Gameday Injury Expectations: Week 7

Breaking down the fantasy expectations of today's injured players and gametime decisions, including Antonio Gates, Keenan Allen, Dion Lewis 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.

antonio gates | knee | questionable | late sun start

On our Thursday night podcast, I discussed my concern that Gates suffered an MCL sprain late in last week's game and would struggle to recover in time to play effectively this week. The Chargers confirmed the MCL sprain on Friday. Gates was allowed to talk to the media after practice -- which he missed -- and sounded concerned about whether he'd be able to play today. Gates has played through difficult injuries before, most notably a chronic plantar fascia issue that limited him at times a couple of years ago. The Chargers are calling him a game time decision, and I believe he's closer to doubtful than questionable.

Fantasy expectation: We may not know more about Gates' gameday status until pregame warmups. If he's active, expect him to be used in critical third down and red zone situations only.

800 AM: Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport tweeting this morning Gates is a true game time decision. Schefter added that Gates has a low grade MCL sprain and would likely play next week if he's unable to go today.

ben roethlisberger | knee | questionable | early sun start

Roethlisberger did more in practice this week and traveled to Kansas City with the Steelers on Saturday. Still, I think it's unlikely he returns to play today, especially after the team promoted Tyler Murphy from the practice squad on Saturday. This week of practice was more about Roethlisberger getting comfortable moving around in the pocket and making a decision on a brace to play with in the coming weeks. I don't believe the Steelers will risk an aggravation of Roethlisberger's knee sprain with the Bengals on deck in a critical divisional matchup next week.

Fantasy expectation: I'll update if the news changes on Roethlisberger, but I expect him to be inactive today.

800 AM: Despite the practice squad promotion of Murphy, the Steelers may still be considering using Roethlisberger today. Adam Schefter tweeted this morning that Mike Tomlin hasn't yet ruled Roethlisberger out.

adrian peterson | illness | questionable | early sun start

Peterson was downgraded on Saturday with an illness. There's not much more to go on thus far, but ESPN's Ben Goessling strongly believes Peterson will play.

Fantasy expectation: Watch for any pessimistic pregame reports, but plan to use Peterson as you normally would.

odell beckham | hamstring | questionable | late sun start

Beckham may still be playing with fire and risking an in-game aggravation, but he did not look limited last Monday night. He was able to participate in a limited Friday practice, which is more than he was able to do last week. He's a late Sunday start, but there are no indications he's at risk of missing this week's game.

Fantasy expectation: Check for any surprises in pregame warmups, but Beckham is safe to roster today.

dion lewis | abdomen | QUESTIONABLE | early sun start

We are squarely in the Belichick Zone with Lewis. Last week, multiple trustworthy beat writers tweeted and wrote there was little concern with Lewis. Shortly after the game, those same beat writers tweeted and wrote Lewis looked limited by his injury. This week, no one is writing anything and Lewis has remained limited in practice and carries the usual Patriot questionable tag. It doesn't help that this is a tough game script to read. The Jets have one of the better all-around defenses in the league. Last week, they showed off a four man front that's arguably even more formidable than the strong 3-4 they were using before Sheldon Richardson returned from suspension. And their secondary is vastly improved from last year's group, which didn't include an NFL caliber cornerback. That's the long way of saying that your guess on Lewis' usage today is as good as mine.

Fantasy expectation: If I were to write a multiple choice exam listing the possible outcomes for Lewis today, there'd be few answers that read positively for Lewis. Consider him a boom-bust RB2 today.

800 AM: Adam Schefter reporting Lewis will not play today, though it may not be official until after pregame warmups.

1130AM: Lewis is inactive today. More on his long term status in tomorrow's Injury Rounds.

keenan allen | hip | questionable | late sun start

There was near universal optimism among local writers on Allen this week, even as he managed only treadmill work through Thursday. A host of reassuring comments from Allen in the locker room after he returned to a limited Friday practice would seem to confirm that optimism. Allen could still be limited by his hip flexor as he gets in and out of his breaks, but all indications are he'll play today.

Fantasy expectation: Allen has a lower than usual floor today, but should be safe to consider as you normally would.

800 AM: Allen is expected to play today according to tweets from both Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter.

brandon marshall | calf | probable | early sun start

eric decker | knee | probable | early sun start

Todd Bowles never seemed concerned about his veteran wide receivers this week. Both are listed probable and the return of both to practice on Friday is reassuring. Though Decker may still be dealing with soreness related to his Week 2 PCL sprain and calf strains are never easy for big receivers like Marshall, there's no indication either will be significantly limited today.

Fantasy expectation: Use Marshall and Decker as you normally would.

allen robinson | shin | probable | sun AM start

Robinson increased his practice participation each day this week, fully practicing on Friday and earning a probable tag. He's had no setbacks and should not be limited by swelling or soreness today.

Fantasy expectation: Use Robinson as you normally would.

john brown | hamstring | questionable | monday night football

Brown was limited with a hamstring injury in practice last week and managed to catch ten passes for nearly 200 yards. He told Sirius XM's Maurice Jones-Drew he'd be "good to go" on Friday night despite missing practice with what has been reported to be a tweak of his other hamstring. Indications are that Brown will play Monday night, but he's no lock to see his usual snap count, routes, or effectiveness.

Fantasy expectation: Proceed with caution here. Brown is worth considering as a boom-bust WR2 based on the favorable matchup, but his floor is lower than usual tomorrow night.

jeremy maclin | concussion | questionable | early sun start

Maclin apparently made significant improvements as the week progressed, with Andy Reid hinting that the wide receiver would be sent to the independent neurologist for clearance if he had no symptoms on Saturday. We're still waiting for confirmation of Maclin's status, but the trend is positive.

Fantasy expectation: If Maclin is cleared, he can be trusted in fantasy lineups today.

800 AM: Maclin has been cleared to play today. Ian Rapoport tweets Maclin is expected to play.

1130AM: No word on whether there was a setback here, but the Chiefs have declared Maclin inactive.

jordan reed | concussion | questionable | early sun start

Reed is listed questionable, but multiple reports have him cleared to play today. Washington was cautious and advanced Reed through the return to play protocol slowly. He should immediately see his usual snap count and targets.

Fantasy expectation: Reed is safe to use in lineups today.

brandon lafell | foot | questionable | early sun start

Earlier this week, those around the team believed the Patriots would take at least a week to recondition LaFell before returning him to the active roster. But LaFell must have quickly proved to the coaching staff he was in condition and ready to contribute. It's unlikely LaFell will immediately see 50+ snaps and a full route tree, but he's likely to play in multiple packages today.

Fantasy expectation: LaFell is a risky flex play until we know for certain the Patriots trust him in all offensive sets.

t.j. yeldon | groin | questionable | sun AM start

Yeldon is a game time decision today after consecutive late week limited practices. Mid-week, beat writers in Jacksonville were split on whether Yeldon would play. The tone has been slightly more optimistic as the week progressed, but the team will likely want to see Yeldon moving well in pregame warmups before activating him.

Fantasy expectation: I tentatively expect Yeldon to be active after he made the trip to London. Although Jacksonville has a bye next week, I don't see the Jaguars giving him the 15+ touches and targets he averaged before the injury.

Best of luck in your fantasy games this weekend. I'll be back on Monday morning to review all the Week 7 injuries in the Injury Rounds column. Follow me on Twitter @JeneBramel for breaking news and analysis during the games today.

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