As we all know, the fantasy football season is a battle of attrition. However, the plethora of fantasy-relevant stars who went down in the first week of the playoffs has owners scrambling.
Winning a fantasy championship is hard enough on its own merits, but when you factor in this many detrimental injuries with just two weeks of fantasy playoffs remaining, owners will surely need an extremely strong roster in order to find suitable replacements off their bench.
Let’s get to the laundry list of players who went down in Week 14:
Injury That Will Change the Fantasy Playoff Landscape
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Hamstring: The Buccaneers' star wide receiver was forced to leave Sunday’s game against the Colts after sustaining a serious hamstring injury. This is a huge blow to fantasy owners, as Evans ranks third overall in receiving yards (1,157).
Fantasy Impact: Should the reports that this could be season-ending is accurate, the final two weeks of the fantasy football playoff landscape will take a big hit. The biggest beneficiaries of a season-ending injury to Evans would be owners of Chris Godwin and Breshad Perriman. The latter would immediately move into WR3 status with Godwin moving into top-10 overall status with plus-matchups against Detroit in Week 15 and Houston in Week 16. The Lions (30th) and the Texans (27th) have both struggled mightily against the pass.
Should be OK But Expect Limited Practice and Questionable Tag
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs—Hand: The star quarterback appears to have sustained a bone bruise to his throwing hand in Sunday’s 23-16 win over the Patriots. Although Mahomes has failed to throw more than one touchdown pass in three consecutive games, the fantasy stud is a must-start by all fantasy owners.
Fantasy Impact: According to reports, Mahomes sustained the injury early in the game but still managed to play every offensive snap. The reigning league MVP admitted after the game that he had difficulty gripping the ball and it affected his accuracy on deep passes. I would expect the Chiefs will limit Mahomes in practice throughout the week, but should he be cleared to play all owners will without a doubt employ arguably the best quarterback in the NFL in a home AFC West division tilt against Denver.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens—Quad: The likely league MVP quarterback suffered a quad injury in Sunday’s 24-17 win over Buffalo. Jackson was limited in Monday’s practice and is being listed as day-to-day by the Ravens The league’s best player is a must-start by all fantasy owners regardless of the short week--in a game the experts out in Vegas project as a blowout with a more than two-touchdown spread.
Fantasy Impact: Fantasy owners will be hoping and praying the superstar is ready to play Thursday night on the short week against a Jets defense that may be extremely limited in the secondary if star safety Jamal Adams is forced to miss a second straight game. If Jackson is cleared to play, he is the surefire overall QB1, according to my model’s projections.
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans—Hamstring: The best fantasy running back over the past three weeks was limited in practice with a hamstring injury all last week, but suited up and continued to dominate with 103 yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders in Week 14.
Fantasy Impact: The fantasy star, who has posted four consecutive games with 100-plus rushing yards with seven rushing touchdowns, will likely be limited all week leading up to Sunday’s game against the Texans. All fantasy owners should start the hottest back in the NFL with confidence in a plus-matchup against a struggling Texans run defense that has allowed eight total touchdowns to opposing running backs in the last four games.
‘Likely’ Won’t See Them Again in 2019
Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles—Foot: Jeffery was forced from the Monday night loss to the Giants in the second quarter after suffering what appears to be a foot injury. The veteran wide receiver was unable to haul in either of his targets prior to exiting in the second quarter, crushing fantasy owners with a dreaded zero in the first round of the playoffs. From all indications, this looks like an injury that could cost Jeffery the remainder of the season.
Fantasy Impact: The eight-year veteran was Carson Wentz’s top target on the outside this season with 43 receptions for 490 yards and four touchdowns. Fantasy owners will miss the Eagles' WR1, who had posted six double-digit PPR efforts this season, including Week 13’s monster performance of nine receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown against Miami. The Eagles wide receiver situation is an absolute mess right who, and owners will need to avoid at all costs as Philadelphia may be forced to start three tight ends in Week 15 against Washington.
DJ Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars—Foot/Ankle: According to the Jaguars, Chark is week-to-week after suffering an ankle injury in Week 15 against the Chargers. However, after leaving the stadium in a walking boot, all indications point to this being a season-ending injury with Jacksonville out of playoff contention.
Fantasy Impact: The second-year wideout has been one of fantasy football’s late-round gems, emerging as the Jaguars' top offensive weapon in a down year. Chark leads the team in receiving yards (956) and touchdowns (8) and has been a low-end WR1/ high WR2 all season. His absence presents another big blow to fantasy owners with only two weeks left to fantasy glory. Fellow wideouts Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley and Keelan Cole will now see increased usage and volume running routes for Gardner Minshew.
Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins—Knee: Guice has already been ruled out for Week 15 against the Eagles. From all indications, Guice will miss the last three weeks of 2019 after suffering yet another knee injury in Week 14 against Green Bay.
Fantasy Impact: The second-year back was superb in Week 13, posting 29.7 fantasy points against Carolina. Guice, who missed eight games earlier this season after knee surgery, was being employed by fantasy owners as a strong flex option in a suddenly improving Washington offense. The Redskins will now turn back to veteran Adrian Peterson, with Chris Thompson being looked upon for pass-catching duties on third downs.
Lost for Remainder of 2019
Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons—Abdomen: Ridley is now out for the season after suffering an abdomen injury Sunday against the Panthers. The second-year wideout had been one of the few bright spots for the 4-9 Falcons.
Fantasy Impact: This is a tough pill to swallow for fantasy owners, as the emerging young wideout had caught a touchdown pass in three of his last four games. The 2018 first-round draft pick has caught 17 touchdown passes in his first 29 career games and will be a difficult WR2 for owners to replace with bench insertions. Star wide receiver Julio Jones will now see a larger share of targets with tight end Austin Hooper and fellow wideout Russel Gage picking up the volume in the Atlanta passing attack.
Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks—Knee: The Seahawks promising young back, who was starting to dominate, suffered a season-ending knee injury in Sunday night’s loss to the Rams.
Fantasy Impact: Penny was lost for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL that will require surgery. The 2018 first-round draft pick out of San Diego State was on fire, rushing for 203 yards and three total touchdowns in his last two games. The biggest beneficiary here will obviously be Chris Carson, who will return to lead-back duties for the (10-3) Seahawks in a highly favorable matchup against a porous Carolina run defense in Week 15.
50/50 Hard to Trust In Week 15
TY Hilton, Indianapolis—Ankle
Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings—Hamstring
James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers—Shoulder
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers—Knee
Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders—Shoulder
Odell Beckham Jr, Cleveland Browns—Sports Hernia
Will Fuller, Houston Texans—Hamstring
Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens—Thigh Bruise
Tom Brady, New England Patriots—Elbow
Evan Engram, New York Giants—Foot
Jordan Howard, Philadelphia Eagles—Shoulder
Seeking A Second Opinion
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Hand
Not Expected Back In Week 15
Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints—Concussion
Devante Parker, Miami Dolphins—Concussion
Daniel Jones, NY Giants—Ankle
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions—Back
Taylor Gabriel, Chicago Bears—Concussion
Ryan Griffen, NY Jets—Ankle
Injured But Not On The Fantasy Radar:
Darrell Williams, Kansas City Chiefs—Hamstring
Trey Quinn, Washington Redskins—Concussion
Kalen Ballage, Miami Dolphins—Leg
Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee Titans—Hamstring
Donte Pettis, San Francisco 49ers—Knee
Off To Canton:
Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts—Knee
More Advice From SI Fantasy
— Dr. Roto’s Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em, including praise for Patrick Laird
— Frankie Taddeo’s Week 15 streaming options: Darius Slayton, Jimmy G and more
— Jaime Eisner’s stock watch on the players trending up and down
— Jaime Eisner’s waiver wire, in case any of them are still available
— Mark Deming’s Target and Snap Report combs through the data for fantasy nuggets