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Last Minute Decisions

Injury Report: Week 11

by John Daigle

Week 11 of the fantasy football season is finally here, and the Rotoworld crew has everything you need leave the weekend with a win. Patrick Daugherty answers your lineup questions with his Week 11 Rankings, Nick Mensio tells you who to start and who to fade in Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em, and Evan Silva breaks down every matchup in his award-winning Matchups Column.


As for me, I am here to shed some light on the most important injury situations facing fantasy owners heading into the weekend. The sister resource to this column is the Rotoworld News Page, which will have every single inactive and all the late-breaking news up to kickoff and beyond. I also tweet about football (and wrestling) at @notJDaigle.

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Early Games


Cowboys @ Falcons


*This one’s headlined by a series of defensive injuries that just scream fireworks for both offenses. The Cowboys will be extremely thin in their trenches, for example, as Taco Charlton (shoulder), David Irving (ankle), Daniel Ross (calf), and Antwaun Woods (concussion, doubtful) have already been ruled out. DT Maliek Collins (knee) is also listed as questionable. And we haven't even touched on Sean Lee’s (hamstring) continued absence yet. In four games without Lee this season, the Cowboys have been diced for 7.4 yards per attempt by opposing quarterbacks. Now sprinkle in the fact they may not have a single body that can genuinely rush/reach the passer and you’ll understand why Matt Ryan is Roto Pat’s Week 11 Rankings coverboy. Starting guards Connor Williams (knee) and Zack Martin (knee) are both questionable, too, though the latter should play. Xavier Su’a-Filo is outright better than Williams at this stage of their careers, so there’s no downgrade there if the first-round rookie's ruled out.


*MLB Deion Jones (foot) was thought to be back this week, but it sounds as if he’ll return Thursday night against New Orleans rather than Sunday. Competent coaching would then presumably keep Ezekiel Elliott heavily involved in the passing game since the Falcons not only boast the league’s No. 31 rush defense DVOA, but have also permitted the most receptions (76) to running backs on the year. You can do worse than stacking and starting players in this game across the board.


Bengals @ Ravens


*Not only are A.J. Green (toe, doubtful) and Josh Malone (hamstring) likely out again, but John Ross (groin) is questionable heading into Sunday, too. That means the Bengals could be down to just Alex Erickson, Cody Core, and Auden Tate behind Tyler Boyd against Baltimore’s stout secondary. The good news is that Joe Mixon (knee) was removed from Cincinnati’s injury report altogether.


*Joe Flacco (hip) is listed as doubtful, but there’s no indication he’ll suit up here. Coach John Harbaugh stated Flacco could play without practice, but it’s more likely the team activates Robert Griffin III behind Lamar Jackson for the first time all year. RG3 would also reportedly “mix in for some series and special packages” even if Jackson gets the nod for his first start. Unless you have no better option in a deep/2-QB league, this situation is one to steer clear from. It sounds like whomever starts will at least have LT Ronnie Stanley (ankle, questionable) back protecting their blindside.


Panthers @ Lions


*Rookie D.J. Moore will have one more week to impress without Torrey Smith (knee, out). Moore has tied Devin Funchess in targets (13) over Carolina's last three games, running 87 routes to Funchess’ 95. The explosive first-rounder still can’t be considered anything more than a low-end WR3/FLEX given his average of 10 fantasy points without Smith.


*Whereas the Panthers will have all their key offensive players Sunday, the Lions could be signing fans to throw to mid-game with Marvin Jones (knee, out), TE Michael Roberts (shoulder, out), and Golden Tate (traded) all out. Theo Riddick and Kerryon Johnson have coexisted the past two games, so one would think Riddick just be utilized as he has during that span and run his routes primarily from the slot (23), inline (10), and out wide (10). That would presumably leave Johnson with the backfield all to himself, locking him in as a sneaky usage-based RB2. Then again, coach Matt Patricia made the Lions practice in the snow Thursday despite the fact they don’t play outdoors for another month, so maybe we should expect Riddick to siphon backfield carries for no reason at all. If you’re in need of a streaming tight end, Luke Willson will likely run every route sans Roberts.


Titans @ Colts


*Taywan Taylor (ankle) is listed as questionable, but it’s highly doubtful he suits up after being unable to practice for consecutive weeks. Tajae Sharpe (ankle, questionable) surprisingly popped up on Tennessee’s injury report Friday, too. He’ll likely play, but note Cameron Batson and Darius Jennings would run wind sprints in his place if Sharpe’s ruled inactive. The Titans’ target tree has dwindled to Corey Davis, Dion Lewis, and Jonnu Smith since their bye and it should stay that way in a matchup that continues to see its total (50.5) increase.


*S Malik Hooker (hip, questionable) is the only injury of concern for the Colts.


Buccaneers @ Giants


*The Bucs were already planning to be without stud MLB Kwon Alexander (knee) after he was placed on injured reserve a few weeks back. Now they’ll have to defend Saquon Barkley without the additional absences of premier WLB Lavonte David (knee), DE Vinny Curry (ankle), bruising S Justin Evans (toe), and CB M.J. Stewart (foot). Look no further as to why Roto Pat ranked Barkley No. 4 at his position. Chris Godwin is questionable and reportedly "didn't look like someone who was playing" at practice Friday. If he's out, DeSean Jackson would work as Tampa Bay's primary third wideout rather than being stuck in a rotational role.


*All hobbled players were removed from New York’s injury report Friday.


Texans @ Redskins


*Coach Bill O’Brien said Keke Coutee “has a chance” to be out there Sunday. He’ll ultimately be a game-time call. The Texans quietly waived hybrid slot WR/RB Tyler Ervin during their bye, so they’ll likely pivot to multiple tight end sets with DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas on the outside if Coutee is deemed inactive.


*Per usual, Washington will be without Jamison Crowder (ankle) and Chris Thompson (ribs) Sunday. Samaje Perine (knee, calf) was also surprisingly ruled out, leaving only Adrian Peterson and third-down back Kapri Bibbs as the team’s two healthy runners. Look for Redskins to call up Byron Marshall from their practice squad. Starting LT Trent Williams (thumb surgery, questionable) was upgraded Friday, too, though it’s a genuine question how effective he’ll be with a cast over his thumb even if he does play. Williams at 70 percent is still better than no Williams at all given the rest of Washington’s injuries in the trenches.


Steelers @ Jaguars


*James Conner (concussion) was a full participant in practice throughout the week, so there’s nothing to see here. He was pulled from the injury report Friday.


*Starting RG A.J. Cann (hamstring, questionable) was downgraded mid-week. C Brandon Linder (knee) hit injured reserve mid-week, too, leaving several vacancies in Jacksonville’s trenches. And if that weren't enough, incumbent LT Ereck Flowers is expected to start. For DFS purposes, note the Jaguars quietly waived David Grinnage, leaving James O’Shaughnessy as the team’s only viable tight end. O’Shaughnessy ran 23 routes to backup Blake Bell’s 12 last week, but should see an increased role now that he’s off the team’s injury report completely.


Afternoon Games


Raiders @ Cardinals


*Without Jordy Nelson (knee, out) and Martavis Bryant (knee, out) Sunday, the Raiders are left with Brandon LaFell, Seth Roberts, Dwayne Harris, Marcell Ateman, and practice squad call-up Saeed Blacknall as their only receivers against Arizona’s No. 5 pass defense DVOA. This after the team practiced just once this week due to air pollution. Jared Cook may be a sharp pivot, but Oakland’s inevitable offensive inefficiency could render him completely useless if the team stacks numerous three-and-outs (same goes for Jalen Richard). The Cardinals have also allowed the sixth-fewest receptions to opposing tight ends this season.


*Chad Williams (ankle) will miss his second consecutive game, but his absence proved to be a moot point last week. Rather than someone behind him stepping up, Arizona’s target tree was simply whittled down to Larry Fitzgerald (6/50), David Johnson (7/85/1), and Ricky Seals-Jones (5/51). Johnson stands to benefit the most as he’ll presumably ice this one on the ground for the entire second half.


Broncos @ Chargers


*Phillip Lindsay buoyed his additional opportunity into an average 15.3 fantasy points over Denver’s last two games, but will now return to a timeshare with fellow rookie Royce Freeman (ankle, in). WR DaeSean Hamilton (knee) is also set to make his debut and should simply cut into Tim Patrick’s routes as the team’s third wideout. The Broncos will be down to their third left guard of the season, though, as fill-in Max Garcia tore his ACL at practice mid-week.


*Keenan Allen (hip, finger) gave the fantasy world a scare when he was downgraded Thursday, but it was clearly for precautionary reasons. Both he and Mike Williams returned to full participation on Friday and were promptly removed from Los Angeles’ injury report. Joey Bosa (foot, questionable) could make his long-awaited season debut after practicing for the first time since the summer.


Eagles @ Saints


*Ronald Darby (knee, injured reserve) and Jalen Mills (foot) won’t be back to help fend off the Saints’ relentless aerial attack, but Sidney Jones (hamstring) will. Starting RT Lane Johnson (knee, probable) should also return to applause.


*LT Terron Armstead (shoulder) and DE Marcus Davenport (toe) are still out for New Orleans.


Sunday Night


Vikings @ Bears


*Despite being limited throughout the week, Adam Thielen (back, calf) was declared good to go and taken off Minnesota’s injury report Friday afternoon. There’s nothing to worry about. LB Anthony Barr’s (hamstring, questionable) status will be worth monitoring.


*Barring a surprise add to their report on Saturday, the Bears enter Sunday relatively healthy.


Monday Night


Chiefs @ Rams


*Sammy Watkins (foot, questionable) was shockingly downgraded Friday after he failed to get in any work. If he’s out, expect Chris Conley to take his place (though he’s not viable for fantasy). Saturday’s participation will go a long way in telling where Watkins stands for Monday night.


*With the Rams using 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end, three receivers) at a league-high rate (98%), we can expect their offense to use the same approach as the last time Cooper Kupp (torn ACL, injured reserve) was out. Josh Reynolds ran 47 routes on 120-of-129 snaps in those two games, totaling 4/61/2. His 10.3% target share during that stretch is slightly concerning, but his on-field usage in this high-scoring affair certainly makes him a viable FLEX and Captain candidate in thin one-game DFS slates.



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