Alexander and Floyd back in happier times (USAT)
Normally we give you an Injury Wrap in this space on Fridays, and we will get to plenty of injuries after the jump. But with less in-flux injury news than usual this week, and a few non-injury situations worth discussing, we're broadening the scope of today's piece. Good luck to everyone in their playoff games.
I've enjoyed the Danario Alexander run as much as anyone. I picked him up where I could, started him aggressively, blogged about him constantly. Until the Week 15 bagel, it was a fun and rewarding ride.
But in Week 16, a one-game season, there's no time for sentimentality and future speculation. If you don't like someone's chances at points this weekend, you cut the cord. And with that in mind, Alexander is no longer part of my roster for the championship game in the Stopa Law Firm 5K League.
Alexander's shutout against the Panthers last week is part of the thought process, of course. But this decision is also about three other players: Malcom Floyd, Antonio Cromartie and Philip Rivers.
Floyd (ankle) went on injured reserve this week, which probably guarantees Cromartie, New York's surging corner, will be on Alexander most of Sunday. Cromartie is the No. 4 coverage corner this season according to Pro Football Focus. And I don't have a lot of confidence in the accuracy and decision making of Rivers these days; his YPA has dwindled to 6.3 over the second half, and he stands 24th in fantasy points per game at the quarterback position. Trust the Chargers passing game at your own risk, and the same goes for Alexander.
• Another passing game I'm looking to avoid is the Raiders group. Carolina's secondary is playing very well of late, that's part of it, but I'm also concerned about the possibility of Terrelle Pryor taking snaps away from Carson Palmer. There's talk of Pryor seeing work on third down and in the red zone (oh, how optimistic).
Mind you, we can't be positive on the type of role Pryor should be looking at. Sometimes package players or backup options are discussed with a heavy lean during the week, then disappear on Sunday. You want to anticipate the flow of the game, sure, but surprises can always come on game day.
Hopefully you don't need Palmer or Pryor to begin with, even if you're in a two-quarterback league. But here's my main takeaway: I'd think long and hard before trusting any Oakland receiver this week. Maybe you have to go with Brandon Myers, perhaps there's not much else for you to consider. I've been evaluating Rod Streater all week but I'm going to go away from him in my championship games. And Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore left the circle of trust a while ago.
If you see positive angles for any of these guys, discuss them in the comments. In the meantime, I think you might want to give the Carolina defense a shot.
With those two stories out of the way, grab the insurance card and we'll go back to the Injury Wrap, proper. Please have your co-pay ready.
• Robert Griffin (knee) had another full practice Friday and although the Redskins haven't given him the green light yet for Sunday's game at Philadelphia, all signs point to him playing. Griffin's listed as probable. Dial him up.
• LeSean McCoy (post concussion) is expected to start against Washington, but the Eagles say they don't want to give him a normal workload of touches. Sounds like a messy time-share with Bryce Brown could be in order. Tread carefully, gamers.
• Ahmad Bradshaw (knee) did some work Friday and context clues point to him playing at Baltimore, though his official status is questionable. The Giants desperately need the game and Bradshaw has played hurt before, which leads me to believe he'll start. Unfortunately, it's one of the rare late games on Sunday's card (11 matches start at 1 p.m. ET; the Giants are in the second wave).
• Torrey Smith (post concussion) has been practicing, which makes him seem likely to play against the Giants. We'll see what his official status is by the end of the day.
• Jordy Nelson (hamstring) is out for another week. The Packers also have a question in the backfield, where Alex Green (post concussion) missed the full practice week. Ryan Grant and DuJuan Harris could see action, or maybe Aaron Rodgers will simply throw 40-45 passes against Tennessee.
• Kendall Wright (ribs) didn't practice all week and seems unlikely to go in Week 16, though he's tagged as questionable for now.
• With Ryan Mathews (shoulder) done for the year, it looks like Curtis Brinkley and Jackie Battle will be the last two backs standing for the Chargers. I'm guessing Battle is used more at New York, not that I'm optimistic for any San Diego option.
• Roddy White (knee) did limited work Thursday and Friday (probably just a walk-through) in preparation for Saturday's game at Detroit. He's listed as questionable. He's yet to miss a game in his career, so it's likely he'll be on the field. Your roster depth makes the call as to whether or not you use him.
• Sidney Rice (knee) didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday, so he's a question mark into Sunday's showdown with the Niners. We'll update his status after we get Friday's report.
• The Dolphins could use some receiver help on Sunday, with Davone Bess (back) ruled out and Brian Hartline (back) less than 100 percent. Hartline didn't practice Friday and is considered questionable.
• So much for the Rob Gronkowski lottery ticket - a league source told the Boston Globe that Gronkowski (forearm) will not play at Jacksonville. This is just another data point towards the theory that it's a mistake to expect miracles from players tied to long-term injuries. The only surprising news with Gronkowski is the fact that we got an inkling to his status this far in advance of the game.
• Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) is out for another week, no surprise there. Rashad Jennings (post concussion) was cleared to work Friday, but it's difficult to imagine him getting a big role against New England, if he even dresses for the game.
• Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) didn't work in Detroit's final full practice, which came on Thursday (keep in mind, the Lions host the Falcons on Saturday night). Sounds like Tony Scheffler will be the guy on game day.
• Dan Carpenter (groin) is done for the year, so the Dolphins have signed Nate Kaeding, the former Chargers kicker. You should be able to find someone safer, and better.
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- American Football
- Antonio Cromartie
- Danario Alexander
- Terrelle Pryor