NFL Injuries: Fantasy Football Starters Who Could Return in Week 11

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 14:  Darren Sproles #43 of the New Orleans Saints carries the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

This week's injury headlines have been dominated, rather distressingly, by quarterbacks nursing serious trauma.

While Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger and Alex Smith appear to be down for the Week 11 count, there are numerous instances of good news to report, too.

All around the league, forgotten fantasy stars are healing up from nagging injuries and getting ready to dominate our digital lineups on Sunday once again.

Here's a look at three underrated fantasy starters who could potentially return from injury this week:


RB Darren Sproles (NO)

Sproles' hand can't heal fast enough for fantasy owners, as Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram have promptly emerged in his absence.

The diminutive running back has been underwhelming thus far this season, but has still performed well enough to warrant a weekly start. After Ivory's consecutive weeks with touchdowns (including THIS show-stopping effort) and Ingram's 67 yards in Atlanta, however, who knows if that will remain the case?

According to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Sproles returned to practice on Wednesday and Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt said he looked good. Even if his carries take a slight hit, Sproles is too unique of a weapon out of the backfield to be phased out of the offense.

He should be safe to start in Week 11.


WR Pierre Garcon (WSH)

Garcon got off to a hot start this season, but hasn't suited up since injuring his foot against Atlanta on Oct. 7.

Now, as Rich Campbell of The Washington Times reports, he's cutting while running routes in practice, something Mike Shanahan called a "big plus."

If Garcon is able to suit up in Week 11, he could have a big week against an Eagles secondary that's gotten worse as the season has gone on. Nnamdi Asomugha is a shell of his former self, and Kurt Coleman has a habit of getting beat deep––Garcon's specialty.

Keep an eye on this: Garcon could be one of the week's biggest sleepers.


TE Aaron Hernandez (NE)

Hernandez hasn't gotten on the field since hurting his ankle against the Jets in Week 7. He was a game-time decision against the Bills, before ultimately being ruled inactive. With another week to heal, he should be ready to go...right?

Logically, yeah, he probably should. But Bill Belichick is notoriously guarded and unpredictable with injuries, so this could come down to the wire.

Hernandez practiced on Wednesday but was limited, so the jury is as out as ever.

If good news comes in, however, don't forget about how productive this guy can be.