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SHOW ME WHERE IT HURTS: Week 15 Injury Fallout

With just two weeks left in the regular season, the injuries continue to pile up. This was one of the worst weeks we’ve had all season, but that’s unfortunately not surprising around this time of year. Hopefully your team has remained unscathed, but if not, there will at least be a few waiver wire options for you. Here’s everything we know about the injuries from Week 15, along with the fantasy impact:

Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

Jones left Sunday’s game against the Bears with a right knee injury in the first quarter. He took himself out of the game on the second drive, and he went into the blue medical tent to be examined. He was originally listed as questionable to return, but he was ruled out for the game in the second half. After the game, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Jones is believed to have suffered a sprained MCL, although he added that the injury is not considered serious.

Impact

It’s good news that Jones’ injury does not appear to be serious, but an MCL sprain could be enough to keep him out of the final two games of the season. If that’s the case, then second-year back Jamaal Williams — the only other tailback currently on the roster — would most likely become a workhorse. Williams has averaged a lackluster 3.67 yards per carry over his career, but he was able to carry the ball 12 times for 55 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, while also adding four receptions for 42 yards against the stout Bears defense. With better matchups against the Jets and the Lions over the next two weeks, Williams’ potential increased workload should be enough to vault him into low-end RB2 or high-end flex territory if Jones is sidelined.

 

Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Allen left Thursday’s game against the Chiefs with a hip injury in the second quarter. He suffered the injury when he attempted to make a diving catch in the end zone and landed hard on his right hip. He came up limping and went to the medical tent, and he ultimately could not continue playing after he tried to return to the game. On Friday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Allen was diagnosed with a hip pointer, which could cause him to miss time, although it’s unlikely to hold him out for long.

Impact

Fortunately, Allen appears to have avoided a long-term injury, but his availability for Week 16 still seems to be in question. If he is forced to miss that game, then Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams would be the team’s full-time starting wideouts. With Allen out for most of Thursday’s game, Mike Williams put together an incredible performance, catching seven of nine targets for 76 yards and two touchdowns, rushing for another touchdown on a 19-yard carry, and also hauling in the game-winning two-point conversion. Although he’s unlikely to repeat that performance anytime soon, he would still be a top-25 play if Allen is out in Week 16, even in a tough matchup against the Ravens. Tyrell Williams also had a solid game against the Chiefs, catching six of 12 targets for 71 yards. He would become a top-40 play if Allen can’t suit up against Baltimore on Saturday.

 

Frank Gore, RB, Miami Dolphins

Gore left Sunday’s game against the Vikings with a left foot injury in the first quarter. He suffered the injury when he got tackled awkwardly, and he was carted off the field. He did not return to the game, and he was spotted with a walking boot when he left the locker room. After the game, multiple reports indicated that Gore suffered a foot sprain. X-rays on the foot were negative, but Gore will undergo an MRI on Monday.

Impact

Gore’s status for Week 16 is unclear at the moment, but his inability to walk off the field doesn’t leave much room for optimism. You’ll need to wait for the MRI results to know his official recovery timetable, but it seems likely that he could miss at least one game. If that’s the case, it will be third-year back Kenyan Drake and rookie Kalen Ballage carrying the mail against the Jaguars this week. With Gore out for most of Sunday’s game, it was surprisingly Ballage who got the bulk of the backfield work, carrying the ball 12 times for 123 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown. While the explosive Drake (who only had one carry on Sunday) has been incredible at times, it seems that Dolphins head coach Adam Gase may prefer the bigger Ballage (6-foot-2, 238 pounds) as the early-down replacement for Gore. Drake’s proficiency as a receiver should still make him a (risky) flex option, but Ballage clearly appears to be the favorite to lead the backfield in touches if Gore is sidelined. As such, Ballage should be rated as a high-end flex, although he also carries some risk since he only has 20 carries this season.

 

Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans

Miller left Saturday’s game against the Jets with an ankle injury on the first drive. He suffered the injury when he got tackled awkwardly, and he quickly fell to the turf when he tried to walk it off. He was eventually able to walk off the field under his own power, and he returned for the next drive, but he appeared to be in some discomfort and left the game again soon after. He was listed as questionable to return at that point, but he did not re-enter the game. After the game, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said that he doesn’t think the injury is major, but he also said that the Texans will evaluate Miller’s injury when they get back to Houston.

Impact

It’s encouraging that O’Brien doesn’t think the injury is serious, but Miller’s inability to return to the game suggests that this is still something to monitor. If Miller is unable to play against the Eagles in Week 16, fifth-year back Alfred Blue would become the starter, as he is the only other running back on the roster who has logged a carry this season. However, Blue — who carried the ball nine times for just 6 yards on Saturday — has been extremely inefficient, averaging 3.31 yards per carry this season and 3.58 yards per carry throughout his career. If Miller is out, Blue would still only be a mid-to-low-end flex option. You should also keep an eye on talented second-year back D’Onta Foreman, who was activated from the PUP list two weeks ago. Still, he hasn’t played in a game yet this season, which suggests that he probably won’t be much of a factor in the near future.

About Jay Devineni

A journalist by trade, Jay is in St. Louis and still a loyal Rams fan. He earned a Master's Degree in Journalism from Columbia University and is a published sports writer.