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Inside the Tent - Week 15 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About two years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates.

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Inside the Tent Updates

James Conner, RB - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Conner is dealing with an AC, or acromioclavicular, joint sprain. This is the joint where the clavicle, or collarbone, meets the shoulder blade via a bony protrusion known as the acromion. There are 3 types of sprains: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III. Considering he did not have surgery, which would be required for Grade III, he is likely dealing with a Grade II sprain. Conner re-aggravated his AC joint sprain in Week 11 against the Browns. As we often talk about, soft tissue injuries can easily be re-aggravated if they are not given the full time to heal. James Conner is back for Week 15 against the Bills on Sunday night. Benny Snell Jr. has done well in his absence so don't be surprised if the Steelers limit his touches to keep him fresh.

Julio Jones, WR - Atlanta Falcons

  • Jones was back on the field in Week 14 after being a game time decision in Week 13 with an AC joint sprain. He was able to practice in a limited fashion this week and even turned in a full practice on Friday. Just in time for fantasy semi-finals! AC joint sprains can be re-aggravated if an athlete lands hard on that shoulder and the joint's ligaments are stretched. This injury is certainly painful.

Adam Thielen, WR - Minnesota Vikings

  • Thielen has been out with a hamstring strain since Week 9 when he re-aggravated his original hamstring strain from Week 7. Thielen is slated to make his return in Week 15 after turning in limited practices all week. Soft tissue injuries, such as hamstring strains, are especially susceptible to re-aggravation but Thielen has certainly had enough time to heal.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster has been ruled OUT for Week 15 with a knee injury. The exact structure involved is unknown but he's been seen with a brace indicating that a ligament is likely involved. The original injury occurred on the same play in which he sustained his concussion against the Browns. At this point, it's safe to say he suffered either a ligament sprain or a bone bruise in his knee considering his long absence.

Greg Olsen, TE - Carolina Panthers

Week 15 Injury Updates

Jameis Winston, QB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

  • Injury: Winston sustained a small fracture in his throwing thumb, which was shown via x-ray. He missed a few plays and was actually able to finish the game in Week 14. The thumb is made of three bones: metacarpal, proximal phalanx, and distal phalanx.
  • News: He turned in limited practices on Wednesday and Thursday before practicing in full on Friday. This puts him in line to start for the Buccaneers on Sunday, for better or worse.
  • Outlook: I can't remember a player that can make so many mistakes during the course of a game yet still put up awesome fantasy numbers. It's actually impressive and we can't even be mad about it. The Bucs draw the Lions in Week 15 who haven't looked the same on defense since trading away Quandre Diggs. Despite the injury, you still have to roll Jameis out there in the semi-finals because although he could put up an eight point game, it'd be a shame to miss out on a 35 point performance.

Derrius Guice, RB - Washington Redskins

  • Injury: Guice sustained a sprained MCL, or medial collateral ligament, in his left knee. The MCL is on the inner part of the knee and helps to prevent the inward collapse of the knee and also stabilizes the joint. Ligaments are sprained when they are stretched beyond their normal anatomical limits. There are three grades of sprains: Grade I, II, and III with Grade III being a full rupture. Guice likely sustained a Grade I or Grade II sprain.
  • News: Of note, this is the same knee that Guice sustained a torn ACL in. Unfortunately, Guice was placed on IR and will miss the rest of 2019.
  • Outlook: Guice will take the offseason to get completely healthy and will be ready to go for Week 1 of preseason. Notably, players often look much better year two after an ACL repair.

Rashaad Penny, RB - Seattle Seahawks

  • Injury: Penny planted on his left leg and unfortunately sustained a torn ACL. The anterior cruciate ligament is within the knee and helps to stabilize the knee. It often is torn during non-contact injuries, like in Penny's case.
  • News: It was reported on Monday that Penny indeed had torn his ACL. Surgeons will allow for swelling to decrease before they perform ACL reconstruction surgery. Hopefully Penny avoided any additional damage to the MCL or menisci.
  • Outlook: With Penny out, Chris Carson has the Seattle backfield all to himself. In the fantasy semi-finals, you'll be able to lean on Carson and he should have a very nice day against the Panthers who have been very soft against the run. Carson should easily be an RB1 in Week 15.

Derrick Henry, RB - Tennessee Titans

  • Injury: Henry has been dealing with a mild hamstring strain in his left leg for the past few weeks and re-aggravated it on Sunday. The hamstring group is obviously on the back of the thigh and extends the hip and flexes the knee. It also plays a role in acceleration and deceleration. Henry is dealing with a Grade I strain given the fact he's been able to play.
  • News: He was not able to practice all week which is certainly not a good sign. Henry has insisted that he will be playing and I surprisingly believe him. Make sure to check 90 minutes before kickoff to see if he'll be active.
  • Outlook: If Henry does not play, Dion Lewis immediately becomes startable in what could be a shootout. The Titans have been hyper-efficient and the Texans have the skill players to go blow-for-blow with the Titans.

Alshon Jeffery, WR - Philadelphia Eagles

  • Injury: Jeffery planted on his right foot to start his route on Monday night and immediately went down. After further testing, it was determined he sustained a Lisfranc injury. Lisfranc injuries involve the metatarsal bones in the foot being displaced from the tarsus, which is another bone in the foot.
  • News: Jeffery will undergo surgery to repair his Lisfranc injury this week and will face a 9-month recovery which muddies the water for his 2020 prospects.
  • Outlook: Without Jeffery the Eagles' offense is just decimated. There's no other way to put it. Expect more 12 personnel with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert on the field at the same time.

Mike Evans, WR - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

  • Injury: Evans sustained a Grade II right hamstring strain in Week 14. As stated above, the hamstring group is obviously on the back of the thigh and extends the hip and flexes the knee. It also plays a role in acceleration and deceleration.
  • News: He has unfortunately been ruled out for the remainder of 2019 which is a real bummer for the fantasy semi-finals. Evans will be ready to go for training camp.
  • Outlook: It's to be seen if Chris Godwin will benefit from Evans being out but either way, you're going to play him. Expect more red zone looks for Godwin with Evans out.

D.J. Chark, WR - Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Injury: Chark sustained an ankle sprain in Week 14 and was seen after the game with a boot and scooter as to not weightbear on his foot. There are numerous bones in the foot with ligaments connecting them. Considering Chark was wearing a walking boot and utilizing a scooter, it is likely a Grade II sprain. When an ankle is rolled, we're often looking at a low ankle sprain involving the anterior talofibular ligament.
  • News: Chark has been ruled OUT for Week 15 although he will travel with the team to Oakland. Talk about a good teammate!
  • Outlook: With Chark sidelined, expect more targets to be funneled to Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley. The Jaguars are 6.5 point underdogs so expect Gardner Minshew to be slinging it around.

Concussion Crew

  1. Devante Parker, WR - Miami Dolphins
  2. Jared Cook, TE - New Orleans Saints
    • Parker and Cook sustained concussions in Week 14 and are questionable for Week 15. Parker turned in limited practices on Thursday and Friday while Cook was able to get a limited practice in on Thursday but a full practice in on Friday. Be sure to check active lists 90 minutes prior to kickoff to see if these two will be active.

As always, good luck this weekend!

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