Henry John @HankTimeSports
One of the most difficult elements of the Fantasy Football Playoffs is dealing with injuries. Chances are, if you made the playoffs in your league, you managed to steer mostly clear of the injury bug during the regular season. However, the NFL season is long and grueling. The final quarter of the season is when players are most likely to suffer a new injury, or sit out with nagging aches should their own team not be in contention. Of course, this just opens the door for backups to shine. Here are some impactful Fantasy injuries to monitor heading into Week 15 and beyond, and some prime candidates to be this year’s next men up as a result.
*Starter’s season-long positional ranking based on FantasyPros PPR scoring calculations*
You have to give Jacobs a ton of credit for only missing his first game this past week. His shoulder has reportedly been fractured since Week 7. He will receive an MRI this week that will determine his fate for the remainder of the season.
If Week 14 was any indication, 26-year old DeAndre Washington will take over the majority of Jacobs’ workload in his absence. Against the Titans, he carried 14 times for 53 yards and 1 touchdown. Despite backfield mate Jalen Richard being known for his prowess in the passing game, Washington also outnumbered him in receptions hauling in 6 for 43 yards. Overall, he held a 20-9 touch advantage. There will always be a role for running backs in a Jon Gruden-run offense. If Jacobs misses extended time, Washington could be a surprise Fantasy Playoffs hero.
Calvin Ridley’s quest for 1,000 yards receiving got cut short Sunday to an abdominal injury that caused him to be carted off the field. He was officially ruled out for the remainder of his sophomore NFL season Monday.
Operating as the third receiver option after the trade of Mohamed Sanu, Gage will now be bumped up another notch with the loss of Ridley. He has seen a minimum of 4 targets in each of the last six games, with 9 or more in three of those games. Unfortunately, his production has failed to match the target share thus far, as he only has surpassed 60 yards receiving once and has a single touchdown reception. His looks figure to be more meaningful down the stretch.
Jeffery has been in and out of the lineup all season, much like the majority of Eagles wideouts. The foot injury he suffered in Monday night’s game against the Giants was the straw to finally break the camel’s back, so to speak. The Eagles said Tuesday Jeffery will miss the remainder of the season.
While it’s safe to say the Eagles pass offense will be flowing through tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert more than ever going forward, someone has to play receiver. With Nelson Agholor dealing with his own knee injury that forced him out of Week 14’s game, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward might be wiser options for the do-or-die Fantasy Playoffs. Arcega-Whiteside was forced out of Monday’s game himself with a hamstring injury, but is reportedly fine as the week of practice begins. As the only healthy receiver left, Ward caught 4 of 9 targets for 34 yards Monday. The Philadelphia offense is desperate for a spark, and who knows? Maybe one of these receivers can deliver in the Fantasy Playoffs given the opportunity.
A major rebound year for DeVante Parker took a tough detour as he left Sunday’s game in the second quarter with a concussion. The initial prognosis is that he will be unable to clear protocol in time for Week 15.
One would be wise to still attempt to exploit a prime Fantasy matchup for the Dolphins’ passing attack this week going up against the New York Giants. Should Parker indeed miss, Allen Hurns is the best candidate to do so. With the injuries to Parker and slot man Albert Wilson Sunday, Hurns saw his highest targets (8) and yardage (68) totals of the season. The Giants boast the league’s 28th ranked pass defense, per Football Outsiders. Its doubtful many Fantasy owners expected any Dolphin to be a potential playoffs hero preseason, let alone Allen Hurns!
Any injury is an unfortunate circumstance. But when it occurs late in a 45-10 blowout loss, it is all the harder to swallow. That is the case with D.J. Chark. His breakout season is now week to week, as is he with a foot injury.
Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole are also in play here, but I like Chris Conley to take the biggest leap. The 27-year old has already seen 7 or more targets in six games this season. His two touchdowns came in the two games where he surpassed 90 yards receiving as well. Expect Gardner Minshew to look his way often in Chark’s absence.
Jared Cook was on his way to putting up a truly special Fantasy stat line when he was forced to exit Sunday’s game with a concussion. He is considered unlikely to go in Week 15 at present. Cook was banged up earlier in the year as well, but his 534 receiving yards and 6 TDs clearly show there is value in the void he leaves.
The de facto tight end replacement for Cook is Josh Hill. When Cook missed Weeks 7 and 8, Hill was able to produce 8 receptions, 82 yards receiving, and a touchdown in the two games combined. While he will likely see increased looks from Drew Brees, the wild card in this situation is do-it-all man Taysom Hill. While he has been primarily used as a rusher in the Saints offense this season, I wouldn’t put running a few routes over the middle of the field past him. Adding to the intrigue in this specific case ahead of Week 15 is that New Orleans’ opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, allows the third most Fantasy Points per game to the tight end position.
The high ankle sprain that Daniel Jones suffered in Week 13’s loss to the Green Bay Packers may inevitably spell the end of his rookie season, or close to it. Current estimates suggest him to be out 2-4 weeks.
The Giants may have lost, but Eli Manning did throw for over 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns Monday night against a tough Eagles defense. If he can expand his brilliant second quarter play to encompass a full game’s worth, he could be a surprise Fantasy Playoffs asset, especially against the leaky Dolphins defense this week.