It's Week 11 of the 2012 fantasy football season, and as the playoffs draw near, each week's games bring with them added importance, especially for fantasy teams attempting to keep their fading postseason hopes alive.
For those teams, it's essential that they stay abreast of the latest injury developments, so here's a look at the latest on the NFL's injured stars and its impact on fantasy football.
After being taken to the hospital following his shoulder injury in Monday night's win over the Kansas City Chiefs, it's not surprising that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has already been ruled out for Week 11.
However, as the Associated Press reports via FOX Sports the 30-year-old is also dealing with a dislocated rib, and it's that injury that could be the larger concern to Roethlisberger's fantasy owners moving forward.
10-year veteran Byron Leftwich will draw the start at quarterback under center for the Steelers this week, and as long as Leftwich is at quarterback for the Steelers the fantasy value of all their receivers takes a significant hit.
After acquiring wide receiver Pierre Garcon in free agency, the Washington Redskins were hopeful that Garcon would emerge as the top target in the passing game for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin, but a toe injury has limited the fifth-year pro to only three games and eight catches so far this year.
However, for the first time in a while there's some room for optimism on the Garcon front, as Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports that Garcon practiced on Wednesday and could return to the lineup on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Fantasy owners who have held onto Garcon are still advised to keep him reserved until he shows something on the field, but at the very least things appear headed in the right direction.
In a bit of good news for fantasy owners who have been hit hard by injuries at the running back position, it appears that at least one ball-carrier is nearing a return to action.
New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles, who has been sidelined the past two games with a broken hand, was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, but according to Mike Triplett of The New Orleans Times-Picayune things are definitely looking up where Sproles is concerned.
#Saints RB Darren Sproles returned to practice today. Listed as limited but Coach Joe Vitt said he was full-go in shells and looked good.
— Mike Triplett (@TripTP) November 14, 2012
For fantasy owners, this is both a curse and a blessing, as while Sproles' return is a boon for his fantasy owners it clouds an already muddied backfield situation in New Orleans that much more.
Monitor practice reports the rest of the week, but as things stand today Sproles can be tentatively penciled into lineups for Week 11 as a low-end RB2 in PPR formats.
Continuing along our theme of keeping it positive with the Week 11 injury news, it looks as though the Green Bay Packers will roll into their NFC North showdown with the Detroit Lions with one of their top offensive options back in the fold.
Wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who has been dealing with hamstring and ankle injuries, practiced with the team on Wednesday, and head coach Mike McCarthy told Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press that Nelson looked like his "normal self" in practice and will play Sunday.
Barring a setback Nelson can be started as he usually would in a game that has the makings of a shootout between two high-powered offenses.
Oh well, the good news couldn't last forever.
Fantasy owners hoping that Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden would return quickly from his ankle injury appear to be out of luck, as Steve Corkran of The Contra Costa Times reports that the fifth-year pro missed practice Wednesday.
This news is far from surprising given McFadden's injury history and earlier reports that McFadden still hasn't shed his walking boot. With reserve Mike Goodson also expected to sit, fullback Marcel Reece will once again receive the bulk of the work in the backfield Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.