The Bengals and Jets are two teams that may be without their No. 1 wide receivers for their Week 6 games. And those are just two of the injury storylines Athlon Sports is keeping an eye on at the wide receiver position today.
Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, WRs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Questionable – Groin; Questionable – Rib
Just a week ago the expectation was that Evans would miss at least two weeks, if not more, due to a groin injury he suffered in Week 4. However, Evans may be ready to prove a lot of people wrong, as he returned to practice this week, albeit on a limited basis. Evans is listed as Questionable, but Lovie Smith sounded optimistic on Friday that his first-round choice would back in there. Jackson also is listed as Questionable because of a lingering rib injury. Jackson didn’t appear on the practice field until Friday, but apparently he did enough to give himself a decent chance of playing today. Jackson has been a different receiver since Mike Glennon took over at QB and Evans was showing signs of improvement prior to his injury. Unless something changes between now and kickoff (1 p.m. ET), I would keep Jackson in my lineup. Evans is a much riskier play. If you intend to use him, I would recommend it be as a WR3/flex.
A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, WRs, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Carolina Panthers
Questionable – Toe; Out – Ankle
If there was ever any doubt as to Green’s importance to the Bengals, look no further than the fact his injury is listed as a “Great Toe” issue. That said, Green didn’t practice at all this week and he was spotted in a walking boot on Friday. Head coach Marvin Lewis is referring to Green as “day-to-day,” and he’s officially listed as Questionable, but I wouldn’t count on having the All-Pro in your lineup this week. If anything, the hope is that the rest he’s getting will allow him to miss just one week instead of multiple games. Besides Green, the Bengals already know they will be without Jones for yet another game. Jones is dealing with an ankle injury that’s kept him out of practice. He initially was listed as Questionable on Friday, but the team downgraded him to Out on Saturday. With Jones out and Green likely to join him on the sideline, Mohamed Sanu is poised to move up to No. 1 in the pecking order, which increases his fantasy potential to WR2 with upside.
Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins vs. Green Bay Packers
Probable - Foot
Anytime a player comes out of a bye still dealing with an injury, it’s not a good sign. It’s even worse when that player is still limited in practice by said injury. However, in Wallace’s case there doesn’t appear to be a great deal of concern regarding his foot issue. He’s listed as Probable and the Dolphins’ most productive wide receiver to this point (20-246-3) should be out there today. After a disappointing 2013, Wallace has re-established himself as a steady, reliable WR2.
Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets vs. Denver Broncos
Questionable – Hamstring
Decker ended up missing last week’s game because of his bothersome hamstring, but the extra rest may have done him some good. He was still limited in practice this week, but he was able to get some work in all three days. He’s listed as Questionable, but Rex Ryan said he was hopeful Decker would play. There’s also the added motivation of Decker facing his former team, for what that’s worth. Even if Decker ends up playing, just remember which uniform he will be wearing. Even though Decker is his team’s No. 1 WR, he’s still a fairly risky option given the Jets’ issues at QB.
Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee and Cecil Shorts, WRs, Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
Probable – Foot; Probable –Hamstring; Probable – Hamstring
For the first time all season, the Jaguars may be at full strength at wide receiver. Lee and Shorts have both missed several games because of hamstring injuries, but both practiced in full on Thursday and Friday and are listed as Probable. Hurns also is listed as Probable, as he’s dealing with some sort of foot issue, but it doesn’t seem to be a big deal. How the targets will shake out between these three and fellow wideout Allen Robinson is anyone’s guess, as this also will Lee and Shorts’ first game with rookie Blake Bortles under center. Shorts is the Jaguars’ top WR, while Hurns has been the most productive this season. Lee probably has the most upside of any because of his skill set and he’s a rookie, while Robinson has teased of potential PPR value. Put it all together and there’s a lot more question marks than definitive answers. The best course of action if you plan on employing any of these Jaguars is to treat Shorts and Hurns as WR2s with Lee and Robinson checking in as potential flex options.