In all sports, rivalries ensure that the games are fun. For some fans, there’s nothing worse than losing to your team’s most hated opponent. In football, the Chicago Bears against the Green Bay Packers are the most traditional rivalry. Growing up in the Chicagoland area, it’s been a good year, even if the bears stink when they beat the Packers. Last Sunday I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel to Lambeau Field for the matchup on Sunday evening. If you’ve never made it to Lambeau, I highly recommend it. It’s like a spaceship dropped a huge football stadium in the middle of the suburbs, nothing like my many experiences on Soldier Field.
Like some of my fantasy teams this year, the Chicago Bears season has been tough. I have to say the overwhelming majority of Green Bay fans were warmly welcomed, but for whatever reason, the section I sat in was … let’s call it a spirited group that represented both teams. After an outstanding first half, nothing went right for Chicago in the second half and the game quickly lost. A few rows down a voice called out, “David and Goliath ever heard of this? Time to collect! ”In a sea of Packer fans there was a lonely man with a naked torso, Zumba and a cheese grater. Needless to say, the rally didn’t work out for us Chicago fans. As we head into the fantasy playoffs this week, hopefully most of you have been able to rally and sneak into the championship run while keeping your dignity and clothes on.
Lamar Jackson, QB Baltimore Ravens
Injury: Injury to the right ankle joint (unspecific)
Estimated timetable: unknown
Potential replacement (s): Tyler Huntley
While there have been some major fantasy football injuries this weekend, probably none have been as prominent as Lamar Jackson’s ankle injury. All of the video perspectives I’ve watched of Jackson’s injury don’t show a clear picture of what happened, so it’s difficult to speculate on the meaning. It doesn’t sound like Jackson had a broken ankle, which is at least good news for his outlook for the rest of the season. If he has a classic inversion ankle sprain, he could play with limited mobility next week, while a high ankle sprain would reduce his chances. Fantasy managers will have to wait until we get more information.
Tony Pollard, RB Dallas Cowboys
Injury: tear in the plantar fascia
Estimated schedule: 1-3 weeks
Potential replacement (s): Corey Clement
Last week we learned that Tony Pollard was nursing a plantar fascia injury. Dallas ruled him out over the weekend. Although small tears of the plantar fascia rarely lead to end-of-season injuries, they are difficult to treat because they are extremely painful. An NFL RB must be able to place their foot, change direction, and accelerate quickly, which can exacerbate the plantar fascia injury. While Pollard may be able to return in week 15, I wouldn’t be surprised if he missed another week or two.
Kareem hunt, RB Cleveland Shades of brown
Injury: ankle sprain (likely high ankle)
Estimated schedule: 3-4 weeks
Potential replacement (s): D’Ernest Johnson
Early Sunday, Cleveland running back Kareem Hunt left Sunday with what looked like a high ankle sprain. If so, the chances are Hunt won’t return for the remainder of the fantasy football season. It is probably known to most fantasy players that high ankle sprains are killers for the RB position. Average missed time is four weeks with fantasy production falling 20% once the player returns.
DJ Moore, WR Carolina Panther
Injury: hamstring strain
Estimated schedule: 2-4 weeks
Potential replacement (s): Robby Anderson, Brandon Zylstra
Carolina is listed as DJ Moore “day in and day out” with a hamstring injury. Typically for NFL wide receivers, this is an injury of at least 2 weeks but can last longer. Moore has been up and down this season, but amid the fantasy playoffs, this isn’t an ideal injury. With the Panthers season nearly over, there’s no real reason to rush DJM back. Robby Anderson increased the time on Sunday but surprisingly, Brandon Zylstra played more snaps and overtook Terrace Marshall five to nil
Josh Allen, QB Buffalo bills
Injury: turf toe
Estimated schedule: 0-2 weeks
Potential replacement (s): Mitch Trubisky
Josh Allen downplays his lawn toe injury, telling reporters he doesn’t think this is a big deal and should play in week 15. Since he’s playing the quarterback position, I tend to agree. A turf toe injury would usually be more restrictive for players with a more skillful position. I think this injury could affect Allen’s mobility, much like Patrick Mahomes’s in the playoffs last year. Allen currently ranks third among QBs in rush trials, while 25% of his fantasy production comes from running games. I assume Allen is getting on well, but his blanket could have fallen a hair.
Terry McLaurin, WR Washington Soccer team
Estimated schedule: 1-4 weeks
Potential replacement (s): Adam Humphries, DeAndre Carter
Terry McLaurin will start on the concussion log this week after suffering an injury on Sunday. As I discussed earlier in this column, concussions vary widely and it all depends on how McLaurin’s symptoms develop this week. As it stands now, there is a risk he will miss week 15. Adam Humphries and DeAndre Carter led WFT on goals following McLaurin’s departure.
Rex Burkhead, RB Houston Texans
Injury: groin strain
Estimated schedule: 2-4 weeks
Potential replacement (s): David Johnson, Royce Freeman
Rex Burkhead has a groin strain sustained in his loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Soft tissue injuries like this can lead to absenteeism of several weeks in a 31-year-old running back. David Johnson was on the COVID-19 reserve list last week and if he can’t return, Royce Freeman could have the Houston backcourt to himself by week 15.
Austin disgust, RB Los Angeles Charger
Injury: Left ankle sprain (possibly high ankle)
Estimated timetable: unknown
Potential replacement (s): Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley
Austin Ekeler injured his left ankle on Sunday and did not return. This injury was one of the cases where we had a clear video angle and the injury mechanism matched a high ankle sprain. Video isn’t everything, but there is some information. The Chargers came out saying that Disgust’s injury is not considered a serious one, but there have been instances where NFL teams have not been entirely honest about players’ injuries. That might not be the case here, but the video of Austin Ekeler’s ankle injury worries me. The Chargers play Thursday night and at least I think Disgust is missing out on a game.
Melvin Gordon III, RB Denver Broncos
Injury: Thumb injury
Estimated schedule: 0 weeks
Potential replacement (s): NA
Melvin Gordon is struggling with a thumb injury but it doesn’t sound like a fracture and so won’t be wasting time. Thumb injuries shouldn’t be particularly limiting for NFL RBs, but Denver could use this as an excuse to buy rookie Javonte Williams more playing time. Williams has been stellar for the past 3 weeks and has been playing as RB2 since week 12.
Discussed violations of the past: