Two weeks to go until the fantasy playoffs! Time to get focused, and get the best lineup possible. Many of you have already clinched a playoff spot, many are fighting to clinch, and some are already eliminated. For those still fighting, the week 13 fantasy football injury report is here to help with the difficult start-sit decisions!
Week 13 Fantasy football injury report: Quarterbacks
The Bear’s second-year quarterback was limited in practice to start the week after missing week 12 with a left (non-throwing) shoulder separation. For Fields to play with this injury comes down to pain management. A detailed description of the injury can be found in my article last week. In summary, it is not his throwing shoulder, so it is not likely his throwing production would decline.
His running, however, is a different story. This injury occurs from being tackled and landing directly on the shoulder. Fields has run for 834 yards and seven touchdowns this season. If he plays this Sunday, Chicago may call fewer running plays. Less running plays impacts Fields’ fantasy output.
Rodgers has been dealing with an avulsion fracture of his throwing thumb since week 5. To compound this, Rodgers suffered a rib and oblique injury on Sunday night, forcing him out of the game. I went into detail about this injury, the mechanics of the ribs and obliques with the throwing motion, and how this may impact Rodgers if he plays this week in a previous post this week.
The ribs are directly linked to the thoracic spine (upper and mid back). When throwing, a quarterback’s thoracic spine rotates up to 50°; this is where a lot of the torque for a throw comes from. When the thoracic spine rotates, the ribs also rotate to some degree. Additionally, several muscles involved in throwing attach to the ribs. These include the obliques, which strongly contract to rotate the torso. Other major muscles include the lats and pec major, which are power generators for the throw. The combination of the movement of the ribs and several muscles that attach to the ribs contracting will limit motion and speed during the throw. Throwing power is impacted without a full range of motion and full speed. Pain during the follow-through will also effect accuracy.
Rodgers plans to play this week. Starting Rodgers this week is risky. Before this injury, Rodgers is the QB14 on the year. Passing numbers are likely to decline with this injury, similar to Justin Herbert in the first game after his injury, in which his completion percentage dropped to 55.6%, and he only scored 13.6 fantasy points.
Stafford has not been cleared to practice as he deals with a concussion and neck injury. Stafford was having numbness into his lower extremity, which is never a good sign. It’s unclear if Stafford will return at all this season. With the Rams sitting at 3-8 and last in the NFC West, and seemingly all of his offensive weapons gone for the year, it may be wise for the Rams to let him sit out and get ready for next season.
Week 13 fantasy football injury report: Running Backs
McCaffrey did not practice to start the week as he deals with knee irritation. Knee irritation is very vague but likely means irritation to the patella tendon.
A tendinopathy, as it is appropriately termed, can be irritating but often is possible to play through without any decline in performance. The patellar tendon is prone to micro-tearing from overuse. I would bet that over 80%, if not all, of NFL players, have some degree of tendinopathy. It’s just often not an issue.
Tendinopathy can be either degeneration or inflammation; both present very similarly. Tendinopathy can create sharp pain with movement and dull achy pain when sitting for a long period of time. Generally, it feels much better when warmed up, and if minor does not impact power generation from the quad muscles. McCaffrey will likely take it easy in practice this week but should not be affected in any way this week. With teammate Elijah Mitchell once again injured, expect a bigger workload for CMC.
Elijah Mitchell cannot catch a break. In two seasons, he has missed 13 games due to multiple injuries. He already missed seven games this season due to an MCL injury and is now set to miss several more. I discussed the MCL injury and its implications for a running back in a video earlier this week.
Unfortunately, Mitchell will not be relevant for fantasy again this season and can be dropped in redraft formats. He is talented and, for dynasty purposes, should be held. There is no reason to expect this injury to impact his readiness for next season.
Fournette missed week 12 due to a hip pointer. A hip pointer is a bruise to the glute muscles or the part of the hip bone called the Iliac Crest. You rest your hands on this prominent bone when holding your hips. This bruising impacts the muscles’ ability to function properly, making it difficult to run and cut. When the swelling goes down, with a little bit of rehab, the function should return to normal. I was a bit surprised Fournette was not able to play in week 12. We will keep an eye on practice reports for his week 13 outlook. If he plays, his per-play production should not be impacted.
Week 13 fantasy football injury report: Wide Receivers
Mooney suffered a significant ankle injury that required season-ending surgery. Based on the video, it looks like Mooney suffered either a high ankle sprain or a medial/low ankle sprain. I described these injuries and other players who have undergone the related surgeries earlier this week (second video in the thread below).
Mooney will have adequate time to rehab and be ready for week one next season. The challenge is a significant ankle surgery like he is undergoing often leads to chronic ankle stiffness. The ankle is designed to be our primary shock absorber. When it becomes stiff, less force is attenuated from the ankles, and more force is taken on by the knees, hips, back, etc. This contributes to soft tissue injuries. It is not a guarantee that Mooney won’t regain all of his prior mobility, but it is very common for people to lack full ankle range after surgery. The good news is ankle stiffness does not usually impact performance, just injury risk.
Robinson will be out for the season as he recovers from surgery for a stress fracture on his navicular bone. The navicular is one of the main bones of the arch of the foot. It is a common bone for stress fractures, as its role in the arch means it takes on great amounts of force with walking and running.
Stress fractures occur due to overload. This often is due to some mechanical flaw in one’s walking or running gait. Surgery is usually indicated for a stress fracture when rest alone is unlikely to provide adequate healing. The navicular is a unique bone in which fracture can disrupt its blood supply. When a bone does not have a sufficient blood supply, necrosis (bone death) can occur. This is why Robinson needs to undergo surgery.
As he is rehabbing, his rehab team should be evaluating his foot posture, walking, running, and jumping mechanics to determine the mechanical flaw that predisposed him to a stress fracture. Often improving arch muscle strength and glute strength or providing a custom orthotic can help prevent a recurrence.
Rondale Moore’s groin injury kept him out week 12. As of this writing there are no reports on his practice activity heading into week 13. The groin functions when an athlete is on one leg, which is pretty much all the time. It provides stability when on one leg, and helps with cutting and running. The groin however is less involved in these motions than other hip muscles such as the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Therefore athletes are not very impacted by this injury. Receivers only show a decline of 0.3 fantasy points in the first game after a groin injury. If he plays this week, his injury should not stop you from starting him.
Dan Campbell does not sound confident in Williams’s ability to play in week 13. The Lions have admirably allowed their prized rookie ample time to rehab from his ACL injury in January. As a physical therapist, this is nice to see, as we have become accustomed to teams rushing their players back too quickly, only to watch them suffer another injury (Godwin, Dobbins, Edwards) or just not play well (Gallup, Woods).
I wrote in detail about the challenges Williams faces as he returns this season and the physical tests he must pass to be cleared to play. Receivers score 4.7 fantasy points below their pre-injury average in the first game after an ACL tear. This number would likely be magnified in a player like Williams, who has never played in the NFL, is learning a new offense, and is developing chemistry with a new quarterback. I love Williams long-term and in dynasty, but I have difficulty relying on him this season.