Fantasy Football Week 17 Injury Report Update: Melvin Gordon expected to play, while plenty of stars set for rest

The final week of the regular season is upon us, and while many leagues crowned their champions over Christmas weekend, there are still plenty also culminating in Week 17. It's a particularly interesting week for injuries, as plenty of non-contending teams have already ruled out players that are nursing ailments of varying severity, while postseason qualifiers with nothing more to gain are also playing it safe with their key pieces. With so many moving parts, keeping an eye on inactives is particularly important, but let's dive into what the landscape across the league looks like as of early Sunday morning:

Quarterbacks

  • As per early Sunday morning reports, the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger will not play in Sunday's finale against the Browns, seemingly corroborating comments earlier this week from Pittsburgh offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert that indicated that No. 2 quarterback Landry Jones would get the start. It makes sense for the team to err on the side of caution, as their only chance of improving playoff positioning and securing home-field advantage throughout the postseason would be dependent on the improbable scenario of the Jets upsetting the Patriots (in addition to the Steelers defeating Cleveland).
  • The Chiefs' Alex Smith (coach's decision) will take a seat in Sunday's finale against the Broncos with Kansas City locked into the AFC's No. 4 seed, affording promising rookie Patrick Mahomes his first regular-season start. The first-round pick flashed plenty of potential in the preseason, completing 34 of 54 passes (63.0 percent) for 390 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions while also gaining 44 yards on eight rushes. The one caveat is that he'll be down a pair of pivotal playmakers in his arsenal, as both Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill are also slated to be healthy scratches for Week 17.
  • The Broncos' Paxton Lynch (ankle) will start Sunday's finale against the Chiefs after serving as a backup in Week 16. The rookie completed nine of 14 passes for 41 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in Week 12 against the Raiders, his only taste of regular-season game action thus far. He'll face a Kansas City defense that's allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks (19.13) in standard scoring formats, and that's likely to rest several starters with a No. 4 seed already locked up.
  • The Rams' Jared Goff (coach's decision) will sit for Sunday's finale against the 49ers, affording Sean Mannion a starting opportunity. The 2015 third-round pick has only 16 regular-season pass attempts through three seasons, and he's slated to work with a backup receiving corps for the majority of Sunday's contest.
  • The Eagles' Nick Foles is expected to start in Week 17 against the Cowboys, but he's reportedly slated to give way to rookie Nate Sudfeld after one quarter.
  • The Dolphins' Matt Moore (foot) is doubtful for Sunday's Week 17 battle against the Bills. With the team already knowing exactly what they have in the veteran, he's increasingly likely to be held out so as to allow 2016 sixth-round pick David Fales the opportunity to potentially see game action at some point Sunday in place of expected starter Jay Cutler.

Running backs

  • As with Roethlisberger, the Steelers' Le'Veon Bell is rumored to be headed toward a healthy scratch designation in Week 17, as per early Sunday morning reports. Definitive word will come with the announcement of inactives Sunday morning, but Bell's lack of practice Friday gives further credence to the notion he could well take a seat after logging 406 touches over the first 15 games.
  • The Rams' Todd Gurley (coach's decision) is also set for a well-deserved day off in Week 17 after ripping off 2,093 total yards (1,305 rushing, 788 receiving) and 19 total touchdowns (13 rushing, six receiving) in 15 games. Malcolm Brown is expected to handle lead-back duties against the 49ers, while Lance Dunbar and Justin Davis figure to rotate in on occasion.
  • The Titans' DeMarco Murray (knee) is out for Sunday's playoff-relevant battle against the Jaguars, leaving Derrick Henry with what could be the largest workload of two-year career on tap in a must-win game. Jacksonville comes into Week 17 allowing a healthy 4.5 yards per carry to running backs, but the ninth-fewest fantasy points (15.73) to the position in standard scoring formats as well. Henry has flashed plenty of potential in relatively limited opportunities over his first 30 career games, particularly this season, when he's posted a pair of 100-yard rushing efforts. Murray owners who were savvy enough to handcuff him with Henry and still active in Week 17 should certainly deploy the latter without hesitation – He's Jamey Eisenberg's Start of the Week
  • The Chargers' Melvin Gordon (ankle) is questionable for Sunday's pivotal battle against the Raiders after finishing the week with a pair of limited sessions. As per early Sunday morning reports, he's expected to play, but the team is also reportedly unsure of whether he'll be able to tough it out for the entire game. Branden Oliver, who was effective at times in a full-time role back in 2014, would serve as the lead back if Gordon exits the contest early or unexpectedly fails to suit up altogether. Austin Ekeler (finger) is expected to be limited exclusively to special teams work again Sunday, so practice squad call-up Russell Hansbrough would presumably serve as the No. 2 back in such a scenario.
  • The Chiefs' Kareem Hunt (coach's decision) is slated to be a healthy scratch against the Broncos in Week 17, while primary backup Charcandrick West (illness) has now been downgraded to out as well. With Akeem Hunt – questionable in his own right with a shoulder injury but expected to play – as the only other running back on the roster, he could be in for a sizable workload versus a Denver defense that's yielded a stingy 3.3 yards per carry and 14.67 fantasy points per game to the position in standard scoring formats.
  • The Bengals' Joe Mixon (ankle) finished the week with a pair of limited sessions and is questionable to face the Ravens in Week 17. As per early Sunday morning reports, he'll test things out in pregame warmups, but the expectation is that he'll be active. The rookie managed to clear concussion protocol leading up to Week 16 and then was forced to exit after just seven snaps against the Lions with the ankle issue. Giovani Bernard, who posted a season-high 23 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown while adding seven catches for 52 yards after Mixon's injury against Detroit, would once again serve as the lead back should the latter be unable to suit up.
  • The Patriots will sit both Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee with knee injuries in Week 17 against the Jets. Meanwhile backfield mate James White (ankle) is questionable after practicing in limited fashion all week, but given the aforementioned pair of absences and the fact the team hasn't made any further personnel moves, he appears likely to take the field. However, the biggest beneficiary of the positional scarcity should once again be Dion Lewis, who exploded for 129 yards and a touchdown on 24 rushes along with five receptions for 24 yards and another score in Week 16 versus the Bills.
  • The Cowboys' Rod Smith (illness) is questionable to face the Eagles after missing the last two practices of the week. The versatile back scored a touchdown in the last four contests of Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension, but he logged a modest five touches over seven snaps in the latter's first game back in Week 16.
  • The Packers' Aaron Jones (knee) is out against the Lions in Week 17 after injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Vikings and then missing practice all week. Jamaal Williams and Devante Mays should handle all the running back work for Green Bay in the season finale, while Jones will finish his rookie campaign having gained 448 yards and four touchdowns on 5.5 yards per rush.
  • The Jets placed Matt Forte (knee) on injured reserve Saturday, opening the door for Elijah McGuire and Bilal Powell to lead the backfield in Week 17. Powell exploded for 145 yards and a 57-yard touchdown on 19 rushes against the Chargers in Week 16, but with the Patriots gunning for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs Sunday, the matchup could well be a whole lot stiffer. Meanwhile, Forte wraps up his 10th season with a career-low 381 rushing yards (along with two rushing touchdowns) and another 293 yards and a score on 37 receptions.
  • The Cardinals' Kerwynn Williams (quadriceps, ribs) and Elijah Penny (hand, groin) are questionable to face the Seahawks after each practiced in limited fashion all week.  Both players are reportedly expected to suit up, with Williams notably having already toughed out the same pair of injuries in Week 16 and compiling 65 total yards (51 rushing, 14 receiving) over 33 snaps.
  • The Dolphins' Damien Williams (shoulder) is doubtful to face the Bills, and his likely absence will afford Kenyan Drake one final opportunity to make a positive impression as the lead back in 2017. The 2016 third-round pick has been a revelation in the latter half of the season following the trade of Jay Ajayi, and particularly over the last four games that Williams has been sidelined. Drake has averaged between 4.4 and 5.2 yards in each of those four contests on his way to 369 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and he's also notched 14 receptions for 162 yards and another score over that span.

Wide receivers

  • The Ravens' Jeremy Maclin (knee) is doubtful to face the Bengals in Week 17 after once again missing practice all week. It thus appears likely that he'll finish up the 2017 campaign having missed the final two games overall, but he'll set his sights on a return in the wild-card round, which Baltimore will reach if they're able to notch a victory Sunday. Chris Moore, who caught both of his targets for 29 yards in Week 16, would once again step in as the No. 2 wideout, while the likes of Breshad Perriman and Michael Campanaro would provide depth.
  • Meanwhile, teammate Mike Wallace (knee) is questionable, but his designation appears to be much more of a formality, as he logged full practices Thursday and Friday. He's expected to take the field in Sunday's critical matchup as per early Sunday morning reports.
  • The Bills' Deonte Thompson is questionable for Sunday's tilt against the Dolphins after going from a full practice to a pair of limited sessions to finish the week due to a shoulder injury he suffered Thursday. He'll reportedly be a game-time decision, and Buffalo would likely miss the downfield dimension he provides on occasion if he's unable to suit up. The Bills need help to get into the postseason in addition to having to win against the Dolphins, but despite the relatively long odds, Thompson is likely to try and gut it out.
  • The Cowboys' Cole Beasley (illness) has already been ruled out for Sunday's finale against the Eagles and didn't even travel with the team. In his absence, Brice Butler will bump up a notch on the depth chart, with the likes of Noah Brown and Ryan Switzer set to serve as the No. 4 and 5 wideouts, respectively.
  • The Patriots' Chris Hogan (shoulder) is questionable to face the Jets on Sunday, although he was able to practice in limited fashion throughout the week. However, as per early Sunday morning reports, he's expected to be held out. Hogan has been nursing the injury for multiple weeks, and although New England needs to win to ensure home-field advantage throughout the postseason, they likely can accomplish the feat without him in the lineup. His expected absence should once again mean an uptick in volume for Brandin Cooks and Rob Gronkowski in terms of the downfield passing attack.
  • As was the case in Week 16, the Broncos will take the field without Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) and Cody Latimer (thigh) to close out the 2017 season. Their respective absences should afford Demaryius Thomas, Bennie Fowler and Jordan Taylor the majority of targets against the Chiefs. However, their seemingly clear path to abundant opportunity is blemished by the fact that they'll be catching passes from the inconsistent and inexperienced Lynch.
  • The Packers' wideouts have endured a relatively rough latter portion of the season without Aaron Rodgers (collarbone), and accordingly, they'll limp to the finish line in Week 17. Both Jordy Nelson (shoulder) and Davante Adams (concussion) are already ruled out against the Lions, while Geronimo Allison is questionable due to an illness that restricted him to just a limited Friday session this week. If he's unable to suit up as well, Michael Adams, an intriguing 6-foot-6 practice squad call-up who posted three catches for 36 yards in Week 16, would bump up all the way to No. 2 on the depth chart, while Trevor Davis and Jeff Janis would round out Green Bay's receiving corps. If Allison does play, Adams should still see plenty of snaps as the No. 3 wideout. In either scenario, Randall Cobb projects as Brett Hundley's primary target.
  • The Texans' DeAndre Hopkins (calf) is out for Sunday's season finale against the Colts, leaving Braxton Miller, who's compiled seven receptions (on nine targets) for 53 yards in two prior starts, as the No. 2 receiver alongside Will Fuller. While the matchup against a Colts defense that's allowed the fourth-most fantasy points (23.13) to wide receivers in standard scoring formats is tempting, the fact that journeyman T.J. Yates will serve as the source of their targets dampens their prospects somewhat.
  • The Colts' Donte Moncrief (ankle) is questionable to face the Texans after a trio of limited practices this week. He last took the field in Week 13, and if he's unable to return Sunday, Chester Rogers projects to continue slotting in as the No. 2 wideout alongside T.Y. Hilton.
  • The Buccaneers' have a pair of pass catchers on the injury report heading into Sunday's finale against the Saints, as DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin both carry questionable designations due to ankle issues. Of the two, Jackson seems to be more likely to play if practice participation is any indication, as he was able to log limited sessions throughout the week. Godwin, who started for Jackson in Week 16, only managed a limited Friday practice. If neither player is able to suit up, Adam Humphries and Freddie Martino would see a significant bump in opportunity.
  • The Jaguars' Marqise Lee (ankle) will miss Sunday's regular-season finale against the Titans after once again failing to practice all week. His absence is offset by the expected return of Allen Hurns, who would be playing for the first time since Week 10 if he suits up. Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole will round out the top receiving trio for Jacksonville against Tennessee.  Given that the Jaguars are already locked into the No. 3 seed in the AFC, it also remains to be seen how much all three wideouts will play.
  • The Chiefs' Tyreek Hill (coach's decision) has been declared out for the Week 17 tilt against the Broncos, joining several other offensive regulars on the sideline. The likes of Demarcus Robinson, Jehu Chesson and De'Anthony Thomas should round out the receiving corps behind Albert Wilson.
  • The Rams' Cooper Kupp (knee) is listed as questionable for Sunday's battle against the 49ers, but head coach Sean McVay has actually gone on record saying the rookie will be held out. With teammates Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins projected to start but play limited snaps as well, Pharoh Cooper and Josh Reynolds should get plenty of game reps against a Niners defense allowing 20.73 fantasy points per game to receivers in standard scoring formats.
  • The Dolphins' DeVante Parker (ankle) is questionable to face the Bills in Week 17, but after finishing the week with a pair of full practices, he's fully expected to take the field.
  • The Giants' Tavarres King (concussion) was placed on injured reserve Saturday, while teammate Sterling Shepard (neck) is already declared out for Sunday's finale against the Redskins. Shepard's designation also applies to tight end Evan Engram (ribs), meaning that Roger Lewis, Kalif Raymond and Travis Rudolph should see all the targets they can handle against Washington in a meaningless game for both squads.

Tight ends

  • The Buccaneers' Cameron Brate (hip) is questionable for Sunday's finale versus the Saints, but after finishing the week with a full practice, he's trending in the right direction to suit up. If he has an unexpected setback, rookie Antony Auclair and second-year man Alan Cross would serve as Tampa's top two tight ends.
  • The Giants' Evan Engram (ribs) is already declared out for the Week 17 finale against the Redskins. Rhett Ellison and Jerell Adams project as the top two tight ends Sunday.
  • The Jets' Austin Seferian-Jenkins (foot) is doubtful to face the Patriots on Sunday after failing to practice throughout the week. Eric Tomlinson and Neal Sterling would fill in for ASJ should he not suit up.
  • The Packers will be without Richard Rodgers (shoulder) for their season finale against the Lions, leaving Lance Kendricks and practice squad call-up Emanuel Byrd to man the tight end position. Kendricks is coming off a season-high four catches in Week 16, and despite the fact he'll be catching passes from Hundley in Week 17, he could serve as an intriguing option with Green Bay down multiple wideouts in addition to Rodgers.
  • The Seahawks' Luke Willson is questionable to face the Cardinals after suffering an ankle sprain in Thursday's session and finishing the week with a missed practice. His fate is likely to come down to a game-time call.
  • The Bears' Adam Shaheen (chest) is questionable for Sunday's finale against the Vikings after another week of limited practices. Dion Sims and Daniel Brown would once again handle the tight end reps for Chicago if Shaheen misses a third straight game.
  • The Cardinals' Troy Niklas (ankle) is questionable for Sunday's contest against the Seahawks, although he was able to finish the week with a full practice. Even if he suits up, Ricky Seals-Jones remains the top tight end for Arizona, and even his upside remains limited with Drew Stanton under center.

Key defensive players

  • The Panthers' Kurt Coleman (ankle) is questionable to face the Falcons after a pair of limited practices to close out the week.
  • The Chargers' Adrian Phillips (ankle) is out for Sunday's battle against the Raiders after suffering the injury in Week 16 and failing to practice all week.
  • The Dolphins' T.J. McDonald (shoulder) is questionable against the Bills in Week 17 after two limited practices to close out the week.  Fellow safety Michael Thomas (knee-ACL) was placed on injured reserve earlier this week.
  • The Patriots' Devin McCourty (shoulder) is questionable against the Jets on Sunday after three limited practices this week.
  • The Bills' Shareece Wright (concussion) is ruled out against the Dolphins in Week 17.
  • The Lions' Nevin Lawson (concussion) is out against the Packers on Sunday as well.
  • The Packers' Damarious Randall (knee) is questionable to face the Lions after limited practices all week.
  • The Titans' Logan Ryan (ankle) is questionable to face the Jaguars after missing practice all week.
  • The Browns' Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee) is questionable to face the Steelers after failing to practice this week. Meanwhile, fellow corner Jamar Taylor (foot) is questionable after wrapping up the week with two limited practices.
  • The Cowboys' Orlando Scandrick (back) was placed on injured reserve earlier this week.
  • The Raiders' David Amerson (foot) is questionable to face the Chargers in Week 17 after limited practices all week. Teammate Dexter McDonald (knee) shares the same designation after mirroring Amerson's practice pattern.
  • The Eagles' Jalen Mills (ankle) is questionable for Sunday's contest against the Cowboys despite putting in three full practices this past week.
  • The Ravens' Brandon Williams (back) is questionable to face the Bengals despite working his way back to a full practice Friday.
  • The Cowboys' David Irving (concussion) will remain out in Week 17 against the Eagles.
  • The Chiefs' Bennie Logan (knee) is doubtful to face the Broncos after missing practice all week.
  • The Chargers' Cory Liuget (knee) is questionable to face the Raiders after three limited practices this past week.
  • The Lions' Anthony Zettel (groin) is questionable against the Packers after apparently suffering the injury in Friday's practice.
  • The Dolphins' Cameron Wake (illness) is questionable to face the Bills after missing Friday's practice.
  • The Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul (finger, back) is questionable after turning in a sole limited Friday practice this week. He was able to play with a club in Week 16, but the back injury is of unknown severity.
  • The Eagles' Brandon Graham (ankle) is out in Week 17 against the Cowboys after missing practice all week.
  • The Buccaneers' Robert Ayers (shoulder) is doubtful to face the Saints on Sunday despite three limited practices this week, while line mate Ryan Russell is questionable with a shoulder issue of his own.
  • The Cardinals' Josh Bynes (ankle) is questionable to face the Seahawks after missing practice all week.
  • The Bengals' Vontaze Burfict (shoulder) has been ruled out for the season finale against the Ravens after missing practice all week.
  • The Packers' Clay Matthews (hamstring) is questionable to face the Lions after three limited practices this past week. Meanwhile, teammate Nick Perry (ankle) went on injured reserve earlier this week.
  • The Chiefs' Tamba Hali (knee) is questionable to face the Broncos after missing practice all week, and with playoff position locked up for Kansas City, he could well sit out. Teammate Kevin Pierre-Louis (shoulder) shares the same designation but wrapped up the week with two limited practices.
  • The Rams' Mark Barron (Achilles) is doubtful against the 49ers after failing to practice all week.
  • The Chargers' Denzel Perryman (hamstring) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Raiders after three limited practices this past week.
  • The Patriots' Kyle Van Noy (calf) is listed as questionable to face the Jets in Week 17 after practicing in limited fashion this week.
  • The Seahawks' D.J. Alexander (concussion) is already ruled out against the Cardinals on Sunday, while Bobby Wagner (hamstring) is questionable after managing to work up to a limited practice Friday.
  • The Redskins' Zach Brown (knee) has been ruled out for Week 17's battle with the Giants, while position mate Ryan Anderson (knee) shares the same designation after failing to practice all week. Meanwhile, Ryan Kerrigan (calf) and Martrell Spaight (illness) are both listed as questionable.
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