Triage - Week 11
by Andrew Garda
November 14th, 2012

Welcome back to another edition of the Fantasy Triage. As with last year, we're here to help you get a bead on what injuries to worry about and which ones to really worry about.

Of course, Triage, as a medical term, is the way doctors in a crisis zone (be it disaster, war, or Abba concert) decide who is worth spending time on toe save an who is a lost cause.

This is how I am applying the ratings:

  • Minor: A player with a light injury who is unlikely to miss much, if any, time.
  • Delayed: A player who has a lingering, nagging injury. This might get worse , might just hold him back a little or could just heal fin. This bears watching but no immediate action, but might be worth securing a good backup in case.
  • Immediate: The player has an injury and will miss some time. You'd better start looking for a replacement at least short term. In some cases a player who, a few weeks later, would be Expectant.
  • Expectant: It's a bad injury or, late in the season and finishes a player as a fantasy value this season. Acquire a healthy player or some other option because this guy is beyond hope.
  • With that out of the way, let's see who we have coming out of Week 11.

    First off, the following players are off the list, although in some cases, still not roster-worthy:

    Returned to Active Duty

    Jamaal Charles: Charles looks pretty good to me, save for the fact he's stuck in that Chiefs jersey.

    Danny Amendola: Amendola is back wow is he back. 102 yards on 11 catches ain't shabby.

    Andre Brown: He did well in relief of Ahmad Bradshaw and has earned more reps. Brown owners: yay! Bradshaw owners: D'OH!

    Doug Baldwin: Baldwin continues to play at a mediocre level, but he is healthy finally.

    Jake Locker: Locker didn't light the world on fire but he took hits and emerged unscathed. He will probably be a healthy start from here on out, even if not a great fantasy option.

    Jonathan Dwyer: Dwyer got the bulk of the reps, but like Isaac Redman, was pretty unproductive. When Mendenhall returns, he and Redman will probably go back to the bench.

    Donald Brown: He played last week. He and Ballard split carries and did about the same amount of damage.

    Robert Meachem: Returned to the lineup. Lost his job to Danario Alexander. Ouch.

    Eddie Royal: Is back, got targeted, had a few catches, but has very minimal value.

    John Carlson: He's back. He had a catch! He's only on the field 17% of the snaps (that's 12 of them). He's not worth a roster spot!

    Steven Jackson Memorial Injury Spot

    This label won't always be on the report but it's for players who might be hurt, could miss the game but whose coaches are lying their tails off to keep us in the dark.

    Alex Smith: Smith's concussion, despite reports he was seeking a second opinion, might not be all that bad as the Niners feel good he will start the game against the Bears on Monday. I.....I would be very careful about that. The second opinion worries me, and I always find it odd when a player looks for a second opinion after a negative first one. I mean, this is your head and brain we're talking about here. Second opinion and yay! You can play? I worry he won't play and the Niners are trying to keep the Bears in the dark regarding Colin Kaepernick. Just as scary is the notion he might play and quickly go down again or be hampered if he's back before he is ready. I feel this is one I'd stay far away from, and that's before I even think about a tough Bears defense.

    Minor

    Jordy Nelson: Nelson practiced Monday and seems on target for a return against the Lions' depleted secondary. This is, for the most part, a caution flag warning he should be fine, but keep an eye out in case he has a setback later in the week.

    Calvin Johnson: He got a touchdown and much like I said earlier this week whup-de-FREAKIN-do. Those are so few and far between right now as to be almost an afterthought. His real value is, and will continue to be, his yardage totals which remain high. He came out of the loss to the Vikings no worse for wear and don't be too concerned when he doesn't really practice this week. The Lions will be cautious with him the rest of the way, but he'll play.

    Titus Young: He practiced Wednesday and while still hobbled, will play. He's going to need to step it up if this offense is to get going faster anytime soon and have a chance against even a beat up Packers team.

    Ryan Tannehill: He "played" and I put that in quotes because he was awful, so he "played quarterback" in the loosest sense of the word. Against a craptastic secondary as well. I think we're seeing a little rookie fatigue as well as some of the growing pains I expected when he got the starting gig. He'll be up and down the rest of the way and I do wonder if he will start really feeling the injuries from here on out and how that may affect him.

    Delayed

    Alshon Jeffery: No definitive word yet, so bear that in mind, but Jeffery looks like a good bet to play this weekend. Now, he may have some issues with Jason Campbell at the helm so you might not cram him into the lineup right away, but soon you will.

    Hakeem Nicks: He looked relatively good in a game where virtually nobody wearing blue did. While his knee will be a factor as the year goes on, it isn't hampering him much right now. Something to watch week to week but you can start him as a WR2 with confidence. Will look even better post bye week as well.

    Ahmad Bradshaw: The foot is still an issue, and now he has a neck problem as well, post-Bengals loss. Perhaps it was whiplash while watching Bengals sprint down the field with the ball. Regardless, we'll watch this over the next two weeks and see where he is at. The foot keeps him up at ‘delayed' for now, and probably will unless we hear the injury magically fades away.

    Blaine Gabbert: Gabbert had to duck out early against the Colts when he aggravated his shoulder injury. I give him tons of credit even trying to do it, given the disaster area his offense is right now. Seriously, this is gutty and maybe foolish given what this team is right now. He wants to play this week. In the very odd chance you have him as a quarterback, I would say it;'s safe to say you can drop him. In dynasty, it's harder to say because let's be honest, we have no idea how the jags might blow this roster up. For a while, Gabbert looked a little better. His regression might be on him or the team around him. For this season though, he has very little value. I'll track him here, in case you need it, but assume you have better options anyway.

    Braylon Edwards: He was active last week but only on the field for 31% of the offensive snaps and not targeted one time. His knee might be healthy I'm still waiting to be sure but his fantasy value isn't.

    Immediate

    Jon Baldwin: Baldwin seemed to get his bell rung against the Steelers and as of today was still being evaluated. It's very unlikely you are playing him, but just in case don't.

    Jay Cutler: Cutler hasn't passed his concussion tests yet and has six or so previous shots to the head to worry about. The Bears need him healthy long term they have a great chance at the post-season and they won't get any further without Cutler. So assume he isn't in this week as they will be super-cautious with him. You can plug in Jason Campbell who has a slow delivery, but can be accurate and did all right in relief against a tough Houston defense on a cold and rainy night without much practice with the ones in the previous week. There are certainly better options and match-ups out there.

    Michael Vick: I almost put him as "expectant" because the entire situation sounds awful. On top of that, Vick has not been that good. Wherever you want to put the blame, have a good time, but at the end of the day, he's not doing well and when you factor in injuries on top of that? I'd find another replacement, quickly. Nick Foles is an option, and I think it will be easier for a poor offensive line to keep him safe (he's a pocket passer in general) than an unpredictable Michael Vick.

    Ben Roethlisberger: Remember Danny Amendola's dislocated clavicle that could kill him? Yeah. Ben's got a rib injury which could do the same. Screw concussions, what about bones stabbing your heart? Roethlisberger is done until at least Week 13. We'll keep him on the list though and not move him to "expectant" because he can still come back and play in the fantasy playoffs.

    Pierre Garcon: Keep an eye on this, as there are some reports he could play. Of course, how often will RG3 look for him with Santana Moss back at 100%? Hard to say, but worth a flier on your bench.

    Antonio Brown: Brown is dealing with an ankle injury and is not likely to play on Monday against the Chiefs. I can see them resting him it's not as if they should need the help to take the Chiefs down anyway.

    Darren Sproles: No timetable is set for his return, and you can't count on him to be ready this soon after hand surgery or be sure he will hold onto the ball if he is still healing up. Hold him, because he will come back which admittedly, is a "we don't know when" scenario.

    Darren McFadden: McFadden's ankle is still an issue and it looks unlikely he will play this weekend. He (as well as Mike Goodson, see below) are still in walking boots. Hard to say for sure when he will return to action but it won't be quickly.

    Mike Goodson: Goodson, like McFadden is still in a walking boot and is considered a long shot to play this weekend. If you don't have Marcel Reece and he is available, now would be a good time to correct those two things.

    Aaron Hernandez: No early word on Hernandez after he was inactive on Sunday. Will he play against the Colts? We don't know yet because the Pats are tight with injury news. Keep an eye on the Footballguys news blogger for info as the week goes on. Meanwhile, have an alternative player ready.

    Rashard Mendenhall: Mendenhall is questionable yet again this week, so my advice is the same as last column be careful, have Redman or Dwyer at the ready if possible or a viable alternative if not.

    Kevin Kolb: From the "yay I guess" file aka "why should I care" Kolb is throwing again but not well or further than 20 yards. This matters in that Skelton, with the exception of last week, struggled to move the ball and it hurts Larry Fitzgerald. The Cards seem to really want him back, which speaks volumes about how things are going in the desert these days.

    Maurice Jones-Drew: Jones-Drew is already ruled out and it could be a couple more weeks before he returns. He'll come back and get heavy usage when he is healthy it's just going to take a while. Be patient and continue plugging other options in.

    Greg Jennings: Jennings is still hurt, still healing from surgery and is supposed to not run on his leg until three weeks after his November 1st surgery (pushed back due to the Hurricane Sandy destruction). Jordy Nelson is likely back this week and James Jones and Randall Cobb are playing very well I once again wonder what role he will have or if the Packers are really going to push him to get back on the field.

    Coby Fleener: Ruled out already for Week 11, hoping to be back Week 12. When he returns, he will get a plenty of targets from former college teammate Andrew Luck, despite fellow rookie tight end Dwayne Allen's solid work in his absence.

    DeMarco Murray: Looks as thought he is out yet another week. Nobody is stealing his job anytime soon, that's for sure.

    Joe McKnight: Still fighting through a high ankle sprain, McKnight is no more an option than anyone else in this offense and even less than many.

    Bilal Powell: Has a concussion, is still being evaluated.

    Expectant

    YAY! Nobody for two weeks (though with Big Ben and Vick, we were/are close).

    Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to garda@footballguys.com.

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