Melvin Gordon seems unlikely to play this week; Kerryon Johnson is still recovering from a knee injury; Gus Edwards and Alex Collins are both banged up; Marlon Mack is in concussion protocol; Kenyan Drake has aggravated an injury that has plagued him this year; and Chris Thompson's return to the Redskins seems to be happening sooner rather than later. The running back position is being ravaged by injuries, as is customary late in the season, and that's creating some difficult start/sit decisions for fantasy owners as the push for the fantasy playoffs intensifies.
As the week continues, we'll keep you updated on the latest injury news and notes from around the league. Follow us on Twitter (@SN_Fantasy) for more updates and fantasy football advice.
Melvin Gordon injury update
Gordon is being considered week-to-week with an MCL sprain he suffered against the Cardinals, per ESPN's Field Yates. The "week-to-week" designation usually implies that a player will at least miss one week of action, so Gordon is more doubtful than questionable for Sunday night's game at Pittsburgh.
In his stead, the Chargers are going to rely on Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson to carry the load for the team. Ekeler is the better play, as he has upside as a pass-catcher and should see a bunch of carries and reach RB2 status, but Jackson could see some goal-line work. Jackson isn't much more than a speculative FLEX play, but if you're desperate, he can be plugged into lineups.WEEK 13 DFS CASH LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKings
Is Kerryon Johnson playing Week 13?
UPDATE: Johnson missed practice on Thursday, so he seems pretty likely to miss the Lions' Week 13 game at this point.
Johnson missed last week's game against the Bears on Thanksgiving after suffering a knee sprain in the Lions' Week 11 outing against the Panthers. The absence was always expected to be a multi-game one after he was designated as "week-to-week," and it seems likely that Johnson will miss another week of action in Week 13.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Johnson missed practice on Wednesday as he continues to recover from the knee issue. With the Lions not having any realistic shot at the playoffs, the team is going to play it cautious with Johnson and won't try to rush the rookie back for what should turn out to be meaningless action in the last month of the season. So, until Johnson is 100 percent, he won't be on the field. Missing practice on Wednesday demonstrates that isn't likely to be this week.
In Johnson's absence, expect LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick to continue sharing the workload at RB. Blount will get the early-downs work and the red-zone carries while Riddick will serve as more of the receiving back in the Lions offense. It's a good matchup on paper, but if the Lions fall behind early like many expect, Blount's usage could be limited.
Is Gus Edwards playing in Week 13?
UPDATE: Edward returned to practice on Thursday, per Hensley, and wasn't hampered by his ankle injury. It seems that Edwards will be ready to go on Sunday as a result.
Edwards is coming off two consecutive 100-yard games for the Ravens, and it seemed that he was well on his way to becoming the sure-fire starter for the team. However, an injury to Edwards is now making things a bit more uncertain.
ESPN's Jamison Hensley noted that Edwards missed practice on Wednesday with an ankle injury. This injury came out of nowhere, and it's unclear the exact extent of the issue. We won't have an idea on the extent of the injury until we see his practice status for the next couple of days. If he's back to full practice on Thursday, then it's safe to assume it was just a maintenance day after he saw 40 carries combined in the past two weeks.
If Edwards is out, it's unclear exactly what the Ravens would do at running back. Alex Collins is dealing with an injury of his own, while Buck Allen and Ty Montgomery have served more as change-of-pace backs for the team. It's possible that they could bring back Kenneth Dixon from IR, so if that move happens, it may show us more about the status of Edwards heading into Week 13.
Alex Collins injury update
UPDATE: Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic is reporting that Collins did return to practice on Thursday. We'll still keep an eye on him after his inactive status last week, but things seem to be trending in the right direction for him this week.
As mentioned above, Edwards is not the only Baltimore RB dealing with injury issues. Collins has a foot problem that caused him to miss last week's game against the Raiders. His status moving into this week is also questionable, as he also missed practice on Wednesday, per Hensley.
Collins' injury seems more likely to hold him out than Edwards' at this point in time, solely because the foot issue has lingered for Collins in recent weeks. That said, it's impossible to know how the Ravens RB rotation will shake out until more is known about the health of this duo. As the week continues on, we'll keep you posted on all the latest news.WEEK 13 DFS GPP LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKings
Is Marlon Mack playing in Week 13?
Mack suffered a concussion in the Colts' win over the Dolphins. As of Wednesday, Mack was still in concussion protocol (according to Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star). That will make his status questionable heading into Week 13, as concussions can be tricky and difficult to clear.
In the event that Mack can't get out of concussion protocol, Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines would likely split touches at RB. Hines has been the better of the two this season, and he offers a fair amount as a receiving back. He will move into high-end RB3 territory in PPR if Mack is out, so definitely keep an eye on him if Mack misses time.
Kenyan Drake injury news
Drake is dealing with a Week 12 aggravation of the shoulder injury that he has been dealing with for most of the season. While he hasn't missed time yet this season, his status for Week 13 against the Bills is looking questionable right now.
According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Drake is going to be "no contact" in practice this week. This could just be preventative maintenance to ensure that Drake will be able to suit up, but it bears monitoring nonetheless.
If Drake can't go this week, it will open up a full workload for Frank Gore. Gore has already been seeing more carries than Drake for most of the season, so he could work into higher RB2 territory if he gets 20-plus touches.
Chris Thompson injury update
According to NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay, Thompson (ribs) returned to practice on Monday of this week. This is certainly good news ahead of the Redskins' Monday night matchup with the Eagles, as they could stand to benefit from the return of Thompson.
If Thompson is good to go, and his later-week practice status should help determine that, he would take back the third-down/change of pace role from Kapri Bibbs. That would make Thompson an intriguing FLEX play, especially if the Redskins are forced to pass more in this game than normal. Thompson has serious upside (especially in PPR), so if he's available on the waiver wire, grab him now as a bench stash/FLEX guy.