The unfortunate injury bug returned in Week 13, emphasized by some fantasy-matchup-altering ailments. Such is the nature of a game that revolves around brute force and violence (just ask that poor sideline worker in the Saints/Lions game).
We officially have just five remaining games in the NFL season, and the consistency of injuries is sure to continue. Hopefully, fantasy managers in line for playoff pushes have contingency plans ready at this point of the campaign.
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NFL Injury Updates & Fantasy Football Impact
One of, if not the sole rookie WR fantasy darling of 2023, Tank Dell, was lost to a fractured fibula in brutal fashion against the Broncos on Sunday. The worst part is the situation from which it transpired, where Dell’s smaller frame was doing interior blocking on a goal-line rushing attempt. It felt like a poor move by a Houston coaching staff that has been among the elite all season.
Fantasy Impact: Dell was officially ruled out for the remainder of the season on Monday, hurting the Texans’ real-life playoff chances and fantasy managers everywhere. It will be tough to replace a player who had been so incredibly effective through the first 10 games of his career. WR Noah Brown seems likely to benefit the most in Dell’s absence, and he becomes an immediate priority add in league formats of 10 teams and above.
The lone Patriots skill position player who deserves to be playing NFL football, Rhamondre Stevenson, suffered an ankle injury against the Chargers on Sunday. Stevenson was unable to put any pressure on his leg, and it seems highly unlikely he will be able to suit up against the Steelers on a short turnaround this Thursday night.
Fantasy Impact: In Stevenson’s absence, dust-ball plodder Ezekiel Elliott will be the lead back for the Patriots against Pittsburgh and possibly beyond. While Elliott may see significant volume overall, expectations need to be heavily tempered for him to actually do anything with that opportunity. The New England offense is the worst in the NFL and one of the worst we have witnessed in the modern football era. It is almost undoubtedly best practice to steer clear of this team altogether.
Derrick Henry was lost in the latter half of the Titans’ bout with the Colts on Sunday, when he was reportedly checked for a concussion. He did not return in the matchup. As of Monday, Henry reportedly feels much better and is already out of the concussion protocols. Henry still finished Sunday’s game with two rushing touchdowns and 100 total yards before his exit.
Fantasy Impact: It is great news for Henry’s fantasy managers that he already seems to be all systems go, just one day following the initial injury. That makes it seem highly likely he will be available for Tennessee’s matchup with the Dolphins in Week 14. It may make sense to stash backup RB Tyjae Spears where available, on the off chance that Henry ends up suffering any sort of setback.
Christian Watson was balling out for the second consecutive game before going down with a hamstring injury late against the Chiefs on Sunday night. He had compiled a pristine 7-71-2 line on nine targets before the ailment.
Fantasy Impact: Watson had just been thrusting himself back into mandatory lineup starting status before getting hurt against the Chiefs. His status will now need to be monitored as he battles another hamstring injury, an affliction he’s become far too familiar with just two short seasons into his professional career. If Watson were to miss any additional game action, that volume would likely be distributed between receivers Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed, while Dontayvion Wicks would also factor in a bit more.