A quartet of wide receivers coming off of bye still isn’t at 100 percent entering their Week 10 matchup. Are they and any other key wideouts in danger of not playing today?
Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants vs. Oakland Raiders
Cruz suffered a neck injury on Oct. 27 against Philadelphia, but he was able to return and finish the game. While it seemed to be nothing of concern at the time, especially with the Giants on bye last week, Cruz drew plenty of attention when he missed practice on Wednesday and then was spotted in a red, non-contact jersey on Thursday. He was back in there on Friday, however, and declared himself “good to go” to reporters then. The team has him listed as Probable, so unless something changes before kickoff, you need to have Eli Manning’s top target in your lineup.
Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson, WRs, Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
The Lions were on bye last week, but Johnson’s knee injury apparently is still bothering him some. He (right) practiced in a limited capacity each day this week and is Probable for this key NFC North matchup. Remember, Megatron is coming off of a monster 14-catch, 329-yard effort in his last game and he’s had a week to rest. He will not miss this game against a division rival and obviously Johnson must be in your lineup. Burleson, on the other hand, returned to practice for the first time since breaking his forearm in a car accident in September. Burleson is close to getting back out there, but it won’t happen this week, meaning Kris Durham will remain the Lions’ No. 2 wide receiver and a possible WR3/WR4/flex option this week.
Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
Coming off of a bye, Shorts is still dealing with a groin injury. However, he did practice on Friday and is listed as Probable to face the Titans. With Justin Blackmon suspended indefinitely, Shorts should expect to see the 12+ targets he averaged earlier in the season when Blackmon was, once again, suspended. Shorts is a borderline WR1, as the only thing really holding him back is quarterback play. Mike Brown also has a golden opportunity as he is expected to start opposite Shorts with Blackmon out of the picture. Brown is a wait-and-see option for now, but don’t forget how productive Shorts and Blackmon were together for a brief period of time.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Indianapolis Colts vs. St. Louis Rams
Heyward-Bey didn’t take advantage of his first game filling in for an injured Reggie Wayne last week, as he got hurt himself early against the Texans. DHB sustained what at the time was believed to be a concussion, but instead ended up being a shoulder injury. He practiced all week and is listed as Probable, so the shoulder doesn’t appear to be a big issue. While sliding into a starting slot opposite T.Y. Hilton is no doubt appealing, it doesn’t guarantee Heyward-Bey immediately becomes an every-week fantasy starter either. The potential is there, but DHB has been teasing us with his speed and talent since he came into the league as the seventh overall selection of the 2009 draft.
Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks
White is listed as Questionable, but he ramped up his practice activity this week and has said he is hopeful of returning to the field today. While he would obviously provide a boost to the Falcons’ passing game, there is no guarantee he will be able to produce right away. For one, White has been a shell of himself all season and today’s matchup with Seattle’s physical secondary isn’t ideal. Here’s hoping that White will look more like his old self before the end of the season, but Harry Douglas remains the Falcon wide receiver to own and start.