Before we get to the injuries that are going to affect your decision-making for Week 12, we’ll start with the most inevitable injury of Thursday, that of Kevin Smith. A dominant Week 11 performance resulted in Smith getting top billing on all waiver wires this week, and Smith was well on his way to another big game in Week 12 before going down without contact in the first half. Initial reports labeled it a high ankle sprain, though now it looks like it may not be that bad. He seems to think he’ll be able to play in Week 13; history thinks different.
Vikings at Falcons
Adrian Peterson thinks he’s going to play through his ankle sprain this week. He’ll have to practice Friday for that to happen, but for now, consider Toby Gerhart as hands off. I wouldn’t count on using Peterson either, by the way. Julio Jones got some practice in on Thursday and should be ready to go — he’s a solid WR3 in most formats.
Panthers at Colts
Joseph Addai has resumed practicing fully and finally looks ready to return from his hamstring injury. He couldn’t have picked a better week to come back, as Carolina proved last week that their run defense is terrible. Addai gets RB2 status in his first game back. Dallas Clark is still out, though Jacob Tamme isn’t a realistic fantasy option.
Texans at Jaguars
The Texans lost their starting QB heading into this game, but they also regained their best receiving weapon. Andre Johnson, who hasn’t played since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 4, is returning this week. Owners of Johnson should re-insert him into the lineup immediately, as Matt Leinart figures to target him heavily in this game. The absence of Rashean Mathis also helps.
Cardinals at Rams
Kevin Kolb’s availability for Week 12 is likely going to hinge on his Friday practice, although it’s not really actionable news in fantasy football. Neither Kolb nor John Skelton should be starting for your team with all 32 NFL teams in action, and Larry Fitzgerald has retained WR1 status no matter the QB. The Rams put Mark Clayton on the IR this week, and Danario Alexander is still iffy to play.
Bills at Jets
The loss of Fred Jackson is a huge blow to the Bills’ playoff chances. I wouldn’t dream of starting C.J. Spiller in a fantasy league until he can prove he’s worthy. All of Buffalo’s receivers are also hurt, and though Steve Johnson and David Nelson should play this week, both should sit in fantasy leagues. Don’t expect to see the gimpy LaDainian Tomlinson have any impact even if he plays.
Browns at Bengals
Montario Hardesty is still working through his calf injury, but he’s far enough along in his recovery that he’s expected to start over Chris Ogbonnaya. Neither back should be used against this strong Bengals defense. Still no sign of Peyton Hillis. A.J. Green practiced fully on Thursday, and he’s ready to be re-inserted into your fantasy lineups.
Buccaneers at Titans
The only skill player of note in this game that’s a little banged up is Matt Hasselbeck, though he’s not in danger of missing this game.
Redskins at Seahawks
Santana Moss is back in practice this week and looks ready to play for the first time since Week 7 after fracturing his hand. Sidney Rice hasn’t been able to practice this week with a knee injury, and if he can’t go again on Friday, he likely will be de-activated on Sunday. Plan to have him on your bench.
Bears at Raiders
The triumvirate of Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford are all being held out of practices with various injuries, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them all miss this game. Expect a lot of running for Oakland. The Bears are also likely to go run-heavy sans Jay Cutler, and it’s also possible Devin Hester will be sidelined due to his shin injury.
Patriots at Eagles
Michael Vick hasn’t practiced yet this week, and all indications are that Vince Young will be starting in this plus matchup. Jeremy Maclin missed Thursday’s practice after dealing with soreness to his hamstring, and it’s likely he’ll miss a second consecutive game. Deion Branch is dealing with a hip injury and could miss this week’s game as well.
Broncos at Chargers
Ryan Mathews couldn’t practice on Thursday with his knee injury, and it’s likely he’ll be out this week. Mike Tolbert will fill-in as the lead back if Mathews can’t go. Curtis Brinkley could also make for a decent gamble in deeper leagues if you need to fill a flex spot. Malcom Floyd doesn’t look close to returning.
Steelers at Chiefs
Matt Cassel’s injury has forced an overmatched Tyler Palko into quarterbacking this team, and although the Chiefs won the claim on Kyle Orton, he’s unlikely to be ready to play after just a few days of practice with this offense. Emmanuel Sanders looks ready to return from a knee injury this week, while Ben Roethlisberger is playing through his injured thumb.
Giants at Saints
Ahmad Bradshaw is still sidelined with his foot injury, and it’s best not to wait on him in this Monday night matchup. Go with your best Sunday option instead. Mario Manningham didn’t practice on Thursday, but he’s expected to be ready to go by Monday.