Pro Football Doc Injury Advice: Conference Championship Games (Fantasy Football)
Injuries are unfortunately part of football, and they certainly impact fantasy football. But rather than throwing up your hands in hopelessness, know that you have an injury resource that can set you apart from your leaguemates. Pro Football Doc has you covered when it comes to everything NFL injuries. Pro Football Doc is led by David J. Chao, an ex-NFL head team doctor who spent 17+years that role.
Among their many offerings, Pro Football Doc provides its fantastic Injury Index® which allows you to see the impact injuries will have on each and every NFL game. The best part? It’s free!
And for the rest of the playoffs, we’re going to take a look at a few matchups each week along with Dr. Chao’s injury takes.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers
The Buccaneers offense has had a banged-up year in regards to the talent around Tom Brady, but they’ve done a good job at playing through and making an impact. Now, in the NFC Championship, there are question marks again at wideout and running back. Ronald Jones started out the week as limited with his quad and finger injuries, but there is a good chance he will play again and regain some of his touches from Leonard Fournette. Antonio Brown went down with a knee injury on his only reception versus the Saints and did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday. His status is up in the air, but both Mike Evans (knee) and Chris Godwin (quad) have good chances to play and be effective. On defense, we’ll have to keep an eye on Jason Pierre-Paul (knee/NIR) and defensive backs Jordan Whitehead (knee) and Sean Murphy-Bunting (quad) as all three are starters contending with injuries. Vita Vea’s practice window has been opened, but he is unlikely to return after suffering a fractured ankle earlier in the season.
Green Bay’s offensive core is a simple one: Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, and Aaron Jones. All three are good to go, but the depth around the skill positions does have some question marks. Running backs AJ Dillon (quad) and Jamaal Williams (ankle) were limited to start the week, and while it is unlikely both miss time this is worth keeping an eye on as both have been important in this offense. Wideouts Allen Lazard (wrist/back) and Equanimeous St. Brown (knee/ankle) were limited as well, and both are important receivers across from Adams. The biggest concern here is indeed at tackle, as David Bakhtiari is out for the year and replacement tackle Jared Veldheer is on the COVID-19 reserve list after missing the last game versus the Rams but is expected to come off the list to play against the Buccaneers. Right tackle Rick Wagner has been limited by a knee injury of his own but has played through. Guard Billy Turner has kicked out to left tackle, and while Wagner could very well push through and start, their depth outside is now paper-thin. They also have some questions on the front seven. Defensive lineman Kingsley Keke missed last week with a concussion, but a limited practice this week shows good progress there. Linebackers Za’Darius Smith and Krys Barnes are dealing with thumb injuries, and while they’re unlikely to both miss time, injuries could limit their effectiveness, especially Barnes who suffered a fractured thumb last week.
Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Buffalo has a relatively clean bill of health coming into the AFC Championship, with only a few issues. While Zack Moss is out for the year, they still have Devin Singletary, who’s fully capable of taking the lead back role. Stefon Diggs was limited in practice to start the week with his oblique injury, but it was the same story the past two weeks, and he has had 100+ yard, 1-TD performances in both playoff games so far. Gabriel Davis’ ankle held him entirely out of practice. On defense, they are looking good, but it is worth noting that Vernon Butler is dealing with a quad injury. Their pass rushers and secondary are in good shape, which is crucial as they take on Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.
The Chiefs are managing a couple fires as they are set to host their third straight AFC Championship. First and foremost, the status of Patrick Mahomes is monumental to their game plan. Their quarterback was initially listed as a full participant with a concussion/toe designation but was retroactively changed to limited. However, even a limited practice is good news for his progress through the concussion protocol, and we have even pointed to the possibility that he did not truly suffer a concussion, but a vasovagal reaction caused by a hit to his open neck. Regardless, it has been our belief that he will indeed play over Chad Henne, and he appears to be on track. Across this offense, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Sammy Watkins are progressing in their returns, but there are still questions across this line as they are playing without three of their starters. With Mitchell Schwartz, Kelechi Osemele, and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif out, they have had to plug in depth players and this is something Buffalo could exploit. On defense, Willie Gay has yet to practice with his ankle injury, and corners Bashaud Breeland (concussion/shoulder) and Rashad Fenton (foot) were limited to start the week.