NFL: DEC 20 Bears at Vikings
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Injuries have played a big part  in the way this Fantasy season has played out so far, so it's only fitting that it looks like things might remain much the same as the playoffs loom. On Thursday in Week 12, we saw D'Andre Swift (shoulder) and Darren Waller (knee) leave their games with injuries, and while both seemingly managed to avoid serious injuries, the same may not be able to be said about some of the star players who were forced out of Sunday's action.

The most serious-looking injury, as of Sunday afternoon, is Dalvin Cook's who had to be carted off with a shoulder injury and was ruled out shortly after. Cook has had recurring issues in his shoulders dating back to high school, so this is obviously a significant concern, but it isn't the only injury we're going to have to keep track of this week and potentially beyond. 

Christian McCaffrey was able to play through a foot/ankle injury Sunday, but was spotted after the game in a walking boot. And that might not even be the most serious foot-related injury news from Sunday -- Aaron Rodgers admitted after Sunday's game his broken toe may require surgery during the bye week. 

In this morning's newsletter, I'm going to give a quick breakdown of the injuries we'll need to watch heading into Week 13, plus your first look at the waiver wire targets. It's actually not a terrible week to need some running back help, though the options at other positions don't really inspire confidence. Plus, make sure you check out Heath Cummings' take on the biggest storylines coming out of Sunday's action right here

Tomorrow, I'll have my full rankings for Week 13 and Jamey Eisenberg's full waiver-wire priority list for the morning's newsletter, and if you have any waiver-wire or trade questions, make sure you send them my way with the subject line #AskFFT to

Injury Recap 


It's important to remember that we're at the point of the season where an injury that would have been relatively minor two months ago might make a player droppable now. Obviously, that depends on the player and the injury, but it also depends on your team's situation; if you are locked into a playoff spot, obviously you can afford to be a little more patient, but if you only have two weeks until your playoffs and you aren't a sure thing, a three-week injury may be one week too long to matter for your team. 

Dalvin Cook left with a shoulder injury 

Cook suffered a dislocated shoulder during the third quarter of Sunday's game and had to be carted off. Obviously, anytime the cart comes out, things seem especially serious, but the bigger concern here is that Cook has a lengthy history of injuries in both shoulders. He had surgery on his left shoulder back in high school, then had a torn labrum in the right shoulder twice in college; in 2019, he also sprained his right AC joint and missed multiple weeks. He's slated for an MRI Monday to determine what other damage the injury might have caused, but it's hard to be optimistic at this point. 

Given Cook's history, Alexander Mattison has been one of the more widely rostered backup running backs around, especially after he had over 150 yards in two starts in Cook's place earlier in the season, but he is still available in 22% of all CBS Fantasy leagues. It's hard to hang on to a backup when the starter is healthy, but this is a good example of why you need to exercise that kind of patience. Because if Cook is out for a significant period of time, Mattison could be a league winner, and the thing is, we knew that all along. If he's available in any leagues, he needs to be the top waiver-wire target for Week 13. Even if Cook isn't out long term, and even if Cook isn't on your team. And if Cook is out for the season, Mattison is worth using all of your remaining FAAB on. 

Aaron Rodgers is considering having toe surgery

Rodgers had another solid game playing through his injury Sunday, throwing for 307 yards and a pair of touchdowns and rushing for one more in a 36-28 win over the Rams, and we assumed he was just going to head into the bye and rest up. However, he said after the game he'll have tests taken on the toe Monday to determine whether surgery might be needed during the bye week. 

Rodgers told reporters the fractured two "felt good most of the game," so it's not clear whether he suffered some sort of setback or what. What is also not clear is whether he might miss time if he does need surgery. Rodgers has maintained all along that this is something he can play through without missing time, but obviously surgery might change that. Hopefully not, but it's an added variable that brings some risk to the table for Rodgers moving forward, as any surgery does.

As we saw in Week 9, Jordan Love may not necessarily be ready to carry this offense -- he completed 19 of 34 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown in an ugly 13-7 loss to the Chiefs. Davante Adams still had 14 targets in that game and would likely be a top-12 WR on volume alone if Rodgers did have to miss time, but it would be tougher for Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to both be relevant if Rodgers went down, because the offense just may not be good enough. 

Christian McCaffrey was in a walking boot after Sunday's game

McCaffrey limped off the field in the first half and played just one second-half snap after leaving the game in the second quarter, and though the team didn't acknowledge the injury (during or after the game, really), it's clear there is something going on there. Whether it was his ankle or his foot, it's something to keep an eye on. The good news is, the Panthers have a bye in Week 13, so this isn't exactly an emergency situation for Fantasy, but it's certainly something to watch out for. 

Chuba Hubbard averaged 12.9 PPR points per game in McCaffrey's absence earlier in the season, and if McCaffrey were forced to miss multiple games, Hubbard would be a priority on waivers even with the bye coming up. However, given the lack of information at present, the focus should be for those with McCaffrey to make sure his insurance policy is locked up -- don't prioritize Hubbard if Mattison is available, however. 

Here's the rest of the major injury news we're watching as we begin to peek at Week 13: 

  • Deebo Samuel (groin) -- Samuel left Sunday's game and is set for an MRI Monday, but told reporters after the game he isn't too concerned about it at this point. Samuel has just two catches over the past two games, but rushed for 66 yards and a pair of touchdowns Sunday as the 49ers continue to find ways to get him the ball in the most valuable parts of the field. As long as he's healthy, Samuel is a must-start Fantasy WR (RB?), but if he were to miss Week 13 against the Seahawks, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle would both benefit. 
  • Ezekiel Elliott (knee) -- According to reports from after Thursday's 36-33 loss to the Raiders, the Cowboys are considering giving Elliott some time off to recover from the knee injury he has been playing through over the past few weeks. The Cowboys have acknowledged Elliott hasn't been 100%, and with some extra time off coming after Thursday's game against the Saints, it seems like Elliott may get some time off for maintenance. Tony Pollard would be a borderline top-12 RB for Week 13 even against a tough matchup like the Saints with the opportunity to be the lead back. 
  • D'Andre Swift (shoulder) -- Based on what we know right now, Swift didn't suffer a serious injury on Thanksgiving, but that obviously doesn't mean his sprained shoulder won't cost him any time at all. Jamaal Williams had 20 touches in Week 12 while playing a season-high 63% of the snaps, and figures to see a similar role if Swift has to miss time. Yes, it's a bad offense, and Williams isn't nearly the playmaker Swift is, but he would probably be ranked close to a top-15 RB if Swift has to miss time based on volume alone. 
  • Darren Waller (knee) -- The other big injury from Thursday's game doesn't sound like it's too serious -- Waller has a strained IT band, an injury I have to admit I've never heard of in my time writing about sports. Like with Swift, the fact that this wasn't a serious injury doesn't mean it won't cost him time. Foster Moreau would be a very intriguing streamer if Waller misses time -- he had six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown when Waller was out in Week 7. 
  • Jalen Hurts (ankle) -- Coach Nick Sirianni said Hurts was "a little hobbled" by an injury late in Sunday's loss to the Giants, so we'll just file that one away for now. Gardner Minshew is Hurts' backup, and while he isn't terrible for a backup by any means, it's hard to see how Hurts' absence would be anything but a negative for the offense, given how much he does with his legs. However, Minshew would be an interesting 2QB-league streamer against the Jets
  • Pat Freiermuth (head) -- It's not clear when the injury happened, but Freiermuth was evaluated for a concussion after Sunday's game. He had four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown, with 24 of those yards coming in the final minutes, including the score with 2:59 left on the clock and the Steelers down nearly 40. We'll find out more about his status in the coming days, but if he did suffer a concussion, he'll have to be cleared through the league's protocol before he can play in Week 13 against the Ravens. If you've been relying on him, you'll likely have to target a replacement on waivers unless we get good news early. 

Top early waiver-wire targets

Elijah Moore IMAGN/USA Today Sports
  1. Jamaal Williams, RB, DET 55%
  2. Boston Scott, RB, PHI 38%
  3. Dontrell Hilliard 45%/D'Onta Foreman 63%
  4. Foster Moreau, TE, LV 0%
  5. Daniel Jones, QB, NYG 41%

For all of my top early priorities and why I'm targeting them, head here