Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham have been connected for most of their careers as the two best tight ends of their era. On Sunday in Week 12, they shared something no player should ever have to experience.
Gronkowski and Graham were both carted off the field for knee injuries. We know the extent of Graham's injury, and he suffered a torn patellar tendon against Pittsburgh. He will have surgery and is done for the season.
Gronkowski was hurt late in Sunday night's game at Denver, and the initial reports are positive. The NFL Network reported that the Patriots do not believe Gronkowski suffered a serious knee injury, but he is scheduled to undergo more tests Monday. It appears like all Fantasy owners can breathe a sigh of relief.
For Graham, this knee injury ends what has been a disappointing first season in Seattle. He had 48 catches for 605 yards and two touchdowns, and he only had three games this year with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league.
The patellar injury is tough for players to come back from, and it's the same knee injury that knocked out Victor Cruz last year - and he has yet to return. Graham, 29, will face a long recovery from this injury.
While Graham has been a struggling Fantasy option this season, Gronkowski has been a star. You can argue he's been the most important player at any position this year.
He had six catches for 88 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets against the Broncos before getting hurt, and he came into the game with 51 catches for 843 yards and eight touchdowns. He had double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in eight of 11 games, including Sunday.
We hope Gronkowski is not out for an extended period of time, and Tom Brady obviously needs him. Brady went into Week 12 already without Dion Lewis (torn ACL), Julian Edelman (foot) and Danny Amendola (knee) and could not afford to lose Gronkowski also, although Amendola could return in Week 13 against the Eagles.
We'll continue to monitor the news on Gronkowski, and hopefully he will be back on the field soon. The Patriots need him for another Super Bowl run, and Fantasy owners would definitely love to have him at 100 percent with the playoffs on the horizon.
Player on the rise
Player on the decline
Quarterback injuries: Ben Roethlisberger (concussion) and Tony Romo (collarbone)
Quarterback waivers: Tyrod Taylor (66 percent ownership), Brian Hoyer (63 percent), Marcus Mariota (59 percent), Alex Smith (56 percent), Ryan Fitzpatrick (52 percent), Kirk Cousins (35 percent) and Matt Hasselbeck (25 percent)
- We hope Roethlisberger is OK with his concussion, and initial reports are he's expected to be fine heading into his matchup in Week 13 against the Colts at home. If he starts then he's obviously a must-start Fantasy quarterback in all leagues. Prior to leaving against Seattle, Roethlisberger passed for 456 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions and added 18 rushing yards for 24 Fantasy points.
- There was talk the Jets could bench Fitzpatrick for Geno Smith with the team struggling offensively of late, but Fitzpatrick ended that speculation with a strong game against the Dolphins. He passed for 277 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 21 yards to finish with 37 Fantasy points. He should be considered a low-end starter in Week 13 against the Giants. Despite his struggles, Fitzpatrick still has at least 22 Fantasy points in five of the past seven games he's been able to finish.
- Hoyer was supposed to have a huge Fantasy game against the Saints in Week 12 given the matchup, but he let down plenty of owners with just 18 Fantasy points. He passed for 205 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Hoyer might not be a great Fantasy asset down the stretch with Houston's defense playing at a high level. His best games have come in comeback efforts, and the Texans might not put him in those scenarios very often moving forward. He's just a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback at Buffalo in Week 13.
- Philip Rivers needed a big game in Week 12 for Fantasy owners to trust him after combining for 22 Fantasy points the past two outings against Chicago and Kansas City. He showed up in a big way at Jacksonville with 300 passing yards and four touchdowns for 36 Fantasy points. We hope it's a sign of things to come for Rivers, but he has a brutal matchup against Denver in Week 13. I'd only consider him a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback in that matchup.
- Like Rivers, Taylor also needed a big game because Fantasy owners were giving up on him. He came into Week 12 at Kansas City with 39 Fantasy points combined in his previous three games, but he passed for 291 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 46 yards for 31 Fantasy points. It was good to see this performance, but he should struggle in Week 13 against Houston based on how well the Texans defense has played of late.
- Garbage time was Ryan Tannehill's friend in Week 12 at the Jets with 351 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception and a lost fumble for 28 Fantasy points. Most of his stats came with the Jets well in control of this game, but this could be a performance for Tannehill to build on heading into a great matchup in Week 13 against the Ravens. It will be tough to trust Tannehill in most standard leagues, but he could be useful in two-quarterback formats with how Baltimore has struggled with opposing quarterbacks all season and playing in consecutive road games on a short week.
- Blake Bortles snapped his two-game funk of scoring less than 20 Fantasy points with 26 points against the Chargers in Week 12. He passed for 329 yards, two touchdowns and one interception and ran for 33 yards. It took a late touchdown to Allen Robinson for Bortles to get over 20 Fantasy points, but we hope this carries over to Week 13 at Tennessee. He only scored 11 Fantasy points against the Titans in Week 11, but that was a Thursday night game, which is usually tough on quarterbacks. Bortles should have the chance for another quality outing in Week 13.
- Cousins continues to play well at home, and you might consider starting him in Week 13 against the Cowboys. He's scored at least 23 Fantasy points in each of his past four home games against Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, New Orleans and the Giants in Week 12. He passed for 302 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score against the Giants, and we'll see if he can stay hot at home against Dallas. You might not start him in standard formats, but he should be a must-start option in two-quarterback leagues.
- Mariota's performance was somewhat ugly against the Raiders in Week 12 as he completed just 17-of-37 passes for 218 yards, but he threw three touchdowns with two interceptions and finished with 24 Fantasy points. He faces the Jaguars in Week 13, and he scored 17 Fantasy points at Jacksonville in Week 11. I expect him to do better than that in the rematch, and he should be considered a low-end starting option in Week 13.
- Drew Brees can no longer be trusted on the road, as he had another awful game at Houston in Week 12 with seven Fantasy points. This is now five road games this season with 19 Fantasy points or less, but the good news he has just two road games remaining at Tampa Bay in Week 14 and at Atlanta in Week 17, which shouldn't matter in most leagues. Now, he does have a tough matchup in Week 13 against Carolina, but I would still start Brees as a low-end No. 1 quarterback since he'll be playing at home.
- Brady was once again dominant despite facing the Broncos amazing defense with 280 passing yards and three touchdowns. We hope Gronkowski and Amendola are active for Week 13 against the Eagles because that's a dream matchup, but you can still start Brady even if those guys are out. Philadelphia is that bad defensively, and Brady would get production from Brandon LaFell, Scott Chandler and whoever else steps on the field because he just elevates everyone else's level of play.
Player on the rise
Player on the decline
Running back injuries: Chris Johnson (knee), Andre Ellington (foot), Karlos Williams (shoulder) and Jeremy Hill (ankle)
Running back waivers: Theo Riddick (56 percent ownership), Shaun Draughn (53 percent), Jay Ajayi (40 percent) and David Johnson (29 percent)
- It sounds like the Cardinals could be without Chris Johnson and Ellington in Week 12 at St. Louis. Carson Palmer indicated after the game the team will need David Johnson and Kerwynn Williams to step up. David Johnson had eight carries for 21 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 8 yards against the 49ers in Week 12 and is worth adding in all leagues even with the tough matchup ahead against the Rams.
- Hill was having his best game of the season in Week 12 against the Rams with 16 carries for 86 yards and one catch for 14 yards before leaving with an ankle injury. He said after the game he'll be OK, and the Bengals didn't need him back in the game with a comfortable lead. We'll keep an eye on his status heading into a great matchup in Week 13 at Cleveland, although he struggled against the Browns in Week 9 with 15 carries for 52 yards and one catch for 8 yards. If Hill is out in Week 13 then Giovani Bernard would see his value skyrocket.
- Thomas Rawls was solid filling in for the injured Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) with 21 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers. This is now five games on the season with at least 16 carries for Rawls, and he's scored double digits in Fantasy points in four of them. He should continue to produce at a high level heading into Week 13 at Minnesota and is a must-start option in all leagues.
- Chris Ivory needed a big game in Week 12, and he would love to face the Dolphins every week. He had 21 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 15 yards for 15 Fantasy points, and this was his first touchdown since Week 9. He has now combined for 37 Fantasy points against Miami this year. Ivory remains a must-start option against the Giants in Week 13.
- Alfred Blue played great against the Saints in Week 12 with 16 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 4 yards for 13 Fantasy points. He had 14 Fantasy points in Week 11 against the Jets, and he could start becoming a reliable Fantasy option based on Houston's defense. The Texans aren't chasing points like they were earlier in the season, so Blue can get increased carries, which is crucial for his outlook. He is worth using as a flex in Week 13 at Buffalo.
- It sounds like Devonta Freeman (concussion) will return in Week 13 at Tampa Bay, but if he's out it's clear you can rely on Tevin Coleman as a replacement option. He wasn't perfect with a lost fumble against the Vikings, but he flashed his playmaking ability with 18 carries for 110 yards. Coleman is only owned in 77 percent of leagues on CBS Sports, so owners in shallow leagues should add him where available just in case Freeman isn't back against the Buccaneers.
- Shaun Draughn continues to be a solid running back in PPR leagues after he had 15 carries for 51 yards and five catches for 35 yards against Arizona in Week 12. This is now at least 12 Fantasy points in a PPR league in three games in a row since he took over for the injured Carlos Hyde (foot), and he has at least 77 total yards in each outing. He will likely start again in Week 13 at Chicago and is worth using as at least a flex option in all PPR leagues.
- T.J. Yeldon got off to a great start in Week 12 against the Chargers with 43 total yards on Jacksonville's opening drive. It looked like he was on his way to a big game as the Start of the Week. But things fell apart from there, and Yeldon finished with just nine carries for 36 yards and four catches for 46 yards. He wasn't completely awful compared to the field, and he went into Sunday's night's game as the No. 20 Fantasy running back in standard leagues with seven points. But obviously we were hoping for more, and he should be considered a No. 2 running back in Week 13 at the Titans. He had seven Fantasy points against Tennessee in Week 11.
- Latavius Murray had another bad game in Week 12 at Tennessee with 22 carries for 59 yards and one catch for 23 yards. He is clearly missing center Rodney Hudson, who has been in and out of the lineup with an ankle injury since Week 9. In those four games, Murray has eight Fantasy points or less in each outing. We'll see if Hudson is back in Week 13 against the Chiefs, but if he's out then only use Murray as a flex option in the majority of leagues.
- The Broncos wanted to run the ball against the Patriots, and they had plenty of success with C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman. Anderson had the better game with 15 carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns, including a walk-off score in overtime, and four catches for 40 yards, and Hillman had 14 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown. This was the best Anderson looked all season, and we'll see if he starts to get more work moving forward. Both running backs are worth using in Week 13 at San Diego.
Player on the rise
Player on the decline
Wide receiver injuries: Allen Hurns (concussion) and Rishard Matthews (chest)
Wide receiver waivers: Cecil Shorts (11 percent ownership), Dontrelle Inman (9 percent), Jermaine Kearse (8 percent), DeVante Parker (7 percent), Markus Wheaton (6 percent), Devin Smith (1 percent) and Seth Roberts (0 percent)
- Hurns tweeted Sunday that he was OK after dealing with the concussion against San Diego. He had to taken off the field in a stretcher, and he's been beat up of late with thigh, foot and abdomen injuries. We'll see if he can return in Week 13 at Tennessee, but Fantasy owners should prepare for him to be out. Prior to leaving, he had four catches for 42 yards against the Chargers.
- The Dolphins lost Matthews early in Sunday's game at the Jets, and hopefully he'll be OK heading into Week 13 against the Ravens. But even if he's able to return Miami might want to give Parker an extended look after the best game of his rookie season with four catches for 80 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets against the Jets. He is worth a speculative add in deeper leagues. The Dolphins also got great production from Jarvis Landry against the Jets with 13 catches for 165 yards and a touchdown on 16 targets. We'd love to see more of this from Landry to close the season.
- The Seahawks receivers were among the biggest stars of the day as Doug Baldwin went off for six catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns on eight targets against the Steelers, and Kearse added four catches for 47 yards and two touchdowns on five targets. Kearse is too inconsistent to trust, but Baldwin now has at least 19 Fantasy points in two of his past three games and could be needed even more with Graham out. He should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in Week 13 at Minnesota.
- The Steelers have two of the best Fantasy receivers in the league with Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, but both were outplayed by Wheaton in Week 12. He had nine catches for 201 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets, while Brown was held to six catches for 51 yards on 12 targets and Bryant had five catches for 69 yards on 13 targets with an 11-yard rushing touchdown. Brown had a tough assignment with Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, and Bryant had trouble coming down with several long pass plays down the field. Heading into Week 13, we're still confidently starting Brown and Bryant over Wheaton, who combined for two Fantasy points in his previous five games.
- Watkins wanted the ball more, and Rex Ryan wanted him to have it. It worked out well in Week 12 at Kansas City with a season-high 10 targets, and he rewarded Fantasy owners with six catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns. We hope this is a sign of things to come, especially after Watkins had tough matchups the previous two weeks against the Jets and Patriots, but it won't be any easier in Week 13 against Houston. He should be considered a No. 2 Fantasy receiver in that matchup.
- Maclin has been one of the bigger disappointments this season in his first year with the Chiefs, which was expected given how Alex Smith plays quarterback. He came into Week 12 with five games in a row with single digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, but he exploded against Buffalo with nine catches for 160 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. The last time he had double digits in targets was Week 5 against Chicago. The Chiefs trailed against the Bills, so Maclin was more involved, and that's typically when you'll see his production up is when Kansas City is chasing points. That could happen in Week 13 at Oakland, so consider Maclin a high-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver next week.
- Like Hilton, Green was due for a big game, and he had six catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams on eight targets. Green came into Week 12 with three games in a row with single digits in Fantasy points and only one game with double digits in points since Week 3. We hope he continues to find the end zone on a regular basis, and he has a favorable matchup in Week 13 at Cleveland. He had five Fantasy points against the Browns in Week 9, and we expect him to do better than that in the rematch.
- Michael Floyd returned from his one-game absence from a hamstring injury at San Francisco and looked rusty with one catch for 14 yards on two targets. He should play better starting in Week 13 at the Rams. John Brown looked spry against the 49ers with five catches for 99 yards on seven targets, and hopefully his hamstring injury is behind him. He's an excellent Fantasy option against St. Louis.
- The Jets had another great game from Brandon Marshall (nine catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets) and Eric Decker (five catches for 62 yards and a touchdown on nine targets), and they remain must-start options in all leagues heading into Week 13 against the Giants. But it was good to see Devin Smith involved with two catches for 33 yards and a touchdown on three targets. We hope he gets worked into the offense more, and he's worth keeping an eye on in deeper leagues.
Player on the rise
Player on the decline
Tight end injuries: Jimmy Graham (knee), Rob Gronkowski (knee), Tyler Eifert (shoulder), Heath Miller (ribs) and Garrett Celek (ankle)
Tight end waivers: Zach Miller (47 percent ownership), Brent Celek (11 percent), Scott Chandler (3 percent), Vance McDonald (0 percent), Ryan Griffin (0 percent), Cameron Brate (0 percent) and Luke Willson (0 percent)
- Eifert said he expects to be OK after leaving Sunday's game against the Rams with a stinger. We'll find out his status heading into Week 13 at Cleveland, and hopefully he can play against the Browns since he had five catches for 53 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting in Week 9. He had three catches for 40 yards and a touchdown against the Rams before getting hurt.
- Antonio Gates snapped out of his recent three-game funk with a big performance against the Jaguars. He had four catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns on six targets. Gates will be just a low-end starting option in a tough matchup against Denver in Week 13.
- Like Gates, Kelce came into Week 12 in need of a good game, and he delivered with four catches for 69 yards and a touchdown on seven targets against Buffalo. Prior to Week 12, Kelce had combined for seven Fantasy points, and he only scored double digits in points once since Week 3. We hope Kelce can build on this game heading into a dream matchup at Oakland in Week 13.
- I called Griffin a sleeper on our Fantasy Football Today show Sunday morning, and he came through with four catches for 72 yards and a touchdown on five targets. But that was more about the Saints defense than Griffin, and he's only worth looking at off the waiver wire in deeper leagues.
- McDonald had six catches for 71 yards and a touchdown on seven targets against the 49ers for 13 Fantasy points, and he scored 12 Fantasy points at Arizona in Week 11. He could have an even bigger role if Garrett Celek is out, and McDonald is worth adding in deeper leagues heading into Week 13 at Chicago.