November 05, 2009

Other than losing one of fantasy's best tight ends to an unfortunate "turf grabbing" incident, it was a relatively quiet week on the injury front. Again. That's the third week in the last month things have been a little light, and you know what that means, right? It's time to pay up in full, plus the juice. Call it a hunch, but this week I fully expect an injury so fantasy-altering that owners of the player(s) will be left feeling like they just went four rounds with an aluminum softball bat. Enjoy!

Brian Westbrook: Concussion

It's not certain yet, but it looks as if "Captain Questionable" is headed for a probable designation when the injury reports are released. He practiced fully on Wednesday, and as long as he shows no ill effects from the activity, Westbrook should be, as Andy Reid put it, "good to go" come Sunday.

If he's at full strength, don't hesitate to start him as usual. LeSean McCoy will still get some touches, but in the four games where both have played, Westbrook is averaging 6.4 yards per touch on 50 touches while McCoy has seen the ball 32 times for a 4.5 yard average. That should leave no doubt who Reid (and subsequently fantasy owners) should be relying on.

Anquan Boldin: Sprained right ankle

After missing nearly all of last week's practice, Boldin left midway through the Carolina game after aggravating his injured right ankle. It's hampered his production for two weeks now (six catches for 98 yards combined), and he's not expected to practice until Friday at the earliest.

For his part, Boldin says "If I'm able to run, I'm going to play football." While that's admirable, Ken Whisenhunt indicated that Boldin and the Cardinals may be best served by having him sit out a week in order to get him fully healthy (division rival Seattle visits town on November 15). Of course, Boldin's also gone on record saying he doesn't think the ankle will ever be at 100 percent this season.

Anyone else smell a good old fashioned Mexican standoff in the making?

Keep close tabs on the situation, but even if Boldin's able to outlast Whisenhunt, he's not someone you want to count on if he's still stumbling out of his breaks like your drunken uncle at the family "Turkey Bowl" game.

Aaron Rodgers: Sprained left big toe/Sore right foot

Rodgers sprained the big toe on his left foot late in Sunday's loss to the Vikings. He was already suffering from a sore right foot, and the combination has left him gimpier than a retail store employee the day after Black Friday. Rodgers isn't expected to practice until Friday, but the Packers don't seem to be concerned in the least. They only have two QBs on the roster (Rodgers and Matt Flynn), and haven't bothered to activate Brian Brohm from the practice squad, a sure sign Rodgers will be on the field for the delicious Tampa Bay matchup.

Devin Hester: Sprained right ankle

Hester's ankle rolled up on him during his seven-catch, 81-yard effort on Sunday. He was a precautionary scratch from practice on Wednesday, but indicated he'll be ready this week by saying: "I'll be ready this week."

Hester has 21 catches for 265 yards over his past three games (a total surpassed only by Larry Fitzgerald), and he's cemented himself as a reliable WR2 in any smart owner's mind. As long as he gets some work in this week, Hester should be played with full confidence against a mediocre Arizona secondary.

Owen Daniels: Torn ACL

After ascending to the top of the tight end food chain (he was leading the league in fantasy points at the position), the turf monster reared its ugly head, ending Daniels' season in the process.

Long snapper/tight end Joel Dreessen takes over Daniels' spot in the starting lineup, but unless your league rewards points for perfectly executed long snaps and special teams tackles, Dreessen is of no use. The loss of their second best receiver could cause the Texans to get creative in their usage of Steve Slaton and this week's waiver gem, Ryan Moats, or it could mean more action for Jacoby Jones, and (hopefully) more looks in the direction of Kevin Walter. It's really too early to tell, but I'm picking Walter as the biggest benefactor.

Kevin Smith: Bruised shoulder

At least we know that if Smith plays he still has a starting job. Following some speculation after the second-year running back split carries with Maurice Morris in the embarrassing loss to the Rams, Jim Schwartz came out and said Smith will remain the Lions' primary back. Seriously, who were the people speculating about this? I know Smith has been disappointing as a runner this year, but Mo Morris? Really?!

In fact, Smith was pulled from the game because of an aggravation to the shoulder issue he's been dealing with much of this season. He missed practice early in the week, and it's already been determined that he'll be a game-time decision. Seattle's a mid-level defense at best, so if he's cleared, Smith needs to be used in his normal role. Not so fast on Morris though. If he's the primary ball carrier, a brave soul might use him in an RB3/Flex spot, but that's as far as you should take it.

Calvin Johnson: Knee injury

The exact nature of the Johnson's knee injury is still unclear, but he took part in individual drills, worked with the first-team offense, and was reportedly "running smoothly" on Wednesday.

Like last week, owners won't know "Megatron's" status until Sunday morning, but if he continues to participate as did on Wednesday with no setbacks, I'd place his odds at 75 percent he plays, a 20 percent chance he sits, and a 5 percent chance that Schwartz's been waiting on back-ordered parts from planet Cybertron for three weeks now, and there's literally no way to predict if they'll be in by Sunday.

Anthony Gonzalez: Recovering from sprained/torn knee ligament

When asked about Gonzalez's status this week, the normally quiet Jim Caldwell strung together a 14-word sentence; "I'd say to you I'm not quite certain where he is at this point."

Caldwell must have been referring to his rehab progress, because we know his physical location. Gonzo's body was in an examination room this week in Birmingham, Ala., receiving a second opinion on his partially torn PCL from Dr. Death himself, James Andrews.

I'm not recommending you divorce yourself from Gonzalez just yet, but it wouldn't hurt to start flirting with some of the available talents.

Roddy White: Sore knee?

I saw White listed as missing practice on Wednesday because of a knee injury he suffered on Monday Night Football. Intrigued, I dug a little deeper and found out that the Falcons didn't even hold a practice Wednesday. That didn't stop the league from forcing them to release an "estimated" injury report, where they basically just wrote random names down to mess with their opponent. And fantasy owners, of course. There's no reason for concern here.

Chris Ryan is a staff writer at Check out RotoExperts' Game Day Chats every Sunday morning from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. Our team of Experts will answer all of your last-minute lineup questions, including those for IDP leagues.

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