Perhaps the lightest injury report all season. It’s not like the NFL suddenly got less violent in Week 10. Let’s chalk it up to Bye-Mageddon with six teams not in action, making it three fewer games where injuries could have popped up. But fantasy managers are thanking their lucky stars because whatever the reason, anytime there are less injuries, that’s a win for all.
Let’s get to it.
Might be a while before we see them again
Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons, knee
The Falcons tight end is expected to miss a few games after injuring his knee during the team’s unexpected win over the Saints in Week 10. Some reports indicate he has a sprained MCL, which has kept other players with the same injury out for at least two weeks. Hooper has very quietly dominated all year long and if you don’t have him on your roster, you may have overlooked just how productive he’s been. Through nine games he’s tied with Travis Kelce for the most receptions by a tight end with 56 (Kelce's played in 10 games), tied for the most touchdowns by a tight end with six and has the most points for a tight end in the PPR format.
Fantasy Impact: Thankfully it’s not a season-ending injury and Hooper should be back in action with time to spare before the start of the fantasy playoffs. But if you had the Falcons playmaker on your squad, it’s a tough blow nonetheless, because finding a suitable replacement that can offer similar productivity is just not going to happen. Quarterback Matt Ryan will likely spread the seven targets typically reserved for Hooper among Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage. Tight end Luke Stocker may see a few targets considering he’s the “next man up” on the Falcons' depth chart, but he can’t be used for fantasy purposes.
Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons, foot
Another Falcons player on the injury report. This time it’s their running back who has missed 16 games the last two seasons. Freeman will be out a minimum of two games after injuring his foot against the Saints.
Fantasy Impact: With Ito Smith landing on injured reserve, the Falcons were already thin at running back. Add in the injury to Freeman and it leaves Brian Hill and Kenjon Barner as the only healthy backs. Hill handled the lion’s share of the Falcons workload once Freeman went down, gaining 71 total yards and a touchdown in Week 10. He’s the consensus top waiver claim of the week.
Emmanuel Sanders, San Francisco 49ers, ribs
The recently acquired wide receiver left Monday night’s game against the Seahawks with a rib injury and was unable to return to action. Sanders caught two passes for 24 yards before exiting.
Fantasy Impact: Sanders has been hot since being traded from Denver to San Francisco, catching 11 passes and two touchdowns in his last two outings before Week 10. With Sanders out, the 49ers will turn to rookie Deebo Samuel, Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis. Keep in mind San Francisco traded for Sanders because they knew their offense needed a legitimate weapon in the passing game outside of George Kittle (inactive Week 10 with a knee injury), so without Sanders on the field, Jimmy Garoppolo gets a downgrade until the 32-year-old receiver is able to return.
Evan Engram, New York Giants, foot
The Giants tight end did not play in Week 10 due to a mid-foot sprain, which the team is not calling a Lisfranc injury. However, considering he was in a walking boot and the “mid-foot” is exactly where a Lisfranc injury occurs, one has to wonder if the Giants are playing down the severity. After Week 9 coach Pat Shurmur said Engram was dealing with a “sore foot,” so the extent of the injury escalated rather quickly as the team moved fast in ruling him out for Week 10. Now it’s expected to be a multi-week injury, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering Engram has yet to play a full 16 games in his two-and-a-half-year career. He’s already missed one game this season (Week 6 vs. the Patriots) due to a knee injury.
Fantasy Impact: With Engram out of action, Rhett Ellison filled in as the starting tight end but suffered a concussion during the loss to the Jets. The Giants have a bye in Week 11, which should give at least one of their tight ends a chance to get healthy in time to play in Week 12.
Chris Herndon, New York Jets, ribs
A four-game suspension followed by a nagging hamstring injury forced Herndon out of action for the first nine games of the year. He made his debut in Week 10, caught one pass, and left the game with broken ribs. Head coach Adam Gase says Herndon will be out “an extended amount of time.” It’s an ominous prognosis for a player that was expected to follow up his breakout rookie season with an impressive sophomore campaign.
Fantasy Impact: Herndon can be dropped in all formats. Ryan Griffin was starting to heat up before Herndon made his debut and is a deep streamer for anyone looking for a tight end.
Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks, leg
The Seahawks’ top wide receiver was injured in overtime during the team’s win on Monday Night Football and spent the night in a San Francisco area hospital with lower leg “contusion.” Head coach Pete Carroll had a gloomy prognosis, telling the media Lockett’s leg is a “pretty severe situation” and then added the injury was “bad” with a lot of swelling. Some reports indicate there is a concern of compartment syndrome, which would require surgery if the pressure in the leg becomes high, however that is a worst case scenario for Seattle’s reliable pass catcher.
Fantasy Impact: The Seahawks have a bye in Week 11, giving Lockett’s swelling time to decrease. Carroll did add some silver lining, saying the team was ahead of the injury and thus “in good shape.” But we’ll have to wait for further tests before speculating on the five-year veteran’s Week 12 status. If Lockett were to miss time, recently acquired Josh Gordon and rookie D.K. Metcalf would see substantially bigger roles, along with tight end Jacob Hollister.
Should be OK but expect a questionable tag and limited practice
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants, foot/ankle
A miserable day for anyone relying on the Giants star in Week 10. One yard off of 13 carries is the lowest total on that many touches since Beanie Wells in 2002. For some reason unbeknownst to the media, Barkley headed straight to the X-Ray room after the game. Is it his ankle (suffered a sprain in Week 3)? Is it his foot? Seemingly came up hobbling in Week 8 but finished the game. There’s no answer. But Barkley did have a gloomy postgame interview where he said the team needs to “focus on the bye week, a week where everyone has a chance to get healthier, not only myself but the whole team.” The second-year rusher admitted he’s playing at less than 100%, combine that with three of his offensive lineman also being out, it’s no surprise the Giants have struggled running the ball.
Fantasy Impact: After a monstrous start to the season with back-to-back games of over 100 yards, Barkley has a high of 72 yards since Week 2 and hasn’t rushed for more than 30 yards in the last two games. A consensus top-three pick in all fantasy drafts, Barkley has been a massive letdown in his second season and it’s clear the poor play by the offensive line and his injured ankle are taking a toll on his productivity.
Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers, ankle
Banged up throughout the season, Breida reaggravated an ankle injury that already had him on the injury report heading into Week 10. He went down in the second half Monday night and was unable to return to action. He ended the game with 25 combined yards off 12 touches.
Fantasy Impact: We’ve seen Raheem Mostert take on a larger role when Tevin Coleman was injured earlier in the year and that will likely be the case if Breida were to miss the 49ers’ Week 12 match-up against the Cardinals.
Expected back soon … hopefully
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions—back
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts—knee
James Conner-Pittsburgh Steelers—shoulder
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals—ankle
Will Fuller, Houston Texans—hamstring
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts—ankle
Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars—shoulder
George Kittle, San Francisco49ers—knee
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans—ankle
In the protocol
Ty Johnson, Detroit Lions
Rhett Ellison, New York Giants
Injured but not on the fantasy radar
Gio Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals—knee
Jordan Wilkins, Indianapolis Colts—ankle
Trey Burton, Chicago Bears—calf
More Advice from SI Fantasy:
—Tuesday’s Bull Market Fantasy show with Jim Cramer
—Jaime Eisner’s waiver wire pickups: Brian Hill, Darius Slayton and suggestions for deeper leagues
—Frankie Taddeo’s droppables, with some big-name players you shouldn’t feel bad about cutting
—Frankie Taddeo dishes out awards in his Week 10 superlatives