Swift could miss at least three games with a sprained AC joint
The Lions were 0-10-1 heading into this week, so it’s not too surprising to see the team put D’Andre Swift on injured reserve. But the player is anxious to return. It’s likely that he’ll miss a couple weeks. While Swift wants to be back for the end of the season, the team’s long-term future is better served by keeping him out of the lineup for a few weeks.
D’Andre Swift is out of the Lions’ Week 13 game due to a sprained AC joint. He left the game with the injury in the second quarter of the Thanksgiving loss against the Chicago Bears and was unable to return. On Wednesday, the Lions were also without Swift. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Swift is expected to miss at least three games and could miss as many as six.
D’Andre Swift has missed his fourth straight game due to a shoulder injury. While Swift’s absence is significant, he still has a good chance to return. The Lions are limiting Swift’s workload during weekday practices to make sure he’s healthy. The Lions’ first option at running back is Lance Matthews, who will likely start Week 1 and play in Week 14. The other options for Swift are the Bears’ rookie RB Jordan Howard and veteran RB Joe Thomas.
With Swift out of the lineup, Drew Brees and Earl Thomas could return in the playoffs. In addition to Swift, RB Jordan Thomas has already undergone ankle surgery in the offseason. Although the Saints’ defense will be without Swift until Week 13, they will still be able to count on him as the backup quarterback. The injury is not considered severe, but it will certainly put the Saints in a difficult position.
Williams is a safe bet for 20-plus touches
WRs will have a tough time getting many targets against this defense, and if he does see more snaps, they should be wary of the matchup against the New England Patriots. While the Patriots rank first in run defense DVOA, they allow the third-fewest points to running backs per game. With both backs healthy, Williams should see plenty of opportunities.
WRs have mixed results in the last two weeks, with Swift largely underutilized. The Lions opted to use him in a limited role last week, as Jamaal Williams led the backfield with 14 touches and Craig Reynolds mixed in with just five. Jonathan Swift will be a dicey RB2 against the Green Bay Packers. Instead, look to other backs like DeAndre Swift, Craig Reynolds, and KeVeon Johnson to get the most touches.
As the Lions’ offense struggles, Williams is an attractive mid-tier flex play in deep leagues. With Gordon back in Denver, Williams should see more work. The RB12-15 range should be in his reach if he can get over 20 touches per game against D andre Swift. He should also be a top-five option in deep leagues if Gordon isn’t ready yet.
After missing four games, Jonathan Swift was limited during all of last week’s practice sessions and is a question mark for Sunday’s game. The Lions’ injury history suggests Swift will be limited to the field. A heavy workload, however, is likely to limit Swift’s usage as the team tries to avoid an injury. While Swift is a talented runner and pass-catcher, he hasn’t been able to stay healthy as a workhorse back.
Brown is on IR with a rib fracture
Antonio Brown was placed on injured reserve after suffering a rib fracture, hand injury, and chest injury last week. The injury required him to sit out Week 12 of the NFL season. He only played 40 offensive snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans. Brown finished with five receptions for 48 yards on nine targets. After hearing of his injury, Brown posted a message of faith on social media. The team hopes he will be back for Tennessee’s game against the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 23.
The Buccaneers have a variety of weapons on offense in the passing game. They have a healthy Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Scotty Miller, who stepped in for Brown in the NFC Championship Game. In addition, they have great receiving tight end options in O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. Brown will also likely miss Week 10 after suffering a rib fracture.
The Dolphins are not the only team with injuries to ribs. DeAndre Hopkins, Amari Cooper, and JuJu Smith-Schuster all went down with rib injuries early in the season. These players are likely to miss some time, so it’s good to see that the Dolphins are taking precautionary steps to protect their quarterbacks. If you’re playing a position where rib injuries are common, make sure you know what to do to prevent further damage.
There’s no timetable for Christian McCaffrey, but Brown’s rib injury is still a concern. His team has gotten plenty of time to prepare for Week 4 without him. However, he might not play this week as well as he would have in Week 3. A rib fracture is a serious issue for any NFL player. Thankfully, a quick recovery will make his return more predictable and less frustrating for his teammates.
Mitchell Mitchell cleared concussion protocol but still has a nagging knee injury
The 49ers haven’t practiced much lately, as Elijah Mitchell continues to deal with knee and concussion injuries. Mitchell cleared the concussion protocol on Monday, but will be out of Thursday’s game in Nashville. In the meantime, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair is dealing with an elbow sprain. Both Mitchell and Al-Shaair are out of the starting lineup for the game against the Texans.
The 49ers will be without their leading rusher for a third straight week, as Mitchell remains in the concussion protocol. Mitchell suffered a concussion against the Seahawks in Week 13, so his availability for Thursday’s game is uncertain. Mitchell is expected to practice again on Monday, but there are no guarantees that he will play. However, he remains a major fantasy player, so it’s worth keeping an eye on his health.
Despite being a top prospect, Mitchell has been a big disappointment. The running back has missed more than a month of basketball due to two separate injuries. A rib injury sidelined Mitchell earlier this season, while a knee ailment has kept him out of action for two weeks. Mitchell has been able to play in the playoffs and has cleared the concussion protocol, but still has some nagging issues. The 49ers are desperate to get their young star back, and Mitchell’s absence has been a big loss.
Another important injury that has affected Mitchell’s availability for the Week 11 game against the Seahawks is the fracture in his right middle. Mitchell is the backup running back for Russell Wilson, and his status could affect his fantasy outlook. In the meantime, Mitchell could make his return to the NFL, as his injury has healed. The 49ers are hoping for a strong performance from Mitchell.
Jeff Wilson Jr. is emerging as Derek Henry’s top fantasy football replacement
While Derek Henry is still out, the 49ers have a lot of interesting running back options. Jeff Wilson Jr. is an excellent value at $5,600 on DraftKings and $6,700 on FanDuel. His backfield upside is high, and his value is bolstered by a great matchup. Josh Jacobs is a great play if you need a running back who can produce on the ground and catch passes, but his value is limited by his reliance on volume and catches. James Conner is another great play in a one-on-one matchup. Devonta Freeman is an excellent option, but his matchup against the Texans is too tough.
The 49ers signed Jeff Wilson Jr. this offseason, and he will join Elijah Mitchell in the backfield. That depth is vital for a fantasy team, and it’s unlikely he will be as useful as Mitchell in the near future. However, Wilson Jr. is a viable option to fill in for Henry in the upcoming season, and his re-signing with the team makes him an excellent fantasy football replacement.
In the passing game, Henry has little role. He caught 18 passes for 206 yards in 2018. This season, he has fewer than 20 carries and has no rushing touchdowns. However, he may get scripted out from time to time, as he didn’t score more than ten fantasy points in four games last season. As a result, Jeff Wilson Jr. is a better option to stash and play for the rest of the season.
When considering a TE1 in the 2017 draft, remember that both Henry and Smith are still viable options. Both players are highly draftable, but neither can be a TE1. In either case, you need to know that they are a viable fantasy football replacement. And don’t forget to include Jordan Wilkins as one of your RB sleepers. And if you don’t have any of those options in your team, Austin Ekeler, Collin Johnson, and Jeff Wilson Jr. are all solid options to consider.