Week 15 Injury Report Recap (2019 Fantasy Football)
Injuries reared their ugly heads in Week 14, and we’ll be dealing with the fallout for far longer than just this week. Several big-name options are now done for the season right in the middle of the fantasy playoffs! Each week, I’ll be thumbing through the injury reports to offer you some instant fantasy advice, so keep reading if you’re still in the playoff hunt!
Patriots at Bengals (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Bengals placed Auden Tate on injured reserve this week, ending his season. The Bengals just got John Ross back for last week’s game in Cleveland, which should mitigate the effect of Tate’s absence. That said, Alex Erickson beat out Ross in target share by seven to three last week. So while Ross comes with the most upside of any Bengals wideout because of his speed, he also doesn’t offer you much floor. I’d read the Cincinnati receiving corps like this: Tyler Boyd is a high-floor WR2 option, Erickson is a low-ceiling WR3 in PPR formats, and Ross is a high-upside WR4. And if you’re still holding on to A.J. Green — why? For New England, Julian Edelman should continue to play through his obligatory questionable tag. He’s a weekly must-start. Mohamed Sanu should play through his injury designation, too, although he hasn’t produced fantasy-relevant numbers since Week 9. Only start him if you absolutely must.
Buccaneers at Lions (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Both teams are now without one of their top-two options at wide receiver. For the Lions, look for Danny Amendola to see an uptick in targets without Marvin Jones around. Amendola has logged 16 targets in David Blough’s two starts, so it’s clear that the rookie quarterback trusts the slot receiver. Kenny Golladay is now the clear-cut best receiver in this offense, too, but he’s a boom-or-bust option who depends on deep throws. The Buccaneers’ secondary has the fifth-most receptions of 40-plus yards, so Golladay is a good bet to produce this week. The Lions also listed Bo Scarbrough as questionable, but I wouldn’t start him anyway because of Tampa Bay’s pass-funnel defense.
On Tampa’s side of the ball, Chris Godwin gains the most from Evans’ absence — it’ll be Godwin weeks for the rest of the season. While Bruce Arians won’t commit to putting Evans on injured reserve, it’s hard to see the star receiver returning this year. Breshad Perriman should pick up most of Evans’ workload, and he slots in as a high-upside WR2 this week. Look for O.J. Howard to start seeing more work as well, and he could finally string together a series of TE1 performances. It’ll also be worth monitoring to see how Scotty Miller, who missed the last couple of games, produces relative to Justin Watson. One of them should generate WR3/WR4 numbers, although I’m not sure which one it’ll be. Jameis Winston, despite his limited practice reps, cleared the injury report. He will be good to go on Sunday.
Texans at Titans (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Uh oh. Although he’s listed as questionable, Derrick Henry did not practice all week. If you’re planning to start Henry on Sunday, add Dion Lewis if you still can. This could be a repeat of last week’s Josh Jacobs situation. Henry insists that he’s going to play, but I’m not convinced that he’ll be available. If Henry can’t play, the Titans will have to rely on Lewis and the passing game to get things done against the Texans. Look for A.J. Brown to post low-end WR2 numbers in that situation, while Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith should be fantasy-viable options as well — especially since Adam Humphries is unavailable.
For Houston, Will Fuller’s absence from last week’s contest came as a bit of a surprise after he had played two straight games. I expect him to suit up, but don’t take his status for granted. While Kenny Stills gains the most value if Fuller sits, he’s nothing more than a touchdown-dependent WR4 play. Also, Adoree’ Jackson’s absence gives Deshaun Watson and each Texans wideout a slight value boost as well.
Broncos at Chiefs (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Damien Williams could make his return to the Kansas City backfield this week. I’m not sure if he’ll play, especially since he did not participate in Friday’s practice, but he would shake up the workload for the Chiefs. However, no Chiefs running backs have had that much fantasy value of late. LeSean McCoy hasn’t been getting enough volume to produce decent numbers, and the Chiefs’ signing of Spencer Ware kept Darwin Thompson from seeing the field enough to yield much on the ground. Should Williams return, I’d expect it to be on a snap count, so I’d avoid starting any members of the Kansas City backfield this week — especially against a tough Denver defense. The Broncos could be without Noah Fant on offense, and while Fant had a big game with Drew Lock last week, Lock proved that he could succeed without Fant in Week 13. Look for Jeff Heuerman to finish with low-end TE1 numbers if Fant sits.
Dolphins at Giants (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
With Jones out again, Eli Manning will get another start. He looked good in the first half against the Eagles — until the Giants came crashing back down to earth. Manning showed surprising chemistry with rookie Darius Slayton, who is a high-upside WR3 option this week with little floor. Since the Giants are down two tight ends, Kaden Smith should see a good chunk of the work, and he’s a low-end streaming option against the Dolphins’ weak defense. Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate are low-end WR3s with Manning under center. Their poor performances against the Eagles might’ve been due to the weather, however, as both receivers earned more targets than their stat lines suggest. They could both rebound this week, but neither has a high floor.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, could be down to Allen Hurns and Isaiah Ford at wide receiver. Hurns logged eight targets after Parker and Wilson went down last week, while Ford earned an impressive nine. That said, both Parker and Wilson were full participants in Friday’s practice, so things are trending up for them. Parker is a high-end WR2 against the Giants’ poor secondary if he can suit up. If he can’t, look for whoever else Miami can put on the field to post WR3 numbers.
Eagles at Redskins (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Eagles: WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) IR, WR Nelson Agholor (knee) QUESTIONABLE, RB Jordan Howard (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE.
Redskins: RB Derrius Guice (knee) IR, WR Paul Richardson (hamstring) OUT, WR Trey Quinn (concussion) OUT.
The Redskins won’t have two of their depth options at receiver, and so Dwayne Haskins will have Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon, and Chris Thompson to throw to against the Eagles. Philadelphia hasn’t been good against the pass this year, and they just allowed a rusty Eli Manning to hit Darius Slayton for a pair of deep touchdowns. McLaurin broke out against the Eagles back in Week 1, so look for him to put together WR2 numbers this week. Thompson is a sneaky play at flex in PPR leagues after his seven-reception game last week — especially with Derrius Guice now on injured reserve. And without Guice, Adrian Peterson is a locked-in RB2 in Bill Callahan’s run-first scheme.
Nelson Agholor could be back for the Eagles, and they’ll need him with Alshon Jeffery now on injured reserve. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert should get the bulk of Carson Wentz’s throws as they did the last time Agholor and Jeffery missed time. Greg Ward is a high-risk WR4 option if Agholor sits. In the backfield, Jordan Howard is trending in the right direction but may not suit up on Sunday. Miles Sanders is a high-upside RB2 regardless of Howard’s status, and Boston Scott will be an option at RB3/flex if the ex-Bear can’t play.
Seahawks at Panthers (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Just when he was starting to flash his talent, Rashaad Penny tore his ACL. His injury means that Chris Carson will return to workhorse status as the Seahawks fight for playoff positioning, and he’ll be a high-end RB1 in Seattle’s matchup against the Panthers this week. The Panthers have been abysmal against the run all year, and they just allowed Brian Hill and Devonta Freeman to combine for 146 yards and two touchdowns last week. Luke Willson’s status is worth monitoring if you’re stuck with Jacob Hollister at tight end, but I hope that you’ve found a new streamer by now. For example, Carolina’s Ian Thomas should be well-positioned for another big game as Greg Olsen will miss Week 15. Thomas exploded for five receptions, 57 yards, and one touchdown last week, and he’s one of the best streaming options we’ve got this late in the year.
Bears at Packers (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Mitch Trubisky will have a limited set of weapons come Sunday. He won’t have Taylor Gabriel and Ben Braunecker, and he might not have Javon Wims as well. That said, he’s found some late-season success with just Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller, and I expect it to continue against Green Bay. ARob is a low-end WR1 this week, while Miller is an intriguing option at WR3, and Chicago’s lack of alternatives only inflates their value. However, Trubisky played poorly against the Packers in Week 1, so his receivers may not produce the numbers we’ve started to get used to — we still have to see if his recent success is a trend or a fluke. For the Packers, look for Jimmy Graham to play through his questionable tag. While he’s little more than a touchdown-dependent streamer at this point, he did score against the Bears back in Week 1, so he might not be a bad option if you’re thin at tight end.
Vikings at Chargers (Sunday, 4:05 PM EST)
Adam Thielen will return on Sunday against the Chargers. He should be a safe bet to produce WR2 numbers with a resurgent Kirk Cousins under center for Minnesota. I guess that Minnesota held Thielen out for so long to prevent the kind of re-injury scare we saw in Week 9, so I doubt that he’ll have to leave the field before catching a pass again. Although targets have been few in far between in Minnesota’s run-first offense, the Vikings may have to pass a bit more with Alexander Mattison out. It’s worth noting that the Chargers have been much better against the pass than against the run this season, so my WR2 expectations for Thielen depend upon him scoring a touchdown. Also, with Thielen back in town, it’s safe to put Bisi Johnson back on waivers.
Jaguars at Raiders (Sunday, 4:05 PM EST)
Without Chark, look for the Jaguars to feature Leonard Fournette a bit more, especially in the passing game. The Raiders are much better against the run than they are with the pass, however, so don’t be surprised if Dede Westbrook or Chris Conley put together solid games. I’d pencil both of them in as high-risk WR3 options, but I favor Westbrook over Conley this week due to his high target share.
Meanwhile, Josh Jacobs logged limited practice sessions all week for the Raiders, leaving his status for Sunday up in the air. That said, Jacobs told the media that he “plans” to play. The Jags are one of the two worst defenses against the run, so whether Jacobs or DeAndre Washington get the start, both will have value. Even if Jacobs can only play on limited snaps, he should be a safe bet to put together some good numbers, especially when you consider the 213 yards Austin Ekeler gashed them for on just 12 total touches. Hunter Renfrow’s absence keeps Darren Waller in the low-end TE1 conversation, as the tight end seems to have inherited his target share.
Browns at Cardinals (Sunday, 4:05 PM EST)
Browns: No fantasy-significant injury report listings.
Cardinals: WR Andy Isabella (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE.
There’s not a whole lot to say about this one. For Cleveland, Odell Beckham continues to log entire weeks of limited practices, and he’s almost off the fantasy radar at this point. He’s got a good matchup against Arizona this week, but the receiver has logged just five catches for 68 yards in the last two games. If you’re somehow in the fantasy playoffs with him on your roster, I’d keep him out of your starting lineup. On Arizona’s side of the ball, Andy Isabella’s shoulder injury helps ensure that Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk get the bulk of the workload. Kirk is averaging eight targets per game since Arizona’s bye, making him a WR2, while Fitzgerald’s seven short-yardage targets per game make him little other than a PPR WR3. All three of David Johnson, Kenyan Drake, and Chase Edmonds will be active, and it looks like Drake is the back to own while Johnson is a touchdown-dependent desperation play.
Rams at Cowboys (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)
Dallas’ depleted group of linebackers boosts Todd Gurley’s value. Sean McVay has finally started to feature Gurley in his offense since the Rams got embarrassed by the Ravens, and he’ll be a reliable RB1 option come Sunday afternoon. Without Everett, Tyler Higbee should continue to produce at tight end. Higbee has earned 19 targets in just two games without Everett, and he’s caught 14 of them for 223 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys are a bottom-10 defense against opposing tight ends, so look for McVay to exploit a good matchup on Sunday.
Falcons at 49ers (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)
San Francisco surrendered a ton of points last week, and without two key pieces in their secondary, they could do so again. Look for Matt Ryan to put up big numbers passing to Julio Jones, Russell Gage, and Austin Hooper now that Calvin Ridley is done for the year. Jones is a high-end WR1 this week, while Gage should be a WR3. While Richard Sherman expects to be back for next week’s game against the Rams, Los Angeles’ wide receivers would carry considerable value heading into Week 16 if he can’t suit up.
Bills at Steelers (Sunday, 8:20 PM EST)
The Bills continue to be one of the healthiest teams in football. Meanwhile, the Steelers will be without their best wide receiver and tight end, but there’s a good chance they’ll get James Conner back this week. The Bills are a pedestrian defense against the run, so Conner could return high-end RB2 value if he’s not on a limited snap count. If he can’t suit up, Benny Snell should continue to get most of the carries, and he’s a volume option at RB3/flex best suited for standard-scoring leagues. Without Smith-Schuster and McDonald, look for Devlin Hodges to rely on Diontae Johnson and James Washington. Both are boom-or-bust plays who depend on touchdowns, but at least Washington has enough upside to warrant consideration as a WR3/4.