What This Is:
*A no-nonsense quick-hitting analysis of fantasy-relevant player injuries that could impact performance on game day.
What This Is Not:
For any questions related to this article such as “should I drop [player A] for [player B]?” please refer to the staff’s weekly projections.
The following general rules apply for big shake-ups on the weekend:
*Players who are downgraded from full or even partial practice to “Did Not Practice” on Friday or Saturday, for any medical reason, are a long shot to play. Typically you’ll see teams say these players are a “game time decision” which is code for “they ain’t playing”.
*Players who have a concussion have up until Saturday night/Sunday morning to clear the protocol.
*If no “final update” is available, the player has either been officially ruled out or no news is good news.
Doubtful or already ruled out:
Antonio Gibson - Toe
Gibson played his normal amount of snaps last week after seeing just 30% in Week 16. He was limited all week but it seems he’s back on track. Just be aware he’s moderately volatile due to the severity of this injury and recurrence.
Stefon Diggs - Oblique
Another receiver, Cooper Kupp, had this same injury earlier this season but was able to play in Week 10, There isn’t enough evidence at all right now to fade one of the best receivers left in the game. Jared Goff
Mike Evans - Knee
Evans was limited Thursday and Friday and has a chance to play on Saturday. Given his gladiator reputation in a win or go home game, I expect Evans to play. His ceiling might be capped, though so consider him maximally volatile due to re-aggravation risk and the fact that, frankly, the Bucs probably won’t need him. This is another reason I also consider Evans at a moderate risk to sit as well (despite my expectation he doesn’t).
Terry McLaurin - High Ankle
McLaurin didn’t play in Week 16 due to a high ankle sprain then played just 81% of snaps in Week 17 after playing 94% of them in the previous four weeks. This is of course the second week with the injury, but since 2016 only 2/15 skill players averaging at least 10 ppg have been able to reach or exceed their seasonal average through a high ankle sprain. He’s volatile.
Allen Robinson - Hamstring
A-Rob followed this exact practice report pattern before Week 17 and ended up playing 95% of the snaps but ran his 6th shortest routes per target. He’s moderately volatile going into Wildcard weekend.
A.J. Brown - Hand/knee
Brown typically sits out at least once per week, but considering the knee and hand are new issues, it’s a bit concerning he went LP-DNP-DNP. It’s not a guarantee, but the Titans’ conservative management of the wideout makes it feel like he’ll be out there this weekend. If he is, you can’t fade him.
Cole Beasley - Knee
The wideout, who just put out a not-smash single, didn’t practice until Friday. Given the fact most players don’t want to sit out a playoff game, it’s tough to imagine he sits at this point. However, given the vague nature of this injury, I’m not betting the house on this guy.
Jared Goff - Thumb
Goff fractured/dislocated his thumb notoriously and had surgery. He returned this week in a limited capacity two days in a row and he’s seen throwing here but it’s not a slam dunk he plays. If he does, there’s no way you can use him given all the other options on the slate. His volatility to sit and be limited is high. I’ll sleep fine at night if he ends up playing and goes off.
Alex Smith - Calf
With a lowly 5.1 yards per attempt in Week 17, this isn’t someone who should be on anybody’s radar. However, he should be playing on Sunday and I will personally riot if the NFL doesn’t rename the Comeback Player of the Year trophy after him. Anyway, this is a situation to avoid given now reports are surfacing the back up might start.