It's a week until Christmas and the NFL is the gift that keeps on ... taking? The end of year IR moves are always an odd duck; teams make the moves for a number of reasons, but mostly financial. Talking about disability insurance and worker's compensation rules are things that will make even the most technical fantasy player's eyes glaze over, but the NFL's 32 teams are businesses and not that big of ones at that. They do what they have to do to stay afloat, and sometimes that means small things like this. The attention to detail might not work for your fantasy team, but in ways, it does. By staying on top of everything from rules (we've all found a loophole) to transactions, we end up winning more often than not. So don't be taken off guard by the injuries or, as we're seeing more and more as the season winds down, those "let's see what we have" moves of playing rookies, backups and protecting players as it affects playing time. It's only the injuries that have to be listed, you have to remember. Let's take a look at this week's aches and pains:
The Colts have been affected by injuries all season, but the Jaguars haven't had much of a season because of injuries. It's an interesting contrast, seeing as the Colts have been among the worst teams at keeping players healthy despite a winning run over the last decade. The Jags just couldn't make the same adjustments, something we often see on "talent" teams but not with "system" teams. The Colts may seem like the former, but the offensive system is basically
Yeah, it was a bit of a shock for me, too. Seeing Peterson pop up on the OIR with an ankle sprain caught everyone off guard, since he finished Sunday without any sign of an issue. The reason is that there's not much of an issue. Peterson is sore, and sources tell me he rolled over the ankle a bit on a sharp lateral cut sometime in the second half. It swelled up a bit afterward and it was a good enough reason to hold him out of practice on Wednesday as any. As mentioned above, it doesn't take much of a reason to rest guys at this stage of the year, especially in practice. Peterson remains the No. 1 fantasy RB this week and there won't be much question about who'll be the No. 1 overall pick next season in every fantasy draft. Who goes in the second slot? That will be a bit more of an issue and one I'll address a bit later in this column.
Bush was placed on IR after re-spraining his knee. He finishes the year with one yard more than you'd expect from an average back, according to my pals at Football Outsiders. Yes, he played much of the season with a bum knee, but he's not just a barely above-average RB this season, he's fallen to third on the depth chart and become less a "lightning" back than several others, like
The whole of the Giants backfield is banged up and the calculus of committee backfields gets a bit odd when it goes that way. Seventy-five percent of
There's trouble in the locker room, the playoffs are in question, and the owner is questioning whether or not Barber is tough enough to be a Cowboy. There have been questions as to why
Williams is "a little fuzzy" on what happened in the second half In Week 15, but he returned to the game. Jackson was knocked out of his game against the Seahawks with a hard double-hit (helmet to helmet, then helmet to turf), but returned late in the game as well. Once again, we're seeing that when it comes to concussions, the NFL still lets game-to-game concerns overrule serious medical issues.
The coaches can't be blamed here.
Remember the season-ending, perhaps career-threatening neck injury to Jones? Not so much. Jones did have a severely herniated cervical disk, but it's something he's had. Jones is not only back at practice, he's expected to play in Week 16. The disk isn't any worse than it's been and is normally asymptomatic. The danger is, of course, that he does more damage to it in a game, but according to doctors, he's at no more risk than someone who has normal disc anatomy. It's a big shift and one that makes me wonder whether his clinging to an NFL career and complete lack of options off-field make him willing to take more risk than is safe, but who are we to say? I can complain about the possibility of injury, but Jones is the type of guy that my grandmother would say is headed for jail or the grave, whichever comes first, so is severe injury that much worse?
Breaking a scapula (shoulder blade) isn't easy to do, but for Williams, it has ended his regular season and put the playoffs in jeopardy. Without his run-stopping abilities, the Vikings have a tougher road to just getting there and putting a return in play. It will heal and tends to heal normally, though this is such an unusual injury that without knowing the specific mechanism, it's hard to say how much stress the shoulder will be placed under in normal play. The question is really one of range of motion and whether or not Williams could adjust to the limitations. He can't be braced or harnessed and remain effective.
Adding an element of intrigue is Williams' looming suspension. With the injury, many players would drop any appeal and serve the time they would miss anyway, but there's a bigger principle here for Williams. While Williams isn't on many fantasy rosters, note his injury if you have
You all know about the dreaded 370 rule, right? If not, here it is: