Fantasy Football Week 14: What you missed Wednesday, with Mark Ingram expected to play, and Zach Ertz and Joe Mixon in doubt
Chris Towers breaks down all the latest news from a busy Wednesday around the NFL.
What's this? Every Tuesday through Friday, Chris Towers will catch you up on the previous day's biggest news first thing in the morning. Here's what you missed Wednesday:
Mark Ingram (toe) is expected to play Thursday
Ingram enters Thursday's matchup against the Falcons questionable, but ESPN.com reported Thursday morning he is expected to play. That comes as something of a surprise after Ingram sat out the entire week at practice with his toe injury, but these Thursday kickoffs can lead to weird results sometimes; with just three days to prepare, teams will often do one or even two days of pure walkthroughs, leaving just one day to actually practice. Ingram's non-participation is a concern, but if this report is to be believed, Ingram should be out there for this pivotal AFC South matchup.
Alvin Kamara gets all the headlines, but Ingram ranks just one spot behind him at the running back position for Fantasy scoring this season, and is hard to go away from if he's active. You'll need to keep him in your starting lineup this week, despite the injury.
Doug Martin (concussion) was a full participant at practice
Martin was forced to miss Week 13 as a result of his issue, but looks in line to get back on the field for Week 14. That means he must be on the cusp of clearing the concussion protocol, if he hasn't already. That complicates things for those of us who added Peyton Barber after his 102-yard performance in Week 13. It's hard to see the Bucs going away from Barber entirely, given how lifeless their running game has been this season, but it's equally hard to see them going away entirely from Martin, because… Well, they haven't yet.
Martin has averaged 3.0 yards per carry over 16 games since the start of last season, but has continued to get work when healthy, so we probably have to assume he'll still be a big part of the game plan. That means this might be a situation to avoid entirely heading into Week 14.
Zach Ertz (concussion) is not practicing
It's possible Ertz will play in Week 14, but you should be preparing for the very real possibility that he doesn't. He's been participating in meetings, and coach Doug Pederson has said Ertz could play without practicing, but he needs to clear the league's concussion protocol first. You need to have a contingency plan if you've been relying on Ertz all season.
Joe Mixon (concussion) was unable to practice
Mixon is in pretty much the same spot as Ertz, with one key difference; he suffered his concussion Monday, giving him one fewer day to get cleared. You need to have a contingency plan in place for Mixon as well, and at this point, it seems more likely he won't play than that he will.
Amari Cooper cleared the concussion protocol
That's step one, and it's a big step. However, Cooper didn't just miss Week 13 with a concussion; he is also still dealing with an ankle injury. That appears to be the bigger issue at this point, though it is undeniably good news that he is past the concussion. We'll watch over the next few days to see if Cooper can get back on the practice field in time for a good matchup against the Chiefs.
Greg Olsen (foot) was able to practice in full
The Panthers hinted that part of Olsen's absence in Week 14 was due to the playing surface in New Orleans, and it looks like a return to the natural grass of Carolina could be enough to get him on the field. Olsen practiced without limitations Wednesday, and coach Ron Rivera told reporters there won't be a "pitch count" for Olsen in Week 14. With the absence of Rob Gronkowski and Ertz expected, Olsen's return could be a boon to the position.
Will Fuller (ribs) was able to practice Wednesday
Fuller has missed three straight games due to cracked ribs, but it looks like his absence is about to come to an end. Coach Bill O'Brien told reporters he is hopeful that Fuller can play Sunday against the 49ers. This might be a situation where it is better news for the Texans, who desperately need Fuller to stretch the field, but who may not be able to get him the ball consistently with Tom Savage at QB. Even with Deshaun Watson, Fuller was hyper touchdown dependent, and you can't expect him to find the end zone too often with Savage as his QB.
- Tyrod Taylor (knee) was unable to practice… If he is healthy enough to play, Taylor will start for the Bills, but at this point you should expect Nathan Peterman to be under center. It will be tough to trust anyone in this offense if that is the case.
- Sterling Shepard (hamstring) was unable to practice… Shepard was limited to riding the stationary bike, which is better than nothing, I suppose. This has been a frustrating season for Shepard, who has been productive when healthy, but hasn't been healthy often enough to make a big difference. If he plays, we like him as a starting WR in Week 14.
- Matthew Stafford (hand) was limited at practice… A limited practice is worse than a full practice, but this is still clearly good news for Stafford's chances of playing. Expect him to be on the field Sunday against Tampa.
- Kelvin Benjamin (knee) was limited at practice… This is the first tangible sign of progress we've seen from Benjamin, who has been out since suffering the injury in Week 11. We'll see how he progresses, but with Taylor hurting, it's going to be tough to trust Benjamin anyway.
- Alex Collins (migraines) was not on the practice report… There was some concern this issue might linger over the next few weeks as it did for Shepard, but it looks like Collins will avoid any lingering issues. He remains a solid starter.
- Ameer Abdullah (neck) was limited at practice… This represents improvement for Abdullah, who only got one limited practice in last week. We'll see if he can do enough through the week to get back on the field, but you may be able to use him as a flex for Week 14.
- John Ross (shoulder) was placed on IR… And so ends one of the most disappointing first-round pick rookie seasons. Ross finishes the season with no catches on two targets, and one carry for 12 yards – he fumbled on the play. He will be just a deep sleeper next season, but still has that blazing, best-in-combine-history speed, so don't forget about him entirely.
- Jordan Reed (hamstring) will not play in Week 14… At least we got it out of the way early this week.
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