Fantasy Injury Updates: Melvin Gordon, James Conner, Kerryon Johnson, more impacting Week 14 RB rankingsSporting News — (Jacob Camenker)
It's seem quite possible -- if not, probable -- that three key RBs could be inactive again in Week 14. We already know James Conner is out (as well as Matt Breida), and Melvin Gordon and Kerryon Johnson could also miss the first week of the fantasy playoffs as they deal with their respective injuries. Elsewhere, solid RB2s like Chris Carson and Doug Martin are nursing injuries from wear-and-tear as the season has gone along, so they may be questionable, as well. These injuries will create some difficult start 'em, sit 'em decisions for fantasy owners and will definitely have an impact on our Week 14 RB rankings, elevating some handcuffs to full-fledged sleepers.
We'll have more updates on injuries as the week goes along, so keep checking back for the latest updates. For more on banged-up players at other positions, including Julio Jones, Evan Engram, and Mitchell Trubisky, click here. And for more fantasy news, follow us on Twitter (@SN_Fantasy).
Is Melvin Gordon playing Week 14?
While there has been some optimism from the Chargers that Gordon could return to action shortly, it may not happen in Week 14. Gordon was sidelined at practice on Wednesday, according to the Chargers' official injury report, and if that doesn't change on Thursday, it seems that he will be a long shot to suit up on Sunday.
It's also notable that the Chargers have a short turnaround following Week 14, as they play an important Thursday night game against the Chiefs in Week 15. They could be trying to save Gordon for that matchup, as it seems unlikely that he would be able to play in two games in five days while he deals with this knee injury.
While Gordon is out, Justin Jackson and Austin Ekeler will handle a majority of the workload in the Chargers' backfield. Both should have a chance to take advantage of a weak Bengals defense that has struggled badly against the run, but it is unclear exactly which player will get more opportunities to produce. Jackson looked better on the ground last week, and that's why he's one of our top potential sleepers for Week 14.
James Conner injury update
Conner has already been declared out for Week 14 as he deals with complications from an ankle injury he suffered against the Chargers. He may, in fact, have an ankle sprain or a high ankle sprain, so his status moving forward will need to be watched closely.
As long as Conner is out, Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley will split the load in the backfield and run a committee approach for the Steelers. That said, we do prefer Samuels against the Raiders, as he should take on a bigger role in the receiving game. For more on how to treat these players this week, check out our Week 14 RB rankings.WEEK 14 DFS CASH LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKings
Is Kerryon Johnson playing Week 14?
Johnson is still dealing with complications from a knee injury suffered in Week 11, and his potential return this week isn't looking great. According to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com, Johnson missed practice on Wednesday. He hasn't logged a practice since suffering the injury, and if he can't get on the field soon, it looks like he will miss another week.
In Johnson's stead, LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick will have a chance to carry the load. The Cardinals have one of the weakest run defenses in the league, so that should bode well for Blount as the team's between-the-tackles runner. He will move up into RB2 territory if Johnson is, indeed, out for Week 14.
Is Chris Carson playing Monday night?
In the Seahawks' blowout win over the 49ers last week, Carson suffered a dislocated finger that kept him out of the game late. Of course, that move could have been precautionary because of the scoreline of the game, but it's still an injury worth watching going forward.
According to ESPN's Brady Henderson, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll believes that Carson should be able to play in Week 14 against the Vikings. However, it's important to take that with a grain of salt, as Carroll has a history of having an overly positive outlook on the health of his running backs. So, it's possible that Carson could be a true game-time decision. And with the Seahawks playing on Monday night, fantasy owners will certainly be sweating that out.
If Carson can't go, Rashaad Penny would likely take over as the lead back (though you never know with Seattle). Penny saw a good amount of work against the 49ers and had an impressive TD run against the squad. He would be a volume-based RB2 against a tough Vikings run defense while backup Mike Davis could also become a TD-dependent FLEX play. But if Carson plays, this will all be moot.
Doug Martin injury update
Martin is dealing with a knee injury, but he doesn't seem to be in danger of missing any time. According to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Martin was a full participant in practice on Wednesday. That should allowed him to play on Sunday against the Steelers.
Martin will continue on as the lead back with Jalen Richard mixing in as the top pass-catching option. However, it will be interesting to see if the Raiders use C.J. Anderson in any capacity after signing him as a free agent this week. The Raiders backfield could become a committee approach if they look to limit Martin's touches, so this situation will bear watching in the fantasy playoffs.