- Remember David Johnson and Greg Olsen? They could be returning to a fantasy football lineup near you soon.
Danny Woodhead, who has been on IR since Week 1 with a hamstring injury, is expected to make his return in Week 11. Returning stars could be a theme over the next few weeks, with players who went on IR with designations to return early in the season all hitting or approaching their activation eligibility dates. Two such players kick off our Fantasy Football Injury Report for Week 11.
David Johnson, RB, Cardinals
Injury: dislocated wrist
Johnson finally had the cast that was protecting his surgically-repaired wrist removed on Monday, and is now in a splint. He’ll ramp up his rehab to restore range of motion and strength, and will potentially start practicing with the splint to see how the wrist feels. There are still a lot of question marks as to what the Cardinals plans are for Johnson, but he’s eligible to return Week 12 and is trending in the right direction.Of course, there’s a chance the Cardinals won’t want to bring back one of the key pieces of their future in what’s likely a lost season. If he’s somehow on your waiver wire, though, the reward of adding him significantly outweighs the risk.
Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers
Injury: Jones (foot) fracture
Olsen continues to ramp up his activity in advance of Week 12, the game for which he’s eligible to be activated from IR. He was on the field with the training staff doing a workout and jogging before the Panthers win over the Dolphins on Monday night. His fantasy owners should expect him to be limited right out of the gate, but the bigger concern is the possibility of a flare-up of discomfort that could sideline him for longer once he does return. Those who have tried to return early from surgery after a Jones fracture have had complications, including Julian Edelman, Dez Bryant and Sammy Watkins in recent years. Remember, too, that the Panthers could take it easy on him if they win a few more games and put themselves in strong playoff position. I’m cautiously optimistic that he’ll be able to contribute immediately upon his return.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons
The Falcons will be cautious with Freeman after the star running back sustained his second concussion of the season. He has already been ruled out for the team’s Monday night showdown with the Seahawks in Week 11, and there’s concern that he could miss more than just this week. That’s not uncommon for those dealing with multiple concussions in a short time period. The recovery process with concussions takes longer the second time around, as the body and brain need more time to adapt to the increased physical and mental stresses that come with the sport.
Rob Kelley, RB, Redskins
Injury: sprained MCL/high ankle sprain
There is always risk for a combination of knee and ankle trauma when dealing with high ankle sprains due to the mechanism of how the injury occurs. There are reports that the Redskins are contemplating putting Kelley on IR, so the severity of the injury must be significant. I’m not overly concerned about the MCL which should heal up on its own in a normal timeframe. I’m more concerned about the high ankle sprain, which will real limit what Kelley can do and drive his recovery timetable. Regardless, Kelley will miss multiple weeks, which likely makes him droppable from a fantasy standpoint.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers
Injury: sprained MCL
Whenever you are carted off with an injury, you are considered lucky if it doesn’t end your season. Jones will be out at least a month with the knee injury, and there’s a good chance he misses more time than that. Jones, in fact, may be done for the season. With Ty Montgomery dealing with another rib injury (we’ll discuss shortly), Jamaal Williams could be the top back in the Packers backfield for now.
Ty Montgomery, RB, Packers
Injury: rib injury aggravation
Montgomery aggravated the rib injury that he sustained in the first month of the season, and is undergoing further tests to determine the next step. In Week 4, Montgomery broke multiple ribs in a win over the Bears. He took another big hit to the midsection in Green Bay’s second meeting with Chicago last week, and while he didn’t break anything, he did sustain another injury to the same area. The good news, though, is that the injury isn’t believed to be too serious, and he still may play this week against the Ravens. It could be a hard situation to read for fantasy owners, though. With Aaron Jones sidelined, it’s possible the Packers would keep Montgomery active due to a lack of depth. I’d still consider Montgomery highly questionable, but consider him day-to-day for now until we get further updates.
Matt Forte, RB, Jets
Injury: knee swelling
Any swelling in the knee arises from an underlying issue. In Forte’s case, it sounds like he’s dealing with a cartilage or a meniscus-type injury. The Jets will likely do more testing to determine what is going on and then figure out how to proceed moving forward. There’s a chance Forte’s knee responds to the conservative treatment he’s receiving now and could potentially return to practice, or it could continue to give him trouble that would warrant other interventions. Regardless, with the Jets fading from playoff contention, there’s reason to think they won’t rush Forte back unless he’s ready.
Will Fuller, WR, Texans
Injury: broken rib
Fuller took a big hit in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Rams and did not return. X-rays revealed a broken rib which will sideline Fuller for Week 11. Location of the injury and pain tolerance become the biggest issues with rib fractures, and it sounds like the extent of Fuller’s fracture could only cost him one game.
Duane Brown, OT, Seahawks
Injury: sprained ankle/sprained MCL
Brown had his right leg rolled up during Thursday’s game against the Cardinals. Although he tried to play another snap after the injury, he left the game shortly thereafter. Brown stated on his Instagram that he would be fine, but the injury could be more troublesome than he believes. He’s likely dealing with both knee and ankle discomfort based on how the injury occurred. Brown will have 11 days to get ready for Monday night against the Falcons, but I would still consider him very questionable to be on the field for Week 11. Based on the nature of the injury and the physical stress associated with being a lineman, it will be tough for him to come back so quickly from the a dual ankle/knee sprain, even if it’s of the minor variety.