Fantasy football Week 8 injury news: Keep an eye on Peterson
Adrian Peterson's ankle injury has surprisingly made him a game-time decision
Aaron Rodgers will play but his mobility may be hampered by his strained calf
The Texans are hurting, but they'll face a Ravens squad with a defense in flux
We're adjusting the format of the weekly Med Check to make it a quicker, better read that gets fantasy players the information they need to set their lineups. Check back Sunday morning for all the latest injury updates and for our lineup advice chat, which begins at 11:30 a.m. and continues through kickoff. And now, here's a game-by-game look at the latest injury news:
NE: Both Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski will play today. I'm told "normal reps" for both TEs. That's a big plus for them and Tom Brady. There's enough targets for Wes Welker as well.
TB: Vincent Jackson looks good to go Sunday. He'll test his leg in warmups, but it would surprise everyone if he's not able to play normally.
CIN: Early fantasy riser Andrew Hawkins hasn't scored in a few weeks. His size has worked against him and he's beaten up. He'll play today, but a sore back won't make him faster.
NO: With Jimmy Graham out, the Saints will shift both outside and downfield. The short passing game will shift to Darren Sproles, but the first look in the end zone will be Marques Colston
GB: Aaron Rodgers will be testing his calf during warm ups. He's definitely going to play, but his mobility (or lack thereof) will shift the game plan. How well Alex Green can run, if at all, will be the second key to the Packers attack today.
BAL: The Ravens will have Terrell Suggs active, but don't expect him to play any more than obvious rush downs. He'll help the Ravens' psyche more than their sacks.
PIT: The Steelers look to be without C Maurkice Pouncey Sunday night. That's not going to help Ben Roethlisberger or the running game, so adjust as needed.
NYG: NFL.com is reporting that Ahmad Bradshaw will play on Sunday. Look for the Giants to lay off some of his touches, making him a shaky fantasy start. David Wilson and Andre Brown are tough plays as well.
The biggest watch for Sunday morning is going to be Adrian Peterson. His ankle was thought to be a minor thing that might cost him a couple touches, but now he is a true game-time decision. Toby Gerhart becomes a good stash and handcuff, though the "probable" designation does signal that Peterson is very likely to play. How well he'll play is the question now. Christian Ponder will play, as will Jared Allen. Jerome Simpson remains limited due to his back injury and should be avoided this week. Kevin Kolb is out due to his rib injury, handing the QB slot to John Skelton, who's a solid play. LaRod Stephens-Howling and Billy Powell will split carries, with both healthy this week. The Cards D/ST is a bit banged up. If Paris Lenon and Kerry Rhodes are both active (or if Peterson isn't) the Arizona D is a good play.
The Redskins have some depth issues at receiver, just like last week. If that makes Robert Griffin III do the same things he did then, it's a good thing for fantasy owners. Pierre Garcon is very iffy once again with his injured foot and should not be used unless owners have no other options. Fred Davis will play, but he seems to get knocked around a bit more than expected. The Redskins D/ST is a bit weakened, especially in the backfield, so be wary of this matchup. The Giants think Ahmad Bradshaw will be fine to play through his sore foot, but are hoping Andre Brown can take some of the touches. Hakeem Nicks is a GTD+ with some positive signs that the medical staff is getting his foot and knee under control.
Aaron Rodgers will play, but his mobility will be compromised by the strained calf. Expect more quick passes, which could help Jermichael Finley and Randall Cobb. Alex Green will get more touches as well, if his shoulder is ready to go. Greg Jennings remains out, but Rodgers has adjusted well up to this point, if unpredictable with the targets and especially the TDs. BJ Raji will not return this week, so there's some room for both Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson to run. St. Louis thinks Janoris Jenkins will play, which hurts the Packers' passing game.
Jimmy Graham was back at practice but his ankle sprain -- not high ankle sprain -- continues to limit him. The Saints ruled him out late Saturday, so adjust. Lance Moore looks to be ready to play, adding to the outside speed Drew Brees will have to replace the interior strength. Don't be fooled by backup tight ends here. David Thomas is nothing more than a desperation play. The Bucs remain mostly healthy. Only Vincent Jackson is relevant and he is expected to play normally.
The Texans seem beat up. They have 19 players on the OIR and several key ones. Arian Foster is dealing with a number of dings, but I'm watching his knee and workload while Ben Tate recovers. Andre Johnson has a nice matchup today, but if he can't open up due to his groin, I'm going to lose more faith in him. Owen Daniels is another I'm watching up to game time and would lay off if I had another decent tight end option. The Ravens D/ST is going to be in an adjustment mode. Losing Lardarius Webb and Ray Lewis is going to take some schematic change as well as the old "next man up" mentality. Add in Haloti Ngata's and Jimmy Smith's injuries and you can see how wide spread the talent drop is going to be. Terrell Suggs might play -- he's a GTD+ -- but he's not going to make a big difference. The Ravens D/ST is one you probably want to stay away from until we get a better idea about those adjustments.
Aside from Jake Locker, who was expected to be out while his shoulder heals, the Titans are pretty healthy. The Bills have some defensive issues, with Mario Williams still dealing with a wrist injury, but they didn't even put C.J. Spiller or Fred Jackson on the OIR.
DeMarco Murray is out for Week 7, making the RB1 Felix Jones. Philip Tanner is likely to get some looks as well, since Jones hasn't held up in the lead role. Tanner is a decent deep option. Dez Bryant will play, but his groin strain could cost him some targets. Kevin Ogletree might be a decent deep play. The Cowboys D/ST is getting healthier. If Morris Claiborne is able to play (or start!), things have to look a bit worse for the struggling Panthers offense. The Panthers don't look to have Jon Beason available, though a final determination won't come until game time.
Trent Richardson will wear a flak jacket to protect his injured ribs. That will cost him some carries to Montario Hardesty, but Richardson is still a solid play against a banged up Colts D/ST. The Colts have loads of injuries there, but may get Robert Mathis back on a limited basis. He's just two weeks post-surgery on his knee, so he won't be back to full strength. Donald Brown remains out, which makes the RB situation a mess, though Vick Ballard still gets first looks.
The Jets have 17 players on the OIR compared to the Pats' 15. Of course, the Pats have much more important names, like Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez will play again this week and figures to get a few more looks. Rob Gronkowski continues to fight with an injured hip, but we can expect similar performances to what he's done over the past couple weeks. Wes Welker is expected to play normally, but an ankle sprain could be a bigger issue to him than most. Julian Edelman is unlikely to play again this week, but is a GTD-. Brandon Bolden is out, so I'm sorry that many of you rushed to pick him up off the waiver wire. The Jets won't have Bilal Powell this week and if Joe McKnight is overtaxed, Tim Tebow could see some work in the backfield. Heaven help us if that does happen. A bigger issue could be if Nick Mangold's ankle isn't healthy by Sunday, which could make Mark Sanchez's back more of an issue.
The Raiders have almost everyone back. Darren McFadden is ready to go, Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey both made it through practices this week. Only Taiwan Jones is a GTD. The Jags D/ST comes in with some issues up front, with Tyson Alualu and George Selvie banged up. Laurent Robinson remains out after his second concussion.
Things are looking more negative right now for Rashard Mendenhall than they have all week. The irritated Achilles has made "no progress at all." They will wait until game time for any final decision ... Isaac Redman is actually less likely to play, leaving the Steelers with Jonathan Dwyer and Baron Batch to split the carries if Mendenhall can't go ... Troy Polamalu remains out with his calf strain ... Andy Dalton might not have his two young receivers ready. Both Andrew Hawkins and Armon Binn are GTD+ ... In Monday's game, the only fantasy significant injuries are to receivers. Titus Young of the Lions and Devin Hester of the Bears are GTD+, with Alshon Jeffery out with his fractured hand.
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