It’s Sunday morning! Time to finalize your lineups in season-long and DFS formats. With so much news flying around all week, are you finding it difficult to keep up with it all? Well, you’re in luck.
Every Sunday morning here at SI Fantasy, we’ll condense all the major news and notes into this last-minute advice column to get you fully up to speed before the 1 p.m. ET games kick off. It will include everything you need to know from injuries, to surprise inactives, to crucial weather information and more. We won’t just tell you what’s happening, we’ll give you analysis you can use to help you win. Don’t set your lineups until you read what’s below.
QB Daniel Jones, New York Giants (ACTIVE)
Jones is set to make his return after his two-game absence gave Eli Manning a New York swansong he truly deserved. Jones’s ankle is feeling good enough to give it a go vs. the Redskins, a team he struggled against in his second start of the season. The rookie isn’t fantasy relevant in single-QB leagues this week, but his return should boost wide receiver Golden Tate back into the bottom of WR2 territory.
QB Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (ACTIVE)
Prescott has a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder and did not even attempt to throw in practice this week, aside from some soft tosses on Friday. However, he does not carry an injury designation into this game and will start barring a setback. Despite the risk, Prescott is still a QB1 against a very beatable Eagles secondary. Small downgrades to him, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup because of the injury.
RB Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (ACTIVE)
Mixon popped up on the injury report this week with a calf injury, but practiced Friday and will suit up today against the Dolphins. Mixon is a high-end RB1 and could have a monster game against a Miami defense that’s one of the five-worst in the NFL against fantasy RBs this season. The game having a little bit of a wind factor should also boost Mixon’s value as he gets a high number of carries normally and could see even more if the passing game is adversely affected. Start him with confidence.
RB Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (DOUBTFUL)
Henry is not expected to suit up today. After not practicing last week, Henry practiced on a limited basis twice this week, including Friday. However, he was downgraded to questionable on Saturday, which was a sign that this would happen. The Saints have been very stout against the run this season, so limit your expectations for back-up Dion Lewis who’s more of a low-end RB2 in PPR.
RB Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions (ACTIVE)
As expected, the Lions activated Johnson off IR before today’s game. However, head coach Matt Patricia cautioned that they’ll be “smart” in terms of how he’s used over the final two games of the season. The Lions didn’t activate him so he could ride the pine, so expect him to get some work against the Broncos. He’ll likely split carries with Bo Scarbrough, meaning no Detroit RB is a Top 30 play at the position this week. Johnson should be on your bench this week. If you play in Week 17, he has a much more favorable matchup.
RB Bo Scarbrough, Detroit Lions (QUESTIONABLE)
Scarbrough injured his ribs in Week 14 and missed last week’s game. That led to Wes Hills, of all people, scoring a pair of touchdowns in his place. Scarbrough was limited all week in practice. Given the injury and the return of Kerryon Johnson, Scarbrough can’t be relied upon in your fantasy championship matchup.
RB Jordan Howard, Philadelphia Eagles (OUT)
Howard still hasn’t been cleared for contact and he’ll miss his fifth straight game. Miles Sanders and Boston Scott have filled in quite admirably as of late. Sanders will continue to have the biggest role and the highest upside in the Eagles’ backfield, but don’t forget about Scott. He has back-to-back double-digit fantasy weeks and has earned a significant role in the offense. Sanders is a mid-level RB2 this week and Scott is a low-end RB3 for those in PPR leagues.
RB Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders (OUT)
Jacobs played last week through a shoulder fracture, but he’s not going to play today. His season is likely over and DeAndre Washington will take his place in the interim. Washington is a borderline Top 20 running back this week in a favorable matchup against the Chargers. Los Angeles allows the 10th most points to fantasy RBs this season. Jalen Richard will get some more work as well and is a low-end RB3 in PPR formats.
RB Damien Williams, Kansas City Chiefs (ACTIVE)
Williams is back and will play for the first time since Week 11 on Sunday Night Football. It’s clear that Andy Reid and Co. do not trust any other back to shoulder the lion’s share of the carries, so Williams could get a healthy workload right out of the gate. He looked really good in Weeks 9 and 10 before the injury and teams have had some success running on the Bears this season. Treat Williams like an RB3/flex play this week.
RB Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings (OUT)
Cook will sit this game out and he may be done for the rest of the regular season. ESPN's Courtney Cronin reported that Minnesota may sit Cook in Week 17 as well to get him ready for the playoffs. It’s a devastating blow for Cook owners who have relied on him all season as one of the few true RB1s. If Alexander Mattison plays, he’s a solid RB2 this week against the Packers. In the fairly likely scenario where he doesn’t, Mike Boone becomes an RB2 as the starter.
RB Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings (QUESTIONABLE)
Mattison did not practice on Friday and it appears that he’ll miss his second consecutive game with an ankle injury. That, paired with Cook being out, opens the door for Mike Boone to be a solid RB2 this week against the Packers. The Vikings playing on Monday night makes trusting any Minnesota back risky, but if you have Boone and Mattison you should be fine to wait.
WR D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars (QUESTIONABLE)
Head coach Doug Marrone told reporters on Friday that he expects Chark to return to the field against the Falcons. That’s just the news fantasy managers wanted to hear after there was fear he’d be shut down for the remainder of the season with his ankle injury. Atlanta’s defense has been playing better as of late, but it’s not a matchup to fear at all. Insert Chark back into your lineup as a reliable WR2. Bump both Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook down to WR4 territory.
WR Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers (QUESTIONABLE)
Samuel is in some danger of missing Week 16 after going from a limited practice on Thursday to a DNP on Friday with a knee injury, but head coach Perry Fewell says he still expects him to play. He was a risky start this week anyway given his low catch volume and a new quarterback throwing him passes. It’s safe to just put him on your bench this week and find another option even if he does play.
WR Robby Anderson, New York Jets (QUESTIONABLE)
Anderson missed some practice time this week with an illness but got a limited session in on Friday and should be good to go against the Steelers today. Anderson has been a big factor in the Jets’ offense over the last four weeks, averaging 18.4 fantasy points per game, but Pittsburgh has been really stout against outside wide receivers this season. John Brown took advantage of them on Sunday Night Football, so maybe Anderson can make it two weeks in a row. He’s a low-end WR3 this week.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers (ACTIVE)
Smith-Schuster practiced in full on Friday but said he knee still isn’t 100%. He later said that he will indeed return this week against the Jets. He does not have an injury designation, but keep an eye out for any possible set back. Given the state of the Steelers’ QB position, he isn’t a Top 40 WR this week. James Washington and Diontae Johnson are both WR5s with Smith-Schuster back.
WR Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles (OUT)
There was more talk this week about how Agholor could be shut down for the rest of the season than there was about him playing against the Cowboys. His absence should continue to make Greg Ward relevant after back-to-back nine-target games. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, the No. 2 WR option, is expected to play this week after dealing with a foot injury but is not worth starting in Week 16. The Eagles will continue to rely on the combination of Ward, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Miles Sanders and Boston Scott in the receiving game.
WR Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (QUESTIONABLE)
Kirk will be a game-time decision because of an ankle injury, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury. However, the expectation is that he plays. Fantasy managers who were hoping to play him in a WR3 spot need to make sure they have another wide receiver that can fill in during the late slate of games just in case. Larry Fitzgerald and Greg Ward are both solid options if Kirk is ruled out.
WR Hunter Renfrow, Oakland Raiders (ACTIVE)
Renfrow makes his return to the field today after missing three games with a broken rib and a punctured lung. He’ll serve as Derek Carr’s safety blanket against the Chargers. Renfrow started to come on in the month leading up to his injury, but is nothing more than a WR5 this week (WR4 in full-PPR). Oakland’s offense has dried up lately and Renfrow is only an option in the deepest of leagues.
TE Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (ACTIVE)
Olsen missed the last two weeks after suffering a concussion on a scary hit in Week 13. He finally cleared concussion protocol on Monday and will make his return this week. He can’t be trusted as a TE1 because of his unknown chemistry with new starting QB Will Greer and the fact he may split some work with Ian Thomas.
TE Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (QUESTIONABLE)
Fant looked great in Drew Lock’s second start of the season, catching all four of his targets for 113 yards and a touchdown against the Texans. He then fought through foot and hip injuries against the Chiefs in the snow and finished with two catches for 56 yards. He returned to practice on Friday and looks likely to suit up this week. He’s a Top 15 TE with significant risk, as he did miss a whole quarter of action last week with his shoulder injury.
There are two quarterback changes of note in Week 16:
● Will Grier will make his first NFL start today against the Colts. There isn’t really a read on how he’ll affect Carolina’s offense, but Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore owners hope the change doesn’t take anything away from their production.
● As mentioned above, Daniel Jones is expected to return this week and take back over as the Giants’ starting QB. That should boost Golden Tate into borderline WR2 territory and knock Sterling Shepard down into low-end WR3 territory. Slight downgrade to Saquon Barkley as well, but he’s still a clear-cut RB1.
Weather is always a factor around the NFL during this time of year, but it actually looks like a very quiet week around the league on that front. Here’s what you need to know this week:
Bengals @ Dolphins: Many expected it was going to be a rainy day in Miami, but it looks like the precipitation will hold off until after the game. Sustained winds of about 15 MPH are expected throughout, though. That’s enough to slightly downgrade both passing games, but not enough to make any significant lineup changes.