The fantasy playoffs are here, and the Rotoworld crew has everything you need to survive and advance. Patrick Daugherty answers your lineup questions with his Week 14 Rankings, Nick Mensio tells you who to start and who to fade in Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em, and Evan Silva breaks down every matchup in his award-winning Matchups Column.
As for me, I am here to shed some light on the most important injury situations facing fantasy owners heading into the weekend. The sister resource to this column is the Rotoworld News Page, which will have every single inactive and all the late-breaking news up to kickoff and beyond. I also occasionally tweet about football @RMSummerlin.
Bills @ Eagles
*Ryan Mathews (concussion) is probable after getting in full practices Thursday and Friday. It is still unclear how the workload will shake out with Mathews back in the fold, but there is a decent chance Mathews gets lead-back treatment after DeMarco Murray was essentially benched against the Patriots and proceeded to complain about his role after the biggest win of the season. Mathews is a high-upside RB3 for teams who need a miracle to pull out a first-round win. He is also a great GPP play. Murray is unplayable in a must-win situation.
*Karlos Williams (shoulder), Stephon Gilmore (shoulder), Ron Brooks (concussion, neck), and Nigel Bradham (ankle) are out. Williams has not practiced since suffering the injury Week 12 against the Chiefs. His absence should lead to even more touches for LeSean McCoy in his #RevengeGame. McCoy is a high-end RB1. John Miller (ankle) is questionable.
Steelers @ Bengals
*Tyler Eifert (neck) returned to full practice on Thursday and is probable. He is a high-end TE1 in a game which could devolve into a shootout. Pacman Jones (foot, doubtful) is not going to play, and Leon Hall (back) and George Iloka (groin) are both questionable. Hall should play after getting in a full practice Friday, but the Bengals are banged up in the secondary. The Steelers’ passing game could feast. Jake Fisher (concussion) is doubtful, and Mario Alford (non-injury related) is questionable.
*Heath Miller (knee) returned to a full practice Friday and is probable. Every member of the active roster is probable or better.
Seahawks @ Ravens
*Matt Schaub (chest, shoulder) did not get in any practice time this week and is listed as questionable. It would be surprising if he plays, meaning Jimmy Clausen should get his second start against the Seahawks this season. The first came with the Bears, who managed just 146 yards of offense and seven first downs in a Week 3 visit to Seattle. Baltimore is unlikely to find much greater success with Clausen under center, making the Seahawks DST the premier play this weekend. On the offensive side, only Buck Allen has any amount of usability. Crockett Gillmore (back), Marlon Brown (back), and Eugene Monroe (shoulder) are expected to miss. With Gillmore out, Maxx Williams (concussion, probable) should start. Monroe is likely headed to injured reserve.
Saints @ Bucs
*Tampa Bay may get Gerald McCoy (hand, questionable) back after he practiced on a limited basis all week, but Jacquies Smith (hamstring) and George Johnson (calf) will miss again. Lavonte David (ankle) is questionable.
*Brandin Cooks looked to be all but out after being placed in the concussion protocol Thursday, but he returned to practice Friday and is probable. It is likely Cooks never had a concussion in the first place. Cooks will be a WR2 in a decent matchup, but Willie Snead (calf, probable) and Ben Watson both get a small downgrade with Cooks active. Jahri Evans (ankle, concussion) and John Jenkins (concussion) are out.
Colts @ Jags
*T.J. Yeldon was added to the injury report Friday with a groin injury, but he is listed as probable and will play. Allen Hurns (thigh, probable) is set to return and is a solid WR2 in a great matchup. Paul Posluszny is out after undergoing surgery to repair a broken hand Tuesday. Ryan Davis (knee), Nic Jacobs (hamstring) and Bryan Walters (back) are questionable.
*Andrew Luck (kidney, out) did not practice this week. Owner Jim Irsay has said he expects Luck back for Week 15, but that seems unlikely at this point. Daniel Adongo (non-injury related), Anthony Castonzo (knee), Erik Walden (foot) and Jerrell Freeman (hamstring, ribs) are also out. Castonzo is expected back next week. Phillip Dorsett (ankle, probable) practiced in full all week and has been cleared to return. He should push disappointing veteran Andre Johnson for snaps. Colt Anderson (ankle), Khaled Holmes (fibula), D’Qwell Jackson (quad), and Greg Toler (knee) are questionable.
Titans @ Jets
*Darrelle Revis (concussion, probable) is set to return after missing two weeks. Eric Decker (knee), Ryan Fitzpatrick (left thumb), and Brandon Marshall (ribs, ankle) are probable. Marcus Williams (knee) is questionable.
*Kendall Wright (ribs), Derrick Morgan (shoulder), Mike Martin (knee) and Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil (knee) are out. Wright missing should mean a bigger role for Dorial Green-Beckham, but he is expected to draw shadow coverage from Darrelle Revis. The Titans’ pass rush has suffered with Morgan out the last two weeks. Tre McBride (abdomen) is questionable.
49ers @ Browns
*Travis Benjamin (shoulder), Gary Barnidge (ankle), and Brian Hartline (hip) are questionable, but all three should play. Justin Gilbert, Joe Haden, and Andrew Hawkins are out with concussions. Haden and Hawkins are likely headed to injured reserve. Taylor Gabriel (concussion) and Marlon Moore (ribs) are questionable.
*Carlos Hyde (foot) has not practiced for several weeks, and it is a bit ridiculous he has not been placed on injured reserve at this point. Shaun Draughn should finish out the season as the lead back, and he is a solid RB2 as the clear workhorse. Vance McDonald (concussion) and Michael Wilhoite (ankle) are also out. Aaron Lynch (concussion), Torrey Smith (back, toe), and Tramaine Brock (foot) are questionable. Smith should play, but he is not a fantasy option.
Redskins @ Bears
*Marquess Wilson (foot) is out, but Eddie Royal (knee, questionable) should make his return after missing five games. Royal is not a reliable option for the opening week of the playoffs. Pernell McPhee, who had been playing limited snaps through a knee injury, is doubtful. The Bears’ pass rush will suffer, but Willie Young and Lamarr Houston have played much better in limited roles the last month. Sam Acho (shoulder), Bryce Callahan (quad), Tracy Porter (ankle), Antrel Rolle (knee), and Zach Miller (ribs) are questionable. Miller should play and is a solid TE2 with Martellus Bennett (ribs) on injured reserve.
*Stephen Paea (toe), Jeron Johnson (hamstring), Perry Riley Jr. (foot), and Chris Thompson (shoulder) are out. Paea was placed on injured reserve Friday, and Thompson will likely join him soon with a torn labrum. Pierre Thomas was signed to fill the passing-back role with Thompson sidelined. Derek Carrier (ankle), Jason Hatcher (neck, ankle), Andre Roberts (knee), and Keenan Robinson (shoulder) are questionable.
Lions @ Rams
*With T.J. McDonald (shoulder) and Robert Quinn (back) joining Alec Ogletree (leg) on injured reserve and Janoris Jenkins (concussion) doubtful, this defense is no longer a unit to fear. On the plus side, Trumaine Johnson (thigh) is expected back. Andrew Donnal (knee) is out.
*Calvin Johnson is listed as questionable with an ankle injury after not practicing Friday, but there does not seem to be any concern about his availability. The Lions’ website said Johnson “should be good to go.” Ziggy Ansah (hamstring, elbow), Travis Lewis (ankle), Lance Moore (ankle), Michael Ola (knee), Glover Quin (ankle), Caraun Reid (ankle), and Travis Swanson (ankle) are all also listed as questionable.
Chargers @ Chiefs
*Justin Houston (knee), Husain Abdullah (concussion), Mike DeVito (concussion, shoulder) and De’Anthony Thomas (concussion) are out. Dee Ford will start again with Houston sidelined, but Frank Zombo may have earned more snaps with two big sacks late against the Raiders. Jeff Allen (ankle) is questionable.
*Dontrelle Inman (neck), Stevie Johnson (groin), Brandon Flowers (knee), and Corey Liuget (foot) are out. With Inman and Johnson sidelined, Javontee Herndon is expected to start opposite Malcom Floyd. Neither is a good option in a crumbling offense. Philip Rivers (foot, probable) should be sitting in most formats. Sean Lissemore (shoulder) is doubtful, and D.J. Fluker (concussion) is questionable.
Falcons @ Panthers
*Charles Tillman (knee) and Brenton Bersin (groin) are doubtful. Bene Benwikere will continue to fill in at right corner.
*Paul Soliai was ruled out with a calf injury. It is a big upgrade for Jonathan Stewart. Matt Bryant was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a quad injury Friday, so Shayne Graham will close out the season as the Falcons’ kicker.
Raiders @ Broncos
*Ronnie Hillman (foot) and C.J. Anderson (ankle) are questionable. Hillman is expected to play and start after getting in a limited practice Friday, but Anderson will likely miss. Juwan Thompson should see around 10 touches with Anderson sidelined. Vernon Davis (concussion) got in limited practices Thursday and Friday and is listed as questionable. Owen Daniels would be a streaming option if Davis sits. Peyton Manning (foot) resumed throwing this week. He should be out at least until Week 16, and Manning likely will not get his job back even when he is “healthy.” Danny Trevathan (concussion) and T.J. Ward (ankle) are also out. Omar Bolden (hamstring), David Bruton (knee), Andre Caldwell (quad), and Bennie Fowler (ankle) are questionable. With Ward out and Bolden and Bruton iffy, the Broncos’ secondary will likely present a weaker test than usual.
*Rodney Hudson (ankle), Taiwan Jones (knee), Neiron Ball (knee), and Keith McGill (ankle) should all sit after missing practice Friday. Neiko Thorpe (knee) is questionable.
Cowboys @ Packers
*Ty Montgomery (ankle), Bryan Bulaga (ankle), and Nick Perry (shoulder) are questionable. Montgomery should play, but he is unlikely to see meaningful snaps in the Packers’ mediocre but crowded receiver corps. Corey Linsley (ankle) is doubtful.
*Tony Romo (left shoulder) is done for at least the regular season, but everyone else on the active roster is probable or better.
Patriots @ Texans
*DeAndre Hopkins was added to the injury report Friday with a hamstring issue, but he is listed as probable. Hopkins will play and is a locked-in WR1. J.J. Watt broke his hand in practice Wednesday, but he is listed as probable and will play.
*Rob Gronkowski (knee) and Julian Edelman (foot) made shocking returns to the practice field this week. Edelman has already been ruled out for Week 14, but his limited practice Friday gives him a decent chance to return next week. He needs to be added where dropped. Gronkowski was listed as questionable after getting in limited work Thursday and Friday. It still would be surprising if he plays, but Gronk owners with Scott Chandler (knee, questionable) on the roster as well can afford to take it to Sunday night. Gronk owners who want to risk it could add Will Tye, Ryan Griffin, or Jordan Cameron – in that order – as insurance. Danny Amendola (knee), Patrick Chung (foot) Dont’a Hightower (knee), Justin Coleman (hand), Josh Kline (shoulder), and Devin McCourty (shoulder) are questionable. Amendola should play and is a low-end WR2 with Edelman out.
Giants @ Dolphins
*Jarvis Landry was limited with a knee issue in Friday’s practice, but it is nothing to worry about after the Dolphins followed the same pattern last week. Earl Mitchell (calf), Mike Pouncey (foot), Kenny Stills (ankle), and Brandon Williams (foot) were also limited Friday. Rishard Matthews (ribs) and Ja’Wuan James (toe) have not practiced this week are expected to sit out Monday night.
*Ereck Flowers (ankle) returned to a limited practice Friday which should give him a chance to play. Brandon Meriweather (knee) and Marshall Newhouse (back) were also limited Friday. Devon Kennard (foot, hamstring) and Robert Ayers (neck) sat out. It is a downgrade for Ayers after he practiced in full Thursday.