Fantasy Football Week 11: Thursday Night Football preview and injury report updates
Thursday Night Football sees the return of James Conner, but the injury report is still littered with big names for the rest of the schedule.
The Browns and Steelers mercifully come into Thursday Night Football with pretty clean injury reports, most notably including James Conner ready to return after missing two games with a shoulder injury. Conner practiced in full all week and wasn't even included on the final injury report, clearing him for a return to your Fantasy lineups as well.
However, it will be interesting to see what the Steelers actually opt to do with their running game Thursday, especially since Conner dominated the work before his injury. Will the Steelers opt to return him to that role coming off the injury, or does Jaylen Samuels figure to mix in as well? We haven't seen Samuels and Conner healthy for a full game since Week 4, when the Steelers had the duo on the field constantly and Samuels had 18 touches.
We're not quite expecting that kind of work, as only one of our trio of experts has Samuel ranked inside of the top 40 at running back. Conner, on the other hand, is viewed as a top-10 option by both Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard, with Heath Cummings just a bit more tepid, ranking him 15th.
There aren't any other injuries of note for Thursday, though that doesn't mean there aren't significant question marks coming into this game. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Odell Beckham are two of the biggest disappointments at the wide receiver position, but at this point in the season, neither is necessarily a must-start option. In fact, Conner and Nick Chubb may be the only true must-start players in Thursday's game, with Beckham and Smith-Schuster more like No. 2 (or even No. 3) options, with Jarvis Landry in the same range. Kareem Hunt, who played a surprisingly big role in his season debut in Week 10, is more like a flex option.
The lack of injuries for Thursday night does not extend to the rest of the week's games, unfortunately. Here are the rest of the injuries you need to know about heading into Thursday night:
- Jacoby Brissett (knee) is expected to return — Brissett, who missed last week's game with his knee injury, was a full participant in Wednesday's practice, putting him on pace to return Sunday against the Jaguars. He has struggled on the road, but Brissett is averaging 25.6 Fantasy points per game at Lucas Oil Stadium, which has Heath Cummings viewing him as a top-12 QB for this week, at least.
- Matthew Stafford (back) did not practice — It sounds like Stafford fought to play last week, so if he has a chance to play, it sounds like he is going to take it. Unfortunately, he didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday, making it look increasingly unlikely he will play. Friday will tell us more, but even then, don't be surprised if we don't know Stafford's status until Sunday morning. Jeff Driskel's rushing ability makes him an intriguing low-end streamer in a game where the Lions could be chasing points against the Cowboys.
- David Montgomery "lightly rolled" his ankle — Montgomery suffered the injury during Wednesday's practice and was officially listed as a limited participant. We'll see how this impacts his availability for Thursday and Friday's practice sessions, but you might want to go add Cordarrelle Patterson just in case Montgomery can't play this week. Tarik Cohen figures to see an expanded role as well, but with Mike Davis recently waived, Patterson could see double-digit touches if you are desperate for RB help.
- Derrius Guice ready to make his return — Guice, who hasn't played since Week 1 after suffering another knee injury, will split time with Adrian Peterson, at least at first. As the season goes on, Guice could carve out a larger and larger role, assuming he proves healthy and strong. Guice has just 18 rushing yards in one appearance over nearly two years since Washington drafted him 59th overall in 2018, after a torn ACL forced him to miss all of his rookie season.
- David Johnson not on practice report — This one actually comes as something of a surprise, as Johnson just hasn't looked right since returning from the back and ankle injuries — something Kliff Kingsbury acknowledged in recent days. Johnson figures to play in Week 11, but is coming off a five-carry, one-reception game with a fumble. Kenyan Drake should be expected to lead the backfield again, though with Chase Edmonds still not practicing with a hamstring injury, Johnson figures to have a role.
- Jordan Howard (shoulder) limited at practice — This one is a bit concerning, if only because the Eagles are coming off their bye week, which presumably should have given him enough time to get healthy. Still, he has practiced both Wednesday and Thursday, so expect him to play at this point.
- Matt Breida (ankle) did not practice — This doesn't come as much of a surprise with Breida expected to sit out at least this week. Raheem Mostert was limited due to a knee injury Thursday, so Jeff Wilson could see an increased role this week. Given how often and how effectively the 49ers run the ball, that could make him a viable flex option for Week 11.
- Adam Thielen (hamstring) did not practice —Thielen has yet to practice as of Thursday, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports Thielen is unlikely to play this week. That means we probably won't see him until Week 13, as the Vikings are on bye in Week 12.
- Dede Westbrook (shoulder) returned to practice in full — We're 10 weeks into the season, and the Jaguars are sort of an unknown heading into Week 11, with Nick Foles taking over for Gardner Minshew after throwing just eight passes in Week 1. Remember way back then, Westbrook was expected to be the Foles' top target, so a second-half breakout could be in the making.
- Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) did not practice — Sanders hasn't been ruled out for Week 11, but Shanahan called him a "game-time decision" Monday due to a rib cartilage injury, so you'll want to make alternate plans at the least. Consider Deebo Samuel in those plans after his breakout in Week 10.
- Will Fuller (hamstring) limited — This is the first time Fuller has been able to practice since suffering the injury in Week 7, but the fact he is still limited coming off the bye means he's no guarantee to return. It will be tough to trust him even if he does return, given how boom-or-bust Fuller has been.
- Amari Cooper (knee, ankle) did not practice — Cooper has been fighting through these injuries for weeks, and they haven't really slowed him down. He missed practice last week as well, and ended up with 11 catches for 147 yards and a touchdown in Week 10, so clearly it doesn't seem to have been enough to slow him down. Cooper is a must-start option unless he ends up missing time unexpectedly.
- Devin Funchess (clavicle) is back at practice — Funchess isn't likely to return from IR in Week 11, but there will be an opportunity for him to play a significant role whenever he is able to return, especially if that comes before T.Y. Hilton's — who is still sidelined by a calf injury and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.
- George Kittle (knee) likely out — Kyle Shanahan told reporters Kittle would be out for Week 11, but he walked that back just a bit. It still seems unlikely Kittle, who missed Week 10 and did not practice Wednesday, will play Sunday against the Cardinals. Ross Dwelley would face a prime matchup if Kittle doesn't play, but he would just be a low-end streamer for the matchup.
- Jack Doyle (shoulder) returned to practice Thursday — Doyle was held out of practice Wednesday but came back Thursday — a good sign for his chances of playing in Week 11. Still, we'll have to keep an eye on this one, especially with the Colts giving 16 targets to Doyle and Eric Ebron in Week 10. If Doyle doesn't play, Ebron should be viewed as a must-start option.
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