Fantasy Football: Week 16 Injury Report
Injuries are an unfortunate part of football. It's one thing we hate having occur to not only the players we roster but within the game itself. With that said, this does create opportunities for teammates, opening up potential pickups in season-long leagues while also producing value plays in daily fantasy football.
Using the practice report, we can glean a lot of information based on who's available and what coaches are saying from press conferences. This knowledge can allow us to make emergency plans to pivot or change our lineups when inactives are announced.
Based on this week's practice reports, here are a few quick-hitters to give you a leg up on lineup decisions as crunch time approaches for lineup lock.
Melvin Gordon (knee) is expected to play on Saturday against the Baltimore Ravens. It was confirmed after Thursday practice that he will play. This will be Gordon's first game back since Week 12. Prior to injury, Gordon was seeing elite usage with 21.3 opportunities per game -- 6 of those coming in the form of targets -- and averaging 1.3 touchdowns. Our projections have him as the RB5 with near identical opportunities as his seasonal average. This will be a tough test for Gordon and the Los Angeles Chargers offense, though, as the Ravens are the second-best defense in our model.
Keenan Allen (hip) is also expected to return to the Los Angeles Chargers and was confirmed in the same report as Gordon. It is notable, however, that Allen was limited throughout practice. Allen left the game last week, which resulted in a Mike Williams breakout game, who posted season-highs in targets (9), receptions (7), and total touchdowns (3) for a whopping 29.5 PPR points. With Allen back, Williams should be second fiddle again and could even be behind Gordon in targets, so starting him would be point chasing. Allen is our WR11 on the week with a projected 17.4 PPR points.
Alshon Jeffery (illness) missed the first two practices but was able to return on Friday. That's good news for Nick Foles, who hit Jeffery on all eight targets last week for 160 receiving yards. That was one of Jeffery's best fantasy games on the season, scoring 24.0 PPR points. The Philadelphia Eagles are in do-or-die mode at this point in the season and will be seeking a second straight win against the Houston Texans. Fortunately for Jeffery and the Eagles' passing offense, the Texans are 22nd in passing defense.
Todd Gurley (knee) is questionable to play on Sunday and has not practiced this week. This is overly concerning for fantasy owners who have been riding with Gurley all year to potentially not have him in their championship game. Gurley's backup, Justin Davis, also injured himself last week and has not practiced either. As an insurance policy, the team signed C.J. Anderson on Tuesday. If neither Gurley or Davis can play, which doesn't appear that way at this point in the week, John Kelly is a must add off the waiver wire (15.2% owned on ESPN) and a top play on FanDuel at minimum price ($4,500). An important note to fantasy players, the Rams play at 4:05pm EST on Sunday, and if it comes to a game-time decision, news will not break until after 1:00pm EST kickoff.
James Conner (ankle) will not be available for a third straight week, leaving Jaylen Samuels as the Pittsburgh Steelers' primary ball carrier. Conner was interviewed on Wednesday and showed little confidence in his injury, which reflects his DNP practice designation. The Steelers are in good hands with Samuels, who had 19 carries on 142 rushing yards against the New England Patriots but only had 2 targets. The Steelers are traveling to the Superdome to take on the New Orleans Saints in what oddsmakers are making a 53.0-point over/under -- the second-highest on the week. If you have Samuels, he would be a plug-and-play RB2.
Lamar Miller (ankle) is expected to be a game-time decision on Sunday. Miller has practiced in limited fashion after suffering an in-game ankle injury last week. Alfred Blue filled in for Miller and played 77% of the teams snaps and handled 75% of running back carries. Blue accumulated only 15 total scrimmage yards on 11 touches though. Miller missed a game in Week 5 and Blue accounted for 20 carries and 8 targets, so the volume could be there for Blue if Miller sits again. Blue would be another cheap starting running back on FanDuel where he is priced at $5,300.
Kenny Golladay (chest) was limited in practice but is expected to play. As Detroit's number-one receiver, Golladay has seen massive volume with no one behind him effectively stepping up. Golladay will have another tough matchup this week against the Minnesota Vikings, but that didn't seem to stop him last week. Golladay racked up 7 catches on 8 targets with 146 receiving yards against a top-10 pass defense on the road against the Buffalo Bills.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (groin) suffered an in-practice groin injury on Thursday and left early. His availability will be updated over the weekend. If Smith-Schuster can't play, that would put rookie James Washington in an increased role within the offense. Washington has 33 targets on the season as a part-time player but only has caught 39% of his targets in acting as the team's deep threat (15.4 average depth of target). Smith-Schuster is currently the team leader in catches (95) and receiving yards (1,274). He hasn't missed a game yet and would be a big blow to the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense.
Odell Beckham (quad) continues to stay sidelined this week at practice and will not play against the Indianapolis Colts. Beckham hasn't played since Week 13 and with the New York Giants' season effectively "over," Beckham may be shut down for Week 17 as well. With Beckham sidelined, the Giants have seen Evan Engram as their lead receiver, not Sterling Shepard, with 17 targets in the last 2 weeks with 152 receiving yards. Even though Engram gets a volume bump without Beckham, the Giants' offense overall takes a hit, averaging 14 points without their star receiver, as noted by Graham Barfield.
Tyler Boyd (knee) missed practice this week and is not expected to play for the Cincinnati Bengals. This would leave John Ross as the leading receiver here, but with the overall offensive outlook looking poor for the Bengals, he would be tough to roster in any format. To an extent, this wouldn't help Joe Mixon's prospects, either, but his volume could allow him to overcome poor offensive efficiency and still be viable in fantasy, as he's averaged 24.7 touches over the last 3 games.
As it is with all injuries, each individual situation is fluid. Make sure to keep tabs throughout the weekend and keep up with our numberFire player news feed for up-to-date reports prior to kickoff. Good luck this week!
Gabriel Garrido is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Gabriel Garrido also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username guhreedoe28. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.