Fantasy Injury Updates: Melvin Gordon, Andy Dalton, Marlon Mack, more affecting Week 13 waiver pickups. rankings

Written By Jacob Camenker

Melvin Gordon is the latest running back to suffer an injury, and it seems likely that he will be missing some time moving forward. Andy Dalton is also dealing with an injury that could impact his availability. Marlon Mack and Kenyan Drake are a couple of other RBs that got banged up last week, while TEs Jeff Heuerman and Vance McDonald both left their respective games with injury concerns. There are a lot of injuries entering Week 13, and fantasy owners will need to know the latest updates on all of these key players and how they impact waiver pickups, rankings, and start 'em, sit 'em decisions as the fantasy playoffs draw ever nearer.

We'll provide injury updates throughout the week to keep you in the know about everything happening across the NFL. Follow us on Twitter (@SN_Fantasy) for more updates and fantasy football advice.

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Week 13 Rankings:
Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker

Is Melvin Gordon playing Week 13?

Coming into last week's game against the Cardinals, there were some concerns that Gordon would sit after dealing with left hamstring and knee injuries for most of the week. However, Gordon ended up playing and suffered a right knee injury on an ill-advised reverse that the team ran when up big in the second half. Gordon left the field and didn't return to action.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Gordon suffered a Grade-2 MCL sprain and is set to miss "the next few weeks." While Rapoport did say that Gordon could return before the end of the regular season, this is still a disaster for fantasy football owners, as Gordon will miss one of the most crucial stretches of the season. At the very least, Gordon seems guaranteed to miss Week 13; after that, it's anyone's guess as to when he'll return.

In Gordon's stead, it seems likely that Austin Ekeler will carry the load in the backfield. Ekeler emerged as a playmaker early in the season but has lost touches as the year went along. That said, Ekeler totaled over 100 scrimmage yards and scored against the Cardinals last week, so there's a good chance that he could become an RB2 candidate as long as Gordon is out.

It's also worth noting that rookie Justin Jackson fared well in an increased role as well. He logged 57 yards on seven carries, and he could see more between the tackles work with Gordon out. In all likelihood, a split between Jackson and Ekeler will be the end result in Los Angeles, so both can be added in fantasy (though Jackson is more widely available and as a result, it one of our top waiver wire adds for Week 13).

Is Andy Dalton playing in Week 13?

Dalton left Sunday's Bengals-Browns game after injuring his thumb trying to recover an errant snap by his center. At the time of the injury, Dalton was visibly frustrated on the sideline, and he didn't return to the contest.

According to ESPN's Katherine Terrell, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said the injury was "not serious" at a first look. That seems to bode well for Dalton's ability to return at some point this season, but the team is still doing some further tests. It's unclear what his timetable for return will be at this point, so he will likely be truly questionable for Week 13.

If Dalton can't go, the Bengals would be forced to start Jeff Driskel at QB. Driskel actually had a good outing in relief of Dalton against the Browns, so there is a chance that he could keep the offense afloat. At the same time, the Bengals are taking on the Broncos in Week 13, and the Broncos have been playing at a higher level in recent weeks. If Driskel starts, he won't be any sort of fantasy option, and all Bengals receiving weapons will probably see a slight downgrade, as well.

MORE WEEK 13: Waiver wire pickups | RB handcuff chart

Marlon Mack injury update

Mack suffered a concussion in the Colts' come from behind win over the Dolphins. Before exiting the game, Mack had 96 total yards on 17 touches and generally looked good against Miami's defense. Now, he will have to progress throughout the week to have a shot at playing in Week 13.

In the event that the injury-prone Mack can't clear concussion protocol, the duo of Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins would see the bulk or the RB touches. Hines has been the more productive of the duo in recent weeks, and he had 50 total yards on 11 touches against the Dolphins in limited action. If Mack is out, Hines would become a solid FLEX play at the very least, even in a tougher matchup against the Jaguars. Wilkins would see more work, but he's merely a bench stash at this point in fantasy football seasons.

At the most, Mack should only miss a week of action with the concussion, although head injuries can sometimes be tricky. We'll keep you updated on Mack status throughout the week.

Kenyan Drake injury news

Drake suffered a shoulder injury against the Colts, and at the time, it didn't look good. However, Drake was able to return to the game for the team's final series and looked fine when on the field. That should solidify that he will be able to suit up in Week 13 against the Bills.

Drake had been dealing with a shoulder injury prior to last week's matchup, so this is still something to monitor in practice. For now, we're expecting Drake to play and have him included in our Week 13 RB rankings, but we'll update that if anything changes during the week. Frank Gore remains the top runner in Miami in terms of carries per game, and he should be owned in far more fantasy leagues than he is.

Jeff Heuerman injury update

Heuerman left the Broncos game in the fourth quarter after suffering an apparent back injury. He didn't return to the game.

According to Mike Klis of 9News, the team is hopeful that with a week of treatment for his back injury, Heuerman will have a chance to suit up against the Bengals. Of course, as Rob Gronkowski's fantasy owners have learned, back injuries can linger, so nothing is guaranteed. Still, Heuerman would be a great streaming option against the reeling Bengals next week, so he should be monitored closely.

If Heuerman can't play, Matt LaCosse would likely step into the starting role. LaCosse generated 31 yards and a TD on three catches last week, but he's unlikely to be much of a fantasy factor even in a favorable matchup.

Vance McDonald injury news

McDonald briefly exited the Steelers-Broncos game last week with a hip injury. However, he did return to the game and played down the stretch. McDonald should be fine for Week 13 and will continue to be a top streaming option moving forward.

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