Matt Stroup

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One Thumb Down for Cutler

Monday, November 21, 2011

Initially, it looked like Adrian Peterson’s ankle injury would give him the unpleasant distinction of being the first player discussed in this week’s infirmary report, but that was before word surfaced (via the Chicago Sun-Times) that Jay Cutler may be out for the season due to a fractured right (throwing) thumb.

The timing, obviously, is horrendously rotten, as the Bears won their fifth straight on Sunday, and Cutler busted out his most productive fantasy scoring output of the season (18-for-31, 286 yds, 2 TD; 5 rush, 11 yds, TD). With Cutler reportedly set to miss at least six weeks – which would put him out until Week 17 in a best-case scenario – Caleb Hanie is set to take over as the Bears’ starting QB. Hanie is worth a look in two-QB leagues, but he has only thrown 34 passes in his NFL career (including playoffs), and this situation obviously signals a downgrade for the entire Chicago offense.

The other major injury scenario from Sunday saw Adrian Peterson (ankle) carted off in the first quarter, but that injury may have (repeat: may have) looked worse than it actually was. Peterson was able to put weight on the ankle while standing on the sideline during the second half, and says (per the St. Paul Pioneer Press) that it’s “not in my DNA” to sit out, adding that “God willing, I’ll be up and ready to run [in Week 12].”

The only potential issue with Peterson’s optimism is the lingering chance that he sustained a high ankle sprain, and we should have a better idea on that front after a Monday MRI. If Peterson is unavailable, Toby Gerhart would potentially be in line for a big workload, but the backup wasn’t impressive on Sunday (7 rush, 18 yds; 1 rec, 7 yds), and Minnesota faces a tough Atlanta run defense in Week 12.

In other injury news…

Fred Jackson left the blowout loss to the Dolphins with what the Associated Press is calling a bruised calf. Jackson says he expects to be "fine," and if the bruise diagnosis proves accurate, he should be available for Week 12. C.J. Spiller would benefit if Jackson misses time, but hasn’t shown any indication that he’d be capable of doing even a decent F-Jax impersonation.

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James Starks (11 rush, 38 yds; 6 rec, 53 yds) sustained a knee injury that the Packers are initially labeling a sprain. Knee sprains sometimes end up being a tear, so chances are that Starks will undergo an MRI. And given the fact that the Packers only have a few days until a matchup with Detroit on Thursday, we may see Ryan Grant (4 rush, 16 yds) in a lead back role on Thanksgiving. However, Grant’s nonexistent role in the passing game and lack of explosion leave him with limited upside even if Starks is sidelined.

The Titans lost Matt Hasselbeck to a sprained elbow, resulting in some impressive relief work from first-round pick Jake Locker (9-for-19, 141 yds, 2 TDs). Titans coach Mike Munchak (per beat writer Jim Wyatt) has said that there’s “no doubt” Hasselbeck is still his starter, but it’s unclear if the veteran will be ready for Week 12. With that in mind, Locker is well worth a speculative add in two-QB leagues.

Greg Jennings spent much of the second half on the sidelines due to a bruised shin, but Mike McCarthy thinks that Jennings will be “OK.” It’s a short turnaround before a Thursday matchup with the Lions, but early signs suggest that Jennings should be fine.

Darrius Heyward-Bey was carted off with a scary neck injury, but does have full use of his extremities, as reported by beat writer Vittorio Tafur. No word as of late Sunday night on Heyward-Bey’s outlook for the remainder of the season.

Colt McCoy played through an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder on Sunday, at one point leaving the field with his arm "hanging," according to the Akron Beacon Journal. McCoy doesn't believe that he'll need an MRI, but this certainly sounds like an injury that will warrant one. Seneca Wallace is next in line to lead the inept Cleveland offense if McCoy misses time.

The Bills lost Donald Jones for 3-6 weeks to an ankle injury. This should mean more snaps as a receiver for C.J. Spiller, assuming that he doesn’t have to fill in for Fred Jackson (calf) at RB. Also likely to benefit: Naaman Roosevelt, though neither Roosevelt nor Spiller is a valid consideration outside of deeper leagues.

Other Injury Notes: Rough day for David Nelson (illness), who had one catch for zero yards, was seen vomiting on the sideline and will now spend less time in the slot (and more time out wide) due to the aforementioned ankle injury to Donald JonesDeSean Jackson was tested for a concussion during Sunday night’s game, but was able to return … Giants RB D.J. Ware was forced from the game due to a concussion … Giants TE Jake Ballard left in the fourth quarter with a right arm injury, but subsequently re-entered the game.

Editor’s note: If you want to draft a new fantasy team, check out SnapDraft here.

Defense/Offensive Line Injuries: Rams LT Mark LeVoir sustained a shoulder injury, leaving recently-signed practice squad player Kevin Hughes to protect Sam Bradford’s blindside … Bills CB Terrence McGee (knee) is likely done for the year ... Oft-injured Redskins LT Trent Williams sustained a left MCL injury ... Bad news for the Cardinals’ run D (and good news for Steven Jackson in Week 12): the Arizona Republic reports that NT Dan Williams (arm) is done for the season … The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Chargers LT Marcus McNeill (neck) could miss the rest of the year ... Titans RT David Stewart left with a calf injury ... Jags DE Matt Roth and LB Clint Session both left with head injuries ... Chargers DE Jacques Cesaire came down with a knee injury … Bucs RT Jeremy Trueblood (no relation to the TV show) left Sunday’s game with a knee injury.

(Note: For a complete breakdown of all the key happenings from Sunday, check out Chris Wesseling's The Morning After column on Monday.)

Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for You can find him on Twitter here .
Email :Matt Stroup

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