Fantasy Football Week 16 Injury Report Update: Michael Thomas a true game-time decision, while Leonard Fournette returns
There are plenty of injuries to look out for in Championship week. Here's the latest on who might trip you up.
More Week 16:— — — —
Championship weekend is here for the majority of season-long leagues, and serious injuries have required Fantasy owners to put in some intense last-minute work on the wire. The receiver position has particularly taken a hit over the last week, with one particularly notable injury sending many owners scrambling. With the most important time of the Fantasy season for many upon us, let's dive into who's looking likely to take the field in a pivotal Week 16 slate:
- The Broncos' Paxton Lynch (ankle) was able to work back to a full practice Friday after a pair of limited sessions to start the week. The extent of the 2017 first-round pick's playing time thus far this season is the 33 snaps he logged against the Raiders in Week 12, a game in which he completed nine of 14 passes for 41 yards with no touchdowns and one interception while rushing twice for 17 yards. There's yet to be an official announcement of whether Lynch or Brock Osweiler will draw the start against the Redskins, but local beat writers have gone on record as stating that all signs point toward the latter getting the nod. Osweiler has been serviceable in three starts this season, and he completed 12 of 17 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns while running in another score in emergency Week 15 duty versus the Colts. Trevor Siemian was subsequently placed on injured reserve with the shoulder injury that forced his exit and allowed Osweiler to enter the contest.
- The Texans' Tom Savage (concussion) is out once again in Week 16, leaving T.J. Yates as the starter on Christmas Day against the Steelers. Yates undeniably drew the proverbial short straw for his first start in Week 15, as he ran into the buzzsaw that is the Jaguars' secondary. Pittsburgh won't offer much relief, as they give up the sixth-fewest fantasy points (15.29) in standard scoring formats to quarterbacks, along with a stingy 207.0 passing yards per game.
- Ezekiel Elliott makes his return Sunday against the Seahawks after serving his six-game suspension, and he reportedly left behind a few unneeded pounds in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where he trained intensely during the majority of his time away from the team. The playoff-hopeful Cowboys will reportedly afford him his customary workload at home against a Seattle defense that was decimated by the Rams in Week 15, so Elliott fantasy owners still alive in their leagues should deploy him without hesitation. The star running back's return and presumed volume relegates Alfred Morris to the single-digit carry role he'd filled prior to Elliot's absence.
- The Bengals' Joe Mixon has cleared the concussion protocol and will therefore be ready to suit up against the Lions on Sunday after a two-game absence. The rookie's return presumably means that Giovani Bernard, who compiled 25 totes for 92 yards and a touchdown over the last two weeks as Cincy's lead back – as well as 13 carries for 77 yards versus the Steelers in the Week 13 game in which Mixon suffered his first-quarter injury – reverts to a complementary, change-of-pace role. However, Bernard could certainly see more work in that slotting than he did prior to Mixon's injury, given his generally effective work over the last two-plus games.
- The Falcons' Tevin Coleman cleared concussion protocol earlier in the week and turned in full Thursday and Friday sessions, leaving him free of any injury designation for Sunday's divisional battle against the Saints.
- The Jaguars' Leonard Fournette will make his return Sunday against the 49ers after missing last week's win over the Texans with a quadriceps injury. Chris Ivory, T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant, who all saw expanded roles in Week 15, will revert to their customary backup roles.
- The Patriots' Rex Burkhead (knee) will miss Sunday's Week 16 tilt against the Bills, while backfield mate James White, officially listed as questionable with an ankle injury, is not expected to play as per early Sunday morning reports. With 86 receptions on 108 targets between them, there will be plenty of slack to pick up for the likes of Dion Lewis – an effective pass-catching back in his own right who's been much less active in that role this season when Burkhead and White have been healthy – and possession receiver extraordinaire Danny Amendola to pick up. Additionally, Mike Gillislee, who could presumably fill Burkhead's goal-line role, is in line to be active and figure prominently into the game plan, as per early Sunday morning reports.
- The Jets will come into Sunday's conference clash against the Chargers with a pair of running backs listed as questionable, as both Matt Forte (knee) and Elijah McGuire (illness) earned the designation after neither practiced all week. However, as per Saturday evening reports, both are expected to play. If either player's outlook took a turn for the worse, Bilal Powell would certainly be the most direct beneficiary.
- The Redskins' Samaje Perine is questionable to face the Broncos after injuring his groin early in Thursday's practice and then missing Friday's session altogether. Perine has stated he expects to play, but head coach Jay Gruden has been more hesitant, making the running back's Week 16 fate a likely game-time decision. With fellow back LeShun Daniels having broken his hand in Thursday's session as well and already ruled out for the season, Washington is facing the prospect of Kapri Bibbs, who posted four receptions for 47 yards against the Cardinals in Week 15, and practice squad call-up Dare Ogunbowale helming the backfield against Denver. https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/944860453221601280
- The Cardinals' Kerwynn Williams (quadriceps, ribs) is questionable to face the Giants after only managing to turn in a single limited practice this week. However, as per early Sunday morning reports, he's expected to play.
- The Chargers' Austin Ekeler (hand) is questionable against the Jets, but he did manage to turn in a full practice to wrap up the week. The rookie's exact injury is a broken ring finger on his left hand, and he will therefore have to wear a club if he does take the field. Early Sunday morning reports indicate that Ekeler is likely to play but will only participate on special teams, which bodes well for Melvin Gordon's owners heading into their championship games.
- The Dolphins' Damien Williams (shoulder) is doubtful to face the Chiefs despite managing to practice in limited fashion throughout the week. Kenyan Drake, whose body of work over the three games that Williams has missed consists of 64 carries for 312 yards and two touchdowns – along with 14 receptions (on 22 targets) for 135 yards – is expected to once again see heavy volume against a Chiefs team allowing 4.17 yards per carry to running backs.
- The bombshell injury news of Week 15 involved Antonio Brown's calf injury, which occurred on a multi-player collision in the end zone during the first half against the Patriots. The injury impact of an asset the caliber of Brown is naturally incalculable, and beyond the Christmas Day contest he'll miss against the Texans, he's also expected to be out for the regular-season finale versus the Browns the following Sunday. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Martavis Bryant and Eli Rogers thus project as the top three Steelers wideouts moving forward, with Bryant potentially set to run some of the crossing and deep routes Brown is so proficient in. Smith-Schuster will presumably serve as the de facto No. 1 receiver in terms of snaps and targets, however, and a matchup against a Houston defense allowing a 62.4 percent catch rate, 9.4 yards per target and the fourth-most fantasy points (22.86) to wide receivers in standard scoring formats certainly makes for a soft landing in Week 16.
- The Saints' Michael Thomas was a rare Saturday addition to the injury report due to a hamstring injury, and as per early Sunday morning reports, he's considered truly questionable and likely a game-time call. Thomas' teammate Ted Ginn, Jr. will make his return from the rib injury that cost him the Week 15 contest against the Jets, so the New Orleans receiving corps would have some reinforcement for Sunday's key divisional battle against the Falcons if Thomas is unable to suit up. Moreover, proficient pass-catching backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara could also see a few extra targets if Thomas were to miss.
- The Raiders' Amari Cooper (ankle) is questionable for the Christmas Night tilt against the Eagles after managing back-to-back limited practices to finish off the week. Notably, head coach Jack Del Rio has expressed optimism that Cooper will be able to go after missing last week's contest against the Cowboys. Michael Crabtree, Seth Roberts, Cordarrelle Patterson and Johnnie Holton would all presumably benefit to some degree if Cooper were to experience a setback and sit out against a Philadelphia defense that's allowed the ninth-most fantasy points (21.14) to wide receivers in standard scoring formats.
- The Patriots' Chris Hogan (shoulder) is officially questionable for Sunday's divisional contest against the Bills, but as per early Sunday morning reports, he's not expected to play. His presumed absence should once again mean an uptick in volume for Brandin Cooks and Rob Gronkowski in terms of the downfield passing attack. Gronkowski was particularly effective against the Steelers in Week 15 – a game Hogan surprisingly sat out – racking up nine receptions for 168 yards, and he posted a similarly impressive nine catches for 147 yards against this same Bills squad in Week 13, a contest that Hogan was also absent for.
- The Broncos will face the Redskins without Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) and Cody Latimer (thigh), neither of whom traveled with the team to D.C. for Sunday's Week 16 tilt. Their respective absences leave Demaryius Thomas as the likely recipient of double-digit targets, while Bennie Fowler and Jordan Taylor both move up a rung on the depth chart. Of the two, Fowler is the more accomplished with 25 receptions for 294 yards and three touchdowns, but Taylor could certainly be the beneficiary of facing third corners Quinton Dunbar or Kendall Fuller (foot).
- The Bills' Kelvin Benjamin is questionable to face the Patriots on Sunday after a pair of limited practices to finish the week. The injury is the same meniscus issue that Benjamin has been battling for weeks, and based on the fact he's toughed things out the last two games and reportedly had a good practice Thursday, he's likely to suit up. With fellow wideout Andre Holmes already declared out with a neck injury, Zay Jones, Deonte Thompson and tight end Charles Clay would all see notable upticks in opportunity if Benjamin were to unexpectedly sit.
- The Cardinals' John Brown (toe) completed a second straight week of limited practices and is officially listed as questionable to face the Giants in Week 16. Brown reportedly has a strong chance of playing for the first time since Week 11, with pregame warmups likely to serve as the litmus test. Meanwhile, teammate Chad Williams (illness) is questionable after going from a limited practice Thursday to a missed session Friday.
- The Buccaneers' DeSean Jackson will not play Sunday against the Panthers due to the ankle injury that forced him to exit the Week 15 loss to the Falcons. Mike Evans should seen an uptick in targets, while rookie Chris Godwin, who logged five catches for 68 yards in Week 10 when the latter served a suspension, will fill Jackson's WR2 role. He'll make for a viable option for Jackson owners, considering Carolina comes into Week 16 allowing the eighth-most fantasy points (21.29) to receivers in standard scoring formats.
- The Redskins' Jamison Crowder (hamstring) is questionable to face the Broncos after a trio of limited practices this week, but as per early Sunday morning reports, he's expected to play. Fellow wideouts Josh Doctson and Ryan Grant would be the immediate beneficiaries of a Crowder absence should that unexpectedly come to pass.
- The Jaguars' Allen Hurns (ankle) is questionable to face the 49ers after three limited practices this past week, but as per early Sunday morning reports, he's not expected to play. His return after a five-game absence would have been particularly timely, considering fellow pass catcher Marqise Lee is already ruled out with his own ankle issue after failing to practice all week. Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole – the latter coming off a seven-catch, 186-yard, one-touchdown explosion against the Texans in Week 15 – are poised for expanded opportunity to serve as the top two wideouts against a Niners squad allowing 20.7 fantasy points per game to receivers in standard scoring formats if Hurns does ultimately sit.
- The Dolphins' DeVante Parker (ankle) is questionable to face the Chiefs after an interesting participation pattern that saw him go from a pair of missed practices to a full Friday session to finish off the week. That activity level implies he should be good to go for Week 16, and early Sunday morning reports indicate he's expected to play.
- The Panthers' Devin Funchess (shoulder) is questionable face the Buccaneers after only managing a limited Friday practice this week, but as per early Sunday morning reports, he's expected to play. If there were to be an unexpected setback, running back Christian McCaffrey, fellow wideout Damiere Byrd and tight end Greg Olsen would all see significant target volume against a vulnerable Tampa pass defense.
- The Giants' Tavarres King (concussion) is already ruled out for Sunday's battle against the Cardinals after failing to practice all week. Sterling Shepard and Roger Lewis will helm the New York receiving corps as customary, but King's absence will allow Kalif Raymond and Travis Rudolph to each bump up a notch in the wideout pecking order.
- The Buccaneers' Cameron Brate (hip, knee) was limited throughout the practice week and is officially listed as questionable to face the Panthers on Sunday. As per early Sunday morning reports, he's expected to take the field without limitations. If that prognosis comes to pass, the fourth-year tight end should garner plenty of Jameis Winston's attention, considering position mate O.J. Howard was placed on injured reserve this week with an ankle injury and DeSean Jackson will miss Sunday's contest with an ankle issue of his own.
- The Chargers' Hunter Henry suffered a lacerated kidney in a Week 15 loss to the Chiefs and was subsequently placed on injured reserve this week, putting an abrupt end to his second season. Henry finishes with 45 receptions (on 62 targets) for 579 yards and four touchdowns over 14 games, and his departure leaves Antonio Gates, Jeff Cumberland and Sean McGrath as a rather non-descript tight end trio. While those players could conceivably see a few extra targets, the primary beneficiaries of Henry's absence could well be the Los Angeles receiving corps.
- The Bears' Adam Shaheen (chest) is questionable to take on the Browns after practicing in limited fashion throughout the week. The rookie missed the Week 15 tilt against the Lions as well and could come down to a game-time decision Sunday. Dion Sims and Daniel Brown would once again handle the tight end reps for Chicago against a Browns team that's allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position in standard scoring formats (10.14) if Shaheen ultimately sits.
- The 49ers' Garrett Celek (knee, ribs) is questionable to take on the Jaguars after practicing in limited fashion throughout the week, but as per early Sunday morning reports, he's expected to play. The veteran tight end fought through the knee issue in last week's win over the Titans and posted three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown in that contest. With five receptions for 130 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of catches of over 40 yards in the last two games, Celek could make for an interesting streaming option and DFS tournament punt play against a Jacksonville defense that funnels action in the passing game towards the tight end due to its lockdown corners. Conversely, rookie George Kittle would hold appeal for those very same reasons if Celek is unable to go.
- The Cardinals' Troy Niklas (ankle) is out for Sunday's contest against the Giants. Jermaine Gresham will return from a one-game absence due to an illness, but Ricky Seals-Jones, who's caught just three passes for 31 yards in the last two games, should still see the majority of tight end targets against a Giants' defense that's been the most vulnerable in the NFL to the position (11.29 fantasy points per game allowed in standard scoring formats).
- The Raiders' Clive Walford was placed on injured reserve Saturday with the concussion he suffered in Week 14. He finishes a disappointing 2017 campaign with career lows in receptions (nine), yards (80), YPC (8.9) and touchdowns (zero).
- The Rams' Greg Zuerlein was suddenly placed on injured reserve Wednesday and underwent back surgery the very next day. Subsequent reports revealed the kicker had been dealing with the injury all season and it was exacerbated last Saturday night after he apparently slept in an awkward position. While Zuerelin was able to make it through last Sunday's blowout win over the Seahawks – a game in which he managed to drill two field goals and four extra points – the discomfort was apparently too much. He finishes the season having drilled 38 of 40 field goals, including six of his seven attempts from beyond 50 yards. Sam Ficken, who converted only 72.0 percent of his 75 field-goal attempts in a four-year career at Penn State and has yet to kick in an NFL regular-season game, will get the first shot at trying to fill Zuerlein's shoes.
Key defensive players
- The Bills' E.J. Gaines (knee) is questionable to face the Patriots after wrapping up the week with back-to-back limited practices.
- The Redskins' Kendall Fuller (foot) is questionable for Sunday's contest against Broncos after a week of limited practice.
- The Titans' Logan Ryan (ankle) is questionable to face the Rams after missing practice all week.
- The Bengals' Dre Kirkpatrick has cleared concussion protocol after missing the last two games and is expected to be in the starting lineup versus the Lions on Sunday.
- The Browns' Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee) is questionable to face the Bears on Sunday after working his way back to limited participation Friday. Meanwhile, fellow corner Jamar Taylor (foot) is questionable after wrapping up the week as a limited practice participant.
- The Cowboys' Orlando Scandrick (back) is questionable for Sunday's clash against the Seahawks after managing to turn in limited practices throughout the week.
- The Dolphins' Cordrea Tankersley (ankle) is questionable to face the Chiefs despite closing out the week with a full practice.
- The Raiders' David Amerson (foot) is doubtful to face the Eagles on Christmas Night after failing to practice all week.
- The Eagles' Jalen Mills (ankle) is questionable for that same contest after two limited practices to close out the week, but he's reportedly optimistic he'll be able to suit up.
- The Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves (hamstring) was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. He finishes his second season with 42 tackles (37 solo) and five passes defensed over nine games. Teammate Ryan Smith (ankle) is doubtful against the Panthers despite logging limited practices all week.
- The Steelers' Joe Haden (upper leg) is ready to face the Texans on Christmas Day after a five-game absence. He was able to practice fully all week.
- The Cardinals' Antoine Bethea (knee) is questionable to face the Giants on Sunday after working his way back to a limited practice on Friday from two missed sessions to open the practice week.
- The Bengals' George Iloka (shoulder) is questionable to face the Lions in Week 16 after practicing in limited fashion throughout the week.
- The Dolphins' T.J. McDonald (shoulder) is questionable against the Chiefs in Week 16 after limited practices throughout the week. Fellow safety Michael Thomas (knee-ACL) carries the same designation after working back to a limited practice Friday.
- The Giants' Landon Collins (ankle) is questionable for Sunday's battle with the Cardinals after managing to practice Friday in limited fashion. Collins surprisingly suited up in last week's loss to the Eagles after being listed as doubtful but was unable to finish the contest.
- The Niners' Adrian Colbert has cleared the concussion protocol and doesn't carry an injury designation heading into Week 16.
- The Seahawks' Bradley McDougald, who is now manning the starting strong safety spot with Kam Chancellor (neck) on injured reserve, is questionable for Sunday's clash with the Cowboys due to a knee injury that limited him to a sole limited practice on Friday of this week.
- The Bills' Kyle Williams (groin) is questionable against the Patriots in Week 16 after wrapping up the week with a limited practice.
- The Cowboys' David Irving (concussion) will remain out in Week 16 against the Seahawks.
- The Buccaneers' Gerald McCoy (biceps) is questionable to take on the Panthers in Week 16 after working his way back up to a full practice by Friday. Defensive line mate Robert Ayers (shoulder) has already been ruled out after missing practice all week.
- The Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul is listed as questionable to face the Cardinals but has vowed to play with his broken finger.
- The Panthers' Mario Addison (hip) is questionable to face the Buccaneers after managing to work back to a limited practice on Friday.
- The Dolphins' Andre Branch (knee) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Chiefs after limited practices throughout the week.
- The Raiders' Denico Autry (hand) is questionable to face the Eagles on Christmas Night after wrapping up the week with a pair of limited practices.
- The Eagles' Derek Barnett (groin) is questionable against the Raiders after also putting in two limited sessions at the end of the practice week.
- The Jets' Leonard Williams has cleared the concussion protocol and will play versus the Chargers. Meanwhile, teammate Muhammad Wilkerson, who's inactive status in Week 15 could best be described as a combination of a coach's decision and a much-needed respite due to multiple nagging injuries, was back to a full practice by Thursday but could reportedly still be held out of Sunday's contest.
- The Seahawks' Frank Clark (toe) is questionable to face the Cowboys after being added to the injury report following a limited Friday practice.
- The Cardinals' Karlos Dansby (knee) is questionable to face the Giants, although he was able to work back to a limited practice Friday after missing the first two sessions of the week.
- The Panthers' Shaq Thompson (foot) is questionable for Week 16 against the Buccaneers after managing to practice in a limited practice all week.
- The Bengals' Vontaze Burfict (concussion) was able to fully participate in Friday's practice and is expected to suit up against the Lions on Sunday, barring any last-minute setbacks. Fellow linebacker Nick Vigil (ankle) was placed on injured reserve Friday.
- The Chiefs' Justin Houston (illness) is questionable to face the Dolphins after being limited the last two days of the practice week, but head coach Andy Reid has stated he expects him to play.
- The Chargers' Denzel Perryman (hamstring) is out for Sunday's game against the Jets after missing practice all week.
- The Patriots' Kyle Van Noy (calf) is listed as questionable to face the Bills in Week 16 after practicing in limited fashion this week.
- The Giants' B.J. Goodson (ankle) is out for Sunday's contest against the Cardinals after missing practice all week.
- The Raiders' Bruce Irvin (concussion) is questionable to face the Eagles on Christmas Night after finishing the week with two limited practices.
- The Eagles' Mychal Kendricks (foot) shares the same designation for that contest despite finishing the week with a pair of full practices.
- The Seahawks' K.J. Wright (concussion) is out against the Cowboys on Sunday after missing practice all week.
- The Buccaneers' Lavonte David (hamstring) is questionable to face the Panthers after turning in a trio of limited practices this week.
- The Titans' Derrick Morgan, who missed the last two games with a knee issue, is clear of an injury designation heading into the Week 16 battle versus the Rams.
- The Redskins' Zach Brown (Achilles, toe, hamstring) is out once again in Week 16 after missing practice all week.
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