The injured reserve (IR) list in 2023 has seen a handful of intriguing fantasy football names placed on it, including some every-week starting options. Heading into Week 11 of the 2023 NFL season, let’s take a look at which injury updates for the top players on the IR right now.
Among the names we could see return to the field in the next couple of weeks are Justin Jefferson, De’Von Achane, Khalil Herbert, and Kyren Williams.
Week 11 IR Injury Report: Could We See Justin Jefferson, De’Von Achane, Khalil Herbert This Week?
Justin Jefferson, WR | Minnesota Vikings
The situation with Jefferson’s return from a hamstring injury is intriguing. The Minnesota Vikings WR was eligible to return to practice last week, and the team did not hesitate to designate him to return.
Jefferson practiced all week in a limited capacity, focusing on individual drills. However, head coach Kevin O’Connell was clear that the team was not going to rush him back.
Ultimately, the Vikings would choose not to activate Jefferson back to the 53-man roster ahead of their game last week. When he was listed as questionable on Friday it raised some hope, but that was snuffed out when he was not activated Saturday. Now all eyes turn to Week 11 as Minnesota heads to Denver for Sunday Night Football.
When he spoke to the media on Monday, O’Connell remained non-committal about Jefferson’s return.
“Yeah, we’ll see. We’re going to ramp him up. He handled kind of the workload that we started him out with last week, opening up his window to get him back on the practice field. We’ll see what that looks like throughout the week, maybe a little bit more here or there.”
O’Connell continued, “I know he’s, nobody wants to be out there more than Justin, and maybe with the exception of me wanting him out there, but we’re going to continue to be smart with Justin.”
It very much seems like we’re going to have to see how this week plays out at practice to determine if Jefferson will be active.
De’Von Achane, RB | Miami Dolphins
There was no messing around from the Miami Dolphins beat writer when it came to an update on Achane’s return from a knee injury, with their first question to head coach Mike McDaniel being about the rookie RB.
McDaniel confirmed that the Dolphins would open the window for Achane to practice Monday and start on the path to a potential return in Week 11.
Achane hurt his knee in the Week 5 win against the New York Giants and was placed on IR later that week. The rookie RB had to miss not only his mandatory four games but also wait for the bye week to pass before being designated to return to practice. Miami now has 21 days to elevate Achane to the active roster or place him on season-ending IR.
It doesn’t seem like there will be any issue for Achane to return this season, and that includes potentially returning this week. McDaniel was initially non-committal on the exact return date with reporters, instead choosing to joke a little with the group, “I’m so confident that he is going to play today. See what I did there?”
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He further elaborated that the decision to place Achane on IR with his knee sprain was made because the team didn’t feel he would be a player that would “flourish with a brace on, so we took the time to make sure that we can get structurally strong.”
He added the team probably “erred on the side of caution,” which suggests Achane has a real shot to return this week.
Khalil Herbert, RB | Chicago Bears
The situation with Herbert last week was confusing, to say the least. When he was listed as a full participant all week, many thought he was a lock to return on Thursday against the Carolina Panthers. However, two of those three participation reports were estimations as the team conducted walkthroughs, with only one full practice on the short week.
That ultimately meant that there wasn’t enough practice ramp-up time for Herbert to get on the field in Week 10. The good news is that there is no indication the decision to hold Herbert back was due to any kind of setback.
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The Bears still have another couple of weeks before they have to activate Herbert, but it would be a surprise if he’s not on the 53-man roster this Sunday.
What his role will be is a little more uncertain, though. D’Onta Foreman has had some nice games in Herbert’s absence, and Chicago may decide to slowly re-introduce the younger back into the fold with another year remaining on his contract.
With the Bears sitting at 3-7 and three games out of a playoff spot, they may decide it’s best not to rush Herbert back.
Kyren Williams, RB | Los Angeles Rams
We did not get a specific update this week on Williams when head coach Sean McVay spoke to the media, but no news is good news at this stage.
Last week, McVay spoke about hoping to get Williams back in Week 12, so the fact he offered nothing more than complimenting him and saying the team was “looking forward to getting him back” is largely positive. That would suggest Williams is still on track to return when he is first eligible in Week 12.
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The Rams’ RB hurt his ankle in Week 6 against the Cardinals before being placed on IR ahead of Week 7. He had now missed three of the mandatory four games, with Week 11 being the fourth. That means we could see Williams back on the practice field next week.
The way McVay spoke indicated that Williams will still be his No. 1 RB option when he returns. Darrell Henderson and Royce Freeman have done a solid job in his absence, but neither has ripped the starting job away permanently. The most likely outcome here will be Williams returning as the starter, with one of Henderson or Freeman serving in a backup role.
Other Fantasy Options on IR
- Aaron Rodgers, QB, NYJ | Week 6
- Damien Harris, RB, BUF | Week 11
- Pat Freiermuth, TE, PIT | Week 11
- Greg Dulcich, TE, DEN | Week 12
- Zach Ertz, TE, ARI | Week 12
- Ronnie Rivers, RB, LAR | Week 12
- Joshua Palmer, WR, LAC | Week 14
- Darren Waller, TE, NYG | Week 14
Fantasy-Relevant Players Ruled Out for 2023
- Nick Chubb, RB, CLE
- Anthony Richardson, QB, IND
- J.K. Dobbins, RB, BAL
- Kirk Cousins, QB, MIN
- Cam Akers, RB, MIN
- Kendrick Bourne, WR, NE
- Daniel Jones, QB, NYG
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