The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 9 injury report—Donald Brown, Blaine Gabbert, Brian Hartline—or those stepping in for the injured.
Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts vs. Miami Dolphins
A return to practice on Friday gave us optimism that Donald Brown would be good to go for today’s game against the Dolphins. A downgrade to questionable on Saturday after swelling was found in the knee now left Brown owners pessimistic as Sunday’s Week 9 games soon kick off. However, he is active for today's game, in a situation that was already likely to be a time-share with Vick Ballard, much like last week’s 14-12-carry advantage for Brown over Ballard. Brown did more with his carries (14-or-80 to 12-for-55) but Ballard got the TD on his lone catch, leaping into the end zone for a 16-yard score. That was against a Titans team now ranked 30th against fantasy backs; today the Colts draw the seventh-ranked defense against fantasy RBs. They haven’t allowed a TD on the ground to a RB since Week 1 and haven’t allowed a TD through the air since Week 2. Along the way, yardage totals of 79, 76 and 77 are the most allowed. Look elsewhere if you’re counting on a Colts RB as anything more than a deep flex.
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Detroit Lions
The shoulder injury will likely keep Blaine Gabbert on the injury report for the remainder of the season, but it didn’t seem to bother him last week as he throw for a career-high 303 yards, one TD and no interceptions. He practiced in full this week in preparation for the Lions and gets a secondary, much like his own, which has been maligned with injuries. Detroit has allowed at least two TD passes in four of seven games, has allowed at least 225 yards in four of seven games and has just three interceptions in seven games. Last week, I said it was crazy to start Gabbert but viable in at least two QB leagues. This week, I still say viable considering Alex Smith and Russell Wilson each threw for at least 226 and two scores against the Lions this season.
Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins vs. Indianapolis Colts
Both starting QB Ryan Tannehill (knee) and starting WR Brian Hartline (groin/hamstring) are active today against the Colts. Both were limited in Friday’s practice, and the hamstring injury joined the groin injury for Hartline after Friday’s practice. The Colts allow 1.5 TDs per game to the wide receiver position but have not been gashed on catches or yards as of late. Nate Washington’s five catches in Week 8 and Greg Little’s 6 in Week 7 are the most surrendered since Week 2. Only one receiver has gone over 80 yards since Week 2. Hartline has produced just two double-digit fantasy days this season — PPR or standard — and cannot be counted on as a consistent enough producer to have in your lineup. The injuries to himself and his QB and a Colts team that just doesn’t give up much in the way of WR fantasy production make Hartline too risky a start today.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter