Just over 48 hours remain until the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders get week 12 of the 2014 NFL season underway with an old-fashioned AFC West tilt. The remaining fourteen matchups have several knicked up stars at the center of our attention this week, as fantasy football owners zero in on the home stretch of their seasons with the playoffs quickly approaching.
Week 12 Fantasy Football Injury Roundup
Broncos studs Julius Thomas (ankle) and Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) will be amongst the most highly-discussed of the injured stars this week. Thomas went down early in Denver's surprising week 11 loss and offensive letdown in St. Louis after hurting his ankle. Thomas, who was not wearing a walking boot on Tuesday, is being deemed questionable for this weekend's game with the Dolphins. Thomas appears to fall into the day-to-day category. If he is able to get in at least one practice this week, his chances of playing in week 12 should be favorable, but it is far too early to tell whether or not the 26-year-old will suit up as Peyton Manning and his crew look to bounce back against the 'Fins. If Thomas is forced to sit, Jacob Tamme would be the next man up.
Sanders' status, however, is much more touch-and-go than that of Thomas. Sanders is in the league's concussion protocol, exiting in the second half of the defeat to the Rams after absorbing a nasty hit from safety Rodney McLeod. As is the case with any concussion, Sanders must be symptom-free and able to pass through each step of the protocol before being allowed to return to practice, leaving him very questionable for week 12 at this point in time. Tamme, Andre Caldwell, rookie Cody Latimer and the seemingly forgotten man Wes Welker would all see extra work if Sanders is unable to play. Julius Thomas (ankle) is questionable for the Broncos' week 12 date with the Dolphins.
One Bronco who will definitely be out of action in week 12 is running back Monte Ball. Only returning over the weekend after an extended absence with a groin problem, Ball reaggravated the injury in St. Louis and is now looking at another 2-3 weeks on the shelf. C.J. Anderson and Juwan Thompson will carry the mail while the team waits on both Ball and Ronnie Hillman (foot).
While Denver suffered their share of injuries in week 11, the Indianapolis Colts were another team to find themselves on the unfortunate end of the injury stick. Both Ahmad Bradshaw (leg) and Dwayne Allen (ankle) exited Sunday night's loss to the New England Patriots and did not return. Bradshaw has since been ruled out for the rest of the season, while Allen has a dreaded high ankle sprain and appears to be very questionable for week 12. Dan Herron will now spell Trent Richardson, while Coby Fleener should take on a greater role in the offense with a bigger workload in terms of snaps if Allen can not go. The Colts have a favorable matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Red zone threat Dwayne Allen (ankle) is looking like a question mark for week 12.
Larry Fitzgerald (knee) has been diagnosed with a grade 2 MCL sprain which was sustained during the Cardinals' week 11 victory over the Detroit Lions. Fitzy says that he intends to play through the pain barrier, and it should be noted that he was able to finish last Sunday's win over the Lions. However, Arizona may want to give their injured star a chance to heal properly. The Cards are 9-1, eyeing the postseason, and have the talented John Brown ready to step up in case the 31-year-old can not go. A difficult matchup with the Seahawks looms in week 12, so owners may want to be exploring alternatives whether Fitzgerald suits up or not.
Brandin Cooks sustained a thumb injury in the Saints' week 11 loss to the Bengals. The rookie's agent said that his client was facing a 4-6 week recovery timetable, but the Saints decided to place the 21-year-old speedster on injured reserve Tuesday, bringing his inaugural pro campaign to a sudden end. Kenny Stills and Robert Meachem will be called upon to help fill in for Cooks, who caught 5 balls for 50 yards in the team's loss to Cincinnati. Nick Toon could also get an extended look, while Pierre Thomas (shoulder,ribs) would take on a greater role in the passing game if he is able to play. Drew Brees can no longer call upon rookie wideout Brandin Cooks (thumb).
Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (hamstring) is shaping up as a week 12 doubt. Reed, who already missed several weeks earlier in the year with an injury to his left hamstring, sustained a new ailment, this time to his right hammy in Sunday's loss to the Buccaneers. Reed's numbers have been disappointing since his return, and the 24-year-old's status looks iffy at best for this weekend's trip to San Francisco. Niles Paul will be a decent play if Reed can not face the 49ers. Paul has already siphoned snaps from Reed's workload on rushing plays, and would return to an every-down role if Reed misses any more time.
As always, be sure to check back with Fantasy Knuckleheads for all the latest fantasy football injury tidbits as week 12 approaches.