NFL Injury Report: November 19
Michael A. Stein recaps the injury news heading into Week 12 and offers up potential return timetables and suggestions for replacement players for fantasy football.
There are some weeks where injuries seem more prevalent than others, and this past week certainly qualifies. The Monday night game between the Chiefs and Chargers saw several key injuries which topped off a painful Week 11. The fantasy playoffs are just around the corner, so the timing could not be worse for some GMs who do not have roster depth and flexibility. So without any further adieu, let’s take a look at some of the walking wounded in the fantasy football emergency room.
Tyreek Hill (WR-KC)
There were likely a lot of fantasy matchups set to be decided during Monday night’s game between the Chiefs and Chargers. Unfortunately for many GMs, those results were sealed early on when Tyreek Hill was removed from the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. He was targeted twice before limping to the sideline during Kansas City’s opening possession and never returned. Hill already missed several games this year with a clavicle injury, so he has certainly cost GMs dearly this season. Kansas City has a bye coming up so he will have almost two weeks to get healthy for Week 13.
Marlon Mack (RB-IND)
The Colts ran right through the Jaguars this past weekend but it came at a hefty price as Marlon Mack sustained a fractured hand. He had a procedure on Monday and is expected to miss this Thursday’s game against the Texans. Mack has been very solid this year rushing for 862 yards and four touchdowns, but now the Colts will have to face Houston with Jordan Wilkins , Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Williams sharing duties in the backfield. The good news for the Colts is that Mack is expected back at some point, but it will probably be too late for fantasy GMs to benefit from during their league’s playoffs.
T.Y. Hilton (WR-IND)
Indianapolis will already be shorthanded without Marlon Mack on Thursday night against Houston. It would be very helpful if T.Y. Hilton was able to play, but that is yet to be known. Hilton has been out the past couple weeks with a calf injury and would likely need to get in some practice early this week in order to be ready to take the field on Thursday. GMs should watch this situation closely over the next couple days because if Hilton can resume practicing then he has a shot of returning for the showdown with the Texans and would immediately be a must-start. Hilton has been limited to only six games this year and has caught 32 passes for 360 yards and five touchdowns.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR-PIT)
It has gone from bad to worse for JuJu Smith-Schuster who apparently also suffered a knee injury on the exact play where he sustained a concussion last week. It is reported that he was wearing a knee brace on Monday so his status for Week 12 is questionable at best. Fantasy GMs have been tremendously disappointed with Smith-Schuster’s production this season as he has dealt with a variety of injuries along with volatility at the quarterback position. The Steelers have a matchup against the abysmal Bengals this week which sounds like a great opportunity for Smith-Schuster to break out. However, GMs should monitor his status throughout the week because it does not sound like he will be ready to go. With Diontae Johnson also out with a concussion, GMs should consider James Washington as a potential streaming option.
Devonta Freeman (RB-ATL)
Fantasy GMs might be getting a potentially productive fantasy player back this week as Devonta Freeman appears on the road to recovery. He has been out with a foot injury but the team indicated that he could return to practice later this week. Freeman has been extremely disappointing this season rushed for only 371 yards and no touchdowns along with 38 catches for 282 yards and three touchdowns. GMs should temper expectations when and if he comes back this week against Tampa Bay, but he is still worthy of starting in almost any league format.
LeSean McCoy (RB-KC)
McCoy did not play last week but was active for Monday night’s game against the Chargers in Mexico. Damien Williams got the start but was removed from the game with an injury, so McCoy took over and rushed for 29 yards and a touchdown. However, he was also removed from the game due to a possible concussion and did not return. This meant that Darrel Williams was left to shoulder the workload late in the game as Kansas City held off a late comeback by Los Angeles. The Chiefs are on a bye this coming week so he will have extra time to rest and recover for Week 13.
Damien Williams (RB-KC)
The Chiefs’ backfield has been an abyss this season as injuries have wreaked havoc on their offense at times. Damien Williams is one of the culprits as he has seemingly not been healthy all year. He got the start on Monday night against the Chargers but was removed the game after sustaining a rib injury during the second quarter. This type of injury is usually a pain management issue so Williams could be ready to play after the Chiefs come back from their bye week if he feels sufficiently healed. Williams has been a big fantasy disappointment this year rushing for only 309 yards and three touchdowns along with 23 receptions for 156 yards and one touchdown.
Mitchell Trubisky (QB-CHI)
It seemed bizarre that the Bears pulled Mitchell Trubisky from Sunday night’s game against the Rams with only a few minutes left and the team down by ten points. Trubisky was not having a good game until the fourth quarter so it was startling to see Chase Daniel under center as the Bears tried making a comeback. It turns out the Trubisky sustained a right hip pointer earlier in the game which served as the basis to remove him when they did. Chicago’s coaching staff has gone out of their way to state that there is no quarterback controversy and that Trubisky will start this week if he is healthy. The Bears will be playing the Giants in Week 12 which could be the elixir that Trubisky needs. The Giants defense is atrocious so any offensive player going up against them is a viable fantasy option every week. Follow up for further updates later in the week to see whether Trubisky or Daniel will be a QB2 fantasy option.
Matthew Stafford (QB-DET)
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has missed the past couple games with a fracture in his back and it does not appear that Detroit will rush him back on the field. The Lions have all been eliminated from playoff contention so there is no reason to subject their franchise quarterback to further injury. That being said, the team indicated that Stafford is considered week-to-week so he may come back at some point depending on how he is healing. Jeff Driskel has filled in admirably for Stafford despite suffering two losses. The Lions have an appetizing matchup with the Redskins this week so Stafford would be a great option if he is somehow able to take the field. In the event he misses another week, Driskel would be a viable QB2 option against an awful Washington defense.
James Conner (RB-PIT)
The Steelers grossly mismanaged James Conner last week as he clearly was not healthy in last week’s game against the Browns. He has been dealing with a shoulder injury for several weeks and his status for Week 12 is unknown. Pittsburgh has been decimated with injuries and are fighting for their playoff lives. They would obviously love to have Conner on the field, but a game against the lowly Bengals should be easy enough to win without Conner. GMs should target Jaylen Samuels for a big game against Cincinnati as he is the lone healthy running back to depend upon.
Emmanuel Sanders (WR-SF)
Sanders suffered a rib injury last week but was able to play this past Sunday against Arizona. Unfortunately, he re-aggravated the injury and had to be taken out of the game after catching three passes for 33 yards. San Francisco has a huge showdown against the Packers this Sunday night in a battle for the number one seed in the NFC. They will obviously want Sanders on the field, but his status is up in the air at this point.
Auden Tate (WR-CIN)
The Bengals have had a season to forget for many reasons. They have been decimated by injuries all year, especially at the wide receiver position. Auden Tate is the latest casualty as he is in the league’s concussion protocol after being carted off the field this past weekend when he took a brutal hit to his head trying to make a catch. Not only is he dealing with a head injury, but he also suffered a cervical strain. It seems like a longshot that he will be able to play in Week 12, so rookie quarterback Ryan Finley will likely be even more short-handed. Tate was not much of a fantasy option anyway, but he has been one of Cincinnati’s primary targets at wide receiver with 34 catches for 483 yards and one touchdown.
Will Fuller (WR-HOU)
Fantasy GMs are used to uncertainty when it comes to Will Fuller . He has dealt with a myriad of injuries throughout his NFL career, and the most recent one is another hamstring injury he sustained a few weeks ago. Fuller did return to practice last week and is expected to practice in a limited capacity this week as well. The Texans play on Thursday night in a huge divisional matchup against the Colts, so they would love to have him back on the field to help Deshaun Watson rebound from an awful game against the Ravens. Fuller will be a game-time decision so GMs will not have much time to make a critical decision on whether to start him.
Phillip Dorsett (WR-NE)
The Patriots offense has sputtered lately thanks to a wide receiver core that is suffering from various injuries. Phillip Dorsett is the latest to be added to the injury report as he sustained a head injury this past weekend against the Eagles. He was taken out of the game after catching three passes for 33 yards and a touchdown. Dorsett has been a viable WR3 in many leagues given he has five touchdowns on the season. His status for Week 12 is unknown at this point, but if he is unable to play then look for rookie N’Keal Harry to see some targets in Dorsett’s absence.