Congratulations to those of you who survived round one of the playoffs! Outside of Tyler Lockett, Jonathan Taylor, and a few others, week 15 was kind to us as far as injuries go. The week 16 fantasy football injury report is a bit shorter than usual, but still very important to win this week and advance to the championship. Without wasting time lets dive in to the week 16 fantasy football injury report!
Week 16 Fantasy football injury report: Quarterbacks
Jalen Hurts missed practice to start the week and is at risk of missing the Christmas Eve matchup against Dallas. Hurts is believed to be dealing with an AC joint sprain of his throwing shoulder. I provided a detailed article on this injury and Hurts rest-of-season outlook earlier this week.
In summary, this type of injury would have the potential to impact both throwing power and accuracy. Quarterbacks see a steep decline of 6.2 fantasy points from their pre-injury baseline in the first game after this injury. However, this is a small sample size and of mostly pocket passers, making the data difficult to rely on. Philadelphia has little reason to force their star QB on to the field before he is ready. They need one more win to lock up the first-round bye and have a more than capable backup in Gardner Minshew. All that said, if Hurts does play, he remains worthy of starting.
Jackson did not practice on Wednesday as he continues to manage a PCL injury. PCL injuries are tricky. While athletes can play without a fully intact PCL, it is an injury that causes swelling, stiffness, and pain. Additionally, the PCL does have a stability role within the knee. When it is injured, knee stability is impacted; therefore, a player’s confidence with quick cuts declines.
Jackson is elite for fantasy because of his running. Without full running capacity, his fantasy upside is severely limited. Since Lamar Jackson did not practice in any amount on Wednesday, it is unlikely he is close to 100%. Even if Jackson plays this week, we expect to see less success with running and likely fewer designed runs altogether.
This season alone, we have seen a PCL injury impact Dalton Schultz and Julio Jones for a large part of the season. Each player had this injury flare-up multiple times throughout the season. Last season, Ezekiel Elliot struggled after returning from this injury. The bottom line is that it is unlikely we will see Lamar Jackson at 100% for the rest of this season.
White has been ruled out Thursday night as he continues recovering from a rib fracture. The ribs attach to the thoracic spine (mid and upper back). The thoracic spine is where a large amount of trunk rotation during throwing occurs. During thoracic rotation when throwing, the ribs must also rotate slightly. When injured, the ribs may not have the capacity to rotate as well. This limitation will limit the amount of rotation a quarterback has during the windup or follow-through. Restrictions in windup and follow-through will impact throwing power and accuracy.
Additionally, ribs need to move with breathing. Breathing rates increase during sport, causing more stress on the injury site. Another issue is getting hit. Quarterbacks are sitting ducks in the pocket. He can wear all the protective padding he wants; it will not stop the pain from a 300 lbs lineman landing on him.
We will check back in next week for White’s availability.
McCoy will miss week 16 due to a concussion. McCoy must pass the NFL’s 5-stage concussion protocol in order to play next week. We will monitor reports next week.
Wilson has cleared the NFL concussion protocol and will start this week. We do not see a decline in performance following concussions, so expect Wilson to play like his normal self. This season, his usual self was good enough for QB 19 on the season! Making him unstartable in 1 QB leagues.
Tannehill will be out for the season with a right high ankle sprain. The video replay of Tannehill’s injury clearly shows the defender rolling up on his ankle from behind and the outside, the common cause of this injury.
It is unclear at this time if Tannehill will require surgery. Surgery or not, he should be 100% ready to go by OTAs.
Week 16 fantasy football injury report: Running Backs
Like Tannehill above, Taylor’s season is over due to his third high ankle sprain of the year. A high ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments connecting the tibia and fibula bones become injured, leading to increased space between the two bones. This leads to pain and instability in the ankle, making it hard to push off when running and cutting effectively.
While Taylor will have plenty of time to prepare for next season, this injury may impact him long-term more than Tannehill’s will. Repeated high ankle sprains or a severe high ankle sprain often lead to chronic ankle stiffness. This stiffness influences the mechanics of the entire foot and ankle. Stiffness leads to reduced shock absorption, forcing the knees, hips, and back to take on more force with all weight-bearing activities. This can contribute to future injuries. Additionally, a stiff ankle is correlated with inhibited glute muscle activation. The glutes are the strongest muscles in our body and are pivotal for athletics. Weakness in the glutes leads to overwork of the hamstrings, groin, and back muscles.
I say this is more likely to impact Taylor than Tannehill because of their position. Taylor runs a lot more, meaning the influence of a stiff ankle would affect him more. Taylor and Tannehill can rehab religiously over the offseason to prevent the ankle from becoming stiff. In many cases, this is successful, and no long-term issues persist. However, stiffness is often inevitable.
Ekeler missed some of Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury, but all tests have come back negative. The details of his injury are unclear, but it does not appear to be an issue at this time. Minor shoulder injuries would not impact fantasy production like a leg injury would. This is simply because the shoulder is non-weight bearing and has no influence on speed or agility. It is possible that his shoulder could become aggravated, but that is impossible to predict.
Chubb has not practiced this week ahead of Cleveland’s Christmas Eve matchup against the Saints as he deals with a foot injury. Specifics of his injury are unclear, but any foot injury has the potential to impact a runner.
Chubb is great because of his one-cut, downhill, power-running style. A foot injury can negatively influence every aspect of running, including speed, acceleration, agility, and power. The degree to which these attributes are impacted depends on the severity of the injury and how well the training staff can support the foot.
A minor injury is unlikely to have any impact. However, a moderate-severe sprain of a foot ligament would lead to laxity in the foot, making it harder to create power when pushing off. We’ll have to monitor reports this week, but not practicing Tuesday or Wednesday is not a great sign. Despite this, it is hard to sit Chubb if he is active.
Walker remains on the injury report with the ankle injury he sustained in week 13 but does not appear at risk for missing week 16. Walker’s injury, which was likely an impingement of the extensor digitorum and hallucinations longus muscles, is not expected to have any lasting negative impact. I discussed his injury in detail a few weeks ago.
Wilson has returned to practice after missing week 15 with a vague hip injury. Apparently, he was close to playing last week, making him likely to play this week. Any hip injury could influence lateral agility and sprinting, though, with Wilson close to playing last week, it is unlikely this will be much of a negative factor.
Huntley suffered an Achilles tear in week 15 and will undergo season-ending surgery. The Achilles remains the single most significant injury a player can endure. Running backs perform miserably after this injury. Cam Akers and James Robinson are the two most recent examples of how no running back ever has played well in the first season after an Achilles tear. D’Onta Foreman is the only running back in NFL history to return to a prominent role after this injury, and it took him five seasons. Huntley was likely only rostered in deep dynasty formats and can be safely dropped.
Week 16 fantasy football injury report: Wide receivers
Lockett suffered a fracture to his hand and is slated for surgery. Pete Carrol, who is notoriously unreliable with injury reporting, made it clear that it’s Lockett’s metacarpal (hand bone), not his finger, that is fractured. Pete is quoted saying, “it’s on the index finger part of his hand. It’s the first metacarpal”. Pete misspoke here, as the index finger part of the hand is actually the second metacarpal, not the first. This is similar to the hand injury Miles Sanders suffered last season, forcing him to miss three games.
Traditionally the surgery is the use of a pin to align the fractured parts together. The pin will go long way through the fractured bone and is left in for 3-6 weeks. During this time frame, the finger is usually held straight and wrapped and splinted.
Some reports suggest Lockett may miss only one game. Pete Carrol is notoriously unreliable with his injury reporting, making it hard to gauge Lockett’s projected time missed. I find it hard to believe he will play with the pin still in his hand. Think about how involved the hand is in catching a football! Many other positions may be able to play through this injury, but a wide receiver? Unlikely.
I doubt we see Lockett again in the fantasy-relevant season. Fantasy players need to make other plans. Marquise Goodwin is set to fill in as the WR2 in Seattle and has been productive in short bouts throughout his career.
Cooks returned to practice in full capacity on Wednesday, putting him on track to play in week 16. Cooks has missed three games with a calf injury. The calf is highly involved in sprinting, cutting, and jumping. When we sprint, we stay on the balls of our feet. This is an efficient way to move quickly. In this position, called plantarflexion (foot pointed downward), the foot remains rigid, making it powerful to push off. The calves function like a sprint, creating significant power to run and cut quickly.
With a calf injury, the spring-like mechanism is impacted, and creating the same speed and quickness is challenging. This is likely why we see a significant decline in fantasy production from receivers after a calf injury. Receivers score 5.3 points below their pre-injury average, with only 6% meeting or exceeding in their first game after a calf injury. Simply put, you cannot trust Cooks this week.
Collins remains sidelined with a foot injury. Like Nick Chubb, a foot injury can influence speed, acceleration, agility, and power. If Collins does play this week, it is hard to trust him in the fantasy playoffs.
Sutton was limited in practice to start the week as he returns from a hamstring injury. Hamstring injuries impact players at their top speed. The load on the hamstring increases dramatically when increasing sprint speed from 80-100%. This is why a hamstring injury will impact a deep-threat receiver more than any other position. Sutton is a deep-threat receiver. If he does play, I expect to see some decline in his production. Receivers average a drop of 2.8 points from their pre-injury baseline when returning from a hamstring injury.
Olave has not practiced yet this week as he deals with a hamstring injury. Like Sutton above, Olave is a deep threat, meaning this injury would likely impact his production.
Burks has returned to practice, but has not officially cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol. We will continue to monitor his progress throughout the week. With Tannehill sidelined the rest of the season, it is hard to imagine Burks being valuable with Malik Willis at QB.
Duvernay will miss the remainder of the season with a foot fracture. Specifics of the bone fractured are not provided at this time, but he will undoubtedly be immobilized in a boot for several weeks.
Duvernay has plenty of time to be ready for next season, but foot fractures have the potential to lead to long-term stiffness in the foot that can influence mechanics. Duvernay and his rehab team will have to focus on regaining full mobility within the foot in order to avoid any negative mechanical consequences.
Week 16 fantasy football injury report: Tight Ends
Goedert is ready to go after missing five games with a shoulder injury. The video of his injury looked like an anterior dislocation, almost always in conjunction with a labrum tear. Surgery is sometimes indicated with this type of injury but can often be rehabbed successfully. If this injury would respond well to rehab, five weeks is plenty of time to train the rotator cuff muscles enough to compensate for the injured labrum.
I do not expect this to impact Goedert’s productivity in any way negatively. He is a tremendous route runner and run after catch tight end, and he should pick up right where he left off. The fear would be re-injury, as re-dislocation rates are high.
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