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Fantasy Friday: Top 10 Injury Issues and Unknowns for Week 11

The total didn’t go to form on Thursday night, but the injury info sure did. Tyler Lockett played and was effective. Carlos Hyde was active and productive against a banged up Cardinals defensive line. Chris Carson was out again as expected, while the Seahawks won and covered.

Our analysis that Kyler Murray would be able to play through his early mild AC joint sprain on this throwing shoulder proved accurate. As expected, halftime concerns about the Kenyan Drake injury turned out to be nothing, and he returned. Christian McCaffrey has already been ruled out for this week, as we stated last week. Nick Chubb beat Austin Ekeler back from injury, as we opined back in Week 4. Ekeler has teased fantasy managers, but I still think he doesn’t return until early December.

Here are the top 10 injury issues and unknowns including a six-pack of quarterbacks. All info here is before the final injury reports as we enter the Week 11 weekend:

1. Teddy Bridgewater – The Panthers quarterback left the Week 10 game with about five minutes to go, and we posted that he had a mild right knee MCL sprain. This is not the knee that he dislocated several years ago. Many assumed he would play this week as he has been in practice, though limited, and Big Ben had a similar MCL and has played. However, I continue to think that Bridgewater won’t play versus the Lions for four reasons. 1) The injury appears worse than Roethlisberger’s. 2) Teddy doesn’t have the same long-term familiarity with his offense that Roethlisberger has, so he can’t just play without full preparation/practice. 3) Bridgewater relies more on mobility at this point of his career than Big Ben, and 4) the Panthers have been conservative returning their current/future stars from injury (see CMC). Despite early week optimism, national media is now reporting that Teddy is unlikely to start after all. At the line movers segment Sunday night at www.profootballdoc.com, the Lions were the slight underdogs, and we said that would flip. Indeed, they are now favored.

 
2. Matt Stafford – The other side of the Panthers vs Lions QB injury unknown is Stafford. He finished the last game with a partial ulnar collateral ligament thumb sprain in his throwing hand. This is similar to Drew Brees last year, but Stafford will not need surgery as it is not a complete tear. He should be able to play and be effective with tape/brace. He spun the ball well Sunday after the injury. Because Stafford will play, Teddy won’t and CMC is out, the Lions are now favored over the Panthers. OutKick readers signed up for free with www.profootballdoc.com would have seen that early this week and could have taken advantage.


3. Drew Lock – The Broncos young QB is listed with rib issues. There is no fracture, but he has an intercostal/oblique muscle injury. Given that muscle strains recover quickly and he has a strong arm, my feeling is that Lock will play against the Dolphins. After not practicing, he did return to limited practice. Expect Lock to be a full go by Sunday.


4. Drew Brees – The Saints QB will not play this November, but I do expect him back in December. The best estimate right now from afar is four weeks. He has broken ribs on both sides of his chest, and there are reports of a collapsed lung. I expect Brees to return to full form before the end of the regular season. The question is when. Come playoffs, Brees will be 100%. 

5. Nick Foles – The Bears QB was carted off at the end of the Monday Night game, producing panic. We opined in game that the injury was not severe and that there would be no fracture. Indeed, word is now that he has a hip/gluteal contusion. With a bye in Week 11, Foles should be ready to go for Week 12. However, so will Mitch Trubisky, who subluxed his throwing shoulder a couple of weeks ago. The Bears will have a decision to make. Both QBs will be available, and Matt Nagy has the convenient injury excuse for both of them when he eventually names his starter.


6. Sam Darnold – It is quite curious that the Darnold was ruled out on Monday. The Jets came off a bye, yet they already knew they were not going to play their starter and did not wait to give him more time for a chance to play. In Week 4, Darnold suffered a throwing shoulder AC joint sprain and finished the game before sitting for two weeks. In Week 8, he reaggravated the same injury. Now it has been two weeks since that reinjury, yet he is declared out for a third. This fuels speculation of tanking and questions about Darnold’s status as the long-term future for the Jets.


7. D’Andre Swift – The Lions RB will be out this week. He popped up on the injury report with a midweek concussion. If he suffered the head injury in practice, he does not have time to clear the protocol before this week’s contest. If he developed delayed symptoms from the Week 10 game, he will be out longer than this week.


8. Alvin Kamara – The Saints star missed practice with his foot, but we continue to have confidence that he will play. This seems to be a day for Karmara give his bone bruise some much-needed rest. The team will need him given their QB situation.


9. Davante Adams – The Packers WR suffered a left ankle injury Sunday but limped through the game and even caught a touchdown. According to video, it was not a high ankle sprain. He practiced Wednesday but then was out Thursday. Judging the video of his injury, I still feel he plays Sunday versus the Colts. Of course, I haven’t examined him and the Packers are historically conservative, but this is an injury that I think he can play through and be effective.


10. Allen Lazard – The Packers have more WR help coming. Lazard was activated off IR after his in-season core muscle injury. He came off a Week 3 career game before having sports hernia type surgery. Expect Lazard to play this week, but he will need time to be worked back into full form.

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Written by Pro Football Doc

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

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