This is the time of year when the NFL season really begins to wear on the players, and we oftentimes see a spike in injuries. Unfortunately, that spike seems to have occurred in Week 14, as more players made this week’s list than any other. Thankfully there weren’t any truly horrifying injuries, but there are still a lot of players to monitor. Here’s everything we know about the injuries from Week 14, along with the fantasy impact:
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
Reed left Sunday’s game against the Giants with a foot injury in the first quarter. He suffered the injury when he got stepped on during a run play, and he immediately came up limping. He had to be assisted to the locker room, and he did not return to the game. After the game, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Reed sprained his foot.
The severity of Reed’s foot sprain is unknown at this point, so we’ll have to wait for more information from the Redskins. If Reed is forced to miss Week 15 against the Jaguars, 13-year veteran Vernon Davis would become the team’s top tight end. Davis has been solid for Washington when called upon, catching all four of his targets for 31 yards in Sunday’s game, and also hauling in a two-point conversion. However, it’ll be career journeyman Josh Johnson throwing him the ball against a talented Jacksonville defense this week, so he’s impossible to trust regardless of Reed’s health. If Reed is sidelined, you can rate Davis as a mid- or low-end TE2.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
McCoy left Sunday’s game against the Jets with a hamstring injury in the first quarter. He was initially listed as questionable to return and was doing some running and stretching on the sideline, but he was later downgraded to out.
The Bills haven’t released any information on McCoy’s injury yet, so it’s unclear if his future availability is at risk. If he is forced to miss Week 15 against the Lions, ninth-year running back Chris Ivory would get the start. However, Ivory — who has struggled to the tune of 3.37 yards per carry this season — was forced out of Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury, so his status for this week is also uncertain. If McCoy and Ivory both sit out, fourth-year back Marcus Murphy would be the last man standing. Regardless of who starts for the Bills, the team has struggled all season to establish a consistent running game, and the Lions have defended the run well since trading for defensive tackle Damon Harrison in October. At this point, Buffalo’s starting running back should only be considered a low-end flex play.
Spencer Ware, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Ware returned to Sunday’s game against the Ravens after suffering a shoulder injury, only to tweak his hamstring late in the fourth quarter. He did not return for the overtime period.
Ware’s shoulder issue doesn’t appear to be serious since he was able to return to the game, but his hamstring injury is worth monitoring — especially since the Chiefs play on Thursday night against the Chargers. If the quick turnaround forces Ware to sit, fifth-year back Damien Williams would likely get the start. Williams followed up an efficient Week 13 effort against the Raiders with an inefficient Week 14 outing, but he still ended up scoring two touchdowns in the latter game. The matchup against the Chargers shouldn’t be as tough as Baltimore’s top-ranked run defense, so Williams projects to be a low-end RB2 or high-end flex if Ware can’t play. Charcandrick West and Darrel Williams could also be involved, but West was inactive against the Ravens and Williams only has one touch over the last two weeks, suggesting that both players will be nothing more than ancillary pieces.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Ekeler left Sunday’s game against the Bengals in the fourth quarter after aggravating the neck stingers that he has been dealing with. He suffered the injury while attempting to recover an onside kick, and he did not return for the final drive of the game. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, he will undergo further testing.
It’s unclear if this injury will be enough to keep Ekeler out of Thursday night’s game against the Chiefs, but the quick turnaround makes this something to monitor. Complicating matters, Melvin Gordon — who hasn’t practiced or played over the last two weeks due to a knee injury — also appears to be questionable for the game. As such, we have no idea whether it will be Gordon, Ekeler, or rookie Justin Jackson starting for the Chargers on Thursday. However, the Chiefs have been extremely generous to opposing backfields this season, so whoever starts should be a good fantasy option. Gordon would be an obvious RB1 if he’s able to suit up, but Ekeler should continue to be an RB2 if he plays and Gordon is out, while Jackson would be a flex option if both Gordon and Ekeler are sidelined.
Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Hill left Sunday’s game against the Ravens twice, although he returned both times. He first left the game with a wrist injury in the first quarter, and then he later left the game again with a heel injury in the second quarter. After returning to start the third quarter, he was able to continue playing for the remainder of the game, but he was running with a noticeable limp at times.
It’s certainly good news that Hill was able to play for the entirety of the game, but the fact that he got banged up a couple times — combined with the quick turnaround for Thursday’s game against the Chargers — is enough to make his status worth monitoring. If Hill were to miss Thursday night’s contest, fourth-year wideout Chris Conley and third-year wideout Demarcus Robinson would most likely be the starters, although the newly acquired Kelvin Benjamin could also get some playing time. None of those players have shown enough this year to be trustworthy options, so let’s just hope that Hill will be good to go.