The biggest injury story from this week: two players with potentially serious right foot issues. Here’s everything we know about those injuries (among others), along with the fantasy impact:
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Green left Sunday’s game against the Broncos with a right foot injury in the second quarter. He suffered the injury and went to the ground while running a route, and he needed assistance to walk off the field. He was carted to the locker room soon after, and he did not return to the game. After the game, he was spotted in a walking boot.
The Bengals haven’t released any information regarding Green’s injury, but he appeared to aggravate the foot injury that sidelined him for the previous three games. The injury also didn’t look good, as it was a non-contact injury, and Green had trouble putting weight on the foot. With Andy Dalton on IR and the Bengals seemingly out of the playoff race, it’s fair to wonder if the team will decide to shut down Green for the season. Whatever the Bengals decide to do, it seems likely that Green could miss more time, which means that second-year wideout John Ross would once again become a full-time starter. In the three games Green missed this season, Ross averaged just 2.3 catches on 6.7 targets for 32 yards. However, he did score a touchdown in each of those games, so he could be considered a touchdown-dependent WR4/5 option.
Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers
Olsen left Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers with a right foot injury in the second quarter. He limped off the field before being carted to the locker room, and he did not return to the game. After the game, Olsen indicated that he ruptured the plantar fascia in his foot.
The Panthers have not confirmed the injury or given a recovery timeline yet, but if Olsen did indeed tear the plantar fascia, he would likely be out for the remainder of the season. If that’s the case, fourth-round rookie Ian Thomas would step in as Carolina’s No. 1 tight end. In the three games Olsen missed earlier in the season, Thomas played 81 percent of the offensive snaps but only averaged 2.7 catches on 4.7 targets for 23 yards. He also hasn’t scored a touchdown yet this season, so he would probably be nothing more than a low-end TE2.
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Conner left Sunday’s game against the Chargers with a lower leg injury in the fourth quarter. He suffered the injury when he was tackled awkwardly at the end of a catch, and he came up limping. He was listed as questionable to return, although he did not re-enter the game. After the game, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters that Conner suffered a lower leg contusion.
As of now, it’s unclear if Conner’s future availability is at risk, so we’ll have to wait for the Steelers to give us more information. If Conner is forced to miss time, fifth-round rookie Jaylen Samuels would become the starter. Samuels was a productive RB/TE hybrid during his four-year career at N.C. State, and his versatility should allow the Steelers to use him in creative ways. He isn’t a gamebreaker, but Pittsburgh’s starting running back position is the perfect spot for him to show off his diverse skill set. If Conner can’t play against the Raiders in Week 14, you can rate Samuels as a solid RB2.