Fantasy Football: Week 16 Injury Recap

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As The Fantasy Footballers’ lead injury analyst and sports physical therapist, I’ll be recapping the previous week’s injuries and giving a projected timeline for recovery all season long. Let’s look at the biggest injuries from Week 16 and take a look at what fantasy managers can expect heading into Week 17 and beyond.

Don’t forget to check out for additional premium resources, including access to the Injury Blitz Podcast hosted by yours truly. This bonus podcast, available to all #FootClan Premier members, is a short, yet informative injury podcast that drops late in the week in order to provide all the injury updates you need to set your lineup each week.

RB James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

Torn Left Achilles: Out for the year
The Jaguars starting RB, James Robinson, tore the Achilles tendon in his left leg, ending his 2021 season. It’s a brutal injury for Robinson for a few reasons. First, the timing of the injury makes it difficult for him to be ready for Week 1 based on optimal recovery timelines. Second, the research in NFL RBs who injure their Achilles does seem to have a correlation with NFL Draft position. Players drafted in Rounds 1-2 tend to perform better after this injury than those who are late round picks or undrafted, likely due to the team’s financial investment in that player. The Jags already have rookie Travis Etienne (Lisfranc) and veteran Carlos Hyde (concussion) on IR.

Players impacted: Dare Ogunbowale, Nathan Cottrell, Ryquell Armstead

RB Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

Fractured Hand: Out Week 17
Sanders left Week 16 against the Giants early due to a fractured bone in his hand and didn’t return. He left yesterday’s game in a soft cast then underwent an MRI on his hand Monday. Per head coach, Nick Sirianni, Sanders is out Week 17 but won’t go on IR stating the team is “hopeful” he can return quickly. This likely indicates that the fracture is stable (non-displaced) and won’t require surgery, but there’s a good chance Sanders sits in Week 18, too. Sanders may play in a splint and/or utilize tape upon his return.

Backfield teammate, Jordan Howard, also picked up a stinger yesterday, putting his Week 17 status in question. Be sure to follow the Philadelphia roster moves this week, as that would likely signal whether or not Howard will be available for Week 17 against Washington. Jason Huntley is currently the only RB on their practice squad and would likely be elevated if Sanders and Howard miss Week 17 to backup Boston Scott and Kenny Gainwell.

Players impacted: Boston Scott, Jordan Howard, Kenneth Gainwell

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs

Left Chest/Shoulder Injury: Week to week
CEH left Week 16 against Pittsburgh early with what was described as a left collarbone injury and didn’t return. X-rays taken immediately after the injury were negative but the Chiefs’ RB underwent an MRI on Monday. Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, there is no structural damage and the injury is not season ending. This is likely an AC joint sprain, which carries a variable recovery timeline based on severity. A grade I (mild) sprain, could keep him out just a week while a grade II injury would keep him out 2-4 weeks. Based on the report of no structural damage, I would anticipate a grade I injury with a return before the playoffs, but he could still miss Week 17.

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Players impacted: Darrel Williams, Derrick Gore

RB Darrel Henderson, Los Angeles Rams

Sprained MCL: On Injured Reserve
Henderson exited Week 16 against the Vikings with a sprained MCL in his knee and didn’t return. The team announced on Monday that Henderson will be placed on IR, ending his regular season. It’s likely he returns at some point in the playoffs, should the Rams advance past the Wild Card round. With Cam Akers still working his way back from his July Achilles surgery, look for the team to add an RB to the depth chart. The team has already announced that the plan is for Akers to gradually ramp up his activity in practice with the goal to contribute to the team in the post-season. For Week 17, Sony Michel should once again dominate touches after averaging 90% of the snaps and 25 opportunities per game over his last four.

Players impacted: Sony Michel, Cam Akers, Jake Funk

WR Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings

Re-Injured Left High Ankle Sprain: Likely Out Week 17
Thielen originally picked up a left high ankle sprain against Detroit in Week 13 then missed Weeks 14 and 15. He returned to the lineup this weekend in Week 16, but he was clearly out there at less than 100%, likely returning quickly in an effort to help Minnesota make a push for the playoffs. The Minnesota WR aggravated his high ankle sprain, which spells bad news for his Week 17 availability Sunday night against the Packers. I expect Thielen to miss this game, but if he is able to gut it out, he’s unlikely to be effective.

Players impacted: Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn

QB Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

Right Thumb UCL Tear and Fracture: Likely Out for Week 17
Jimmy G picked up a thumb injury on his throwing hand last Thursday night against the Titans, which was described by Adam Schefter as “more significant injury” than a thumb sprain Monday afternoon. Then, Monday evening, news broke that Garoppolo actually tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb with a “chip fracture.” What this describes is called an avulsion fracture where the ligament injury pulls off a tiny piece of bone when it is torn. So  long as the bone is not displaced, Garoppolo can avoid surgery, but he’ll need to have his thumb in a splint to protect the ligament injury. The plan is to re-evaluate the injury on Wednesday, so for now, this is a situation to monitor, but this is definitely a cause for concern. I would be surprised if Jimmy G can start in Week 17 given that this ligament is directly involved in stabilizing the thumb during gripping tasks. It’s likely we see rookie Trey Lance get the start Sunday against the Texans.

Players impacted: Trey Lance, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle

TE Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts

Knee, Ankle Injuries: Injury to Monitor
Doyle and the Colts played the Cardinals on Saturday in Week 16, but we haven’t heard any updates since. Doyle exited early with what the team described as ankle and knee injuries before being ruled out for the remainder of the game. If Doyle misses Week 17, Mo Alie-Cox would likely have an elevated role with rookie Kylen Granson filling in on 2TE sets.

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Players impacted: Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson

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