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Injury concerns for Week 16’s fantasy football playoffs

We take a look at the significant fantasy football injuries heading into Week 16 of the NFL season

Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars reacts during the second half of the game against the Baltimore Ravens at EverBank Field on December 17, 2023 in Jacksonville, Florida. Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

The fantasy football playoffs are here and navigating injuries is a crucial skill many of you will need this week. We will keep this post updated to help you figure out who to start and sit in this critical week of games.

Quarterbacks

Kenny Pickett, Steelers

Pickett is out with an ankle injury, so Mason Rudolph will guide the Steelers sleigh Saturday afternoon.

C.J. Stroud, Texans

Friday update: Stroud has officially been ruled out. Case Keenum will get the start against the Browns.

Thursday update: Stroud did not practice on Thursday. He is likely out again this week.

It’s isn’t looking good for Stroud to return from his concussion this week against the Browns, but there is still time for him to be cleared. If he can’t go, Case Keenum would get the nod again.

Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars

Friday PM update: Lawrence did get in a limited practice and is questionable to play. He will not make the Saturday plane trip if he isn’t cleared, so we will no on Saturday if he’ll play or not.

Friday update: Some good news, as Lawrence will practice today and HC Doug Pederson sounded somewhat optimistic for his chances to play.

Thursday update: Trevor Lawrence did not practice on Thursday. Beathard is the likely starter at this point.

Lawrence is also trying to clear concussion protocol this week for an important game against the Buccaneers. If he can’t go, C.J. Beathard would get the start.

Will Levis, Titans

Friday update: Levis was able to get some work in on Friday and will be listed as questionable.

Thursday update: Levis did not practice on Thursday. At this point we expect Ryan Tannehill to start against the Seahawks.

Levis is dealing with a sprained ankle heading into their matchup with the Seahawks. If he can’t go, Ryan Tannehill would take back over for the time being.

Running backs

Kenneth Walker, Seahawks

Friday PM update: Walker is on track to play, per Pete Carroll.

Friday update: Walker is listed as questionable. There doesn’t seem to be much chatter about him missing this week, but the Seahawks do injuries differently than the rest of the league.

Walker missed Wednesday and Thursday practice with a shoulder injury. Seattle is known for sitting players out of practice and them still playing, but this is still a concerning development. If Walker can’t go, Zach Charbonnet would get the start against the Titans tough run defense.

Alexander Mattison, Vikings

Friday update: Mattison returned to practice and will be questionable for this matchup. Ty Chandler should be the lead back moving forward, so even if Mattison plays, he’s not on the fantasy radar.

Thursday update: Mattison didn’t practice again. It’s looking like Chandler won’t have to worry about Mattison taking away touches this week.

It appears that backup RB Ty Chandler has leapfrogged Mattison on the depth chart after a big Week 15 game with Mattison out. Mattison suffered an ankle injury in Week 14 and is trying to get back this week. His status is still up in the air, but he appears to be off the fantasy radar even if he plays against the Lions this week.

Jonathan Taylor, Colts

Friday PM update: Taylor has been removed from the injury report and will play.

Friday update: Jonathan Taylor was practicing again on Friday. He looks like he’ll play, while Zack Moss should miss.

Thursday update: Taylor practiced in full and appears very close to returning this week.

Taylor is trying to return from his surgically repaired thumb and will wear a brace of some sort during practice to see if he can go this week against the Falcons. He’s close to returning, while his backup, Zack Moss is dealing with a forearm injury.

Zack Moss, Colts

Friday update: Moss once again wasn’t practicing, but he is listed as questionable with his forearm injury. He’ll have a chance to play, but it looks like Taylor will be the starter.

Thursday update: Moss once again missed practice. He is trending toward being out, while Jonathan Taylor is trending toward playing.

Moss didn’t practice on Wednesday with a forearm injury. Trey Sermon and Ty Goodson played well last week with Moss leaving early and Taylor out. Both would have some fantasy value if Moss and Taylor both miss.

Isiah Pacheco, Chiefs

Pacheco returned to practice on Thursday for the Chiefs Monday game against the Raiders. He appears set to return to the lead back role.

Josh Jacobs, Raiders

Jacobs missed last week with a quad injury, but appears set to return against the Chiefs on Christmas day. Zamir White would return to his backup role.

Brian Robinson, Commanders

Friday update: Robinson is officially out. Chris Rodriguez should be the early down back, while Antonio Gibson remains the receiving back, but with more chances at carries. Neither are must starts, but have some value in deeper leagues.

Thursday update: Robinson missed Thursday’s practice and looks set to miss another week.

Robinson didn’t practice on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury. The team likely won’t push Robinson at this point, so there is a good chance he won’t play against the Jets this week. Antonio Gibson and Chris Gonzalez would get the work.

Wide receivers

Devonta Smith, Eagles

Smith has missed the first two practices of the week with a knee injury. This is an injury he picked up last week against the Seahawks. We’ll see if he can return Saturday as the Eagles prepare for the Giants on Christmas day.

Chris Olave, Saints

All reports have Olave returning for Thursday night to take on the Rams. He should be started in all leagues.

Keenan Allen, Chargers

Thursday update: Allen missed his second day of practice and has now been ruled out. Joshua Palmer should be the lead receiver, while Quentin Johnston is the nominal No. 2.

Allen missed last week with a heel injury and didn’t practice on Wednesday. He can play without practicing, so we’ll keep an eye on this one moving forward.

Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals

Chase is officially out, which gives Tee Higgins the No. 1 role against the Steelers on Saturday.

Tyreek Hill, Dolphins

Friday update: Hill will play as expected this week.

Thursday update: Hill returned to a limited practice on Thursday. I just don’t see Hill missing this matchup with the Cowboys.

Hill is dealing with an ankle injury that kept him out last week. My guess is that he will play against the Cowboys, but nothing is set in stone yet.

Michael Pittman, Colts

Friday update: Pittman has been cleared of his concussion and will play this week. Get him in your fantasy lineups.

Thursday update: Pittman practiced in full on Thursday and is very close to being cleared of his concussion. Unless he has a setback, he should be good to go this week.

Pittman appears to be moving through concussion protocol quickly, as he was able to get a limited designation on their Wednesday walkthrough. He’ll still need to be cleared before he can face the Falcons though.

Marquise Brown, Cardinals

Friday update: Brown is out for this week against the Bears.

Brown was active, but didn’t play much before being ruled out last week with a heel injury. Even if he can go this week against the Bears, Trey McBride is the only safe play in the Cardinals passing game this week.

Nico Collins, Texans

Thursday update: Collins returned to practice and told reporters he would play this week.

Collins missed last week with a calf injury, but did appear to be close to returning. He should have a decent shot of playing against the Browns, but will likely need C.J. Stroud to clear concussion protocol to have good fantasy upside.

Jayden Reed, Packers

Friday update: Reed missed yet another practice, but is being listed as questionable with his toe injury.

Thursday update: Reed missed Thursday’s practice, putting him on the wrong side of questionable at the moment.

Reed suffered a toe injury in Week 15 and was unable to return. He also missed Wednesday’s practice, so there is some doubt that he can play this week.

Christian Watson, Packers

Friday update: Watson is listed as doubtful and won’t play, but appears to be close to returning from his hamstring injury.

Thursday update: Watson missed Thursday’s practice, but was seen working out on the side. He could end up getting a limited practice in Friday and being questionable, but they will likely be very cautious with him after two hamstring injuries this season.

Watson has been out a couple weeks with a hamstring injury and didn’t practice on Wednesday for Week 16. He doesn’t appear set to return against the Panthers this week.

Zay Jones, Jaguars

Friday update: Jones was able to get a limited practice in and is listed as questionable, but his coach didn’t sound positive about his availability.

Thursday update: Jones didn’t practice on Thursday and is out for all intents and purposes.

Jones suffered a hamstring injury and is likely out this week. With Christian Kirk already out, this is a thin receiving group for Beathard or Lawrence this week. Calvin Ridley and Evan Engram would have the best shot at fantasy production against the Buccaneers.

Dontayvion Wicks, Packers

Wicks got in limited practices this week and is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. It would see that he is on the right side of the questionable tag, but we’ll have to wait to see to be sure. With Jayden Reed also questionable and Christian Watson doubtful, the inactives list will be useful for fantasy lineups.

Tight ends

Hunter Henry, Patriots

Friday PM update: Henry did get a questionable tag.

Friday update: Henry returned to practice on Friday. He will likely end up being questionable, but we should know officially shortly.

Thursday update: Henry has now missed two practices. We’ll see if he can return on Friday.

Henry left last week’s game with a knee injury and was unable to practice on Wednesday. He has been playing great with Bailey Zappe at QB, but with nothing to play for, the Patriots won’t push him.

Cole Kmet, Bears

Kmet is listed as questionable with a thigh injury, but his coach sounded positive about his availability. He should be able to play against the Cardinals.