JK Dobbins, Marquise Brown, Jameson Williams, and More

While it is a relatively light week in terms of potential returns from the IR, there are still some intriguing injury updates heading into Week 12. There are at least two big names in the form of JK Dobbins and Marquise Brown eligible to return this week, while fantasy football managers will be intrigued about the latest on the injuries of the likes of Jameson Williams, Cooper Kupp, Michael Thomas, and Darren Waller.

Latest Injury IR Updates: Could JK Dobbins and Marquise Brown Return?

JK Dobbins Injury Update

After missing the last four games, Dobbins is eligible to return from IR starting this week. It was intriguing that among his many injury updates on Monday, we did not hear about Dobbins when Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh spoke with the media. We’ll have to wait until the Ravens begin practicing Wednesday to see if Dobbins will be designated to return from IR.

Over the past two weeks, we’ve heard positive news from both Harbaugh and Dobbins regarding the injury. Harbaugh told the media two weeks ago that Dobbins’ surgery had been a success. Meanwhile, Dobbins told the Purple Playbook show that the issue was not a re-injury but more about helping him get back to 100%.

Dobbins returned from a major knee injury in Week 3, and despite the Ravens easing him in, he felt the injury was still hampering him in Week 6. Therefore, the decision was made for Dobbins to undergo surgery to clear some scar tissue and help him recover more completely.

One thing Dobbins said that is intriguing is that he wants to be 100% going into the playoffs. That could mean we see the Ravens once again slowplay his return to the field in 2022. Even if he returns to practice in Week 12, the Ravens would have 21 days with which to activate him to the 53-man roster. So we may not see Dobbins on the field until Week 15 if Baltimore uses all of that clock.

MORE: Fantasy Football Cut List Week 12

With Kenyan Drake performing well and Gus Edwards potentially heading back in Week 12, there’s no major rush to push Dobbins back onto the field. The RB position is generally a very attritional one, but it’s also incredibly important to the Ravens’ offense. Baltimore could let Dobbins rest and ramp up in practice over the coming weeks rather than pushing him back into game action.

The problem is that even if he were to return, there’s no guarantee that Dobbins would be fantasy relevant immediately. This backfield could very easily be a committee approach between Dobbins, Edwards, and Drake over the coming weeks. Dobbins’ return may actually serve just to mean it is impossible to predict which of the Ravens’ backs will have value on a weekly basis.

The main fantasy value for Dobbins and this backfield comes in Best Ball formats such as Underdog Fantasy. The presence of all three will likely reduce each player’s value in those weekly drafts. However, there should be plenty of goal-line and big-play potential in the Ravens’ run game, so one of them could provide weekly value. The problem will be predicting which one it will be!

Marquise Brown Injury Update

We saw Brown designated to return to practice in Week 11. But despite the extra day that comes with Monday Night Football, Brown was not quite ready to be activated to the 53-man roster this past week.

That somewhat fits with what Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said at the start of the week. Kingsbury said Brown was “getting to the point where he’s getting day-to-day,” but that he wasn’t sure the WR would be ready for Week 11. Kingsbury also identified Week 14 as the latest we should see Brown back, with the Cardinals having a Week 13 bye.

This situation is very much up in the air. The Cardinals’ season is in the balance at 4-7, so they’d love to have Brown back for all of the last six games. However, there must be a temptation to give Brown two more weeks to recover while only costing them one game. When he suffered the foot injury, it was said to be a six-week injury, so Brown is ahead of that schedule.

If Brown is activated this week, fantasy managers may not even reap the benefits. Chances are the Cardinals will be cautious with Brown and ease him back into action, as opposed to having to play a full complement of snaps.

With this in mind, it might be tough to start Brown, especially against a Los Angeles Chargers team that has been tough against WRs in terms of fantasy points allowed in recent weeks.

Jameson Williams Injury Update

While he’s not on IR, but instead remains on the PUP list after opening the season unable to practice, Jameson Williams is set to return to practice this week. The first-round selection out of Alabama has been recovering from an ACL injury that he suffered in college. The Lions will open the practice window for Williams this week and have 21 days to activate him for the 2022 season.

MORE: Buy Low, Sell High Week 12

Williams’ exact return date remains uncertain. We may not see him until Week 15, but we could also see him on the field as early as Week 12. From a fantasy perspective, it will also be tough to trust Williams when he is first activated.

The rookie could be eased back in, with the Lions needing to keep in mind the bigger picture of his career and their future. Williams is still worth stashing, but it may be tough to work Williams into starting lineups for the first couple of games.

Cooper Kupp Injury Update

Ahead of Week 11, Cooper Kupp was placed on IR, meaning he is eligible to return in Week 15. However, the Los Angeles Rams WR has been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain and underwent surgery to treat it. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the injury is expected to last Kupp out for six to eight weeks.

If that timeframe is correct, Kupp will be set to return in either Week 17, Week 18, or in the playoffs if the Rams manage to turn their season around. With the Rams at 3-7 and on the verge of elimination, it’s possible we won’t see Kupp again this season.

Still, it’s worth stashing him if you have an IR spot because he could have a huge role in Week 17, which would be either fantasy semifinals or championship games.

Michael Thomas Injury Update

While we haven’t heard anything more on Michael Thomas’ injury since he was placed on IR, he is eligible to return in Week 13. In the past week, we’ve seen Thomas seemingly criticize the New Orleans Saints’ handling of the injury in a tweet. At the time he was placed on IR, head coach Dennis Allen said Thomas may very well miss the rest of the season.

We haven’t received definitive news about that since then, but at 4-7 entering Week 12, it seems unlikely we’ll see New Orleans rush Thomas back. If they do win their next two games, then a Week 15 return after the Saints’ bye could be a potential date to watch. Thomas is talented enough that he is worth stashing, especially with limited IR concerns for fantasy managers right now.

As it stands, it seems unlikely that Thomas will return for Week 13, but we could get an update from Allen on Thomas’ status in the next 7 to 10 days, so it bears watching.

When can Irv Smith Jr., Mike Boone, Darrel Williams, Hunter Renfrow, and Darren Waller Return?

There are a handful of other intriguing names set to return to the field in the next couple of weeks. Irv Smith Jr. and Mike Boone are both eligible to return in Week 13. Of the two, Boone has more fantasy value, especially with the combination of Melvin Gordon III being released and Chase Edmonds expected to miss multiple weeks.

Smith has a less clear path to fantasy relevance. TJ Hockenson is now the No. 1 tight end in Minnesota, and Smith’s role should be heavily reduced when he returns. Outside of very deep leagues, you can likely move on from Smith.

Darrel Williams is another back that has intriguing handcuff value. Eno Benjamin’s release means there’s a chance for Williams to come back as the primary handcuff for Conner. Therefore, if Williams is available on your waiver wire this week, he could be an intriguing add and stash if you have IR spots available.

Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller are both eligible to return in Week 14. The hope will be that at least Waller can be fantasy relevant down the stretch of the season. If you’re a contender and Waller’s manager is on the verge of elimination, you could try and get him before your trade deadline. It should be a relatively low-cost addition.

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