All things considered, it has been a relatively light season on the injury front, especially on the fantasy landscape, where few big-name players dealt with multi-week absences. The weightiest injury of the season occurred in Week 12, however, and it could swing fantasy championships. That’s where we start in the Week 13 version of the SI.com Training Room. 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.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers
Injury: Sprained MCL
Injury take: Gordon, who was already dealing with some hamstring issues heading into Week 12, came out of the game with a sprained MCL suffered in the second half. MCL sprains are usually multi-week injuries, with two weeks on the low end of the timetable. Even if it’s a mild injury, he likely wouldn’t be 100% within two weeks, and could take some time to get back up to speed after the team deems him ready to return. He’ll likely wear a knee brace, as well, to help reduce some of the stress on the MCL, and that could limit some of his mobility.
Fantasy spin: This is a crushing injury for owners on the doorstep of the fantasy playoffs. Most Gordon owners are likely headed to the playoffs, or at least in contention for a spot going into what’s the last week of the regular season in most fantasy leagues. It sounds like a best-case scenario would be getting Gordon back in Week 15, and that may be too late for some of his owners. Austin Ekeler is an automatic start in Gordon’s absence.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Bears
Injury: Sprained AC Joint (Shoulder)
Injury take: The AC joint is the joint where your collarbone meets your shoulder blade, and is critical to the throwing motion. If there is pain and discomfort, it may cause a quarterback like alter his mechanics to compensate for the injury. The key with AC joint sprains is pain tolerance, and that’s exacerbated by the fact that ligaments in general don’t get a ton of blood supply, which slows down the healing process. Keep an eye on his status as the week goes on, but early reports that he could potentially sit another week do not bode well for his availability for Week 13.
Fantasy spin: Trubisky has been one of the bright surprises in the fantasy world this season, but his owners should plan on going in another direction in Week 13. Chase Daniel proved himself a capable QB2 last week, and should be on the radar in superflex and two-quarterback leagues if he gets another start. Everyone else in Chicago’s offense, however, takes a hit without Trubisky active.
Marlon Mack, RB, Colts
Injury take: Mack suffered a concussion against the Dolphins in the fourth quarter and is now in the league’s protocol. The fact that he sustained the concussion so late in the game could make it harder for him to return when the Colts face the Jaguars this week.
Fantasy spin: If Mack is able to play, he’s an easy start for his fantasy owners. If he sits, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins both land on the flex radar. This likely won’t be more than a one-week injury for Mack.
Evan Engram, TE, Giants
Injury: Strained Hamstring
Injury take: Engram sustained a hamstring injury during pregame drills and ended up not playing in Week 12. The Giants have reported that they don’t have a timetable for Engram, which is not a good sign for his immediate availability. Soft tissue injuries are usually multi-week injuries, and then it typically takes another few weeks to return to 100%, so it’s highly unlikely he plays this week.
Fantasy spin: In other words, Engram’s season could be over. He has had a disappointing year, catching 23 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns, while already missing four games due to injury. His owners already dealt with his absence last week, but some widely available tight ends to consider are Jonnu Smith and Gerald Everett.