The fantasy football playoffs are here for many GMs or at least right around the corner for leagues that only have two rounds of a tournament. Injuries continue to wreak havoc at the wrong time so roster depth and surplus become even more important right now. There are several key players who are suffering from a variety of injuries that will raise your blood pressure as time gets closer to lock in lineups. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the fantasy football emergency room.
Matthew Stafford (QB-DET) – The Lions avoided a disaster with Stafford not breaking any bones in his hand, but he still suffered an injury which could affect his status for Week 14. Detroit is still in the race for a playoff berth so you can expect Stafford will do whatever he can to play next week against Tampa Bay. However, it remains to be seen how this hand injury will impact his ability to throw so this is certainly a situation to monitor throughout the week. Stafford is having another solid season with 3,302 passing yards to go along with 22 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
Rob Gronkowski (TE-NE) – This is technically not an injury unless you count Gronkowski’s idiocy as a mental illness. Gronk has been suspended for Week 14 thanks to his illegal hit he put on Tre’Davious White after an interception. The Patriots have an appetizing matchup with Miami next Monday night so this is bad timing for GMs to be without their elite tight end. Look for Dwyane Allen to fill in for Gronk which makes him a viable streaming option only if you are in desperate need of a tight end for the week.
Mark Ingram (RB-NO) – The Saints have had a dynamic running attack all season with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara leading them to the top of the NFC South. Ingram has been listed on the injury report with a toe injury but it does not appear to be anything which will prevent him from playing on Thursday night in a critical division matchup against Atlanta. Ingram has 922 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the season making him a lock as a RB1 even with Kamara emerging as an elite fantasy player beside him.
Zach Ertz (TE-PHI) – Philadelphia was brought back down to earth on Sunday night in Seattle and in the process lost their star tight end to a concussion. Ertz hit his head on the ground late in the second half and was removed from the game after having only two catches for 24 yards. He has been a fantasy stud this season with 57 receptions for 663 yards and seven touchdowns but will now be in the league’s concussion protocol during the week. Follow up in a few days for a status update on whether he will be able to play in Week 14.
Amari Cooper (WR-OAK) – Cooper is making some progress recovering from his concussion and ankle injury which kept him out of Week 13’s game against the Giants. He is especially hopeful to return for a critical showdown with Kansas City with the AFC West division lead up for grabs. Cooper has been a major disappointment all year except for the Raiders previous game against the Chiefs when he lit them up for over 200 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Kansas City’s defense just got demolished by the Jets so it would be a big boost for GMs if Cooper is able to return.
Joe Mixon (RB-CIN) – Fantasy GMs were finally starting to see what Joe Mixon could do after having his first 100-yard game last week. However, he sustained a concussion during Monday night’s loss to the Steelers and could be in jeopardy of missing next week’s game as well. Mixon got off to a hot start with seven carries for 34 yards before sustaining the injury which appeared to knock him out for a brief moment. He will go through the league’s concussion protocol so check back in later in the week for an update. Giovani Bernard would likely see most of the action if Mixon is unable to return for Week 14 against the Bears.
Dak Prescott (QB-DAL) – The Cowboys saved their season last Thursday when they routed the Redskins and their playoff hopes remain on life support. They have an interesting game coming up against the Giants at MetLife Stadium this weekend where Eli Manning is expected to return and lead a beleaguered team with a new coach and general manager. This is a game that Dak Prescott should be salivating over despite dealing with an injured right hand which struck a helmet last week. X-rays were negative and he claimed his hand is just fine which makes Prescott a low-end QB1 fantasy option
Adrian Peterson (RB-ARZ) – The Cardinals were without Adrian Peterson this past Sunday due to a neck injury which was affecting him all week. His status for Week 14 is already off to an auspicious start after Bruce Arians deferred to team doctors as to whether Peterson would be ready to play against Tennessee. If Peterson cannot go then Kerwynn Williams would play in his place again as he did this weekend.
Greg Olsen (TE-CAR) – The Panthers held Olsen out of this past week’s game against New Orleans due to issues with playing on artificial turf. It is believed that he re-aggravated his foot injury last week when he was on the turf at MetLife Stadium playing against the Jets so Carolina opted to not take any chances before having three straight home games on grass. He should be ready to play in Week 14 assuming he avoids any setbacks in practice during the course of the week.
Alex Collins (RB-BAL) – The Ravens have been red hot lately thanks in large part to their defense and the emergence of Alex Collins coming out of their backfield. He has rushed for 705 yards and four touchdowns on the season with all four scores coming in the past three weeks. Unfortunately, Collins was dealing with migraine headaches after Sunday’s victory over Detroit causing Baltimore’s coaching staff to have initial concerns over his availability for next week’s divisional showdown with the Steelers. Collins is a solid RB2 if he can play in Week 14 so check back later this week for additional updates on his status.
Delanie Walker (TE-TEN) – Titans tight end Delanie Walker is listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury he sustained this past weekend against the Colts. Walker tends to be banged up quite frequently but manages to endure nagging injuries and get back on the field each week. He is a deep TE1 option with 58 catches for 676 yards and two touchdowns on the season. Both of Walker’s touchdowns have come in the past two weeks so he is getting hot at the right time of year and is a viable starting option next week against Arizona.
Ryan Shazier (LB-PIT) – It was a horrifying scene on Monday night when Steelers’ linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a back injury which rendered his legs motionless on the field. He was attempting to make a tackle leading with his head and immediately rolled onto his back unable to move his lower extremities. Shazier was carted off the field and taken by an ambulance to the hospital. Certainly, everyone’s thoughts and prayers are with Shazier whose loss will leave Pittsburgh’s defense with a gaping hole at the linebacker position. The great news is that it appears he does not need surgery and he has regained some movement in his legs.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).