Fantasy Injury Ward - Week 16
The biggest injury news story of the week is DeMarco Murray’s fractured hand. Luckily for his fantasy owners, his prognosis is better than what the mainstream sports media has led you to believe. The following is a breakdown of all the injuries of notable fantasy football players heading into Week 16, a championship week for fantasy leagues.
As a reminder, there are five status designations players can have: active, probable, questionable, doubtful and out. The active and out designations are self-explanatory. The probable designation signifies a player has a greater than 50 percent chance of being active for the game. Questionable means the player essentially has a 50-50 chance of playing. Doubtful means the player has less than a 25 percent chance of playing.
Blake Bortles suffered a right mid-foot sprain in Week 15. The severity (i.e. grade) and exact location of his sprain are unknown. On Tuesday, coach Gus Bradley said Bortles is progressing quicker than what was initially expected. Bortles is confident he will play on Thursday.
If Bortles has a low-end Grade 1 sprain, then he has a realistic chance of playing on Thursday. His participation in Wednesday’s practice will be the best indicator of whether he will play this week. With that stated, regardless of his game status, Bortles is unplayable in all fantasy formats for Week 16.
Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered a fractured tibia on Sunday. He underwent surgery on Monday, and it was successful. This is not a career-ending injury. However, it is obviously a season-ending injury. Fitzpatrick has been placed on IR.
Jake Locker suffered a shoulder posterior subluxation in Week 15. He underwent season-ending surgery, and was placed on IR. The Titans signed quarterback Jordan Palmer to serve as Charlie Whitehurst’s backup for the remainder of the season.
Colt McCoy suffered a cervical sprain in Week 14, and he aggravated the injury during Sunday’s game. The Redskins have placed him on IR. Robert Griffin III will start at quarterback for the Redskins in Week 16.
Cam Newton was in a motor vehicle accident last Tuesday, and he suffered two transverse process fractures in his lumbar spine. Luckily for him, a fractured transverse process does not cause nerve damage, and it does not compromise the structural integrity the spine. However, this injury results in severe low-back pain and muscle spasms.
As expected, Newton was inactive in Week 15. He will be out until his pain and muscle spasms are successfully managed. He has a chance of playing this week, but the odds are not in his favor. His practice participation at the end of the week will be the best indicator of his availability of this week’s game.
Tom Savage suffered a knee hyperextension injury in Week 15. He has been ruled out for Week 16.
Drew Stanton suffered both an ACL and MCL sprain in Week 15. In regards to fantasy, he is done for the rest of the season.
Jamaal Charles left Sunday’s game in the third quarter due to a suspected head injury. He cleared the sideline concussion tests. Nevertheless, he did not return to the game due to the Chiefs’ significant lead. He is expected to play in Sunday’s game. As usual, he is a top-5 running back for this week.
Frank Gore suffered a concussion in the first half of Sunday’s game. He will need to clear the NFL concussion protocol prior to returning to play. He is questionable for Saturday’s game. His fantasy owners should prepare for his absence this week.
Carlos Hyde injured his back and an ankle during Sunday’s game against the Seahawks. He did not practice on Tuesday. He is questionable for Week 16. If both Hyde and Gore were inactive this week—which is a realistic scenario—then Alfonso Smith would be next in line to receive the majority of the backfield’s work.
Rashad Jennings aggravated his injured ankle during the first quarter of Sunday’s game. He initially injured the ankle in Week 13, and it only took one carry for him to aggravate the injury on Sunday. At best, he will be limited during this week’s matchup against the Rams. Because we are now in the fantasy championship round, Jennings is virtually unplayable this week regardless of his game status. Be that as it may, he is questionable for Week 16.
Ryan Mathews suffered an ankle injury in Week 14, and was then inactive in Week 15. His mechanism of injury is consistent with a high ankle sprain. Considering he was still wearing a walking boot on Sunday, his chances of playing this week appear to be low. Moreover, even if he were to be active this week, he would be too risky to start in any fantasy lineups.
DeMarco Murray suffered a fourth metacarpal fracture in his left hand during Sunday’s game. On Monday, he underwent a successful surgery to fixate the fracture. In regards to this particular surgery, a player could return to play within a week. However, the player would be required to wear a large and restrictive cast or splint on the injured hand. For a running back, such a restrictive cast or splint would significantly interfere with his blocking, receiving and ball carrying abilities.
Therefore, Murray has a good chance of being medically cleared to play in Week 16. However, if the cast or splint causes too many functional deficits, he may be limited or held out of the game. His fantasy owners should pay close attention to the Cowboy’s practice reports. If Murray is reportedly catching and carrying the ball well, he has a reasonable chance of playing on Sunday. Nevertheless, at this time, he is questionable for Week 16.
C.J. Spiller was activated from the Bills’ injured reserve/designated to return list on Monday. Spiller is coming off of a clavicle fracture, so he likely has good generally conditioning. If he performs well during this week’s practices, he would have an opportunity to play in Sunday’s game—albeit in a limited role.
Lorenzo Taliaferro was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday due to a mid-foot sprain. He is done for the season.
DeAngelo Williams has an unspecified fractured bone in the third finger of his right hand. He has been inactive for the past two weeks. He is day-to-day at this time. Jonathan Stewart’s workload would likely be decreased when Williams returns to play.
Keenan Allen suffered both a clavicle fracture and an ankle injury in Week 15. Even though the Chargers have yet to formally rule him out for Week 16, his fantasy owners should assume he is done for the season.
T.Y. Hilton suffered a hamstring strain during Sunday’s game. The MRI of his injured hamstring was negative. That indicates he suffered a mild hamstring strain (Grade 1). Players with a Grade 1 hamstring strain are normally able to return to play within a week. Nevertheless, his fantasy owners would need him to practice at least one day this week in order to trust him enough to start in Week 16. At this time, Hilton is day-to-day, and his practice participation at the end of the week will be the best indicator of his availability for Sunday’s game.
Andre Johnson suffered a concussion in Week 14, and was inactive in Week 15. He will need to clear the NFL concussion protocol prior to returning to play. If he does not return to practice by Thursday, his fantasy owners should assume he would be inactive for Sunday’s game—and possibly the rest of the season.
Julio Jones injured his hip in Week 14, and was inactive in Week 15. Since suffering the injury, he has yet to return to practice. His exact diagnosis is still unknown. It’s most likely a hip flexor strain—followed closely by a labrum injury. If he has a Grade 2 hip flexor strain, he could miss two to four weeks in total—which would be the rest of the season. However, this diagnosis is only speculation.
At this time, the Falcons have given nothing but mixed signals regarding Jones’ timetable for return. Until he is able to participate in consecutive practices, it’s difficult to trust him enough to warrant starting in any fantasy lineups in Week 16. Jones is questionable for Sunday’s game.
Kendall Wright fractured a bone in his hand during a practice in Week 14. He has since been inactive, and has been wearing a splint on his injured hand. He was limited in Tuesday’s practice. The Titans play on Thursday, so Wright’s availability for Week 16 should be known by late Wednesday. He remains to be questionable.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been inactive since Week 14 due to a back injury. He has been placed on injured reserve by the Buccaneers. He is done for the season.
Allen Bailey suffered a concussion during Week 13, and he has since been inactive. He will need to clear the NFL concussion protocol prior to returning to play. He is questionable for Week 16.
Nick Fairley suffered a sprained MCL and PCL in Week 8. He is doubtful for Week 16, and he may miss the rest of the season.
Sharrif Floyd is questionable for Week 16 with a knee injury.
Gerald McCoy has been placed on injured reserve due to a knee injury.
Anthony Barr suffered a knee injury during Week 13. MRI found no structural damage in the knee. He has been inactive ever since Week 13. He is questionable for Week 16.
Chris Borland suffered an ankle injury in Week 15. He is questionable for Week 16.
Navorro Bowman has been placed on injured reserve. He is done for the rest of the season.
Donald Butler has been placed on injured reserve due to an elbow subluxation.
Trent Cole is questionable for Week 16 with a hand injury. His hand may require surgery.
Karlos Dansby suffered a knee injury in Week 11, and he has since been inactive. He is questionable for Week 16.
Jelani Jenkins suffered a foot injury in Week 14, and was inactive in Week 15. He is questionable for Week 16.
Danny Trevathan dislocated his patella, and it will require surgery. He is done for the rest of the season.
Robert Alford suffered a broken wrist in Week 11. He has been placed on injured reserve.
Joe Haden is day-to-day with a shoulder injury.
Brandon Meriweather was inactive in Week 15 with a toe injury. He is questionable for Week 16.