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Week 4 Fantasy Football Injury Preview

Week 4 Fantasy Football Injury Preview

How serious is Eric Decker’s shoulder injury?

Are last-minute injury decisions ruining your fantasy lineup every week? The Jocs and Docs Show is here to help. Not only are we going to break down the biggest injury question marks every week, but we are also going to provide insight on who is likely to sit and who you can pick up to bolster your lineup.

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Dez Bryant

Bryant has had a tough few days. First, it was the apparent knee injury during Sunday night’s win over the hapless Bears. At that time, it looked like Bryant suffered an MCL injury or a high ankle sprain. Reports later suggested it was the MCL. The interesting thing was that Bryant finished the game without much difficulty. After the game, speculation turned to the results of Bryant’s MRI. We all waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, Wednesday brought a surprise nobody expected – Bryant actually suffered a hairline fracture of his lateral tibial plateau. This is not a common injury, so let’s explain. The knee is a joint composed of two bones, the end of the femur and the beginning of the tibia (shin). Where these two meet, you have the knee. The tibial plateau is the most proximal portion of the tibia at the knee. The top-most surface is lined with cartilage, just like the femur. Now when Bryant went down in Sunday’s game, he most likely suffered this fracture to hit lateral (outside) portion of his tibial plateau. How did Bryant finish the game with this fracture? Well for one, adrenaline during the game can carry a player through pain. I doubt the Cowboys knew of the specifics of the injury at the time as it was only picked up on MRI. They actually probably thought it was an MCL sprain and tried the usual brace/tape. There are suggestions that he may be day-to-day. I find this very hard to believe. For one, while this may be a hairline fracture now, playing football could very easily turn it into a more significant break. The consequences could be dire. Not only could this turn into a fracture that needs surgery, but any step off at the articular surface could lead to increased progression of arthritis. This could turn devastating. Not only are the risks high with playing through this, the pain associated with playing through a fracture could make being an effective wide receiver very difficult. I don’t see Bryant playing this week or the next. Actually, I would be surprised to see him before 4-6 weeks time. Owners need to prepare for an extended absence.

Without Bryant, the Dallas Cowboys do not have many legitimate receiving threats outside of Jason Witten. The Cowboys will figure to run the ball more, but this injury could become a huge detriment to Bryant’s fantasy value moving forward.  Prescott and Bryant had already been struggling together before Bryant’s early Week 3 injury. The fantasy values of both Witten and Elliot will only increase and considering Prescott hasn’t been efficient throwing touchdowns, his value remains the same.

Sammy Watkins

There isn’t much new to say about Watkins. He is still resting his foot and should test it out later this week. If the pain is truly from the soft tissue, the rest should have helped enough to where he can play. If he doesn’t improve, then there is a good chance that his pain is fracture related and we could be looking at a second surgery to insert a larger screw into his previous fracture. Decision time is coming fast for Watkins and fantasy owners should keep a close eye on his return this week.

Sammy Watkins will always remain a legitimate threat when fully healthy, but the recurrence of this foot problem is a problem. The Bills offense remains erratic and Marquise Goodwin will continue to replace Watkins as the receiver who will test defenses over the top. However, no Bills WR is a legitimate play this coming week.

Jonathan Stewart

We broke down Stewart’s hamstring issues last week. He is still not practicing as of Wednesday and I would be surprised to see a significant leap this week before Sunday. Owners should prepare for another week or two without the Panthers’ lead back.  That means taking a gamble on Artis-Payne or Whittaker.  As of now, we prefer Artis-Payne with a light match-up against the Falcons coming up.

Eric Decker

Decker has been dealing with a sore shoulder for a few weeks now but has been able to power through until now. The Jets are reportedly very concerned and will now seek an MRI to further investigate the issue. It is concerning itself that Decker has not improved with time and we may be progressing towards a season-ending surgery in the future. Without the details of the injury, it is hard to say how long he will be out, but owners need to not only prepare for life without Decker this week, but also for the foreseeable future.

The Jets offense is high powered when its receivers are able to get on the field. The addition of Matt Forte has provided stability at the RB position and the emergence of Enunwa as a solid third WR has given the Jets offense the weapons to succeed. Hampered with injuries, however, the Jets offense will be highly inconsistent with the question marks to both Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Enunwa will be a sneaky pick up if Decker or Marshall are to miss substantial time.

Willie Snead

Dealing with a toe injury, Snead was a surprise scratch Monday night. He was limited in practice Wednesday and should be trending towards playing this week. We don’t have the specifics of the injury so it is hard to project his effectiveness, but all signs point to him playing.

Snead has been an absolute beast this year.  That being said rookie wideout Michael Thomas, the Saints second round pick this year, is already paying immediate dividends. I think he is a must add in all formats as either security for Snead or a sleeper on his own merits.  With a juicy matchup against the Chargers this week, whoever starts at WR for Saints should be making their fantasy owners very happy indeed.

Brandon Marshall

Marshall was limited last week with an MCL injury but should be able to go this week with some rest. Owners should watch his practices closely, though, as these injuries, even when mild, could cause players to miss 2-3 weeks. I doubt we see Marshall miss time this week, though.

The Jets have a tough matchup against the Seahawks this week.  Coming off a horrid performance against the Chiefs things can’t really get any worst.  Or can they? Luckily the Jets are at home, and even if they fall behind they will be forced to throw a lot.  Therefore, unless there are obvious replacements in your lineup, starting Marshall is a must for now.

DeSean Jackson

Jackson, a regular on this list, missed practice with an ankle injury that he re-aggravated this Sunday. It did not stop him from returning to the game but there is some concern after the missed practice. I think missing practice is likely a routine rest day and that Jackson should be able to suit up again this week.

DeSean Jackson, forever a boom or bust player, must be started this week against the hapless Browns.  If you own Jackson and do not start him for a matchup like this, why do you own him in the first place.  Enough said. Desean Jackson has proven year in and year out that he is a baller. Jackson is the biggest threat for Washington’s offense (Sorry Jordan Reed) and continues to produce for Kirk Cousins when he’s on the field.

Michael Floyd

Floyd was cleared to return to football activities after sustaining a concussion. This does not mean that he is out of the protocol but he is trending up. Should he pass the last stages of the protocol, he would be on track to play this week. It isn’t a sure thing, but I would expect to see Floyd this week.

Michael Floyd owners have been confronted with a terrible reality.  Floyd hasn’t been totally ineffective enough to merit a benching, but he also hasn’t had a single double-digit fantasy performance.  My gut feeling is stick with him one more week as he is going against the Rams and the Cardinals will be sure to come out swinging after last week’s debacle in Buffalo.

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The views of this article are strictly our own personal opinions and are in no way affiliated with any institution or any of our employers. All medical knowledge expressed is solely based off our own knowledge and no private patient information was obtained or used to formulate these opinions.

Asad Khalid is an orthopedic surgeon and sports maniac at heart. Aman Khalid and Aditya Patel are law students and fantasy savants. Follow the show @jocsanddocs and listen to them on iTunes.

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