It’s officially championship week! Hopefully, the advice from the Fantasy Injury Team throughout the season has helped you manage your roster into the championship game. Last week, we did not see too many new injuries. Nonetheless, there are always key players to discuss on the week 17 Fantasy football injury report!
Week 17 Fantasy Football Injury Report: Quarterbacks
Tua is on the week 17 fantasy football injury report after suffering his third concussion of the season on Sunday, putting his availability for week 17 in question. With just one concussion, players average missing 16 days before returning. Subsequent concussions often increase the duration it takes to recover and clear the NFL’s protocol fully. It is highly unlikely that Tua will be available this week. Teddy Bridgewater is the Dolphin’s backup. Bridgewater is a capable player but does not provide Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle the same upside that Tua does.
Hurts will push to return in week 17 to help the Eagles lock up the first-round bye. This weekend, it was revealed Hurts injury is to the sternoclavicular joint (SC joint) and not the AC joint as previously thought. The SC joint is the junction of the collar bone to the sternum. It is generally a stable joint, and injury is much less common than the AC joint.
The SC joint must move adequately during the throwing motion. Rarely do we see the SC joint moving too much (a concern after a ligament injury). SC joint injuries usually lead to stiffness, which will shorten the throwing motion, therefore taking away power. Clinically, there are several grades of SC joint injuries, with the most severe being dangerous. The SC joint is located near some major blood vessels; therefore, with a severe SC joint injury (grade IIIB), the clavicle can dislocate posteriorly (backward) and threaten these blood vessels. This is not the case with Jalen Hurts.
Hurts injury must be minor if he is pushing to play after missing just one week. Clinically, a stiff SC joint is not very hard to get moving properly. With two weeks to heal, his pain is likely under control, and this week in rehab, I imagine he can get it moving properly. There is a chance for re-aggravation, but if he can avoid re-aggravating his SC joint, he should not see any decline in his production.
Jackson missed his third straight game with a PCL injury. I discussed in-depth in previous weeks’ posts how I remain pessimistic that he is 100% himself at any point this season. With the Ravens locking up a playoff spot, I imagine they give Lamar as much time as possible to get as healthy as possible.
Rodgers missed Wednesday’s practice due to a “sore knee,” but it is not expected to be serious. At this time, Rodger’s knee does not appear that it would impact his production on Sunday.
White has been cleared to return to football after sustaining rib fractures in week 14. A fracture would not fully heal in three weeks but can recover enough that pain no longer impacts function, and the fractured segments of the bone are no longer a risk of injuring the lungs. What this means, is that White is safe to play, but is certainly at a risk for re-injury, and it remains to be seen if his productivity will take a hit.
Ribs are highly involved in the throwing motion. When a quarterback throws, he must rotate his thoracic spine (upper back) at least 50°. The ribs connect to the thoracic spine, meaning the thoracic spine rotation causes the ribs to move. Often after a fracture, the musculature remains stiff and guarded while the bone is healing well. This is a normal response in the acute phase of a fracture. However, as the fracture resolves, ideally, the muscles normalize. In some instances, the muscle remains stiff and guarded, which would reduce the rotation a quarterback has during their throw. The amount a quarterback can rotate directly influences the power of the throw. Therefore, the quarterback cannot create as much throwing power if the muscles remain guarded.
The Jets training staff knows that for White to play at his peak, he needs a full rotation range. I am sure they have been working with White on releasing muscles, such as the lats, pecs, and obliques, that would potentially limit his rotation. However, I would not be surprised if White does not yet have his full throw power. We may see him underthrow some deep balls and have difficulty threading the needle into tight windows, similar to Justin Herbert and Aaron Rodgers earlier this season.
Colt McCoy has cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol and is set to start this week. There is no anticipated decline in production coming off the concussion.
Week 17 Fantasy Football Injury Report: Running Backs
The King, Derrick Henry, is on the week 17 fantasy football injury report as he is doubtful for Thursday night’s meaningless game against Dallas with a hip injury. Unfortunately, the specifics of the injury are not available right now. It is believed that Henry’s injury is not severe; however, since Tennessee’s playoff hopes fall directly on the outcome of their week 18 matchup against the Jaguars, they will rest him this week.
This could not come at a worse time for fantasy players. Many players have ridden the King into the championship game, and now it appears they will not be able to rely on him.
Ekeler, who scored two times last week, was a surprise addition to the Charger’s injury report with a knee injury. Specifics of his injury are not provided, but it does not appear severe. Any knee injury can impact a player’s agility, which is part of what makes Ekeler great. We will continue to monitor closely and provide updates on our analysis of his injury as more information becomes public.
Like Ekeler above, Sanders did not practice Wednesday with a knee injury. Specifics are not provided, but it is not believed to be serious. Sanders likely was given the day off.
Pollard missed practice all week with a thigh injury and is questionable for Thursday night’s game. Thigh injuries are typically injuries to the quad muscles. The quad muscles are strong, powerful muscles highly involved in sprinting, cutting, jumping, and every athletic move.
Pollard’s success as a running back is due to his incredible acceleration, change of direction, and breakaway speed. All of these could be impacted due to this injury. What is particularly concerning is Pollard did not practice in any capacity all week leading up to their Thursday night game. There is a real concern about his ability to suit up Thursday night. Even if he does suit up, RBs see a decline of 1.8 points compared to the pre-injury baseline in the first game returning from this injury.
Harris has been out since week 12 with a thigh injury. Harris practiced in a limited fashion on Wednesday, and it is unclear if he will be good to go this weekend. Like Pollard above, this injury can impact a runner’s acceleration, top-flight speed, and agility. It would be hard to trust Harris coming off this injury in the fantasy championship.
Gibson missed practice Wednesday as he deals with a foot and knee injury. He has been dealing with the foot injury for several weeks without missing any games. Ron Rivera states the knee injury is a “sprain” but does not provide further insight.
Any foot injury will slow down a player’s athleticism, specifically changing directions. A knee injury will do the same. Gibson’s production has declined dramatically since week 11. His decline in production may be related to his injuries. The presence of two injuries, both of which independently can impact athleticism and a lack of recent production, makes Gibson hard to trust in championship week.
Week 17 Fantasy Football Injury Report: Wide Receivers
To much surprise, Lockett practiced in full today. Lockett underwent surgery for a fractured second metacarpal last week. The surgery was successful, and the fracture is stable (though still not healed). Lockett reportedly was catching passes today without any pain.
I have no idea how this is possible, but we’ll take it. Lockett still has a fracture in his second metacarpal; these do not heal in one week. The surgery is designed to stabilize the fracture, which it has done, but often patients will still have significant pain and swelling for weeks after surgery. The fact that Lockett is catching balls without pain is remarkable. Practicing in full on Wednesday provides an excellent outlook for this week. As long as practice reports stay optimistic, I see no reason you can’t start him this week.
Like Ekeler and Sanders above, Brown was limited in Wednesday’s practice with knee soreness. It sounds like this is precautionary, and Philadelphia gave their star receiver an easy day today. We will continue to monitor for any new reports.
Knee issues would limit a receiver’s top flight speed, route running, and jumping. All three attributes above are what makes AJ Brown great. This is one to continue to monitor.
Watson missed Wednesday’s practice with a hip injury. Initial reports suggested a hip flexor injury. If true, the hip flexor is a powerful group of muscles that drive the thigh forward with running. Injury to the hip flexor will limit athletes sprinting speed but also will shorten their stride. When running, the hip flexor on the trail side is being stretched.
When a muscle is injured, it does not like to be stretched to its full capacity. The body will protect the injured muscle by shortening one’s stride to prevent the injury from being overstretched and causing more injury. A shorter stride length means slower speed.
Receivers average missing 1.4 games due to a hip flexor injury, and they surprisingly have no decline in fantasy production when they return. Watson has been on fire in the second half of the season. If he plays, his injury should not alter start/sit decisions.
Olave missed week 16 with a hamstring injury. He returned to practice in a limited capacity today. Hamstrings are tricky, especially for receivers. Receivers average missing 1.8 games and see a decline of 2.7 fantasy points from their pre-injury average after a hamstring.
The hamstring is very involved in sprinting, especially at top-end speed. Olave is a deep threat, meaning he often gets up to his top speed. Therefore Olave’s playing style is more likely to be impacted than a slot receiver who focuses on short routes. If Olave suits up this week, he will be tempting to start. Fantasy players should consider the notable decline in fantasy output seen in receivers after a hamstring injury and the fact that New Orleans plays against a stout Philadelphia defense this week.
Week 17 Fantasy Football Injury Report: Tight Ends
Dulcich suffered a hamstring injury in week 16 and did not practice Wednesday. As mentioned above, with Olave, speed players are hit the most by hamstring injuries. This is why we only see a decline of 0.3 fantasy points compared to pre-injury levels in tight ends after a hamstring injury. Dulcich has not been a reliable fantasy tight end anyway, but if he plays, this injury should not be why you don’t play him.