Injuries present difficult decisions for fantasy football owners each week.
But the abundance of elite fantasy performers on the Week 6 injury report has given owners an even greater challenge when constructing the perfect roster for their matchup.
Here’s some advice on who to start and who to sit among the star players battling injuries this week.
Andre Johnson: Sit vs. Rams
The Houston Texans’ top receiver probably won’t be at 100 percent on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, but the former all-pro did tell the Houston Chronicle on Friday that he will play.
“I went through practice, and I’m feeling fine,” said Johnson. “After watching the [San Francisco] game last week, you could see I was dragging my leg when I was trying to run. Today, I went out there and practiced, and I felt like I got my range of motion back. It’s the best I’ve felt so far since I’ve had the injury. I’ll be out there.”
Despite his positive status for Sunday, playing Johnson is not a smart move if your team has depth at the wide receiver position. St. Louis is one of the worst teams against the run, ranking 29th in yards allowed (126/game) on the ground. With that in mind, don’t be surprised if the Texans rely heavily on star running back Arian Foster this week in an attempt to take some pressure off of struggling quarterback Matt Schaub.
Calvin Johnson: Start vs. Browns
Megatron missed the Detroit Lions matchup against the Green Bay Packers last week with a knee injury, and the team’s offense struggled in his absence.
Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com reported that Johnson was a bit more involved in Friday’s practice than he was the day before, which is an encouraging sign for fantasy owners. He’s officially listed as questionable on the injury report.
Cleveland won’t be an easy matchup for the Lions. The Browns defense features one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Joe Haden, and he will likely get the assignment of trying to contain the Lions’ top target if he plays. Cleveland also ranks seventh in pass defense.
Johnson is talented enough to have a productive day and find the end zone against a top corner such as Haden, but this one-on-one matchup plus his less than perfect health make starting him a bit of a risk. With that said, if he’s on the active list before kickoff, you start him no matter what. Johnson is going to get a ton of targets (averages 10/game) and red-zone looks whenever he’s on the field.
Rob Gronkowski: Sit vs. Saints
Rob Gronkowski’s status remains uncertain heading into Week 6, which is quite frustrating for fantasy owners that used a high draft pick to select the New England Patriots tight end.
He’s currently listed as questionable on the injury report, and even if he plays, it would be surprising if the Patriots gave him a full workload in his first game back since last year’s playoffs. Gronkowski would still be a quality red zone target for quarterback Tom Brady, but since the Patriots play the Saints in a late-afternoon game, the safer decision is to play a tight end whose status is announced before the 1:00 p.m. games.
Danny Amendola: Start vs. Saints
The Patriots will have to score a lot of points on Sunday to keep pace with the powerful Saints offense led by all-pro quarterback Drew Brees. This means that Tom Brady will be forced to throw early and often, and one player who can be expected to receive a ton of targets if he’s active is Amendola.
According to NFL Network’s Albert Breer, Amendola is expected to play despite being questionable with a groin injury. The 27-year-old receiver caught four passes for 55 yards on nine targets against the Bengals last week. It was his second career start for the Patriots after not playing in the three games prior, and he looked good running routes despite the rainy conditions.
Amendola is a good red-zone target and a player capable of making important third-down conversions, so if he plays for the Patriots, he should do the same for your fantasy team.