With just four weeks remaining in the 2019 NFL season, the matchups in Week 14 will sway the playoff outlook for many teams. As usual, the health status of each team will be a factor in the outcome of each contest.
Here’s the latest scoop from inside NFL locker rooms on who’s in and who’s out this weekend.
Will Ty Nsekhe be ready to play after three weeks’ rest? The Bills’ right tackle injured his ankle against the Dolphins in Week 11 and hasn’t practiced since, a trend that continued during the portion of Wednesday’s practice open to the media. Cody Ford has held steady as the team’s right tackle over the past two games, and could continue his success against a Ravens defense that ranks 22nd in the NFL in sacks this season. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
The Dolphins don’t have many injury question marks, but Kalen Ballage suffered a leg injury last Sunday vs. Philadelphia that landed him on injured reserve. Coach Brian Flores says Ballage didn’t suffer a serious injury that will last into offseason workouts, and that he could have returned if it was earlier in the season. But with four weeks left, Ballage is done and it’s time for Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin to take over the backfield. — Cameron Wolfe
Starting cornerback Jason McCourty has missed the past two games with a groin injury, and the Patriots would naturally like to have all hands on deck against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. In McCourty’s absence, second-year pro J.C. Jackson has stepped into his starting spot. — Mike Reiss
Safety Jamal Adams (ankle) is likely to miss a game for the first time in his career, meaning the secondary will be a mess. Adams, cornerback Arthur Maulet (calf) and slot corner Brian Poole (concussion) are likely to miss the game, so the Jets will be down three of their top five defensive backs. This could be another big game for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. — Rich Cimini
Field Yates recognizes the risk of starting Ryan Fitzpatrick in fantasy because of the Dolphins’ lackluster offense, but he and Matthew Berry like how the Dolphins match up against their next three opponents.
The Ravens had only one player miss practice Wednesday, and tight end Nick Boyle is dealing with an illness. That’s an indication of how healthy Baltimore is right now. Boyle, one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL, has never been much of a question mark. He hasn’t been sidelined since 2017, playing in 35 straight games. — Jamison Hensley
Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard missed Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury. However, coach Zac Taylor said the issue won’t be significant enough to keep him off the field against the Browns. Hubbard has a sack in each of his past two games for Cincinnati’s resurgent defensive line. — Ben Baby
Matthew Berry and Field Yates evaluate John Ross’ fantasy value for the rest of the season as the Bengals WR comes off of IR.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield admitted he hasn’t thrown since Sunday because of the contusion on his throwing hand. However, he remains confident he’ll play Sunday, noting, “Mama didn’t raise a wuss.” — Jake Trotter
It seems JuJu Smith-Schuster will be out for at least another week as he just returned to running Wednesday after sustaining a knee injury against Cleveland three weeks ago. Running back James Conner, though, may be able to return against Arizona. His availability is the biggest question for Sunday’s game. He practiced in a limited role on Wednesday, and his availability will determine the workload of Benny Snell Jr., who has performed well in Conner’s absence. — Brooke Pryor
The Texans go into their Week 14 game against the Broncos relatively healthy, with just one player (running back Taiwan Jones) who did not practice. Outside linebacker Brennan Scarlett, who missed Houston’s last game with a shoulder injury, was limited in practice, but head coach Bill O’Brien said Scarlett is “trending in the right direction” to play against Denver. — Sarah Barshop
The Colts claimed kicker Chase McLaughlin off of waivers after veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri was a surprise addition to the team’s injury report. Vinatieri was a limited participant in practice due to a knee injury. Vinatieri, the NFL’s all-time leading scorer, dealt with a left knee injury during training camp. He has made a career-low 68% of his field goal attempts this season, as he has missed a total of 14 kicks: eight field goals and six extra points. McLaughlin has played in seven games with the Los Angeles Chargers (four) and San Francisco 49ers (three). He was 13-of-17 on field goals and made all 15 of his extra point attempts. — Mike Wells
Linebacker Myles Jack missed last week’s game with a knee injury and he’s likely out this week, too. It’s the left knee — not the one he injured in college — and he has tried to practice with it, but isn’t able to move on it well enough. There was concern about Jack’s right knee coming out of UCLA (reports just before the draft that he might need surgery caused him to slip into the second round) but he hadn’t missed a game or practice with an injury until last week. Expect Donald Payne to make his second career start on Sunday. — Mike DiRocco
Cornerback Adoree Jackson went down in the second quarter of the Titans’ 31-17 win over the Colts and did not return; he had an ice pack on his ankle after the game. Jackson was walking around the locker room without any noticeable limp but didn’t practice on Wednesday and the team listed him as having a foot injury. Reserve defensive backs Tye Smith and Kareem Orr are likely candidates to see increased reps if Jackson is unable to play. The team also claimed veteran cornerback Tramaine Brock off waivers on Tuesday. — Turron Davenport
As of Wednesday guard Ron Leary is in the concussion protocol and did not practice Wednesday. Leary has battled knee and shoulder pain at times this season, but now unless he is cleared to practice before the end of the week he is not expected to play Sunday against the Texans. Austin Schlottmann finished out the Chargers game this past Sunday, and has worked with the starters this week. Offensive line coach Mike Munchak has said he believes Schlottmann has made quick progress in the Broncos’ scheme this season. — Jeff Legwold
The Chiefs’ featured back position could be staffed on Sunday against the Patriots by veteran LeSean McCoy, a rookie who received his first extended playing time of the season last week or a new arrival. Neither Damien Williams (rib) nor Darrel Williams (hamstring) practiced Wednesday. Damien Williams still has a shot to play on Sunday, but Darrel Williams almost certainly won’t be ready. If Damien Williams doesn’t play, the Chiefs will go with some combination of McCoy, rookie Darwin Thompson and veteran Spencer Ware. Ware, who played for the Chiefs from 2015 through last season and led the team in rushing in 2016, was signed this week as emergency help. — Adam Teicher
Wide receiver Mike Williams continues to make big plays while dealing with a lingering knee issue, as he has been most of this season. Williams was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday, but the Chargers are hopeful the Clemson product will be available for Sunday’s road contest against the Jaguars. “I think he has had a heck of a year and probably battled through more nicks and things than he had last year,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “He has really shown a lot of toughness and been a heck of a player.” — Eric D. Williams
Rookie running back Josh Jacobs revealed on social media this week that he has been playing with a fractured right shoulder since getting injured at Green Bay in Week 7. “I just play on it,” wrote Jacobs, whose 1,061 yards on 201 carries is fourth most in the NFL. “Josh is special,” said Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. “If Josh wasn’t able to play, I would completely understand, with what he’s dealing with. But the fact that he keeps suiting up and going out there and not only running, but running with the style that he runs with, I don’t think enough can be said about that guy.” — Paul Gutierrez
For the second straight game, the Cowboys will be without three defensive starters in Leighton Vander Esch (neck), Jeff Heath (shoulders) and Antwaun Woods (knee). Vander Esch will undergo more testing to see if his injury has calmed down to the point to where he can return, but he is feeling better. Running back Tony Pollard is questionable because of an ankle injury suffered Monday, and while he will be a game-time decision there is optimism he will be able to play. If he can’t, then Ezekiel Elliott‘s snap count will increase and the Cowboys will need a new kick returner. — Todd Archer
Since it’s almost certain that quarterback Daniel Jones (high ankle sprain) will not play this week, all eyes shift to tight end Evan Engram (foot) and wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion). Both practiced Wednesday in some capacity and are trending in the right direction. It seems possible — maybe even likely — that the Giants will have all their top weapons available Monday night against the Eagles for the first time this season, only Jones won’t be able to throw them the ball. — Jordan Raanan
Running back Jordan Howard has missed the past three games with a stinger, and weakness in the shoulder area has kept the doctors from clearing him for contact. Coach Doug Pederson has not shown the same level of trust in the ground game in Howard’s absence, which has factored into the Eagles’ current three-game losing streak. Pederson says Howard is day-to-day, a status he has had for weeks now. — Tim McManus
One big question was answered when interim coach Bill Callahan said linebacker Ryan Kerrigan was out of the concussion protocol. But there are remaining questions about other players. Tackle Morgan Moses was limited in practice with a back injury, but the expectation is that he’ll play Sunday. Moses has played in 76 consecutive games, all starts. Also, linebacker Montez Sweat was limited with a quad injury, but was moving around well during the portion of practice open to the media. Sweat is coming off a productive game vs. Carolina, with 1.5 sacks, and has 3.5 sacks in his past four games. He left last week’s win in the second half with the injury. — John Keim
Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara is doubtful to play against the Cowboys on Thursday night because of a hamstring injury he suffered last weekend. The Bears will likely turn to the combination of Buster Skrine and Kevin Toliver to replace Amukamara in base defense and nickel. Amukamara isn’t enjoying the same level of success he had last season, but he’s still tied for fifth on the team in total tackles. Besides Amukamara’s iffy status for the Dallas game, the Bears have officially ruled out tight end Ben Braunecker, right tackle Bobby Massie, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and linebacker Danny Trevathan. — Jeff Dickerson
All things considered, the Lions are reasonably healthy. Cornerback Rashaan Melvin might be the biggest question at this point, with a rib injury. Rookie Amani Oruwariye would take Melvin’s place again if he is unable to play. — Michael Rothstein
There really aren’t many injury questions for the Packers. Even right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who made it through last Sunday’s win over the Giants despite playing on a sprained right knee (MCL), practiced at least a little bit on Wednesday. And receiver Davante Adams was a full participant for the first time since he returned last month from his turf toe injury. The only players who didn’t practice on Wednesday were Jimmy Graham (calf/wrist), Ryan Grant (illness) and Tramon Williams (rest). — Rob Demovsky
Dalvin Cook injured his shoulder in Seattle, but for a second week in a row the Vikings have him classified with a chest injury. In any event, Cook was listed as limited during the walk-through Minnesota had on Wednesday, but he said he plans to play on Sunday. “I don’t think this thing can get any worse,” Cook said. “I just think us being smart about it on Monday night was the best thing for what we have going forward. That was the best thing, to shut it down on Monday night, so I can be ready to roll on Sunday.” Even if Cook needs to be on a pitch count, rookie Alexander Mattison is more than capable of handling a heavier load, as he demonstrated in Seattle. Adam Thielen (hamstring), Riley Reiff (concussion) and Linval Joseph (knee) were among those not practicing on Wednesday. — Courtney Cronin
Matthew Berry reviews the scenarios in which fantasy managers could “swing for the fences” by picking up Alexander Mattison.
Julio Jones, who missed the game against New Orleans with a shoulder injury, returned to practice Wednesday in a limited role. Coach Dan Quinn said Jones is on track to play Sunday against Carolina, adding that Jones is “champing at the bit” to get back on the field. Jones looked his normal self catching passes in individual drills and running through warm-ups. As long as Jones doesn’t have any setbacks the next few days, the Falcons should be back at full strength with their skill position players. Tight end Austin Hooper returns this week from an MCL sprain, and running back Devonta Freeman returned last week from a foot sprain. — Vaughn McClure
With Austin Hooper back at practice after missing three games, Field Yates and Matthew Berry examine the fantasy possibilities for the Falcons TE.
Defensive lineman Gerald McCoy (knee/ankle) didn’t practice on Wednesday. The defensive front already is thin enough with Kawann Short and Dontari Poe on injured reserve. If McCoy can’t play against the Falcons, a team already struggling to stop the run will have more trouble with one of its most experienced big bodies on the sideline. Carolina would be down to Stacy McGee, forced into action last week when McCoy left due to injury. McCoy is hopeful he’ll be ready. — David Newton
The left side of the Saints’ offensive line remains a big question mark against the dynamic 49ers defense. Left tackle Terron Armstead (ankle) was back in practice on a limited basis Wednesday, leaving a chance he may return this week. Left guard Andrus Peat (arm) is not expected back yet, though. Also, the Saints could be thin at linebacker against San Francisco’s highly ranked rushing attack, with both starting strongside linebacker A.J. Klein (knee) and starting middle linebacker Kiko Alonso (thigh) missing practice Wednesday. — Mike Triplett
Starting cornerback Jamel Dean was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice despite leaving Sunday’s game against the Jaguars with a shoulder injury. However, right guard Alex Cappa, who left the game with a left elbow injury, was not, although he was seen on an adjacent practice field doing agility work with trainer Bobby Slater. Arians was hopeful that taking Cappa out of the game Sunday would preserve him for this week. — Jenna Laine
The biggest injury concern for the Cardinals right now is safety Jalen Thompson, who was limited Wednesday with a concussion. He has started the past six games, and his absence would be a blow to the depth in the Cardinals’ secondary, which is already struggling, especially against tight ends. He was limited Wednesday but doesn’t appear to be in the concussion protocol. — Josh Weinfuss
Matthew Berry notes that the Cardinals are allowing more fantasy points to tight ends than any other team in the league, and he adds that Jack Doyle is his top fantasy TE pickup for Week 14.
Rams tight end Gerald Everett missed Week 13 because of a knee injury, and “may or may not be able to play this week,” coach Sean McVay said. The Rams have three tight ends on the roster, but opted to bring tight end Kendall Blanton up from the practice squad (after placing returner JoJo Natson on injured reserve) because of the uncertainty surrounding Everett. If Everett is unable to play, look for tight end Tyler Higbee to have another big game. — Lindsey Thiry
Cornerback Richard Sherman was walking with a noticeable limp after Sunday’s game, but assured reporters he would be fine for this week. Despite that, coach Kyle Shanahan said Sherman would be day-to-day with a knee sprain, though he was nowhere close to ready to rule Sherman out. “A normal person I probably would rule out just by the eye test, but you can never rule those type of guys out,” Shanahan said. “They usually find a way to get there, and as long as they show us enough then you usually give those guys an opportunity. That’s also why we’ve got to make sure that he’s good. Sometimes we’ve got to make tough decisions to protect them from themselves.” That philosophy was well-founded Wednesday when Sherman practiced on a limited basis and was moving around much better than he was on Sunday, which means that if the rest of the week goes well, he will be ready to go in an important showdown in New Orleans. — Nick Wagoner
Ezekiel Ansah suffered a stinger on the Seahawks’ final defensive series Monday night after recording a team-high three quarterback hits in 26 snaps. Coach Pete Carroll said Ansah “looks like he’s doing OK so far,” but that his status won’t be clear until later in the week. Carroll said Jadeveon Clowney, who’s dealing with a core muscle injury, made it out of that game feeling “pretty good” and called it a “really good sign” that Clowney was practicing Wednesday. — Brady Henderson
Published at Wed, 04 Dec 2019 23:09:31 +0000