Heading into Week 9 of the fantasy football season, managers are starting to look to injured reserve (IR) lists in the hope of getting some assets back from injury. With players such as Cordarrelle Patterson, Kyren Williams, and Elijah Mitchell set to return, can we expect to see any of them on the field soon?
Let’s examine the latest injury updates for the various fantasy assets on IR right now, and when some of those key options might be aiming to get back on the field.
Latest Injury IR Updates: Status of Fantasy Options Entering Week 9
It isn’t just season-long fantasy leagues that IR returns can impact, but also Best Ball leagues on Underdog Fantasy. Should users be considering investing in the likes of Patterson, Williams, or Mitchell for the second half of the season, or could we be without them for longer?
Cordarrelle Patterson and Damien Williams Injury Update
Update: Cordarrelle Patterson returned to practice on Wednesday, Nov. 2.
For the first time since he was placed on the IR back in Week 5, we got an injury update on Patterson this week. On Monday, Oct. 31, Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith told reporters that he will have a clearer picture of Patterson’s status on Wednesday.
Patterson required the stint on IR after undergoing left knee surgery following a Week 5 game. The only previous update we had came from a video Patterson posted of himself working out on Oct. 19.
With the Falcons sitting at 4-4 and leading the division, they have a tough choice to make with Patterson. Do they rush him back in the hope that he can help them open a lead atop the division or be cautious with him, knowing they might need him down the stretch?
The emergence of Caleb Huntley and Tyler Allgeier has given the Falcons options. They now have two other backs they could feel comfortable mixing in with Patterson to spread the workload. However, that is less than ideal for fantasy managers, who saw Patterson dominating work early in the season.
Further complicating factors is the potential return of Damien Williams. We have yet to see Williams take the practice field despite him having been eligible from Week 6 onwards. The involvement of Huntley and Allgeier and the potential for Patterson to return mean the Falcons do not need to push him back out there until he is ready. As of Tuesday, Nov. 1, the Falcons have not opened the 21-day window for Williams.
Kyren Williams Injury Update
The Los Angeles Rams opened the 21-day window for Kyren Williams on Oct. 26. At the time, head coach Sean McVay made it clear that Williams was not ready to be activated for Week 8, but was getting closer. On Oct. 31, McVay told reporters that it is possible that Williams will be activated this week.
The problem for Williams is that he would be coming back into a very confusing picture in the Rams backfield. Ronnie Rivers started on Sunday with Darrell Henderson dealing with an illness. However, Henderson is still a major part of the backfield. On top of that, veteran RB Malcolm Brown saw work around the goal line. Then there is Cam Akers, whose status as of this writing is unclear after he wasn’t dealt by the league’s trade deadline.
If you have been stashing Williams and waiting for him to return, you may need to wait a little longer. The rookie RB will likely need to prove he deserves the chance to have enough opportunities to see fantasy value. While we could see him on the field this week, it would be dangerous to start him as anything more than a deep-league desperation swing.
Elijah Mitchell Injury Update
The good news for fantasy managers is that Elijah Mitchell remains on track to return after the San Francisco 49ers Week 9 bye. The bad news is that his role will likely look a lot different than we hoped it would as recently as two weeks ago.
The thought was that Mitchell would be able to return as the 49ers lead back and see 15-plus opportunities per game. However, the team’s trade for Christian McCaffrey has absolutely blown that out of the water. In Week 8, we saw McCaffrey handle 18 rushing attempts and see nine targets.
The one silver lining: the 49ers traded Jeff Wilson Jr., who had been filling in for Mitchell before McCaffrey showed up, to the Miami Dolphins just ahead of the league’s trade deadline.
So even with McCaffrey around, maybe Mitchell makes it to around 10 touches, stealing a handful from the do-it-all former Carolina Panther. However, even then, that significantly limits Mitchell’s fantasy value, especially if we look at 10 opportunities as a ceiling.
Mitchell is still worth stashing when he returns. We know that McCaffrey is always an injury risk, and Mitchell will be the likely primary handcuff. However, as a weekly fantasy option, his value will be limited to 16-team league Flex options and deeper.
J.K. Dobbins Injury Update
The Baltimore Ravens put J.K. Dobbins on IR ahead of Week 7. That means he has now missed two of his minimum four games. The Ravens have a bye in Week 10, so Dobbins will be on the IR through Week 11 at the very shortest.
When Dobbins was placed on IR, the knee surgery had him set to miss four-to-six weeks. The fourth week of that timeframe would be the bye in Week 10. Therefore, Week 12 might actually be a reasonable timeframe to expect Dobbins’ return. That said, we saw the Ravens ease him back in after his last knee injury. If Baltimore has their eyes on the playoffs, they may slow-play Dobbins’ return to the field.
That is a concern for fantasy managers. The Ravens’ backfield is already tough to judge, so if they are also limiting Dobbins’ snaps, that will further limit his upside. At this stage, you really have to stash him if you have IR spots, but expecting Dobbins to be a significant contributor in 2022 is optimistic, barring a mass of injuries in Baltimore.
Timeframes for Treylon Burks, Marquise Brown, Carson Wentz, and Others
There are a handful of other fantasy-relevant players on IR right now. Treylon Burks is the first of those set to come back. He will be eligible to return from his turf toe injury in Week 10. However, his fantasy value after that return is less than certain. Prior to the injury, Burks was averaging just four targets and 2.5 receptions per game.
In contrast, Marquise Brown would be expected to have reasonable fantasy value as the WR2 in Arizona. He is eligible to return from his foot injury in Week 11. However, the timeframe given for his foot fracture is closer to a six-week injury. With the Cardinals on a bye in Week 13, Brown may not be expected to return until Week 14. If you think your team is a contender, you might consider him for a lowball trade offer to stash until then.
When it comes to the QB position, Carson Wentz is the biggest name currently on IR. He is eligible to return in Week 11, but whether he will walk back into a starting role is questionable.
Taylor Heinicke has led the Washington Commanders to back-to-back wins, performing reasonably well in the process. If you are stashing Wentz in a Superflex league, there is no guarantee he will be a usable fantasy option when he comes back.
Two other names to keep an eye on are WR DJ Chark and RB Mike Boone. Chark went on IR ahead of Week 7, so he is eligible to return in Week 11. Meanwhile, Boone was placed on IR ahead of Week 8. However, with the Broncos on a bye in Week 9, he will not be eligible to return until Week 13. The arrival of Chase Edmonds severely dents the potential fantasy value for Boone when he returns.