Good thing most fantasy leagues decided their championship this week, because Saturday’s festivities resulted in a roster-wrecking collection of injuries, none more significant than the torn ACL and MCL suffered by Adrian Peterson on Saturday.
The upshot of that knee injury – beyond obviously ending AP’s season – is that the Vikings RB isn’t guaranteed to be ready for game action when next season begins. In the meantime, Toby Gerhart (11 rush, 109 yds) is slated to start against Chicago in Week 17, and could be the Vikings’ starting RB at the outset of 2012.
In other injury news…
During his least productive day of the season (14 touches, 45 yds), LeSean McCoy limped off the field and went to the locker room for X-rays on his ankle. He was, however, able to return to the game, and the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News quotes Andy Reid as calling it just a “tweaked” ankle. Nevertheless, we could see plenty of Ronnie Brown and Dion Lewis if the Eagles decide to exercise caution in Week 17.
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Tony Romo left Sunday’s game in the first quarter due to a bruised hand, but is expected to play in Dallas' must-win Week 17 matchup against the Giants. Also exiting early for the Cowboys (who made little effort to win an ultimately meaningless game against the Eagles): Felix Jones (4 rush, 24 yds), who was pulled for precautionary reasons but could be in line for a 20-plus touch workload in Week 17.
Meanwhile, Raiders beat writer Steve Corkran suggested Saturday night that Darren McFadden and Jacoby Ford should both return from their foot injuries in Week 17. Good news for Oakland’s playoff hopes, but little consolation for fantasy owners, who saw McFadden explode for 761 total yards and five TDs through Week 6 before his season gradually spiraled down the commode. Run DMC should enter 2012 as a high fantasy draft pick, but he’ll also continue to be a major injury risk.
Kevin Smith (17 touches, 61 yds, two TDs) produced a useful stat line despite laboring through his lingering right ankle issue, which could result in some increased work for Maurice Morris next week.
Vincent Jackson (2 rec, 41 yds) was visibly hindered by his groin injury on Saturday, and with the Chargers eliminated from the playoffs, there’s a solid chance he'll end up sitting out next week.
Meanwhile, Christian Ponder’s early exit due to a concussion may have prompted a surprise QB controversy for Minnesota, as Joe Webb (4-for-5, 84 yds, two TDs; 5 rush, 34 yds, TD) led the Vikings to a win over Washington, prompting Leslie Frazier to tell ESPN 1500 Twin Cities that “Some of the things he does, man, and what it does to the rest of our team – you can't ignore it. It's something we're going to take a real hard look at as we go forward.” With Ponder’s status iffy, Webb could get an extended audition against the Bears in Week 17.
Jeremy Maclin (5 rec, 72 yds, TD) took a shot to the ribs, but was able to play through it. It’s unclear whether this will be a lingering issue for Maclin, whose touchdown catch on Saturday was his first since Week 8.
Reggie Bush recorded his fourth consecutive 100-yard game (22 rush, 113 yds), but missed the end of Saturday’s game due to a knee injury. However, Bush told the Palm Beach Post that he doesn’t believe the injury is serious, so it sounds like he could attempt to add to his career-high 1,086 rushing yards in a tough matchup against the Jets next week.
Other Injury Notes: James Starks aggravated his right ankle injury on Sunday night … Lance Moore is being called questionable for Monday Night Football after a hamstring injury at practice on Friday … Chris Johnson (15 rush, 56 yds) had a pain-killing injection in his ankle prior to Week 16, but should play in the regular season finale … Maurice Jones-Drew missed a few plays after aggravating his ankle injury, but should be fine for Week 17 … Texans coach Gary Kubiak says that Andre Johnson (hamstring) could return next Sunday … Kevin Kolb told the FOX broadcast team that he’s still dealing with concussion symptoms, suggesting that John Skelton will get another start in Week 17 … Percy Harvin went to the locker room early with an arm injury, but was able to return … Daniel Thomas (2 rush, 3 yds) left with a knee injury in the second quarter … Per beat writer Matt Maiocco, 49ers TE Delanie Walker was hospitalized with what's believed to be a broken jaw … Ben Obomanu left with a knee injury … Lavelle Hawkins sustained an ankle injury … Legedu Naanee left with a foot injury.
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Defense/Offensive Line Injuries: Dolphins shutdown CB Vontae Davis left with an elbow injury in the fourth quarter … The already depleted Patriots’ offensive line lost LG Logan Mankins to a knee injury, leaving Tom Brady under heavy pressure against Miami … ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that Dolphins LT Jake Long has a torn right biceps … Broncos SS Brian Dawkins’ most recent neck injury could be career-ending, according to the Denver Post … The Steelers lost C Doug Legursky to a shoulder injury … Bills LT Demetrius Bell left with a knee injury … Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson left with a strained Achilles’ … Cowboys LB Sean Lee sustained a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter.
On a Personal Note: I lost the championship match in my main league for the third year in a row, and therefore must name my team The Buffalo Bills in 2012 (though I’m thinking I’ll probably go with the singular -- and far creepier -- Buffalo Bill instead).