2018 NFL Injury Report: December 26
Michael A. Stein breaks down the injury situations across the NFL, including player profiles, reasons for optimism, and reasons for pessimism.
Congratulations are in order to many fantasy GMs who won their leagues this past weekend. Other leagues will finish their seasons this coming weekend in conjunction with the end of the NFL regular season. It was a stressful and trying week for GMs who had to compete without many key players. There were also critical injuries that occurred during the Week 16 games which impacted many results. So without any further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the 2018 fantasy football emergency room.
Todd Gurley (RB-LAR)
Many fantasy championships were decided this past weekend as a result of the Rams decision to not play Todd Gurley . GMs who rode Gurley’s 1,251 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns along with 59 catches for 580 yards and four touchdowns all season were severely disappointed to find out that he would not play in Week 16. However, savvy GMs would have picked up C.J. Anderson as insurance and a replacement, and those GMs would have been rewarded with an elite performance in Gurley’s absence. It is highly possible that the Rams continue resting Gurley in order for him to be as healthy as possible for the playoffs, so his Week 17 status against the 49ers is extremely murky. The smart and conservative move would be to plan on setting a lineup without Gurley.
Odell Beckham , Jr. (WR-NYG)
Beckham missed his third straight game this past weekend against the Colts as he continues dealing with his quadriceps injury. The Giants clearly have nothing to play for this week against Dallas so chances are they shut down their franchise wide receiver rather than risk further injury. However, it is also possible that Beckham insists on playing to quiet the public criticism of his toughness and heart. This is a situation to keep monitoring throughout the week because Beckham would of course be a high-end WR1 if he is on the field.
James Conner (RB-PIT)
The Steelers now find themselves on the outside looking in to the AFC playoffs after their heart-breaking loss to New Orleans in Week 16. They desperately need James Conner back on the field for the season finale as they are in a must-win situation and also need help in order to get into the playoffs. Conner has missed the past three games with an ankle injury and is considered questionable for this coming week. Jaylen Samuels has filled in admirably for Conner but the fantasy results just are not the same. Check back later in the week to see if there is more clarity on Conner’s status
Lamar Miller (RB-HOU)
Miller missed last week’s game against the Eagles due to an ankle injury but it is possible that he could be active for Week 17. The Texans need to win this weekend in order to clinch the AFC South so they will do whatever they can to get Miller on the field even if he is less than 100%. He has 909 yards rushing and four touchdowns on the season, and he would be a low-end RB2 if he does play against a solid Jacksonville defense.
Phillip Lindsay (RB-DEN)
Many fantasy championships were determined by Phillip Lindsay ’s injury on Monday night against Oakland. He suffered a serious wrist injury with a possible fracture and ligament damage. Surgery is a very real possibility so his season is obviously over now as we start looking into whether he will be ready for training camp next summer. Lindsay had a very impressive rookie season rushing for 1,013 yards and nine touchdowns along with 31 catches for 221 yards and one touchdown. Royce Freeman will see extended playing time in Week 17 against the Chargers so he could be a low-end RB2 or Flex option for GMs needing a replacement.
Matt Breida (RB-SF)
The 49ers have decided to shut Breida down for the season as he will miss the Week 17 matchup against Seattle due to his ankle injury. Breida suffered the ankle injury back in early October and has been hobbled by it all season. He played through the injury all year and finishes the season with 764 rushing yards and three touchdowns filling in for Jerick McKinnon who has missed the entire season. Breida was a solid RB2 all year and he will compete for snaps next year when McKinnon returns from injury. Jeff Wilson should get most of the playing time for Week 17.
Eric Ebron (TE-IND)
Ebron was taken out of last week’s game against the Giants with a concussion and did not return. He is in the league’s concussion protocol and his status for Week 17 is questionable right now. The Colts would obviously need him on the field for their winner-take-all matchup against Tennessee so they will do whatever it takes to get Ebron cleared. Ebron emerged as a fantasy stud this season with Andrew Luck as he has 61 catches for 682 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is a must-start if he is active so follow up for additional updates later in the week.
Demaryius Thomas (WR-HOU)
It is a dangerous proposition being a Houston Texans wide receiver not named DeAndre Hopkins . After Will Fuller went down with a season-ending knee injury and Keke Coutee has been in and out of the lineup all year with a hamstring injury, the Texans acquired Demaryius Thomas at the trade deadline for a 4th round draft pick. The hope was that Thomas would settle in as the team’s second wide receiver and give Deshaun Watson another reliable target. However, Thomas was disappointing in his Houston tenure which has now come to an end after he was placed on injured reserve with an Achilles injury. His future is unknown now and he can be dropped in all league formats.
Dante Pettis (WR-SF)
The 49ers have a lot of pieces in place to build on in 2019 if everyone can stay healthy. One of those key pieces is rookie Dante Pettis who came on strong towards the end of the season. However, he dealt with various knee injuries throughout the season and was diagnosed with a sprained MCL. He has already been ruled out for Week 17 against Seattle ending his season. He finishes the year with 22 catches for 384 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games. Pettis is certainly a player to target next season and could thrive in an offense that includes a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon .
Marcus Mariota (QB-TEN)
The Titans will be playing with everything on the line this coming weekend against the Colts as the winner of this game gets the final playoff berth in the AFC. Tennessee managed to beat the Redskins in Week 16 despite losing Marcus Mariota to a stinger during the game. However, the Titans will need Mariota on the field for this showdown against the Colts and all indications are that he will do whatever is necessary to line up under center. Mariota has not had a good statistical season as he has thrown for only 2,550 yards passing with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions along with 353 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He is not a great fantasy option despite the magnitude of the game.
Equanimeous St. Brown (WR-GB)
The Packers are in a transitional phase right now playing out the end of the season. Part of that transition is building Aaron Rodgers ’ rapport with the new young wide receivers on the roster. One of those includes Equanimeous St. Brown who was having a breakout game against the Jets this past weekend before he sustained a head injury on a big hit late in the game. He is in the league’s concussion protocol so his status for Week 17 is up in the air right now. If he cannot play, then Marquez Valdes-Scantling will assume the number two receiver role behind Davante Adams .
Tevin Coleman (RB-ATL)
Coleman suffered a groin injury this past week against the Panthers and had to be taken out of the game. He has had a relatively disappointing season especially considering he had the opportunity to be the featured back for the Falcons most of the year due to Devonta Freeman ’s injury. Coleman’s status for Week 17 still has not been determined yet as Atlanta needs to see what he can do in practice during the week. This will likely be his final game as a Falcon as he heads into free agency so he will certainly want to build on his 610 yards rushing and two touchdowns along with 31 catches for 267 yards and five touchdowns.
Taylor Heinicke (QB-CAR)
Heinicke stepped in for the injured Cam Newton last week against Atlanta but suffered an injury of his own in the process. He sustained an elbow injury but was able to play through it after briefly coming out of the game. He underwent an MRI earlier in the week so his status for Week 17 is not known yet. Kyle Allen will start for Carolina if Heinicke is unable to play, and neither are viable fantasy options unless you are desperate in deep two-quarterback leagues.