk-through which is a good sign. Nicks has a good matchup against Cincinnati in Week 10, but his injuries have sapped him of most of his fantasy value. If he plays this weekend then he is a viable starter in your lineup given the opposition. But he is no longer a sure thing until he can prove he is healthy and back in the middle of the Giants impressive aerial attack.
7. Jamaal Charles (RB-KC). Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was knocked out of last week’s game after suffering a neck injury. He probably could have returned which is an indication that his injury is not too serious. He will likely play this week against Pittsburgh which is not a great fantasy matchup. Charles has been pedestrian all season and his prospects are not any better this week.
8. Darren Sproles (RB-NO). Saints running back Darren Sproles underwent surgery to repair a broken hand and could end up missing just a couple weeks instead of the four to six range as was speculated. Sproles is one of the best pass-catching backs in football and has the ability to breakaway at any time. His absence should open the door for other New Orleans running backs to step up and assert themselves such as Mark Ingram, Christopher Ivory and Pierre Thomas. Keep him stashed on your bench because he will be very valuable once he returns.
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