Adam Levitan

Last Minute Decisions

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Week 6 Injury Questions

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It’s time for guys to prove it. Underperforming studs like Darren McFadden, Jordy Nelson and Andre Johnson are running out of time to save their owner’s seasons. Heck, even Ryan Mathews is expected to start and push for 20-plus touches this week.

As we get set for Week 6, we’ll help you get set. The Rotoworld News Page will be humming all Sunday long to bring you the latest on who is in and who is out. We’ve got rankings from Chris Wesseling/Mike Clay here and Evan Silva’s ridiculously mind-blowing Matchup Column here. Inside the Season Pass, you’ll find flex rankings and exact projections for every player.

If you want to draft a new team just for this week, check our SnapDraft. And if you don’t have it already, you need the Rotoworld App for your iPhone/iPad. Badly.

OK, let’s get to the hurt folks:

* Darrius Heyward-Bey (concussion) is back and will start opposite Denarius Moore.

* Matt Cassel (concussion) is out. Brady Quinn gets his first start since 2009.
* Jon Baldwin (hamstring) is expected to play despite a questionable tag.
* Peyton Hillis (ankle) remains sidelined. Shaun Draughn will get touches as Jamaal Charles’ backup.

* Donald Brown (knee) is out 2-3 weeks. Vick Ballard will start, Delone Carter will back him up and Mewelde Moore will handle passing downs.
* Stephen Hill (hamstring) and Dustin Keller (hamstring) are finally back. Yawn.

* Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring), Jordan Norwood (foot) and Travis Benjamin (hamstring) are all out. Look for Greg Little and Josh Gordon to play almost every down.

* Titus Young (knee) and Brandon Pettigrew (knee) aren’t 100 percent, but are ready to go as the Lions come out of their bye.

* Danny Amendola (shoulder) is out at least a month. Look for Chris Givens and Brandon Gibson to start outside.
* Reggie Bush (knee) should be getting closer to 100 percent. He’s listed as probable after fully participating in Friday’s practice.
* Daniel Thomas (concussion) is out. Lamar Miller will serve as the backup.

* Miles Austin (hamstring) practiced in full all week and will play, but he can’t seem to shake these nagging hamstring issues. It’s chronic.

* William Powell (head) is ready to go and has a big opportunity in front of him. He projects to lead the Cardinals’ backfield in rushes with Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams both out.
* LaRod Stephens-Howling (hip) is healthy and may start, but he’s ideally a change-of-pace option.
* Todd Heap (knee) is headed for a game-time call. Avoid.

* Aaron Hernandez (ankle) appeared on track to play, but then missed Friday’s practice. Predictably, the Patriots aren’t saying why. Maybe it was due to a wet field, maybe he’s just not ready. This looks like a full-blown game-time call. Even if Hernandez plays, he could end up with a limited role. Really tricky spot for owners.  
* Rob Gronkowski (hip) appears at least as healthy as he’s been the last two weeks.
* Wes Welker (ankle) is fully expected to play through a questionable tag.
* Julian Edelman (hand) was limited in practice all week. Even if he plays, Welker has probably earned the every-down role in two-wide sets anyway.

* Martellus Bennett (knee) is going to play at less than 100 percent. The Giants may just keep him in-line as a blocker if he’s not running well.
* Hakeem Nicks (knee, foot) was on the cross-country flight. He’ll be a game-time call, but he’s certainly on track to play right now.
* Ramses Barden (concussion) is ready, but he’s behind Domenik Hixon on the depth chart.
* Andre Brown (concussion) is out. David Wilson’s role should grow in a big way after Ahmad Bradshaw’s bruising 34-touch day last week.
* Brandon Jacobs (knee) was essentially a healthy scratch last week. It could happen again.
* Alex Smith (finger) is a full go.

* Robert Griffin III (concussion) will play barring an unexpected setback. The Redskins have pledged not to change their play-calling to protect him.
* Percy Harvin (hamstring) got a little tight during practice, but he’s fine. Full go.
* Adrian Peterson’s ankle issue is also minor. Get him in lineups.
* Jerome Simpson (back) appears headed for a game-time call. He’s not a fantasy option while running clear-out routes.
* Pierre Garcon can’t seem to get over the hump with his foot issue. There are whispers of a setback, making him hard to trust in this one.
* Jermichael Finley (shoulder) appears headed for a game-time call. The drop-prone underachiever probably isn’t worth waiting for.
* Greg Jennings (groin) is out again, giving Randall Cobb another start.
* Alex Green will start in place of Cedric Benson (foot), but the Packers have pledged a hot-hand approach. James Starks, Brandon Saine and goal-line pounder John Kuhn will also be involved.
* Ben Tate (toe) is ready to return as Arian Foster’s caddy.

* Oft-injured Malcom Floyd has been limited by a groin injury, but he should be fine.
* Eddie Royal (hamstring) is at far less than 100 percent. Avoid.

In a 12-team half-PPR league, my flex spot came down to Brian Hartline or Vick Ballard. It’s a tough call because I like the spots for both this week.

Ballard is going against a woeful Jets’ run defense that will be playing without run-stuffing NT Kenrick Ellis (knee). Hartline will avoid top Rams CB Cortland Finnegan for much of the day and has at least eight targets in four of the Dolphins five games.

I’ve decided to roll with Hartline because Ballard won’t play on passing downs -- Mewelde Moore will. Also, Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians is a candidate to simply abandon the run and go extremely pass heavy if things aren’t going well. In a half-PPR, Hartline gets the nod in a very close call.
I feel absolutely sick about what happened last week. Survivor 101 and my own rules say never, ever take a road team. It’s so simple. But as it turned out, I overthought both the Giants and Niners last week, leading to an elimination at the hands of the Packers. That one is going to stick with me for awhile.

The good news is that if you’re still in and not taking road teams, a good portion of your remaining pool probably got knocked out by the Steelers’ loss.

This is a tough week because almost everyone is going to be on the Falcons. If you want to play it safe, take them along with everyone else. If you want to try to win your pool, you can look elsewhere and pray the Raiders find a way.

If I was still in, I’d take the Falcons. The only other spot I see is the Bucs, coming off a bye, at home against Brady Quinn and the Chiefs.

Adam Levitan is in his seventh season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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