This is one of the busiest weeks in the fantasy football Training Room, with six players who are unquestioned starters when healthy, including three who were taken in the first two rounds of all fantasy drafts, nursing injuries. As always, we’ll give you the injury nuts and bolts, provided by 4for4’s Russell Manalastas, a physical therapist and strength coach based in New York, and the fantasy spin to go with them.
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
Injury: Turf toe
Injury take: Marvin Lewis stated on Monday that Green will not require surgery, but failed to give any real information as to when he might return, but Adam Schefter reports Green will miss at least two games. The Bengals will likely try and put a plate in Green’s cleat to reduce any excessive stress on the toe when running, but it still remains to be seen as to how Green will tolerate the constant pushing off of the foot as he ramps up his activity. Turf toe injuries are at a high risk for aggravation, as well.
Fantasy spin: This is horrible news for Green owners. The receiver is in the midst of another excellent season, catching 45 passes for 687 yards and six touchdowns through eight games. This is a critical time of the fantasy season for him to be out, but if it’s just two weeks, he’ll be back in plenty of time for the fantasy playoffs. Go get John Ross off waivers if you still can.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars
Injury: Strained hamstring
Injury take: Will this finally be the week that Fournette returns to the field? He has not been able to finish a game yet, and there is some definite concern about his rest-of-season outlook just based on this injury. Having said that, he was able to get in some side work on Monday, which is a good sign for his availability this weekend. He’ll need to be able to show the training staff and the doctors that he can push the hamstring at higher levels for them to feel confident that he’s in no risk of aggravating the injury. It’s likely the team will take this decision right down to the wire, but all signs point to Fournette returning this week.
Fantasy spin: It’s entirely possible that most people who drafted Fournette is out of the playoff hunt. Assuming he does get back on the field this week, we’ll consider him a mid-tier RB2, simply because of the risk of aggravating the injury and uncertainty about how much work the Jaguars coaching staff will give him.
Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks
Injury: Hip/Thigh strain
Injury take: Carson was already dealing with a hip issue heading into Week 9 and made it through just 10 snaps before aggravating the injury. Carson had his hip and thigh heavily wrapped during the game on the sidelines, which is usually precautionary, but noteworthy nonetheless. Pete Carroll said that they’ll likely rest Carson most of the week in hopes his hip feels better later in the week, which is setting Carson up to be a game-time decision. His status is 50/50 at best, and the fact that he already tried to play through the injury with an aggravation knocking him out of said game does not bode well for Week 10.
Fantasy spin: It’s going to be hard to trust Carson this week for multiple reasons. First, it seems unlikely that the team would push him after he was unable to play through the injury, despite trying and looking good—he ran for 40 yards on eight carries—last week. Second, the Seahawks are in Los Angeles to take on the Rams in Week 10, which means a 4:25 pm ET kickoff. You may wait on him, only to have him deactivated, which could leave you with an empty spot in your starting lineup. This is a situation to monitor all week, but plan on going in another direction on Sunday.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings
Injury: Intercostal (ribs) strain
Injury take: Diggs has been dealing with a rib injury since the start of last week, with the pain being significant enough for him to miss Week 9. Rib injuries usually come down to tolerance of discomfort, and depending on what tissue is involved, the pain can be harder to manage. Injuries to the intercostal muscles, or cartilage between the ribs, can be very painful in particular, as something as simple as breathing or coughing can cause serious discomfort. Now imagine getting tackled when tissue that sensitive is injured.
Fantasy spin: The good news for Diggs owners is that the Vikings have a bye this week. You were already going to be without him, so it’s almost like a free week for him to get healthy. We’ll check back in on his status in Week 11.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
Injury take: Gronkowski continues to be limited by both low back and ankle issues that have sidelined him in two of the last three games. The fact that the Patriots didn’t force the issue with Gronk in Week 9 might mean that they plan on resting him for Week 10, too, with their bye coming in Week 11. Gronk already seems like a longshot to play this week, and the greater concern is which of the two injuries is giving him more trouble. Considering Gronkowski’s history of significant back injuries, this could be something that is a long-term problem.
Fantasy spin: That’s certainly not the news Gronkowski owners wanted to hear. At this point, you have pretty much no choice but to grin and bear it. You could try to trade him, but chances are you won’t get much for a player who has missed two of his team’s last three games, and who has a bye on the horizon. If you need help at the tight end position, some players to consider are Jack Doyle—who you should grab immediately if he’s available—Chris Herndon and Jeff Heuerman.
Allen Robinson, WR, Bears
Injury: Strained groin
Injury take: Matt Nagy still considers Robinson day-to-day, but clearly that isn’t the case. Robinson has missed the last two weeks due to the groin injury he tried to play through in Week 7, and already looks unlikely for Chicago’s game against Detroit this week. Robinson said himself last Friday that he was yet to be at 100%, making this week of practice crucial for him if he has any chance to suit up on Sunday. The groin gets stressed with straight sprinting and any lateral movement, which is why it is one of the trickiest injuries for a skill-position player to navigate.
Fantasy spin: The bet here is that Robinson owners will be without his services for at least one more week. They’ve been making it work the last two weeks, though byes can always change that reality. If you need help at the position, check out this week’s waiver wire column. Top names include Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Willie Snead and Christian Kirk.