After a one week hiatus, we’re back with a preview of all the major injuries heading into week 11. We have four teams on bye this week, two of which factor in pretty heavily from a fantasy standpoint (Falcons and Chargers). We’re luckily pretty healthy at the quarterback position, but there remain some question mark at the skills positions, some of which won’t be settled until just before kickoff.
As always, the injury designations are as follows:
Questionable (Q): The most ambiguous of all the designations, this essentially means that a player is uncertain to play in the coming week. This can be interpreted in a multitude of ways, but there is no scale or percentage likelihood that a guy will suit up. Because the league decided to get rid of the Probable tag, any player who has uncertainty about their availability will fall into this category, which muddies the waters a bit for us.
Doubtful (D): This means that the player is unlikely to play. This should not change much from how it was used in the past, as players who were listed her typically did not end up playing on Sunday or Monday.
Out (O): Pretty straightforward: he’s not playing.
To make it easy, we’ll structure it in order from most tenuous positions down to the guys who are likely to play. If I don’t list a guy on here, chances are he’s either in no risk of missing the week or has been ruled out.
Good luck this week!
GAME TIME DECISIONS
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams, RB (thigh, Q): Gurley was not listed on the injury report until Friday rolled around, which is where the questionable tag came from. This has been apparently bothering him since last week, although it did not result in any change in his snap count or carry total. While late adds to the injury report are usually not a good sign, there doesn’t appear to be a ton of mystery about whether he plays or not. Soft tissue injuries can come and go depending on activity level, stress placed on the muscle, and with varying workloads from week to week, This isn’t to say he’s any worse of this week than last but it bears repeating that soft tissue injuries can be precarious and we have to take notice. Because of the late add to the injury report and the late start of this game (1:05pm PST), I’m including him here to make sure you have a sufficient replacement just in case although I do expect him to play
Will Fuller, Houston Texans, WR (knee, Q): Fuller is expected to be a game time decision heading into Monday night’s contest. He’s been dealing with knee and hamstring issues for a few weeks now and does not appear to be 100% at this point in time. Does that mean he won’t play? Not necessarily, as this represents a big game for the Texans and they need all the fire power they can get for their subpar offense. In game management of his reps could be beneficial for a guy dealing with a knee issue and a history of hamstring tenderness, so there is a good chance that he plays, but has his snaps managed a bit more than normal. My guess? He plays at roughly 10-20% less snaps than normal, but I think he’ll be out there this week.
DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins, WR (shoulder, Q): Jackson heads into the weekend as a full practice participant on Friday and officially listed as questionable. He demonstrated improvement this week by getting back to a full practice level after being listed as doubtful all of last week, which is a definite move in the right direction. His ability to play will be dictated by pain-free range of motion, ability to accept weight/force through the involved arm, and pain management before and during the game. This continues to be a fluid situation that may come down to a game time decision, which is tricky considering this is the Sunday night game. Have a backup plan ready just in case he can’t go, but there is an expectation that he will play this week. One consideration: coming back before being 100% poses a risk for an in-game injury, which is a risk you have to consider prior to plugging him in and debating on whether to play someone else.
EXPECTED TO PLAY
Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks, RB (fibula, not on injury report): Rawls is expected to make his return to the lineup this week and appears to be in line to split carries with C.J. Prosise. While coach Pete Carroll said that he’d not be against Rawls getting a good amount of carries, it’s hard to imagine his workload shooting up to pre-injury levels in his first game action since 2015. He looks to be healthy and all signs indicate that he’s moved well during practices, able to make all the movements required of him as a lead back. My expectation is that he is eased back into things this week, possibly getting more carries depending on game flow and as each week goes by.
Lamar Miller, Houston Texans, RB (ankle, not on injury report): Miller continues to nurse an ankle sprain he suffered a couple weeks back, but his removal from the injury report should ease any concerns about his availability this week. Expect Miller to play and get his full share of carries this week against Oakland in Mexico City.
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, WR (back, Q): This appears to be more precaution than anything else, as the limited participation on Friday could be related more to rep management versus actual concern about him being limited or missing time. There does not appear to be any doubt about his availability on Sunday, so plug him in as you normally would.
Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills, WR (foot, Q): Dealing with a sprained foot since week 7, the Bills’ receiver is coming out of the bye week still listed as questionable. He was a limited participant all week, but signs are pointing to him being available for this Sunday’s contest. It is a bit concerning that he’s been dealing with this injury for four weeks now, which can serve as a reminder for how banged up these guys actually are on a week to week basis. Expect Woods to play this week.
Martellus Bennett, New England Patriots, TE (ankle, Q): What a shocker, another Patriot listed as questionable but expected to play? Nothing to see here, as Bennett should be a full go this Sunday with an expanded role in an offense that will be without Gronk and Chris Hogan.
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles, TE (hamstring, Q): After being limited on Wednesday and missing practice Thursday, Ertz was a full participant on Friday, which bodes well for his availability this weekend. We know about hamstring strains, how temperamental they can be with a possibility of in game flare up. However, there’s nothing here that points to this being a serious strain and he should be fine heading into Sunday’s game. Monitor the inactive list prior to kickoff, but expect him to play.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots, TE (chest): Gronk will miss this week’s contest after taking a brutal hit to the chest in Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks. He was initially reported to have suffered a punctured lung, which was then changed to a chest contusion with slight perforation of the lung. He is expected to only miss one week, as the complications possible flying across country were too big of a risk to take. Expect him back in Week 12.