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Rotowire Injury Analysis: Fantasy Football Week 11

It's time for another week of injury analysis….Thanksgiving edition.  Thanksgiving has always been a great holiday in that you get to see family and friends and eat amazing food but now it has gotten even better as we not only get some classic football games….there are 3 of them! 

Let's breakdown a few of the key injuries that occurred in last weekend's games starting with the biggest fantasy football league shakeup…..Gronkowski's injury.   We will also reveal how the Eagles discovered how to cure someone from a concussion!

Rob Gronkowski: In the Patriots' recent game against Andrew Luck and the Colts, Gronkowski injured himself as he made an incredible leaping catch in the final 10 seconds of the game and dove into the endzone for the game-winning score to send the Patriots to the Superbowl!  Actually, as we all know it wasn't this dramatic.  In the 4th quarter of a game in which the Patriots were blowing out the Colts, Gronkowski broke his forearm blocking on the PAT to give the Patriots their 59th point of the day.  While the Patriots have not said which bone in his forearm is actually broken (ulna or radius), it doesn't really matter at this point.  He has already undergone surgery and bone is not one of those things that you can really do much to make it heal faster….it's pretty much your standard 6-8 weeks.  The fact that it was surgically corrected can sometimes mean that the bone was significantly displaced and wouldn't heal in the correct position if left alone, or that it was broken in many places (unlikely while just blocking on a PAT), or that the Patriots want to help speed up the process in which Gronkowski can return to action.  Is it possible that he could technically return to play in 4 weeks?  I guess so.  But have you seen their division?  I don't think there's any reason that Patriots will try to get Gronkowski back in the game prior to the playoffs unless they actually need him somehow in the final week of the season.  When you're a Patriot fan, you've realized that what really matters is having your whole team ready to roll come playoff time (ask them how the Super Bowl went with an injured Gronk last year). 

What does all this mean for your fantasy football team?  I don't think we should expect Gronkowski to be back in the regular season.  He was once again having a great fantasy season and this will certainly be a blow to the title hopes of any Gronkowski owner but you know what they say, a team's success is not defined by one player…..although in this case I'll let you use it as an excuse to your fantasy league opponents.

Willis McGahee- McGahee has had a surprisingly productive fantasy season this year and I think we all know who we can thank for that one.  Peyton Manning once again continues to prove why he is such a unique player as he makes everyone on the team around him better with his unselfish play and ability to call plays at the line of scrimmage that will give his players, especially running backs, the best chance of succeeding.  In last week's game when the Broncos showed the Chargers why keeping the status quo with the return of A.J. Smith and Norv Turner for "one more go at it" was a terrible idea.  Unfortunately for Broncos' fans, McGahee injured his right knee forcing him to leave the game and did not return.  Initially reports were that he had an MCL injury and would be sidelined 6-8 weeks.  When I saw the 6-8 weeks, I thought this was a very odd timeline for an MCL injury as usually they can return to play sooner and that also is the timeline we usually see when there is some bony involvement.  Well, it now is reported that he has a compression fracture in his knee as well.  Basically what this means is that when he injured his MCL, his femur and tibia banged into each other and compressed the bone down (think of it like if you were to push down on a Tempurpedic mattress).  It is for this other reason that McGahee's injury is a bit more complicated and will cause him to miss the rest of the regular season.

What does all this mean for your fantasy football team?  If you own McGahee, might as well drop him now because he may be able to come back for the playoffs but that isn't going to help you in your fantasy league.  As far you are concerned, he is just a body on your roster taking up space and you need to try to pick someone up who can help you down the stretch.

Michael Vick: As I have stated in previous weeks, concussions are something you just have to monitor and the player needs to progress over the course of several days so if they still aren't practicing by midweek, it's unlikely they're going to be cleared to play.  So use this information and apply it to Alex Smith and Jay Cutler in order to determine if they are players you can insert into your lineup.  I do feel obligated to re-discuss Michael Vick because it appears that the Eagles have found the "Concussion Cure".  I was extremely skeptical when Reid said that Vick's concussion was severe and he may miss the rest of the season……ok I wasn't extremely skeptical, I basically said it was a lie and not based on any medical fact.  Well, it appears that the Eagles may have found the cure to concussions and that is……get ready….it's going to be a shock…..Play your backup quarterback and realize he may not really be the answer and you may not want him to play the rest of the season.   As I had said in last week's report, the Eagles were clearly up-playing (opposite of down-playing) Vick's injury so that they could have an excuse to play Foles for the rest of the season.  This was before they realized that Foles would play one of the kindest defenses to quarterbacks and still post a sub 50|PERCENT| completion percentage along with 204 yards, 0 TDs, and 2 INTs.  Suddenly, the Eagles realized that Vick may still be the better option and so miraculously his concussion has gone from severe to, maybe not so severe.  Right now the Eagles are deciding whether his concussion is "severe enough" to give Foles one more chance to redeem himself which will come on Monday Night Football this week.

What does all this mean for your fantasy football team?  I of course believe that concussions need to be taken seriously and Vick may in fact still be having symptoms in which he should not be rushed back to play, but we cannot predict whether he will be able to play this week or in 2 weeks or the rest of the season.  What I will say is that if Vick returns to practice and is progressing but still is not cleared to play in the MNF game this week, his season will rely solely on the performance of Foles.  If Foles has a great game, Vick's concussion may keep him out the rest of the season.  However, if Foles once again performs poorly, the moment Vick truly recovers from his concussion he will be right back in the lineup as the starting QB and still worth a roster spot if you're looking to catch him on one of those "video game" kind of days for your fantasy football title run.

LeSean McCoy- McCoy sustained a concussion last week and so as I mentioned above, we will have to really monitor his progression.  What he has going for him is that the Eagles don't play until Monday this week, but it's already not looking too great in that he still hasn't returned to practice and we're already at the midpoint of the week.

What does all this mean for your fantasy football team? It's not looking good for McCoy to play this week as he is still having concussive symptoms as of Wednesday.  He'll need to become completely asymptomatic and progress flawlessly to play on Monday.  I would bank on Bryce Brown getting the start this week with McCoy on your fantasy bench.

Follow me on Twitter @DoctorKenton for more updates/injury analysis in the upcoming games this week.  Feel free to leave comments/questions about players.

Wishing all your players quick recoveries,