The fantasy football playoffs are just a few weeks away and trade deadlines are upon us. Injuries continue to take their toll on GMs everywhere so the time is now to set up your rosters for the stretch run. So without further ado, here is the next edition of the fantasy football walking wounded.
Rob Gronkowski (TE-NE)
The injury report has missed Rob Gronkowski as it has been almost two months since he has been here. That feels like some sort of record. Gronk suffered a punctured lung during the Patriots loss to Seattle on Sunday night and is likely going to miss next week’s game against San Francisco. This is increasingly frustrating for fantasy GMs who spent a first or second round pick on the elite tight end and have not gotten a sufficient return on their investment. Martellus Bennett has been very productive as New England’s second tight end and he will see an increased role in Gronk’s absence.
Larry Fitzgerald (WR-ARZ)
Veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is dealing with a sore knee and is considered day-to-day in advance of next week’s game against Minnesota. Fitzgerald has performed at an elite level this year with 68 catches for 687 yards and five touchdowns, so any type of injury for the future Hall of Famer is concerning. The Cardinals expect him to play so his status for Week 11 does not appear in jeopardy at this point. Check back for further updates over the next few days to make sure he is still on track to take the field and do not be surprised if he is limited in practice all week.
Sammy Watkins (WR-BUF)
Watkins is eligible to return from injured reserve for Week 12, but that may not happen if he does not return to practice this week. The Bills have indicated that he has not yet been cleared by team trainers so it looks more likely that Watkins won’t be back until Week 13 at the earliest. Fantasy GMs who in the playoff hunt should consider stashing Watkins now because he could be a difference-maker in the postseason. Adding him into a playoff lineup could really impact the outcome of a critical game and would be akin to making a blockbuster trade deadline deal.
Thomas Rawls (RB-SEA)
Rawls has only played in two games this year but is poised to return this week as he makes his way back from a leg injury. He will be part of a crowded backfield that already contains C.J. Prosise and Christine Michael, so don’t expect Rawls to have a large role in his first game back. He is worth taking a flyer on to add depth to your fantasy bench down the stretch.
Will Fuller (WR-HOU)
Fuller was inactive this past week against Jacksonville with a leg injury, but he is hopeful to be back for next Monday night’s game against the Raiders. The rookie wide receiver does not have stellar statistics with only 25 receptions for 372 yards and two touchdowns. However, that is because the Texans aerial attack has been dreadful with Brock Osweiler and they have been generally successful running the ball most of the season. Fuller does have potential to be a breakout wide receiver, but he will need Houston’s passing game to be more effective and for DeAndre Hopkins to re-establish himself as an elite wide receiver on the other side of the field.
DeSean Jackson (WR-WAS)
Jackson was inactive for Week 10 against Minnesota and indications are that he will also miss next Sunday night’s game against Green Bay. He is dealing with a shoulder injury and the timing of this injury couldn’t be worse because the Redskins will have a favorable matchup against a Packers defense that just got lit up by Tennessee this past weekend. If Jackson is ruled inactive for Week 11, then load up on other Redskins passing options like Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed who should have a field day in primetime.
Chris Hogan (WR-NE)
Hogan was questionable all week heading into Sunday night’s game against Seattle, but he did play and managed to be on the field for only 31 snaps. He was targeted only three times and held without a catch indicating that he wasn’t fully healthy. Hogan has the potential to really emerge as a fantasy threat, but it hasn’t happened quite yet. Assuming he practices this week and plays next Sunday, he will be a viable WR3 option with a favorable matchup against a poor San Francisco defense.
Victor Cruz (WR-NYG)
Cruz missed practice all week and did not play on Monday night against Cincinnati. He suffered an ankle sprain last week but should not miss more than one game at this point. He has been a non-factor from a fantasy perspective catching only 25 passes for 377 yards and just one touchdown. Fantasy GMs expected much more from Cruz who returned after missing the past year and a half with serious knee and calf injuries. He is only worth rostering in very deep leagues going forward.
DeAngelo Williams (RB-PIT)
Williams has been a forgotten man since Le’veon Bell returned earlier this year and now is officially of fantasy GMs’ radar after undergoing knee surgery last week. He will miss up to a month which renders him useless in fantasy leagues and should be dropped in all redraft leagues. Williams wasn’t going to see much playing time anyway with Bell healthy, but he has proven to be a worthwhile handcuff and valuable enough to keep rostered in deep leagues. This injury and surgery changes that landscape and makes Fitzgerald Toussaint a possible option in deeper leagues.
Travis Benjamin (WR-SD)
Benjamin was inactive against Miami this past week with a knee injury. The Chargers are on a bye next week so the extra time will help Benjamin recover and heal in order to be back on the field for Week 12. He has been a serviceable WR3 option with 39 catches for 514 yards and three touchdowns and should return to that status assuming he is able to resume practice next week.
For up-to-the-minute news, check out the Fantasy Alarm Injury Updates in our news section.
Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service, and is also the co-host of the Fantasy Alarm podcast. You can contact him at email@example.com or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment),