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.
We have a long list of game time decisions this week. Unfortunately, two of the most critical -- Dion Lewis and Andrew Luck -- may not be cleared up until early Sunday evening. And Odell Beckham's status won't be known with certainty until Monday night.
There are a few players on the injury report I expect to play despite a small risk of an in-game aggravation. They include Randall Cobb, Blake Bortles, Carlos Hyde, Charles Clay, Allen Hurns, Cecil Shorts, Mike Wallace, and T.Y. Hilton. I don't expect to see Tyrod Taylor, Steve Smith, T.J. Yeldon, Davante Adams, Matt Jones, Theo Riddick, or Stevie Johnson.
I'll update the status of any of the above players if the tide turns in the opposite direction.
600 ET: Steve Smith will reportedly play through a painful back injury today. The Ravens will pad him heavily and try to manage his pain, but neither are likely to be fully effective and any additional trauma to the area may be difficult to overcome. Smith is a high risk WR3 today.
andrew luck | shoulder | questionable | sunday night football
The tone of this week's practice reports, coaching comments, and media leans on Luck have been universally positive. But it's clear the Colts will not allow Luck to play until his shoulder is at full strength and not at risk of fatigue and aggravating whatever has caused the soreness and decreased range of motion in his shoulder. I'm swayed by the full Friday practice, however, and would lean toward Luck playing tonight. The critical piece of missing information is how Luck felt on Saturday morning after his increase in throwing all week and Friday.
Fantasy expectation: If you've got an easy hedge like Matt Hasselbeck (or even Sam Bradford or Eli Manning), you can put Andrew Luck in your lineup without concern. If not, I think Luck has better than a 60% chance of playing and I'd consider taking the risk given the favorable matchup. If you do plug Luck into your lineup without a hedge, do so knowing there's a zero floor.
600 ET: Luck will play today according to a Sunday morning tweet from Adam Schefter. According to Ian Rapoport, Luck could've played ten days ago but the Colts were cautious. Luck should be safe to get into fantasy lineups today.
odell beckham | hamstring | questionable | monday night football
The Giants haven't ruled Beckham out for Monday night. Allowed to speak with the media, Beckham has said his hamstring injury isn't as bad as previous strains that kept him out multiple weeks. But that doesn't mean he's healthy enough to play and he has yet to be close enough to get through limited individual drills in practice. That includes the Giants' Saturday AM walkhrough, and the team said Beckham would not have been able to practice if one had been scheduled. I think Beckham is doubtful to play. If he is on the active roster Monday night, I don't believe he'll be healthy enough to see his usual targets or production.
Fantasy expectation: I'd avoid Beckham this week and hope he's healthy next week against Dallas.
dion lewis | abdomen | questionable | sunday night football
I could make any number of convincing arguments about Lewis' status this week, but there's only two useful pieces of information.
**Lewis left practice early Thursday and was healthy enough to return to a limited practice on Friday.
**Two of the more trustworthy New England beat writers tweeted that they felt Lewis' injury wasn't a major issue.
Neither nugget is definitive, unfortunately. Maybe Lewis' injury is minor and the Patriots are trolling the Colts with the questionable tag. This wouldn't be the first time Belichick has used the injury report for his own devices and there's absolutely no love lost between these two teams. Maybe Lewis has a painful muscle strain the team wanted to see respond overnight and he's truly a game time decision. And maybe Lewis aggravated a sports hernia injury and has no chance to play tonight at all.
Cross your fingers we get an update from Adam Schefter, Ian Rapoport, Jay Glazer, or Mike Reiss on Saturday night or Sunday morning.
Fantasy expectation: I'd like to believe the Patriots' beat writers who have tweeted generic but reassuring updates since Thursday's practice. But there's really nothing to go on with Lewis right now. Hedge if you can. If now, the combined risk Lewis will be inactive, active but ineffective, active but rotated more heavily with Legarrette Blount, or active but suffer an in-game setback is high enough that I'd sit Lewis if you've got another top 15 option.
600 AM: The first update today comes from Adam Schefter, who tweeted that Lewis will test his abdomen injury during warmups, but expects to play. Ian Rapoport, who should have good New England connections after his time in Boston, also tweeted that Lewis plans to play.
justin forsett | ankle | questionable | late sun start
I'm on record all week -- in our articles and our podcasts -- with my belief Forsett has a low grade high ankle sprain and was unlikely to play this week. After managing only a limited Friday practice, the Ravens added a running back to the active roster Saturday. Whatever slim opening Forsett had to play this week is very likely shut now.
Fantasy expectation: I don't believe Forsett will be active today and it's a late Sunday afternoon start. Look for another option today.
600 ET: Both Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport are tweeting that Forsett is optimistic he'll play today after testing his ankle in warmups. Forsett will not be full strength today and will risk aggravating his injury. The Ravens were concened enough to add a back to the roster yesterday and will likely rotate Javorius Allen in frequently if Forsett is active. The late afternoon start and low floor make him a tough fantasy start.
marshawn lynch | hamstring | questionable | late sun start
arian foster | groin | probable | early sun start
Both Lynch and Foster fully practiced on Thursday and Friday and are healthier than they've been all season. Both are also at some risk of an in-game aggravation of their muscle strain. Foster had nearly 30 touches last week and told reporters he's no longer going to worry about his injury. Lynch hasn't proven himself back to game shape yet, his offensive line isn't any better than before his injury, and Thomas Rawls could see as many as 8-10 touches in rotation.
Fantasy expectation: Start Foster with confidence. You can use Lynch as you normally would, but recognize his ceiling is lower than usual today.
alshon jeffery | hamstring | questionable | early sun start
Until Jeffery either practices fully or is effective in game action, I won't be convinced he's fully over the calf and hamstring strains which have dogged him since early in the preseason. He's taken care to rehab and recondition slowly and he's been effective enough in past efforts to play through muscle strains that I think he can be considered in fantasy lineups if active. But there's much more risk than upside with Jeffery if active this week.
Fantasy expectation: I'd look for other options if Jeffery is active today. Consider him a boom-bust WR3 only.
lesean mccoy | hamstring | probable | early sun start
I was surprised McCoy was practicing this week and I'm even more surprised he's listed probable. Just a few days ago, McCoy said he wanted to wait until his latest hamstring strain fully healed before returning to play. Had Karlos Williams been healthy or any of the bottom feeders on the Buffalo depth chart been effective, I think we'd have seen McCoy rest through the Bills' Week 8 bye. I think McCoy is going to try to tough it out this week with the knowledge he has two weeks to get over whatever soreness he'll have after today's game. As we've seen once already this year with McCoy, that's a huge risk.
Fantasy expectation: There's too much risk with McCoy today. Consider him as a flex play with moderate upside only.
martellus bennett | quad | questionable | early sun start
If midweek muscle strains are a red flag, a Friday quad strain for a big-bodied skill position player is a bright crimson concern. If Bennett goes, there's a good chance he'll be used on certain third down and red zone situations only. That may be enough to make him a lineup consideration if you've no other viable options, but he's not in the Julio Jones category of "start him when he's active regardless of health."
Fantasy expectation: Find another option at tight end this week unless the pregame report is extremely reassuring.
600 AM ET: Ian Rapoport tweeted this morning that Bennett is expected to play today. He remains a very risky, and likely limited, fantasy option.
sammy watkins | calf | questionable | early sun start
Adam Schefter reported early Sunday morning that Watkins is planning to play today but isn't yet 100%. Calf injuries are easily aggravated and Watkins has already had compensation muscle injuries and aggravations this season. He'll be at very high risk of in-game issues should he play today and likely won't see his usual targets.
Fantasy expectation: Avoid Watkins today.
Best of luck in your fantasy games this weekend. I'll be back on Monday morning to review all the Week 6 injuries in the Injury Rounds column. Follow me on Twitter @JeneBramel for breaking news and analysis during the games today.
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