We followed up a quiet injury week with a crazy one in Week 11. The hits just kept coming on Sunday and then early this week. Here are the biggest names to follow before the Week 12 kickoff; players who are battling injuries but have a chance to play.
LeSean McCoy RB, Bills: dislocated thumb
McCoy was unable to return on Sunday after dislocating his thumb because the medical staff couldn’t get it to pop back into place properly. He quickly underwent surgery and is expected to play this weekend. Because the injury is to his left hand, and he typically carries the ball with his right, he won’t be limited much by the injury.
Rob Gronkowski QB, Patriots: chest injury
Gronk missed Week 11 because of a punctured lung, and it sounded like he wouldn’t be available against the Jets either. But Gronk was seen at Patriots practice Wednesday, so there is a chance he’ll be cleared in time to play Sunday. His injury risk and Health Performance Factor have already improved according to the Inside Injuries algorithm. So, if he is active he is worth starting in fantasy lineups.
Darren Sproles RB, Eagles: rib fracture
Sproles took a huge hit while fielding a punt and was unable to return because of a chest injury. He’s been diagnosed with a fracture to the seventh rib, which is considered a safe area, so he should be able to play this weekend. The optimal recovery time is just one week for a single rib fracture like this, so he should be ready to go.
Ryan Mathews RB, Eagles: MCL sprain
The Eagles are calling Mathews day-to-day after an MRI showed an MCL sprain, but that sounds incredibly optimistic. While we don’t know the exact severity, this sounds like an injury that takes around 2-4 weeks to recover from, so Mathews shouldn’t play. If he does he is risking re-injury. Don’t expect much.
Travis Benjamin WR, Chargers: PCL sprain
A PCL sprain has limited Benjamin for the last six weeks, and he missed Week 10 because he re-injured it the week before. He is coming off a bye week, so he had two full weeks to rest and get healthy again. After practicing on Monday, I expect Benjamin to play and have some value again in the Chargers offense.
Tevin Coleman RB, Falcons: hamstring strain
It’s been a long layoff for Tevin Coleman, who is finally expected to return this weekend. The Falcons RB provided a strong one-two punch out of the backfield with Devonta Freeman, but he has been sidelined for a month with a hamstring strain. The Falcons have arguably the best offense in the league, and they are always better with Coleman. He’s a solid flex play this week and should be good to go.
Bortles landed hard on his right shoulder in the first quarter but played through the injury. There’s almost no chance he misses this game even if he is limited at practice all week, but I think it will limit his ability to throw the deep ball. And one big hit affecting his throwing shoulder could really cause a drop in his performance. The offensive line needs to step up and protect their quarterback.
Sammy Watkins WR, Bills: foot fracture
Their Bills activated Sammy Watkins from injured reserve, so he’s eligible to play this week, but I think the team’s’ optimism is a bit premature. When Watkins is active (whether it’s this week or next), it will take a few more weeks before he is back in football shape and can be out there the whole game. They need to be incredibly cautious with his return so he doesn’t have yet another setback following an April foot fracture. Watkins’ Fantasy value typically relies on a heavy share of team targets, so he may not be a valuable Fantasy piece until later in the season.
T.J. Yeldon RB, Jaguars: ankle sprain
Yeldon’s disappointing second season with the Jaguars took another hit on Sunday, when he suffered an ankle sprain and was unable to return. Ivory and Yeldon once formed one of the better RB duos on paper, but they’ve been a huge bust this year. Yeldon has just one game with at least 40 yards rushing. Even if Yeldon does recover from this ankle sprain in time to play Week 12, he’s best left on the bench. There’s plenty of better Fantasy options out there.