With fantasy football championships over in most leagues, inquiries into the injury status of players on the injured reserve like Derrick Henry, Calvin Ridley, and DeAndre Hopkins might not be as prevalent. However, is there a chance any of them make their triumphant return in Week 18? Or must we wait for the playoffs or even 2022 before we see these stars back on a field?
Fantasy Injury IR Updates: Will Derrick Henry make a push to play in Week 18?
Update 01/05/22: The Tennessee Titans have officially designated RB Derrick Henry to return from IR.
Henry was placed on IR at the beginning of November with a Jones fracture after a win against the Indianapolis Colts. This type of injury is a break between the base and the shaft of the fifth metatarsal bone of the foot. According to Heathline.com, the recovery time on a Jones fracture is around seven weeks.
After NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Week 18 was being viewed as a realistic target for Henry, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel acknowledged that the team was considering opening the window for the star RB’s return.
“We’ve discussed it. We’ll see where that goes,” Vrabel said Monday. “He’s doing some work today [January 3]. We’ll see when that window opens. We’ll probably make a decision midweek.”
Titans’ playoff scenarios could play a role in Henry’s return
The Titans are currently in complete control of their own destiny in the AFC. If they beat the Houston Texans this weekend, they will be the No. 1 seed and get a first-round bye. However, the Kansas City Chiefs are right behind them and could take over the top seed if the Titans were to slip.
Bringing Henry back to shake off some of his rust before the playoffs could make sense. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported at the time of the injury that Henry’s rehab came with a 6-10 week timetable. This is now the 10th week since the injury. So if Henry feels good and the Titans are confident he can stay healthy, a Week 18 activation could be in the cards.
Will Calvin Ridley return in Week 18 against the Saints?
As has been the case for most weeks this season, there have been no new updates on Ridley’s status. The Atlanta Falcons were officially eliminated from playoff contention after a tough loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 17. If there ever was a time for Ridley to return, it is unlikely that it would be in the last week of the season in a meaningless game against the Saints.
Now all eyes will turn to 2022. Ridley is going to be heading into the last year of his contract and is expected to count $11 million towards the salary cap. After Ridley stepped away this year, will the Falcons decide to move the talented young receiver to help alleviate some of their cap space issues?
Fantasy Injury IR Updates: Will Arizona get DeAndre Hopkins back for the last game of the season?
After a huge win against the Dallas Cowboys this past week, the Arizona Cardinals have put themselves in a position to potentially steal the NFC West crown back from the Los Angeles Rams. They are now only one win behind the Rams in the NFL standings.
With a lot still on the line, will the Cardinals get their top wide receiver back from IR? Or will Hopkins’ injury keep him out for the rest of the year? Unfortunately, head coach Kliff Kingsbury did not sound very confident when asked this past weekend.
“I’m not sure either one [Hopkins and J.J. Watt] will make it back,” Kingsbury said Saturday, via ESPN’s Ed Werder. “I think it will be close.”
Hopkins was acquired from the Houston Texans via trade in 2020 and finished his first season with his new team with 115 receptions and 1,407 yards. Yet, in his second campaign in Arizona, Hoplins saw a steep decline in production while battling hamstring issues all year. He then tore his MCL in Week 14.