Injuries are a fact of life in our fantasy game. You can’t ever plan for them, but if you know what you’re dealing with, you can plan around them and keep your season afloat. Let’s take a look at the fantasy-relevant injuries that occurred in NFL Weeks 9 and 10, and we’ll also discuss their impact on Week 11 and beyond.
Rodgers was injured in the early moments of Week 9 against Chicago, taking a hard sack near the goal line. He left the field almost immediately and did not return. At this point it’s clear that he suffered a broken collarbone in his non-throwing shoulder. The injury is expected to sideline him for 4-6 weeks, but some reports have him targeting a comeback for Thanksgiving against Detroit. If you have Rodgers and designs on a playoff run, he’s definitely a hold. His absence is a significant downgrade for Jordy Nelson, Eddie Lacy, James Jones, and Jarret Boykin. Owners should also be sure to note that Rodgers’ backup, Seneca Wallace, also went down in Week 10 with a season-ending groin injury. Scott Tolzien finished out the game and surprisingly, didn’t look completely terrible. That being said, if Tolzien is forced to start, it represents a further downgrade to all Green Bay offensive skill players.
Manning took multiple hard shots during Sunday’s tilt against San Diego, but one specific low hit had owners holding their breath as Manning stayed down afterward, and then limped around the field for the remainder of the game. Fortunately an MRI on Monday confirmed no real damage, and while sore, Manning remains a top 3 QB overall for a huge game this Sunday against Kansas City.
Well, that sure didn’t last long. Cutler returned early from a torn groin suffered in late October for a huge matchup against the Detroit Lions, but was removed late in the game with an ankle sprain. The injury has since been confirmed as a high ankle sprain, and Cutler has already been ruled out for Week 11. He’s definitely looking at a multi-week absence here, and at best will be available for the fantasy playoffs. Injury prone and inconsistent, he’s droppable in all but the deepest of leagues.
Featured first on our last injury wrap-up, Locker made his final 2013 appearance this week. He left Sunday’s game with a non-contact foot injury, which is rumored to be of the Lisfranc variety. This injury would sideline him for the remainder of the season if the reporting is accurate. He’s droppable in all formats. Ryan Fitzpatrick, aka “Noodlearm McGee,” represents a downgrade for the Titans’ pass catchers for the rest of the season.
Pryor owners were hoping for big things after he scrambled for a TD in the opening minutes of Sunday’s game. They were left wanting, as Pryor rolled up only 7 fantasy points in an underwhelming performance against a poor Giants D. Pryor admitted after the game he’s suffering from an MCL injury, originally sustained the previous week against the Eagles. As mobility is Pryor’s main weapon, this presents a serious downgrade for his fantasy value moving forward. He’s droppable in all 10 and 12 team formats that don’t use 2 QBs.
Foster left the game in Week 9 after a single target with an injured back. This injury is rumored to have plagued him for some time, and apparently now it has veered into the ‘very serious’ territory. Reports are that Foster needs season-ending back surgery, and will be placed on I.R. soon. Notably, this move has not occurred as of Tuesday morning, so obviously we’re all just waiting for the other shoe to drop here. The year of the disappointing first round RB continues. Ben Tate is Foster’s direct backup, and has looked decent but not great, as he is lugging around 4 cracked ribs himself. Tate seems like a good bet to take a hard shot and leave at some point – Foster owners that don’t own Tate need to be considering Dennis Johnson if / when Foster is formally placed on I.R.
This kid has looked great, dominated Week 9, was the hottest pickup of Week 10, carved up the Dolphins last night on the opening drive…and now he’s doneski. After getting his ankle pinned by a large man at an awkward angle, James was carted off the field. Initial reports were of a fractured ankle, and X-rays have reportedly confirmed this fact. Officially, James is out ‘indefinitely’ and will undergo further testing. Unofficially (my opinion) he’s done for the year. It’s Week 11, and he has an ankle fracture, which takes multiple weeks to heal, on top of the fact that his team has a single win. It’s just not the Buccaneers’ year – James is droppable in all formats.
Just a quick update here. McFadden was sidelined this week with yet another hamstring injury, and Rashad Jennings played very well in his absence, totaling over 100 all-purpose yards. McFadden did not practice at all last week, and again appears to be looking at missing multiple weeks. Owners should seek to package him with another attractive option and get out from under him while they can. Banged up and generally terrible, there’s very little upside to be found on this Raiders squad at the moment.
Sproles took a massive shot to the dome from Antonio Allen in Week 9, and left the game with a concussion. He practiced last week, and played in the Sunday night game against Dallas. Hope you started him there, as he bucked his season-long trend of being terrible, exploding for 88 total yards and two TDs. The injury seems to be behind him, and he’s a mid-to-low level RB2 moving forward.
Mentioning Stevie Johnson here is more of a formality than anything else. Dealing with multiple issues going into Week 10, Johnson left the BUF-PIT game with a groin injury and admitted he’s unsure of his chances to play in Week 11. Between his rookie QB, the Bills’ inconsistency on offense, and his aforementioned injuries, this has the look of a lost year for Stevie. While he’s still widely owned, I believe him to be droppable in standard formats for a hot waiver wire pickup this week.
Kerley dislocated his elbow in week 9, and will miss multiple weeks. He’d become somewhat relevant as a WR4 in deeper formats, but should not have been owned in standard 10 teams formats. And now you may feel free to drop him for a waiver wire hero in deeper formats as well. Side note: The Jets’ passing game is so atrocious that this actually represents the loss of their leading WR, as Kerley has dominated to the tune of 347 yards and two TDs. As if Geno Smith isn’t enough of a downgrade for Geno Smith, apparently Kerley represents yet another. Again, the Jets passing game is hands-off for fantasy purposes.
Davis left the second quarter of Sunday’s offensively challenged 49ers-Panthers game with a concussion after banging his head into the turf. He was not cleared to return. He will be required to go through the NFL’s extensive concussion protocol, and is no lock the play against the Saints this coming Sunday. His absence was a massive downgrade to the fantasy prospects of Colin Kaepernick (2 total fantasy points) and the 49ers offense as a group. Owners will need to closely monitor reports this coming week to determine if they need to make a move for a TE.
Tony G injured his toe at some point during Sunday’s contest against the Seahawks, and was seen limping around the locker room after the game. His status at this point is uncertain, but should be updated by midweek at latest. It is highly likely that Gonzalez would play at far less than 100%, but even if he does, owners would be wise to start considering other options. If you remove his two huge games from the mix, Gonzalez has averaged just over 4 points per week this season. He’s a legend, but the wheels are falling off this particular train. Savvy owners should look to sell if at all possible.
Rudolph left the Vikings’ Week 9 game with a foot injury, which was later revealed to be a clean break. He’ll miss 4-6 weeks, and is a good candidate to end up on I.R. If you still own Rudolph for some crazy reason, he’s droppable in all formats. Of note, his replacement John Carlson had a strong game against the Redskins on Thursday night, catching 7 passes for 98 yards and a TD. If you’re in a deeper format and are desperate…well, even then don’t consider Carlson this week in an exceedingly tough matchup on the road against Seattle.