With the fantasy playoffs just around the corner, our teams need to stay healthy enough for when we get into the single elimination weeks. Obviously, we have no control over the health of our players, but we do have control over how we react to the news, and how quickly we can adapt and make changes.
Let’s talk about some of the biggest names in the league who landed on the injury report this week.
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay (Ankle)
After what appeared to be an ankle injury after the Bucs’ defeat to the Saints last Sunday, Bruce Arians said that Jameis is fine and will have no issues starting this week against a newly-good Atlanta Falcons defense.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit (Back)
Stafford remains week to week with his back injury that’s cost him the past few weeks. Stafford has said that he will play when he’s healthy, but that could be next week, or next year. It’s tough to tell at this point when he’ll make his return.
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh (Shoulder)
After he was forced to depart last Thursday night’s game against Cleveland, Conner’s status for Week 12 is currently “up in the air”, as HC Mike Tomlin admitted on Tuesday that he “doesn’t know the availability” of Conner for this Sunday. He has been sidelined thus far for practice during the week, so while it doesn’t look too good for his status on Sunday, Conner could still suit up. It’s something to monitor throughout the rest of this week.
Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis (Mack)
After departing with a hand injury against the Jaguars last Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Mack fractured his hand. And while it isn’t thought to be season-ending, it is likely that Mack will miss multiple weeks, including tonight’s AFC South showdown against the Texans. It’s a big blow to their backfield, as the rushing duties will now be on the shoulders of Johnathan Williams and Jordan Wilkins (if healthy) as the lead backs. Nyheim Hines will likely see some sort of hybrid role with work coming in the passing game.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta (Foot)
While he did miss Wednesday’s practice, numerous reports out of Atlanta is that he is currently trending in the right direction. He may not be back for this week, but Freeman should make his return sooner rather than later. It’ll be something to keep our eyes on as the week progresses.
Matt Breida, RB, San Francisco (Ankle)
Breida will continue to rehab his sprained ankle this week in hopes of returning to game action on Sunday. He still hasn’t practiced so far this week, so we need to keep our eyes out for any news regarding his status for this week.
Phillip Dorsett, WR, New England (Concussion)
After suffering a concussion against the Eagles and exiting the game, Dorsett hasn’t practiced yet this week, although he was spotted doing light stretching. He may be able to play this week against the Cowboys, but if he is unable to go, we should see a big boost in the usage rate of rookie N’Keal Harry, who would likely fill in with Edelman and Sanu in 3-WR sets.
Auden Tate, WR, Cincinnati (Neck)
After a very scary hit this past week, Tate had to be carted off the field and exited the game. He’s remained in the concussion protocol so far this week, as he’s reportedly dealing with a cervical strain as well. He’s also been sidelined for practice this week, and it’s not looking good for him being able to start in Week 12. If, by some miracle, he’s able to go, he is a WR3 at best, although this Cincy offense isn’t too valuable with Ryan Finley under center.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh (Knee/Concussion)
After dealing with both concussion and knee injuries this past week, JuJu is not expected to play in Week 12 against the Bengals, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas (Knee)
Cooper has apparently been dealing with a knee issue these past few weeks, that he’s been able to play through, albeit at not 100% health or efficiency. Not only has Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that he expects Cooper to play in Week 12 against New England, but he was also a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, a great sign that he’ll be able to go.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, San Francisco (Ribs)
After aggravating his rib cartilage halfway through last week’s game, Sanders was sidelined for Wednesday’s practice. It’ll be something to keep our eyes on for the rest of the week to see what his status will be up until Sunday. If he is unable to go, the Niners will likely lean heavily on Dante Pettis.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis (Calf)
After missing the past few weeks, Hilton is listed as questionable for tonight’s game against Houston, and is expected to make his return in a pivotal game for the Colts.
Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota (Hamstring)
With a bye this week for Minnesota, Thielen is targeting a Week 13 return after missing last Sunday’s game against the Broncos. The extra week off will greatly help the receiver.
Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta (Knee)
Like Freeman, Hooper is trending in the right direction, but unlike Freeman, he has already been ruled out for Week 12. Again, Hooper will miss this week, but it shouldn’t be too long until we see him again.
George Kittle, TE, San Francisco (Knee)
Like every other 49ers player (it seems), Kittle hasn’t practiced so far this week due to his knee injury, and while he does hope to return this week, HC Kyle Shanahan said that he’s gonna wait and see with Kittle, Breida, and Sanders.
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