With Andrew Luck in the concussion protocol, there are plenty of Fantasy owners scrambling for a replacement for one of the top Fantasy quarterbacks. Luck is reportedly ‘unlikely’ to play Thanksgiving night, which is supported by the fact that we have him listed as a high injury risk with a below average Health Performance Factor. Gaining clearance from the NFL’s concussion protocol in a matter of three days seems highly unlikely (Davante Adams is the only player to do this in 2016), so Fantasy owners will need to find a replacement. As far as available passers go, Colin Kaepernick (if available in your league) is the best option, as he’s had a sneaky resurgence this year, at least from a Fantasy perspective. His matchup at Miami isn’t great, but Kaepernick’s legs are back to being a factor, which gives him both a high floor and ceiling for his production every week. If you need a streaming option QB option off the wire, Kaepernick is likely your best choice.
Wendell Smallwood RB, Philadelphia
Running backs couldn’t stop getting hurt in Sunday’s Eagles-Seahawks matchup, including both Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews. Sproles seems somewhat likely to play, as the rib injury he suffered has only downgraded him to an above average Health Performance Factor, according to the Inside Injuries algorithm. Mathews, however, is a high injury risk with a below average Health Performance Factor due to the knee injury he suffered Sunday. Mathews is much less likely to play than Sproles, which impacts Smallwood a great deal, as he would fit into Mathews’ role more than he would Sproles’ more specialized receiving role. With the Eagles trying to limit Sproles’ touches to keep him healthy, look for Smallwood, if Mathews is indeed out, to get plenty of early down and goal line touches. This gives him great value against a Green Bay team that is now giving up boatloads of points every week.
Chris Ivory RB, Jacksonville
T.J. Yeldon suffered a Grade 1 ligament sprain in his ankle Sunday, which opened up the door for more touches for Ivory. While Yeldon (elevated IRC, above average HPF) could still play this week, his injury could allow Ivory to claim more of the backfield share either way. The Jags haven’t been a good running team, or offensive team in general, but if Ivory does get an uptick in touches with Yeldon out or limited, he could provide starter value in Fantasy this week.
Tyler Boyd WR, Cincinnati
The biggest injury of the week was certainly A.J. Green going down for the Bengals. Green has already been ruled out for this week and he will likely miss at least a couple more games due to a Grade 3 hamstring strain. We have Green listed as a high injury risk with a poor Health Performance Factor, so don’t expect him back any time soon. In his absence, rookie Tyler Boyd should see an uptick in targets and usage in a Cincy offense that has been decimated by injury. Boyd hasn’t had great production this year, but with Green out and the Bengals fading from the playoff race, look for the team to try and find out what it has in the rookie, who had an explosive college career at Pitt. Boyd should benefit more than Brandon LaFell as far as Fantasy output goes in this scenario.
Sammy Watkins WR, Buffalo
While a Sammy Watkins return for Week 12 seems highly unlikely, he could be ready to return as soon as Week 13. Caution should be used when thinking about playing Watkins that early, but he could be an asset in the Fantasy playoffs once he has played himself back into shape. With Tyrod Taylor’s favorite target this season, Robert Woods going down last week, there will be plenty of opportunity for Watkins once he returns. Watkins is a stash, but he could help you win your league in the final weeks of the season. If you have the roster space to do it, stash him this week.
C.J. Fiedorowicz TE, Houston
The tight end position has grown thinner and thinner over recent weeks, with Rob Gronkowski battling a punctured lung, and now Zach Miller done for the year with a foot injury. If you’re looking for steady, if unspectacular production, especially in PPR formats, then look no further than the Texans’ tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz. He is far from a gamebreaker, but with Brock Osweiler’s limitations, he finds value on short safe routes over the middle. If you need a reliable low end TE1, Fiedorowicz can be a solid pickup.