The fantasy playoffs have arrived or are immediately around the corner. The calendar will be turning to December this week so we are really in the home stretch of the season. Hopefully you have heeded my advice all season by creatively and aggressively managing the waiver wire and negotiating trades to accumulate depth at each position. Injuries continue to pile up, but at this point in the season the GMs with roster depth will the ones who advance. Having that flexibility also makes the agonizing decision-making process easier for GMs because a lot of times we don’t know until the last minute whether a player is going to be active or not. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the nextedition of the fantasy football emergency room.
Amari Cooper (WR-OAK) – It has been a very disappointing season for Cooper and the Raiders who were expected to have one of the most prolific offenses in the league. Cooper came into the season with lofty expectations and has only managed to catch 42 passes for 499 yards and five touchdowns. Most of that production came in one game so he has put up many more stinkers than can be tolerated for a supposed WR1. He is dealing with a concussion as well as an ankle sprain which he sustained against Denver this past weekend. These two injuries put Cooper’s status for Week 13 in serious jeopardy. This is disheartening for fantasy GMs who were hoping to get a big game out of Cooper in a favorable matchup against the lowly Giants.
Juju Smith-Schuster (WR-PIT) – Fantasy GMs were without Smith-Schuster in Week 12 as he was dealing with a hamstring injury. Smith-Schuster burst onto the scene a few weeks ago in a big way and has contributed 33 catches for 568 yards and five touchdowns. In his absence, Martavis Bryant re-emerged against Green Bay on Sunday night and should continue to see an expanded role if Smith-Schuster is unable to return for Week 13 against Cincinnati. Check back in later in the week for an update on his status.
Jameis Winston (QB-TB) – Winston has been out the past several weeks with a shoulder injury but he is expected to resume throwing by Wednesday. He underwent an MRI on Monday which revealed positive results so there is a chance he could be back as soon as this weekend against Green Bay. Winston has been disappointing thus far with only 1,920 yards passing to go along with ten touchdowns and six interceptions. His return would be beneficial for Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson who have had limited production thanks to Ryan Fitzpatrick’s mediocrity.
Greg Olsen (TE-CAR) – The Panthers got Olsen back this week after an extended absence with a broken foot and now he finds himself back on the injury report. Olsen re-aggravated his foot injury during Carolina’s win over the Jets but he should still be able to play next week against New Orleans. With all of the injuries to Carolina’s wide receivers, Cam Newton needs him more than ever so Olsen will be a focal point of their offense assuming he is able to suit up.
Kelvin Benjamin (WR-BUF) – Buffalo has officially confirmed that Benjamin has a torn meniscus. He missed this past week’s game against Kansas City and is in serious jeopardy of also missing Week 13’s showdown against the Patriots. Benjamin has been a big disappointment since being acquired several weeks ago and fantasy GMs have no reason to believe he will either play or be productive in Week 13.
Devin Funchess (WR-CAR) – Funchess has emerged as a solid fantasy option since the Panthers traded away Kelvin Benjamin and has now amassed 50 receptions for 643 yards and five touchdowns. He is dealing with a toe injury he sustained this past weekend against the Jets but he has indicated it will not stop him from playing. Funchess goes up against a Saints defense in Week 13 with a severely banged up secondary so he is a must-start WR2 option.
Doug Martin (RB-TB) – Martin was taken out of Sunday’s loss to Atlanta after sustaining a concussion late in the first half. He did not return and will be in the league’s concussion protocol throughout the week. Martin has been limited to 376 rushing yards and two touchdowns since his suspension was completed which has rendered him relatively useless from a fantasy perspective. Jacquizz Rodgers replaced Martin and could share time with Peyton Barber if Martin is unable to play in Week 13.
Coby Fleener (TE-NO) – Speaking of concussions, Fleener also suffered one late in the game against the Rams on a helmet-to-helmet hit. For some reason, he remained in the game for a short amount of time and then was removed for evaluation and was subsequently diagnosed with the concussion. He will also be in the league’s protocol so we won’t know until later in the week whether he will be able to play next weekend. Fleeneris nothing more than a TE2 option with 22 catches for 295 yards and two touchdowns on the season.
Martellus Bennett (TE-NE) – It has been a lost season for the veteran tight end as he has been put on season-ending injured reserve due to a shoulder and hamstring injury. He finishes the year with 30 catches for 286 yards and no touchdowns. Heading into the season, big things were expected for Bennett as part of the Packers prolific offense led by Aaron Rodgers. However, Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone and then Bennett finagled his way into getting released and signing with the Patriots. He will be shut down for good now which means Dwayne Allen moves back up the depth chart as New England’s TE2.
Damien Williams (RB-MIA) – Dolphins running back Damien Williams could be out two to four weeks with a dislocated shoulder he sustained this past weekend against Denver. He will cede backfield duties to Kenyan Drake who could be a viable fantasy option in deeper leagues as a RB2 or Flex option. Williams had rushed for 181 yards without a touchdown but also had 20 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown before getting injured. He is not worth stashing as you head into the fantasy playoffs unless you have sufficient depth at other positions.
C.J. Beathard (QB-SF) – We could be on the precipice of the Jimmy Garoppolo era in San Francisco after Beathard sustained a knee injurythis past weekend against Seattle. Beathard was forced out of the game in the fourth quarter but thinks he merely suffered a bruise as opposed to ligament damage. The 49ers obviously have nothing to play for at this point and could be motivated to give Garoppolo a chance after he was acquired from the Patriots a few weeks ago. Garoppolo could be worth taking a flier on in two-quarterback leagues if he is named the starter.
Paxton Lynch (QB-DEN) – The Broncos’ quarterback situation is a dumpster fire after Paxton Lynch went up in flames this past weekend against the Raiders. Lynch was given an opportunity to play and completed nine of 14 passes for 41 yards and an interception before being diagnosed with a high ankle sprain which will likely keep him out between two and four weeks. Trevor Siemian will be back under center again for the hapless Broncos whose offense has been astonishingly pathetic. It’s unfortunate for fantasy GMs who have Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders basically wasting away on their rosters.
Telvin Smith (LB-JAX) – Smith has been his usual solid self this year leading the Jaguars top-rated defense with 83 tackles, one sack and three interceptions. He was taken out of Sunday’s loss to Arizona with a concussion and will have to go through the league’s protocol before determining whether he can play next week. Check back later in the week for an update on his condition as Smith is a solid option in IDP leagues.
Janoris Jenkins (DB-NYG) – The Giants infirmary could have another addition as cornerback Janoris Jenkins is dealing with an ankle injury which could require surgery ending his season. He has been dealing with the injury for a couple months but has gotten torched a few times recently indicating that the injury has been progressively getting worse. Jenkins does have three interceptions on the season including two returned for touchdowns. His status for the rest of the season is in serious jeopardy making opposing offensive players even better options when they play the Giants.
Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service, and co-host of the Fantasy Alarm Podcast. You can contact him at email@example.com or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).