Fantasy Football: Week 16 injury roundup

2TC4C6W New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (95) sacks Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/John Munson)

• QB concussion concerns: C.J. Stroud, Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are all at serious risk of missing this weekend’s game as they work through concussion protocol.

• Win or go home: In what is likely the semi-finals week for the majority of fantasy players, injury concerns across the entire league make navigating those lineups even trickier.

• Dominate your fantasy league in 2023: For up-to-date fantasy draft rankings and projections, check out PFF’s fantasy rankings tool!

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

We’re getting down to the wire for the 2023 fantasy football season heading into Week 16, as many fantasy leagues are in their penultimate week, making lineup decisions and navigating injury concerns ever more essential.

It sounds like we are getting multiple high-level producers in Josh Jacobs, Jonathan Taylor, Tyreek Hill and Isiah Pacheco back this week, and all immediately re-enter as must-starts in a do-or-die week.

On the other hand, names like C.J. Stroud, Trevor Lawrence, Ja’Marr Chase, and Keenan Allen have already been ruled out or are on the back foot in their chances to play this weekend while a beefy list of fantasy contributors statuses hang in the balance as we head into the weekend. Starting with the quarterback news around the league, let’s dive in and see who’s in and who could potentially be out for a pivotal Week 16.

WR:CB Matchup Chart 

QB C.J. Stroud (concussion), Houston Texans

Listed as doubtful after missing Houston’s overtime victory in Tennessee this past weekend, Stroud has not practiced this week and is still working through concussion protocol. Returning to practice is one of the later stages of that protocol, so a return to practice on Friday could give him a sliver of a chance to return Sunday, but don’t get your hopes up.  

QB Trevor Lawrence (concussion), Jacksonville Jaguars

Missing practice Wednesday and Thursday, Lawrence is working through concussion protocol as well. Like Stroud, a return to practice Friday would at least give him a shot of playing but expectations as of Thursday are that he will be sidelined this Sunday. Stepping in would be backup C.J. Beathard, who did average 9.6 yards per attempt and threw for 106 yards on 14 dropbacks in limited action in Week 13. The Bucs pass defense ranks below average in yards per attempt, touchdowns allowed and total pressures, but a receiving corp already without Christian Kirk and potentially Zay Jones puts a significant cap on this offense as a whole.

QB Joe Flacco (calf), Cleveland Browns

Limited in practice this week, Flacco will likely carry a questionable designation into Sunday, but it’s hard to anticipate the Browns sitting him down unless he suffers a setback. Not exactly reliant on his mobility, Flacco draws an average Week 16 matchup in Houston and is firmly in the mix as a starter in Superflex leagues.

QB Kenny Pickett (ankle), Pittsburgh Steelers

Already ruled out of a third straight contest, the Steelers will turn to Mason Rudolph over Mitchell Trubisky in Pickett’s place this weekend when Pittsburgh takes on the Cincinnati Bengals. Outside of a flier on Jaylen Warren and maybe Diontae Johnson, there isn’t much about this offense to get excited about at the moment.

QB Zach Wilson (concussion), New York Jets

With Wilson still working through concussion protocol as of Thursday, it would take a return to practice Friday to have a chance of being cleared for Sunday against the Washington Commanders. In his place, Trevor Siemian has been prepping to start, further hamstringing an already struggling offense. Breece Hall remains a solid play, but trusting Garrett Wilson in a win-or-go-home situation feels risky.

WR Ja’Marr Chase (shoulder), Cincinnati Bengals

Knocked out in the second half of the Bengals' Saturday win over due to a shoulder injury, Chase has been ruled out for Week 16’s contest with the Pittsburgh Steelers after not practicing this week. Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd could be in line for big days against a Steelers defense that ranks in the bottom quarter of the league in pressures generated, yards per attempt allowed and passing touchdowns allowed over the last four weeks provided Jake Browning can continue to play competently under center.

WR Tyreek Hill (ankle), Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins did not miss Hill too much against the New York Jets, but a tougher matchup with a non-conference opponent in the Dallas Cowboys awaits for Week 16. Hill was held out of practice Wednesday along with basically everyone else on the Dolphins offense, but a return to practice Thursday provides more optimism than last week that he will be available this weekend. This is a situation to watch moving into the weekend. Many fantasy managers are relying on his talents in a must-win week.

RB Josh Jacobs (quad), Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders scored 63 points against the Los Angeles Chargers last Thursday, serving as the final straw for the Tom Telesco and Brandon Staley brain trust in Los Angeles, but one of the more shocking facts here is that the Raiders did that sans their All-Pro workhorse running back, as Jacobs was sidelined due to a quad injury. Heading into Week 16, Jacobs sat out of Wednesday’s practice, but for whatever it is worth, head coach Antonio Pierce has heavily implied that Jacobs will be out there Sunday when they take on the Kansas City Chiefs. If he does end up missing a second game, Zamir White figures to be the primary beneficiary again.

WR Michael Pittman Jr. (concussion), Indianapolis Colts

Limited Wednesday, Pittman was cleared for contact and practiced Thursday after a devastating hit from Damontae Kazee on Saturday that saw Kazee suspended by the NFL. Such a quick turnaround certainly raises concerns over whether he will be cleared for gameday, but things appear to be trending in the right direction at the moment.  

WR Keenan Allen (heel), Los Angeles Chargers

After missing last Thursday’s drubbing at the hands of the Las Vegas Raiders, the current PPR WR3 has already been ruled out for a second contest this weekend against the Buffalo Bills after missing practice Wednesday and Thursday once again. With the state of the Chargers season, there is no sense in pushing the veteran to play if he’s not fully healthy, and it would not be a shock if they decided to shelf him until the offseason.

RB Kenneth Walker III (shoulder), Seattle Seahawks

Walker has dealt with a few different injuries this season and popped up this week on the injury report with a shoulder issue that has held him out of practice. There seems to be a fair bit of uncertainty around Walker’s availability for this weekend, and he will need to be closely monitored ahead of Sunday.  

TE Dalton Kincaid (shoulder), Buffalo Bills

Managing a shoulder injury, Kincaid was limited last week in practice and attempted to play against the Dallas Cowboys, but he was limited to just 32 total snaps and 13 routes run. Limited again this week, the range of outcomes is just too volatile to trust as a must-start TE this weekend despite an appealing matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers defense.

WR Zay Flowers (foot) and WR Odell Beckham Jr. (calf), Baltimore Ravens

After missing Wednesday’s practice, Flowers returned Thursday, providing optimism the rookie will be able to play against the San Francisco 49ers with an extra day’s rest ahead of Monday night. On the other hand, Odell Beckham has sat out of practice this week and could be in danger of missing this weekend, which would open more opportunities for Flowers and Rashod Bateman.

RB Brian Robinson (hamstring), Washington Commanders

After suffering a hamstring strain early in the Commanders' loss to the Miami Dolphins back in Week 13, Robinson missed last week against the Los Angeles Rams despite a Week 14 bye and did not participate Wednesday or Thursday, putting him serious jeopardy of being sidelined for the Commanders Week 16 game against the Jets. Count on being without him for another week unless he gets a good day of practice in on Friday.

RB Zack Moss (forearm), Indianapolis Colts

Touted by many as a potential league winner due to Jonathan Taylor’s untimely thumb injury in Week 12, Moss has been unable to recapture that early-season magic in Taylor’s absence. Now the script has flipped, with Moss missing multiple practices this week due to a forearm issue that forced him out of the Colts’ Saturday win over the Steelers, while Taylor is back at practice and appears on track to play this Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. Taylor should return seamlessly to the top role in that backfield while Zack Moss (if healthy) or Trey Sermon could factor in as well after a solid showing in Week 15.

WR Zay Jones (hamstring), Jacksonville Jaguars

Jones has dealt with multiple injuries this year, and it looks like the latest hamstring tweak will sideline him for Week 16 barring a turnaround Friday or Saturday. With Trevor Lawrence unlikely to clear concussion protocol in tim and the Jags WR corps already without Christian Kirk, Calvin Ridley and Evan Engram should get a lot of looks from C.J. Beathard.

RB Alexander Mattison (ankle), Minnesota Vikings

Mattison was not able to recover from his ankle injury suffered in Week 14 in time to play last Saturday against the Cincinnati Bengals and has been held out of practice this week ahead of a divisional matchup with the Detroit Lions this weekend. Ty Chandler has been more involved of late, and last week without Mattison, he went off for 132 yards on the ground and added a touchdown along with three catches for 25 yards. Even if Mattison is active this weekend, it feels like Chandler’s backfield for the rest of the season.

RB Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle), New England Patriots

Having missed the last two games due to an ankle injury, it sounds like Stevenson will not be available this weekend when the Patriots take on the Denver Broncos, once again handing the reins to Ezekiel Elliott.

WR Chris Godwin (knee), Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Godwin was downgraded to a “DNP” Thursday after putting in limited work Wednesday ahead of the Bucs’ Week 16 contest with the Jacksonville Jaguars. This trend is a bit troubling and is worth keeping an eye on if you’re relying on Godwin. If he’s unable to go, Trey Palmer and Cade Otton could see bumps in usage alongside Mike Evans.

RB Keaton Mitchell (knee), Baltimore Ravens (IR)

The electric undrafted rookie had his late-season breakout cut short on Sunday night due to a knee injury suffered against the Jacksonville Jaguars that will see him miss the remainder of the regular season and any postseason action the Ravens see. Gus Edwards is once again the appealing name in that backfield with his goal-line skillset and opportunities, but Justice Hill should see another uptick in usage as well with Mitchell sidelined.

WR Skyy Moore (knee), Kansas City Chiefs (IR)

The Chiefs wide receiver woes have been well documented this season, and the latest development has seen the 2022 second-round pick placed on injured reserve this week after suffering a knee injury against the New England Patriots this past weekend. Moore had not exceeded 25 routes run in a game since Week 7 or exceeded three targets since Week 6, but it is one less body for Patrick Mahomes to throw to moving forward.

Others to monitor 

WR Marquise Brown (heel), Arizona Cardinals

The man known as “Hollywood: has been nursing a heel issue for several weeks now, missing practice this week ahead of the Cardinals' Week 16 contest. He has been limited in game action even when active, failing to record a catch the last two weeks. Despite an appealing matchup, he’s too risky to slot in for a win or go-home week.

RB De’Von Achane (toe) and Raheem Mostert (knee/ankle), Miami Dolphins

After missing Wednesday’s practice, the explosive duo returned Thursday and both are expected to play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. It has become clear that the Dolphins are comfortable allowing rest days early in the week for guys dealing with injury concerns. Miami does have several injury concerns along the offensive line, namely Terron Armstead, Robert Hunt, and Austin Jackson all being at risk of missing this weekend, and a tough matchup with Dallas’ defense could turn some people off but at this point in the season their firepower in a lineup is a must.

WR Dontayvion Wicks (ankle), WR Christian Watson (hamstring) and WR Jayden Reed (toe), Green Bay Packers

The Packers' young WR room continues their injury woes. Christian Watson is likely out for at least another week due to his hamstring strain suffered in Week 13. Jayden Reed has not practiced this week due to a turf toe issue, but he played last weekend despite a similar trend. Wicks has been struggling with an ankle injury for a few weeks now, but has been limited this week in practice and is expected to play barring any setbacks. An appealing matchup awaits in Carolina this weekend, making Reed and Wicks (if active) potential lotto tickets alongside Romeo Doubs

RB Isiah Pacheco (shoulder), Kansas City Chiefs

Held out of the last two contests due to a shoulder injury, Pacheco is back at practice this week and appears on track for returning close to his typical usage off the bat ahead of a favorable matchup with a Las Vegas Raiders defense that has been better in recent weeks but is still suseptible to the run.

WR Nico Collins (calf) and Noah Brown (knee), Houston Texans

The Texans WR duo has made this list for several weeks now, but it sounds as if both are trending upwards after Collins missed last weekend’s win over the Tennessee Titans. They’re both a risky play with C.J. Stroud sidelined, especially against a formidable Cleveland Browns defense.

RB Aaron Jones (knee) and RB AJ Dillon (thumb), Green Bay Packers

Just as Jones returns from his knee issues, Dillon began his struggle with his right thumb that held him out of the Packers' loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend. Green Bay sounds optimistic they will both be available, but it sounds as if Dillon is the one to watch moving into the weekend if he cannot confidently grip a football.

RB Kareem Hunt (groin) and RB Jerome Ford (wrist), Cleveland Browns

Both limited this week, Ford and Hunt have dealt with minor nicks for a few weeks now but have not been in danger of missing major game time. Expect them both to play this weekend.


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