• Late bye weeks: With a staggering six teams on bye for week 13, the injuries are going to hit some teams even harder this week.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Tied for the most teams on a bye week with Week 7, this weekend represents a unique challenge for many fantasy squads.
Just a week or two out from the playoffs depending on format, teams missing fantasy stars —such as Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, and T.J. Hockenson — will be even more pressed to fill their lineup with the bevy of injuries this week. Additionally, Justin Jefferson being activated just in time for the Minnesota Vikings‘ off week certainly stings for those who have missed him, but he will be a massive boost come next week.
Meanwhile, the New York Jets have opened the practice window for Aaron Rodgers, who is just 11 weeks out from surgery to repair a torn Achilles. His goal remains to return this season, but skepticism is more than fair at the moment.
While there are a few players who are on the highly doubtful side this week — such as Jonathan Taylor and Dallas Goedert, both of whom are recovering from midseason surgeries — it feels like the rest of the league is questionable at this point in the season, placing even more emphasis on the importance of knowing how players are trending heading into the weekend. Let’s dive in.
Week 13 bye weeks
RB Jonathan Taylor (thumb), Indianapolis Colts
While somehow not officially ruled out yet, Taylor underwent surgery on his thumb that will likely sideline him for a couple of weeks, reopening the door for Zack Moss to dominate the Colts' backfield work. Moss was a revelation early in the season and still sits at RB24 despite receiving just 18 touches over the last three weeks. If you were fortunate enough to snag Moss off waivers, he could be a league winner down the stretch depending on the extent of Taylor’s thumb injury.
WR Tee Higgins (hamstring), Cincinnati Bengals
Higgins has fought a hamstring injury for several weeks now, and the Bengals received positive news Thursday, as he practiced after missing the last three games. With Joe Burrow now officially on injured reserve, Higgins would provide a massive boost to the Bengals passing game with Jake Browning at the helm the rest of the way. Browning has mostly been a disaster in his action the last two weeks, producing three turnover-worthy plays and posting an average depth of target under six yards. It’s unlikely that better options than Higgins exist at this point in the season but keep your expectations low.
QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson (concussion), Cleveland Browns
Currently working through concussion protocol, DTR has not participated in practice this week. With Deshaun Watson (shoulder) on injured reserve and faith seemingly lost in P.J. Walker, the Browns signed veteran Joe Flacco to lead the offense this week. While not exactly an addition to get super excited about, the alternatives have not shown a ton of upside either. It’s hard to know what to expect for the likes of Amari Cooper and David Njoku moving forward, but expect DTR to resume his starting role once healthy unless Flacco comes up with a vintage performance.
RB Raheem Mostert (ankle) and RB De’Von Achane (knee), Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins backfield continues to face more than its fair share of injury concerns, as both explosive backs were limited on Thursday after Mostert did not practice on Wednesday (a common theme this year). While Achane’s quick exit upon his return in Week 11 may leave some managers with a sour taste, a matchup with the Commanders that has shootout potential makes it near impossible to keep either on the bench if they’re active on gameday.
WR DeVonta Smith (knee) and WR A.J. Brown (thigh), Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles duo has been limited in practice this week due to knee and thigh issues respectively. Neither injury sounds serious enough to keep them out for the game, but some slight load management could see the Eagles rely more on the ground game while Dallas Goedert (forearm) remains sidelined as well. Unless either suffers a setback heading into the weekend, keep both in your lineup for this NFC Championship rematch.
WR Chris Olave (concussion) and WR Rashid Shaheed (thigh), New Orleans Saints
Olave is working through concussion protocol, practicing in a limited fashion this week, which leaves his status up in the air for Sunday’s matchup. Shaheed has not practiced and faces a very similar situation. Already down Michael Thomas, the Saints would rely heavily on some combination of Juwan Johnson, Taysom Hill, A.T. Perry and Lynn Bowden Jr. to eat up the 14 targets that Olave and Shaheed were combining for on average. While Olave is borderline as a must-start if healthy, Shaheed would need to return to practice Friday to be in consideration to play.
WR Marvin Mims (hamstring) and WR Jerry Jeudy (groin), Denver Broncos
Jeudy was a non-participant Wednesday while Mims has been limited, but the Broncos sound optimistic about their statuses heading into this week. While still worth keeping an eye on, a pivot off either receiver shouldn’t be too detrimental to your lineup.
TE Trey McBride (groin), Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals breakout tight end popped up on the injury report due to a groin injury and has not practiced ahead of the Cardinals’ matchup with Pittsburgh. Despite not receiving the bulk of the tight end reps until the recently waived Zach Ertz went down in Week 7, McBride has produced enough over the last five weeks to slot in at TE11 and would be sorely missed by Kyler Murray and fantasy managers alike. Keep an eye on his status heading into the weekend and have a pivot in mind in a worst-case scenario.
WR Marquise Brown (heel) and WR Michael Wilson (shoulder), Arizona Cardinals
Neither receiver has practiced this week, which may leave Arizona even more shorthanded against a feisty Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Brown was productive playing through his heel ailment last week while Wilson has missed the last two weeks due to his shoulder injury. Depending on how their statuses shake out heading into the weekend, Kyler Murray’s upside could take a huge hit with the aforementioned Trey McBride also banged up.
RB A.J. Dillon (groin) and RB Aaron Jones (knee), Green Bay Packers
Neither Packer back practiced Wednesday, but Dillon appears to be trending toward playing after practicing Thursday. Jones had dealt with a hamstring injury all season and just appeared to be getting healthy before suffering a knee sprain on Thanksgiving, putting his status in doubt moving forward. An appealing matchup awaits Sunday night, but it appears Dillon may be the primary beneficiary with the only other RB on the depth chart being Patrick Taylor.
WR Dontayvion Wicks (knee) and WR Jayden Reed (chest), Green Bay Packers
Moving outside for the Packers, Jayden Reed is dealing with a chest injury that held him out Wednesday and Thursday while Wicks has been limited all week. While Jordan Love has been spreading the ball around all season, Reed currently leads the receiver room in fantasy points at WR33, and his likely absence further opens opportunities for Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson and Wicks.
TE Dalton Schultz (hamstring), Houston Texans
Schultz was held out of practice this week due to a hamstring ailment that looks like it may sideline him for the Texans matchup with Denver. His absence would provide a large opportunity for Brevin Jordan, who has largely been a non-factor in Houston after a fairly productive college career, but the primary beneficiaries would be the Texans WRs, who could receive some additional red zone work in Schultz’s stead.
Others to monitor
WR Tyreek Hill (ankle), Miami Dolphins
After popping up with a “DNP” Wednesday, Hill returned to practice Thursday, mitigating a lot of fantasy managers’ concerns. Barring any setbacks, Hill should play but may be on a bit of a reduced workload. While an ankle injury isn’t ideal for any WR, an 80% Tyreek Hill is still a fantasy must-start.
RB D’Andre Swift (ankle), Philadelphia Eagles
Swift continues to manage an ankle injury that limited him in last week’s practice as well as this past Wednesday and Thursday. The injury did not seem to hamper Swift’s usage, as he received 14 carries and played over 40 snaps last week, keeping expectations relatively stable ahead of the Eagles’ playoff rematch. It’s worth keeping an eye on heading into the weekend, but don’t expect to be without him barring a setback.
WR Keenan Allen (shoulder), Los Angeles Chargers
Limited Wednesday, Allen returned in full on Thursday after playing through his shoulder ailment against the Baltimore Ravens. Barring something unforeseen, Allen should be a locked and loaded WR1 once again Sunday.
RB Breece Hall (hamstring), New York Jets
Popping up on the injury report due to a hamstring issue, Hall has been limited in practice this week. Unless things trend in the wrong direction Friday and Saturday, expect Hall to remain the Jets' lead back and workhorse this weekend. If things go a bit south, we could see Israel Abanikanda or Dalvin Cook mixed in a bit more, but there shouldn’t be enough here to scare you off starting Hall.
WR Tank Dell (calf) and WR Noah Brown (knee), Houston Texans
After sitting out Wednesday, Dell returned Thursday in a limited fashion, while Noah Brown has been limited this week after missing back-to-back games with a knee injury. In all, it sounds as if both will be good to go for Sunday, and if Dalton Schultz were to be held out both would receive a tiny boost to their projections.
WR Amari Cooper (ribs), Cleveland Browns
Cooper’s X-rays came back negative, as his “DNP” Wednesday was also attributed to rest as well as the rib injury. An appealing matchup this weekend should keep Cooper in startable territory regardless of who is under center for Cleveland. Monitor his status this weekend but things sound optimistic at the moment.
RB David Montgomery (foot), Detroit Lions
Montgomery has dealt with various injuries through the 2023 season, and his foot injury may be serious enough to eat further into his usage this weekend regardless of his status. Worthy of RB2/FLEX consideration even while banged up, Montgomery should still break double-digit carries while the Lions backfield continues to shift in Jahmyr Gibbs’ favor.