If you’re still reading these articles, I hope it means that you made the fantasy playoffs. With the playoffs for most leagues beginning next week (or already underway), even one-week injuries can feel like a death knell. Thankfully, there were very few new injuries this week, so hopefully you’re entering the playoffs unscathed. The most notable injuries occurred to a pair of quarterbacks who were taken out in the fourth quarter and a pair of tight ends who suffered head injuries. Here’s everything we know about those injuries, along with the fantasy impact:
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
Stafford left Sunday’s game against the Ravens with a right hand injury in the fourth quarter. He had his hand stepped on after throwing an interception, and he did not return for Detroit’s final nine offensive snaps. After the game, Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said that X-rays indicated that there were no broken bones, although Stafford admitted that he had “some burning nerve pain” following the injury.
The fact that Stafford had no broken bones is obviously a good sign, although you’ll want to keep an eye on Detroit’s practice reports to see how well the injury heals throughout the week. It’s too early to know whether Stafford’s Week 14 availability is in question, although his description of the pain (and the fact that it is his throwing hand) is certainly cause for concern. If Stafford is forced to miss time, then sixth-round rookie Jake Rudock would take over as the starter.
Given Rudock’s lack of NFL experience, it’s difficult to know how he would affect Detroit’s offense, although he’s an obvious downgrade from Stafford. Rudock had a fairly productive college career at Iowa and Michigan, and he also played well in the preseason, but his brief performance in relief of Stafford — which included a pick-six — does not inspire much confidence. Still, the Lions passing game has a soft matchup against the Buccaneers next week, so Marvin Jones and Golden Tate would at least remain in the FLEX conversation with Rudock under center. That would be a risky situation to deal with in the fantasy playoffs, though, so hopefully Stafford is okay.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills
Taylor left Sunday’s game against the Patriots with a knee injury in the fourth quarter. Bills head coach Sean McDermott said that Taylor actually hurt his knee on the first offensive play of the game, but he kept him in the game because Taylor said that he could continue playing. Eventually Taylor reached a point when he couldn’t continue, and he was carted to the locker room. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport later reported that Taylor will have tests on his knee but is believed to have avoided major injury.
This injury represents another bump in the road for Taylor, who has already had a tumultuous season. We’ll have to wait for the test results to know more, but it might be time to move on from any Bills player not named LeSean McCoy, regardless of the severity of Taylor’s injury. Taylor has been productive at times this season, but it’s simply too difficult to trust him going forward, even with a series of good matchups coming up. This knee injury will surely slow down Taylor as a runner, and the lack of confidence from the coaching staff makes him a risk to be benched at any moment. As for Buffalo’s receivers — no WR on the team has surpassed 25 catches or 300 yards this season, which means you’re better off avoiding all of them. Tight end Charles Clay is probably still rosterable in deep leagues due to the scarcity at the position, but McCoy is the only Bills player that belongs in starting lineups.