There’s no good time of the season for injuries. Week 16 is an especially bad time for them. Mixed into the action in Week 15 were too many injuries to fantasy-relevant players from WR3 types like Marqise Lee all the way up to the best receiver in the game. All of those will affect how fantasy championships unfold.
Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers
Injury: Partially Torn Calf
Initially, Brown’s injury looked worse than it proved to be. He took a direct hit to his lower leg and had to be helped off the field, unable to put any weight on it. He was taken to the hospital to rule out any other injuries that could need emergency attention, and luckily was cleared in that regard. He will miss the rest of the regular season, which is unfortunate for fantasy owners who have been cashing in on another superstar season from the best receiver in the league. Calf injuries can be tricky, and although the Steelers say he should be fine for the playoffs, it’ll be interesting to see how close to 100% he’ll be when he finally does return.
Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
Injury: Low Back Strain
Allen was carted off the field late in Saturday’s loss to the Chiefs. There wasn’t any specific moment that I could tell where the injury happened, and it seemed like it was more precautionary than anything else. He’ll likely miss practice time this week and undergo further tests to see the extent of the issue, but it sounds like he avoided any serious injury. I would expect Allen to be available for this upcoming weekend against the Jets, barring any setbacks
Davante Adams, WR, Packers
Adams took another helmet-to-helmet hit on Sunday when Thomas Davis blocked him from the blindside, and was placed in the concussion protocol shortly thereafter. Adams remarkably didn’t miss a game when he sustained his first concussion early in the season against the Bears, but that occurred on a Thursday, giving him 10 days to recover. A second concussion is also more dangerous than the first, and requires greater care. Whenever a player is dealing with multiple concussions in one season, more caution is rightly taken. Oftentimes, players who suffer multiple concussions usually miss at least one week if not longer to ensure that they return back to 100%. The Packers have been eliminated from playoff contention, too, which means there’s no incentive to rush Adams back on the field.
Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars
Injury: High Ankle Sprain
Lee was rolled up on and sustained a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s win over the Texans. An MRI revealed that there wasn’t as much ligamentous damage, so he should only miss a few weeks to return to full health. That’s good news for the playoff-bound Jaguars, but doesn’t help his fantasy owners. If you’ve been starting Lee, you’ll need to find another option.
Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots
Injury: Sprained Knee
Burkhead sustained the injury in the third quarter of Sunday’s win over the Steelers, and was ruled out immediately. There was fear that he sustained an ACL tear, but further testing put that to rest. He looks to be dealing with an MCL sprain, which normally requires a few weeks to recover, depending on the severity. He’ll miss fantasy championships, but should return for the real playoffs.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars
Injury: Quad Contusion
Fournette missed practice all of last week due to the thigh injury, and was inactive for Sunday’s game against the Texans. Quad contusions can be difficult because putting stress on the tissue that is healing, especially through sprinting or change-of-direction movements, can create more discomfort in the thigh. The expectation is that Fournette will return in Week 16, but keep an eye on his practice status as the week progresses to make sure he doesn’t sustain any setbacks.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Ravens
Injury: Sprained Knee
Maclin hurt his knee on his first reception of the Ravens Week 15 win over the Browns. He sat out a series, attempted to play through the pain, but then was later ruled out. We haven’t heard much of what the exact injury is, but the replay suggests he’s dealing with an MCL sprain, which could require him to sit out a game or two. Maclin has struggled to stay healthy all year and even if he does play this week, he won’t be a recommended fantasy option.