Week 16 Injury Report Recap (2019 Fantasy Football)
Welcome to the last Injury Report Recap for the season! After a relatively clean year, the fantasy playoffs have been full of game-changing injuries. I hope that my coverage has been helpful throughout, and I’d like to thank you for reading. I hope you’ve enjoyed my analysis of each Friday’s injury reports as much as I’ve enjoyed writing about them. And one last thing before we get started — if you made it to the fantasy finals, good luck!
Texans at Buccaneers (Saturday, 1:00 PM EST)
Texans: WR Will Fuller (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE, RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) QUESTIONABLE.
Buccaneers: WR Scotty Miller (hamstring) IR, WR Mike Evans (hamstring) IR, WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE, QB Jameis Winston (thumb/knee) QUESTIONABLE.
Two of the best receivers of 2019, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, will not be available for the fantasy finals. Instead, ex-Raven Breshad Perriman could be a league-winner. Tampa Bay lost three of their top four wide receivers over the past two weeks, and so Perriman and former Ivy Leaguer Justin Watson are now their top-two options at the position. Perriman is a high-upside, high-risk option at WR1 after his three-touchdown performance last week, while Watson slots in as a WR3. Watson flashed back in Week 14, but he was solidly below Perriman and Miller on the depth chart last week. Meanwhile, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate are viable starters at tight end. And even though Jameis Winston is questionable, I expect him to play, as he was a full participant in Thursday’s practice.
Two critical pieces of the Texans offense are questionable for Saturday. Fuller continues to battle a hamstring injury, and while Houston has held him out of games before, I don’t think they will hold him out this week. Fuller logged limited practice sessions Tuesday through Thursday, and the Texans are trying to lock down the AFC South. Look for him to have a big day against the Buccaneers’ roastable secondary. As for Hyde, Tampa Bay’s pass-funnel defense makes him a must-sit this week, and I hope you have a better option on your bench.
Bills at Patriots (Saturday, 4:30 PM EST)
Bills: No fantasy-significant injury report listings.
Patriots: WR Julian Edelman (knee/shoulder) QUESTIONABLE.
Death, taxes, and Julian Edelman receiving a questionable tag. Edelman has been questionable seven of the ten times I’ve covered the injury reports this year, yet he’s played in every game. Thanks, Belichick. He’s going to suit up on Saturday, although he was ineffective last week against the Bengals, posting his worst stat line of the year. Ian Rapoport expects him to be healthier for this game, and the Patriots will need their best receiver to lock down the division. Edelman is still a WR1 this week.
Rams at 49ers (Saturday, 8:15 PM EST)
Rams: K Greg Zuerlein (quad) QUESTIONABLE.
49ers: No fantasy-significant injury report listings.
Tight end Gerald Everett will be back for the Rams, while cornerback Richard Sherman is back for San Francisco. Everett’s return should knock Tyler Higbee off the fantasy radar. Meanwhile, the 49ers’ secondary should rebound with Sherman back in action. Greg Zuerlein is the only fantasy-relevant player who could miss this week’s game. The Rams felt the need to work out ex-Cowboy Brett Maher, so if you’re a Zuerlein owner, I would think about adding a backup (or swapping him out) before your opponent stockpiles kickers. Check out this week’s kicker primer for some ideas.
Bengals at Dolphins (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Green told reporters that he’s “likely done” for this season. Green had hoped to return, but the setback he suffered back in early November derailed his progress. It’s a lost season for the star receiver. For the Dolphins, Jason Sanders is questionable, but I fully expect him to play. Miami hasn’t hosted a workout as the Rams have, and Sanders’ ailment is labeled an “illness,” which players usually play through — unless you’re Week 14 Le’Veon Bell.
Steelers at Jets (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
After a disappointing loss to Buffalo last week, the Steelers will have both James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster back for the first time since Week 11. While we roughly know what to expect from Conner — he earned 51 yards and a score on 12 touches last week — we haven’t seen too much of Devlin Hodges with a healthy Smith-Schuster. Conner is a high-risk, low-end RB1 this week against the Jets, but that’ll depend on him seeing an uptick in usage. Smith-Schuster is a similarly risky option at WR2. He caught just one of three targets for seven yards in his last game with Hodges, but the Jets’ burnable secondary and Hodges’ big arm give him some value.
On New York’s side of things, Sam Darnold may not have two of his best three receivers this week. Demaryius Thomas is unlikely to play in this one, and while an illness is the only thing holding Robby Anderson back, we’ve seen Jets skip games when sick before. The receiver failed to practice on Thursday and only logged limited reps on Friday. Regardless of whether or not he plays, Jamison Crowder is the Jets receiver to start this week. He’s a mid-tier WR2 in PPR formats, and a high-end WR3 in Half PPR.
Giants at Redskins (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Giants finally gave up on Evan Engram for the year, putting him on injured reserve. They also won’t have Rhett Ellison this week, so it’ll be Kaden Smith at tight end. Smith looked better with Daniel Jones than Eli Manning, so it’s good for him that Danny Dimes is back this week. That said, I wouldn’t recommend starting Jones or Smith unless it’s absolutely necessary, as Washington should limit New York’s time of possession by grinding out the clock with Adrian Peterson.
Panthers at Colts (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Panthers: WR Curtis Samuel (knee) QUESTIONABLE.
Colts: No fantasy-significant injury report listings.
Carolina wideout Curtis Samuel could not practice on Friday with a knee injury. He hadn’t landed on the team’s injury report earlier in the week, so his questionable tag is a bit of a surprise. I hope that you were already planning to look elsewhere at wide receiver during Will Grier’s rookie debut, but if you weren’t, try to find another option.
Ravens at Browns (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Browns could be without two of their better defensive linemen come Sunday. Both Richardson and Vernon (and Myles Garrett, if you remember him) played back in Week 4 when the Browns bested the Ravens, which should assuage fears that Lamar Jackson is headed for another defeat at the hands of the Dawg Pound. That said, the Ravens aren’t at 100% either, as Ronnie Stanley’s concussion earned him a questionable tag. The tackle was able to practice all week, however, so look for Jackson and Mark Ingram to capitalize on the Browns’ banged-up front seven.
Oh, and Odell Beckham continues to log limited practice sessions — and to tell other teams to “come get” him. The Ravens held Beckham to two receptions for 20 yards last time, and I’d expect him to post similarly poor numbers in this one.
Jaguars at Falcons (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Jaguars: WR D.J. Chark (ankle) QUESTIONABLE.
Falcons: No fantasy-significant injury report listings.
Although Chark is questionable, head coach Doug Marrone expects him to play on Sunday. If he does, he’ll return to low-end WR1 status, while last week’s waiver-wire hero Chris Conley would return to WR4 status. Chark is less than 50 yards away from his first 1,000-yard season, and I expect him to get it against the Falcons’ bottom-10 passing defense, especially now that Gardner Minshew is back under center.
Saints at Titans (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
With so many important players banged-up in each team’s secondaries (I’m including Titans corner Malcolm Butler, who remains on injured reserve), expect this game to be high-scoring. For the Saints, that means big points for Michael Thomas. For the Titans, that means points for A.J. Brown, especially with Adam Humphries still sidelined. Brown has caught 13 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns in the two games the slot receiver has missed.
Raiders at Chargers (Sunday, 4:05 PM EST)
Jon Gruden is holding Josh Jacobs out of this one. Jacobs was a surprise inactive for Week 14, and although he could play last week, we won’t see him in this one. If you’re a Jacobs owner, I hope you’ve been keeping DeAndre Washington on your bench. He’s a good bet to produce RB2-type numbers on Sunday based on his volume, although the Raiders could be without guard Richie Incognito. Keep an eye on his status as Sunday approaches — if you’ve got another option to swap Washington out for, I’d pull the trigger if the star guard can’t play. On the Chargers’ side of the ball, Justin Jackson’s injury should calm down Melvin Gordon owners concerned about his usage after his pair of fumbles last week.
Lions at Broncos (Sunday, 4:05 PM EST)
Lions: QB Matthew Stafford (back) IR, OT Rick Wagner (knee) OUT, Bo Scarbrough (ribs) QUESTIONABLE.
Broncos: OT Ja’Wuan James (knee) OUT, OG Ronald Leary (concussion) OUT, OG Dalton Risner (illness) QUESTIONABLE, Noah Fant (shoulder/illness) QUESTIONABLE.
It’ll be the David Blough show in Detriot for the rest of the year. Matt Patricia finally placed Matthew Stafford on injured reserve — not because of a setback, but because “[We] just felt at this time that it would be better.” Huh? Matt, you were out playoff contention a few weeks ago. If this was the better option for Stafford’s health, why did you wait until now? At least Detroit’s giving you another year. Anyway, Bo Scarbrough’s injury is lingering into this week, as he only logged limited practices all week, but Kerryon Johnson’s potential return would make him irrelevant anyway. If you’ve held onto the Lions back this long, don’t fall for the sunk-cost fallacy. I wouldn’t start him against Vic Fangio’s defense, especially without tackle Rick Wagner.
Things don’t look much better for the Broncos. Two of their starting offensive linemen are out while another is questionable. Although the Lions have fielded a pretty terrible defense this season, these injuries could continue to limit Phillip Lindsay’s productivity on the ground. Denver has a total of six players listed on the injury report with illnesses, including Drew Lock, and while not all of them earned an injury designation like Risner, it’s a situation worth monitoring as Sunday approaches. The only Bronco I’d be excited about starting this week is Courtland Sutton, especially with Noah Fant banged-up.
Cardinals at Seahawks (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)
Cardinals: WR Christian Kirk (ankle) QUESTIONABLE.
Seahawks: No fantasy-significant injury report listings.
The Cardinals’ offense has been pretty fluid this year, as they’ve gone from Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid scheme to the Kenyan Drake show. Kyler Murray threw the ball only 25 times, his second-fewest number of attempts on the year. His usage has been trending downward since their Week 13 bye. Last week, this meant only four receptions for Kirk. He’s a game-time decision going into this week’s game, and if he doesn’t play, look for Larry Fitzgerald to produce WR2 numbers with the extra targets. If he does, Kirk’s a low-end WR3.
Cowboys at Eagles (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)
I don’t expect either Nelson Agholor or Jordan Howard to play in Sunday’s de facto NFC East championship game. Agholor failed to practice at all this week, and while Howard logged limited reps Wednesday through Friday, he still has not yet been cleared for contact. Without them, Carson Wentz will lean on the tight ends and Greg Ward, who should be a high-upside WR3 this week, and Miles Sanders will be a lock for RB1-type usage. It’s worth noting that Dak Prescott was limited in practice all week with a right shoulder injury, and while he is expected to play, it could affect his on-field performance come Sunday. That said, I’d still start him with confidence.
Chiefs at Bears (Sunday, 8:20 PM EST)
The Chiefs are getting healthy at the right time. After a few weeks with a banged-up Patrick Mahomes, and then a few weeks without him at all, Kansas City is looking like they’ll enter the playoffs on a multi-game winning streak. Although I expect Akiem Hicks to play, his absence would be a boon to their running game. Although Damien Williams should return this week, I’d only start him in the championship if Hicks sits out. The Bears definitely won’t have Taylor Gabriel to boot, which should funnel most of Mitch Trubisky’s passes to Anthony Miller and Allen Robinson. Robinson is a low-end WR1, while Miller is a high-end WR2.