It’s Week 15 of the fantasy football season, and if you are still playing, you really need to pay attention to the injury reports. At this point in the season, just about every player in the NFL is banged up and many get "veteran" days of rest throughout the week. However, if they are listed on the injury report, they have an injury that is nagging and may cause them to miss time in the game or be limited in some way.
Some players have already been ruled out. At running back that list includes Melvin Gordon, Darren Sproles and Denard Robinson. Additionally, Theo Riddick and James Starks are both listed as doubtful and likely won’t play either.
The rest of the key running back and quarterback injuries are listed below, but be sure to check inactive report before game time on any players you are not sure of. Also don’t forget to check latest on injured wide receivers (part 1, part 2) and tight ends before setting your lineup.
Note: All games are on Sunday, Dec. 18 unless otherwise noted. All times are ET.
Aaron Rodgers (calf), QB, Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
The weather in Chicago is supposed to be brutally cold. Rodgers is dealing with a calf injury, as well as a lingering hamstring issue. The cold weather isn't going to help. He missed practice all week, but the Packers have said he doesn't need to practice to play. He should be active, but this is a case where fantasy owners need to be alert just before game time to make sure that he is, in fact, active. In what should have been a great matchup, the calf injury will likely hinder him. He's still a QB1, but temper expectations as Rodgers has been known to struggle when he’s not completely healthy
Cam Newton (shoulder), QB, Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins, 8:30 p.m. (Mon.)
After an MRI came back showing no structural damage in his throwing shoulder, it seems that Newton will be ready to play on Monday night. However, he's been struggling lately and the whole team is turning into a fantasy wasteland. The Redskins are a tough matchup and fantasy owners that drafted Newton as their QB1 should look for other options in Week 15. Whether it's the shoulder injury or something else that is bothering Newton, he isn't helping your fantasy team.
Matt Asiata (ankle), RB, Minnesota Vikings vs. Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.
Asiata was limited in practice with an ankle injury this week. It seems that he should play through it, but he's going to be a risky fantasy start. That is especially the case with Adrian Peterson (knee) expected to return after being activated from injured reserve on Saturday. Peterson probably won’t be a work horse in his first game, but he definitely will eat into Asiata’s (and Jerick McKinnon's) workload. At best Asiata is a RB2, but it may be best to stay away from the Vikings’ entire backfield this week with so much uncertainty.
Christine Michael (illness), RB, Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
With James Starks listed as doubtful, Michael will be the No. 1 back, technically, for Green Bay. He's been dealing with an illness, but returned for a limited practice on Friday. If he's sick, there's nothing better than going outside in sub-zero temperatures to play a football game. Leave Michael on the bench (or waiver wire) and start Ty Montgomery as a RB2.
Shane Vereen (concussion), RB, New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.
Vereen at this point has little fantasy relevance, but in case owners in deep PPR leagues were following his status, he is in the league's concussion protocol. His status will be announced before game time, although he shouldn't be on starting rosters. If Vereen is active, the fantasy value of Rashad Jennings does take a bit of a hit.
Zach Zenner (concussion), RB, Detroit Lions at New York Giants, 1 p.m.
With Theo Riddick already ruled out, this could be a split between Zenner and Dwayne Washington. However, Zenner still needs to clear the concussion protocol, and fantasy owners likely won't know if that occurred until the inactive report is released before game time. Zenner is a low RB2 if active. In Week 14 when Riddick was out, he had seven carries for 36 yards and two receptions for nine yards. Washington actually had the better day and is the more appealing fantasy play.
— 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.