Week 11 saw some great NFL games throughout the league, but the lasting image of the week will likely be the horrific injury suffered by Alex Smith .  No one ever wants to see a player injured like that, but that epitomizes the risks that these players take every day. The fantasy playoffs are quickly approaching and we have three games on Thanksgiving Day, so fantasy GMs will have to make some tough decisions in the next couple days.  So without any further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the 2018 fantasy football emergency room.

Alex Smith (QB-WAS)

Despite Alex Smith ’s plunge into fantasy football obscurity, it was horrific to see him sustain such a gruesome injury 33 years to the day that Joe Theismann suffered the same fate at the hands of Lawrence Taylor.  Smith sustained a broken tibia and fibula when he was sacked by the Texans and had to be carted off the field. It was difficult to watch and unfortunately his playing career could be over as a result of this injury.  Smith did undergo surgery but he will need an extensive rehab and recovery if he ever has hope of playing again. He can be dropped in all league formats and finishes the season with 2,180 yards passing along with ten touchdowns and five interceptions.  Colt McCoy will take over as the Redskins starter and they will bring in several candidates to become his backup.

Kerryon Johnson (RB-DET)

Fantasy GMs got some bad news with Kerryon Johnson as he suffered a knee injury this past week against the Panthers.  Detroit has a short week as they play Chicago on Thanksgiving Day, so Johnson is not expected to be active. His absence could extend into Week 13 as well so GMs need to have a backup plan as they head towards the fantasy playoffs.  Look for LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick to share duties in the Lions’ backfield. Johnson has rushed for 641 yards and three touchdowns and also has 32 receptions for 213 yards and one touchdown making him a stash candidate in the hopes he can be back soon enough to help the playoff push.

Mitchell Trubisky (QB-CHI)

The Bears listed Trubisky on their injury report with a shoulder issue on Monday even though the team did not practice.  There does not appear to be anything to be concerned about with the second year quarterback who is fully expected to play on Thursday against Detroit.  Trubisky has been stellar this season throwing for 2,469 yards along with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions and also rushing for 363 yards and three touchdowns.  He is a must-start for the holiday primetime matchup on Thanksgiving Day.

Marvin Jones (WR-DET)

Jones was inactive this past weekend against Carolina as he is dealing with a knee injury.  Detroit has a short week with a game on Thanksgiving against the Bears, so it is unlikely that he will be able to return in time to suit up.  This is a big loss for fantasy GMs who were hoping to see Jones emerge as an even bigger target for Matthew Stafford now that Golden Tate is gone.  He has not been officially ruled out yet, but GMs should plan on being without him for Week 12.

O.J. Howard (TE-TB)

Howard sustained an ankle injury at the end of Tampa Bay’s loss to the Giants on Sunday.  He underwent some tests to determine the severity of the injury and the initial results did not show any structural damage.  Tampa Bay wants another opinion on his ankle so we should know more during the week. Howard has been a solid fantasy tight end benefiting from the Bucs incredible offensive output this season with 34 catches for 565 yards and five touchdowns.  Check back later in the week for further updates on his status because he will be a TE1 option against San Francisco for Week 12.

Jimmy Graham (TE-GB)

Graham suffered a broken thumb last Thursday night against Seattle but has indicated that he will try and play through the injury in this week’s game against the Vikings.  Green Bay will obviously want him on the field for this must-win matchup against their division rival, but we won’t know until later in the week whether this will be possible.  Green Bay’s offense has been struggling lately so if Graham cannot play then it will be an even steeper uphill climb for the Packers who are barely holding on to their playoff hopes.  

Brandon LaFell (WR-OAK)

The Raiders managed to win their second game of the season on Sunday against Arizona but also lost another wide receiver in the process.  Brandon LaFell emerged as their WR1 with Jordy Nelson out and caught a touchdown pass on Sunday. However, he sustained a torn Achilles’ tendon and is done for the season.  LaFell was only a streaming option in deep leagues so he belongs back on the waiver wire immediately.

Marcus Mariota (QB-TEN)

Mariota suffered a stinger this past week in the Titans’ brutal loss to Indianapolis.  Tennessee has indicated that he is not in the concussion protocol which is good news in terms of his availability for next Monday night against Houston.  Mariota dealt with a nerve injury in his elbow earlier in the season so it remains to be seen what kind of impact this new injury could pose for him. They will be facing a red hot Houston team in prime time which makes the Texans defense/special teams a salivating option for Week 12.  

Joe Flacco (QB-BAL)

Baltimore managed to beat the Bengals without Joe Flacco this past weekend as he is still nursing a hip injury.  They will face Oakland this coming week in a game that they should win no matter who is playing quarterback. The Ravens have indicated that they will go with Flacco if he is healthy enough to play despite Lamar Jackson running all over the field this past Sunday.  Flacco has not had a great season and would only be a fantasy option in two-quarterback leagues. Right now the odds are that Baltimore gives Flacco another week off since they should easily defeat the Raiders with Jackson under center.

Ryan Tannehill (QB-MIA)

Tannehill has been out since Week 5 with a shoulder injury and is hoping to be back soon as the Dolphins are fighting for their playoff lives.  He took several steps forward in his rehab during Miami’s bye week but we still don’t have any indication whether he will be ready to play this week against the Colts.  Tannehill missed all of 2017 and has thrown for 972 yards along with eight touchdowns and five interceptions in five games this year. Even if he does play, he is not a trustworthy fantasy option at this point given how infrequently he has been on the field over the past two seasons.    

Sam Darnold (QB-NYJ)

The Jets consider rookie quarterback Sam Darnold day-to-day as he is dealing with a foot injury that cost him to miss Week 10’s drubbing against the Bills.  He did not practice on Monday so that does not bode well for his availability against New England this week. The third overall pick in the 2018 draft has had mixed results thus far throwing for 1,934 yards along with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.  If he is able to suit up and play, he will be in for a long day against New England which is one of the top defense/special teams options for Week 12.

On the Mend

Rob Gronkowski (TE-NE)

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to play this week against the Jets after missing the past two games with both ankle and back injuries.  He has been limited to just seven games this year and amassed only 29 receptions for 448 yards and one touchdown. Gronk has been a big disappointment in fantasy football given where he was likely drafted, but all GMs have been on notice of his fragility.  He will have an appetizing matchup against a Jets defense that was shredded by the lowly Bills a couple weeks ago.

A.J. Green (WR-CIN)

The time table for Green’s return has shifted a couple times, but chances are that he will be back next weekend against the in-state rival Browns.  Green has missed the past couple games with a toe injury but he did work out prior to Sunday’s game against the Ravens. The Bengals desperately need him on the field and he would be a high-end WR1 if he is able to play against Cleveland.  Check back in later in the week for further updates on his progress.

DeVante Parker (WR-MIA)

Parker has disappointed fantasy GMs all season as he has been limited to five games and caught only 14 passes for 225 yards and no touchdowns.  He suffered a shoulder injury a couple weeks ago and has been resting and recovering over the bye week. Miami is very thin at wide receiver due to injuries so they need Parker on the field against the Colts this coming week.  If he is able to play, he could be a WR3 option given the fact he should see a ton of targets as Miami tries to keep pace with the red hot Andrew Luck .

Josh Allen (QB-BUF)

Allen was inactive for Week 10 with an elbow injury and saw backup Matt Barkley light the Jets up in stunning fashion.  He did practice in a full capacity on Monday and could be in line to return this weekend against the Jaguars. This is a terrible matchup for him as Jacksonville’s defense could eat him alive.  Allen has thrown for 832 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions, and he is not even close to a viable fantasy option this week. On the other hand, Jacksonville’s defense/special teams should be in for a huge day.