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We are 10 weeks into the longest season in NFL history! We'll start this morning's article with the usual disclaimer: Tuesday isn't the most eventful day for football purposes, but that doesn't mean yesterday was completely void of all fantasy-relevant news. With that in mind, let's break down the most notable news and tidbits from around the league with an eye on fantasy football.
Cordarrelle Patterson Limited at Practice on Tuesday
Cordarrelle Patterson got in a limited practice on Tuesday – which is actually good news considering he reportedly suffered a mild high ankle sprain in the Falcons' Week 10 matchup with the Cowboys. Because of this, it's too early to rule out Patterson for Atlanta's Week 11 bout against the Patriots on Thursday Night Football, but it would still be an upset if he plays due to the nature of this type of injury. With that in mind, fantasy managers are left to analyze what the split will look like between Mike Davis and Wayne Gallman.
Davis has ceded work to Patterson all season long – with the latter having a significantly more efficient season – but it was still a surprise when Gallman came out of nowhere to out-snap Davis 23-20 in Week 10. Gallman also recorded 15 carries to Davis' four. Of course, it's important to keep in mind that the Falcons got blown out of the water, so some of that could be due to game script. In fact, only four of Gallman's 15 carries came in the first half, so the Falcons may have just been using him to grind down the clock in a game that was already over by halftime. Davis ran 12 routes to Gallman's seven, so his role as the primary pass-catching back seems secure if Patterson can't play.
For Thursday, expect a split on early downs with Davis as the guy on third downs and in obvious passing situations. It'll be difficult to rely on either option against a solid Patriots defense, but Davis is clearly more valuable. Gallman is worth a bench stash in case Patterson's injury keeps him out for multiple weeks.
Elijah Mitchell Suffers Broken Finger vs. Rams
News came out on Monday that 49ers RB Elijah Mitchell suffered a broken finger in Week 10 against the Rams. While that sounds bad at first glance, San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan is reportedly "hoping that Mitchell has a chance" to practice on Wednesday and play on Sunday, which bodes well for his outlook. Team doctors are also optimistic about his prospects. Practice reports will be telling for Mitchell during the week, but fantasy managers should prepare backup plans in case the sixth-round rookie can't play this weekend. Jeff Wilson handled 10 carries behind Mitchell on Monday and would be the next man up for early-down work. He should be rostered in most formats, even if we get good news about Mitchell's Week 11 availability during the week. In any event, it seems like it won't be a long-term absence for Mitchell regardless of whether he plays next weekend.
Damien Harris Practices on Limited Basis on Tuesday
Patriots RB Damien Harris got in a limited practice ahead of New England's Week 11 showdown with the Falcons on Thursday. Harris missed Week 10 due to a concussion, allowing rookie Rhamondre Stevenson to rack up 24 touches in the Pats' blowout win over the Brown. While Harris is still officially in the league's concussion protocol, it bodes well for his chances of playing that he was able to practice, albeit on a limited basis, 48 hours in advance of gameday. Harris should regain RB1 duties over Stevenson as soon as he returns. Brandon Bolden has been the preferred pass-catching back regardless of whether it's Harris or Stevenson on early downs, and all indications are that he'd maintain that role with Harris back. That would make Stevenson an unreliable option, but he'd still be worth holding onto in case his big numbers over the past two weeks have earned him more work. Harris is the same script-dependent RB2 he has been all year, and Bolden has a useful real-life role but can't be trusted in fantasy.
Ravens Part Ways with Le'Veon Bell
Sad news: The Le'Veon Bell era in Baltimore has come to an end. The longtime Steeler averaged only 2.7 rushing yards per attempt across 31 carries. Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray are the running backs to roster in this backfield – and the most notable part of this news could be the implication that Murray is finally healthy after suffering an ankle injury in Week 6. Freeman has led the backfield over the past few weeks but could stand to lose some rushing work once Murray returns.
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Other News and Notes
- With Aaron Jones (knee) out for 1-to-2 weeks, the Packers worked out former Lions, Eagles, and 49ers RB Kerryon Johnson. Johnson hasn't recorded an NFL touch since Week 16 of 2020 and would serve as nothing more than a depth piece behind Dillon if he is signed. Rookie Kylin Hill is also done for the year with a torn ACL, so the Packers are really hurting at running back behind Dillon – who should be considered an RB1 for the duration of Jones' injury.
- The Cowboys expect Greg Zuerlein back for Week 11, and he should be a top-12 option in a potential shootout against the Chiefs.
- Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is expected to play if he is cleared. That's good news for all Steelers skill players – which is more of an indictment on Mason Rudolph than a compliment of Big Ben. Keep an eye out for news this week about whether Roethlisberger clears COVID-19 protocols.
- The Chargers placed DL Joey Bosa and Jerry Tillery on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. Bosa is unvaccinated, meaning he is a close contact and has a shot to play on Sunday if he doesn't test positive in the coming days. Tillery is vaccinated, meaning he needs to record two negative tests 24 hours apart before he is eligible to come back. That means he is likely out for Week 11.
- Bucs CB Richard Sherman is out for a couple of weeks with a grade 2 calf strain. He suffered the injury during pregame warmups before Tampa Bay's Week 10 matchup against Washington. It's a hit to a secondary that has already been picked apart by opposing offenses a few times this year.