The Training Room: Week 15 Injury Updates
For those of you still reading this, that hopefully means you are on to Week 15 with your title chances still in tact! I'm not really sure I've had a "light" week of injuries to cover so far this year in fantasy football, as it seems every week the injuries continue to be harder to keep on top of due to the shear volume of players getting hurt. The running back position continues to be ravished with injuries as LaGarrette Blount heads to IR this week and Jonathan Stewart may miss some time due to a foot sprain.
Playoffs can be tricky when trying to navigate through injuries, but waivers are where you can make or break your season at this point in the year. For the sake of not being overly redundant, we excluded players who have been put on IR or will be going on IR shortly in order to focus on players who could still be available during the fantasy playoffs. If you have any further questions with regards to injuries, you can hit me up on Twitter @russmanalastas.
On The Mend
Andre Ellington (Turf Toe): Ellington missed Tuesday's practice, which is not a good sign considering he's been out for the last two weeks. There is doubt Ellington suits up as he continues to have some discomfort when pushing off that toe. Projection: Ellington misses Week 15. The Cardinals seem to be doing fine with David Johnson as the lead back, so I believe the Cardinals ultimately try and get him as healthy as they can for the playoffs in the hopes they can make a deep run with him.
Andrew Luck (Kidney Laceration): Luck is going to attempt to practice this week, but the fact it's still up in the air does not bode well for his ability to return this week. Projection: Luck misses Week 15. The Colts have made it clear they will not rush their franchise QB back until he's 100 percent. Luck isn't where he wants to be health-wise, but he seems to be getting closer at possibly the right time for both fantasy owners and his team.
Peyton Manning (Plantar Fascitis): Manning remains week-to-week at this point, but it looks like he's going to attempt to practice this week to test out his foot. Brock Osweiler's play has brought into question whether or not he's the answer for the Broncos, so if Manning can play, there's no reason to think he won't when he's ready. Projection: Manning misses 1-2 more weeks. Manning will likely regain his starting job back when he's finally healthy, but he's not a recommendation for the fantasy playoffs.
Karlos Williams (Sprained Shoulder): (UPDATE 12/17/15) Williams returned to practice on Wednesday, which tentatively puts him on schedule to suit up for this Sunday's game. Projection: Williams active for Week 15. Williams shoulder injury progressed slower than expected, so barring any setbacks, he'll return to being Shady's backup.
Rishard Matthews (Broken Ribs): (UPDATE 12/17/15) Matthews returned to practice on a limited basis, making him likely to return this upcoming weekend. Projection: Matthews active for Week 15. Broken ribs are never fun to deal with as the soft tissue structures are the more painful tissues compared to the bone. Matthew's return to the field hurts DeVante Parker's upside as his volume will likely be scaled back to incorporate Matthew's back into the fold.
Crockett Gillmore (Strained Back): Gillmore didn't practice all week last week, so we'll get a better idea depending on if he's able to practice Wednesday. Projection: Gillmore misses Week 15. The Ravens don't really have anything to play for at this point, so they will not put any of their players at risk for re-injury if they are not 100 percent.
Dontrelle Inman (Strained Neck): (UPDATE 12/17/15) Inman returned to practice Wednesday on a limited basis, but it's a good sign considering the scary neck injury he suffered just two weeks ago. Neck injuries can be tricky, but the fact that he's back at practice could mean he's trending towards playing this weekend Projection: Inman active for Week 15. The Chargers offense continues to be decimated with injuries, so Inman returning is encouraging for a slumping offense. Unfortunately, the lack of weapons continues to make the Chargers skilled players a poor play, even in a good matchup against the Dolphins.
The Training Room
Bottom Line: You hate to see quarterbacks attempt to make tackles after an interception, but the turnover happened so quick that Dalton reacted in a way that was very costly. Dalton visited a hand specialist on Monday and does not require surgery, but fractures can take at minimum four weeks to heal. Dalton will be week-to-week for now, but it will be an uphill battle to get his thumb situated for the end of the regular season.
Projection: Dalton misses the rest of the fantasy playoffs. That's all that really matters at this point for this column. There's talk about him possibly coming back for Week 17, but that would be a stretch. Grip strength, his ability to have good touch on the ball and the potential of his thumb getting hit again while playing are all considerations the Bengals medical staff are taking a look at before they think he's ready.
Bottom Line: I don't think there's as much to this injury as it seems, and I think Gurley will be just fine heading into Thursday night. He'll most likely get some limited practices in this week, but there shouldn't be too much concern.
Projection: Gurley starts Week 15. Continue as you were.
Projection: Hoyer misses 1-2 weeks. It's unfortunate timing as the Texans will now turn to T.J. Yates to hopefully pull out a win to take over the AFC South division lead. Hoyer could be back depending on how he progresses, but considering he missed one week the first time around, I'm not liking his chances of playing again during the fantasy playoffs.
Bottom Line: Bruised ribs have a tendency to linger for a while, with returning to practice and games being a matter of pain tolerance. Early reports sound like Ware is in a good amount of pain, which would make him very questionable for Week 15 against the Ravens.
Projection: Ware misses Week 15. West owners will be very pleased as the Chiefs have the Ravens up next. But as bad as the Ravens have been, they still defend the run fairly well. Ware could potentially be back next week, but it's likely that he returns 100 percent heading down the stretch.
Bottom Line: Hasselbeck continues to be banged up in every game he starts, with the latest game showing why Father Time might be catching up with him. Head coach Chuck Pagano originally stated Hasselbeck will be available this upcoming weekend, but has not really updated the situation
Projection: Hasselbeck is active Week 15. Charlie Whitehurst (yes you read that right) will be waiting in the wings should Hasselbeck get hurt again, but for the Colts sake, you hope Hasselbeck can give it a go Sunday.
Bottom Line: The official diagnosis is a bruised kneecap, with Jackson being day-to-day. There is a bursa sac on top of the kneecap that can at times cause the swelling and discomfort in the kneecap region, but the medical staff will give Jackson every opportunity to get healthy before Sunday.
Projection: Jackson starts Week 15. Barring any setbacks or lack of progression, he should be able to resume his normal role in the offense. He could be just setting up to be a decoy if he's not 100 percent healthy, but he's always a threat whenever he is on the field.
Bottom Line: Stewart was seen in a walking boot as he underwent an MRI on Monday, which revealed a foot sprain. There were no specifics as to where the foot sprain is, but regardless, it'll be a matter of getting his pain under control. A sprained foot is always difficult to return from as a RB, but even more so when that RB has had some issues with foot/ankle issues in the past.
Projection: Stewart misses 1-2 weeks. The Panthers and Coach Rivera have made it clear they will not sacrifice their players' health in exchange for remaining undefeated. The Panthers will likely form a RBBC with JStew out, with Tolbert and Fozzy Whitaker most likely to see more carries.
Bottom Line: Same as Jonathan Stewart, Olsen had a precautionary MRI on Monday to determine the extent of his knee injury. The MRI revealed no real structural things to be concerned about, so consider Olsen day-to-day.
Projection: Olsen starts Week 15. With the Panthers almost a lock for the top seed in the NFC, the Panthers could use this opportunity to reduce the workload on some guys to get them healthy for the playoffs. Olsen definitely fits that bill, but he remains heavily involved when he's in the game, so I'd expect him to still be effective even if he plays limited snaps.
Bottom Line: The Jaguars failed to get specific as to what type of injury Yeldon is dealing with, and in addition to his knee injury, he's also dealing with an ankle/groin injuries. He'll be day-to-day until we hear further, but it doesn't sound good to start the week.
Projection: Yeldon misses Week 15. The knee is definitely the concern, but the fact he is dealing with multiple other injuries makes it difficult for me to think he'll get healthy enough to suit up. Denard Robinson will fill in as the Jaguars RB in a decent matchup against the Falcons.
Projection: Eifert will attempt to get through the concussion protocol to be a weapon for A.J. McCarron against the 49ers. The fact that he just returned from a stinger this past week before suffering the concussion could complicate matters, as pre-existing neural symptoms could cause the concussion to linger for longer depending on how severe his symptoms currently are.
Bottom Line: Eifert misses Week 15. The Bengals will try and lock up a playoff spot without Eifert in the hopes that the rest will allow him to make a bigger impact in the playoffs. Unfortunately, it remains to be seen if he's played his last snap during the fantasy playoffs.
Bottom Line: Clay missed the last three quarters of this past weekend's game against the Eagles due to his low back pain. He'll be day-to-day, but the fact he wasn't able to return to the game after the back injury is concerning. It could potentially just be muscle spasms, but even those can take some time to recover.
Projection: Clay misses Week 15. Spinal pain is hard to get under control, especially when you try to ramp up activity as the constant twisting, turning and bending can cause increased irritation to a tissue trying to heal.
Bottom Line: Jackson will be week-to-week, but this late in the year, there's doubt he'll be able to finish out the season.
Projection: Jackson misses the rest of fantasy playoffs. VJax goes down with another serious knee injury that will ultimately end his season. He's droppable at this point in redraft leagues.
Bottom Line: Kerley will be day-to-day with the injury, but calf injuries do linger with a high risk of re-aggravation if players return too quickly.