This week marks the championship bout for fantasy leagues everywhere, and if you have been lucky enough to advance this far, it's time to start paying attention to the NFL Week 16 injury report.
Cutting right to the chase, here are the latest updates on injuries to some key players as well as some fantasy advice regarding their injuries and what to expect from them on the field:
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (8-6): Probable, will start barring setback
After suffering a grade-one lateral collateral ligament (LCL) sprain Week 14, Griffin pulled a Wolverine and started to heal at a superhuman rate (X-Men reference, anyone?). According to the Associated Press, RGIII will probably play on Sunday, and head coach Mike Shanahan plans to start him barring a setback.
Despite coming back from this injury so quickly, all reports on RGIII sound encouraging. Additionally, a grade-one strain implies the ligament was not torn, only over-stretched.
- Other notable quarterbacks on Friday's official NFL injury report: Aaron Rodgers (GB, probable), Andrew Luck (IND, probable), Brady Quinn (KC, probable)
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles (4-10): Probable, will start
A severe concussion has held McCoy out since he suffered the injury Week 11. Jeff McClane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that he will make his return this week versus the Washington Redskins, when the Eagles will try to play the role of postseason spoiler.
Worth the risk for McCoy and the Eagles? Debatable.
Worth the risk for fantasy owners everywhere given the performance of Bryce Brown and the fact that McCoy is coming off a concussion? Just as debatable.
After all, there can't be any easy answers for the fantasy football finals, can there?
Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (8-6): Questionable
The Giants have zero room for error, and they definitely want to have the talents of their star running back available. At this point, it remains unclear if they will.
According to Matt Ehalt of ESPNNewYork.com, Bradshaw remains tagged as questionable, in part due to a December 9 knee sprain he suffered against the New Orleans Saints.
From a fantasy standpoint, Bradshaw is a risky play at best, even if active. Look elsewhere, if you can.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (5-9): Questionable
Stewart continues to be limited by an ankle injury, and according to Ryan Gamble of Examiner.com, it isn't looking good for Week 16. High ankle sprains tend to linger, as they involve the ligaments connecting the two large bones in the lower leg.
Even if active, Stewart will likely not receive many touches, making running back DeAngelo Williams an interesting fantasy football start against a porous Oakland Raiders defense.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12): Out
Fred Yates of ESPNBoston.com reports that Jones-Drew has been ruled out for the Jaguars' Week 16 contest against the New England Patriots.
This represents another rough break for MJD owners, as none of the other Jaguars running backs are viable starts for Week 16.
- Other notable running backs on Friday's official NFL injury report: Steven Jackson (STL, probable), C.J. Spiller (BUF, probable), Rashad Jennings (JAC, out), Delone Carter (IND, out), Pierre Thomas (NO, probable), Chris Ivory (NO, questionable), DeMarco Murray (DAL, probable), Trent Richardson (CLE, probable), Knowshon Moreno (DEN, probable), Bilal Powell (NYJ, probable)
Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons (12-2): Questionable
*REMINDER: ATL vs. DET is a Saturday evening game*
White practiced on a limited basis Friday and is listed as questionable on the Falcons' official injury report due to a knee injury. Be sure to monitor his status closely throughout the weekend.
If healthy, Roddy White represents a solid start in all leagues.
Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks (9-5): Questionable
Rice popped up again on the Seahawks' injury report this week, this time due to a knee injury. He is a risky fantasy play regardless of health status, especially going up against the 49ers defense.
If you have other options at the wide receiver position, give them a look this week.
Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens (9-5): Questionable
The NFL-mandated return-to-play testing following a concussion requires a minimum of five days to complete. According to my own calculated statistics that are based on ESPN's and PBS' Concussion Watch, players have returned for their next game following a concussion about half the time this season.
Keep an eye out for reports this weekend about Smith's status.
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers (10-4): Out
- Other notable wide receivers on Friday's official NFL injury report: Calvin Johnson (DET, probable), Kenny Britt (TEN, probable), Kendall Wright (TEN, questionable), Randall Cobb (GB, probable), Brandon LaFell (CAR, probable), Brian Hartline (MIA, questionable), Emmanuel Sanders (PIT, probable), Wes Welker (NE, questionable), Brandon Lloyd (NE, questionable), Dez Bryant (DAL, probable), Hakeem Nicks (NYG, probable), Mohamed Massaquoi (CLE, out), Joshua Cribbs (CLE, probable), Eric Decker (DEN, probable), Brandon Marshall (CHI, probable)
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots (10-4): Out
Though he returned to practice this week and is only "questionable" on the Patriots' injury report, Gronkowski will miss Week 16, according to Michael David Smith of NBC Sports. Make sure he isn't in your lineup.
Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions (4-10): Doubtful
*REMINDER: ATL vs. DET is a Saturday evening game*
John Katzenstein of the Detroit News reports that Pettigrew is doubtful for Week 16 due to an ankle injury.
Due to this news, ESPN's Matthew Berry ranks Lions tight end Tony Scheffler as a top-10 play this week. That is definitely something to consider if you are desperate.
- Other notable tight ends on Friday's official NFL injury report: Tony Moeaki (KC, doubtful), Jimmy Graham (NO, probable), Brent Celek (PHI, probable), Dustin Keller (NYJ, doubtful)
Dave Siebert is a medical/injury Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report who will be graduating from medical school in June, 2013. He plans to specialize in both Family Medicine and Primary Care (non-operative) Sports Medicine. Injury and anatomical information is based on his own knowledge.
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