The Training Room: Week 13 Injury Updates
For most fantasy leagues, the fantasy playoffs officially start next week! For others, owners are trying to get one more win to improve their seeding and draw a more favorable matchup. With the fantasy playoffs right around the corner, it's important to note that depending on your situation, players who are dealing with multi-week injuries are not definite holds at this point in the season. Unless they are top tier players, some may not even make an impact if they do return at some point during the fantasy playoffs. You are looking for the least amount of risk and to maximize scoring points, so taking a risk on a player who might not be 100 percent with your season on the line is less than ideal. The latest training room continues to have prominent players suffer injuries that leave their availability for the fantasy playoffs in doubt.
On The Mend
Devonta Freeman (Concussion): Freeman will continue to be day-to-day until he's fully cleared from the concussion protocol, but the fact he was out running with the inactives before this past Sunday's game is a good sign he's getting closer. Projection: Freeman starts Week 13. Tevin Coleman did well in the starting role this past weekend, but Freeman has been far better since he got the job.
Charcandrick West (Hamstring Strain): It took until this past Sunday to officially rule out West against the Bills, but Ian Rappoport reported West's hamstring was improving quickly. Consider him day-to-day, but barring any setbacks, he should be trending in the right direction. Projection: West is active Week 13. Spencer Ware has had two solid games when replacing West, so he's not going anywhere. It's unclear as to how Coach Reid will divide the snaps between the West and Ware when West is finally healthy, but this is definitely something to keep an eye on.
Sam Bradford (Sprained AC Joint): With Bradford getting through the concussion protocol last week, it's just a matter of confidence and comfort in his shoulder during practice to make sure he gets the green light. Projection: Bradford starts Week 13. The Eagles are struggling mightily offensively, and Mark Sanchez hasn't fared much better in the two starts Bradford has missed. The Eagles travel to New England in Week 13, so it could be a tough matchup for Bradford if he does return. I'd look elsewhere if you have the opportunity to.
Ryan Mathews (Concussion): Mathews continues to be day-to-day as he tries to progress through the concussion protocol. Every concussion is different, but like we mentioned when he first suffered this concussion, his previous history could affect his abilty to progress quickly. Projection: Mathews misses Week 13. The Eagles will be without Mathews for hopefully only one more week.
Carlos Hyde (Foot Stress Fracture): Hyde continues to be week-to-week as he is still trying to recover from the stress fracture in his foot. The lack of information or progress with his foot does not bode well for his ability to play anytime soon. Projection: Hyde misses Week 13. There's a good chance the 49ers make a move to put him on IR if he's not showing enough progress with his foot. Shaun Draughn will continue to see the majority of snaps in the 49ers backfield moving forward.
Zach Ertz (Concussion): Ertz was able to practice Tuesday, so although he is yet to get full clearance, he has a good chance of doing so before Sunday. Projection: Ertz starts Week 13. The Eagles are going to need as many playmakers as possible to help keep up with the Patriots this weekend. It's hard to trust what type of production Ertz will provide upon his return, but the Eagles will need to score as many points to make up for their lack of defense.
Danny Amendola (Sprained Knee): Amendola didn't travel with the team to Denver and was ruled out this past Saturday. He'll continue to be day-to-day, with there being a good chance we don't get many updates leading up to this weeks game against the Eagles. Projection: Amendola is active Week 13. The Patriots continue to be decimated by injuries this year and need all the help they can get. Amendola should see heavy targets once he returns to the starting lineup. It's always hard to guess how long Amendola might be healthy for, but if he's starting, play him like you normally would.
Leonard Hankerson (Strained Hamstring): Hankerson will continue to be day-to-day, but re-aggravations to hamstring strains have a tendency to take a little longer to recover from. Projection: Hankerson misses two more games. It seems strange, but when the Falcons are missing Hankerson from their lineup, their offense has a tendency to get stagnant. The Falcons should take things slow with Hankerson this time around to make sure he's fully ready to return.
The Training Room
Bottom Line: It's a tough blow for a Seahawks offense that was already missing Marshawn Lynch. Graham has not been utilized as much as we thought he would when he was first traded to Seattle, but he was starting to show more consistency over the past few weeks. He'll have surgery shortly to repair the tendon to allow him to the rehab process immediately.
Projection: Graham is eased into game action at the start of the season. I'm not sure Graham will be ready for training camp or preseason games as full recovery after a patellar rupture can be anywhere from 8-10 months. The thing some athlete's deal with when sustaining a patellar rupture is lingering tendinitis in the surgically repaired knee, as strength can take longer to regain, which puts more strain on the tendon trying to heal. His ability to jump, explode and cut are all going to be in question heading into next year as those are the main things take a long time to return after patellar tendon ruptures. As we've seen with players returning from patellar tendon ruptures, the recovery is slow and difficult, so hopefully Graham can make as close to a full recovery as possible.
Bottom Line: Gronk's initial reaction to the injury looked threatening to a lot of fantasy owners' potential deep run into the fantasy playoffs. Luckily, his MRI revealed only a bone bruise and a sprained knee, which is a best-case scenario at this point. The sprained knee ligament they are talking about is most likely to his LCL based on how his knee got hit.
Projection: Gronk misses 1-2 games. The Patriots are struggling with the lack of weapons on the offensive side of the ball, so getting Gronk back sooner than later would be a big boost to Tom Brady's value in the fantasy playoffs. Gronk should hopefully make a return in time for the fantasy playoffs, but this is definitely a situation to monitor. You can never trust what information the Patriots provide with regards to their injured players, so seeing Gronk on the practice field participating in any shape or form would be encouraging over the next week or so.
Bottom Line: Roethlisberger remains day-to-day as he tries to progress through the league's protocol. Keep an eye on his practice status this week to make sure he's getting in limited practices. Even if he's not officially cleared through the protocol, the practice reps and time spent on the practice field would be more encouraging about his ability to get cleared before Sunday.
Projection: Roethlisberger starts Week 13. It seems Big Ben is having minimal residual affects from his concussion he suffered this past Sunday against the Seahawks, but his ability to practice and be cleared before Sunday will ultimately decide his fate.
Bottom Line: We haven't heard much detail about the extent or what type of injury Williams is dealing with. However, Williams was seen wearing a sling on Tuesday in the locker room, so that is clearly not a good sign. Consider him day-to-day until we see if he's able to do any sort of activity.
Projection: Williams misses 2 weeks. Although the Bills remain a very run-heavy team, Shady McCoy has looked really good lately, which limits Williams' upside. He's merely a handcuff at this point, and the likelihood of him being 100 percent for the fantasy playoffs is slim. Although Shady has had injuries to deal with this year as well, I wouldn't count on Williams making an impact for your team during the fantasy playoffs.
Bottom Line: Depending on the severity, fractures can take 4-6 weeks to 6-8 weeks for complete healing of the bone. Johnson will miss the rest of the regular season as he was put on IR/return, and unless the Cardinals make it to the Superbowl, his season will be over.
Projection: Johnson misses the rest of the year. It's a disappointing end for a solid year for Johnson. He should have no issues being 100 percent for next year, but you just have to wonder how much longer he'll continue to be effective.
Bottom Line: Ellington has not been completely ruled out for this upcoming weekend's game against the Rams, but it is not looking likely that he plays.
Projection: Ellington misses 2-4 weeks. Ellington has had trouble staying healthy this season, as he dealt with the PCL sprain earlier this season as well. I'd consider him more week-to-week as turf toe injuries can be difficult to return from as a running back.
Bottom Line: He'll be day-to-day as he tries to get some treatment for his ankle during the week. He'll likely be limited in practice this week in hopes some rest will help his ankle improve quickly.
Projection: Hill starts Week 13. I don't think there should be too much concern with Hill's ankle, but there is always some risk for re-aggravation with ankle sprains. I would use him as you normally would against a poor Browns run defense.
Bottom Line: Eifert had some testing done after he sustained the injury, which revealed no structural damage to his neck. He remains day-to-day, but barring any setbacks, he should have a good shot to play this weekend.
Projection: Eifert starts Week 13. Eifert is a red zone machine and Andy Dalton loves looking his way often. Eifert should continue to see steady usage by the Bengals as they try and lock up a first round bye and potentially home field advantage heading into the playoffs.
Bottom Line: It sounds like MIller's rib injury he is dealing with is a little more significant, as ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported it will take close monitoring all week to determine his status for this weekend.
Projection: Miller misses Week 13. Miller has battled through a number of injuries in the past, but rib injuries are difficult as they can really limit the ability to breathe and feel comfortable with just normal day-to-day tasks. Miller will continue to get treatment to see if he can get healthier, but it sounds like he's in danger of missing this week.
Bottom Line: It's always scary when a player who suffers a head injury is carted off the field. Luckily for Hurns, he was released from the hospital and will now try and progress through the NFL concussion protocol to be eligible to return to play.
Projection: Hurns misses Week 13. Severity of the injury can sometimes impact how well a person progresses through the protocol, and I think that will be the case here with Hurns. Although Hurns doesn't have a history of concussions, the Jaguars will likely be conservative with their second year player to make sure they don't rush him back too quickly.
Bottom Line: Matthews has been ruled out indefinitely due to the multiple rib fractures he sustained this past Sunday against the Jets.
Projection: Matthews misses at least 2-3 games. Matthews will not be a factor when the fantasy playoffs start. Devante Parker would be the guy to target if you are looking for depth during the fantasy playoffs.