The Training Room: Week 16 Injury Updates
Championship week! For those fighting for the opportunity to rub it in to your league, claim a trophy, and win some cash, this is it. Despite it being close to the end of the regular season, the injury bug continues to wreak havoc on the NFL, as it claims a bunch of significant names who could have big implications for your roster. Not to mention the suspension of Odell Beckham Jr. (I have him in two of my leagues I'm currently in the finals for), there could be some glaring holes that need to be filled on the waiver wire.
The key thing to remember when it comes to guys who are currently hurt is that the training/medical staff will not put guys at further risk by rushing them back, especially if the team is out of playoff contention. You'll need to have a backup plan, and maybe even a backup backup plan to play out the possible scenarios that could happen leading up to this weekend. Be sure to check out Pat Fitzmaurice's http://www.4for4.com/fantasy-football/2015/w16/waiver-wire-watch-week-16http://www.4for4.com/fantasy-football/2015/w16/waiver-wire-watch-week-16 for all your needs as to who gives you the best chance to win this upcoming weekend.
On The Mend
Brian Hoyer (Concussion): Hoyer remains in the concussion protocol, with the Texans not likely to rush him back even with them regaining control of the AFC South this past weekend. Brandon Weeden will continue to be under center until Hoyer returns. Projection: Hoyer misses Week 16. There's an outside chance Hoyer could be back for Week 17, but even that is in question due to the short span of time in between concussions he suffered this past month.
Andre Ellington (Turf Toe): Ellington is likely more day-to-day at this point as he's a few weeks removed from the original turf toe injury suffered. He could return, but it looks like the Cardinals have their bellcow back to rely on in David Johnson even when Ellington does return. Projection: Ellington misses Week 16. The Cardinals will likely try and get Ellington as healthy as he can before the playoffs start. I don't think there's too much urgency to rush him back, so they'll continue to rotate Kerwynn Williams and Stepfan Tayor behind David Johnson until Ellington is ready.
Peyton Manning (Plantar Fascitis): Manning will practice again this week and will likely see more reps to see how his foot responds to the increased volume. I still believe he's a week away, but if he's able to gut it out, the Broncos may turn to him in a huge game against the Bengals. Projection: Manning misses Week 15. The risk of re-aggravation to the plantar fascia is a lot higher when trying to ramp up activity too soon. Manning isn't a recommended option even if he does return, as there's not a lot of optimism he'll play at pre-injury levels. Even if Manning could go this week, would the Broncos risk the idea of him playing now if he gives them the best chance to win in the playoffs?
Jonathan Stewart (Sprained Foot): The RBBC that filled in for JStew did fairly well against a Giants defense that struggles against the run. Stewart will remain week-to-week with the Panthers not looking to risk any setbacks in his recovery. Projection: Stewart misses Week 15. The Panthers will continue to ride Cam Newton, who has completely taken over with a less than stellar supporting cast. The Panthers backfield will continue to be a committee, but it seems the Panthers are trying to get Cameron Artist-Payne some more touches just in case Stewart isn't ready come playoff time.
Tyler Eifert (Concussion): Eifert will continue to work through the concussion protocol in the hope he can be ready for Monday. The extra day might allow him to suit back up depending on how well he progresses through the week, but it's still too early to tell. Projection: Eifert misses Week 16. The Bengals will continue to try to get Eifert back to 100 percent for the playoffs. There's a chance he returns for Week 17, but depending on the Bengals playoff seeding situation, it may not matter.
T.J. Yeldon (Sprained MCL): We'll get a clear picture of just how severe Yeldon's MCL sprain is this week. If he's able to at least get some limited practice time in with a brace, he could potentially be a game-time decision. MCL injuries, even low grade sprains, can take time to recover, especially at the running back position. Projection: Yeldon misses Week 16. The Jaguars aren't playing for a playoff spot so there's no real need to rush Yeldon back which could potentially increase his risk for another injury.
Stevie Johnson (Groin Strain): Johnson returned to practice on a limited basis on Tuesday. He'll continue to be day-to-day, but he's trending in the right direction: Projection: Johnson is active Week 16. With the Chargers playing on Thursday night, it seems like Stevie could be a game-time decision, but I believe he tries to play. His volume might depend on how well he is feeling, so he makes for a risky option.
Charles Clay (Low Back Strain): Clay will continue to be day-to-day, but if Clay doesn't progress this week to the point where he's close to playing, they could shut him down for the season. Projection: Clay misses Week 16. The Bills won't do much to rush him back as they are out of playoff contention, but with the Bills hurting for playmakers besides Sammy Watkins, it will be a nice boost to Tyrod's stock if Clay is back in the lineup.
Julian Edelman (Jones Fracture): I was pretty adamant about the Patriots not playing Edelman to reduce his risk of aggravating his surgically repaired foot before heading into the playoffs. However, it seems he's progressed enough where they are giving it some serious thought about playing him at the end of the regular season to possibly test out his foot. He'll continue to be day-to-day, but even if he's active, his effectiveness coming off of foot surgery makes him a tough play. Projection: Edelman is active Week 16. I can't believe I'm saying this, but with the Amendola injury, it seems like Edelman will at least try and test out his foot in game situations to see how it responds. The volume won't be there like it normally is for Edelman, but you could do worse. He's a boom/bust WR play for me.
The Training Room
Bottom Line: MCL injuries are usually multi-week injuries even if it is just a minor sprain. WIth the Bills out of the playoff picture again, I would expect the Bills not to risk anything with Shady and put him on IR.
Projection: McCoy is out for rest of season. Shady had an up and down year as injuries had him hampered to start the season. Karlos Williams should see an uptick of carries with Shady out, but Mike Gillislee should see some looks too especially since Williams is just returning from a shoulder injury.
Bottom Line: Brees will visit with Dr. Anderson, who is the same doctor who has been overseeing the treatment of Peyton Manning's foot. For those who watched the MNF game, Brees was clearly bothered by the foot and was constantly moving it around to keep it loose. Unfortunately, the tightness and pain will only get worse after the injury occurs and it will be a matter of pain tolerance if Brees wants to play the last two weeks of the season.
Projection: Brees misses Week 16. It's not something fantasy owners want to hear if you have him as your starting QB during championship week. However, the Saints aren't playing for anything but pride at this point, and with Brees getting older, it would be in his best interest to rest the foot as to not have it linger for any extended amount of time.
Bottom Line: Robinson will be day-to-day heading into Week 16 against the Saints. The fact he hasn't been in a walking boot is an encouraging sign that he'll at least try and give it a go on Sunday barring any setbacks.
Bottom Line: Peterson's ankle injury looked pretty severe when it intially happened. However, in true form it seems like Peterson recovers so much quicker from injuries than most and appears to be just day-to-day after the injury. Peterson gave a vote of confidence at a charity event stating he's going to be ready to play this weekend against the Giants, but I would take that with a grain of salt and focus more on if he's able to practice in any way this week.
Projection: Peterson is active Week 16. The Vikings have a huge game this upcoming Sunday night, so I would expect Peterson to play even if he's less than 100 percent. Those who have AP should try and grab Jerrick McKinnon just in case, as he performed well in AP's absence this past weekend.
Bottom Line: Jeffery has spent a lot of time here in my column as he continues to battle through soft tissue injuries that limit his ability to finish games. He'll continue to be day-to-day, and although the Bears coaching staff is the worst when it comes to giving updates on player injuries, I would expect Jeffery on the field for Week 16.
Projection: Jeffery is active Week 16. Barring any setbacks, which can never be ruled out with Jeffery this year, he should be able to suit up against the Bucs. He makes for a risky proposition for the fantasy championship, but could pay big dividends if he's not used just as a decoy.
Bottom Line: Consider Green day-to-day for now and I believe that if the Bengals game was a close one this past weekend, he still would've been able to play. Low back pain is not fun especially for a receiver who has to rely on twisting and bending motions repeatedly throughout the game.
Projection: Green is active Week 16. Green should be in line to start in a big game this upcoming weekend against the Broncos.
Bottom Line: Beat reporters have stated Draughn's injury is day-to-day, and hopefully should get back on the practice field to test out his knee before this Sunday's game against the Lions. His MRI results came back negative for any serious structural damage, but the fact that they had to do an MRI to begin is concerning for his potential to suit up this weekend. The 49ers also just signed DuJuan Harris off the Ravens practice squad, which could be an indicator the 49ers are making plans just in case Draughn isn't able to go.
Projection: Draughn misses Week 16. I would avoid the 49ers backfield at all costs this week, especially with the 49ers struggling to move the ball on offense. The Lions defense could be a nice streaming option for those looking for help.
Bottom Line: Amendola will be week-to-week after aggravating his knee that he returned from just a few weeks ago. There's a chance they shut him down until the playoffs to make sure he stays as healthy as possible.
Projection: Amendola misses the rest of regular season. Even if Amendola were to play, the potential return of Julian Edelman will slide Amendola back into his normal role.