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November 23, 2020

Fantasy football injuries: The latest on JuJu Smith-Schuster, updates on Christian McCaffery, Chris Carson and more

Thanksgiving is almost here, which means we are painfully close to fantasy football playoffs starting up. And while there were some serious losses in Week 11 on the injury front (like Joe Burrow), there are also potentially some very key fantasy figures slated to return for Week 12.

As we do every week here at PhillyVoice, we've documented some of the key injuries from Week 11 action that fantasy owners must be aware of. We've also included updates on players who could return to the field next week, as well as our best advice as to how best fill holes left by newly injured stars.

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Christian McCaffery, RB, Panthers

We'll start with an update on the top fantasy player in football who has missed a lot of time this season in McCaffery. His second injury of 2020 cost him this past week's game, and his back up Mike Davis filled in admirably. There is inevitably talk about shutting him down for the year so he is 100% fresh in 2021, but it sounds like as soon as his shoulder cooperates he'll be back on the field — good news for his fantasy owners.

“I don’t know if it will be this week, I don’t know if it will be next week,” Rhule said Wednesday. “I think it’s just one of those things where nobody knows their body better than Christian, and whenever he feels like he can go, and the doctors feel he can go, we’ll be ready.”  [Charlotte Observer]

David Montgomery, RB, Bears

Chicago's top running back had the benefit of a Week 11 bye after he had concussion-like symptoms a week ago and as such, could be on track for a Week 12 return. Following practice updates early this week will give fantasy owners a key insight as to whether he is on pace to be back quickly. 

Tevin Coleman, RB, 49ers

There is hope that the Week 11 bye also benefitted running back Tevin Coleman, who re-injured his knee earlier this month but could be back in action to help the ailing Niners field a more potent offense as they look to cling to any playoff hopes they can muster in the Uber-competitive NFC West. The RB room in San Francisco has had a revolving door, and it's a bit early in the week to provide much insight as to how touches in Week 12 may shake out.

Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks

Carson is our final update before we dive into the players wounded in Week 11 action. He looks to be preparing and expecting to return in Week 12, which will likely end the brief fantasy relevance Carlos Hyde experienced as he looked very good with Carson out. How the carries will be split is anyone's guess, but Carson should be very much a start-able option against the Eagles come Monday night.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers

A toe injury is the ailment that forced Smith-Schuster out of the game Sunday for the undefeated Steelers. The Pittsburgh receiving corps has been a little unpredictable all season production-wise, so the loss of Smith-Schuster, should it be for a game or more, would theoretically bring a little more by way of targets for the remaining top options Ben Roethlisberger has — James Washington, Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson. But there is still no telling which one will step up on which day. 

Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals

For those riding the wave of Rookie of the Year candidate Burrow, the wave has hit the shore, and it's time for a new quarterback. Burrow tore his ACL and will be finished for 2020. Ryan Finley is the No. 2 on the depth chart and likely to start in Week 12. The trickle down effect has fantasy stud Tee Higgins' production in doubt as well as the rest of the Cincinnati offense. Seeing what the team looks like with Finley under center will inform a lot of other moving parts for fantasy owners, so stay tuned and be cautious with backup plans ready.

Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals

A hurt AC joint in Murray's shoulder is a cause for concern, but the team seems extremely confident that with the extra time off after their Thursday Night rematch with Seattle Murray will feel well enough to play this coming Sunday. All indications are that his throwing shoulder shouldn't be an eliminating factor for Week 12.

Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots

Damien Harris' dominance of the New England backfield may continue to increase, as a knee injury to veteran back Rex Burkhead will shake things up once again around the breakout runner. Sony Michel (if he's healthy himself) and James White could see an uptick in snaps should Burkhead's knee cost him time. 

Kenny Stills, Randall Cobb, WR, Texans

With a short week ahead — Houston plays the Lions on Thanksgiving day — there are question marks surrounding whether Stills (quad injury) or Cobb (foot injury) will be able to play in Week 12. An MRI came back with good results for Stills, who appears the more likely of the two to play. Neither is a top two option for the Texans, so their absences won't do much to effect targets to Will Fuller or Brandin Cooks, but will open up things for Keke Coutee.

La'Mical Perine, RB, Jets

New York's rookie running back hurt his ankle against the Chargers in Week 11, and he could miss Week 12. Frank Gore, who found the end zone, will continue to prove to be an ageless wonder as he'll no doubt get the lion's share of touches if Perine misses any games. Ty Johnson could theoretically become fantasy relevant, but with the Jets offense, few players are anyway.

Nick Foles, QB, Bears

Foles hasn't exactly been a fantasy darling this season, and he's only likely fantasy relevant in very deep or two-QB leagues, but according to head coach Matt Nagy, his hip and glute injury isn't that bad. Still, there is no way yet to be sure he will be starting going forward or if the team will revert to Mitch Trubisky again, so keep an eye on things in Chicago.

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