Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 14 Injury Report and Waiver Wire Targets

Week 13 is in the books and for many of us in season-long fantasy leagues we know our playoff fates.  Congrats to those of you who start your playoff runs this week, and for you who did not, there's always time to prep for next year.

I wanted to take a moment to discuss my philosophy for the playoffs.  I know that it's the NFL and anything can happen in a given week, but I think that a sound game plan can make a difference most of the time in your fantasy match ups.  At this point of the season, based on past performance you should know what kind of team you have.  Do you have eight guys who steadily produce 10-15 points per game, eight boom-or-bust players who could give you zero or 30 points per game, or a combination of both types of players?  For most, especially those in the playoffs, it's a combination of steady players and low-ceiling, high-upside players.  At this point of the season your next week is all that matters since you're done if you lose.  With that in mind, before you pick your roster for this week, take a hard look at your opponent.  What type of players does he or she have on their roster?  Most people will look at their websites "projected points" for each player and leave it at that.  I try to go a step further and analyze my opponent's players in the following ways:

1) Who are they playing against that week?  Is it a good defense or a bad one?  Obviously playing against a great defense will limit their potential stats for that week.  To find this info, look up the opposing defense's "fantasy points allowed" to that player's position.

2) What is the weather forecast?  At this time of the year weather can play a major factor in games.  Generally, bad weather (rain, snow) will benefit running backs and defenses while hurting passing offenses and the kicking game.  Fair-weather games and games in domes take away any negative effects on players.  Use this information to determine what effect, if any, Mother Nature could have on your opponent.

3) What is the Vegas Line for your opponent's players' games?  High-score lines will potentially benefit your opponent's players, while low-score lines will generally be bad for them or good for a defense.  

Generally I believe that using these pieces of information for your own team, combined with your opponent's team, will give you an idea of where you stand in your matchup.  If you believe that you are heavily favored, don't change a thing.  Play as many steady-production players as possible to keep your team's floor high.  If you feel like you are behind you may need to start a few more high-upside players and roll the dice to try and increase your team's ceiling.  If you don't have many of those type of players we will identify a few of them for you in the Waiver Wire sheet below.  

You can never fully predict what will happen in a given week, but you can give yourself the best chance to win.  So good luck to all of you in Week 14!  Now let's get to the injury landscape and the newest waiver wire targets.

Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati - Eifert missed Sunday's game due to a neck injury.  At this point it's too soon to know his availability for Week 14, so listen for updates from the Bengals once practice starts.

Travis Benjamin, WR, Cleveland - Benjamin left Sunday's game with a shoulder injury and did not return.  His status should be updated early this week.
Update:  According to NFL.com, Benjamin is "unlikely to miss time."

C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver - Anderson left Sunday's game with an ankle injury.  Early reports are that the injury was not very serious and that Anderson was kept out of the game as a precaution.  Stay tuned for updates out of Denver early this week.

Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis - The NFL Network is reporting that Luck is expected to return from his kidney injury for Week 15, with Week 16 being a worse case scenario.  

Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville - Hurns was ruled out for Week 13 due to a concussion.  He should be okay to go for Week 14, but listen up for practice updates just in case.
Update:  Hurns has been cleared to play in Week 14.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England - As anticipated, Gronkowski was ruled out Week 13 with his knee injury.  At this point he is week to week, but don't expect him to be ready for Week 14.  Reports are saying that the team will bring him back only when he is 100 percent.
Update:  ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that Gronk is "unlikely" to play in Week 14.

Dontrelle Inman, WR, San Diego - Inman left the field Sunday on a stretcher, but tests came back negative on his neck and he was released from the hospital.  The team has not given any kind of timetable for his return so we will have to wait for an update.

Stevie Johnson, WR, San Diego - Johnson left Sunday's game with a groin injury, making for an awful day of injuries for the Chargers.  There are no updates yet as to his injury or return timetable.

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