Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant may not be at 100 percent, but both are ready for their head-to-head matchup today. Which other top wide receivers dealing with injuries can be counted on for Week 8?
Wes Welker and Eric Decker, WRs, Denver Broncos vs. Washington Redskins
Welker and Decker were limited in some capacity during practice this week, but for the most part it was just the coaching staff giving some of the veterans, including Peyton Manning, a little time off. Welker is dealing with an ankle injury, while Decker has a sore toe. Both were full participants on Friday and are Probable to go up against the Redskins. Washington is allowing the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers, so a case can be made that Welker, Decker and Demaryius Thomas are all WR1 options this week.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys
Johnson was limited in practice on both Thursday and Friday, but he is Probable to face the Cowboys. After posting two atypical games, Johnson was back to his old self last week against Cincinnati, posting nine catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns. The Cowboys are 30th in the league in passing yards allowed and Megatron also has the extra incentive of showing Dez Bryant (see below), his Dallas counterpart, why he’s viewed the best wide receiver in the NFL. Regardless of who comes out on top in this, Johnson and Bryant should live up to their WR1 status.
Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, WRs, Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions
Bryant appears on the injury report with a hamstring issue, but he’s Probable and there’s no way Bryant’s missing this “showdown” with the Lions’ Calvin Johnson. Bryant is a no-doubt WR1 every week and he should be able to make some plays against Detroit’s 29th-ranked passing defense. Austin, on the other hand, is Questionable due to his nagging hamstring injury. It continues to limit him in practice and although he’s played the past two weeks, he has yet to record a catch. Even with so many teams on bye, there’s really no reason to have Austin in your lineup, unless you simply have no other options. After Bryant, Terrance Williams is the Cowboy wideout to have on your roster, as he’s a borderline WR2 this week.
James Jones, WRs, Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Jones missed last week’s game and didn’t practice at all this week because of his sprained knee. He is officially considered Doubtful, but I would be surprised if Jones plays. For one, Green Bay needs to get Jones back healthy as the team is already without Randall Cobb for several more weeks because of a broken leg. Secondly, Jarrett Boykin showed he’s capable of carrying the load in the meantime. Boykin led the Packers with eight catches for 103 yards and a touchdown last week against Cleveland. Jordy Nelson is the current No. 1 wideout, but Boykin has already made his case for WR2 status this week, if not beyond.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns
Bowe is a new addition to the injury report, as he was limited in practice on Thursday with a groin injury. It got worse from there, however, as he missed all of Friday’s practice and is considered Questionable to play today. Bowe has been a disappointment thus far, with just 25 catches for 295 yards and two touchdowns. So add to that his gimpy groin and the prospect of being shadowed by Cleveland’s shutdown cornerback Joe Haden, and maybe it’s for the best to give Bowe a week off. If you do play him, at least you shouldn’t be shocked if he in turns in another mediocre effort.