Gameday Injury Expectations 15

Breaking down the fantasy expectations of today's injured players and gametime decisions, including Tom Brady, Calvin Johnson, Alshon Jeffery, and others

NOTE: This column is a living document and will be updated throughout the morning. Major changes to the content will be in red. Check back often for additions as gameday inactives are announced and lineup / depth chart changes are reported. I'll also be immediately retweeting any breaking news with quick bits of analysis, so make sure you're following me at (@JeneBramel) and checking my timeline on Twitter on Sunday mornings.

tom brady | illness | QUESTIONABLE | early sunday start

The Patriots are using the probable tag more often than in recent seasons, but routinely activate players who are listed questionable and give them the same workload they would see were they not listed on the injury report. Brady falls into the latter category this week. There have been no indications Brady is too sick to play and he's had 48 hours to recover from whatever was ailing him on Friday. Like Philip Rivers last week, it's unlikely Brady will be limited by illness during the game.

Fantasy expectation: Use Brady as you normally would.

Julian Edelman has been ruled out this week after being listed doubtful on Friday. T.J. Yeldon has not yet been formally ruled out, but he's doubtful and didn't practice all week. I don't expect Yeldon to be active. Bruce Arians called Andre Ellington a game-time decision after he returned to a limited Friday practice, but I believe he's closer to doubtful than questionable and would be unlikely to have a significant role if he dresses. I also do not expect Donte Moncrief to be active today after starting the week in a walking boot and ending the week without taking a single practice rep.

900 ET: Andre Ellington is not expected to play today per Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter.

A.J. Green, Allen Hurns, Amari Cooper, and Jarvis Landry are all probable with nagging injuries but should all play and are healthy enough to see their usual targets. They are all safe to use in lineups, but confirm each are active before locking them in on a critical fantasy playoff weekend.

calvin johnson | ankle | questionable | monday night football

Johnson earned a questionable tag after managing only a limited midweek practice, then sitting out the Lions' final practice of the week on Saturday. The Lions, as have other teams this year, have transtioned to giving their key players an early and late week practice off as the season progresses. Johnson has played effectively with minimal practice time this year and can be trusted to be a part of the Lions' game plan.

Fantasy expectation: Johnson isn't 100% and is facing a potentially rough matchup in Saints' cornerback Delvin Breaux. His floor is lower than usual this weekend. Consider him a boom-bust WR2.

alshon jeffery | calf / illness | questionable | early sunday start

Jeffery was back to a limited Friday practice after -- presumably -- missing Thursday's practice with an illness rather than an aggravation of his calf strain. We've seen Jeffery play effectively with this calf strain recently, but I strongly recommend watching for any concerning pregame reports to make sure the Bears haven't slowplayed us with a more concerning than expected Jeffery injury or illness.

Fantasy expectation: Make sure Jeffery is active and moving well in pregame before fully trusting him today.

900 ET: Ian Rapoport tweeted Jeffery is expected to play today. While there's some risk here, you can use Jeffery as you normally would.

greg olsen | knee | probable | early sunday start

Olsen steadily increased his practice participation all week and finished with a full Friday practice. The Panthers are choosing to be much more cautious with Jonathan Stewart. Both of those noted imply Olsen is healthy enough to see his usual workload today. Still, I can't shake the feeling that there may be enough to Olsen's injury to limit his upside.

Fantasy expectation: Use Olsen as you normally would today in fantasy playoff games, but I'd consider pivoting to another option in DFS lineups.

c.j. anderson | ankle | questionable | late sunday start

Anderson should be active and play today but he's unlikely to see a full workload. Ronnie Hillman saw more touches than expected last week while playing through a foot injury. It would probably take an aggravation to Hillman's injury for Anderson to see more than 8-10 touches today.

Fantasy expectation: Anderson is a low upside flex play only today.

900 ET: Ian Rapoport tweeted this morning Anderson will play and the Broncos are likely to give him his usual workload. How that rotation will develop with Hillman remains unclear, however, and I still see Anderson as a risky RB2 option.

desean jackson | knee | probable | early sunday start

Earlier in the week, Jackson's knee contusion was concerning enough that Washington was unsure whether he'd be able to play today. Jackson made good progress through the week and improved enough to be listed probable. He's expected to play and has played effectively through similar injuries in the past.

Fantasy expectation: Buffalo's secondary has been vulnerable through the air, giving Jackson a chance to put up productive numbers even if his routes and targets are limited by injury. Use Jackson as you normally would.

spencer ware | rib | questionable | early sunday start

On Thursday night, Ware had yet to practice and was looking very doubtful to play. On Friday, Ware managed a limited practice, with Andy Reid refusing to rule him out during a post-practice press conference. That's enough to confuse the process this morning. Thankfully, the Chiefs have an early game today and we'll know whether Ware is active in time to plan our lineups. I'm expecting Ware to be limited if active. He may make the active roster and still see a large majority of touches go to Charcandrick West.

Fantasy expectation: Watch for any helpful pregame reports on Ware, but I wouldn't trust him as more than a flex play today.

900 ET: Ian Rapoport tweets Ware has a "good chance to be on the field" today despite continued soreness from separated rib cartilage.

Best of luck in your fantasy contests this weekend. I'll be back on Monday morning to review all the Week 15 injuries in the Injury Rounds column. Follow on Twitter @JeneBramel for breaking news and analysis during the games today.

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