As is the norm throughout the NFL season, players get hurt. It’s no different this year, with several players you probably counted on to carry your fantasy team nursing injuries.
Tony Romo and Dez Bryant are on the shelf. We know they won’t be playing anytime soon. But there are some other players who have bumps and bruises who could play this week. It’s just a matter of how much you believe in them.
Let’s take a look at a few of these players and either buy or sell their ability to produce this week for your fantasy squad.
Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Carlos Hyde left Sunday’s demolition at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers with a leg contusion. The Niners also feared Hyde suffered a concussion during the game, but he subsequently was cleared, per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com.
Either way, Hyde’s status is in question heading into Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. However, we expect Hyde not only to play, but to have a big game.
First of all, a contusion is a bruise. Not to make light of someone else’s injury, but it’s hard to imagine a bruise keeping a professional football player out of a game. In addition, Hyde is facing a soft Cardinals rush defense that ranks 20th against opposing running backs based on ESPN fantasy rankings.
If Hyde is able to get on the field Sunday, he should have a field day against the Cardinals defense.
Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
All-world tight end Jason Witten led the Cowboys with seven catches for 56 yards Sunday afternoon, and his reward was two sprained ankles and a sprained knee.
Any mortal human would probably take a week off to recuperate from these ailments, but Witten may not be a mortal human. According to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, Witten has played 189 games in a row, which is the longest active streak for an every-down player.
And Witten told Moore he is “confident” he will extend that streak to 190 this week. Fellow tight end Gavin Escobar added, “He’s the toughest guy I’ve ever seen play football. I wouldn’t bet against him playing Sunday.”
So assuming he plays, Witten is a good bet to again lead the Cowboys’ passing attack. Despite facing a Falcons team that has shut down opposing tight ends in the first two weeks (ranked 11th against the position on ESPN), Witten will likely be the security blanket for backup Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden without many other viable options to look for.
Witten will surely be in the Hall of Fame one day. Suiting up and playing well on Sunday will be just another reason why.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
Per Mike Triplett of ESPN.com, Drew Brees has a bruised rotator cuff, but the quarterback said there’s a “reasonable possibility” he could play against the Carolina Panthers. Brees also told Evan Woodbery of NOLA.com he thinks he can play:
Even if Brees does play, it may be wise to give him the week off in fantasy. To start with, he obviously won’t be 100 percent. In addition, he’s going against a Panthers pass defense that hasn’t been kind to opposing quarterbacks.
At the same time, the Panthers only had to go against Blake Bortles and Ryan Mallett in the first two weeks of the season. Brees is certainly a better quarterback than either of them. But he hasn’t looked right in his first two games, and with his former favorite target, Jimmy Graham, no longer in town, Brees could struggle against the Panthers this week.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
The Packers were able to win against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night without Eddie Lacy’s services for most of the game. The 25-year-old left in the first quarter with an ankle injury.
But as Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted, having some time off this week could help get Lacy ready to play. Also working for Lacy and the Packers is that they don’t play until Monday night, giving the running back almost an extra two days to get ready.
Silverstein also reported Lacy doesn’t have a fracture in his ankle, which is good news. The bad news, though, is that the Packers are facing off against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs rank third against opposing running backs on ESPN fantasy, and they completely shut down the rushing attacks of the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos in consecutive weeks.
And without Lacy at full power, that will give quarterback demigod Aaron Rodgers all the more reason to try to take the game over through the air. Even if Lacy plays, you may be better counting on someone else to produce this week.
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