An ankle injury continues to bother one NFC North top target, while another should be at full speed for Week 5. And these aren’t the only key wide receiver injuries you need to pay attention to.
A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, WRs, Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots
Probable – Toe; Doubtful – Ankle
The fact that Green is even on the injury report after his bye week is a little disconcerting, but he is listed as Probable and was able to practice in at least a limited fashion every day. He should be safe to trot out as a WR1. Meanwhile it looks like Jones’ season debut will have to wait at least one more week. Jones has yet to play since breaking a bone in his foot early in the preseason, and now apparently he’s dealing with some sort of ankle issue. The bottom line is Jones did not practice at all this week so there’s little reason to expect him to play for the first time since early August. Mohamed Sanu should retain some possible WR3/flex value as the Bengals’ No. 2 WR.
Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, WRs, Detroit Lions vs. Buffalo Bills
Questionable – Ankle; Probable – Hamstring
Despite being Questionable a week ago, Johnson suited up against the Jets. He ended up being an extremely talented decoy (2 targets, 2 rec., 12 yds.), as it became apparent Megatron was nowhere near 100 percent. He’s still not there yet either, as Johnson missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday before returning on Friday. He’s officially listed as Questionable, but head coach Jim Caldwell did hint at the possibility of Johnson missing a game at some point if it would help him heal. For now, Johnson should remain in your lineup, but keep an eye out for any updates related to his status prior to kickoff (1 p.m. ET). Tate meanwhile did not practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday and Friday due to a hamstring injury. Caldwell said he didn’t think the issue would prevent Tate from playing and his presence is even more important with Johnson ailing. Tate should be a relatively safe WR2 with upside today at home against the Bills.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers
Probable – Ankle
After being Questionable for three straight weeks, Marshall is listed as Probable for today’s game in Carolina. He practiced fully all three days and considering he’s still yet to miss a game, there should be absolutely no hesitation when it comes to plugging him into your lineup.
Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets at San Diego Chargers
Questionable – Hamstring
Decker’s hamstring continues to give him and his owners fits. Two weeks ago he left early after re-aggravating it, but was back on the field last week and caught a touchdown pass in the home loss to Detroit. However, after practicing on Wednesday, he was not able to participate either Thursday or Friday and head coach Rex Ryan has already announced Decker will be a game-time decision. The apparent regression is not a good sign and the Jets are on the West Coast for a 4:25 pm. ET kickoff, so caution is certainly warranted here. If you can, wait until kickoff before making your final decision. If not, I would strongly consider benching Decker this week, especially given the Jets’ struggles with their passing game.
Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia Eagles
Questionable – Knee
Coming out of the bye, Austin was still limited in practice this week by his knee injury. He’s listed as Questionable, but even if he plays, I see no reason to take a chance on starting Austin. Before the injury, he wasn’t doing much of anything (3 rec., 34 yds.) and it’s pretty clear a guy who needs his speed and elusiveness to make plays isn’t close to being 100 percent healthy.
Already Ruled Out:
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Buccaneers’ first-round pick is expected to miss two to four weeks after injuring his groin last week. Louis Murphy will replace Evans in the starting lineup and the veteran made a few plays (6-99) to help the Bucs come back and beat the Steelers. Murphy is nothing more than a wait-and-see option for now with Vincent Jackson the Tampa Bay WR you want to own and rookie TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins increasing his stock.