San Diego and Denver will welcome back a couple of rushers in Week 11, but Detroit may be down one of its ball carriers today. Here are some key injuries to pay attention to involving the later games.
Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson, RBs, Denver Broncos at St. Louis Rams
Probable – Groin; Out – Foot; Probable – Knee
The Broncos’ backfield has been in motion recently and it’s set to take another turn today. Hillman has not only been ruled out for today’s game because of a foot sprain, but he’s also expected to miss at least one more. In the meantime, Ball (right) appears a safe bet to return after missing the past five games with a groin strain. But Ball is not the Denver back getting all of the attention this week. No that honor belongs to C.J. Anderson, who worked his way back up the depth chart and came up big (163 total yards, TD) last week. Anderson is the hot hand and the healthiest of the Bronco backs, but that is not a guarantee he will get the bulk of the carries. Ball was the starter entering the season and is a second-round draft pick. Anderson will probably get the majority of the carries today, but it’s best to err on the side of the caution and treat him as a RB2. Ball meanwhile is probably more of a flex flyer because of the time he missed and the uncertainty surrounding his workload. That leaves Thompson, who could end up being the one most affected by this RB roulette, especially if Anderson or Ball gets the goal-line work. For this week, Anderson carries the most upside, Ball the most intrigue and Thompson is probably odd man out.
Ryan Mathews, RBs, San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders
Probable – Knee
Mathews was a full participant every day of practice and is listed as Probable. He is expected to play for the first time since Week 2 and will get the start. Mathews’ return leaves Donald Brown and Branden Oliver to fight for the leftovers. I expect the Chargers to use Oliver similar to how they used Danny Woodhead (on IR) last season, primarily as a receiver out of the backfield. This could make Oliver an intriguing flex option in PPR leagues. Mathews immediately goes back to RB2 status, especially based on his matchup this afternoon against the winless Raiders. I don’t think Brown will see enough touches to merit any fantasy consideration.
Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals vs. Detroit Lions
Probable – Foot
The coaching staff is wisely limiting Ellington’s practice time, as the Cardinals need their workhorse to stay healthy, especially with Drew Stanton taking over at quarterback for an injured Carson Palmer. Ellington is Probable, so he will be out there today. And even though the Lions are the No. 1 defense in the NFL, Ellington has earned his RB1 status.
Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals
Questionable – Ankle
Bush left last week’s game early after re-aggravating a bothersome ankle injury and didn’t practice at all this week. Even though he’s looking (highly) doubtful, the Lions have yet to rule him out officially, listing him as Questionable. If he plays, he will not be anywhere near 100 percent, so that alone is enough reason to leave Bush on your bench. Joique Bell will continue to carry the load for the Lions, while Theo Riddick has more or less taken over Bush’s role. It’s a very tough matchup against a strong Cardinals defense, but Bell remains a low-end RB2 while Riddick is a decent flex candidate.
Already Ruled Out:
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles – Foles is out for several more weeks with a broken collarbone. Mark Sanchez will make his second start and is coming off of a solid showing (322-2-0) in the Monday night win over the Panthers. Sanchez is certainly QB2-worthy today in what could end up being a shootout against Green Bay, and depending on your options, he could even be QB1 material.