HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 12: Running back Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans runs for a touchdown in the NFL season opener against the Indianapolis Colts at Reliant Stadium on September 12 2010 in Houston Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
With just hours to go before today’s NFL games kick off, SB Nation Medical Expert Dr. Ali Mohamadi looks at key injuries affecting this weekend’s games and how they might impact your fantasy rosters.
Foster missed last week’s cakewalk over Indianapolis due to an injured left hamstring suffered in the preseason. Although Foster returned to practice on Wednesday, he remains listed as questionable and Texans’ coach Gary Kubiak has suggested his star running back may be on a limited snap count today. With Foster potentially limited and backup Derrick Ward having missed practices due to ankle and shoulder injuries, Ben Tate may be the best fantasy play among the Houston RB trio against the Dolphins. Although it's likely Foster will be able to increase his workload in coming weeks, the fact that hamstring injuries are among the most commonly re-injured means Foster owners may be on pins and needles all season.
Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams, quadriceps
StL @ NYG, Monday Night
The St. Louis running back left last Sunday’s game against the Eagles with a strained right quadriceps on the team’s first offensive play, a 47-yard TD run. Jackson did not return to the game and is listed as questionable for tomorrow night’s game. Early in the week, it appeared all but certain Jackson would be out against the Giants, but the Rams have been coy about his likelihood of playing, with some reports suggesting he may go after all. Given Jackson’s injury history, fantasy owners may want to look elsewhere at RB this weekend.
Moreno, expected to be a solid RB2 for fantasy owners this season, injured his hamstring during Monday night’s loss to Oakland and hasn’t practiced the entire week. He's officially listed as questionable for today’s game. The second-year back had an MRI on Tuesday, although the team hasn’t released results of the exam, with coach John Fox only describing it as a "day-to-day" situation. Similar to Foster, fantasy owners should expect a slow recovery for Moreno, making backup RB Willis McGahee the team’s go-to guy against the Bengals.
The second-year Cowboys’ receiver, who was having an unearthly first quarter against the Jets last Sunday night, injured a quadriceps muscle late in the game and was limited in effectiveness thereafter. After earlier in the week stating Bryant would play against the 49ers today, Cowboys’ owner/GM Jerry Jones backtracked from those comments on Friday, listing his as questionable. Bryant’s status for today is likely to go down to the wire.
Holmes was unexpectedly added to the Jets’ injury report on Thursday due to knee and quadriceps ailments, which have limited him in practice all week. Details of either injury are limited, but Holmes himself has said he expects to be ready to play against the Jaguars. The Jets' decision to activate WR Patrick Turner from the practice squad, however, may indicate a greater concern among team officials for whether their top receiver will be ready to go today. Anyone considering starting QB Mark Sanchez on their fantasy team should keep a close eye on Holmes’s status before pulling the trigger.
Brandon Lloyd, Denver Broncos, groin
DEN vs. CIN, 4:15 p.m.
Lloyd returned to practice on Friday after missing the previous two days due to a groin injury. Although Lloyd appears to be all systems go for today’s game against Cincinnati, injuries to the groin, much like the hamstring, are often nagging ailments that can easily be re-aggravated. Fantasy owners will need to keep a close eye on Lloyd’s status throughout the season and consider bolstering their WR corps early in the campaign in case the injury flares up in weeks to come.
The Giants’ top WR suffered a bone bruise on his left knee during the Giants’ 28-14 loss to Washington last Sunday. This type of injury is essentially a step short of a fracture, and it occurs when traumatic force on the bone results in shredding of fibers that make up the outside of the bone. A bone bruise can be accompanied by swelling or internal bleeding, and is often extremely painful. Although early in the week, Nicks vowed to take the field against the Rams, and the extra day of rest due to the Monday night game will certainly help. But keep WR Mario Manningham in the back of your mind as the fantasy player who would be most likely to benefit if Nicks is slowed or unable to play at all.
Roy Williams, Chicago Bears, groin
CHI @ NO, 1 p.m.
Williams left last Sunday’s romp over Atlanta with a groin injury and, although returning to practice late in the week, has been limited. Williams showed good chemistry with QB Jay Cutler while in the game, which bodes well for his fantasy impact throughout the season, but given the nature of groin strains fantasy owners might be better suited looking elsewhere for WR help this week. Johnny Knox would take Williams’ place if he is unable to go against the Saints.