We are nearing the kickoff of Week 11 of the NFL season and while every team around the league continues to focus on struggling through the pandemic, another mounting concern looms. Just like any other season, the injury list for each club is growing rapidly after two and a half months of football.
For fantasy players, those injuries lead to uncertainty and difficult roster and lineup decisions. Let’s take a look at some significant injury updates from Tuesday practices as teams (both NFL and fantasy) looks ahead to Week 11’s action.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford suffered a thumb injury in the team’s Week 10 win over Washington and it was revealed to be a partial tear on his throwing hand. Early reports from NFL Network suggest the Lions still expect Stafford to start against the Panthers on Sunday, though this will be a situation to watch throughout the week. Stafford has just three games scoring as a QB1 this season, though two of those have come in the past three weeks.
Stafford’s opponent on Sunday is also in doubt. Panthers veteran QB Teddy Bridgewater is dealing with a knee injury coming out of his Week 10 matchup with the Buccaneers. Bridgewater was forced from the game late and struggled to even reach the sidelines. The team got good news following the game as an MRI revealed no serious damage with a diagnosis of a mild MCL sprain. While Bridgewater is considered day-to-day, he’s expected to be limited in practice and his status for Sunday is very much in doubt. If Bridgewater can’t go, former XFL star QB P.J. Walker will get the nod.
Yet another starting quarterback to suffer a Week 10 injury was Denver’s Drew Lock, who is dealing with a rib issue. Broncos HC Vic Fangio hinted on Monday that Lock’s status was uncertain for Week 11, suggesting his starter needed a full week to prepare for the Dolphins. While Lock reportedly avoiding a rib fracture, he does have a “severe strain and bruising,” which has him day-to-day and iffy for this week. If Lock misses the game, backup QB Brett Rypien would draw the start.
Drew Brees is certain to miss the Saints game in Week 11 after suffering rib and lung injuries against the 49ers last week. He was relieved by veteran QB Jameis Winston, who is expected to start against the Falcons this week. Brees though, is seeking a second opinion, evidently unhappy with the initial prognosis that essentially would keep the future Hall of Famer out for the remainder of the regular season.
The final starting quarterback to deal with an injury last week was Bears QB Nick Foles, who left the game on the Bears’ final series in what looked like a serious injury, requiring him to be carted off the field. The Bears got good news that Foles did not suffer a hip fracture, which was the initial fear. Chicago is on bye coming up this week and Foles’ status will be evaluated in the coming days. If Foles and former starter Mitch Trubisky are both out, QB Tyler Bray would be next in line.
The Seattle Seahawks have been playing without their top two backs in recent weeks, but that should change when they take the field on Thursday night. Veteran backup RB Carlos Hyde, who missed time with a hamstring injury, was a full participant in Tuesday’s practice and expects to play. Hyde could get the starting nod if RB Chris Carson’s foot injury continues to keep him off the field. Watch practice reports later today to gain a better understanding about what to expect from the Seattle backfield.
The Cardinals got RB Kenyan Drake back on the field in Week 10 and he gave the team a big boost, rushing for 100 yards. Yesterday, Drake was limited at practice with an ankle injury, though he reportedly came out of Sunday’s game unscathed. Presumably just a light workday for Drake, he should continue to share the backfield role with RB Chase Edmonds.
The San Francisco 49ers are on bye this week, but HC Kyle Shanahan is hopeful that when they take the field again, both RBs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman will be in uniform. Considering the Niners just lost rookie RB JaMycal Hasty to the injured reserve, the return of the veteran backs is necessary. Mostert’s return would also be a huge boost for fantasy managers trying to make a run at the playoffs.
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There is growing concern that Seattle WR Tyler Lockett could miss the team’s crucial Thursday night matchup against the Cardinals. Lockett injured his knee last week and HC Pete Carroll said Lockett had “a bit of a knee sprain.” Lockett has now missed two days of practice this week and will need to get in a Wednesday practice to show he’s ready to go in the Week 11 opener. If Lockett sits, both DK Metcalf and David Moore would stand to benefit.
The Packers may finally get a boost at the wide receiver position as they activated WR Allen Lazard from the injured reserve. If Lazard is back in action on Sunday for the Pack, he will battle WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling and TE Robert Tonyan for targets behind WR Davante Adams. Both MVS and Tonyan stepped up at times in Lazard’s absence.
Coming off the bye, there is still some uncertainty regarding Falcons WR Calvin Ridley, who is dealing with a foot injury. Ridley was basically a non-participant, working off to the side in the team’s first practice of the week. He’ll need to get in a limited practice later today to be ready to go this week.