Early Trust or Fade - Week 16

A summary of Jene Bramel's Thursday video conference, covering all of the upcoming weeks relevant injury news and how it affects your daily lineup decisions. 

During the season, I will transcribe Jene Bramel's Thursday injury video conference and provide you with his thoughts on which players to trust or fade for your lineups in the upcoming week's schedule of games. Click here to view Jene's Week 16 injury video conference. In addition to all pertinent injury news, Jene has in-depth details on the injuries to Lamar Miller, Matt Forte, Jordan Reed, Julio Jones and A.J. Green

QUARTERBACK

Ryan Tannehill, MIA (knee)

Result: Fade

Other than Ryan Tannehill, there are not any big concerns at the quarterback position this week. Several players have minor injuries but they are expected to play through them. Most notably Aaron Rodgers (calf, hamstring), Derek Carr (finger), Andrew Luck (shoulder, thumb), Cam Newton (shoulder), Tom Brady (thigh), Bryce Petty (chest) and Jared Goff (concussion). 

Result: Trust

RUNNING BACK

Melvin Gordon III, SD (hip, MCL sprain) Gordon did not practice Wednesday. The Chargers have rested key offensive players in early week practices this season but it's more likely Gordon isn't yet recovered enough to practice rather than just resting. It's rare for a running back to return from an MCL sprain within 14 days and the Chargers will not want to risk a late season game and an unnecessary aggravation for a core player with a history of knee trouble. Don't be surprised if he is inactive this week. MCL sprains take time to heal. 

Result: Fade

LeSean McCoy, BUF (knee) McCoy is on the injury report this week with a knee injury, but it does not appear to be anything that will keep him out for this week. He practiced in full on Wednesday and is expected to play. He was ineffective in his last meeting with Miami due to a hamstring injury. He should be fine this week. 

Result: Trust

Matt Forte, NYJ (meinscus tear, shoulder) Forte is having pain, numbness, or weakness around his shoulder 72 hours after his last known contact. This is not a good sign for him to return this week. The Jets aren't fighting for a playoff spot and Bilal Powell is playing well in his absence. It's likely Forte will be inactive this week and might be shut down for Week 17.

Result: Fade

Adrian Peterson, MIN (knee) - Peterson did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and is listed questionable with both knee and groin injuries. Though he may have been in near full cardiovascular condition, football ready condition is another issue entirely. It's no surprise Peterson has a cascade injury this week. With the Vikings hanging onto playoff aspirations by the thinnest of mathematical threads, Peterson may choose to shut himself down or limit his own workload. Even if he is active, it's dificult to rely on him for high production, especially because we didn't see any decent games from him early in the season when he was healthy. 

Result: Fade

Lamar Miller, HOU (ankle) Miller is someone to watch carefully this week. The mechanism of his injury was consistent with a mild high ankle sprain and the team was worried enough to have an MRI done after last week's game. If Miller returns to practice on Thursday, there's likely minimal concern. But if he's a DNP on Thursday, it's time to be concerned for his Week 16 availability. Don't be surprised if he's inactive this week. 

Result: Fade

James Starks, GB (concussion) Starks suffered a concussion from a car accident on December 12th and he's still in the concussion protocol. Even if he was available, he would likely split, if not lose the majority of carries to ty Montgomery, who has been playing great lately. 

Result: Fade

Theo Riddick, DET (wrist) Riddick was a scratch in consecutive weeks and it's unclear if he'll be active for Week 16. Detroit doesn't help matters by not being forthcoming at all with injury updates or detailed information. We know he did not practice on Thursday, but he did work with trainers on the side. If he doesn't return to a full practice on Friday, he's likely going to be inactive in this already shortened week. 

Result: Fade

WIDE RECEIVER

Julio Jones, ATL (toe) - According to his coaches, Julio Jones will play this week against Carolina. The team wanted to give Jones a chance to test his toe in practice on Wednesday and then see how it responds. He was back to practice on Thursday, which is a good indicator that pushing his toe didn't have any ill-effects. Look for him to play this week. How many snaps and touches will he have is another story. If he can make it through a full practice on Friday look for him to be a full go and receive his normal workload. If he has another limited practice on Friday, his availability on Saturday could be limited. 

Result: Trust for regular workoad if he has full practice on Friday

A.J. Green, CIN (hamstring)  A.J. Green has been participating in a limited practice for two weeks now. He's on track to increase practice participation and return to the field healthy this week. Still, he remains within the window of highest risk of aggravation and will need to avoid any late week setbacks. If he can get in a full practice on Friday I will feel much better about him getting his regular workload in the game. 

Result: Trust, especially if he receives a full practice on Friday.

Randall Cobb, GB (high ankle sprain). Cobb played last week but was ineffective at best. Nothing has been indicated in practice this week that he has improved dramatically compared to last week. Look for him to be active and play, but don't expect him to put forth numbers that will prompt you to consider him for your lineup. He's dealing with a multiple-week injury and is fighting through it, but the trust level just isn't there. Until he proves he can be effective on the field and see an increase in snaps, targets and touches, stay clear. 

Result: Fade

Stefon Diggs, MIN (hip) - Diggs is dealing with a knee and hip injury that is keeping him from being effective on the field. He has not been a focal point of the offense for the last few weeks and it doesn't look like he's recovering to the point that he will be this week. He had a limited practice on Thursday and could make the active roster this week, but he's not someone to trust in your lineup. 

Result: Fade

Several wide receivers are listed on the injury report, but are expected to play. This includes Michael Crabtree, OAK (finger), Amari Cooper, OAK (shoulder), Emmanuel Sanders, DEN (non-injury), Demaryius Thomas, DEN (non-injury), Brandon Marshall, NYJ (shoulder)

Result: Trust

Donte Moncrief, IND (hamstring) - Moncrief is expected to return this week, but he's still in the window of time where he could suffer a setback and miss additional time due to his hamstring injury. The trust level isn't as high as a result, but he is expected to play against Oakland, a game that is critical to the Colts playoff hopes. 

Result: Trust that he will play but know there's a possibility of a re-aggravation. 

TIGHT END

Jordan Reed, WAS (shoulder) - Reed's shoulder is clearly not healthy enough for him to play. While an admirable effort, Reed cannot block and cannot play through even minimal contact to the shoulder. He didn't practice Wednesday and is likely to be inactive this week. If he is cleared to play, there's no way he can be counted on to see more than limited snaps and targets.

Result: Fade

Tyler Eifert, CIN (back) I'm keeping an eye on Eifert's practice participation carefully. He has not practiced on Wednesday or Thursday, which is not a good sign for his availability this week. Keep in mind, back issues have already cost Eifert one game this season. He's looking more and more doubtful with every missed practice. Cincinnati has been pretty clear that if you don't practice at the end of the week, you don't play that weekend. That looks to be the case with Eifert for Week 16. 

Result: Fade 

Greg Olsen, CAR (elbow) - Olsen has not practiced this week, however Ron Rivera has been adamant that he's going to play. He hurt his elbow in the monday night game, sat out a few plays or a series, but he later returned to the game and caught a few passes. Friday's practice is going to be a big indicator to know if Rivera is in fact true to his words. He could just be letting Olsen sit and rest before practicing on Friday. Still, it's best to see how he does in practice on Friday before making a lineup decision with him.

Result: May be best to fade for Thursday, wait for Friday practice to determine availability for Saturday. 

Ladarius Green, PIT (concussion) - Green is proably not going to play this week. He is still under the concussion protocol and will be meeting Dr. Mickey Collins of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for evaluation. The team is going to be super cautious with him, due to his history of missing multiple games due to previous concussions. As a result, he may not be available for the game against the Ravens on Christmas.

Result: Fade

Austin Hooper, ATL (knee) It has been detemrined that Hooper will be out this week while he heals from a knee injury. The severity of the injury isn't known, but it is not expected to be serious. It is however something that will keep him out this week. 

Result: Fade

C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU (concussion) - Fiedorowicz is fully practicing and is expected to play this week. The same is true for Ryan Griffin as well. 

Result: Trust

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