What This Is:
*A no-nonsense quick-hitting analysis of fantasy-relevant player injuries that could impact performance on game day.
*A preview of the current week’s fantasy-relevant players with an injury through Thursday night.
What This Is Not:
*A comprehensive analysis of players who are on bye or currently on the I.R.
*A look ahead to injuries impacting fantasy football beyond Week 9.
For any questions related to this article such as “should I drop [player A] for [player B]?” please refer to the staff’s weekly projections. This is not the final version and will be continually updated through Sunday morning, so definitely bookmark this article.
The following general rules apply for big shake-ups on the weekend:
*Players who are downgraded from full or even partial practice to “Did Not Practice” on Friday or Saturday, for any medical reason, are a long shot to play. Typically you’ll see teams say these players are a “game time decision” which is code for “they ain’t playing”.
*Players who have a concussion have up until Saturday night/Sunday morning to clear the protocol.
*If no “final update” is available, the player has either been officially ruled out or no news is good news.
The following players have already been ruled out for Week 14 as of Friday evening so get them out of your lineup!
D.J. Moore - COVID
David Johnson - COVID
Christian McCaffrey - Doubtful - The “will he be shut down” questions are valid- but with just 4 wins and in a week they’ll now be without D.J. Moore wouldn’t they have already done this? As I mentioned in the Injury Preview, ⅔ of players from 2017-2019 with a quad injury missed 0 or 1 games, so it’s possible he’s back by Week 15. I get it- you’ve made it this far without him, but help may be on the way regardless. Could he be shut down? Sure. But it just seems like that would have happened by now.
Kenny Golladay - I’m not sure we’ll see Kenny back out there this year. What’s the incentive for him? Any way you slice it, there’s no pay off. If there’s a legitimate injury to the hip holding him back, why would he risk re-injury? If there’s a minor injury to the hip in a contract year during a season that’s going nowhere, why risk it? It’s more likely than not he sits. Even if he comes back, you’ve made it this far without him.
The following players were FP on Friday and/or carry no designation. They’re good to go unless otherwise stated.
Daniel Jones - Coming off a hamstring injury, his re-injury risk is about 20% and his mobility could be limited. A volatile option his first week back.
Matthew Stafford - He was LP all week and still on the injury report with a thumb injury. He’s been playing fine but it’s still worth noting.
Antonio Gibson - Toe - OUT
Things don’t look good for this breakout running back as Ron Rivera was quoted said the following:
“It is concerning, and we’ll see how it plays out the next two days. . . . We’re hoping for the best.”
It’s never good when coaches sound that down on a player’s status. As for his long term outlook for the playoffs? Nothing is set in stone but this doesn’t seem good. For starters, it’s actually a recurrence as he was on the injury report in Week 6 with a toe injury. Exacerbations can be rough on players and a medical staff may tend to be more conservative than they were initially. That’s my speculation, now here are the hard numbers: The median return to play time for NFL players , despite the wide standard deviation, is 28 days. The four fantasy relevant players just this year who missed time with a toe injury missed 21, 29, 34, and 49 days respectively. The knockout blow on range of outcomes is that the typical grade II turf toe injury lasts at least a month. As I mentioned in the Injury Round Up, his teammate Steven Sims Jr., actually tried playing through his before being shut down for nearly two calendar months. This doesn’t look good for Gibson and if you’re really hurting for roster spots, it’s a risk, but you can drop him. The chances of him returning for the fantasy playoffs, as it stands now, is < 25%.
Josh Jacobs - High Ankle - Questionable
It wasn’t the most likely scenario but after one missed game, Jacobs has a chance to be back. Now, he still wasn’t a full participant two days in a row and didn’t even practice Wednesday. So, it would be irresponsible for me to not mention that I wouldn’t use Jacobs in cash. Have players come off a high ankle sprain and been successful? Sure. But this seems quick and these injuries are notorious for setting players back if they don’t take enough time. If you’re the gambling type, go for it. Season longers likely have no better options, but cash gamers and prop bettors beware.
D'Andre Swift - Illness - Questionable
Swift is questionable after going LP-LP-DNP. Here’s what interim coach Bevel had to say:
“If you only get to practice on the end of the week on a Friday, then it’s probably going to be a little bit more of a limited role. If you get a full week’s practice, then there’s going to be, obviously, more opportunity for you to do more,”
So, in terms of Swift’s workload, it could be limited not necessarily because of the illness but as a result of it. In other words, if Bevell is either playing chicken with the media or will actually keep feeding Adrian Pterson. Here’s the thing though: Swift is clearly the more talented player. If he gets the hot hand after a few carries, it’ll be hard for the Lions to move away from him. The risk in starting Swift of course is that he really only sees a handful of carries and can never get into a rhythm. Another cash game fade for me personally but I’m conservative and like RB volume.
Ezekiel Elliott - Calf - Questionable
IMPORTANT: Zeke’s injury is apparently not a strain. Zeke said himself it’s a bruise. If we’re taking his word for it, that means his limitations will be minimal and it means his re-injury risk is much, much lower. He isn’t as much of a fade as initially thought earlier this week. Just keep in mind he was LP all week so there’s still a shade of concern.
Kenyan Drake - Hip - Questionable
There isn’t much news on this mysterious injury other than it sounds like he’ll be active. There’ isn’t enough information available other than Drake being LP all week to make an actionable decision. Proceed with minor caution.
Raheem Mostert - High Ankle
Mostert isn’t even on the injury report and he’s saying things like this about his ankle:
“Especially these next few weeks, it’s not going to be 100 percent, it’s there. And it’s a nagging feeling, most importantly.”
It is interesting that his snapshare was just 39% in Week 12 then 45% in Week 13. Regardless, hearing player admit to their ailments is not the norm and should raise some level of concern. Not that this offense, or a RB on this team in particular, is a shiny play, but this should scare you off even more than usual. High ankles do linger.
Mike Evans - Hamstring - Questionable
Evans went LP-DNP-FP. This could end up being precautionary but for the 27 year old, it’s important to be aware his recent history with hamstrings over the last year elevates his re-injury risk. Just don’t be overweight on him in lineups.
Brandin Cooks - Neck/Foot
They’re calling the injury to Cooks on Sunday a neck injury. I’m not here to question the diagnosis of another medical provider, but I am here to mention the intimate connection of the head and neck. Whiplash can oftentimes be associated with a concussion. The protocol is not perfect at clearing players for concussions. After having 5 concussions in a career, Cooks is already at an extremely high re-injury risk. It’s something that matters and should be kept in mind while setting lineups. The hope is he finishes the season and his career without a recurrence.
Jamison Crowder - Calf - Questionable
Groin, calf, hamstring you name it- Crowder’s had it. His long history of soft tissue injuries doesn’t infuse any type of confidence he’ll be active on Sunday after being a DNP on Friday. Even Gase seems less than confident. If he plays, he’s volatile. As far as his long term outlook, he could be out the rest of the playoffs based on averages. Watch his status.
Austin Hooper - Neck
Hooper showed up on the injury report with a neck injury and was DNP. The hope is he can suit up on Monday but his status is uncertain. Generally I would say “a neck injury is enough to sideline a player” but I’ve seen crazier things in the NFL. There’s still a chance he plays. Volatile for re-injury if he does.
Odds and Ends
Ito Smith - In a pleasant surprise, he was FP on Friday and it seems he’ll play on Sunday.
James Robinson - Was LP all week but there isn’t enough information to make a decision one way or the other. Start eem.
Latavius Murray - Much was made of his mid-week appearance on the injury report but he was FP on Friday. Expect him to go and be sad about Kamara again.
Todd Gurley - He went LP-LP then DNP. He’s done that one other time in Week 7 and still played. This seems like a rest day.
TENTATIVE PROJECTED RETURN DATES:
Christian McCaffery - December 20th - 2021
D.J. Moore - December 20th
George Kittle - December 27th - 2021