By Week 13 of the NFL season, the injury report has gotten pretty long, and that’s not good news for fantasy owners. They have to work with players that are clearly not at 100 percent in what is, in most leagues, the last week of the fantasy regular season. And in some cases, the players in question are pretty important ones. Just take a look at some of the names below.
This week, more than ever, be sure that you have backup plans if needed. Always be sure to check the inactive report before the games on Sunday to confirm that your lineup is full of guys who are actually playing. Speaking of which, at the quarterback and tight end positions, we already know that Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed and Trevor Siemian will not be playing today (or again this season in Gronk’s case). Julius Thomas is listed as doubtful, but he’s more likely to miss his second straight game because of a lingering back injury. Don’t forget to consult the running back and wide receiver (early games, late games) injury updates before setting your lineup.
Teams on bye: Cleveland, Tennessee
Note: All times are ET and games are on Sunday, Dec. 4 unless otherwise noted.
Tom Brady (knee), QB, New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams, 1 p.m.
After missing practice on Wednesday, Brady was back in a limited capacity on Thursday and Friday. He has said his knee felt better than it did last week. He will be fine to play against the Rams in Week 13. Los Angeles is making the cross-country trek to Foxborough and just gave up 49 points and 555 yards to Drew Brees and the Saints last week. Even without Rob Gronkowski, Brady and the Patriots’ offense should be able to put up plenty of numbers and points. Don’t worry too much about his knee, Brady is a top QB starting option this week.
Aaron Rodgers (hamstring), QB, Green Bay Packers vs. Houston Texans, 1 p.m.
Rodgers tweaked his hamstring in Week 12 and was limited in practice all week. He'll play today against Houston and the Texans have been pretty good on defense. However, in the past three games they have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing QBs. Rodgers doesn’t play his best when he’s dealing with some sort of injury, as he does rely quite a bit on his legs. And not just for picking up yards on the ground (averaging about 40 rushing yards per game over his last five), but also to help move in the pocket and keep plays alive. His mobility figures to be hampered somewhat because of the hamstring injury, so while he’ll play, he may not be at his best. Start Rodgers if you own him, but maybe look elsewhere in DFS.
Andrew Luck (concussion), QB, Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets, 8:30 p.m. (Mon.)
The expectation was that Luck would return after missing the Thanksgiving night game against Pittsburgh, especially after practicing in full on Friday. It became official Saturday afternoon when Luck cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol. So while he’s listed as questionable, you can put Luck back in your lineups as a QB1. The Jets have allowed nine out of 11 quarterbacks to throw for at least one touchdown this season. Luck should continue that trend on Monday night, and probably will finish with more than one.
Martellus Bennett (ankle), TE, New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams, 1 p.m.
For a number of weeks, Bennett has been on the injury report with an ankle injury, and each week he has played. However, his production has been hampered by this injury. He should have had an increased role with Rob Gronkowski now on injured reserve, but he's had four receptions for 36 yards over the past two games. He's clearly bothered by the ankle injury, but is still a borderline TE1 because of the potential. The matchup against the Rams is a good one, so unless you have a better option, you may as well take your chances with Bennett.
Charles Clay (knee), TE, Buffalo Bills at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 p.m.
Listed on the injury report with a knee injury, it appeared Clay would play. However, yesterday the Bills announced that Clay did not travel with the team to Oakland. He is expecting a child and that was the reason given for not being on the team flight. Fantasy owners should plan on not having Clay in their lineup for Week 13. The Bills are already woefully thin at wide receiver with Robert Woods (knee) and Percy Harvin (illness) ruled out and Sammy Watkins (foot) and Marquise Goodwin (wrist) listed as questionable.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.