Week 15 Injury Report: Adam Thielen, Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs say they're playing, but can they be trusted?
Adam Thielen, Derrick Henry and Josh Jacobs are among the high-profile players carrying some risk in Fantasy playoff Week 15. We update key injuries.
If you're still playing Fantasy Football here in mid-December, then congrats! You've done something right with your Fantasy teams. Now let's make sure you stay as informed as possible through Sunday morning with the injury news you need to help clinch another win.
The good news: Dalvin Cook (chest), Devonta Freeman (knee), Davante Adams (toe), Amari Cooper (knee), Jarvis Landry (hip), Odell Beckham (groin), Mike Williams (knee), Christian Kirk (ankle), Dede Westbrook (shoulder), Golden Tate (foot), Jared Cook (concussion) and Dak Prescott (hands) all got in some practice this week and are slated to play.
James Conner practiced in full all week and is expected to play despite being tagged as questionable. Julian Edelman (knee/shoulder) was limited on Thursday and Friday, and is questionable but hasn't missed a game yet this year.
The bad news: Notable Fantasy players who won't be around and can't start this week include Mike Evans (hamstring), JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee), Alexander Mattison (ankle), Evan Engram (foot), Greg Olsen (concussion), Gerald Everett (knee), Vance McDonald (concussion), A.J. Green (ankle) and Adam Vinatieri (knee). Matthew Stafford (hip/back) still hasn't been placed on injured reserve, but he's still going to miss another game.
Fringe Fantasy starters who are questionable include Bo Scarbrough (ribs), Mohamed Sanu (ankle), Albert Wilson (concussion), Noah Fant (hip/foot) and Jimmy Graham (wrist/groin). Jordan Howard (shoulder) hasn't been cleared to play for weeks but it hasn't stopped the Eagles from listing him as questionable.
Key offensive line injuries: Lane Johnson (ankle) will miss Sunday's game against Washington. Despite the decent depth Philadelphia has at offensive tackle, Johnson has proven to be sort of a lynchpin for Carson Wentz's success. Tack on injuries to Alshon Jeffery (foot) and Nelson Agholor (knee) and it's looking tough to trust Wentz. ... Lions starting linemen Joe Dahl (back, knee) and Rick Wagner (knee) have both been ruled out. The Lions offense could be in some serious trouble.
Key defensive injuries: There isn't a defense more ravaged by injuries than the 49ers. Stud cornerback Richard Sherman (hamstring), slot cornerback K'Waun Williams (concussion), safety Jaquiski Tartt (ribs), pass rusher Dee Ford (quad, hamstring) and run stuffer D.J. Jones (ankle) are all out. It definitely makes the matchup easier for the Falcons, though the Niners' pass rush is still in very good shape and can wreak havoc on Matt Ryan.
Not to be outdone, the Seahawks will be without Jadeveon Clowney (illness, core) while fellow pass rusher Ziggy Ansah (neck) and top cornerback Shaquill Griffin (hamstring) are questionable. The Panthers offensive line gets a bit of a reprieve.
And the Saints are equally beat up. Defensive linemen Marcus Davenport and Sheldon Rankins are on the shelf, as is linebacker Kiko Alonso and safety Vonn Bell. This is not the same Saints run defense we've been used to seeing -- good news for Marlon Mack.
Washington will be without pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan (calf) for the rest of the season, and cornerback Quinton Dunbar (hamstring) didn't practice all week. He's questionable. Any injury that depletes the Redskins defense is good news for an Eagles offense that's plenty depleted itself. ... Dallas will miss linebackers Leighton Vander Esch (neck) and Sean Lee (pectoral, thigh) as well as defensive end Michael Bennett (foot). It makes their run defense a liability for Todd Gurley to exploit.
Limited in practice all week, Thielen told the media on Thursday he was "very happy with the progression" he was making with his hamstring, which was backed up by a video of him moving around without incident. Apparently it's been all good -- he's not even on the injury report.
Knowing he will play is one thing, expecting him to play as well in his first game in five weeks is another. Before the injury, Thielen was a slam-dunk starter with 12-plus PPR points in five of his first six games. When he tried to come back from the hammy in Week 9, he hobbled off after one target. Though Fantasy managers should be encouraged by positive reports about his practices from teammates, coaches and the media, not to mention the Vikings leaving him off their injury report, there's always a chance he re-aggravates the injury.
Not helping the situation is a Chargers pass defense ranked fourth-best despite its 5-8 record or its 69.5% catch rate allowed (second-worst in the league). The only receiver to score on the Bolts since Week 8 was Courtland Sutton, and no receiver in that span had more than 75 yards. Impressive, but they haven't to play a team with multiple receiving threats AND a quarterback playing at a high level since Houston in Week 3. Two of the Bolts' top-three cornerbacks have given up catch rates north of 69% this season.
It's not the matchup that's as scary for Thielen because the uncertainty about whether he'll play four quarters (what if he's on a snap count?). Because of that risk, he's at best a low-end No. 2 receiver whom no one should be excited to start.
TEN Tennessee • #22
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Henry has told the media all week he intends to play on Sunday against the Texans, but his hamstring issue kept him out of practice all week. That's a little unnerving, but perhaps coach Mike Vrabel is simply doing what he's doing to keep his workhorse as fresh as possible. Feel free to keep tabs on this, including adding backup Dion Lewis (13% owned) as a desperation replacement.
Josh Jacobs RB
OAK Oakland • #28
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
I don't know if Jon Gruden is being coy or unnecessarily dramatic, but he said Friday that Jacobs, who practiced all week, "does look pretty good." Gruden also mentioned he didn't know "how much he'll play, don't know 100% if he'll play." Fantasy managers will probably have to just take the chance with Jacobs provided he's active on Sunday for the Raiders' last home game in Oakland -- the matchup versus Jacksonville is among the best for running backs to face and Jacobs has top-three upside. Be prepared to start him.
TB Tampa Bay • #3
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
The good news is that Winston was able to practice in full on Friday. The bad news is that didn't stop the Bucs from listing him as questionable. There seems to be a general sense of optimism surrounding Winston's availability for an amazing matchup against the Lions, but what would happen if he took a hit to his hand? Would he be out for the game? And even if he didn't take a hit to the hand, how effective can he be as a passer? Fantasy managers may have to make a tough call on Winston. If you're not comfortable with him in your lineup, you should be able to find Ryan Fitzpatrick (41% owned), Mitchell Trubisky (29%), Eli Manning (15%) or Kyle Allen (50%), if not someone better, on your waiver wire.
KC Kansas City • #26
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Williams missed practice Friday with an illness, not with something related to his rib injury. That's according to coach Andy Reid, who added "we'll just see how he does," when speaking about him. Reid wouldn't speculate on whether or not Williams could play without practicing on Friday, and it sounded like he caught some sort of bug from a teammate. The Chiefs run game has become difficult to trust, and that will certainly be the case if Williams returns to split work with LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware.
MIA Miami • #11
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Parker shed his non-contact jersey by Friday and practiced in full. So long as he passes the NFL's concussion protocol before Sunday's game, he'll be good to go. Parker left a great matchup against a New York team last week but has another against a different New York team this week. It might even be better than last week's with the Giants releasing veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins on Friday. If Parker's cleared, he's a must-start receiver.
T.Y. Hilton WR
IND Indianapolis • #13
Age: 30 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Hilton was limited on Thursday and Friday but didn't practice Saturday, though Hilton claimed that was by design. Coach Frank Reich said he was a legitimate game-time decision for Monday's game at New Orleans. Reich also said that if Hilton plays, he wouldn't have any restrictions on his snaps. It's not an easy matchup for Hilton if he were made active, but he'd have high-end No. 3 receiver/flex appeal based on how much the Colts would ultimately have to throw. Hilton's return would put a huge damper on Zach Pascal's upside.
Will Fuller WR
HOU Houston • #15
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
The Houston Chronicle reports that "barring any setbacks," Fuller will play at Tennessee on Sunday. His return is a huge boost for the Texans, especially in a week where the Titans' starting cornerbacks will be guys who began the year as backups. Fuller's only 100-yard game in 10 tries on a natural grass field came in Nashville last year (8-113-1). He's among the highest-upside flex options you could start.
D.J. Chark WR
JAC Jacksonville • #17
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Without any practice this week, and with a meaningless road game at Oakland on the horizon, the Jaguars ruled Chark out for Week 15. Slot specialist Dede Westbrook figures to be among the top target-getters in his place with Chris Conley and Keelan Cole picking up work on the outside. Better wide receivers you could plug and play off the waiver wire include Anthony Miller (33%), Cole Beasley (49% owned), Breshad Perriman (15%), Danny Amendola (40%) and Russell Gage (5%).
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