Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: Injury notes, actives/inactives for Week 16

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew (10) passes the ball against the New York Jets during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

• It Hurts: With Jalen Hurts (shoulder) sidelined, Philadelphia Eagles QB Gardner Minshew profiles as a rock-solid fantasy QB2 against the Dallas Cowboys.

• Phew: Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb (foot) is good to go for Saturday. He returned to practice on Thursday and was not included in the injury report. 

• Injury leads to opportunity: Houston Texans WR Chris Moore (foot) could be looking at a featured role once again if Brandin Cooks (calf) joins Nico Collins (foot, IR) on the sideline.

Estimated reading time: 17 minutes

QB | RB | WR | TE


Quarterback

• Eagles QB Jalen Hurts (shoulder, out): Gardner Minshew is one of the NFL’s few backup quarterbacks who boast a fairly decent track record of fantasy success. The 26-year-old signal-caller managed to throw multiple touchdowns in both of his starts for the Eagles last season, returning QB10 and QB18 finishes for his efforts. Fire up Minshew as an upside QB2 in a matchup with no weather concerns.

• Bills QB Josh Allen (right elbow, not listed): Allen was limited on Wednesday but is good to go for Sunday. His rushing upside could be featured more than ever against a Bears defense that has already allowed a league-high eight rushing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. This should be music to Allen’s ears: His 37 rushing touchdowns since 2018 are tied for the 10th-most in the league. 

• Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (knee, out), Tyler Huntley (right shoulder, questionable): Head coach John Harbaugh has already confirmed that Huntley will start Saturday against the Falcons. The third-year QB theoretically has the sort of rushing ability to be a better fantasy quarterback than real-life talent, but this Ravens offense is so devoid of passing upside that the backup is nothing more than a low-end QB2 option.

• Steelers QB Kenny Pickett (concussion, not listed): Pickett is good to go for Sunday’s matchup against the Raiders. The weather isn’t ideal in Pittsburgh — or anywhere this week, for that matter — so it’s tough to expect more out of the league’s 27th-ranked scoring offense despite the fairly winnable matchup at hand.

• Titans QB Ryan Tannehill (ankle, out): Malik Willis will get the start against the Texans’ (surprisingly) top-five defense in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks. Willis started against the Texans back in Week 8 and was asked to pass the ball just 10 times. His 5-12-0 and 8-40-0 rushing lines in two starts weren’t nearly enough to make up for his status as a complete zero in the passing game. Other than Derrick Henry, no Tennessee player is a recommended start in the fantasy semis.

• Cardinals QB Colt McCoy (concussion, out): While McCoy himself hasn’t been the most solid fantasy option this season, the Cardinals at least have a weather-friendly matchup at home against the Buccaneers this Sunday night. More important than either quarterback’s personal fantasy stock is the downgrades involved for DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise Brown. The former remains a volume-driven WR2 play, while Hollywood shouldn’t be started until he's closer to 100%.

• 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo (foot, out), Brock Purdy (oblique, not listed): Purdy has thrown multiple touchdowns in all three of his extended appearances this season, thanks mainly to the 49ers’ plethora of skill-position talents. While only one of those performances was prolific enough to help him finish better than the week’s QB15, he’s set up reasonably well at home in one of the slate’s few games without monster weather concerns.


Running back

• 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey (knee, not listed), Jordan Mason (hamstring, questionable): Fire up CMC as his usual sky-high upside RB1 self. He’s not expected to leave the field much at all, with Elijah Mitchell (knee, IR) and Deebo Samuel (ankle/knee, out) sidelined once again.

• Browns RB Nick Chubb (foot, not listed): Early-week DNPs left some concern surrounding Chubb’s status, but he doesn’t even have an official designation after getting in a full session on Thursday. Fire him up as his usual RB1 self inside a messy weather situation that could lead to an even bigger workload than usual.

• Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker (ankle, questionable), DeeJay Dallas (ankle, questionable): Head coach Pete Carroll expects both to play through their ailments. This sets up Walker as an easy top-15 play at the position thanks to his potential to see 15-plus touches in a Week 16 matchup with a game total close to 50.

• Dolphins RB Jeff Wilson (hip, questionable): Raheem Mostert can be fired up as a legit borderline RB1 ahead of a potential shootout (at least relative to this brutal week) against the Packers if Wilson isn’t healthy enough to suit up. Otherwise, Mostert would still be the recommended start out of the two but not necessarily someone who would need to be squeezed into lineups of most shapes and sizes.

• Steelers RB Najee Harris (hip, not listed): Harris is good to go for Saturday’s matchup against the Raiders. It’d be a lot cooler if the second-year back were more involved in the offense’s passing game, but he still profiles as a borderline RB2, thanks to the likelihood that he flirts with 20-plus carries in another meh-weather spot.

• Packers RB A.J. Dillon (concussion, not listed), Aaron Jones (knee, not listed): Both are good to go for Sunday’s matchup against the Dolphins. Jones continues to profile as the more fantasy-friendly option of the pair — especially in a matchup that could feature a trailing game script — but Dillon has been coming on strong as the weather has gotten colder.

• Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle, questionable), Damien Harris (thigh, questionable): Fire up Stevenson as a volume-based RB1 regardless of Harris’ final status. Nobody is taking away the workhorse’s fantasy-friendly passing-game usage.

• Commanders RB Antonio Gibson (foot, not listed): Gibson has the potential to see more snaps than Brian Robinson any time the Commanders find themselves trailing. However, the 49ers boast the league’s single-best defense in PPR fantasy points allowed per game to the position.

• Broncos RB Latavius Murray (foot, questionable): Murray is inexplicably in the RB2 conversation thanks to sweet, sweet volume. Of course, the Broncos don’t boast the scoring upside to make Murray a must-start, but fantasy managers could still do worse than 15-plus touches out of their FLEX option.

• Raiders RB Zamir White (ankle, questionable): Won’t factor into the backfield committee, regardless.

Wide receiver

• Bengals WR Tee Higgins (hamstring, not listed), Trent Taylor (hamstring, not listed): Higgins seems to be getting healthier and should be treated as the usual rock-solid WR2 he’s been all season when active.

• Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett (hand, out), Marquise Goodwin (wrist/ankle, questionable): D.K. Metcalf is a top-10 receiver this week against the Chiefs’ bottom-five defense in PPR points allowed per game to the position. Goodwin is more of a boom-or-bust WR4 if healthy enough to suit up.

• 49ers WR Deebo Samuel (ankle/knee, out): Once again sidelined. Don’t discount the possibility of Brandon Aiyuk booming after disappointing in Week 15.

• Cardinals WR Marquise Brown (groin, questionable), Greg Dortch (knee, not listed): The presence of Trace McSorley under center makes both options non-recommended starts in fantasy formats of all shapes and sizes.

• Bears WR Chase Claypool (knee, doubtful), Equanimeous St. Brown (concussion, out): The brutal weather in Chicago makes it tough to trust any associated pass-catching options on the Bears side of the ball.

• Saints WR Chris Olave (hamstring, out), Jarvis Landry (ankle, IR): The brutal weather in Cleveland makes it tough to trust any associated pass-catching options on either side of the ball.

• Steelers WR Diontae Johnson (toe, questionable), George Pickens (illness, not listed): Johnson has posted back-to-back top-25 finishes after having zero during the first 13 weeks of the season. He’s a volume-based WR3 if healthy enough to suit up, while Pickens has settled in as more of a boom-or-bust WR4 inside the league’s 27th-ranked scoring offense.

• Titans WR Treylon Burks (concussion, questionable): Won’t be a recommended start if active due to the presence of Malik Willis under center.

• Texans WR Nico Collins (foot, IR), Brandin Cooks (calf, questionable), Chris Moore (foot, questionable): Moore will be a volume-based WR3 play if active and if Cooks joins Collins on the bench against the Titans’ pass-funnel defense. Otherwise, neither will be a recommended start due to the lack of upside for anyone involved in the league’s 30th-ranked scoring offense.

• Cowboys WR Noah Brown (foot, not listed): I could see his role dialed back with T.Y. Hilton expected to make his Cowboys debut. Neither are recommended starts against the Eagles’ elite pass defense.

• Broncos WR Courtland Sutton (hamstring, questionable), Kendall Hinton (hamstring, out): Jerry Jeudy’s status as a volume-based WR3 is contingent on Sutton and Hinton staying on the sideline. Jeudy would be downgraded to a much thinner WR3 play if no longer the obvious featured target inside the Broncos’ league-worst scoring offense.

• Patriots WR DeVante Parker (concussion, out), Jakobi Meyers (shoulder, questionable), Tyquan Thornton (knee, questionable): Meyers is tentatively expected to suit up. Still, these injuries could also result in a full-time role for Nelson Agholor, who is awfully affordable on DraftKings for the low price of $3,300. None are recommended starts in re-draft formats due to Mac Jones’ inability to supply any sort of boom upside for this group.

• Buccaneers WR Julio Jones (knee, questionable): Will only be a boom-or-bust WR5 option if healthy enough to suit up inside this floundering Buccaneers offense.

• Eagles WR Zach Pascal (concussion, questionable): Quez Watkins would have more of a full-time role if Pascal is out. Neither are recommended fantasy options with Gardner Minshew under center.

Tight end

Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (shoulder, not listed): Goedert can immediately be fired up as a top-six option at a position that hasn’t put forward any level of consistency the entire season. The only players at the position who I would start ahead of him: Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, George Kittle, T.J. Hockenson, Dalton Schultz and maybe Taysom Hill.

• Bengals TE Hayden Hurst (calf, out): Mitchell Wilcox will continue to be the team’s primary pass-catcher at the position, but he’s not a realistic fantasy option in re-draft formats due to the likelihood that most of the passing game flows through the receivers.

• Browns TE David Njoku (knee, not listed): The brutal weather in Cleveland makes it tough to trust any associated pass-catching options on either side of the ball.

• Seahawks TE Noah Fant (knee, questionable): Tentatively expected to play through the pain. Still, the Seahawks have been fine rotating players at the position.

• Colts TE Kylen Granson (ankle): Absence could lead to bigger roles for Mo Alie-Cox and Jelani Woods. Still, a rotation still seems likely inside a potentially weak offense led by Nick Foles.

• Chiefs TE Jody Fortson (elbow, out): Noah Gray should have a slightly bigger role than usual as the now-primary backup 

Other

• Rams DL Aaron Donald (ankle, unlikely to play rest of season): Clearly great news for Latavius Murray and the entire Broncos offense. The Rams have allowed 90, 165 and 138 rushing yards in three games without Donald this season.

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