Thursday, December 22, 2016


Fantasy football championship week kicks off tonight as the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles renew acquaintances.  Injury issues are never bigger then they are now and so let's check in on the prime names and what their statuses are for Week 16.

-By now it was obvious that Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green would be making his return to the team and his fantasy football owners for the championship week.  Green had already gotten in nearly a full week of practice leading up to Week 15 but the Bengals played it safe with his hamstring and held him out for this weekend.  This comes as tremendous news to the Green owners who are still alive in their leagues and he should instantly go back to being the number 1 target of QB Andy Dalton and stand a good chance of having a big game against the Houston Texans.  The issue here though is that Green's return will come at the expense a bit in terms of the receiving numbers for tight end Tyler Eifert.

-Speaking of Eifert, he sat out Thursday's practice for the team and still has not put in any work yet as he battles a sore back.  With Eifert having a history of back trouble and given the short week, he can only be considered about 50/50 to go.  That means A.J. Green should be an even bigger part of the Bengals passing game.

-One tight end who seems just fine is the Carolina Panthers' Greg Olsen who was back at practice Thursday after missing time earlier in the week with a sore elbow.  Nothing to see here as Olsen is good to go and given the injury issues of the top guys around him, is arguably the top play among tight ends.

-Again staying at tight end, Jordan Reed looks like he will sit Saturday as he continues to battle shoulder trouble which was an injury that first cropped up on Thanksgiving.  We all know by now what a disaster Reed was on Monday night but him being out actually makes Vernon Davis a good start.

-Matt Forte is almost certain to sit out Week 16 as he battles not only the torn meniscus in his knee but also a new shoulder injury that he suffered in his cameo on the field last Saturday night.  That means it will be all Bilal Powell all day for the Jets.  The New England Patriots have a top run defense though so Powell will likely do more of his damage in the passing game.

-The ankle injury of Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller is becoming a big concern as he sat out practice again on Thursday.  Already a huge disappointment after being drafted in the mid-first round in most drafts, Miller also is about 50/50 to play this weekend.  Akeem Hunt and Alfred Blue will likely split work in Miller's absence which makes them unable to help their fantasy football owners.

-No problems for Panthers QB Cam Newton who was a full participant in practice on Thursday despite dealing with a new shoulder injury that he suffered in the team's win over the Washington Redskins.  The Atlanta Falcons defense has played better but Newton should be started.

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