Season-long fantasy football may be finished, but both playoff fantasy leagues and Wild Card Round DFS are great ways to keep the fun going. As you might expect, Rotoworld has everything you need to cash in on the action. Rich Hribar lays out the best plays of the week in his Wild Card Rankings, Jeff Brubach has the playoff leagues covered with his Complete Playoff Ranks, and Evan Silva breaks down every matchup in his award-winning Matchups Column.
As for me, I am here to shed light on the most important injury situations facing fantasy owners heading into the weekend. The sister resource to this column is the Rotoworld News Page, which will have every inactive and all the late-breaking news up to kickoff and beyond. I also occasionally tweet about football @RMSummerlin.
Raiders @ Texans
*This game was going to be tough enough with Connor Cook forced to start, but now the Raiders will be without LT Donald Penn (knee) as well. It is a tough break for Penn, who has not missed a game in his career and has not been to the playoffs since his rookie season. Menelik Watson will get the start at left tackle. S Nate Allen (concussion) is also out. Amari Cooper (shoulder) and Michael Crabtree (ankle) continue to be listed as questionable, but there is no doubt about their availability. Neither is a cash option with Cook at quarterback, but Cooper is an interesting DFS tournament play. Cook targeted Cooper on six of his 21 attempts last week as well as a failed two-point try. Matt McGloin (left shoulder), Andre Holmes (shoulder), S Karl Joseph (toe), LG Kelechi Osemele (ankle), and LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring) are also questionable. McGloin is expected to be available as Cook’s backup.
*Tom Savage (concussion) and OLB John Simon (chest) are the only two Texans listed on the final injury report. Both are out. With Savage on the sidelines, Brock Osweiler will get the start, but he is a DFS tournament option at best. Lamar Miller, who is set to return after missing the final two weeks of the regular season, is a much better play against a defense which gave up the 10th-most fantasy points to running backs in the regular season. Miller rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown against Oakland in Week 11. He is the second-best option at running back behind Le’Veon Bell. On the defensive side, Houston will get back CB Johnathan Joseph, who sat out the season finale with rib and shoulder injuries. Texans DST is a solid even if chalky play.
Lions @ Seahawks
*Detroit listed WLB DeAndre Levy (knee), RT Riley Reiff (hip), and WR Andre Roberts (shoulder) as questionable. C Travis Swanson (concussion) was originally listed as questionable, but he was downgraded to out Friday night, suggesting he did not pass his final test with an independent neurologist. Both Levy and Roberts are fully expected to play, but Reiff, who reportedly “looked really limited” early in the week before increasing his activity on Thursday, seems truly questionable. The Lions will have a much better shot at an upset and Zach Zenner will have a much better shot at a good fantasy day if Reiff is on the field.
*Russell Wilson has been wearing a knee brace since suffering a left MCL sprain in Week 3, but he may ditch it for this game. Wilson has been much more dangerous as a runner in recent weeks, but he is still not back to normal. Perhaps shedding the brace will help get him closer. Likely to be much lower owned than Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger and going up against a shreddable defense at home, Wilson is a quality DFS option. C.J. Prosise (shoulder) was not able to return to practice this week and will miss his seventh game in a row. Alex Collins will continue to backup Thomas Rawls. DT Tony McDaniel (concussion) is also out.
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Dolphins @ Steelers
*Ryan Tannehill (knee) returned to a limited practice Friday, but he was never going to play this week. Despite the practice, Tannehill said he is “uncertain” if he will be ready for the Divisional Round if the Dolphins pull an upset in the Wild Card game. Matt Moore will continue to start at quarterback. Miami will also be without CB Byron Maxwell (ankle), who is listed as doubtful but will not play after missing the entire week of practice. Tony Lippett (thigh, questionable) and second-round rookie Xavien Howard have been playing better than expected, but Antonio Brown should get some revenge after being held to four catches for 39 yards in the first meeting between these two teams. WLB Jelani Jenkins (knee), S Bacarri Rambo (chest), and C Kraig Urbik (knee) are also questionable.
*Ladarius Green (concussion) is officially questionable, but he looks unlikely to play after missing Friday’s practice. Coach Mike Tomlin said the team did not get the results they wanted from Green’s tests following Thursday’s practice, suggesting he failed his exam with the independent neurologist. With Green likely out, Eli Rogers figures to see a few more targets across the middle of the field, which is where Miami has been vulnerable this season. Sammie Coates could also see some more work in his return from a hamstring injury, but he is still dealing with a finger issue which could require surgery after the season. He is just a shot in the dark in DFS tournaments. Jesse James is a touchdown-or-bust option even in the best of times. On the defensive side, OLB Anthony Chickillo (ankle) and DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle) have been ruled out while S Robert Golden (ankle) and ILB Vince Williams (shoulder) are questionable. DE Stephon Tuitt (knee), who missed the final two games of the regular season, was not listed on the final injury report. His return is a big boost to the defense.
Giants @ Packers
*Jason Pierre-Paul (core muscle) remains out and DE Owa Odighizuwa (hamstring, doubtful) will join him on the sidelines, but CB Janoris Jenkins (back) was left off the final injury report and should be ready to play a full complement of snaps after being limited in the season finale. Even with Pierre-Paul out, the Giants are a much better defense and much healthier in the secondary than the last time they faced the Packers. Unfortunately for them, Aaron Rodgers is also playing at a different level.
*Randall Cobb (ankle) is officially questionable, but he looks on track to play after a limited week of practice. Even so, Cobb cannot be trusted to last the entire game, and Geronimo Allison has been playing well enough to demand snaps even with Cobb available. In a bad matchup, Cobb is an easy fade. RT Bryan Bulaga (abdomen), OLB Jayrone Elliott (hand), OLB Nick Perry (hand), CB Damarious Randall (knee), ILB Joe Thomas (back), and C J.C. Tretter (knee) are also questionable. Randall looks likely to play after getting in full practices Thursday and Friday, which is good news with Quinten Rollins (neck, concussion) ruled out. James Starks (concussion) remains out as well, leaving Ty Montgomery as the lead back against a team the Packers were able to run against Week 5. Montgomery is a big risk after it looked like he was benched last week for going the wrong way on a screen pass, but he has big upside in a short slate. He is a great DFS tournament option.