Several No. 1 wide receivers for different teams are dealing with varying injuries headed into Week 4. Are any of these targets in danger of not playing?
Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers
Questionable – Ankle
The good news is that Alshon Jeffery doesn’t appear at all on this week’s injury report. Unfortunately, Marshall not only re-aggravated his ankle injury Monday night against the Jets, he did next to nothing in practice this week. He’s Questionable for a third straight week, but I would say there’s more danger this week of him not being able to play than there was last week. Don’t forget that because the Bears played on Monday night, it’s been a short week for them, not giving Marshall much time to recover. Marshall is as tough as they come, but it was obvious he was in a lot of pain on Monday and he finished that game with one catch. It’s very hard to bench a weapon like Marshall, especially with so many other wide receivers on bye, but there’s a good chance that even if he does play, he won’t be able to help your team much. Just be sure you understand the risk when it comes to employing Marshall this week.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions at New York Jets
Questionable – Ankle
Many an owner held their collective breaths earlier this week when news came out that Johnson, currently No. 4 in fantasy points at his position, missed not one, but two days of practice because of an ankle injury. Those owners can exhale, somewhat, as Johnson returned to the field on Friday and got some work in. Even though he’s listed as Questionable, Johnson has said he fully expects to play this week. I for one am willing to take him at his word and also would go as far to make the argument that he’s a must-start regardless. Don’t forget Alshon Jeffery also was listed as Questionable headed into the Monday night game with the Jets and he proceeded to exploit an inexperienced and undermanned secondary for 105 yards on eight catches.
Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets vs. Detroit Lions
Questionable – Hamstring
Decker gutted through this hamstring injury on Monday night, only to leave the game after re-aggravating it. He did not return to practice until Friday, but he said he will be out there today, a sentiment head coach Rex Ryan echoed. The risk of counting on him is still very much in play, however, as it’s very likely Decker will be limited once again. Quite a few Week 3 fantasy matchups were probably decided when Decker finished his night with one lone catch for 19 yards. Just make sure you are willing to accept the possibility of the same outcome before inserting Decker into your lineup.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints
Probable – Shoulder
Bryant was Questionable last week, but not only did he start, he also rewarded his owners with a 68-yard touchdown reception. He was a limited practice participant throughout the week, but the Probable designation is all his owners need to worry about. Bryant is a must-start WR1 even when he’s not 100 percent healthy.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Probable – Wrist
It was revealed this week that Jackson sustained a hairline fracture in his right wrist in the blowout loss in Atlanta. There doesn’t appear to be any real concern regarding the injury at this time, as Jackson took part in practice and he’s listed as Probable. Like every other Buccaneer skill position player, Jackson has gotten off to a slow start, but the WR1 potential still exists. And it’s possible that he could get back to that level of production as soon as this week with Mike Glennon, last season’s primary starting quarterback, slated to start in place of an injured Josh McCown. Last season, when Glennon made 13 starts as a rookie, Jackson finished with the following numbers: 78 catches, 1,124 yards and seven touchdowns.
Harry Douglas and Roddy White, WRs, Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings
Questionable – Foot; Probable – Hamstring
White missed the Week 3 rout of Tampa Bay because of a bothersome hamstring, while Douglas suited up, caught a touchdown pass and then left early due to a foot injury. White was still limited in practice this week, but both he said he’s “ready to roll” and head coach Mike Smith also declared White a go for today. Douglas’ status seems to be a little more up in the air even though he did more in practice on Friday than White did. But when it comes to the pecking order, White is the clear-cut No. 2 behind Julio Jones, while Douglas is a No. 3 capable of putting up decent numbers of his own. White should be started with no hesitation, but be sure to evaluate your other options before using Douglas.
Already Ruled Out:
Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars – Lee will miss a second straight game due to a hamstring injury. Cecil Shorts and Allen Hurns (Probable, Ankle) will most likely get the starting nods with Allen Robinson next in line. Shorts is a WR2 with WR1 upside, while Hurns offers the potential of big plays and Robinson’s value is greater in PPR leagues. However, there are two caveats when it comes to the Jaguars’ offense as a whole this week – 1) the cross-country visit to San Diego to face a pretty nasty Chargers’ defense and 2) rookie quarterback Blake Bortles is making his first career NFL start.