This Given Sunday is examining the biggest injury questions before each week of the NFL season. Here are the top-five health-related storylines entering Week 6.
Robert Griffin III
Griffin suffered a concussion after taking a big shot from Sean Weatherspoon last Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, but he was cleared to practice early in the week by an independent neurologist, meaning he should be back in action for a matchup with the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6. That said, head injuries are unpredictable and head coach Mike Shanahan has already said that if Griffin has even a small setback he'll be a scratch on Sunday.
Since Griffin is one of the highest-rated quarterbacks in fantasy football, that's scary. Especially when you consider that Kirk Cousins threw two picks on nine passes in Week 5 and the Vikings-'Skins game kicks off later on Sunday afternoon.
With Rob Gronkowski still not 100 percent, Hernandez could have a chance to play a big role if his ankle allows him to return to the lineup Sunday in Seattle. He's practicing on a limited basis, so there's a good chance the tight end suits up for the first time since Week 2. The problem, though, is that you might have to take a big risk putting him in your lineup with Patriots-Seahawks kicking off later in the day.
Thus, if you have a semi-reliable fantasy option beyond Hernandez, I'd recommend playing it safe with that tight end for one more week.
The wide receiver's been a stud when on the field, but he's been out since Week 2 with knee and foot injuries. He's apparently starting to make some real progress but still isn't practicing close to fully. The Giants have been super conservative with him thus far, so don't expect them to rush him back for this week's matchup with San Francisco. This is also a late kickoff, so if Nicks travels with the team on the weekend you likely won't know his status until it's too late.
Suck it up without him for one more week.
I hope you fantasy owners didn't draft Cassel to cover for Drew Brees, Cam Newton or Jay Cutler this week, because the concussion he suffered Sunday against Baltimore might cause him to miss Sunday's game in Tampa. If you're in a deep league and had to pick up Brady Quinn, I apologize. Otherwise, you've likely already pursued a replacement for Cassel anyway.
If you insist on riding with Cassel — or you have no choice — you'll at least know his status by Sunday morning with Chiefs-Buccaneers kicking off early. But don't get your hopes up because he had yet to be medically clearly by mid-week.
Keller has been out since the opener with a hamstring injury, but he's apparently feeling better and was able to practice on a limited basis to kick off the week. If he's your fantasy starter and you've been using someone else to plug the hole for four weeks, you might as well be safe and keep rolling that way because there's no telling what Keller will do — if anything — against the Colts this week.
If your other options are unavailable, take solace that Indy-New York kicks off early Sunday and grab Jeff Cumberland as a handcuff.