Since we’re into the home stretch of the fantasy season, I decided rather than a detailed write-up on a single player I would specifically focus on injured players and their projections for the rest of the fantasy season. My advice will mostly apply to those owners who are on the playoff bubble. If you’re comfortably in a playoff position you can more likely sit on an injured player and wait for him to come back. In some cases List Him in reality means Drop Him if it’s not likely the player will return.
List Him. In week 10 Roethlisberger suffered a sternoclavicular sprain to his throwing shoulder and a rib injury. As of publication time there was no official word on Big Ben’s timeline to return but indications are that he will not play in week 11 versus the Ravens. Recovery time for an SC sprain can range from a few days for a mild sprain to four-six weeks for more severe sprains. I suspect if it is only a mild sprain then Roethlisberger will end up being listed as questionable for this week. The Raven’s game is huge, Roethlisberger will play if at all possible given Leftwich’s performance in his place against KC. If he’s ruled out, especially before the weekend, it’s pretty clear the sprain is more than mild and he will be out for several weeks at least.
List Him. Last week I recommended to move Vick, and the events of week 10 have pretty much sealed the deal. Reports are the concussion is ‘significant’, meaning he is suffering from one or more symptoms and will sit out at least this week. Given the Eagle’s 3-6 record they will probably need to run the table in order to make the playoffs. Nick Foles will start until Vick is healthy, and the only possible scenario where Vick gets back in is if the Eagles win their games despite Foles being brutal. Otherwise Reid plays Foles the rest of the way to see what the rookie can do after the Eagles are all but officially eliminated.
Love Him. Reports so far are that Smith’s concussion is ‘mild’, however a new wrinkle is that he has decided to get a second opinion. It’s not clear whether it’s because he suspects his concussion is milder than or worse than the team doctors opinion. Smith has no concussion history so assuming reports of the severity we’ve seen so far are correct, Smith will likely only miss week 11 if that. His opponents after week 11 are appealing, other than versus Seattle in week 16. New Orleans, St. Louis, Miami and New England are all favorable match ups with three of those falling in the ‘sweet’ category.
List Him. Players with a concussion history like Cutler are likely to miss more than one week, especially with the Bears offensive line unable to protect Cutler adequately most games. For sure he will miss week 11 versus San Fran minimum. The Bears opponents the rest of the way are middle of the road for giving up fantasy points to opposing QB’s, so if Cutler can come back I would expect more of the same production which currently puts him around 25th for QB fantasy points. That puts him barely in QB2 territory, so try and see if you can do better for your backup or timeshare QB.
Love Him. His rib injury is not serious and his ability to play most likely will come down to pain tolerance. He’s had the bye this past week to heal so that will help. The Browns schedule the rest of the way is good and bad, so I’d expect Richardson to produce at his current rate going forward. If you can pry him away from an owner with depth at RB it will be worth your while.
List Him. I’m really on the fence with this one, but my gut says List. Initial x-rays on his neck were negative but apparently he is expected to undergo ‘every test known to man’ according to coach Tom Coughlin. Some reports have him expected to be ready to go in week 12 after their bye, but usually a battery of tests indicates they don’t know what’s wrong with him and he is currently not OK. With his sketchy health history and the uncertainty of neck injuries in general, I’m very leery of relying on him.
List Him. Time to cut and run with McFadden. He’s wearing a walking boot which is never a good sign, and even when/if he comes back he just can’t seem to get going behind the zone blocking scheme in Oakland. Doesn’t matter much what the Raider’s remaining schedule looks like as he’s mostly failed to produce no matter how weak against the run the opponent is.
Love Him. It’s confirmed Jackson has a concussion and will miss Thursday’s game minimum. He has no concussion history and after this week’s game will have eleven days to recover. His numbers have been alright this season, but barely RB2 worthy. Despite C.J. Spiller vastly out-performing Jackson, the Bill’s coaching staff continues to use a time share. Since I can’t come up with a logical reason why they’ve stuck to it all season long I have to assume it will continue. Even if the Bills decide to let Spiller lead the way if(when?) the Bills are officially out of playoff contention, they have favorable match ups in weeks 12-15 so Jackson if he’s healthy enough to play should have a chance to put up half-decent numbers as an RB2 or your primary injury backup.
List Him. Any time a player is ruled out at the beginning of the week for their next game it’s a pretty clear sign they are not close to returning. The Jags are all but officially eliminated so they won’t rush MJD back into the lineup and when he does get back the organization would be wise to give time to their other backs to see what they have. Of course Jaguars organization and wise are seldom used in the same sentence so you never know.
List Him. Reportedly Murray is champing at the bit to get back in the lineup but indications are that he will miss at least week 11 and likely the week 12 Thanksgiving Thursday game. You can’t rush back from a foot injury and still be effective especially when you’re a running back so your best course of action is to get rid of Murray. Lots of leagues have at least one Cowboys fan as an owner so maybe they’ll be blinded by optimism. Dallas’ schedule is not very RB friendly until a tasty week 16 match up versus the Saints but if you don’t even make the playoffs that doesn’t do you much good.
Love Him. I haven’t heard any mention of Sproles’ status which is odd given how he was reportedly close to making it back for week 11. I suspect he’ll miss at most week 11 and then he’ll be back making life miserable for opposing defenses. The Saints offense looks to be back in business and therefore almost match up proof so start Sproles with confidence when he does return. Maybe you can convince his current owner to look on the pessimistic side and make a deal.
Love Him. He’s close to returning, maybe as early as this weekend. It’s almost certain that Mendenhall will be the head honcho in the backfield as long as he performs up to his usual standards, I’m betting he will. The Steelers have a real good schedule for RB fantasy points the rest of the way save for week 14 versus the Chargers.
Love Him. He may have been able to play this week if the Vikes weren’t on their bye, so all signs point to him being rested and healthy in week 12. He’s a top ten fantasy receiver and with Adrian Peterson running wild lately teams will have less defenders to use in coverage. The Vikings schedule is not at all receiver friendly but in this case that really means Harvin will be the only Vikings receiver producing. Use their schedule to maybe convince his current owner he should make a deal.
Love Him. Nelson participated in a light practice and word is he should be ready for this week. Greg Jennings is still out indefinitely and that makes Nelson #1. His numbers don’t look all that great especially in comparison to last year, but Green Bay as a team struggled some at the start of the year. They’re looking like a force now and Nelson will be one of the main beneficiaries. The Packers when rolling like they are now are match up proof so their remaining schedule is pretty irrelevant.
List Him. There are tentative calls for him to return week 13 but it always concerns me when a player says and thinks he’s healthy enough to play but doctors say no. It indicates there’s an underlying issue, or at least a suspected one, and the worry is playing will worsen the condition. He may come back but I can’t recommend hanging onto him if you need to make a push for the playoffs.
List Him. He’s fully expected to miss this week’s game, and I suspect week 12 as well. Since I’m expecting Roethlisberger to be out for an extended period I don’t see the value in holding on to Brown in the hopes he gets healthy if there’s no one to throw him the ball.
Love Him. He should be back week 11, just a hunch but assuming Cutler is out for a bit Jeffery could be in line for more targets from whoever the replacement is. Jeffery looked like he was coming on before his injury, but it’s always a bit of a risk that a rookie will regress when he gets back into the lineup. Like I said it’s a hunch so take it for what it’s worth but I see him putting up decent numbers.
Love Him. I suspect Garcon will return in week 12 and while he may not be 100% he should quickly rekindle the initial chemistry he showed with RGIII. The Thanksgiving Day match up with Dallas may be daunting but after that the schedule is quite favorable for the Redskin’s passing game.
Love Him. Worse case scenario he misses one more week, but he was near the top for tight end fantasy points when he was injured. Hip injuries are a little unpredictable so there’s a bit of a risk his recovery gets derailed, but I’m confident he’ll be fine. Detroit is the toughest of the Texan’s remaining schedule that includes Jacksonville (if he can come back this week) New England and Tennessee.
Hate to say but List Him, unless you have an adequate replacement already. He’s awfully slow recovering from his ankle injury and at this point looks to be questionable again for week 11. If he can come back healthy and play he’s an elite TE option I’m just not confident of when he will get back and whether he can keep from re-injuring himself. If you feel you’re comfortably in a playoff spot then definitely hang onto him. If you are on the bubble you may want to see what you can get for him if you have another tight end to use, or can get a decent one in return via trade. It’s a gamble but may just make the difference getting you into the playoffs.
Survivor Update: Last week I recommended Miami, New England, Baltimore and San Fran. Brings up an interesting question: How does your elimination league deal with a tie? I’ve been in some where it’s a win and some where it’s a loss. This week I’m taking Denver, St. Louis, Washington and Dallas. Good luck to those of you still alive.
Re-Draft Update: In one of my re-draft leagues I went with Vick and Cutler as my two QB’s. Needless to say my outlook in that league got bleaker by the end of the weekend.