The Week 13 fantasy football injury report could have major ramifications for managers, with the fantasy playoffs looming just a couple of weeks away at this point. While there were not a huge number of injuries this past week, the injuries to RB options Elijah Mitchell, Travis Etienne, Michael Carter, and Jeff Wilson will have fantasy managers sweating on Monday morning.
Let’s take a look through the injury updates from Sunday and how these injuries could impact the fantasy landscape in the coming weeks.
Fantasy Football Injury Report Week 13
Elijah Mitchell, SF | Knee
It was concerning to see Elijah Mitchell leave the game on Sunday with a knee issue. After the game, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that the RB sustained a possible MCL sprain. We have already seen Mitchell miss significant time with an MCL sprain this season, but the belief is that this one is not as serious.
However, the 49ers will likely play this one cautiously with Mitchell. They have their eyes fixed on a playoff run and may decide to shut their second RB down again to make sure he is healthy for the playoffs. Therefore, fantasy managers need to be prepared for that possibility. On Monday, Shanahan told reporters that Mitchell will miss to six to eight weeks with an MCL sprain.
We saw Jordan Mason playing after Mitchell had left the game, splitting snaps in the fourth quarter as San Francisco protected a lead. The 49ers also have rookie RB Tyrion Davis-Price on their roster and veteran option Tevin Coleman on their practice squad. Therefore, it could be tough to predict which of that trio will serve in the complementary role to McCaffrey.
We saw Coleman holding that role before the trade for McCaffrey, and the 49ers might look to the security of a veteran down the stretch. However, this trio is tough to predict this week, especially if we do not get an indication of Mitchell’s status until later in the week.
With Mitchell missing time, then Coleman, Davis-Price, and Mason could be intriguing Underdog Fantasy Best Ball options, as one of them could see significant touches in the second half of games where the 49ers build a lead and want to protect McCaffrey a little.
Christian McCaffrey, SF | Knee
The reason that the 49ers may be trying to protect McCaffrey is that we saw him briefly leave this game with what was described as a tightening up by head coach Kyle Shanahan. On Monday, Shanahan told reporters that McCaffrey has some knee irritation and will be managed.
However, this concern may come into play in terms of McCaffrey’s ceiling. The 49ers may look to lean away from their star RB if they have a lead late in games. We saw that this week with Mason putting the game away late in the fourth quarter when the 49ers had virtually got it in their grasp.
Travis Etienne Jr., JAX | Foot
The Jacksonville Jaguars Week 12 game saw second-year RB Travis Etienne Jr. leave with a foot injury in the first quarter. Etienne did not return to the game, despite it being an extremely close matchup. That left the feeling throughout the game that the injury was reasonably severe. Head coach Doug Pederson told reporters after the game that Etienne was held out for “precautionary reasons.”
The injury for Etienne was to the same foot that caused him to miss the entirety of his rookie season with a Lisfranc injury. That may have been the reason for the caution. John Shipley of Jaguar Report tweeted that Etienne stated, “we’ll be straight for next week” when asked about the injury.
On Monday, Pederson told the media that Etienne had been cleared to return, but the head coach decided not to risk it. Barring a setback this week, Etienne should be back for the Jaguars in Week 13.
If Etienne were to miss time, the Jaguars’ backfield could be tough to judge. They added Darrell Henderson on waivers this week, but due to the short timeframe, he was a healthy inactive on Sunday. JaMycal Hasty was the lead back in Robinson’s absence. He struggled on the ground but was effective in the receiving game.
Hopefully, we get a more concrete answer on Etienne’s injury before waivers run on Wednesday morning. However, if we don’t, then both Hasty and Henderson are minor waiver wire targets this week. With uncertainty over who would be the lead back, fantasy managers should exercise some measure of caution when approaching them both.
Michael Carter, NYJ | Ankle
Michael Carter left the New York Jets game in the third quarter with what was described as an ankle sprain. Head coach Robert Saleh was unsure of the severity as of Sunday afternoon, so we will need to wait for further testing Monday to determine his potential length of absence.
If the injury turns out to be a high-ankle sprain, we could see Carter miss three to four weeks. That would hold him out through to Week 16 or Week 17, potentially. Therefore, if that is the diagnosis, Carter might actually be droppable in a number of leagues. However, if it is diagnosed as a low-ankle sprain, it could just be a one or two-game absence.
With James Robinson seemingly a healthy inactive, it was Zonovan Knight who took over after Carter’s injury. The rookie finished with 69 yards on 14 carries for a more than respectable performance filling in.
Knight now appears to be the top handcuff to Carter, regardless of the injury. However, we could see Robinson come back into the mix if the injury to carter does end up being a serious one.
Jeff Wilson Jr., MIA | Ankle
It was a really strange game for Jeff Wilson Jr., as he averaged just three yards per carry and left the game for the majority of the third quarter with an ankle injury. Wilson was able to return to the game late in the third quarter but did not play much in the fourth quarter, with the Miami Dolphins choosing to bench their starters.
This is an intriguing situation to watch in Miami. Raheem Mostert missed the game with a knee injury, so he enters this week as a questionable name for next week. Meanwhile, further tests on Wilson will likely be performed to determine if the injury is a major concern. However, the fact he returned to the game should be seen as a positive sign.
If Mostert and Wilson do end up being limited in practice this week, Myles Gaskin appears to be the next man up in the backfield. Therefore, in deep leagues or as a handcuff to the Wilson-Mostert situation, he should be a player considered as a speculative add on the waiver wire in Week 13.
Darnell Mooney, CHI | Ankle
It looks as though a frustrating season for Darnell Mooney is nearing an end. He left the Chicago bears game in the third quarter with an ankle injury. However, after the game, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Mooney may need season-ending surgery on torn ligaments.
Further tests will be performed on Monday, but fantasy managers should brace themselves for the potential loss of Mooney this week. Equanimeous St. Brown played the most snaps other than Mooney this week, with Chase Claypool third, Dante Pettis fourth, and Byron Pringle fifth.
It is really hard to trust any receiver in this passing game, with Claypool and St. Brown combining for just five targets this week. This group might be one better suited for late-round Underdog Fantasy Best Ball selections in the hope they find their way into the end zone on a weekly basis. In season-long leagues, it will be tough to feel comfortable starting them in the short term.