Merry Christmas, happy holidays and congratulations to all of the fantasy football league champions that were crowned this weekend. Week 16 has come and gone which means the end of the fantasy football season for many people. However, there are still people that play in leagues which go through Week 17 so the injury report is still a vital part of your daily reading. There are several teams vying for playoff berths and positioning so how they handle their injured players is anybody’s guess. The key this week will be following updates and looking for reports right up until game time next weekend. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the fantasy football emergency room.
Melvin Gordon (RB-LAC) – The Chargers got the win they needed against the Jets but also lost their star running back. Melvin Gordon suffered an ankle injury on Sunday during the Chargers’ 14-7 win and ended up in a walking boot after the game. The extent and severity of the injury is unknown right now so we may not know for several days whether it appears that Gordon can play next weekend against Oakland. Gordon has rushed for 1,012 yards and eight touchdowns to go along with 52 receptions for 445 yards and four touchdown catches. He is a must-start RB1 every week and would be a devastating loss if he cannot play in Week 17.
Antonio Brown (WR-PIT) – We already knew that Brown would miss the rest of the regular season with a partially torn calf he sustained last week against New England. Now it has been confirmed that he will not be ready for the Wild Card round if the Steelers end up with the number three seed. Pittsburgh currently has a one game lead over Jacksonville for the second seed, so getting that first round bye is even more important for the Steelers since they would be without their elite wide receiver once again. Brown had an incredible season and deserves to be in the discussion for MVP. His injury very likely cost many fantasy GMs a league championship as Martavis Bryant and Juju Smith-Schuster are not enough to replace the kind of production Brown provides on a weekly basis.
Jordy Nelson (WR-GB) – Nelson suffered a shoulder injury on Saturday night and was taken out of the game against the Vikings during the second half. He appeared to be in a tremendous amount of pain so with nothing left to play for he will likely miss the season finale next week. Nelson has floundered since Aaron Rodgers got hurt as all six of his touchdown receptions came within the first five games of the season. If he is in fact done for the year, he will finish with an underwhelming 53 receptions for 482 yards and those six touchdowns.
Chris Hogan (WR-NE) – Hogan did practice in a limited capacity last week but was held out of the Patriots win against his former team. He has been dealing with a shoulder injury for the past couple months and has only seen game action once since Week 8. New England is clearly being conservative and cautious with their players in advance of the playoffs so do not expect anything to change for Week 17 either.
DeMarco Murray (RB-TEN) – Murray has been diagnosed with a sprained knee after undergoing an MRI and now appears unlikely to play in the season finale against Jacksonville. The Titans are fighting for the playoffs but may be missing half of their two-headed monster in the backfield. Murray has regressed this season rushing for only 659 yards but he does have six rushing touchdowns and one touchdown reception. He has also seen his playing time diminished due to the emergence of Derrick Henry. Despite needing the game desperately, Tennessee is most likely going to be without Murray in Week 17 so look for Henry to see an increased role and be a borderline RB1 option with that opportunity.
Emmanuel Sanders (WR-DEN) – This has been a lost season for the Broncos and all of their offensive players. Emmanuel Sanders has perennially been one of the most productive wide receivers in PPR leagues but has been limited to 47 catches for 555 yards and only two touchdowns this year. He has dealt with an ankle injury for quite some time and was ruled out of this past week’s game against the Redskins. He even had several extra days to recover since Denver had played in the Thursday night game the week before so his prognosis for Week 17 is not good. Even if he plays, his value will be hampered due to the horrendous quarterback performance by Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian or whoever else John Elway signs off the street to play.
Sterling Shepard (WR-NYG) – Adding further injury to insult, Sterling Shepard was taken out of the Giants game in the 4th quarter with a neck injury. He has been dealing with migraine headaches over the past few weeks so an injury like this could be even more serious. The Giants clearly have nothing left to play for as pride isn’t even an option anymore so Shepard is in all likelihood done for the season where he will finish with 59 catches for 731 yards and two touchdowns. He was the sole survivor of the Giants massacre at wide receiver but was barely healthy after Week 5 and was victimized by the horrendous offensive performance put on by Eli Manning and company.
Evan Engram (TE-NYG) – If there is one bright spot for the Giants in this dismal, miserable dumpster fire of a season, it is the emergence of rookie tight end Evan Engram. There were some growing pains, but Engram has caught 64 passes for 722 yards and six touchdowns mostly as the primary receiving option on the field. He stayed injury-free until this past weekend against Arizona when he suffered a rib injury during the game. There is a good chance the Giants simply shut him down for the season and avoid risking further injury to him.
DeSean Jackson (WR-TB) – Jackson suffered an ankle injury last Monday night against Atlanta and was unable to practice during the week. As a result, he was held out of this past weekend’s game against Carolina and could be in jeopardy of missing the season finale as well. Jackson has 50 catches for 668 yards and three touchdowns this year as Jameis Winston’s number two wide receiver. The Bucs offense never caught fire so Jackson’s impact was minimized thus rendering him relatively useless from a fantasy perspective.
Rex Burkhead (RB-NE) – The Patriots running back committee has been a little thin lately thanks to Burkhead’s knee sprain. It has been reported that he will miss the rest of the regular season but should be able to return for the playoffs after the Patriots’ first round bye. Burkhead has only 264 yards rushing but he does have five rushing touchdowns and three receiving scores making him a viable streaming option in standard leagues. Dion Lewis has really stepped up the past couple weeks so he should lead New England’s running game through the post-season. If Burkhead can return, he would likely be a goal line option or an additional blocking option.
Landon Collins (DB-NYG) – The Giants defense took an enormous step backwards after Landon Collins helped lead the team to the playoffs in 2016. Collins suffered a broken right forearm during the Giants blowout loss to Arizona on Sunday and is done for the season. Even when the rest of the defense was terrible, Collins still was solid with 104 tackles and two interceptions on the season. He will be a major part of the Giants rebuilding efforts for 2018 and should be recovered in time for next year from this injury.
Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service, and co-host of the Fantasy Alarm Podcast. You can contact him at email@example.com or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).