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Fantasy Playoff Injury Reports | Aaron Rodgers Making Progress

Inside Injuries December 8, 2017 3:14PM EDT

Fantasy Playoff Injury Outlooks

 

The Inside Injuries Fantasy Playoff Injury Reports look at the key injuries at each position and who might have value during the Fantasy Football Playoff weeks over the final month of the season.

IRC = Injury Risk Category (Low, Elevated, High)
HPF = Health Performance Factor (Peak, Above Average, Below Average, Poor)

Aaron Rodgers GB: clavicle fracture

IRC: elevated
HPF: below average

To say that the Packers really miss Aaron Rodgers would be a major understatement. Green Bay could be just a week away from having their quarterback back. Rodgers has not played since suffering a clavicle fracture in Week 6. He underwent surgery to insert a rod and 13 screws, stabilizing the break. After landing on IR, he is eligible to return in Week 15. Rodgers has been doing agility drills in recent weeks, taking snaps, and was even seen launching passes 50 yards downfield.

All of this serves as a sign that he is on track to play next Sunday, and he should be able to play well. Now, the one thing to keep in mind is that eight weeks is not enough for a fracture to heal completely. The rod and screws inserted during surgery certainly help, but he will remain an Elevated Injury Risk for the remainder of the season. With the return of Aaron Rodgers also comes the return of Jordy Nelson’s Fantasy value. Both should be in Fantasy lineups whenever Rodgers is activated.

Dak Prescott DAL: hand contusion

fantasy playoff injury reports

Aaron Rodgers has been leading the scout team at Packers practices. Credit: AP Photo/Jim Mone

IRC: elevated
HPF: below average

Dak Prescott suffered an ugly looking injury when he took a helmet to his hand on an option play last Thursday night. His hand swelled up, but he was able to finish the game. With a week to get the swelling and pain under control, he is already good to go. Even if he misses some practice reps this week, the contusion should not affect him come Sunday.

Going against a Giants team that has all but given up, Prescott will be a fringe QB1 on Sunday. The offense has struggled without Zeke, but they started to turn things around in Week 13. Let’s hope they continue on that track.

Matt Stafford DET: hand contusion and ankle sprain

IRC: high
HPF: below average

Matt Stafford and Dak Prescott suffered similar injuries in Week 13, but there is more concern with Stafford. The first reason is that he has three less days to recover. That should be enough time to control the swelling in his hand so he can play on Sunday, but it could still affect his throws. The second reason is that Stafford has a host of other injury concerns. Right now, it’s his ankle. He was hurt on Thanksgiving, and with a four-week Optimal Recovery Time, it has not healed yet.

Heading into Week 14, Stafford is a High Injury Risk. He has a great matchup against a Bucs defense that has trouble stopping the pass, but his hand injury will affect his accuracy and ball security. He is a high risk-high reward option for now. If he avoids worsening either injury this weekend, his IRC and HPF numbers should improve for Weeks 15, 16 and 17, making him a better Fantasy option.

Leonard Fournette JAX: foot sprain

IRC: high
HPF: below average

When Fournette was drafted by the Jaguars, Inside Injuries expressed some concern over his history of ankle injuries. While he has been one of the best rookies this year, his ankle and foot have continued to be a problem. Over the past month he has yet to get in a full week of practice, and he was inactive in Week 9 due to the injury. This week, Fournette put in full workouts both Wednesday and Thursday. However, the ankle injury is a problem that won’t resolve itself as he continues to play. He needs the offseason to get healthy, and even then his ankle could remain a chronic problem.

Fournette has been somewhat inconsistent this year, and he has just one 100-yard rushing game in the last four weeks. He had three in his first six games. Fournette will continue to be a borderline RB1 for the remainder of the year, but his ankle won’t hold up each and every week. He is having a harder time exploding through the holes and is averaging just 2.6 yards per carry since his Week 6 ankle injury. Unfortunately, Fournette isn’t going to be the running back he once was for his Fantasy owners.

Kelvin Benjamin BUF: meniscus tear

IRC: high
HPF: poor

It’s been three weeks since Kelvin Benjamin suffered his scary looking right knee injury, and he is finally back at practice. Benjamin was hurt in Week 11 on his first catch of the game. His leg was caught behind him, leading to a torn meniscus. He avoided surgery and did not suffer any ligament damage, but this still comes with an Optimal Recovery Time of 4-8 weeks. Benjamin previously tore the ACL in his left knee.

While Benjamin could return in Week 14, he will remain a High Injury Risk, as he has been for much of the year. Most NFL players undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus because it is painful to play through. Benjamin decided to rest and avoid surgery (for now). The meniscus is important for stability and to cushion the joint, so playing through this injury will be difficult. Benjamin’s fantasy owners should consider benching him this week and next as he won’t be anywhere near healthy. The Bills may also be without Tyrod Taylor, who is battling a patellar tendon contusion. If he can’t play, it’s a serious downgrade for all of their receivers.

Chris Hogan NE: shoulder injury

IRC: high
HPF: below average

Chris Hogan has missed four straight games since injuring his right shoulder in Week 8. He finally returned to practice on a limited basis both Wednesday and Thursday, his first practices since the injury. When Hogan was initially hurt, our algorithm calculated a seven-week Optimal Recovery Time. He is still two weeks away from that mark, and the Patriots have yet to release any valuable information on his exact injury.

He may not worth a spot in Fantasy lineups if he does happen to be active in Week 14 because the Patriots are going to continue to be very cautious with Hogan, but by Week 15 he’s a must-start if he can get in a full week of practice.

Robert Woods LAR: shoulder injury

IRC: elevated
HPF: below average

Like Hogan, Robert Woods remains out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Woods has not practiced since his Week 11 shoulder injury and is again highly questionable for Week 14. He underwent an MRI, which confirmed that he is not dealing with any structural damage (ligament tear, labrum tear, etc). Even so, there can be other damage to the shoulder that takes weeks and months to heal.

If Woods is active, he is a cautious Fantasy play. Week 15 is a more realistic target. If he moves into the Above Average HPF category next week, that is a sign he can be plugged into Fantasy lineups. Until he returns to practice and we see his shoulder can hold up, keep him on the bench. This injury will impact his ability to reach for passes out in front of him or above his head, and it will affect his strength as well.

Antonio Brown PIT: toe injury

IRC: high
HPF: below average

Like Julio Jones, Brown is one of those special players who always finds a way to compete, even at less than 100 percent. Brown’s status entering Week 13 was iffy due to a toe injury. He played and put up over 100 yards with a touchdown. His toe injury comes with a three-week Optimal Recovery Time, so he won’t be healthy until around Week 16.

Brown has to be in Fantasy lineups each and every week. He has faced very little competition this year as the league’s best receiver and should even be an MVP candidate. He is a High Injury Risk, but Brown is special. Even when injured, he can still out-perform just about anyone.

Rishard Matthews TEN: hamstring strain

IRC: elevated
HPF: below average

The Titans are still calling Rishard Matthews day-to-day but he returned to practice at the end of last week. Matthews strained his hamstring during practice ahead of the Week 12 game and has not played since. With a three-week Optimal Recovery Time, a return in Week 14 is somewhat risky but realistic. The algorithm recently upgraded him from a High Injury Risk to Elevated. Matthews was also able to get in a limited practice Wednesday and he practiced in full Thursday, so he is expected to play Sunday.

Matthews is worth flex consideration, but he will remain a somewhat risky Fantasy option. Marcus Mariota has struggled without Matthews in the lineup, but his return should help the offense get going again. Also, consider that Matthews could see a lot of Patrick Peterson if he does suit up. If you have a safer option, roll with them this weekend.

Greg Olsen CAR: foot aggravation

IRC: elevated
HPF: below average

Greg Olsen returned in Week 12 following a stint on injured reserve. He suffered a foot fracture in Week 2 and underwent surgery. When he returned, our algorithm showed that he needed two more weeks and sure enough, he didn’t even make it to the second half. After getting his foot checked out and undergoing more scans, the Panthers announced that he did not suffer any additional damage. Again, our algorithm showed he would be ready in 2-3 more weeks. That puts a healthy outlook around Week 15.

Olsen has practiced fully this week and is on track to play this Sunday. His Health Performance Factor is close to crossing into the Above Average category, but he isn’t there quite yet. He will remain a risky Fantasy play this week, but if he makes it through the game without another setback, then our algorithm should show that he is a much safer play for Week 15.

Delanie Walker TEN: ankle injury

IRC: high
HPF: below average

Walker nearly missed a game earlier this season after spraining his ankle, and he tweaked it on a touchdown catch in Week 13. Walker always seems to be banged up, but he is a security blanket for Marcus Mariota and sees consistent targets whenever he plays. He can be a reliable Fantasy option even when he isn’t healthy and playing on every down.

Walker sits just outside of the Top 5 Fantasy tight ends. His ankle has a three-week Optimal Recovery Time, so he won’t be able to get healthy until the season is over. He has been a High Injury Risk for most of the year as he continues to get banged up. Walker won’t improve in the final weeks of the season, but he should remain a reliable mid to low tier TE1.

Download the Inside Injuries app for more injury advice and fantasy analysis on every player in the NFL!

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