Tom Brady, QB NE – Start
Brady hurt his left shoulder two weeks ago and is dealing with an AC sprain. The good news is that the injury is to his non-throwing shoulder, but the bad news is that he is 40 years old and has a failing offensive line, causing him to take a lot of hits. But here is the skinny on Brady: According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Brady will absolutely play on Sunday against the Jets and should be locked into all lineups. While he is older and his risk of injuring the shoulder again is non-zero, the upside that a healthy Brady provides is too high to pass up unless your backup is the likes of Aaron Rodgers, in which case you should probably look into trading one of them. Lock Brady in.
Rob Gronkowski, TE NE – Start
If you are a regular reader of Inside Injuries and you are a Gronk owner, you may be wary of this as we listed him as a “Start” last week as well. However, he was benched and got zero Fantasy points. Gronk was a late scratch Thursday night, and hey, even we get it wrong sometimes. But again, all signs are pointing to him starting in Week 6, and we are confident in calling him a “Start” for the week. He will be going against the Jets’ weak defense, and with other injuries around the field, he will be a huge target, even if he not 100 percent healthy. As shallow as the tight end position is, you pretty much have to start Gronkowski if you have him, and he should be a Top 3 tight end pretty much every week going forward.
Matthew Stafford, QB DET – Cautious Start
Matthew Stafford was banged up in the fourth quarter of the Lions’ loss to the Panthers on Sunday. After absorbing six sacks in the game, Stafford was taped from the ankle halfway up his leg and was visibly hobbling around the field. There isn’t much question that he will play (he is historically a tough player and was a full participant in practice on Wednesday), but the question is how effective will he be and what risk is there of his injury worsening. According to our algorithm, Stafford has an Elevated risk factor (21.79 percent), meaning that his risk of injury is higher than normal, and his performance will be in the Below Average category due to his health (58.11 percent). This means he won’t quite be his normal self and he could leave early due to injury. If he is your only guy, you can probably get away with playing him, but he shouldn’t be your first option if you have others available.
Julio Jones, WR ATL – Cautious Start
Jones has been limited at practice twice this week and is looking more probable than questionable. He has a concerning injury history, though, so if there is any doubt then the Falcons won’t want to take a risk with their elite receiver. Jones missed most of the offseason recovering from foot surgery and has a history of other foot, ankle and hamstring injuries. Julio knows how to be successful while playing through injuries and he’s as tough as they come, but at this point in the season it isn’t worth the risk if he isn’t ready to go.
Julio Jones was a limited participant at practice Wednesday and Thursday, but it is likely that the Falcons are trying to let him rest up for the game this weekend. It doesn’t look like will be sidelined, and people are calling him a lock for this week. But Inside Injuries wants to propose a word of caution: Jones will be playing just two weeks after an injury that has an optimal recovery time of three weeks, so his risk for injury is still relatively high and his performance will be Below Average. Granted, a below average performance from Jones is still borderline Top-10 WR status, but it’s not crazy to be worried about his health. If you are super deep at WR, maybe let him rest, but most people should still play him this week.
Ty Montgomery, RB GB – Risky Start
Ty Montgomery has been making progress with his rib injury, but he is not a lock to start on Sunday. Although he has been a full participant so far this week, a lot will ride on how he performs in practice. But the consensus is that even if he practices well, and even if he does suit up for Sunday, he will probably still play a smaller role behind Aaron Jones, which really limits his upside. It is best to bench him unless you really have no other option, and look for a potentially healthier Montgomery to play a more substantial role in Week 7.
Other Notable Injuries for Week 6:
Jordy Nelson, WR GB – Start
Jerick McKinnon, RB MIN – Start
Willie Snead, WR NO – Start
JJ Nelson, WR ARI – Cautious Start
Matt Forte, RB NYJ – Cautious Start
Amari Cooper, WR OAK – Cautious Start
Derek Carr, QB OAK – Cautious Start
The biggest hurdle when recovering from a transverse process fracture is managing the pain and improving stiffness in the back. Tony Romo and Cam Newton both returned two weeks after suffering the same injury, but Romo did better than Newton in his first game back. Romo is a better comparison for Carr as their style of play is more similar. Carr should be able to put up decent numbers, but he needs 1-2 more weeks for his Health Performance Factor (predictor of performance based on any injury concerns) to improve.
Jimmy Graham, TE SEA – Cautious Start
Marcus Mariota, QB TEN – Cautious Start
Mariota wants to play, but a hamstring injury will affect him more than most quarterbacks due to his style of play. With the Monday night game he has an extra day to receive treatment and heal, but it’s no guarantee that he is ready to go. Our algorithm calculated a two week Optimal Recovery Time, so he should be close. Still, Mariota’s Health Performance Factor remains Below Average, an indicator that he won’t perform at his normal level if he is active.
DeVante Parker, WR MIA – Risky Start
Stefon Diggs, WR MIN – OUT
Jeremy Maclin, WR BAL – Risky Start
John Brown, WR ARI – Risky Start
Sam Bradford, QB MIN – Sit
Travis Kelce, TE KC – Sit
Jonathon Stewert, RB CAR – Sit
Mohamed Sanu, WR ATL – Sit
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