What This Is:
*A no-nonsense quick-hitting analysis of fantasy-relevant player injuries that could impact performance on game day.
*A preview of the current week’s fantasy-relevant players with an injury through Thursday night.
What This Is Not:
*A comprehensive analysis of players who are on bye or currently on the I.R.
*A look ahead to injuries impacting fantasy football beyond Week 9.
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. This is not the final version and will be continually updated through Sunday morning, so definitely bookmark this article.
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.
The following players have already been ruled out for Week 14 as of Friday evening so get them out of your lineup!
Antonio Gibson - Doubtful - He was seen on the side working with the rehab team today but as fast as he looked there still appeared to be a hitch in his giddy up. There’s an outside chance he returns in Week 16 but don’t hold your breath…yet. After all, Washington signed Lamar Miller off the practice squad recently.
Christian McCaffrey - Doubtful - CMC is officially doubtful. It's anybody's guess if he's active in week 16. Especially if Carolina loses again, it's hard to see him coming back after being downgraded at practice this week.
Deebo Samuel - It sounds like he’ll be shut down the rest of the fantasy playoffs.
Michael Thomas - It seems this is the syndesmosis sprain (high-ankle sprain) creeping up again. Hopefully he can fight through it next week.
Julio Jones - Rinse and repeat. If Julio is back in Week 16, his volatility is through the roof.
Duke Johnson - Due to a neck injury, Dukey went LP-DNP-DNP. He’s questionable but I would be surprised if he plays. If he does, volatility is high. Why does this matter? Because teammate C.J. Prosise also went LP-DNP-DNP. From a volume perspective, David Johnson would vault into consideration.
The following players were FP on Friday and/or carry no designation. They’re good to go unless otherwise stated.
Brandin Cooks - As it was all season, Cooks’ volatility is high due to his previous history of head/neck injuries.
Tyreek Hill - Since the pre-season he’s battled minor hamstring tightness so the hope is the hammy can hold up through two more games. In cash. If you really, really want a reason to fade him - and I’m talking about border-line irresponsibly fade him - this hamstring injury is it. After all, it’s technically a flare up. However, 98% of you should not fade him for that.
Ezekiel Elliot - Calf - High risk of sitting, High Volatility
This is an odd scenario. Mike McCarthy admitted Zeke is worse off compared to last week and the practice report reflects that as Zeke has been a DNP three days in a row. Eric Bieniemy’s job thief McCarthy goes on to say this:
“I still play on him playing on Sunday. …All things look like he's going to play in the game" vs. 49ers.”
This could easily be a bold faced lie in the name of gamesmanship as coaches actually tend to play up a player’s injury that isn’t too serious in a mostly ineffective method of confusing the opponent. If gamesmanship is the goal, wouldn’t McCarthy use the three DNP’s as a tool to make the injury sound worse than it is so the 49ers prepare for Tony Pollard instead of Zeke? This is probably getting way into the weeks on the psychology but the bottom line is Zeke hasn’t practiced all week and is a high risk to sit and highly volatile if active. Be ready to swap him out if necessary.
Raheem Mostert - Ankle, High Volatility
I get it - he’s a full participant on Friday and carries no designation, but he’s obviously battled through this ankle injury all year. He said himself just last week:
"Especially these next few weeks, it's not going to be 100 percent," Mostert said, "But it's there, and it's a nagging feeling, most importantly. I've just got to overcome it…”
He’s highly volatile this week due to potential for decreased work and re-injury risk of the ankle moving forward. Not only that, but he was examined for a concussion last week and passed. However, as we’ve been preaching all year here at Fantasy Points, the protocol is not perfect and even being examined increases risk the following weeks. This is relative risk but risk nonetheless.
Salvon Ahmed - Shoulder - High Volatility
Ahmed has missed three games but has now practiced three days in a row on a limited basis. Operating under the premise this is either an AC joint sprain or a shoulder dislocation, he should be pretty close as those injuries return to play are 2-4 weeks each. If he’s active, his volatility is high for utilization and re-injury risk that’s a bit unknown.
Chase Edmonds - Ankle, Moderate volatility, High risk of sitting
Edmonds didn’t practice until Friday this week in a limited fashion. Since the video isn’t clear, we’ll operate under the idea that this is a lateral ankle sprain as he’s already back from practice. Re-injury is moderately high but it’s not decided if he’ll be active yet. If not, Kenyan Drake is an absolute smash play.
James Conner - Quad, Moderate risk to sit, Moderate volatility
He’s working his way back into practice and it seems he’s improving. Considering the game is on Monday, we could see a moderately volatile Conner be active.
Calvin Ridley - Foot- Moderate volatility
He’s on track to play but you do not like to see him back on the injury report with a foot injury after the initial injury from earlier this year on TNF. Cam Newton notoriously came back too soon from this injury in 2019, and, well…
Listen, the takeaway here is start Rid and hope he finishes the season strong and healthy.
DeVante Parker - High risk of sitting, High volatility
Similar to Gesicki, Parker is questionable and was limited all week. He has a recent history of hamstring injuries and players are always volatile when playing through this injury. The most recent example is of course Keenan Allen. The same is true of his teammate Jakeem Grant Sr..
Jamison Crowder - Calf - Moderate volatility
Rich Cimini expects Crowder to play. His volatility for re-injury is moderate if he does.
Drew Brees - High volatility
Brees is, without doubt, going to be playing through at least some discomfort on Sunday. That’s not to say he’s not ready to be out there, but expecting a vintage Brees performance without the help of YAC and QB sneaks is low. Not ot mention the apprehension that comes with taking an NFL hit again. He’s highly volatile. The Chiefs matchup is the only factor that will have me sprinkle him into GPP lineups. GPP lineups only.
Matthew Stafford - Ribs/Thumb
Here’s a quote from Stafford himself:
"Don't want it to be one of those things where you go out there and do something weird early and you're out after the first series of the game or something," Stafford said. "Not to say, take a big hit and who knows what could happen. But [I] want to feel good enough to be able to start the game and hopefully be able to finish it as well. Play at a high level.
These injuries are extremely painful making it hard to even breathe at times. Playing in an NFL game would be next to impossible. It doesn’t seem like he plays as the average return time is 2-4 weeks for these injuries. Despite the fact he travelled with the team, the odds are low he plays and even lower that he performs well.
Mike Gesicki - High risk of sitting, High volatility
Gesicki dislocated his shoulder last week and is back in a limited capacity practicing. Flores says he doesn’t know if the tight end will need labrum surgery, but the question is scary enough on its own. Re-dislocation on these injuries is roughly 50% and the median return to play is 2 weeks. Don’t be shocked if Gesicki sits but if he doesn’t, understand the inherent risk he carries.
Evan Engram - Knee - Moderate volatility
He popped up on the injury report with a mysterious knee injury and was LP on Friday. He has a history of MCL sprains. Proceed with caution.