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Week 7 Fantasy Check Up

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Welcome back to Fantasy Checkup, where our medical professionals provide us analysis of significant injuries that could affect your fantasy lineups. Come back each Friday to hear what Brion Gardner, the staff orthopedist at Camp Lejeune, and Mackie Shilstone Executive Director of The Fitness Principles have to say about each week's injury report.

Dr. Gardner's analysis:

In contrast to week six, there are a multitude of key injuries around the league this week. What is also exponentially more difficult is the ability to decipher the injury report of the various teams. It was great foreshadowing by "The League" Panel at the beginning of the season to discuss the secrecy of each team concerning the accurate reporting of injuries and injured players. So, this week's analysis will involve a lot of deductive reasoning, reading between the lines, and "best guessing."

The team with injured players that may impact the team the most is the Minnesota Vikings. Adrian Peterson sustained an ankle sprain in the last game. He was limited in practice but stated in his local newspaper that his ankle felt "great." He likely was held back in practice to allow some additional time to heal. I don't expect he will have any difficulty in the game. His injury on first glance appeared more significant than it actually turned out to be.

All-Pro cornerback Antoine Winfield sprained his foot and had to leave the game as well as miss practice this week. All reports strongly suggest that he will not play. This is a devastating blow for the Vikings, as he is easily their most fierce defensive back. The Ravens feasted after he left the game. Minnesota will attempt to replace him with a rookie and another player that has been inactive all year.

Percy Harvin is nursing a sore shoulder. He did participate in practice and should play. The Vikings will need to be full strength after the near miss last week. The Pittsburgh Steelers are a very solid team, especially on their home turf.

The Dallas Cowboys also have several key players on the injured list. Felix Jones continues to rehab his sprained PCL and was able to participate in all practice drills this week. He will wear a brace for added support and should contribute some carries. Marion Barber was surprised to discover that he has a fractured bone in his thumb. He initially thought he "jammed" his thumb, but x-rays showed a break in the bone. He will wear protection and it shouldn't limit his ability to hold the ball or catch. His quadriceps is recovering well according to reports out of Dallas. Fortunately, the Cowboys are blessed with more depth at running back than most teams (New Orleans may be the next most gifted). The trio of Jones, Barber, and Choice should continue to produce solid backfield numbers. Roy Williams has been slowed by sore ribs and was limited in practice. I am not sure of the true significance of this. He has been overshadowed by his fellow receivers Austin, Crayton, and Hurd. Don't expect the team to miss him if he can't play.

D'Qwell Jackson (University of Maryland grad) is out for the season for the Cleveland Browns. He had surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle this week. Last year he lead the league in tackles. He was having another solid season. It won't matter to the Browns, they are struggling anyway. But, shout out to a local guy. I digress.

A couple of high profile wide receivers are limping this week. Anquan Boldin sprained his ankle to complement his strained hamstring. He did not practice which means he should stay out of the game this Sunday. The Cardinals will be overmatched by the Giants and he shouldn't risk further injury. Unfortunately, Stevie Breaston is still nursing that PCL sprain (which I have repeatedly said will be a season long injury). The offensive plan for Arizona should be Larry Fitzgerald deep left, followed by Larry Fitzgerald deep to the right.

Anthony Gonzalez is rehabbing his PCL injury; again, a season long injury that will limit his play, production, and performance. I don't expect him to play.(side note, Bob Sanders is supposed to play this weekend. Indianapolis seems to be doing pretty well without both of these gentlemen.)

Jerricho Cotchery is continuing to nurse his pulled hamstring. He did not practice this week either. Braylon Edwards performed phenomenally since joining the Jets. The offense was productive without Cotchery but looks to be explosive when he returns to the lineup. He probably will not play. Expect him to be ready next week.

Joshua Cribbs injured his knee last game. There is little in the way of detail as to the severity and nature of the injury. He didn't practice Wednesday and was limited on Thursday. I would venture to guess that his knee is feeling better and he will play Sunday. It is unclear to what extent that he will be effective, on offense and special teams or just returning kicks. Suffice it to say, if he steps on the field, he will be a threat with the ball in his hand.

Calvin Johnson gave us the "52 fakeout" last week. All week his knee injury was described as "not significant". Then he didn't play. The Lions have a bye this week so he will have additional recovery time. Note to the Lions: sandbagging about your injured players is not going to intimidate any other teams. You already beat the only team that you are able to beat.

Now on to a couple of running backs. Frank Gore is feeling better from his ankle and foot injuries. He will see some action this week and likely will be productive. He was able to participate in a full practice and there doesn't appear to be concern in the 49ers' camp. Sammy Morris has a knee injury which could be a scratch or could be career ending, who knows. Bill Belicheck continues to distort the validity of his report. Tom Brady has been on the list since week one and nothing is wrong with him.

The Miami Dolphins have ZERO players on the injured list, gold star and thumbs up. They will need to be full strength against a New Orleans team that appears to be unbeatable in all three phases of the game....

Lastly, the Redskins...nothing to report as I'm sure everyone stopped reading when they saw "Redskins."


Mackie Shilstone's Analysis:

With the midpoint of the 2009 NFL season just one week away, I thought we might take a look at which team(s) have the highest number of reported injuries (www.nfl.com/injuries). Teams may be sparing players to just two days of physical practice time per week in order to have enough quality players on the field to demonstrate respectable work - no easy feat this NFL season. If cream rises to the top, 2009 may the year of skim milk.

The team with the most reported injuries as of Wednesday October 21, 2009, is Cleveland (1-5), who listed 14 players this week who "did not practice" and four players who were listed as "limited in practice." At least, they had a balanced injury report with six offensive and six defensive players who were out on Wednesday.

Number two on the list of injuries is Buffalo, who visits Carolina. The Bills listed seven players, who did not practice on Wednesday. Of note, QB Trent Edwards, who was listed with a "head injury," was not in action on Wednesday.

How about Minnesota (6-0), who visits Pittsburgh? The Vikings listed seven players as "limited in practice." Notable on the list was Viking's running back Adrian Peterson, who had an "ankle" injury. Probably a wise move to limit Adrian's participation in practice since that type of injury can definitely slow down a running back.

Let's look at Indianapolis (5-0) at St. Louis (0-6). So far this year, Indy has not truly been tested. Peyton Manning should set a world passing record against the Rams. But, Manning's wide out Anthony Gonzalez did not practice on Wednesday with a knee injury. And, veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri was listed with a right knee injury that caused him to miss practice on Wednesday. Who needs a kicker when you play St. Louis? However, if Peyton sets a passing record with touchdowns thrown, maybe Adam will be overworked with kickoff duties. Where is the punter when you really need him.

Having worked on more than 20 NFL kickers (Adam is not in that group), Adam may have an irritation of his patella tendon, so keep an eye on him, as the season progresses.

At New England, WR Randy Moss was listed with a shoulder injury but was full go at practice. However, Corner back Shawn Springs was limited in practice on Wednesday. Saints' Line Backer Scott Fujita did not practice on Wednesday with an ankle injury. He would be sorely missed (no pun intended), if the ankle slows him is slowed down. Finally in Arizona, wide receiver Anquan Bolden was held out Wednesday with an ankle Injury - a seemingly epidemic ailment in the NFL this season.

Week 7 will be the end for quite a few team's hope of making it to the playoffs. I am not sure we have seen such an early demise in recent times for so many NFL teams. It could be a record season for injuries and mediocre performance.

By Emil Steiner  |  October 25, 2009; 9:25 AM ET  | Category:  Fantasy Check Up , Fantasy Football Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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