While rankings and projections are beneficial, few things are more important in fantasy football than following injury updates. Injuries not only impact the player in question but the teammates and the offenses around them. Here’s an update on some critical injury reports to watch and their fantasy football impact.
Fantasy Football Injury Report: QB update
Let’s go through the injuries currently impacting quarterbacks. Monitor these situations throughout the week and have contingency plans, if necessary.
Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock | Denver Broncos
The Broncos placed Teddy Bridgewater on injured reserve due to his concussion. Drew Lock was limited at Wednesday’s practice with a shoulder issue. If Lock can’t go, Brett Rypien will start. No Broncos wide receiver is worth starting in fantasy regardless of who plays quarterback.
Joe Burrow | Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow tweaked his knee last week. He would play this week if needed, but the Bengals will rest him and several other starters in a relatively meaningless game. The Bengals don’t have a plausible path to the bye.
Head coach Zac Taylor is more concerned with making sure his star quarterback is ready to go in the Wild Card round. Brandon Allen will start, which is an obvious downgrade for whoever the Bengals deploy at wide receiver.
Kirk Cousins | Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings activated Kirk Cousins from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday and got in a limited practice. Head coach Mike Zimmer — coaching in what is almost certainly his final game with the Vikings — said Cousins will start in the season finale this week. It’s an obvious upgrade for all Vikings skill position players.
Justin Fields | Chicago Bears
Head coach Matt Nagy said Justin Fields will start in the season finale on Sunday. He practiced fully on Wednesday and is set to return from his ankle sprain. Fields is nothing more than a back-end QB2.
Jimmy Garoppolo | San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo got in a limited practice Wednesday. He has a torn UCL in his right thumb. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said Garoppolo will start if healthy. He has a chance to play this weekend. If Garoppolo goes, it does not impact any 49ers pass catchers’ viability.
Mike Glennon | New York Giants
I’m not even sure why I’m including Mike Glennon here. He’s not startable even if a league existed with four superflexes. Glennon did not practice Wednesday and has already been ruled out for this week due to a left wrist issue. Jake Fromm will start. He can’t possibly be a downgrade from Glennon.
Jared Goff | Detroit Lions
Jared Goff returned to a limited practice Wednesday. He revealed that he’s been dealing with a bone bruise in his right knee. Tim Boyle would start once again if Goff can’t go.
Jalen Hurts | Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts got in a second consecutive limited practice Wednesday. The team is just being careful with his ankle. Hurts will be fine to play Saturday, but the Eagles are locked into the No. 6 or 7 seed so they may not play their starters the entire game, if at all.
Lamar Jackson | Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson remained absent from practice Wednesday due to his sprained ankle. The Ravens have an outside shot at the playoffs, so if Jackson can go, he will. Unfortunately, I do think it will be Tyler Huntley once again this week.
Baker Mayfield | Cleveland Browns
The Browns placed Baker Mayfield on injured reserve on Wednesday. Head coach Kevin Stefanski said Mayfield’s left shoulder is too injured for him to play. If the game mattered, perhaps he would give it a whirl, but with the Browns not playing for anything, it’ll be Case Keenum out there on Sunday against the Bengals. No Browns pass catcher is worth starting in fantasy.
Aaron Rodgers | Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers did not practice Wednesday due to his injured toe. He’s as fine as he can be. If he doesn’t play Sunday, it won’t have anything to do with his toe. We simply don’t know if Rodgers is a viable fantasy option this early in the week. He’s obviously a surefire QB1 if he’s starting and plays the entire game, but we don’t yet know if he will.
If Jordan Love starts, I would assume Davante Adams sits as well, which would mean no Packers pass catchers are worth starting in fantasy.
Ben Roethlisberger | Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger was limited at Wednesday’s practice due to his ongoing pec/right shoulder issue. He’s fine and is at no risk of missing what should be the final start of his career on Sunday. The Steelers’ passing game will remain as inefficient as ever.
Fantasy Football Injury Report: RB update
Which running backs are dealing with injuries that may affect their game status? Let’s see which RB committees are hobbled heading into Week 18.
Cam Akers | Los Angeles Rams
Head coach Sean McVay said Cam Akers will play this week. I imagine it will be in a very limited role. Sony Michel remains a locked-in high RB2. The Rams are just getting Akers’ feet wet for what I imagine will be a more expanded role in the postseason.
Saquon Barkley | New York Giants
Saquon Barkley got in a limited practice Wednesday, which is an upgrade from last Wednesday. The team is just managing his reps due to his ankle. He’s fine and will play Sunday. Fantasy managers should continue to treat him like a high-end RB3.
Michael Carter | New York Jets
Michael Carter did not practice Wednesday as he remains in the concussion protocol. The DNP is not an optimistic sign for his chances of playing Sunday. Tevin Coleman would be the Jets’ primary back — assuming he clears COVID protocols — if Carter can’t go. If Carter plays, he’s a low RB2. Coleman would be an uninspiring RB3.
Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt | Cleveland Browns
Nick Chubb was limited at Wednesday’s practice due to chest and ribs issues. He should be fine to play Sunday. Kareem Hunt was limited as well due to his ankle issue. He did not play last week, and there’s really no incentive for him to play this week. But that doesn’t mean he won’t. I can’t imagine Hunt being a reliable fantasy asset this week.
James Conner and Chase Edmonds | Arizona Cardinals
James Conner and Chase Edmonds can’t seem to get on the field at the same time. Conner got in a limited practice as he works his way back from a heel injury, but Edmonds did not practice at all with what is listed as ribs and toe issue. Last week, Edmonds was limited with a back issue so this is a new injury.
It’s too early to speculate on what this backfield might look like come Sunday. Both backs could be anywhere from low RB1s to high RB3s depending on the situation.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire | Kansas City Chiefs
Clyde Edwards-Helaire did not practice on Wednesday for the second consecutive day. He’s dealing with a shoulder issue and is not expected to play this week. The Chiefs will almost certainly hold CEH out with the hopes of getting him back for next week’s playoff matchup. Darrel Williams will handle the vast majority of the work and be an RB2. Derrick Gore is irrelevant.
Antonio Gibson | Washington Football Team
Washington activated Antonio Gibson from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Gibson got in a limited practice Wednesday due to his hip issue, but it doesn’t sound like head coach Ron Rivera intends to sit any players in the season’s finale. Expect Gibson to be out there, albeit perhaps in a bit of a reduced role given it’s Week 18 and Jaret Patterson played well last week. Treat Gibson as a low RB2.
Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams | Denver Broncos
Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams remained limited at practice. Gordon is dealing with thumb and hip issues. Williams has a recurring knee issue. Both are fine and will play this week. Williams projects as a mid to high RB2 while Gordon is more of a high RB3.
Damien Harris | New England Patriots
Damien Harris tweaked his hamstring last week and did not play the entire second half. However, he got in a limited practice Wednesday, and I would expect him to give it a go in a game the Patriots need to win to have a shot at the AFC East crown should the Bills fall to the Jets.
If Harris plays, he’s an RB2, but a risky one due to the potential of an aggravation of the injury. Rhamondre Stevenson is an intriguing RB3 based on Harris’ status.
Derrick Henry | Tennessee Titans
On Wednesday, the Titans designated Derrick Henry to return from injured reserve. He’s been out for over two months with a broken bone in his foot. This is a procedural move to allow Henry to get practice reps in with the team this week.
He’s not expected to play in Week 18 but is fully expected to return for the Titans’ first postseason game, which should be in the Divisional Round, assuming they can dispatch the Texans this week. D’Onta Foreman is a borderline RB1 this week.
Mark Ingram | New Orleans Saints
Mark Ingram was limited at Wednesday’s practice with a knee issue. He didn’t play last week, but the limited session points to his return in a must-win game this week. Ingram is not on the fantasy radar.
Josh Jacobs | Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs was limited at Wednesday’s practice due to a ribs issue. He should be fine. I can’t imagine Jacobs not playing in a de facto playoff game Sunday night. Jacobs can be started as normal.
Aaron Jones | Green Bay Packers
Aaron Jones was limited at Wednesday’s practice due to his ongoing knee issue. He’s fine and will be healthy enough to play Sunday. Whether he does is a different story, as the Packers have nothing to play for with the No. 1 seed locked up. Jones is nothing more than a low-upside RB2 even if he goes.
Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughn | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ronald Jones did not practice Wednesday after tweaking his ankle last week. Ke’Shawn Vaughn hurt his ribs as well, but he got in a full practice. The Bucs will likely be rolling with the duo of Vaughn and the ghost of Le’Veon Bell in a game they should be able to win with a bunch of backups as long as they have Tom Brady. Vaughn is on the RB2 radar.
Elijah Mitchell | San Francisco 49ers
Elijah Mitchell did not practice Wednesday due to his ongoing knee issue. It’s unclear if this is just maintenance or if he aggravated the injury last week. Mitchell is a high RB2 if he plays. Jeff Wilson is a low RB2 if Mitchell does not play, but has no value if Mitchell is on the field.
Joe Mixon | Cincinnati Bengals
On Wednesday, Joe Mixon tested positive for COVID-19. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, he’s out Sunday. Assuming Samaje Perine avoids a positive test, he will be the primary back and a fantasy RB2 with Chris Evans mixing in on passing downs.
It’s also worth noting that if the Chiefs beat the Broncos on Saturday, the Bengals are locked out of the No. 1 seed. They may elect to rest some starters.
Tony Pollard | Dallas Cowboys
Tony Pollard remained limited at practice Wednesday as the team protects his torn plantar fascia. He’s played the past two weeks and will be good to go on Saturday. Whether the Cowboys play their starters the entire game is a different question. Pollard will be an RB2/3 if Dallas plays their guys.
Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Jordan Howard | Philadelphia Eagles
Miles Sanders remained absent from practice Wednesday due to his broken hand. He’s not going to play this week in a mostly meaningless game. Instead, the team hopes to get him back for next week’s playoff game.
Boston Scott and Jordan Howard remain on the reserve/COVID-19 list. They can get cleared by game time, but there’s no guarantee they play. Kenneth Gainwell is still the only healthy back on the active roster. We’ll have to wait and see what this roster looks like and what the Eagles’ plans are before determining how to approach this backfield this week.