Week 12: 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). The end of week 11 saw the end of the Bye weeks, which is good news for fantasy owners as the injuries continue to pile up.
Week 10 saw four signal callers knocked out of action with injuries (multiple concussions). Nick Foles, Jason Campbell, and Byron Leftwich floundered in relief as their respective teams ended up with a Big L. For the Steelers, they will be down to 3rd stringer Charlie Batch as Leftwich suffered broken ribs in the Sunday night loss to Baltimore. The Bears' Jay Cutler has suffered multiple concussions leaving his week 12 status for the division battle with Minnesota in serious jeopardy. The one bright spot among the backups was 49er QB Colin Kaepernick's performance against Chicago, which has him listed as the likely starter for the very favorable week 12 matchup against the generous Saints defense.
Week 11 saw another high profile RB knocked from the starting lineup as Lesean McCoy suffered a concussion and with the Eagles' season in free fall , one has to think that Bryce Brown will get the start on Monday night against Carolina. Veteran Willis Mcgahee suffered a knee injury that will force him to miss most (if not all) of the remaining 6 games. Ronnie Hillman will be a hot commodity on waiver wires, but the injury likely means that Denver rely even more on Peyton's shoulder for the remainder of the season. Darren Mcfadden 's week 9 high ankle sprain has opened the door for Marcel Reece to produce back to back solid fantasy days. RUN DMC is rumored to have a chance to return for week 12, but we aren't holding our breath (missed 19 games over first four seasons). Demarco Murray's week 6 injury will likely keep him sidelined for the Thanksgiving day matchup with Washington, allowing Felix Jones to maintain RB2 status for week 12. Jones missed Tuesday's practice with a knee injury and if he can't go Lance Dunbar and Phil Tanner would likely split touches but neither are worth starting.
At the WR position, multiple big names were rendered non factors as Julio Jones and Dwayne Bowe battled injuries that resulted in both players finishing without a catch. The Packers Greg Jennings is eyeing a week 13 return (not an ideal scenario for an aging WR in a contract year) and the Packers have hardly missed a beat with the emergence of Randall Cobb and return of Jordy Nelson (used the week 10 bye to heal his ankle injury).
The TE position took a major hit in week 11 as fantasy leader Rob Gronkowski suffered a broken arm that is expected to keep him in street clothes for 4-6 weeks. Aaron Hernandez (ankle) has only played in four games this season but will likely but rushed back into action for the Thursday night game with the Jets.
Cutler was knocked out of the week 10 Sunday night loss to Houston with a concussion. Jason Campbell got the week 11 start in San Francisco and struggled mightily to the tune of just 107 yards passing, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Cutler is averaging just 201 YPG with 12 TDs and 10 INTs through the first 9 games of the season, but Brandon Marshall owners are praying for a fast recovery. In week 12, the Bears host a mediocre Viking defense that ranks 16th against the pass (will be without injured physical CB Chris Cook). Head Coach Lovie Smith expressed optimism that Cutler will be able to start this week, but the fact that he's endured multiple concussions and has yet to be cleared from the most recent brain bruise makes has us less than optimistic for week 12.
Much like the entire Eagles dream team, the 4th year RB from Pittsburgh is having a disappointing season by his standards as he's posted just 5 touchdowns through 10 games (had 20 TDs in 2011). In the week 11 loss to Washington, McCoy suffered a concussion that has his week 12 status in jeopardy. Rookie Bryce Brown (Kansas State) finished with 5 carries for 35 yards in relief and could get the start on Monday night against a Carolina defense that ranks 20th against the run (118 YPG).
Darren Sproles' fractured hand (suffered in week 8) was initially expected to keep him sidelined for 4-6 weeks. He returned to practice last week, but was unable to suit up for the win in 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. It's difficult to recommend any Saints RB as anything more than a flex play, especially with a very difficult week 12 matchup against San Fran's 6th ranked run defense that has allowed the 3rd most rushing TDs all season. Sproles looks like a week 12 game time decision, but remains just a PPR option in a crowded backfield against a stout run defense.
As the QB carousel continues in Kansas City, one of the league's worst passing games took a dramatic hit in week 11 when leading WR Dwayne Bowe was knocked from the game with a 2nd quarter neck injury. The 6th year WR is in a contract year, so he should be extra motivated to return to the field despite the Chiefs' 1-9 record. On the season, Bowe is averaging 63 YPG, but has just three TDs through 10 games. The Chiefs lack any backup options on the fantasy radar, but Dexter McCluster could emerge as a desperation flex play for those in deep leagues. In week 12, KC hosts a Denver defense that ranks 12th against the pass and with the dynamic duo of Brady Quinn and Matt Cassel alternating clunker performances - Jamaal Charles remains the only Chief that should sniff fantasy lineups.
Harvin suffered an ankle injury in the week 9 loss to Seattle and was unable to suit up for the week 10 win over Detroit. In his absence, rookie Jarius Wright hauled in his first three catches for 65 yards including a TD; TE Kyle Rudolph led the team 64 yards and a TD after falling off the fantasy radar in weeks 7 through 9 (just 2 catches). The Vikings had a bye in week 11, but Harvin missed this Monday's practice as head coach Leslie Frazier reported that the majority of the swelling has subsided in Harvin's ankle but the soreness remains. Harvin is viewed as one of the tougher WR in the game, so we are betting that he finds a way to get on the field for the crucial divisional battle in Soldier Field against Chicago's 11th ranked pass defense. The 4th year WR from Florida is averaging 75 YPG with 4 TDs and if he has to skip this week's game it would be a downgrade for the Vikings special teams as well as their offense as a whole. Michael Jenkins and Jerome Simpson would likely get the start if Harvin is ruled out, but neither is on the fantasy radar. Kyle Rudolph would be the likely beneficiary of more targets if Harvin can't go, but with Ponder under center , Rudolph will be hard pressed to crack TE1 status.