We are already into Week 5 of the season and it seems like the waiver wire has never been busier.  Injuries always wreak havoc on rosters and lineups but we also have bye weeks exacerbating the problem as well.  It is easier to deal with these issues if we know for sure whether certain players will play or not, but most of the time fantasy GMs have to sweat it out until the last minute.  So without further ado, here is the next edition of the fantasy football walking wounded.

Cam Newton (QB-CAR)

We are still in limbo with respect to Newton’s status for Monday night’s game against Tampa Bay.  The Panthers have indicated that a decision will be made by the end of the week which could be either Friday or Saturday.  The good news for fantasy GMs is that we will know before Sunday whether he will play or not so decisions can be made when setting lineups for Week 5.  Newton is clearly a must-start if he plays thanks to a very favorable matchup against Tampa Bay’s defense.

Demaryius Thomas (WR-DEN)

Thomas has been dealing with a hip injury for a few weeks and managed to playing through it last week against Tampa Bay.  He has been limited in practice this week but there does not appear to be any concern about his status for this week’s game.  Thomas is a must-start even at less than 100% because he has a very favorable matchup against a terrible Atlanta defense.

Stefon Diggs (WR-MIN)

Diggs burst into fantasy relevance a couple weeks ago but has been dealing with a groin injury ever since.  He has missed a couple days of practice this week which is a red flag for fantasy GMs.  Even if he plays he will have a tough matchup this week against a solid Houston defense so temper expectations for his fantasy output this week.

Eric Decker (WR-NYJ)

Decker missed last week’s game against Seattle with a partially torn labrum and still has not practiced in a significant capacity ever since.  He claims that he will know by Friday whether he will be able to play this weekend against Pittsburgh but realistically the chances are slim that he will suit up.  The Jets have struggled mightily over the past couple weeks and will likely need to throw the ball quite a bit against the Steelers, so Decker would be a solid fantasy choice if he is able to play.  Once again, look for Quincy Enunwa to be a big part of the offense if Decker is not able to go.

Latavius Murray (RB-OAK)

Murray’s status for this week’s game against San Diego is in doubt as he is dealing with turf toe.  This is a painful injury for any player, let alone a running back.  Murray has only rushed for 172 yards but he does have three touchdowns which has helped his fantasy stats.  It’s doubtful that he will play so look for DeAndre Washington to get the bulk of the playing time in Murray’s absence.

Kevin White (WR-CHI)

White has been placed on injured reserve with a severe high ankle sprain and a broken fibula.  This marks the second consecutive season that White has suffered a major lower leg injury after he missed his entire rookie year with a shin fracture.  He could technically return before the end of the season but that means nothing to fantasy GMs.  White has been nothing but a bust thus far and his absence could hopefully rejuvenate Alshon Jeffery who is the Bears only viable receiving option remaining.

Arian Foster (RB-MIA)

Foster has returned to practice this week in a limited capacity as he continues dealing with both a hamstring and groin injury.  However, it is still questionable whether he will be able to return on Sunday.  It has reached a point where it really doesn’t matter much because Foster’s fantasy relevance has diminished almost completely.  He is an enormous injury risk with little upside so don’t rely on him for much even when he comes back.

Tyler Eifert (TE-CIN)

Fantasy GMs have been waiting for Eifert to provide a return on investment after drafting him knowing that he would miss the first few weeks.  He did not practice on Thursday and it seems unlikely that he will make his debut this week.  Keep him stashed if you have the roster flexibility and cross your fingers that he is actually able to take the field in Week 6.

Sam Shields (CB-GB)

Shields sustained a concussion back in Week 1 and has not been able to make it back on the field since then.  He will not play this Sunday night against the Giants and this is significant because it is one less defensive back to cover Odell Beckham, Jr. who will be playing with a chip on his shoulder. 

Dan Bailey (K-DAL)

It is rare that a kicker ends up worth mentioning in this injury report, but Bailey’s health warrants paying attention.  He did not practice on Thursday and the Cowboys worked out a couple other kickers as possible replacements for Sunday’s game.  Bailey is one of the most valuable fantasy kickers in the league thanks to the number of attempts he gets, the length of the kicks he makes and how accurate he has always been.  There should be plenty of options on the waiver wire if Bailey is inactive this weekend.


Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service, and is also the co-host of the Fantasy Alarm podcast. You can contact him at michael.stein@fantasyjudgment.com or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment)