Probable / Questionable / Out

September 11, 2009 | Comments (0) | by White Chili

Last night the NFL season kicked off in Heinz Field and other games will follow this weekend. There’s already a significant injury on the books after Crumpler rolled over Polamalu’s left leg and sprained his MCL during a FG attempt. He looked alright walking and even climbing stairs on the way to have it examined in the team locker room but all reports have him sitting out 3-6 weeks (Madden curse! Look out Fitz).

As an avid fantasy football owner, injuries drive me absolutely crazy. Last year I took Brady with my first overall pick in one league which turned out to be a spectacular move. As frustrating as circumstances like that are, even more so are the players that are listed as probable and then show up in street clothes or, on the flip side, are reported to be out for the week and then put up monster numbers. And teams don’t seem to release their status until halfway through the first series of the game, leaving people like me guessing.

Here’s my list of the usual suspects. The guys that cannot go undrafted and yet you kick yourself when you queue them up because you know that you’ll have to grab their backup too. It just so happens that they’re all running backs. Feel free to add “and Carson Palmer” at the end quietly to yourself.

Brian Westbrook: No one embodies my feelings more than this guy. The guy does everything on the football field but in his seven seasons as an Eagle, he has NEVER played in all 16 games. In fact, if you Google his name right now the story that appears at the very top lists him as “limited, but slated to play”. Last year he was listed as questionable when they played the Falcons. What did he do? 209 total yards and 2 touchdowns. Fuck you Brian Westbrook. This year he missed the entire preseason after having surgery to clean out scar tissue and bone fragments in his ankle. I’m sure he’ll be fine.

Willie Parker: This guy takes a beating because, contrary to last nights game, the Steelers are first and foremost a running team. However, last year it was always his shoulder bothering him, except of course when it was his knee. But even when he was healthy to start the year he put up these consecutive yard totals: 47, 37, 221, 25, 138. This year he missed part of the preseason with hamstring and back issues. Last night he was held to just 19 yards against a tough Titans defense. Odds are he’ll be splitting time with a handful of guys from now on.

Joseph Addai: This guy was a huge boost for the Colts in ’07 but last year had some knee problems and from week to week nobody knew if he, Dominic Rhodes, or Kenton Keith was going to start. The thing about the Colts offense is that you don’t have to be an overpowering back to be of value. All you have to do is block for a second, run five yards, turn around and wait for Peyton to pitch you the ball. Before you know it, you’ll have 75+ receiving yards and bowling over safeties is a lot less damaging than having to squeeze between linemen and linebackers. He could very well return to form this year but I’m still keeping my distance.

Larry Johnson: I’ll cut Larry a little bit of slack because he’s on Kansas City and doesn’t have much in the way of a “team” surrounding him. But that doesn’t excuse getting benched for three games for “violating team rules”, asking to be traded, and facing repeated charges for assault. Sure, he’s the premiere back on the team but his track record doesn’t instill most people with a great deal of confidence.

Steven Jackson: Here’s a situation similar to that of Larry Johnson. No one to throw or catch the ball, so everything comes down on your shoulders. Regardless of how much talent you possess, that’s a tall order. Last year it resulted in a thigh problem that never seemed to go away. Every week in November seemed to be a game-time decision.

Reggie Bush: Ah Reggie Bush. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all watch you play at USC forever? It’s not like you weren’t already getting paid. He’s had a nagging calf injury and add to that the microfracture surgery he had during the offseason on his knee and you can definitely consider him an injury risk. He missed 10 games over the last two years and is already splitting time with Pierre Thomas. His biggest games are never the result of consistent rushes, but rather due to one or two big plays. Thanks but no thanks.

Frank Gore: Somehow Frank Gore always appears as the recommended fourth overall pick. Can someone please tell me why? Next year is always supposed to be his breakout year. Last year he had 608 rushing yards and a whopping THREE touchdowns. In fact, he was held under 50 yards rushing nine times last year. I take it back, this guy isn’t an injury risk, he’s just awful.

Clinton Portis: Portis usually comes through when he’s on the field. Last year looked to be no different when he went five weeks in a row rushing for over 120 yards, was leading the league by a wide margin, and was a good candidate for MVP. But things started to taper off in November after a nagging sore hip and then you had no idea what you were going to get. The problem was, Portis was never completely out so he would cannibalize his replacements’ stats as well. Supposedly he’s back to form.

Add your own fantasy nightmares in the comments. No, not those fantasy nightmares.