It is officially fantasy football playoff time for just about all leagues now. For some, Week 14 was the first round of the postseason. For others, it was the regular season finale which decided playoff berths. Either way, injuries likely played a major factor in matchups this week. There are some big names on this week's list so let's get right into this edition of the Walking Wounded.
Rob Gronkowski (TE-NE)
It seems like the weekly injury report has been more of a biography of Rob Gronkowski (minus details about his exploits with porn stars). Just when he was finding his groove as the premier tight end in football, Gronkowski’s season is now over after he sustained an ugly knee injury tearing both his ACL and MCL. He can be dropped in all redraft leagues. As for dynasty leagues, he is still a keeper but be prepared to start the season without him again next year.
Reggie Bush (RB-DET)
How many fantasy football playoff games were affected by Reggie Bush’s pre-game injury this week? It seems like quite a few as Bush’s status was unknown literally right before kickoff of the Snow Bowl between the Eagles and Lions. He had missed some time last week with a calf injury, but he was ready to play. In fact, the Lions had even deactivated Mikel Leshoure. But Bush aggravated the calf injury warming up and ended up not playing at all. On a personal note, I made the playoffs in one of my leagues because another team didn’t bench Bush in time and lost which propelled me into the postseason. His status for next week is unknown at this juncture, but the Lions will want him on the field as they battle for a playoff berth of their own. Bush is obviously a must start if he is active.
Wes Welker (WR-DEN)
Talk about giving you a fantasy headache...Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker suffered a concussion in this week's blowout win over Tennessee. Because Denver has a short week with a game on Thursday night, there is virtually no chance that Welker will be able to play. You can pray to whatever deity you want, but it isn't going to heal Welker in time for your critical fantasy playoff game this week. There is no sugarcoating this...it really sucks for fantasy GM's.
Eddie Lacy (RB-GB)
Injuries are obviously a big part of football and can happen on any given play. But when they happen on unnecessary or throwaway plays, it makes it even more frustrating. Eddie Lacy was injured at the end of the first half in the Packers recent victory over Atlanta when it would have been smarter to just take a knee and head into the locker room. It is too early to tell whether Lacy will be ready to go for Week 15, but the fact that he played in the second half is at least a good sign that he was not seriously injured. Lacy is a must start if he plays so check back later in the week for more updates.
Maurice Jones-Drew (RB-JAX)
Just when he was really starting to gain momentum, Maurice Jones-Drew sustained a hamstring injury which puts his status for Week 15 in serious jeopardy. He is hoping to return to practice later in the week and has the advantage of having a few extra days off. But hamstring injuries are always tricky, especially with an aging running back. The Jaguars have a favorable matchup against Buffalo so MJD would be a great option if he plays. He is another one to keep an eye on later in the week and hope for the best.
Lamar Miller (RB-MIA)
It has been an infuriating year for Lamar Miller owners this season. Not only has he underperformed, but he has lost many opportunities to Daniel Thomas. When Thomas was ruled out for the season a few weeks ago, there was some hope that Miller would take advantage of that opportunity and emerge as a viable fantasy force. That didn’t happen. Then Thomas made a miraculous recovery and is back, and Miller also sustained a concussion in the Dolphins recent victory over Pittsburgh. His status is up in the air for Week 15 (sound familiar?), but he isn’t a great option even if healthy. If your team is still alive in the playoffs with Lamar Miller on the roster, then you have done a nice job this season.
Tavon Austin (WR-STL)
It took awhile, but the Rams finally started utilizing rookie Tavon Austin in a meaningful way. He has broken off several big plays over the past few weeks and became fantasy relevant late in the season. However, he sustained an ankle injury in last week’s loss to Arizona which could hamper his ability to break off some big ones if he is active next week. However, Austin is not a great option at this point even if he does play.
Rashad Jennings (RB-OAK)
After missing this week’s game against the Jets with a concussion, Rashad Jennings should be back in the lineup for Week 15 after passing all of the tests he needed to. Jennings has emerged as a solid RB2 option in place of the perpetually injured and underwhelming Darren McFadden. In Jennings’ absence this week, Marcel Reece once against gave solid production when provided the opportunity. Unfortunately, his role will be diminished once again now that Jennings is returning. As for DMC, I warned you not to draft him. If you did, then I award you no points and may g-d have mercy on your soul (that was a Billy Madison reference in case you have no sense of humor).
Michael A. Stein is the owner and Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premiere dispute resolution service for fantasy sports leagues. If you have any questions or comments, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).