NFL Injuries & News for Week 16 and Fantasy Playoffs

RotoBaller rounds up this past week's NFL injuries, and gives you the latest injury news and analysis as you prepare for Week 16 of fantasy football. Some of these injuries can have an impact on your fantasy teams.

Raj G

As you get ready for Week 16 and the final rounds of the fantasy football season, injuries are an integral part of your lineup research.  RotoBaller has you covered with injury reports from around the league after last Sunday’s action.  If you’ve got some questionable players heading into Week 16 and the playoffs, be sure to stay on top of their most recent health updates.


NFL Injuries & News for Week 16


Arizona Cardinals:

  • WR: Larry Fitzgerald (head) passed his initial baseline concussion tests.
    • Analysis: The fact he was able to fly back with the team is a good sign and this is another one.  Fitz is meeting with another neurologist this week; however, he and his coach sound confident he should be playing in Week 16.  If he can't, Andre Roberts should start in his stead.  Unfortunately, it's a nightmare match-up against Seattle, so it's not looking good regardless.  However, Michael Floyd owners are likely hoping Fitz can play so he doesn't draw Richard Sherman for the entire game.
  • RB: Andre Ellington (thigh) is expected to play in Week 16.
    • Analysis: He missed the overtime session in the win against the Titans, so the injury bears monitoring; however, it was no more than a contusion so he should be good to go against a Seattle D which will be a tough test; however, they have been a bit vulnerable to the run as of late, so there is a possibility Ellington could perform well.


Baltimore Ravens:

  • QB: Joe Flacco (knee) will NOT have an MRI scheduled on his knee.
    • Analysis: The Ravens dodged a major bullet as DeAndre Levy went for a low tackle/sack and his helmet smacked into the side of Flacco's knee.  The expectation was there to be some semblance of ligament damage; however Flacco was able to finish the game.  Expect him to be on the injury report all week, but even against the Patriots next week, he's no more than a QB2 at best.


Chicago Bears:

  • D/ST: LB Lance Briggs (shoulder) returned to practice on a limited basis.
    • Analysis: He's been targeting a Week 16 return from his injury and the expectation is that he may play against the against the Eagles.  Without his presence in the lineup, the Bears have been terrible at stopping the run and in general, haven't been their trademark selves on defense.  His return would certainly help those in IDP leagues and can certainly help the Chicago D in general and make them a potentially viable option against Philadelphia.


Cincinnati Bengals:

  • TE: Jermaine Gresham (hip) left the Week 15 match-up against the Steelers and did not return.
    • Analysis: He's not been a standalone fantasy option as Tyler Eifert has been involved in the tight-end role often as well.  Gresham also lost a costly fumble in the third quarter and struggled all night against Pittsburgh's D.  This certainly helps in solidifying Eifert's role as the primary TE a bit more; however, it may not mean much going forward if their roles stay the same they have all year.  However, with Gresham's injury, Eifert may get more playing time.  With the injuries and ineffectiveness at the TE position all-around the league (barring a few players), it is worth monitoring this situation.


Cleveland Browns:

  • D/ST: CB Joe Haden (hip) is questionable for Week 16 and is not sure about his status.
    • Analysis: His X-rays were negative, but "The Holy Hand of Haden" may well be in Purgatory for Week 16 against the Jets.  Haden has not played well as of late, allowing a TD pass in four consecutive games, but his presence in the Browns' D is a big enough one, especially in a Week 16 match-up against the hapless New York "J-E-T-S" Jets.  Keep monitoring this situation as the match-up bodes well and a game against the Jets is all Haden may need to get back on track.


Dallas Cowboys:

  • D/ST: LB Sean Lee (neck) was inactive for Week 15 against Green Bay.
    • Analysis: He had a sprained ligament in his neck and was not around for the crushing loss against the Packers and from the sounds of it, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is "very concerned" that Lee will not play the rest of the season.  His presence only did so much for a historically bad defense; however, IDP league owners will be quite disappointed if he does not come back.  Keep monitoring his situation, but it's likely he's done for the year.


Denver Broncos:

  • WR: Wes Welker (concussion) did not participate in Monday's practice.
    • Analysis: Considering their last game was Thursday night, it is a bit of a concern for the Broncos and for Welker.  Obviously, he hasn't been cleared for practice yet; however, he has plenty of time to pass the NFL's concussion protocol.  Bear in mind however, Welker had 2 concussions in the span of 4 weeks and he has a history of head injuries.  For now, consider him questionable for Sunday's match-up against the Houston Texans.


Green Bay Packers:

  • QB: Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) was vague about his status for Week 16, yet is cautiously optimistic to return.
    • Analysis: Considering the fact the Packers now control their own destiny in regards to making the playoffs, and the fact that Rodgers himself said that there needs to be "some level of risk-reward conversation," it is even more likely that we could actually see him take the field against the Steelers in Week 16.  It goes without saying that Rodgers will need to practice this week, experience no setbacks, and is medically cleared to play.  Keep monitoring the situation, but considering the fact if Green Bay wins out, they'll earn a home playoff game.  That may well be enough to get Rodgers out there.  Stay tuned.


Houston Texans:

  • TE: Owen Daniels (leg) might return and Garrett Graham (hamstring) is questionable for Week 16.
    • Analysis: Houston has been a mess all season and interim coach Wade Phillips isn't committing to the possibility of Daniels returning for Week 16 against Denver, let alone this season.  There's really no reason why he should and as such is off the re-draft league radar for the fantasy playoffs.  Graham's situation is just as messy as he was inactive against the Colts in Week 15 and his fill-in, Ryan Griffin, matched Graham's work on the field.  Is Ryan Griffin a desperation start at TE considering the situation in Houston?  Possibly, but Houston's TE situation is not one to ride further into the fantasy playoffs.


Indianpolis Colts:

  • WR: LaVon Brazil (foot) is expected to resume practicing this week.
    • Analysis: He was questionable for Week 15 and subsequently was inactive for the game as he did not practice the entire week before the game.  Regardless of Brazil's talent, he's a desperation play at the FLEX, and WR4/5 positions.
  • RB: Donald Brown (neck) is day to day.
    • Analysis: Brown left the Week 15 game ceded the rest of the ground game to Trent Richardson...if you can call what the Colts have a real ground game that is.  Richardson turned in a predictably mediocre performance and if Brown is to miss Sunday's game against Kansas City, T-Rich should be getting more time.  Unless you're scraping the bottom of the barrel for players, this isn't a situation you want to get pulled into.


Jacksonville Jaguars:

  • WR: Cecil Shorts (groin) was placed on IR, ending his season.
    • Analysis: A bit of a downer seeing as how he was a decent FLEX or WR4 play in many leagues; however, owners should have seen this coming about 2 weeks ago and planned accordingly.  Shorts had a disappointing 2013 campaign, but the talent is certainly there.  However, without a proper NFL QB at the helm in Jacksonville, his talent will be held back.  Consider 2014 a significant bounce back year as he will be on the final year of his rookie contract.
  • RB: Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) is questionable for Week 16.
    • Analysis: Coach Bradley was non-committal when he talked about MJD's status and simply mentioned that the team will see how he progresses throughout the week before making any updates on his status.  Considering the Jaguars are out of playoff contention, they may shut him down for the rest of the season, if not just for Week 16.  MJD is a contract year, however so that may play a role into whether or not he sees the field again.  Regardless, MJD owners should have Jordan Todman as MJD's handcuff ready to go, considering what he did last week.


Kansas City Chiefs:

  • TE: Anthony Fasano (head, knee) was inactive for Week 15.
    • Analysis: Sean McGrath got the start in his place again, but it was the Jamaal Charles show against the Raiders where there was little of anybody else on the Chiefs involved in meaningful fantasy production (besides Alex Smith).  Fasano was limited in practice in the week leading up to the game, but the staff felt it was best he was held out.  It's likely his knee or concussion symptoms were acting up, and considering he had concussion issues in the past, holding Fasano out was the safe play.  In either case, he's a low-end TE2 at best and McGrath is likely off the radar for TE production.


Miami Dolphins:

  • RB: Daniel Thomas (ankle) aggravated the sprain in the Week 15 win against the Patriots.
    • Analysis: It certainly did not look like a serious injury as he was able to practice earlier this week, albeit on a limited basis.  That being said, the running back committee in Miami is again something you do not want to rely on in the fantasy playoffs, even if Lamar Miller gets most of the work due to Thomas' injury.  As mentioned before, the coaching staff still has no idea what they are doing in regards to the RB spot in Miami.


Minnesota Vikings:

  • RB: Adrian Peterson (foot) is expected to play in Week 16
    • Analysis: Good news for AP owners who likely missed his production on the field, and may have been left scrambling to get another RB going (and likely didn't even bother with Matt Asiata...3 TDs later, he's still not worth it, but nobody saw those shenanigans coming).  Coach Frazier had to "fight the urge" to let Peterson convince him to play as the risk-to-reward calculation wasn't even remotely in the Vikings' favor.  Had the team been in the playoff chase, it would have been another story.  Owners can likely pencil AP back into their lineups; however, keep monitoring this situation as it may change later in the week.


New England Patriots:.

  • WR: Josh Boyce (leg) left the Week 15 game against the Miami Dolphins.
    • Analysis: This is only relevant to Tom Brady owners as this marks the third player for the Patriots "X" receiver slot to go down.  Both Aaron Dobson (foot) and Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) are nursing their own injuries so this leaves Tom Brady lacking weapons again (nothing new it seems).  With Gronkowski out as well and three of the "X" receivers' status unknown at this point, expect Brady to go to Edelman, Amendola, and Vereen heavily in the pass game.


New York Giants:

  • WR: Victor Cruz (concussion, knee) may miss the final 2 games of 2013.
    • Analysis: He did not practice earlier in the week and Reuben Randle is expected to make the start.  Owners might as well "stick a fork in him" and be done with Cruz at this point as the Giants have been terrible all season long offensively.  The blame goes around the team as a whole (though one could blame Eli Manning and the O-Line the most) for the lack of any consistent production in any of their wideouts all season.  Owners will likely have to take a look at Randle if he's still available or look at other waiver wire/free agent candidates (which may not be much at this point).


Oakland Raiders:

  • RB: Darren McFadden (ankle) is expected to practice this week.
    • Analysis: This puts DMC on track to play the final two games of the season.  If he can stay healthy; however, he will not be anything more than Rashad Jennings' back-up/handcuff, making him no more than a low-end FLEX play at best.


Seattle Seahawks:

  • WR: Percy Harvin (hip) is not expected to return before the NFL playoffs.
    • Analysis: Harvin was questionable and then subsequently doubtful the past few weeks and this just puts the nail in the coffin for any hope that the will be back for Week 16 or Week 17.  The Seahawks want to make sure he's 100% before going into the playoffs and for the future, and considering their standings, there's no need to rush him back.  There's always an outside chance he might play in Week 17, but don't bank on it.  Harvin is droppable at this point, having made very little, if any impact for fantasy owners.


St. Louis Rams:

  • WR: Tavon Austin (ankle) is questionable for Week 16.
    • Analysis: Coach Fisher expressed confidence that Austin should start, and seeing as how he was in a walking boot all of last week, the possibility is there.  Even if he does start, Austin relies on agility and speed to make plays on a limited number of snaps.  Adding this injury to that makes him no more than a boom-or-bust FLEX or WR4 play at most.
  • RB: Zac Stacy (hip) has not resumed practicing this week.
    • Analysis: It's likely he is simply resting up after putting up a 28/133/1 line against New Orleans. Stacy can be considered "good-to-go" in Week 16 against a tougher match-up in the Buccaneers.  After all, he did come back to the game against the Saints after sustaining the injury.


Washington Redskins:

  • TE: Jordan Reed (concussion) is still experiencing headaches after being inactive for Week 15.
    • Analysis: Reed's history of concussions does not help his cause and these recurring headaches are a growing cause for concern.  Those in re-draft leagues should have already dropped him; however, for those in dynasty/keeper leagues should keep monitoring his status going into the offseason.  Reed's talent may make him worth holding onto; however, he may also be player worth trading for picks or another similar caliber player if his concussion issues linger.