Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: Injury notes, actives/inactives for Week 17

Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson (8) carries the ball against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

• Minshew Mania: Eagles QB Gardner Minshew is once again a recommended fantasy start with Jalen Hurts (right shoulder, doubtful) expected to miss another week.

• Adjust the ranks: Commanders RB Brian Robinson Jr. is a safer bet for 20-plus touches than ever with Antonio Gibson (foot/knee) already ruled out

• Please suit up: Packers WR Christian Watson (hip) is officially questionable but seems to at least have a chance of playing against the Vikings after getting in a limited practice on Friday.

Estimated reading time: 17 minutes

QB | RB | WR | TE


• Eagles QB Jalen Hurts (right shoulder, doubtful): Gardner Minshew is one of the NFL’s few backup quarterbacks with an actually decent track record of fantasy success. The 26-year-old signal-caller has managed to throw for multiple touchdowns in all three of his starts for the Eagles over the last two seasons, returning QB10, QB18 and most recently QB3 fantasy finishes for his efforts. Fire up Minshew as a legit low-end QB1 against the Saints.

Expert injury analysis: Hurts was a DNP Wednesday then logged two straight limited sessions. With a playoff spot already secured, I do not believe the Eagles will risk playing their starting quarterback. 

• Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa (concussion, out): Teddy Bridgewater will be under center against the Patriots. The former Vikings first-rounder did post an overall QB7 fantasy finish back in Week 6 but led the offense to just 15 and 16 points in his two extended appearances. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the small sample is that Tyreek Hill (29 targets) was easily featured as the No. 1 passing-game option ahead of Jaylen Waddle (15) during those two contests. 

Expert Injury Analysis: Tagovailoa will miss Week 17 due to his third concussion of the season. Due to the number of concussions he has suffered this season, he is likely to miss Week 18, as well.

• Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (right thumb/knee, not listed): Rodgers has been banged up all season but is good to go against the Vikings. It’d be nice if Christian Watson (hip) is also available, but even then it’s a good matchup against the league’s fourth-worst defense in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks. With Watson, Rodgers is deserving of top-10 treatment ahead of guys like Mike White and Kirk Cousins

• Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (knee, out): Tyler Huntley 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. Huntley hasn’t finished higher than the fantasy QB16 during his five appearances this season; he’s not a realistic fantasy option outside of desperate managers in two-QB/superflex formats.

Expert Injury Analysis: Jackson will miss another week with his PCL injury. I expect him back either next week or the first week of the playoffs.

• Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence (toe, questionable): Fully expected to continue to play through the pain. The Texans defense has been far better against the pass than the run this season, but Lawrence and company have looked capable of throwing on just about anyone when clicking this season. Overall, T-Law has peeled off top-10 fantasy finishes in six of his last seven starts. He’s my overall QB8 on the week ahead of guys like Gardner Minshew, Aaron Rodgers and Mike White.

Expert Injury Analysis: Lawrence was limited all week while he continues to deal with his toe injury. He will continue to play through it in Week 17, and I do not expect any limitations.

• Jets QB Mike White (ribs, not listed): The presence of White under center undoubtedly raises the ceiling of the pass-catchers involved, although he did engineer only two touchdown drives in eight quarters of football against the Vikings and Bills following the team’s dominant 31-10 win over the Bears. Still, his first two starts produced top-eight fantasy finishes, so he’s a legit low-end QB1 in a potential sneaky shootout against the Seahawks. White’s presence under center is especially good news for Garrett Wilson, who is locked in as a must-start WR1 after ripping off 5-95-2, 8-162-0 and 6-78-0 receiving lines in three games with White under center this season.

• Cardinals QB Colt McCoy (concussion, out): The magic man David Blough will be under center instead of Trace McSorley. It doesn’t look like DeAndre Hopkins (“knee”) is too keen on playing through the pain in order to be a part of an offense implied to score a pathetic 18.75 points against the Falcons. Blough literally joined the team on December 14. James Conner is the only recommended start inside of this offense.

• 49ers QB Brock Purdy (oblique/rib, not listed), Jimmy Garoppolo (foot, out): The 49ers are still one of just seven offenses throwing the football on fewer than 55% of their snaps in non-garbage time situations. It’s unlikely either Purdy or Garoppolo ever flirt with the sort of consistent passing volume to put up big-time fantasy numbers, but both have certainly demonstrated the ability to engineer the league’s eighth-ranked scoring offense for prolonged periods of time. Fire up Purdy as a rock-solid QB2 against a Raiders team that has seemingly thrown the towel in on this season.

Running back

• 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey (knee, not listed), Jordan Mason (hamstring, not listed): CMC has gone 35 consecutive non-injured/traded-in-the-middle-of-the-week games with 100-plus total yards or a touchdown. The health of Mason could take his snap rate from the upper 80s to something more in the 70s, but either way, there isn’t another running back who should be projected for more points this week than the game’s overall PPR RB3 on the season.

Expert injury analysis: Mason has been limited with a hamstring injury but will play in Week 17.

• Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (knee, not listed): Fire up fantasy’s overall PPR RB1 as just that against the Aaron Donald-less Rams defense. The only concern is the usual sky-high PPR-induced ceiling at hand: Ekeler ranks third on the Chargers with 38 targets since Keenan Allen (63) returned to action in Week 11. 

• Cardinals RB James Conner (illness, not listed): Conner hasn’t finished outside of the position’s top 20 since returning from injury in Week 9. He’s posted snap rates north of 90% in four consecutive games. It’d sure be a lot cooler if David Blough wasn’t under center, but Conner remains a volume-based RB1 in a winnable matchup against the Falcons.

Expert injury analysis: Conner was a DNP until Friday due to an illness. Still, I believe he will play in Week 17.

• Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle, questionable), Damien Harris (personal, not listed): Only James Conner (96% snap rate), Saquon Barkley (92%) and Stevenson (91%) played at least 90% of their offense’s snaps in Week 16. Yes, the latter back’s late-game fumble didn’t help his fantasy managers, but head coach Bill Belichick isn’t concerned, so you shouldn’t be either. Fire up the overall PPR RB9 on the season as just that ahead of his home matchup against the Dolphins.

Expert injury analysis: Stevenson has been limited all week with an ankle injury, but I expect him to play in Week 17.

• Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker (ankle, questionable), Travis Homer (ankle, questionable), DeeJay Dallas (ankle, not listed): Walker practiced less last week and wound up seeing 28 combined carries and targets on just 39 snaps. He’s fully expected to suit up Sunday against the Jets. It’s unlikely Walker fully takes over the passing-down role, though the potential for 20-plus touches makes him a weekly upside RB2 at worst. This is particularly true considering how much the Seahawks might have to lean on the run against Sauce Gardner and the Jets’ stingy secondary.

Expert injury analysis: Homer has been a DNP all week with an ankle injury, and I am not optimistic he plays in Week 17. Walker continues to manage his ankle injury and will play in Week 17. Dallas has been limited with an ankle injury, but I expect him to play in Week 17.

• Packers RB Aaron Jones (knee/ankle, not listed): Jones has dealt with an assortment of lower-body injuries this season. He has routinely practiced in a limited fashion and was spotted on the sideline getting taped up last week. Of course, fantasy managers are furious that the season’s overall PPR RB10 could barely find the field during must-win semifinal contests. A.J. Dillon has ripped off four consecutive top-20 finishes and sure seems to have the higher floor these days. Both Packers running backs should be treated as low-end RB2 options with unfortunate low floors due to the newfound uncertainty surrounding their respective rotation.

• Saints RB Alvin Kamara (quad/personal, not listed): The run-game usage involved has been fine enough to help Kamara work as the overall PPR RB14 this season, but last week’s RB9 finish marked the first time since Week 8 that he finished higher than 17th during a single week. Don’t expect a boom performance against the Eagles’ 10th-ranked scoring defense, but there remains just enough usage on the table for Kamara to continue to be a volume-based RB2 start, even if that’s sadly far from what you drafted him to be.

Expert Injury Analysis: Kamara was a DNP Wednesday and Thursday but was a full participant Friday. I expect him to play in Week 17.

• Eagles RB Miles Sanders (knee, not listed): Last week’s untimely fumble left a bad taste in the mouths of fans and fantasy managers alike. That said, Sanders has a weekly touch ceiling north of 20 with a still solid double-digit floor — it’d make sense if the Eagles continue to feed him plenty of touches with Jalen Hurts (right shoulder, doubtful) expected to be sidelined for another week. Fire up Sanders as the volume-based RB2 that he’s been all season. He continues to be a far better option in standard formats and in full-PPR leagues.

• Commanders RB Antonio Gibson (foot/knee, out): Brian Robinson has racked up 20-plus touches in four of his last six games. He was already going to be a volume-based RB2 play against the Browns’ 30th-ranked defense in PPR points allowed per game to the position even before Gibson was ruled out. Just don’t go crazy: Robinson has just nine receptions all season and was easily out-routed by Jonathan Williams (11 vs. 6) after Gibson was sidelined last week. I’m firing up Robinson as a borderline RB1 but wouldn’t start him over guys like Dalvin Cook, Rhamondre Stevenson and James Conner, who each have more potential for big-time work in the passing game.

• Texans RB Dare Ogunbowale (knee, questionable): Absence could more closely even things up with Royce Freeman and Rex Burkhead, but even then, neither would be anything more than a throw-up-in-your-mouth RB3 option inside of the Texans’ 30th-ranked scoring offense. The Texans have surpassed 300 total yards in just one of their last six games.

• Lions RB Justin Jackson (hip, questionable): Potential absence would quietly be great news for both Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift. Jackson has made this a legit three-back committee down the stretch, lowering the floor and ceiling alike for the Lions’ big-two backs. No matchup has a higher game total than Lions-Bears (52), and no offense is implied to score more points than the Lions (29). Williams and Swift would both enter the low-end RB2 conversation with Jackson completely out of the picture; just realize Craig Reynolds could also annoyingly get involved, too.

Expert injury analysis: Jackson was a late add to the injury report Friday. Typically this is not good news — he will need to be followed up until game time.

Wide receiver

• Bills WR Stefon Diggs (illness): Returned to practice on Friday after missing the first session of the week. Fire him up as his usual upside WR1 self ahead of Monday night’s shootout against the Bengals.

• Browns WR Amari Cooper (hip, not listed): Has only posted PPR WR54, WR61, WR44 and WR31 finishes in four games with Deshaun Watson under center, although poor weather hasn’t helped and Cooper himself has had some key drops during the stretch (including a wide-open 12-yard touchdown last week). Cooper has still seen nine, seven, six and 10 targets during the stretch, so fire him up as a borderline WR2 inside a passing game that should see better days the longer they continue to mesh with each other.

Expert Injury Analysis: Cooper was limited this week as he continues to deal with a hip issue. I expect him to continue to play through it in Week 17 without any limitations.

• Eagles WR A.J. Brown (knee, not listed): Brown has scored a touchdown and/or gained 100 yards in eight of his last 10 games. Fire him up as the upside WR1 he’s been all season, even with Gardner Minshew under center.

• 49ers WR Deebo Samuel (ankle/knee, out): With Deebo once again sidelined, continue to trust Brandon Aiyuk as a legit WR2 option despite George Kittle hogging all the touchdowns lately. The 49ers’ run-first nature doesn’t help the floors of the offense’s pass-game options, but they are all so talented that each continues to be a recommended start, especially ahead of such a smashable matchup against the Raiders.

Expert injury analysis: Samuel has been limited this week. I believe he returns to action in Week 17, but he will likely be eased back into his normal volume.

• WR Christian Watson (hip, questionable): Has just narrowly missed out on several more touchdowns over the past two weeks after scoring on seven different occasions in Weeks 10 through 13. Ultimately, Watson is a boom-or-bust WR2 if active with an awfully good chance of achieving the former outcome against the Vikings’ league-worst defense in PPR points allowed per game to the position. Romeo Doubs would be the biggest beneficiary and rankings riser if Watson can’t suit up.

Expert Injury Analysis: Watson logged a limited session on Friday after being a DNP all week with a hip injury. I am optimistic Watson plays in Week 17.

• Patriots WR DeVante Parker (concussion, out), Tyquan Thornton (knee, questionable): The absence of both would leave Jakobi Meyers as the clear-cut No. 1 receiver. Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor would fill out three-WR sets in an offense that might have to lean on the personnel group with Jonnu Smith (concussion, out) banged up, as well. And yet, only Meyers is someone to get at all excited about firing up in fantasy land: This offense has thrown for more than 225 passing yards just once during the last 10 weeks.

Expert injury analysis: Thorton has been limited all week with a knee issue, but I am optimistic he plays in Week 17.

• Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett (hand, questionable), Marquise Goodwin (shoulder/wrist, doubtful): Neither is set up particularly well against Sauce Gardner and the Jets’ stringy secondary. Reinjury — or limited reps — seem to be on the table for both, although Lockett is expected to play through his questionable tag. Still, D.K. Metcalf and (to a lesser extent) Noah Fant are the only recommended starts out of this passing game ahead of the fantasy championship.

Expert injury analysis: Goodwin has been a DNP all week with a shoulder/wrist injury, and I do not expect him to be ready for Week 17.

• Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins (knee, questionable), A.J. Green (illness, not listed): Nuk had the issue flair up on Friday and probably shouldn’t be relied on regardless of his game status with David Blough under center. His absence would leave Green, Marquise Brown and Greg Dortch in three-WR sets. Blough totaled four touchdowns and averaged 196.8 passing yards per game in five starts with the Lions in 2019. He’s at least theoretically capable of leading this offense to a few touchdowns, but none of the involved pass-game options should be viewed as anything more than low-floor FLEX options due to the potential for this offense to implode.

Expert injury analysis: Hopkins popped up on the injury report Friday with a knee injury, which is never a good sign. His availability is in question for Sunday and will need to be followed up on until game time.

• Steelers WR Diontae Johnson (hip, not listed): Expected to continue playing through the pain. Johnson has actually come on fairly strong, posting PPR WR25, WR11 and WR37 finishes over the last three weeks of action. The Ravens’ pass-funnel defense is hardly a matchup to fear, and Johnson has accordingly ripped off 8-105-2, 7-51-0 and 6-82-0 receiving lines in his last three matchups against them. Johnson is a volume-based WR3 inside of the Steelers’ 29th-ranked scoring offense.

• Saints WR Chris Olave (hamstring, questionable): Olave’s absence would lead to a boost for Rashid Shaheed. The stud rookie would be tough to trust against the Eagles’ lethal secondary due to the potential for limited snaps and/or re-aggravation with his health hardly guaranteed. Without Olave, Shaheed would enter the low-end WR3 conversation; just realize this passing game has surpassed 250 passing yards just twice all season and isn’t exactly the group to lean on in close start/sit decisions.

Expert injury analysis: Olave has been limited all week with a hamstring strain after missing Week 16. I expect the Saints to be cautious with their prized rookie — if he does play there is a high risk of reinjury.

• Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy (ankle, questionable), Courtland Sutton (hamstring, not listed), Kendall Hinton (hamstring, questionable): Jeudy has come on strong down the stretch, ripping off 5-65-0, 8-73-3, 7-76-0 and 6-117 receiving lines in his last four games. Of course, a lot of that production did come with Sutton and Hinton sidelined, but the talented third-year receiver has seemingly established himself as the passing game’s go-to No. 1 option and warrants WR2 consideration against the same Chief secondary that he scored three times against just three weeks ago.

• Ravens WR Demarcus Robinson (groin, not listed), DeSean Jackson (illness, not listed): Neither are recommended starts due to the low-floor nature of this ever-evolving Ravens passing game. Tyler Huntley has thrown for 187, 88, 138 and 115 yards in his four extended appearances this season with just one touchdown.

• Colts WR Ashton Dulin (concussion, out): Absence leaves Michael Pittman, Parris Campbell and Alec Pierce as the group’s clear-cut top three wide receivers. Of course, absolutely none of them carry a fantasy-friendly floor in an offense led by Nick Foles that could (somehow) get even worse if he’s benched for Sam Ehlinger. The matchup against the Giants’ banged-up secondary isn’t one to overly fear; just realize Pittman is the only somewhat viable fantasy option, and even then he’s nothing more than a volume-based WR3 with just a single touchdown since Week 1.

• Bears WR Chase Claypool (knee, questionable), Dante Pettis (ankle, questionable), Equanimeous St. Brown (concussion, not listed): Byron Pringle, Velus Jones and N’Keal Harry profile as the starting three wide receivers should all parties involved be ruled out. The matchup is certainly winnable against the Lions’ dismal secondary, but Justin Fields has thrown for fewer than 200 passing yards in all but two games this season, and none of his receivers warrant more than desperate WR4 consideration due to volume concerns inside of this run-first offense.

Expert Injury Analysis: Claypool logged two straight limited sessions to end the week due to a knee injury. He is trending in the right direction, and I am optimistic he can play in Week 17.

• Buccaneers WR Julio Jones (knee, questionable): Absence could lead to more deep air yards opportunities for Mike Evans and Scotty Miller. The former receiver has somehow gone 11 straight games without a touchdown; his previous longest scoreless streak in 2020-2021 was just two games. Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette are the only true recommended starts in this offense, although Evans still warrants borderline WR2 conversation thanks to the volume involved and idea that eventually he’ll find some regression into the end zone.

Expert Injury Analysis: Jones was limited all week with a knee injury, but I expect him to play in Week 17.

• Lions WR Josh Reynolds (illness, not listed): The Lions are featuring Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark as their top-two receivers. Reynolds’ presence will continue to unfortunately keep Jameson Williams from getting more of a full-time role.

• Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman (abdomen, IR): Last week JuJu Smith-Schuster (83% snaps) and Justin Watson (74%) were the only wide receivers to play even half of the offense’s snaps. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore have rotated inside an offense also happy to utilize plenty of two-TE formations. Only JuJu is a recommended start among the group’s wide receivers.

Tight end

• Patriots TE Hunter Henry (knee, questionable), Jonnu Smith (concussion, out): Henry can cautiously be fired up as a middling TE2, but this Patriots passing game has totaled more than 225 yards just once in the past 10 weeks. Henry himself has just two scores all season and zero games with more than 70 receiving yards.

• Bills TE Dawson Knox (hip): Continue to fire up Knox as the touchdown-dependent TE2 he’s been all season ahead of Monday night’s shootout against the Bengals.

• Bengals TE Hayden Hurst (calf): Looks to be on track to return after starting off the week with a full practice. Hurst will be back in the TE2 conversation if active on Monday night, although fantasy managers will only have Bills TE Dawson Knox or backup Bengals TE Mitchell Wilcox to fall back on if Hurst winds up being a game-day inactive.

• Rams TE Tyler Higbee (elbow, questionable): Can tentatively be fired up as a volume-based TE1 if active thanks to his every-down role and status as Baker Mayfield’s No. 1 target. Higbee could be facing a Chargers defense without stud S Derwin James (concussion, out); he’s a top-10 play at the position this week.

Expert injury analysis: Higbee has been limited with an elbow injury, but he will play in Week 17 without any limitations. 

• Seahawks TE Will Dissly (knee, IR), Noah Fant (knee, not listed): Dissly’s absence would seemingly set up Fant for more of a featured role, but his health and the presence of Colby Parkinson don’t help matters. Neither does the matchup against a Jets defense that has allowed just two touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season, tied for the third-lowest mark in the NFL.

Expert injury analysis: Fant has logged some limited sessions this week with a knee injury and is trending in the right direction to play in Week 17.

• Colts TE Kylen Granson (ankle, out): Granson’s absence led to a two-TE committee with Jelani Woods and Mo Alie-Cox last week. Woods has started to come on strong with 8-98-0, 2-28-0, 1-36-0 and 3-43-0 receiving lines over the past four weeks, but those performances also demonstrate the consistent low-scoring upside inside the league’s 31st-ranked scoring offense. Woods isn’t more than a low-floor TE2 despite the enhanced opportunity.

• Broncos TE Greg Dulcich (hamstring, IR): Expect a rotation of three to four tight ends. None are realistic fantasy options. If anything, Dulcich’s absence is better news for Jerry Jeudy and the offense’s wide receivers.

Expert Injury Analysis: Dulcich will miss Weeks 17 and 18 due to a hamstring injury. Jeudy has been limited all week with an ankle injury, but I expect him to play in week 17.

• Panthers TE Tommy Tremble (hip, questionable): Absence would lead to more of a full-time role for Ian Thomas. Even then he wouldn’t be on the fantasy radar inside of the NFL’s most run-heavy offense since Sam Darnold took over.


• Chargers DL Joey Bosa (groin, IR), S Derwin James (concussion, out): Bosa is expected to return (bad news for Cam Akers and the Rams) offense in general while James won’t suit up after last week’s massive concussion-induced collision (good news for Tyler Higbee and the Rams offense in general.

Buccaneers CB Carlton Davis (shoulder, doubtful), CB Jamel Dean (toe, questionable), S Antoine Winfield Jr. (ankle, questionable), S Mike Edwards (hamstring, questionable): All good news for D.J. Moore; just realize the Panthers have deployed the NFL’s highest run-play rate since Sam Darnold has been under center.


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