Percy Harvin Fanatsy FootballIt seems like every week another top player goes down with an injury. In many cases these guys will be back on the field at some point, but the big question is when they will be ready to go back in your fantasy line-up?

The big name returning to the field this week is Percy Harvin. He fully participated in practice on Thursday and Friday and seems to be near 100% following successful hip surgery on August 1. The word is, he might be kept on snap count, but with an explosive player like Harvin, it just takes one play. If you have Percy Harvin, there’s a chance he’s been stashed on your bench since the draft. While you may be itching to start Harvin, he may not be a smart start this week. Seahawks receivers are not the most consistent and Seattle is still primarily running team, which could be a factor if they run up a lead on the struggling Vikings.

One of the most intriguing possible returners is Shane Vereen. He was fantastic in week 1 and posted 101 rushing yards and 58 receiving yards on 7 receptions. Still, beware of Belichick trickery here. Vereen may be held out, or could be limited if he plays. The real issue with Vereen is that the Patriots play on Monday night and you would likely need a plan B player on your bench if he’s inactive.

Roddy White came into this season banged up and has yet to have a good game. Keep him on your bench until he has that good game. An injured player is more of a gamble then a sleeper since there is something wrong with their body. At the same time, it’s not rare at all that an owner will just focus on a player’s name value and their past success. That is usually a mistake.

Andre Brown recently played his first game of the season and went-off for 115 yards on 30 carries and a TD. His big game was a little unexpected, but shows how unpredictable a player’s performance can be following an injury. It took Ingram, Amendola and Stewart a few games to start to produce once they hit the field again and now their value is where it should be.

For a savvy fantasy player, an injury can result in a great pick-up. Some owners are dropping Aaron Rodgers right now when he could come back in the final weeks of the season. Take advantage of impatient owners and pick-up studs when they get dropped, if the injury outlook includes a possible late-season return. If a guy like Jeremy Maclin is dropped in a dynasty league, grab him right away.

Here’s a look at some of the big name players that have missed time due to injury this season:

  • QB: Aaron Rodgers, Michael Vick, Jay Cutler, E.J. Manuel, Sam Bradford*
  • RB: Arian Foster*, Doug Martin*, Ahmad Bradshaw*, Shane Vereen, Steven Jackson, Le’Veon Bell, Andre Brown, Mark Ingram, Jonathan Stewart
  • WR: Julio Jones*, Reggie Wayne*, Jeremy Maclin*, Percy Harvin, Roddy White, Randall Cobb, Michael Crabtree, Danny Amendola, Miles Austin, Sidney Rice*, Nate Burleson
  • TE: Rob Gronkowski, Dennis Pitta*, Owen Daniels*, Jermichael Finley*, Kyle Rudolph, Dustin Keller*,

* = Out for the season | italics = Returned from injury | bold = Could become a factor after being out

When it comes to injured players: Use caution. Unless you are stuck and truly need to start a player like Harvin, don’t. Play it safe and make sure the player in question is playing up to par. If they comeback and have a good game on your bench, that’s okay. After that game, they should be considered back to normal and started the following week.

On the other hand, you can also look at the fact that a player has been cleared to play and is listed as “active” before kickoff as a green-light to put him in your lineup. Rob Gronkowski was an instant producer once he finally hit the field.

Whether you start a player like Harvin or Vereen this week should depend entirely on your lineup. If you have Dez Bryant, or Zac Stacy out on a bye, you need a fill-in and it’s perfectly reasonable to start players with the potential of a Harvin or Vereen. If you have a stacked lineup with the likes of: Adrian Peterson, Reggie Bush, Andre Johnson, Jordy Nelson and Danny Woodhead, then your best off with them in as your starters. Don’t gamble on a returning player if you don’t need to.

For week 12, keep an eye out for Nate Burleson. He’s doubtful this week and will likely be inactive come Sunday. When healthy he’s a great PPR play and can post numbers similar to Kendall Wright.

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Darren Collette

With over five years of fantasy football experience Darren has won a high percentage of leagues and is an expert on IDP. When not setting a line-up, he works as a freelance writer for The Miami Herald.