One Giant wide receiver has already been sidelined for the rest of the season. Are there any other key wideouts in danger of not playing in Week 16?
Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants at Detroit Lions
Cruz suffered a concussion and a knee injury last week. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on Thursday and is Out for the rest of the season. Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle will serve as the Giants’ starting wide receivers. This presents a big opportunity for Randle to prove he can be a reliable starter, especially with Nicks a free agent after the season. Fantasy-wise, Nicks has been a disappointment, while Randle has been productive with his targets (37 rec., 6 TDs). Even with a somewhat appealing matchup in Detroit, I would consider both nothing more than a WR3 this week.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions vs. New York Giants
Johnson’s knee injury is nothing new, but what is new is that it severely limited his ability to practice this week. While he has logged minimal practice time and been good to go for much of this season, the fact that he is listed as Questionable on the injury report is more than enough reason to pay a little more attention. There have been no reports out of Detroit indicating Johnson won’t play, but it would be advisable to follow up on his status later this morning, especially given the later (4:05 p.m. ET) kickoff time.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
Fitzgerald suffered a concussion when he was part of the Cardinals’ “hands team” on an onside kick in last week’s game. He practiced on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday, but was still going through the league-mandated concussion protocols as of late Friday. He is considered Questionable, and has been as durable as they come, having played in 98 straight games going back to Week 13 in 2007. However, between his health, the fact his quarterback is a game-time decision himself and the matchup with the NFL’s No. 1 defense on their home turf, I’m just not sure Fitzgerald can offer that much assistance this week.
Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints
Smith dislocated his middle finger in practice this week, but he’s Probable and there’s no way he’s missing this huge NFC South game against the Saints. The problem with Smith is that he just hasn’t been putting up the numbers we are accustomed to, as his season-high in yards is 69 and he has one touchdown catch in his last eight games. Smith’s days as a WR1 are long gone, as he’s no more than a WR3/flex at this point.