Triage - Week 16
by Andrew Garda
December 20th, 2012

Welcome back to another edition of the Fantasy Triage. As with last year, we're here to help you get a bead on what injuries to worry about and which ones to really worry about.

Of course, Triage, as a medical term, is the way doctors in a crisis zone (be it disaster, war, or Abba concert) decide who is worth spending time on toe save an who is a lost cause.

This is how I am applying the ratings:

  • Minor: A player with a light injury who is unlikely to miss much, if any, time.
  • Delayed: A player who has a lingering, nagging injury. This might get worse, might just hold him back a little or could just heal fin. This bears watching but no immediate action, but might be worth securing a good backup in case.
  • Immediate: The player has an injury and will miss some time. You'd better start looking for a replacement at least short term. In some cases a player who, a few weeks later, would be Expectant.
  • Expectant: It's a bad injury or, late in the season and finishes a player as a fantasy value this season. Acquire a healthy player or some other option because this guy is beyond hope.
  • With that out of the way, let's see who we have coming out of Week 13.

    First off, the following players are off the list, although in some cases, still not roster-worthy:

    Returned to Active Duty

    Steve Johnson: I might be out on a limb here, but 115 yards and a touchdown against a very good cornerback probably means he's OK. He should be back to WR3 with upside status.

    Jay Cutler: You may not be able to tell because his expression is always the same grouchy but Cutler is fine and should put on a show against the Cardinals. Of course, we thought that about Stafford.

    Roddy White: White had a poor day statistically but his knee wasn't the root cause He's good to go.

    Danny Amendola: Fifty-eight yards and a touchdown is decent production for the Rams' receiver and he emerged unscathed from his first game back. He'll look better against a bad Bucs secondary.

    Demaryius Thomas: If his shoulder is sore, you won't notice it.

    Steven Jackson: Jackson looked fine against the Vikings, and should be ready to go again this week but always be careful-as with this past weekend, if they fall behind, the run game goes goodbye.

    Minor

    *Note this time of year EVERYBODY is hurting. So assume everyone basically gets a minor and the guys I call out are a major-minor.

    Sidney Rice: Rice says his foot still bugs him. I don't imagine it will be an issue, and he had a solid WR3 type game last weekend in a blowout.

    Rashard Mendenhall: He's not suspended anymore yay! How he'll be used is unclear so be careful. On the upside, Jonathan Dwyer was less than awesome so there is room for Mendenhall.

    Earl Bennett: It looks as though Bennett will be back this weekend against the Cardinals and the Bears really need his help. Keep an eye on this but he may see some good targets across from Brandon Marshall who will see a lot of Patrick Peterson.

    Delayed

    Robert Griffin III: So it looks as though RG3 will play Sunday. I would be a bit concerned the knee could end up a factor despite playing at full speed but assuming there are no setbacks, he should go HAM on the Eagles defense. Start him.

    Dez Bryant: Bryant's finger didn't hold him back much though I saw him drop at least one catch he would normally have had. I continue to be somewhat concerned but he'll play and perform so you'll start him.

    LeSean McCoy: McCoy is going to play, but the Eagles are hedging on how much which should set off alarm bells for you. Very chancy in Championship Week to be going with a guy who might split carries. Personally, the Eagles playing him is insane the season is over, why risk it?

    Alex Green: The Packers' starting running back missed Wednesday's session with a concussion. The Packers think he will be ready but have an alternative ready to go. I love what Green has done the last few weeks though he's no more than a flex option. In that vein look at backfield mate DuJuan Harris who has looked good as well or Ryan Grant who will see more carries if Green is out.

    Torrey Smith: Another guy with a concussion who is supposed to be ok come Sunday, which is especially critical for the Ravens who are struggling. That said have a backup ready in case.

    Trent Richardson: Dealing with some banged up ribs and some exhaustion, the Browns will keep riding him. Keep an eye on him but he should play this week.

    Immediate

    Brandon Pettigrew: Has a high ankle sprain and drops balls like they are on fire. May not play, and if he doesn't Tony Scheffler is an option, albeit a shaky one.

    Ahmad Bradshaw: Bradshaw didn't practice Wednesday and may not this week. He's likely a game time decision so have another option ready, in case. The extra wrinkle is that it's one of the latest games of the weekend so if you don't have someone from the Giants, Cardinals, Broncos, Ravens, 49ers, or Seahawks you will be hosed if he sits out. Then again, three of those teams have backs who should start over him regardless.

    Ronnie Brown: The hamstring is still keeping Brown out, and there is a good chance he won't play this weekend against the woeful Jets.

    Jordy Nelson: This is rough as he doesn't appear to be anywhere bear ready to go. So here is your decision do you drop him to free up a roster spot under the assumption he won't be back this year? If it's championship week for you, yes. If you have another week left, look at the wire. If there is another guy with a great matchup the next two weeks I'd do it. If there is just trash, there's no point in dumping him for nothing.

    Rob Gronkowski: Gronkowski practiced a second day in a row but it is unclear if he's going to play this weekend. Have him ready but have an alternative as well. The upside is, the Patriots play an early game so there is no waiting, save if you have a tight end for the Falcons or Lions. And let's face it you'd start Gonzalez anyway and shouldn't be starting Pettigrew or Scheffler unless you have some real issues.

    Expectant

    Michael Vick: He'll be the number three quarterback Sunday that's about as useful as being in the stands.

    Maurice Jones-Drew: He's practicing so he theoretically could go on Sunday but, as with LeSean McCoy, there is no reason to have him on the field. It's foolish and I really don't expect him to play this week. Even if he did, would he be full speed? And facing New England? PASS.

    Dwayne Bowe: Placed on the IR almost as soon as I hit send on last week's piece. Will he be back in Kansas City? Would he want to be?

    Daniel Thomas: Be honest did you know he was still playing? Lamar Miller is his replacement and might work as a hail mary flex.

    Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to garda@footballguys.com.

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