2018 NFL Injury Report: December 28
Michael A. Stein breaks down the injury situations across the NFL, including player profiles, reasons for optimism, and reasons for pessimism.
The NFL’s regular season concludes this Sunday night so we have reached the end of the 2018 fantasy football season for non-postseason leagues. GMs are crossing the finishing battered and beat up from the multitude of catastrophic injuries that plagued many key players all season. It is only fitting to head into Week 17 with several impact players either declared out already or unlikely to play. Those GMs who have already won or will win championships will have earned those titles for surviving the onslaught of injuries. So without any further ado, let’s delve into the final regular season edition of the 2018 fantasy football emergency room.
Todd Gurley (RB-LAR)
It is possible that the Rams could lose the number two seed in the NFC if they are defeated by the 49ers, so this week’s game does have significance. However, the health of Todd Gurley for the playoffs will likely trump Week 17’s meaning. Gurley has still not practiced this week as he continues dealing with a knee injury. It is possible he could play on Sunday but fantasy GMs should not be holding their breath for that. Even if he does manage to get on the field, his snaps will be limited and he will be less than 100%. The smart play is once again to go with C.J. Anderson who led many GMs to victories in Week 16 and should have a similar impact this week against San Francisco.
Antonio Brown (WR-PIT)
Antonio Brown did not practice on Thursday due to some knee soreness which came on the heels of a day off from practice on Wednesday. This injury does not appear to be anything serious and he is fully expected to play this weekend against Cincinnati in a game the Steelers must win in order to keep their playoff chances alive. Brown is having another spectacular season with 104 catches for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is unquestionably one of the top fantasy options for this week as Pittsburgh will look to light up the Bengals like a Christmas tree.
Julio Jones (WR-ATL)
Jones seemingly misses practice on a weekly basis but always manages to be on the field on Sunday. He is dealing with injuries to his hip and ribs but they are nothing serious enough to jeopardize his status for Week 17 when he attempts to capture the league’s receiving title. Jones has 104 catches for 1,539 yards and seven touchdowns on the season and will have a great matchup against Tampa Bay in his attempt to hold off DeAndre Hopkins from catching him.
Davante Adams (WR-GB)
The Packers team records for catches and yards receiving is within Adams grasp but he has not been able to practice this week due to a knee injury. Green Bay’s season is over but Adams will certainly want to be on the field as he needs two receptions and 134 yards in order to make team history. Adams has had an incredible season with 111 catches for 1,386 yards and 13 touchdowns easily making him one of the top fantasy players in the league. Follow up over the weekend for additional updates as this could become a game-time decision.
Odell Beckham , Jr. (WR-NYG)
The Giants have not officially ruled Beckham out for the season finale against the Cowboys, but it would be a huge shock if he is on the field at all. Beckham still has not practiced this week as he continues dealing with a quadriceps injury that has cost him the past three games. He is one of the most talented players in the league and a clear-cut WR1, but injuries have derailed him every year and fantasy GMs have suffered at the worst possible time this season. Sterling Shepard could be in for another big game again assuming Beckham remains on the sideline.
James Conner (RB-PIT)
The good news is that James Conner has been able to practice in a full capacity this week and is on track to play in Week 17 against the Browns. Conner has missed the past three games with an ankle injury but now Pittsburgh finds themselves on the outside of the playoffs looking in. He is a must-start in all leagues and should see a lot of action both running and catching the ball in what could be a very high-scoring game.
Leonard Fournette (RB-JAX)
It has been a disastrous season for Fournette and the Jaguars as they limp to the finish line. He has missed practice this week with both ankle and foot injuries which puts his status for Week 17 in serious jeopardy. Fournette has only played in eight games this year due to other injuries and suspensions. He has been limited to just 439 rushing yards and five touchdowns, so he fully qualifies for fantasy bust status. Neither Carlos Hyde nor T.J. Yeldon are worthy replacements in any league format.
Eric Ebron (TE-IND)
Ebron is still in the league’s concussion protocol but did manage to practice in a limited capacity on Thursday. This is good news for GMs who will certainly want Ebron in their lineup for Week 17’s marquee matchup between the Colts and Titans. Ebron has become a major fantasy force this season with 61 catches for 682 yards and 12 touchdowns. As of now it appears he will be on track to play so plan on having him in your lineup.
Corey Davis (WR-TEN)
Tennessee add their star wide receiver onto the injury report with a hamstring issue which caused him to be limited in practice on Thursday. Davis has dealt with a hamstring injury for most of the season but he has managed to be on the field for every game. The Titans have everything on the line this weekend against the Colts so he is all but sure to play. The problem is that Tennessee’s offense is heavily depending on the run and Marcus Mariota is also not 100%.
Allen Robinson (WR-CHI)
Robinson has not practiced this week after suffering a rib injury last week. His status for Week 17 is questionable at best right now. The Bears can earn a first round bye with a win and a loss by the Rams, so they clearly would like Robinson on the field if possible. However, he has been fragile this season already missing a couple games so it is very possible that Chicago opts to be conservative and allow Robinson time to rest and recover. He has 55 catches for 754 yards and four touchdowns on the season and would only be a low-end WR3 if he does play.
Tevin Coleman (RB-ATL)
Coleman has still not been able to practice this week as he continues dealing with a groin injury. The fact he has not returned yet is not a good sign for his status on Sunday. He will become a free agent at the end of the season so his tenure in Atlanta is likely coming to a close. Look for Brian Hill to see a lot of action if Coleman is unable to play.
John Brown (WR-BAL)
Brown practiced in a limited capacity on Thursday due to a hamstring injury he has been dealing with. He is expected to play on Sunday against the Browns but his role on the team has drastically changed since Joe Flacco went down with an injury. Lamar Jackson has led Baltimore to a several victories, but he has done so without much of an aerial attack. Brownchas 41 catches for 708 yards and five touchdowns on the season, but very little of those statistics have been accumulated recently. Brown is not a great fantasy option for Week 17 as the Ravens will continue to rely upon Jackson’s running ability.
Taylor Heinicke (QB-CAR)
After undergoing an MRI earlier in the week, the Panthers placed Taylor Heinicke on injured reserve with a hyperextended elbow thus ending his season. He had filled in for Cam Newton who is also on injured reserve but now the Panthers will have to turn to their third-string quarterback Kyle Allen to be under center this week. Carolina’s season has been in free fall for a couple months and the season finale should not be any better. Stay away from Panthers players in fantasy lineups.