I’ve just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story:
cannonball there are serious questions surrounding the playing status of three usually reliable — or at least reliable when healthy — wide receivers.
Let’s do this listicle style, going from the injury that should drive you the most bat shit crazy, to the least.
There’s just so much suck here. Even though he left the Jaguars’ loss to Buffalo last week early due to a concussion, the oft-targeted Shorts still had 77 receiving yards and a touchdown, his fourth straight game with a score. During that stretch he’s also had 507 yards, with much of that yardage coming on intermediate routes when Shorts morphs into a punt returner after the catch, navigating his way through tight spaces. That’s led to his list of lengthy catches this year, with receptions for 80, 67, 59, and 52 yards.
And all that won’t be available to you this weekend, as Shorts has been ruled out. He’s still recovering from his concussion, and today he missed his third straight practice. As we’ve learned previously with so many examples (starting with Darrelle Revis in September, and more recently Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy), certainty and concussions will be foes forever. This is an especially painful loss for those in point-per-reception leagues who are either attempting to clinch a playoff spot or win a first-round matchup, as Shorts was targeted 12 times in Week 13.
Ahhh the ol’ good news/bad news conundrum. Nicks returned to practice today for the first time this week while dealing with a knee injury. The problem is that he’s still Hakeem Nicks, and he’s always dealing with a knee injury.
Of course, we can be encouraged by his participation today, which is a strong hint that although he’ll surely receive the questionable tag and be slated for a game-time decision, said decision will likely go in his favor. While that’s nice, trust is a prized commodity during the playoffs, and right now it’s very difficult to have much faith in a receiver who’s lost some of his ability to separate, and his per game receiving average has dropped by nearly 15 yards from a year ago.
If he’s healthy, you’re playing Nicks, especially against the Saints. But despite that delicious matchup, you need to slot him in with decreased expectations, and depending on how the rest of your roster breaks down he may be a flex play at best.
This is the least concerning injury as far as playing status is concern, but the wicked hand of mother nature combined with Johnson’s hamstring strain increases the uneasiness and/or queasiness. Johnson missed Wednesday’s practice with a hamstring injury, although all week he’s insisted he’ll “be cool.” Which is cool, and he practiced on a limited basis both today and yesterday.
However, it’ll be another gloomy, overcast day in Buffalo Sunday, with rain possibly on the way during the Rams-Bills game. Muddy conditions could present a problem for a wide receiver who relies on his ability to cut and be shifty, and generally do things that really fast pass catchers do. He’ll be a WR3, so treat him as such.