This Given Sunday is examining the biggest injury questions before each week of the NFL season. Here are the top-five health-related storylines entering Week 11.
It turns out the belief when McFadden was injured on Nov. 4 was that he'd miss 2-4 weeks, which means he's a huge question mark for Sunday after missing practice to start the week. Expect Marcel Reese to be Oakland's lead back against a very vulnerable Saints defense, but keep both out of your fantasy lineup if possible. Neither is reliable and that game doesn't kick off until later in the day.
Vick still hasn't been ruled out, but as of midweek he'd yet to be cleared by an independent neurologist after suffering a "significant" concussion in Week 10 against the Cowboys. There's a chance the Eagles will be cautious here anyway, and there's even a chance Vick doesn't return regardless of his health situation. That's gotta be tough for fantasy owners who were still alive despite Vick's turnover-filled play, but there are better options out there than Vick and backup Nick Foles. If you're in a jam and have to start one of them, at least it's a 1:00 p.m. ET start this week in Washington.
Here's another quarterback who probably shouldn't have been in your starting lineup in basic one-quarterback leagues anyway, but Smith is an extra dangerous play this week as he recovers from a concussion. The 49ers don't play a very good Chicago defense until Monday night, and although Smith's been cleared to practice without contact there's always a chance he suffers a setback or the Niners decide to play it safe. And if that decision is made after the early games kick off on Sunday, you could be screwed. Regardless of his health, Smith should be benched in Week 11.
The third concussed quarterback from Week 10 has an extra day to get better with the Bears taking on the 49ers Monday night, but early indications are he'll be a 50/50 shot at best. If Cutler's your fantasy starter, you should probably have a backup plan in place. And that backup can't even be Alex Smith, who also plays Monday, because Smith's status is still unknown, too. Unless you get news on Cutler's status Friday or Saturday, you'll have to leave him on the bench or take a huge chance. And since concussions aren't to be messed with nowadays, it's a risk regardless of what develops between now and Monday.
Now here's a guy who could be a major fantasy sleeper over the next few weeks. Garcon has been out since Week 2 with a foot injury, but he's back practicing on a limited basis now and Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has said that the team's top deep threat "could play" against a struggling Eagles team Sunday. It's an early start, so if you have him in the lineup and want to roll the dice with your third wide receiver spot, wait for word on his status and give it a shot.