Houston will be without its workhorse for Week 11, but Seattle’s bruising back is fully expected to play. Here are some other key backfield injuries to know about before finalizing your lineup.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs
Questionable – Calf/Rib
Lynch didn’t practice at all until Friday, but head coach Pete Carroll said that’s because his workhorse is “just banged-up.” This is understandable considering Lynch punished the Giants for 140 yards rushing and four touchdowns last week. Lynch is listed as Questionable, but there’s no reason to be concerned here. The Seahawks need every yard they can get from their big back against a pretty tough Kansas City defense at home. Lynch is a must-start RB1 firmly entrenched among the top 5 this week and perhaps the rest of the season.
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Probable – Ankle
The Redskins are coming off of their bye, so it’s possible that Griffin is as healthy as he’s been this season. He was a full go at practice every day and is listed as Probable. He not only will get the start, but RG3 also is a borderline QB1 this weekagainst a Bucs defense that’s giving up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing signal-callers. If you have stuck with RG3 this long, this may be the week that patience pays off.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Probable – Back
McKinnon was the Vikings’ third-round pick in May and all the rookie has done is lead the team in rushing since Adrian Peterson was placed on the exempt list. McKinnon apparently tweaked some sort of lower back injury on Wednesday, but after being limited on Thursday he was a full practice participant on Friday. He is listed as Probable so there’s no reason to not expect him to play. McKinnon should probably be started if he’s on your roster as the Vikings are facing a reeling Bears defense, but just remember that Matt Asiata has been filling the role of the goal-line back (i.e. touchdown vulture), which could impact McKinnon’s potential.
Josh McCown, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Redskins
Probable – Back
McCown suffered a thumb injury in Week 3 and was replaced by Mike Glennon as the Bucs’ starter. After going just 1-4 with Glennon under center, head coach Lovie Smith named McCown the starter prior to last week’s game. Tampa Bay lost again, but McCown posted by far his best numbers (301-2-2) of the season. McCown appears on the injury report with a back issue, but he was a full practice participant and is listed as Probable. The Bucs are a bad team, but this isn’t a bad matchup for McCown, who is worthy of QB2 consideration this week.
Already Ruled Out:
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans – Foster injured his groin two weeks ago, but Houston was on bye last week so the expectation was that he would be ready in Week 11. Well Foster didn’t practice at all and even though he was listed as Questionable on Friday, the Texans downgraded Foster to Out on Saturday. With Foster inactive, sixth-round pick Alfred Blue will get the start. Blue filled in for an injured Foster earlier this season, rushing for 78 yards on 13 carries (6.0 ypc) vs. the Giants. Blue may not be Foster, but his workload as the Texans’ starter is enough to view him as a RB2, especially against a Cleveland defense that has struggled against the run.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Martin returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday and Friday, but the team has already ruled him Out for Week 11. This will be the third straight game Martin has missed with an ankle injury, but it’s also safe to say that the team has decided to move on with Bobby Rainey and Charles Sims. Rainey got the start last week, but he wasn’t able to get much going (14 yds. rushing, 41 receiving). Sims, the Bucs’ third-round pick in May, made his much-awaited NFL debut and wound up with a team-high eight carries, but only 23 yards rushing and he also lost a fumble. Rainey may have missed an opportunity to seize the starting job, as it appears the coaching staff wants to see what Sims can do. Both should get touches, but it may take another game or two to figure out how the workload is going to be split. For now, it’s wisest to view Rainey and Sims as risky RB2s and a little safer flex options.