After a week full of food and football, it is time to return to a state of normalcy. With just four games remaining in the 2014 NFL regular season, fans and fantasy owners whose teams were successful in their most recent games will surely be thankful for a taste of holiday weekend victory, while those on the opposite end of the ledger might be craving some extra tryptophan and white zinfandel.
As is usually the case, either side of the week 13 outcomes came with a price tag in the form of several key injuries. With an important week forthcoming - and fantasy football playoff places hanging in the balance - here is your injury roundup to get you primed for week 14, which kicks off Thursday night as the Cowboys and Bears, two Thanksgiving day losers, tussle at Soldier Field.
Week 14 Fantasy Football Injury Roundup
Already without standout WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) and starting QB Carson Palmer (knee) , the Arizona Cardinals incurred more losses on Sunday, as RB Andre Ellington (hip), S Tyrann Mathieu (thumb) and G Paul Fanaika (ankle) all went down in the team's loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Ellington's injury was tough for the Cards to overcome, as the offense struggled with Drew Stanton filling in for Palmer under center. The injury to the 25-year-old, who has battled a foot problem dating back to the summer, is not thought to be very serious, though his status for week 14 is in doubt at this point in time. "Got a little bruise, wasn't able to put no pressure on it, so that's pretty much it," Ellington said. Marion Grice, Stepfan Taylor and the recently-signed veteran Michael Bush will all be in line for greater roles should Ellington miss next week's game against the Chiefs. It is too early to tell whether or not Fitgerald will be on the field against Kansas City next week, having missed the last two games with an MCL sprain. Andre Ellington (hip) could miss week 14.
Zach Mettenberger sustained a grade 1 AC joint sprain in his right throwing shoulder during the Titans' week 13 loss in Houston. Mettenberger was slammed to the ground by J.J. Watt early in the third quarter and did not return, leaving quarterbacking duties to Jake Locker, who promptly threw an interception on his very first attempt. Mettenberger told reporters after the game that he plans on playing in week 14 against the Giants. Battling an injury on his throwing arm that has forced the likes of Jordan Cameron, Jimmy Graham and Lamar Miller to either miss time or find themselves severely limited, Mettenberger should be considered day-to-day at best. The rookie out of LSU gives Tennessee its best chance to compete and win, so if he can practice and throw effectively by the end of the week, expect Tennessee to give him every chance to play. WR Justin Hunter suffered a lacerated spleen during the loss in Houston and was forced to stay in the hospital overnight. Thankfully, the injury is not too severe, and while Hunter may not play any time soon, his life and football future are in safe hands. Torrey Smith (knee) was one of two Ravens receivers to leave the team's week 13 loss to the Chargers.
The Ravens receiving corps will be one to watch this week as both Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown suffered injuries in the team's heartbreaking week 13 home loss to San Diego. Smith was spotted limping on the sidelines and pointing to his right knee late in the fourth quarter, while Brown sustained a concussion in the first half. Smith, who caught 6 balls for 65 yards and 2 touchdowns, was not involved on the Ravens' final possession with the team chasing a deficit, perhaps signifying concerns over his knee. The old 'no news is good news' adage was in full effect on Monday, as coach John Harbaugh did not mention any kind of injury news regarding Smith. At this point, consider him probable for week 14. Brown, on the other hand, will find himself in the league's concussion protocol this week, and will have to clear several hurdles in order to play in week 14 against the Dolphins in Miami. Joe Flacco will need his receiving corps at full strength as Baltimore looks to stay alive in the AFC playoff race.
Rashad Jennings, who has already missed four games this year due to a knee injury, picked up an ankle problem in Sunday's loss to the Jaguars which forced him from the game. Jennings said afterward that he is not worried about missing any more time, though it remains to be seen how the injury will respond throughout the week. Jennings was effective before going down, rushing for 91 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 26 carries. Should the 29-year-old be forced to sit out, rookie Andre Williams would get the start against the Titans in Nashville next weekend. Regardless of who starts at quarterback for Cleveland in week 14, the Browns will hope to have Miles Austin (kidney) and Jordan Cameron (concussion) available.
The Browns lost a pair of skill players in WR Miles Austin (kidney) and TE Gary Barnidge (rib) during the team's week 13 loss at Buffalo. Austin, who had 7 catches for 86 yards across 9 targets, was hospitalized after the game, appearing to sustain the injury while getting clobbered by three Bills defenders. Complaining of abdominal pain, the 30-year-old was taken to the hospital where he remained overnight for observation. Barnidge, meanwhile, was injured on the team's opening series. The 29-year-old was filling in for Jordan Cameron (concussion), and his exit forced Jim Dray into every-down duties. It will be interesting to monitor the situation in Cleveland this week, as coach Mike Pettine turned to Johnny Manziel in the second half with the Browns chasing a 17-point deficit. Manziel led the team on a touchdown drive, and provided a spark that starter Brian Hoyer could not ignite. Pettine declined to name his week 14 starter immediately after the game, but an announcement should be made by Wednesday.
The likes of Julius Thomas (ankle), Dwayne Allen (ankle), Jordan Cameron (concussion), Roddy White (ankle) and Khiry Robinson (forearm) will all hope to make their respective returns in week 14. Check back with Fantasy Knuckleheads later this week for any further injury updates as they become available. Good luck!