The following will be a quick-hitting recall of last week’s previous injuries with any tidbits of news or assessment that can be gleaned during the early stages of the week. This article exists to cover only new injuries to fantasy-relevant players as most weeks some player injuries end up slipping through the cracks or are just relevant enough to crop up in a meaningful way down the road. Later this week the Injury Report will be published that will include all player injuries new and old. And remember- don’t over-react to the Wednesday practice report.
Christian McCaffery - Quad
At the very least, it doesn’t appear the Panthers will shut him down. If he falls into the 67% of players with a quad injury miss 0 or just 1 game, he’ll be back out there on Sunday. Watch his practice reports.
Early week chances he plays: 50%
George Kittle - Foot
The language around Kittle is that San Fran “hopes” that he “practices”. That’s a far cry from guaranteeing he suits up and plays. If you’re in need, sure, pick him up. Just don’t expect him back this week unless there’s a development in his status. As of now, he’s still on the IR. He’s more likely to be back in Week 16 but even then, what’s the point at this point?
Early week chances he plays: 25%
Antonio Gibson - Toe
It’s unlikely he’s back this fantasy season.
Austin Ekeler - Quad
Ekeler was a non-participant in practice on Thursday but this seems to be just a cautionary move in preparation for TNF. If you need more information to feel better, 54% of players listed on the injury report from 2017-2019 with a quad injury missed 0 games.
Raheem Mostert - Ankle/Concussion
As of now little is known of Mostert’s Week 15 status other than he’s “awaiting further imaging”. The word “further” is ominous in this context as it implies he’s already had basic images taken (x-rays) that ruled out gross fracture/dislocation. That means an MRI to find ligament or connective tissue damage or even a smaller fracture will be deployed. The strange thing about this situation is he was also evaluated for a concussion (was cleared) then finished the game. He had 14 carries for 65 yards. So, the takeaway here is that after being evaluated for a concussion, getting a MRI on his ankle, living in a crowded backfield with a bad offense, Mostert’s volatility is through the roof and he’s at a high risk for sitting.
Early week chances he plays: 50%, high volatility
Ronald Jones II - Finger
Yikes. Even though he finished the game, here’s what Arians had to say after the game:
“We’re waiting to see RoJo (Ronald Jones II) may have fractured a pinkie, so we will wait and see. It happened earlier in the game [and] he went back and played with it. Whether they have to put a pin in it or not, we have to wait and see. I don’t know what that will do.”
Here’s what could happen: RoJo goes into surgery to stabilize the fracture and he sits for about a week. As with his teammate Chris Godwin in Week 8, a minor fracture would bring him back by Week 16. The average return time for a hand/wrist injury is about 4 days with a standard deviation of 13 days. The hope is that since it’s the 5th digit, he can buddy tape it and play on. Either way when RoJo comes back, fumbles (and ball security in general) are a risk. If the fracture is thought to be displaced he’ll have surgery but as of now, it’s too soon to tell what they’ll do.
Early week chances he plays: 40%, high volatility
Matthew Stafford - Ribs
Stafford is in an incredible amount of pain according to sources despite his x-rays being negative. As it relates to his immediate availability, no fractures is a good thing, but micro-damage to muscles and soft tissues are still possible (if not likely). Stafford’s reputation as an iron man means he’ll push hard to play and ask for a pain block on game day, but considering the typical recovery time of 2-4 weeks for these injuries, it’s hard seeing him come back as of today. If he does, he’s extremely volatile as a playoff starter. Could he play? Sure. Would I want him to start on my team in a semi-final? Never in 100 years. Lastly, at 5-8, the Lions don’t have an incentive to bring him back with the franchise’s future up in the air.
Alex Smith - Calf
Ron Rivera said Smith being pulled from the game was “precautionary” but in the middle of a close game with NFC playoff implications, teams don’t pull starting QBs as a precaution. The average return to play for calf strains in NFL players is about 17 days. This was the same leg Smith had 17 surgical procedures on, so if the precaution was taken last week, why would they risk it this week? I don’t expect Smith to be back out as it stands now.
Early week chances he plays: < 50%, high volatility
Deebo Samuel - Hamstring
Deebo is out the rest of the fantasy szn.
DeVante Parker - Leg
There isn’t much out there about this injury and there isn’t anything on film either. Parker has been on the injury report this year with an ankle, groin, and hamstring injury so there’s no telling what this “leg” injury is. Make plans to be without Parker at least in Week 15 until more information comes out.
Keenan Allen - Hamstring
He was an estimated DNP due to a hamstring injury. This might be due to a precaution, but keep an eye on this. You can’t sit Allen if he’s active.
Early week chances he plays: 75%, moderate volatility
Mike Williams - Back
This is concerning because Williams has a history of lumbar spine herniations. If he’s having a recurrence, it’ll mean numbness/tingling and pain down the leg. Best case scenario, he has a muscle strain and he can play through pain on Thursday. With the short week and an estimated DNP, it’s hard to envision using Williams even if he’s active this week
Early week chances he plays: < 49%, high volatility
Mike Gesicki - Shoulder
Gesicki’s shoulder injury will cause him at least one missed game. Flores said “it’s too early to tell” but Armando Salguero reports the tight end will miss at least one game. Either way, this looked like a classic shoulder dislocation placing him at a median of 2 weeks to return. When he does come back, the risk of redislocation is through the roof. He’s too volatile to use in the playoffs.