Gameday Injury Expectations: Week 11

Breaking down the fantasy expectations of today's injured players and gametime decisions, including Marshawn Lynch, Darren McFadden, Alshon Jeffery, John Brown, and others

NOTE: This column is a living document and will be updated throughout the morning. Major changes to the content will be in red. Check back often for additions as gameday inactives are announced and lineup / depth chart changes are reported. I'll also be immediately retweeting any breaking news with quick bits of analysis, so make sure you're following me at (@JeneBramel) and checking my timeline on Twitter on Sunday mornings.


Despite not practicing this week, Pete Carroll says Lynch is on the "positive side of questionable." Though only seeing eight carries on a little more than 40 offensive snaps last week, Lynch looked willing to run and played effectively. Barring any stiffness, back spasms, or a setback we're not aware of from last week, it looks likely Lynch will be able to play. I think Lynch's usage and volume will be score dependent. If Lynch proves himself comfortable and effective early, the Seahawks will probably stick with him. But there are multiple scripts in which Lynch will rotate more than usual or see fewer carries. And I don't expect Lynch to see many second half carries over Thomas Rawls if the Seahawks get a multi-touchdown lead on Washington -- and that seems likely against a lightly talented San Francisco offense.

Fantasy expectation: I won't rule out 60 yards and two scores in the first half for Lynch, but he's not likely to see 15+ touches today. Consider him a boom-bust RB1.

darren mcfadden | groin | questionable | early sun start

McFadden is the toughest injury read of the day. The Cowboys finally cracked on Friday and admitted that McFadden was held out due to tightness in his groin. They may continue to say they were "keeping him fresh" or holding him out for precautionary reasons, but they had some reason for concern this week. Multiple reports suggest McFadden will play today and the Dallas running back depth chart says McFadden will see as many touches as he can handle. The lack of depth and favorable matchup would be enough for me to not worry much about McFadden -- but the forecast in Miami calls for rain and thunderstorms through the afternoon. Poor footing could put McFadden at higher risk of aggravating his groin injury.

Fantasy expectation: If there are no concerning pregame reports, I think I'd trust McFadden and the matchup. But there's risk with McFadden this week.

deandre hopkins | knee | questionable | early sun start

Hopkins told reporters all week he was 100% and Bill O'Brien remained confident his star wide receiver would play. Without an obvious mechanism of injury, the return to practice on Friday and probable listing on the injury report is good enough for me. Unfortunately, the knee injury isn't the only concern with Hopkins today. He'll likely see lots of Darrelle Revis while T.J. Yates tries to avoid a strong Jets' pass rush.

Fantasy expectation: Use Hopkins as you normally would, but the matchup and knee combine to give him a lower than usual floor.

alshon jeffery | groin / shoulder | questionable | early sun start

The Bears said they held Jeffery out of practice on Thursday because they didn't want to overwork him on indoor turf. Then they held him out of practice on Friday, too. After managing just half of the offensive snaps last week and John Fox more or less confirming Jeffery had been used as decoy to occupy defenders, there's not much reason for optimism here. I think there's a strong chance Jeffery will be inactive -- with the team hoping he'll be healthy enough to play on Thanksgiving Day. If Jeffery is active, expect him to be limited, both in snap count and usage.

Fantasy expectation: Avoid Jeffery today if he's active unless you've no other options with a 4-6 target expectation.

900 ET: Multiple reports have Jeffery missing today's game as expected.

1130 ET: Jeffery is inactive today.

john brown | hamstring | questionable | sunday night

michael floyd | hamstring | questionable | sunday night

Neither Arizona wide receiver is healthy. Floyd didn't practice all week and his hamstring mechanism had the look of a multi-week injury. I don't believe he'll be active tonight. Brown's injury has limited him more than expected over the past two weeks, but he's likely to be active. Though the Sunday night home game gave him almost another full day of recovery and treatment, Brown sounded frustrated with his recovery on Friday. He's likely to be limited again tonight. 

Fantasy expectation: Floyd shouldn't be in any lineups today. Brown can be considered a boom-bust WR2, but the injury limitations and average matchup make him tough to trust tonight.

vincent jackson | knee | questionable | early sun start

Jackson reportedly made significant progress this week. After two limited practices, Jackson was seen continuing to work on his conditioning after practice most of the week. Local writers believe he has a good chance to play if he feels good on Sunday morning. Conditioning and effectiveness remain a concern here, however, and it's hard to see Jackson playing 60 snaps and earning more than 4-6 targets today.

Fantasy expectation: If he's active, lean toward leaving Jackson on your bench today and hoping he'll be in condition and in form for Week 12.

1000 ET: Tom Krasniqi, a local reporter in Tampa, reporting Jackson will be active and play today.


Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Emmanuel Sanders are all fighting minor injuries and expected to play. Sanders is the riskiest play of the group, but all can be trusted as fantasy options today.

1015 ET: Pregame reports on Sanders from Adam Schefter and Jeff Legwold are not reassuring. Both are hedging and noting their observation may be cold related, but Sanders does not look comfortable running routes this morning.

1130 ET: Sanders is inactive today.


antonio gates | knee / hip | probable |  late sun start

Gates now has a compensatory hip condition to go with his still healing MCL sprain. Gates clearly wasn't himself last week, but as we have often seen in recent years, even a limited Gates can be productive. The Chargers managed his snaps all week and have listed him probable for this afternoon's game. He may have his snap count and routes limited, but Gates is a lock to be a high leverage target today.

Fantasy expectation: Watch the pregame reports for updates and try to have a hedge rostered just in case, but Gates is safe to use today.

matt forte | knee | questionable | early sun start

I think Forte's limited week of practice was to re-condition him with the intent of activating him on Thanksgiving. Even if he's a surprise active today, he'll rotate heavily with Jeremy Langford. With Forte unlikely fully recovered and Langford playing effectively over the past two weeks, the Bears aren't likely to push Forte to return. And Forte hasn't sounded like a player willing to test the edges of his recovery timetable in his media comments this month.

Fantasy expectation: Don't expect Forte to be active today.

1130 ET: Forte is inactive today.

tony romo | collarbone | probable | early sun start

Romo was activated from injured reserve on Saturday and will start today. He won't be limited by his early season collarbone fracture, but most quarterbacks have timing issues after a long layoff. Practice reps cannot replicate the speed -- both physical and mental -- of live game action. Expect Romo to fight through some inaccuracy and indecision early, but he should be able to settle into a rhythm soon enough to have a productive day.

Fantasy expectation: Use Romo as you normally would today.

Best of luck in your fantasy contests this weekend. I'll be back on Monday morning to review all the Week 11 injuries in the Injury Rounds column. Follow on Twitter @JeneBramel for breaking news and analysis during the games today.