The Sunday portion of Week 15 is just about a wrap. The week is far from over as the recent wave of players being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list forced a few games to be pushed back. We still have two games to get through on Monday before the week officially wraps up with a pair of games on Tuesday. With that being said, it’s never to early to start scouring the waiver wires in fantasy football for replacements for injured starters.
As with every week in the NFL, key skill position players are going to go down with an injury. Some may step right back onto the field soon while others will miss time. When one guy goes down, an opportunity opens up for someone else to fill the gap. We’re currently in a unique space as the situation with COVID has been unpredictable. For now, we’ll just stick with players who have suffered on-field injuries. With the playoffs moving along for most leagues this week, you absolutely cannot afford to make a wrong move for your lineup.
Below is a rundown of notable skill position injuries, and who stands to benefit as you consider what to do with your waiver wire priority. We’ll offer updates on each injury as new information comes along this week.
Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chris Godwin was knocked out the Bucs’ 9-0 loss to the Saints on Sunday and tests on Monday revealed that he had suffered a torn ACL, ending the year for the sixth-ranked fantasy receiver.
With Mike Evans also banged up, the reigning champs will lean heavily on the returning Antonio Brown to hold down the fort and until the start of the postseason. After that, some of the second and third-string guys be relied on to step up, including Tyler Johnson (1% ESPN and Yahoo), Scotty Miller (0% ESPN and Yahoo), and Breshad Perriman (1% ESPN and Yahoo).
Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs were dealt another huge blow on Sunday with lead running back Leonard Fournette going down with a hamstring injury. The third-ranked running back in fantasy is projected to miss just a game or two but depending on the severity, he’ll could be shut down until the playoffs.
This an obvious situation for the Bucs and fantasy managers to turn to Ronald Jones (34% Yahoo/23% ESPN) to step up. The veteran back started gaining momentum as Sunday’s game went on, taking eight carries for 63 yards.
Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants
Sterling Shepard’s season is over. The Giants wide receiver tore his Achilles during the team’s 21-6 home loss on Sunday. He was ravaged by injuries all season long and played in just seven games, finishing with 36 catches for 366 yards and a touchdown.
The options are limited in a New York receivers room that has been plagued with injury this season. Kenny Golladay (58% ESPN/51% Yahoo) will still be available in certain leagues and is averaging seven points a game in PPR. Darius Slayton (5% ESPN/4% Yahoo) is bound to get more targets in Shepard’s absence.
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Pat Freiermuth went into concussion protocols after taking a nasty hit during the Steelers’ 19-13 victory over the Titans on Sunday. He caught four receptions for 37 yards before exiting the contest in the third quarter.
This is the second time in a month that the rookie will be in concussion protocol and will have to clear it to play against the Chiefs next week. In the event that he won’t be ready to go, backup Zach Gentry (0% ESPN and Yahoo) will be readily available. He caught a 17-yard pass in Sunday’s win.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Denver Broncos
Teddy Bridgewater suffered a harrowing head injury in Sunday’s 15-10 loss to the Bengals. He was carted off the field and taken to the hospital as a precaution. The Broncos said that he did have movement in his extremities.
In the likelihood that Bridgewater will miss next week’s game at the Raiders, Drew Lock (0% ESPN and Yahoo) will be available if you’re in an absolute bind at quarterback. He threw a touchdown in Bridgewater’s absence on Sunday
Julio Jones, WR, Tennessee Titans
Julio Jones’ return lasted just one week. After coming back from a month-long hiatus last week vs. the Jaguars, the veteran was declared out of Sunday’s game against the Steelers with a hamstring injury.
Fantasy managers who have both him and AJ Brown have been disappointed this season and they’ve already gotten familiar with the name Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (22% Yahoo/3% ESPN). He caught four passes for 32 yards in the loss on Sunday and has had three different games where he’s gotten managers over 10 points in PPR leagues.
Rondale Moore, WR, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals were stunned by the Lions in the biggest upset of the year on Sunday and lost rookie Rondale Moore in the process. The young wideout caught just three passes for nine yards before exiting the game with the injury.
ESPN users still have a good shot at finding veteran AJ Green (43%) on the waiver wire. He had four receptions for 64 yards in the loss.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
It was reported early Sunday morning that Lamar Jackson had a bone bruise in his ankle instead a regular sprain and that kept him out of Sunday’s 31-30 loss against the Packers. The Ravens playoff hopes are suddenly slipping away and there’s a chance that they could potentially be without the former MVP for a critical showdown at the Bengals next week.
If Jackson does miss another week, fantasy managers could very much turn to backup Tyler Huntley (3% Yahoo/2% ESPN) for help. Huntley held his own and stood toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, scoring a clutch touchdown with less than a minute left only to come up just short on what would’ve been a game-winning two-point conversion. He finished with 215 passing yards and two touchdowns through the air, along with 73 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground.