Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Christian McCaffrey, D’Andre Swift, Dalvin Cook (2021 Fantasy Football)
Hopefully, everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving this week, and if you’re someone who doesn’t celebrate the holiday, you hopefully had a tremendous week in general. Even though it’s the season of giving, the game of football is far from forgiving when it comes to injuries. A handful of injuries took place this week in the NFL that affects how we view fantasy football. With that in mind, let’s look at the notable injuries that happened in Week 12 and how we should handle them moving forward.
Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI)
The Philadelphia Eagles appeared to be hitting their stride entering Week 12 against an apparent buzz saw in the New York Giants. Philadelphia’s offense was unable to get much of anything going until it was too late on Sunday. Jalen Hurts had an excellent rushing game with 77 yards while throwing three interceptions through the air. Late in the second half of Sunday’s game, Hurts sustained an ankle injury, and Nick Sirianni described the second-year quarterback as ‘hobbled’ after the game concluded. We’ll have to see if Hurts is limited in practice during the week. If Hurts cannot go in Week 13 versus the New York Jets, then Gardner Minshew (QB – PHI) would likely draw the start.
Christian McCaffrey (RB – CAR)
It was a woeful outing for the Carolina Panthers in Week 12 versus the Miami Dolphins on the road. The Panthers benched Cam Newton (QB – CAR) in the fourth quarter, but the most significant development was the ankle injury that Christian McCaffrey suffered in the first half. McCaffrey’s injury was first discovered on the final drive of the first half when he wasn’t present on the field. Despite the team saying that McCaffrey was OK to go back in initially, they would iterate that the All-Pro running back wasn’t healthy enough to go back in. While the score was lopsided, McCaffrey was in a walking boot after the game, which isn’t a great sign. If McCaffrey misses time again, we could see Chuba Hubbard (RB – CAR) and Ameer Abdullah (RB – CAR) handle the backfield work for the Panthers.
D’Andre Swift (RB – DET)
The Thanksgiving slate of games started on the wrong foot, with D’Andre Swift exiting the game between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears early. Swift sustained a shoulder injury against the Bears, and the Lions immediately ruled him out for the rest of the contest. The second-year back has been one of the lone bright spots for Detroit, so an injury to him could be debilitating to a team that has yet to secure a win. Swift has been ruled day-to-day with his shoulder injury, showing he can play in Week 13 against the Minnesota Vikings. If Swift cannot make enough progress to suit up, Jamaal Williams(RB – DET) will be in line for an increased workload.
Dalvin Cook (RB – MIN)
We had another shootout involving the Vikings in Week 12 in their showdown versus the San Francisco 49ers. After San Francisco got out to a double-digit lead, Minnesota showed signs of life with a kick return touchdown in the second half. On the Vikings’ next offensive drive, Dalvin Cook would take a handoff from Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN), getting his shoulder twisted awkwardly to the ground. Cook was grimacing in pain with a shoulder ailment that ruled him out in the fourth quarter. Given the apparent extent of the injury, Alexander Mattison (RB – MIN) looks to be on tap for a massive workload in Week 13 if Cook is confirmed to miss time.
Deebo Samuel (WR – SF)
Deebo Samuel has been one of the best fantasy football contributors this season through the air and on the ground. The dynamic wideout was quiet as a pass-catcher on Sunday versus the Vikings, but he had another productive day on the ground with 66 yards and two touchdowns. But in the second half, Samuel came up limping after a run and immediately went to the medical tent. Samuel exited the medical tent with a towel on his head and was emotional as the 49ers shared that he suffered a groin injury. Brandon Aiyuk (WR – SF) and George Kittle (TE – SF) would see massive boosts in their usage if Samuel misses any time.
Darren Waller (TE – LV)
Another unfortunate injury that took place on Thanksgiving was to Darren Waller of the Las Vegas Raiders. While the Raiders were able to upset the Dallas Cowboys on the road, Waller missed most of the game with a knee injury. The good news is that Waller has avoided a significant injury to his knee so that he won’t miss the rest of the season. Seeing that the Raiders have a capable backup tight end in Foster Moreau (TE – OAK), they may elect to rest Waller as long as they can. We’ll get a better grasp of what Waller’s status is as the week of practice progresses.
Dan Arnold (TE – JAX)
Dan Arnold has been a bright spot for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season at the tight end position. Since being acquired from the Panthers, Arnold has become one of Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAX)‘s favorite weapons. However, Arnold would exit the game early on Sunday with a knee injury. Arnold would be unable to return, leaving the Jaguars shorthanded in their loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Whenever Arnold left the game, James O’Shaughnessy (TE – JAX) replaced him at tight end, so O’Shaughnessy could be worth a flier in fantasy if Arnold remains sidelined for any games.
Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL)
Coming into Week 12, Ezekiel Elliott was already dealing with a knee injury that limited him in Week 11. Elliott would score a touchdown on Thanksgiving against the Raiders, but he favored his knee throughout the contest. Following Dallas’ loss, there were reports that the Cowboys could limit the workload for Elliott until his knee ailment improves. Therefore, we could see more of Tony Pollard (RB – DAL) moving forward, which isn’t the worst thing for the offense in Dallas as he’s a talented player.
The New Orleans Saints have been hampered by injuries on offense this season, with both of their lead running backs sidelined with injuries on Thanksgiving. Alvin Kamara missed his third straight game while Mark Ingram would miss his first game since returning to the Saints. The good news for New Orleans is that Kamara and Ingram are both trending upward, giving them an excellent chance to return to the field in Week 13 against the Cowboys.
Michael Carter (RB – NYJ)
Michael Carter was beginning to earn the starting job for the New York Jets, but he would suffer an ankle injury in Week 11. After mulling over their options, the Jets elected to place Carter on injured reserve, meaning he’ll miss a minimum of three games. As we saw in Week 12, Tevin Coleman (RB – NYJ) and Ty Johnson (RB – NYJ) will share the backfield work for New York, so it’s not a situation I’m going out of my way to grab. But if I were to decide between the two, I’d try to get Johnson due to him being a better receiver than Coleman at this point in his career.
CeeDee Lamb (WR – DAL)
In the Cowboys’ showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11, CeeDee Lamb would sustain a concussion on a Dak Prescott (QB – DAL) interception. While Lamb had a slim chance to suit up just four days later on Thanksgiving, he was nearly able to make enough progress to suit up versus the Raiders. However, the up-and-coming wideout needed another week to rest as he will seemingly return to action in Week 13 against the Saints. Besides Lamb, Amari Cooper (WR – DAL) appears to be making a return to the Cowboys this week after missing two games on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
A.J. Brown (WR – TEN)
Injuries have ravaged the Tennessee Titans this season, and things got even worse in Week 11. With Derrick Henry (RB – TEN) and Julio Jones (WR – TEN) already on injured reserve, A.J. Brown is dealing with a chest injury he sustained a week ago. As a result, the Titans placed Brown on the injured reserve. At the very least, the Titans don’t expect Brown to miss the rest of the season. Until Brown returns, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (WR- TEN), Chester Rogers (WR – TEN), and Dez Fitzpatrick (WR – TEN) could see expanded roles at wide receiver. Dontrell Hilliard (RB – TEN) should also continue seeing an increased workload at running back moving forward.