2018 NFL Injury Report: November 16
Michael A. Stein breaks down the injury situations across the NFL, including player profiles, reasons for optimism, and reasons for pessimism.
Week 11 is underway after another exciting Thursday night game between Green Bay and Seattle. This is a crucial week in terms of positioning for the fantasy playoffs, and GMs are already facing serious challenges with six teams on a bye week. There are several key players banged up this week, but GMs should be used to waiting until the last minute to make lineup decisions. So without any further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the 2018 fantasy football emergency room.
Adam Thielen (WR-MIN)
A strong argument can be made that Adam Thielen is the best wide receiver in the league right now as he has 78 catches for 947 yards and seven touchdowns and eight 100-yard games. He has been invaluable for fantasy GMs in any league format. However, Thielen is currently dealing with injuries to his lower back and calf, which limited him in practice on Thursday. Right now there is no reason to be concerned about his status for Sunday night’s showdown against Chicago. The Vikings will likely limit his reps in practice on Friday to ensure that he is ready to go for the prime time battle over the NFC North. He remains a WR1 option and there is no reason to doubt whether he can continue putting up elite statistics.
Keenan Allen (WR-LAC)
The Chargers have added Keenan Allen to their injury report with injuries to his finger and hip. This is alarming, but GMs should not be concerned about his ability to play this weekend against Denver. Allen has had a solid season in terms of receptions and yardage as he has 53 catches for 687 yards. However, Allen has only caught two touchdowns which is disappointing for GMs in standard leagues. The Chargers have been on fire and should be able to do away with their division rival, but Denver does have a respectable defense so Allen may still have a tough road ahead finding the end zone.
James Conner (RB-PIT)
Fantasy GMs can now rid themselves of any concern about Connor’s status for Week 11 and beyond after he practiced in a full capacity on Wednesday. He was in the league’s concussion protocol but appears right on track to be on the field this weekend against the Jaguars. Le’veon Bell is also officially done for the year so there is no longer the specter of his return either. Connor is a bona fide elite running back who has run for 771 yards and ten touchdowns along with 39 catches for 387 yards and one receiving touchdown. Jacksonville’s defense will present a challenge for Connor, but he is still a high-end RB1 and should be able to produce despite the tough matchup.
Joe Mixon (RB-CIN)
Mixon is back on the injury report with a knee issue and only practiced in a limited capacity on Thursday. He missed a few weeks earlier in the season after undergoing a minor knee operation, so there is some cause for concern whether he re-aggravated that injury. We should know more about his status for Week 11 later today, so for now GMs should start making contingency arrangements in the event Mixon does not play. He has been a solid RB2 when he is on the field rushing for 570 yards and four touchdowns along with one receiving touchdown.
Jimmy Graham (TE-GB)
Graham was taken out of the game on Thursday night against Seattle after suffering a thumb injury. He left in the second half and then was ruled out to return in the fourth quarter. The Packers certainly could have used him late in the game when their offense stalled, but it was not meant to be. He had only one catch for 13 yards before leaving the game so it was a disappointing performance for him all around. Graham will have several extra days to recover from the injury before Green Bay plays again in Week 12.
Marvin Jones (WR-DET)
Marvin Jones has missed the past couple days of practice after he suffered a knee injury. His status for Week 11 is in doubt, but it is possible he could still play if he gets some practice on Friday. Jones is the Lions’ primary wide receiver now that Golden Tate is gone, so fantasy GMs will be disappointed if he is unable to play this weekend against Carolina. The other dangerous part of his injury is the fact that Detroit then has a quick turnaround next week to play on Thanksgiving, so it is possible Jones could miss two games in short order. Kenny Golladay would be the beneficiary of Jones’ absence so becomes a viable fantasy option under that scenario.
Jordy Nelson (WR-OAK)
The Raiders offense is thinner than Starvin’ Marvin from South Park after various injuries and trades. Now Jordy Nelson can be added to the list of potential absences as he did not practice on Thursday due to a knee injury. The veteran wide receiver has been invisible in Oakland this year with just 25 catches for 353 yards and three touchdowns. He is the team’s only legitimate wide receiver option and his absence would certainly diminish Derek Carr ’s value even more, if that’s possible.
Joe Flacco (QB-BAL)
The Ravens could be facing the Bengals this weekend without quarterback Joe Flacco who is still dealing with a hip injury. He did not practice on Thursday which does not bode well for his chances of playing in Week 11. Backup quarterback Lamar Jackson did not practice either on Thursday due to an alleged illness. Flacco has not produced much from a fantasy perspective this year so GMs will not be missing much if he does not play.
Dustin Hopkins (K-WAS)
Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins has been dealing with a groin injury as he remained out of practice on Thursday. They have brought in several kickers to work out during the week in case Hopkins cannot play this Sunday against the Texans. He has made 17 out of 19 field goals and connected on all 17 of his extra point attempts thus far making him a viable fantasy option most weeks. There are likely better options out there than any of the replacements that Washington could turn to if Hopkins cannot play.
On the Mend
Sammy Watkins (WR-KC)
Watkins is on track to play on Monday night as he works his way back from a foot injury. He practiced in a limited capacity on Thursday which is certainly good news for fantasy GMs who will want him in the lineup for what will undoubtedly be an epic shootout against the Rams. Unless he has an unforeseen setback in the next couple days, GMs can count on him being a WR2 option with a lot of upside going against one of his former teams in prime time.
Royce Freeman (RB-DEN)
Freeman has been limited in practice this week as he continues his recovery from an ankle sprain which cost him a couple games. He is expected to return this weekend against the Chargers but will have to share his workload with Phillip Lindsay and Devontae Booker . Freeman has rushed for 309 yards and four touchdowns on the season, but due to the crowded backfield in Denver he is not a great fantasy option heading into Week 11.
Keke Coutee (WR-HOU)
Coutee continues to practice in a limited capacity this week as he aims to return from a hamstring injury that has been an issue all season. He previously indicated he would not return unless he is 100% healthy, so it remains to be seen whether that prognostication will hold up. Even if he does play, he is only a marginal fantasy option now that Houston has brought in Demaryius Thomas to replace Will Fuller as the team’s number two wide receiver. Chances are that he does play against Washington, but GMs should not be rushing to put him back in lineups.