Add to these the fact that stars such as DeMarco Murray, Darren McFadden and Darren Sproles have already been ruled out, and fantasy owners may find themselves scrambling for late roster replacements this week.
Here’s the scoop on the key injuries, and their impact, for the rest of this week’s games:
Amendola suffered a separated shoulder in the Rams’ Oct. 4 loss to Arizona and has since missed the team’s last three games. Although the St. Louis WR has been limited in practice, he is likely to take the field tomorrow against the tough San Francisco defense. Amendola’s effectiveness, however, may be limited due to pain tolerance issues associated with this type of injury, as well as the possibility that his snaps may be limited to start.
Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings (ankle)
MIN (5-4) vs. DET (4-4), 1 p.m.
Harvin, who has been touted as a possible MVP candidate through the first half of the NFL season, suffered a sprained ankle in Minnesota’s Week 9 loss at Seattle and has been listed as doubtful for Sunday's divisional showdown against the Lions. Word out of Minnesota from earlier this week was that Harvin’s ankle had been sprained in three places, which, despite sounding ominous, does not actually describe the severity of the injury or shed light on a timetable for recovery.
Nonetheless, there doesn’t appear to be much optimism that Harvin will actually suit up Sunday, leaving much of the receiving duties in the hands of Jerome Simpson and Michael Jenkins. The largest beneficiary from a fantasy standpoint may be TE Kyle Rudolph, who was a favorite target of QB Christian Ponder’s even before Harvin’s injury.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (knee/head)
DET (4-4) @ MIN (5-4), 1 p.m.
The Lions’ star WR had already been dealing with a sore knee the entire season before word arrived that he may be suffering from nerve damage in both arms and a concussion due to a hit back in Week 4 against Minnesota. While the Lions have denied the latter, it is hard to imagine that this laundry list of ailments hasn’t affected Johnson to some extent this season.
Indications out of Detroit are that Johnson will suit up tomorrow against the Lions Sunday afternoon despite being limited in practice much of the week, making him an instant start in all fantasy leagues.
The Titans’ QB suffereded a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury in the first quarter of Tennessee’s Week 4 loss to Houston and has not played since. Locker’s shoulder was driven to the ground on a sack by Houston’s Glover Quin and the second-year QB was taken to the locker room before returning to the sideline in street clothes and a sling to immobilize the injured side.
After being medically cleared by team doctors, Locker will start Sunday at Miami for the first time since the injury, taking over for Matt Hasselback. With this type of injury to the non-throwing shoulder, Locker’s main issue will be pain tolerance, with an additional risk being aggravation of the injury and further tearing the ligaments that hold the shoulder joint in place.
Bradshaw, who injured his right foot late in the Giants’ Week 6 mauling of San Francisco, has had a longstanding history of similar injuries, including a fracture to the same foot last season that has caused him to miss several games over the past two seasons.
Although Bradshaw is listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Cincinnati, it appears likely he will get the start. If Bradshaw is unable to suit up, backups Andre Brown (who missed last week with a concussion) and David Wilson would share carries for New York.
Hernandez, whose ankle injury has caused him to miss four games in total this season, including the Patriots’ last contest on Oct. 28 against St. Louis, is listed as questionable for Sunday's matchup against Buffalo. Hernandez suffered a high ankle sprain in the team’s Sept. 16 loss to Arizona during a collision with teammate Julian Edelman, forcing him to miss the next three games. After returning to action Oct. 14 against the Seahawks, Hernandez aggravated the injury in practice before the team’s Week 8 matchup in London against the Rams.
The team was hoping last week’s bye would provide enough time for Hernandez to recuperate, but he has been limited in practice all week and appears to be a game-time decision for Sunday's game.