Week 11: Game Time Decisions - Injury Update
In this article we will profile some of the more fantasy relevant injuries that have cropped up and suggest which players are likely to benefit from increased playing time (some of the replacement players might be sitting on your waiver wire). This week will mark the end of the BYEs as Tennessee, Minnesota, NY Giants, and Seattle will be resting in week 11. In addition to the bye weeks, a myriad of injuries (specifically at the QB position) will test depth on fantasy rosters and might force an increase in trade traffic.
The QB position resembled the UFC in week 10 as four signal callers were knocked out of action with injuries (multiple concussions). Mike Vick's season and time in Philly appears to be nearing an end as the Nick Foles era will open in week 11. The Bears' Jay Cutler looked like he got kicked by a donkey on Sunday night and since this is not his first concussion, it is looking like Jason Campbell will get the start against the stout 49er defense on Monday night football; good luck with that. On the other side of the ball Monday night, San Fran could also be without their starter as Alex Smith is undergoing further concussion tests. Early word has him likely to get the start, but if he can't go dual threat Collin Kaepernick might be worth a look despite the difficult matchup. Last but certainly not least, Big Ben joined the injury party on Monday night with a sprained shoulder and rib injury and has been ruled out for the critical Sunday night battle with Baltimore. Byron Leftwich will get the start against a Raven defense that has struggled to defend the pass since losing top CB Lardarius Webb for the season.
Week 10 saw another RB knocked from the starting lineup as Fred Jackson suffered a concussion and has already been ruled out for the Thursday night game with Miami (CJ Spiller returns to RB1 status). The oft injured Darren Mcfadden suffered a week 9 high ankle sprain that is likely to keep him sidelined for multiple weeks. RUN DMC has been one of the bigger injury risks during his early career (missed 19 games over first four seasons) and his production over the first half of the season has been mediocre at best. Raider 3rd string RB Marcel Reece should be a solid start against a struggling New Orleans defense. MJD's week 7 foot injury will keep him out another week, but dual threat Rashad Jennings is not a recommended start against an elite Houston defense. Demarco Murray's week 6 injury will likely keep him sidelined yet another week, allowing Felix Jones to remain somewhat relevant for the week 11 matchup with a below average Cleveland run defense.
At the WR position, multiple big names remained in street clothes during week 10 as Greg Jennings and Pierre Garcon have been reduced to cheerleaders for most of the 2012 season. Jennings is eyeing a week 13 return (not an ideal scenario for an aging WR in a contract year) and Garcon is rumored to have an outside chance of returning to the lineup this week against Philadelphia. Jordy Nelson used the week 10 bye to heal his ankle injury and returned to Wednesday's practice all but ensuring that he'll start this week.
Cutler was knocked out of the Sunday night loss to Houston with a concussion and since this is not his first one, his status for Monday night in San Fran is in serious doubt. Veteran Jason Campbell is likely to get the start against a 49er defense that ranks 5th against the pass, allowing 197 YPG and just eight passing TDs on the season. Cutler is averaging just 201 YPG with 12 TDs and 10 INTs through the first 9 games of the season, so it's not like his loss will have a major effect on fantasy rosters. The Bears resigned Josh McCown this week, so it appears they are not optimistic on Cutler starting week 11, but he's yet to be ruled out.
The 32 year old former Dog fighting promoter has not played a full 16 games since 2006 and this season won't be any different after Vick was knocked from the week 10 loss to Dallas with a concussion. Andy Reid noted that it was a significant injury and some have speculated that Vick may have played his final snap for the Eagles. Rookie 3rd round pick Nick Foles is expected to get the start and has a very favorable week 11 matchup against a Washington defense allowing the 2nd most fantasy PPG to opposing QBs. In week 10, Foles completed 22-of-32 passes for 219 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He has a big arm and solid weapons at his disposal, making him a solid bye week filler / injury replacement to target on waiver wires.
Like clockwork, RUN DMC suffered a week 9 high ankle sprain that limited him to just 7 carries for 17 yards. Although he's yet to be ruled out for week 11, he did miss Wednesday's practice and the slow healer is likely to miss the dream matchup with a struggling New Orleans run defense. Over his first four seasons, Mcfadden was in street clothes for a whopping 19 games. Marcel Reece dominated the backfield touches in week 10 as he played 58-of-75 snaps in Sunday's loss. Reece finished the week 10 game with 20 touches for 104 yards (5.2 yards per touch). He is likely to produce borderline RB2 numbers against a Saints defense that ranks 31st against the run (162 YPG).
The 2nd year RB injured his foot in week 6 and has been sidelined since. Murray's MRI revealed ligament damage in his sprained foot, but no broken bones or Lisfranc fracture. Murray hasn't practiced since October 12th and averaged 90 total YPG over the first five games of the season. Felix Jones had a solid week 10 performance against Philly as he rushed 16 times for 71 yards and added three receptions for 22 yards and a touchdown. Jones appears likely to get at least one more start against a weak Cleveland run defense that ranks 27th against the run (132 YPG). Murray is no lock for a week 12 return either as the Cowboys will be on a short week with a Thanksgiving matchup against Washington on the schedule.
Darren Sproles' fractured hand was initially expected to keep him sidelined for 4-6 weeks, but there is word that he could be back sooner. Sproles has missed the past two weeks, but was able to complete a limited Wednesday practice giving hope to fantasy owners that he'll return for the week 11 matchup against Oakland. Interim coach Joe Vitt wants to emphasize the run to set up Drew Brees' play action passes, but deciding which Saints RB has the most fantasy upside has been anyone's guess. In week 10, Pierre Thomas disappointed owners, while those that took a lottery ticket on Chris Ivory were rewarded with 72 yards and a TD. It's difficult to recommend any Saints RB as anything more than a flex play (despite the favorable matchup against Oakland's 21st ranked run defense that has allowed the 3rd most rushing TDs (13) in the league).