Hey, everyone, it's Chris Towers here, and I'm back! Before we get to anything else, I want to say a heartfelt "thanks" to Dan Schneier, R.J. White, and the rest of the Fantasy Football Today crew for helping pick up the slack on the newsletter and the Fantasy Football Today in 5 podcast over the past week while I was away dealing with a minor health scare. I'm all good, and I'm back to help you make that last push to the playoffs.
And we're at that time. Once the final two games of Week 13 are in the books tonight and tomorrow night, we'll be at the final week of the Fantasy regular season for most leagues -- I only have one league out of 14 where the playoffs don't begin until Week 16. And I've definitely got something to play for in more than a few of them, as I'm sure you do, too.
And you're going to have to make that push for the playoffs without some big names available in Week 14. To start with, you've got six teams -- the Packers, Bears, Colts, Saints, Commanders, and Falcons -- on bye, so you can count out almost 20% of the teams from contributing -- though if there's a silver lining here, it's that those teams probably don't account for anywhere close to 20% of the players you'd actually want to use in Fantasy in any given week.
The bigger issue might be the attrition from injuries. We had plenty of big names already sidelined heading into Sunday's games, and that list didn't get any shorter, unfortunately. In tonight's newsletter, I've got a recap of all the injuries you need to know about, plus my early look at the waiver wire for Week 14, where there's actually a decent amount of RB help available if you need it. Tomorrow, we'll have the biggest winners and losers from Week 13 before we turn our attention to that pivotal Week 14, but for now, here's our initial reactions to Sunday's action.
Week 13 Injury Tracker
The most significant injuries from Sunday look to be from the QB position, but they are by no means the only injuries we'll be watching. The big headline is Lamar Jackson's knee injury, which pushed Tyler Huntley into a prominent role for the Ravens. We saw that in five games -- four starts -- for the Ravens last season, and Huntley averaged 17.2 Fantasy points per game despite just three passing touchdowns; Huntley isn't Jackson as a rusher, but he's a fine fit in that offense and will be Fantasy relevant if Jackson has to miss time. John Harbaugh said Jackson's timetable would be measured in, "days and weeks," which seems to indicate it won't be a season-ender, but certainly could require some time off.
Here are the other injuries we'll be tracking coming out of Sunday's games:
Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) -- Garoppolo got tackled awkwardly early in Sunday's game and was ruled out shortly after being taken to the locker room on the cart. Brock Purdy came in and passed for 210 yards and a touchdown (with one interception) on 37 attempts and wouldn't be a recommended starter for Week 14 against the Buccaneers. The problem is, the 49ers are going to need to ride Purdy moving forward, because Garoppolo's foot injury is expected to cost him the rest of the season -- after the game, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters, "He broke a few things." The 49ers already lost Trey Lance to a presumed season-ending ankle surgery earlier in the season, and Shanahan told reporters a few weeks back he doesn't expect Lance to be back this season. So, the 49ers offense is going to be tied to Purdy, the last pick in the 2022 draft, the rest of the way. That's a downgrade for the offense as a whole, unfortunately.
Tua Tagovailoa (ankle) -- Tagovailoa's injury doesn't seem nearly as concerning, as he told reporters he felt, "as good as I can be after a game." He suffered an ankle injury late in the game after being on the injury report entering the game with an ankle injury, so hopefully this is a non-issue moving forward.
Trevor Lawrence (knee) -- Lawrence went down at the end of the first half after a pretty awkward-looking tackle, but was able to play through the apparent knee injury without much concern in the second half. That indicates this isn't something to be too concerned about, but we'll keep an eye on this one during the week -- we've had a few situations this season where guys played through an injury only to have suffered something more serious. Lawrence looks like a top-12-ish Fantasy QB at this point when healthy.
Kenneth Walker (ankle) -- Walker suffered his ankle injury in the second quarter and was unable to return to the game. The Seahawks, who already lost Rashaad Penny to a season-ending broken fibula earlier in the season, also had both DeeJay Dallas and Tony Jones Jr. leave Sunday's game with ankle injuries of their own, though both were able to play through them. If Walker needs to miss time, Dallas would likely be the lead back, and would be in the RB2 discussion for Week 14, at least.
Aaron Jones (shin) -- Jones was able to play through his injury, suffered in the second quarter, but he was used very sparingly, with just two touches on two snaps in the second half of the game. He looked pretty uncomfortable on his first touch following the injury, and we saw little-used reserve running back Patrick Taylor get on the field -- though, obviously, AJ Dillon stepped up as the lead back, finishing with 93 yards on 18 carries plus three catches for 26 yards, while adding a rushing touchdown. Dillon would be a borderline top-12 RB for Week 14 against the Rams if Jones is out.
Treylon Burks (concussion) -- Burks suffered his injury on an early touchdown, a 25-yard snag on his lone target of the game, but he was down on the ground for a while after taking a big hit. He was ruled out quickly and would have to clear the concussion protocol to be able to play in Week 14 against the Jaguars, which is no sure thing.
Chase Claypool (knee) -- Claypool left Sunday's game with a knee injury on a first half play where he fumbled but was able to play in the second half with a brace on the knee, finishing with five catches for 28 yards on six targets. His 24% target share with Darnell Mooney out was a promising sign, but Claypool has to prove a lot more than that -- including that he's healthy -- before he can be trusted for Fantasy.
Jaylen Waddle (leg) -- Here's another one where the player played through the injury, though Waddle was pretty limited, playing just six snaps out of 20 in the second half. Waddle has been very productive this season, but has been slowed a bit at times due to injuries. The Dolphins have the Chargers on the schedule in Week 14, and Waddle will be a top-15 WR if he's healthy enough to go. Hopefully he will be.
Early Week 14 Waiver Wire Targets
If Jackson's injury keeps him out, Huntley is probably going to be one of the top targets on the wavier wire for Week 14 if you need QB help. If you need wide receiver or tight end help, Week 14 doesn't look like a great week for it, unfortunately, though there are some running backs out there who look like they could be pretty useful.
Here's an early look at who we'll be chasing heading into Week 14:
- Zonovan Knight, RB, Jets (81%)
- James Cook, RB, Bills (40%)
- Cam Akers, RB, Rams (62%)
- D.J. Chark, WR, Lions (19%)
- Greg Dulcich, TE, Broncos (57%)
For the rest of my top early priorities and why I'm targeting them, head here.