Although the Internet is thoroughly enjoying the fun factory of jokes the entire Eagles offense has become early in the season due to their collective inability to not break stuff, DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and Jeremy Maclin (hip pointer and flexor strain) being active isn’t a surprise. Even though they were either limited participants in practice or non-participants all week and therefore slapped with the dreaded game-time decision tag, after Friday when head coach Andy Reid expressed high confidence in their playing status he erased most of the serious doubt that lingered heading into today.
We knew they were both playing, and apparently they both looked super while running around in shorts during warm ups. But Jackson and Maclin will be very limited, and therefore they present risks to themselves and their personal ability to produce, and they’ll surely also slow down Michael Vick.
So exactly how much of a risk are they? Here’s injury expert Jene Bramel‘s assessment prior to the announcement that both players will be active today.
Neither are likely close to 100%. Jackson strained a hamstring during practice Wednesday. Even if very low grade, that’s a tough injury to recover from in 72 hours. Consider him a game-time decision and at high risk for an in-game aggravation if he plays. Maclin is dealing with both a hip flexor strain and a hip pointer. The hip pointer will be more painful, but the flexor strain could be the more difficult injury to play through. Maclin has played through pain previously and should get some relief from a painkilling injection, but is likely to need plays off during the game if active.
At best then Jackson and Maclin are WR3′s, whereas depending on the matchup you can make a case for either being a WR2 most weeks and in most leagues. There’s cause for extreme caution here, and the need to dig elsewhere on your bench with the combination of the injuries to Jackson and Maclin, and their highly unfavorable matchup against the Ravens.
Hakeem Nicks is fine
In another widely expected development, Nicks will play despite aggravating his surgically repaired foot. He was limited in practice Thursday and then just rode a stationary bike Friday. After a meager four receptions for 38 yards in Week 1 and the soreness that followed, lower your expectations for Nicks as the Giants continue to treat him with kind and gentle care.
The other end of that caution towards Nicks is that Victor Cruz’s targets and receptions will likely continue to be high. Here’s to hoping he can hold onto the ball.
In more less than surprising news, Steve Smith is also fine
Continuing a morning where the perceived need to worry trumps the actual need to worry, Carolina’s Steve Smith (knee) is also playing after being limited in practice all week. This feels far more like the soreness that’s typical of an aging player (Smith is 33) rather than a serious, potentially limiting injury, especially when head coach Ron Rivera said on Friday that there’s no doubt his top receiver would play.
After he caught seven passes for 106 yards in Week 1 against Tampa, injuries in the New Orleans secondary to two of their top three cornerbacks (Johnny Patrick and Jabari Greer) will swing a gate open for Smith that was already gaping after the Saints allowed rookie Robert Griffin III to pass for 320 yards and complete 73.1 percent of his attempts in his first regular-season start a week ago.
Jonathan Stewart (ankle) is also active as the Panthers attempt to establish something that resembles a running game.
Vereen’s absence means Steven Ridley could be really, really ridiculously good
looking again today
Delicious, succulent news here for Ridley owners. Back in August we all looked at the Patriots backfield, and saw impending doom and a developing time share between Ridley and Shane Vereen. And then Vereen (foot) was kind enough to get injured late in the preseason, an injury that has him inactive again today for the second straight game.
If there’s any justice in this life, the Patriots-Cardinals game should become a blowout fast. That’s concerning for owners of Tom Brady and anyone else on New England’s passing offense, especially (gulp) Wes Welker. But it’s fantastic news for Ridley owners, because with this favorable matchup that will likely result in a lot of clock grinding and Vereen’s continued absence, the 23-year-old who appeared in 40 of the Patriots’ 67 offensive snaps last week can further solidify his grasp on the Patriots’ top RB gig.
Ridley was a late-round flier in most drafts, so suddenly his owners could be holding a great steal after he had 125 rushing yards on six yards per carry last week in a win over Tennessee. Oh running backs, keep being unpredictable, and just generally the worst.
Ponder feels safer with Freeney out
Those in deep or two quarterback leagues can feel safer with that Christian Ponder play now that Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney has fallen victim to the biggest fantasy jerk of an injury, the high ankle sprain. By extension Percy Harvin owners may also rejoice, as with Freeney’s injury and a generally favorable matchup in the secondary, he’s now a low end WR1.