When marquee players go down with injuries, oddsmakers notice and value is lost for bettors. The key is to find lesser-known players that could have an impact on the scoreboard. Here are four NFL injuries not to undervalue in Week 16:
Peyton Hillis, RB, New York Giants (Out, concussion)
While the Giants have been mathematically eliminated, the Lions still have a fighting chance to make the post-season. While Detroit needs tons of help, it is still necessary to win their remaining two games. Wide receiver Victor Cruz and running back Peyton Hillis have been ruled out for Sunday for injury related reasons. Offensive lineman David Diehl and wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan are questionable for Sunday. The 30th ranked scoring offense will definitely struggle scoring more than their averaged 17.9 points. The Giants play the fourth ranked rushing defense allowing an average of 98.6 yards per game. The Lions actually have something to play for and will likely show up Sunday at home.
The Giants are 9-point underdogs on the road against the Lions. The total is 49.
Chris Clemons, DE, Seattle Seahawks (Probable, elbow)
Seattle plays the top-ranked rushing defense in the Cardinals who are allowing an average of 83.2 yards per game. The Cardinals are tied for seventh in sacks with 41.0 and are ranked fifth overall with 19 interceptions. With wide receiver Percy Harvin still questionable and running back Robert Turbin questionable, the Seahawks might not put up as many points as some expect. The Cardinals saw wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and quarterback Carson Palmer returning to practice Thursday and are now listed as questionable for Sunday. With these two key players returning, the Cardinals will attempt to make the post-season and improve on their 9-5 record. The Cards may be more competitive than they are given credit for.
The Cardinals are 10.5-point underdogs on the road against Seattle, with the total 43.0.
Aaron Williams, S, Buffalo Bills (Out, ribs)
The Bills host the 8-6 Dolphins who are competing for the sixth seed in the AFC. The Bills will be without wide receiver Steve Johnson (personal reasons) and hope to have Fred Jackson healthy (probable) after nursing a rib injury. The Bills will attempt to put up points without quarterback EJ Manuel. All season, the Bills have struggled only completing 34 percent of their third-down passes ranking them fourth-worst in the NFL. On the defensive side with Aaron Williams out, the Bills will likely continue to give up big yardage plays - something they have struggled with all year. The Bills have given up 13 passes of 40 or more yards and give up the most rushes of 20 or more yards.
The Bills are 2.5-point home favorite against Miami. The total is 42.5.
Maurice Jones Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (Questionable, hamstring)
While the word "playoffs" and "Jaguars" never go in the same sentence, the Jaguars did put up four wins this season which is better than most predicted. The Jags are running out of healthy offensive players with running back Maurice Jones-Drew questionable, tight end Marcedes Lewis questionable, WR Cecil Shorts on IR, guard Will Rackley on IR and their backup guard Austin Pasztor also questionable Sunday. The Jaguars are ranked dead-last in the league in points scored (15.8) and are 30th or worse in total yards and rushing yards. The Jaguars have only completed 32 percent of their third-down conversion attempts. The Titans travel to Jacksonville looking for their first division win of the year and revenge over their 29-27 loss to the Jaguars earlier in 2013.
The Titans are 5-point favorites on the road against Jacksonville. The total is 44.