This is the last of the bye weeks. It’s all up to health and strategy from here on out to get you to a fantasy football championship. Here are some updates on injured players, their status for the Week 11 games or the outlook for their replacements.
Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears (Monday night)
Limited in practice all week and questionable on the injury report with a concussion, Alex Smith is still expected to start at quarterback on Monday night. Great. Now go face the Chicago Bears, ranked third in fantasy against the QB position, Mr. Smith. The Bears have allowed just seven TD passes this season — no more than one per game, picked off 19 passes and six QBs have thrown for less than 219 yards. Even if this game was Sunday at 1 p.m. and Smith was healthy, I would look for another option.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens (Sunday night)
Rashard Mendenhall is expected to get the start tonight against the Ravens and the Steelers sure could use him. They are without their starting QB. They are without their No. 2 receiver and their defense is banged up. Enter Mendenhall and ball control. The running back is listed as probable with the Achilles injury that he suffered early in Week 6. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer will still be in the mix, making it tough to depend on just Mendenhall. But the stars do seem to be aligning for him to be called on to help a Pittsburgh offense without Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. Mendenhall had 25 carries for 97 yards and one TD in two games against the Ravens last year. But these are not the same Ravens and Sunday night will not be the same Steelers.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins
A 44-yard TD pass from rookie Nick Foles to Jeremy Maclin in the third quarter last week certainly did nothing to dampen our hopes of what these two could possibly do today against a terrible Redskins pass defense. A back strain has Maclin listed as probable on the injury report, but the receiver said he expects to start. He practiced in full on Friday and his health should not be a concern in Week 11. Washington is ranked 31st against fantasy receivers this season. Seven receivers have eclipsed 100 yards; three more have had at least 71 and 11 have caught a TD.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter