Fantasy football aftermath: The injuries of Week 15
So many injuries.
Hey, buddy, I’m sorry the quarterback of your favorite team got hurt Sunday.
I mean, I don’t know which team is your favorite team, but I’m just playing the odds here, and I feel pretty secure. If your favorite team’s quarterback didn’t get hurt, maybe your running back did. Or your wide receiver was already hurt, and you don’t know when he’ll be back. One way or another, there’s a good chance someone you root for wasn’t on the field for his full complement of snaps this week.
So, while there still weren’t a whole host of out-and-out disastrous injuries in Week 15, there are a lot of situations we need to deal with going forward. Like, a lot a lot.
Let’s just say some retired guys put in some calls to their agents late Sunday afternoon, and I made some (yes, joking) prognostications:
— Daniel Kelley (@danieltkelley) December 14, 2014
Enough stalling. Time to deal with all of it:
Quarterback injuries of Week 15
- The Texans lost Ryan Fitzpatrick for the rest of the year in Sunday’s game to a fractured leg. He’ll have to have surgery, and considering his general struggles and the fact that he’s 32 now, we might not be seeing Fitzpatrick again. Replacing Fitzpatrick, Tom Savage hurt his knee at the very end of the game and will have a Monday MRI. With Ryan Mallett always on injured reserve, if Savage can’t play next week, the team will have to turn to Thad Lewis and free agency for quarterbacking. The end result is that we’re just about out of fantasy value in Houston pass-catchers.
- With Zach Mettenberger already done for the time being, and maybe the season, with a shoulder injury, the Titans lost Jake Locker Sunday to a shoulder injury of his own. The team went back to Charlie Whitehurst, and with both other quarterbacks banged up, this sounds like another situation where an unemployed guy might get a phone call soon.
- Peyton Manning was briefly forced from Sunday’s Broncos-Chargers game with a combination of flu-like symptoms and a thigh injury. He came back in the second half and looked fine — or at least “fine” by Manning’s recent, less-lofty standards — so it looks like Manning will be OK. But man, did you have to hold your breath.
- Washington had to go back — again — to Robert Griffin III after Colt McCoy aggravated his neck injury on the first drive Sunday. Griffin played well, and the fact that McCoy has been forced out of back-to-back games doesn’t bode well. It’s too early to say for sure, but best guess is that Griffin will start Week 16, Kirk Cousins will rise back to backup, and we get to have the whole Washington-quarterback conversation yet again.
- The Panthers are saying all the right things about Cam Newton returning in Week 16 after he missed Week 15 with the back injury he suffered in his Tuesday car accident. It’s far too easy to say, “Well, Tony Romo missed only one game with his back injury, and these are the same!” People aren’t the same, breaks aren’t the same, pain tolerances aren’t the same. Derek Anderson played well enough Sunday, and Newton is still the Panthers’ franchise. That said, the team suddenly finds itself somehow in first place in the NFC South, so if Newton can go, it’s a safe bet he will.
- Going back to Thursday, the Cardinals lost Drew Stanton to a knee injury for four weeks, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. The best scenario has Stanton back for the second round of the playoffs, if the Cardinals are still going then, but it definitely rules him out for the rest of the fantasy season. The team still has Ryan Lindley and Logan Thomas on the roster, and this is another situation where a free agent might be in order. The Cardinals’ skill players on offense, who have had enough trouble scoring this season, will suffer even more with these new quarterbacks. They’re all droppable.
Running back injuries in Week 15
- The Chiefs didn’t ride Jamaal Charles heavily Sunday, with Knile Davis getting the touchdowns. Charles has had 12 or fewer carries in each of the last three games. While he’s admitted to his injuries (knee and ankle) bothering him in the game, Charles seemed more frustrated with his light usage than with his infirm body. Then, late in the game, Charles was pulled after a big hit that had him checked for a concussion. The Chiefs had a big lead and didn’t need to ride the star. By all accounts, he’ll be fine.
- The concussion suffered by Frank Gore late in the first half was scary, with the running back collapsing on the field as he tried to walk off. It’s far too early to say what this means for Gore going forward; he’ll be going through the league’s concussion protocol. Later, in the third quarter, Gore’s backup, Carlos Hyde, hurt his back in the third quarter and he’ll be getting X-rays to see where he stands going forward. The 49ers‘ offense has already stagnated, and if they’re forced to play without their top two running backs, that will only exacerbate the problem.
- Things were looking good for Rashad Jennings and his ankle, right up until his first carry Sunday, when he aggravated his ankle injury and was lost for the game. At this point, with nothing to play for, and an obviously bum ankle not getting better quickly enough, there’s no reason for the Giants to bring Jennings back for next week. Best bet is he’s done for the year, and Andre Williams will carry the load.
- After everyone’s fears all week that Eddie Lacy might not even play Sunday as he dealt with a hip problem, the Packers‘ back played to the tune of 108 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Any worries we had about him should be gone. He’s fine.
- The Chargers played Sunday’s game without Ryan Mathews, with the veteran back deactivated with his ankle injury. Without him, Branden Oliver ran for 26 yards on 12 carries, and Donald Brown had 18 on five. Basically, the Chargers didn’t have a running game Sunday — against Denver, that’s excusable, but you’d have to figure Mathews being on the field would at least have helped things. You’ll need to see that Mathews has practiced before running him out there in Week 16.
- The Ravens went without Lorenzo Taliaferro Sunday, rolling with Justin Forsett and Bernard Pierce. The rookie hasn’t done much of anything of late, and his ankle/knee injuries should render him fully droppable in all leagues, even if he weren’t already.
- DeAngelo Williams was inactive again Sunday as he deals with a hand injury. Without Williams, Jonathan Stewart again had a fine game, with 73 rushing yards and 6 receiving. Whenever Williams does return, Stewart’s stock will take a hit, but Stewart has done enough that he’ll be a reasonable flex play, Williams or no Williams.
- The Broncos broke down and put Montee Ball on injured reserve this week, ending his season. Ronnie Hillman briefly looked like he’d make it back for Sunday’s game, but he, too, was deactivated. You’d expect Hillman back for next week, but at this point it will just be as a guy to steal touches from Juwan Thompson; C.J. Anderson has the starting gig locked down.
Wide receiver injuries in Week 15
- San Diego receiver Keenan Allen had an awkward fall early in the game Sunday. Eventually, in the third quarter, he was carted to the locker room and didn’t return. The injury obviously limited Allen, who had only three catches for 18 yards in the game. He’ll get more tests done during the week, so it’s too early to guess at Allen’s Week 16 status. If he were out, Malcom Floyd would be the prime beneficiary, with Eddie Royal and Antonio Gates seeing an increase in targets as well.
- At first it seemed unlikely Percy Harvin would even play Sunday after his Week 14 ankle injury, but he did, albeit without a lot of impact. Harvin had one run for 10 yards in Sunday’s game, but was held catchless. It sounds like his usage and ability, and not his ankle, will be what could hold him back the season’s last couple weeks.
- It didn’t show much during the game, but T.Y. Hilton apparently hurt his hamstring Sunday, and is expected to go get an MRI Monday. With Reggie Wayne also struggling and Hakeem Nicks being Hakeem Nicks, any Hilton absence would result in a big uptick in usage for Donte Moncrief.
- Andre Johnson couldn’t clear the league’s concussion protocol for Sunday and was inactive. There’s no way to know whether he’ll be around for the team’s Week 16 game, but considering the team’s quarterback situation (see above), you don’t want to use Johnson even if he does play. Shame.
- From a pass-catching perspective, the Falcons didn’t really miss Julio Jones Sunday, as Roddy White, Harry Douglas and Devin Hester all had fine fantasy days. Still, Julio Jones is Julio Jones, and the team is going to want him back from his hip injury as soon as possible. The news about Jones’ hip got progressively worse over the course of the week, so it’s hard to say he’ll be back for next week. If he does play, you have to use him because of who he is, and if he misses again, Douglas and Hester will remain interesting on the fringes.
- Torrey Smith was the bigger injury question of the Ravens’ two Smiths Sunday, as he continued to deal with a sprained knee. He clearly is not back to 100 percent, but with the Ravens still right in the mix for a playoff spot, they’ll need to use Smith if he can go at all. Meanwhile, Steve Smith Sr. played after dealing with an illness. Hard to imagine that will hinder him in Week 16; the bigger problem is that he just hasn’t performed as well lately as he did early in the season.
Tight end injuries in Week 15
- After some back-and-forth, the Lions finally placed Joseph Fauria on injured reserve over the week. His season is over. Fauria doesn’t have a lot of fantasy value for himself, but when he plays he has something of a nose for touchdowns, which means his absence could help Eric Ebron, Golden Tate and/or Calvin Johnson.
- The Bengals were without Jermaine Gresham Sunday as he dealt with a toe injury. With Tyler Eifert also out, the team barely had a tight end — Kevin Brock caught his only target for two yards. Gresham had precious little fantasy value to begin with, and his injury takes away whatever there was.
- We expected Julius Thomas to be close to 100 percent for Sunday, but the tight end was not a full participant in the game, with Virgil Green getting a lot of work as a blocker. Thomas caught only one pass in the game. Still, all signs point to him playing in Week 16, and with another week to heal further and the fact that, you know, it’s Julius Thomas, it sounds like he’ll be back in all lineups again.