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SHOW ME WHERE IT HURTS: Week 16 Injury Fallout

Here is a list of all of the fantasy-relevant Week 16 injuries, along with the fantasy impact:

Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams

Goff suffered a right thumb injury in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against Seattle. The injury occurred when his hand hit a defender’s helmet on the follow-through of a pass. Although Goff’s thumb was visibly dislocated after the play, he popped it back in place and finished the game. After the game, NFL Network’s Michael Silver and Ian Rapoport reported that Goff’s thumb is broken, adding that he is unlikely to play in Week 17 and could be out for the season.

Impact

This is a tough blow for the Rams, who may need to beat Arizona in Week 17 to hold onto their playoff spot. If Goff does in fact miss that game, third-year quarterback John Wolford would be the starter. Wolford has never thrown an NFL pass, so there isn’t much reason to believe that he would be effective under center. However, he did lead the Alliance of American Football (AAF) in passing touchdowns in 2019 (the league’s only year of existence), so there’s a chance that some of that success could translate to the NFL. Nevertheless, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp should be downgraded to the 20-30 range of the wide receiver rankings, putting them in the low-end WR2 or high-end flex conversation.

Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams

Henderson left Sunday’s game against Seattle with a left ankle injury in the third quarter. He suffered the injury when safety Jamal Adams tackled him from behind at the 2-yard line (preventing a touchdown), which caused Henderson’s ankle to bend sideways. He immediately grabbed his ankle after the play, but he was eventually able to limp to the medical tent under his own power. Henderson was listed as doubtful to return, and he did not reenter the game. The Rams have not provided any further updates on the injury.

Impact

The severity of the injury is unclear at the moment, but Henderson appeared to be in significant pain, and his inability to return to the game certainly casts doubt on his future availability. If he is unable to play against Arizona in Week 17, Malcolm Brown would be the presumptive starter, assuming that Cam Akers remains sidelined with his high ankle sprain. Brown has been a serviceable though unspectacular member of the Rams backfield this season, but Jared Goff’s likely absence throws some cold water on his fantasy outlook. Still, the Rams will probably double down on their run-heavy approach with Goff sidelined, so Brown would be a volume-based Top 25 option if both Henderson and Akers are out. 

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit 

Stafford left Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay with a right ankle injury in the first quarter. He suffered the injury after throwing a pass, when some light contact from a defender forced him to backpedal for a few steps and roll his ankle. He limped to the locker room before eventually returning to the sideline, but he did not return to the game. On Sunday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the injury is a sprained ankle that doesn’t appear too serious, although he added that Stafford could still miss the final game of the season due to Detroit’s elimination from playoff contention.

Impact

It’s good news that Stafford seems to have avoided major injury, but with nothing left to play for, it would not be surprising if Detroit decides to rest him in Week 17. If he doesn’t play in that game, Chase Daniel is technically next on the depth chart, although Detroit could opt to go with David Blough instead (both quarterbacks got playing time against Tampa Bay, and both were mediocre). Either way, the entire Detroit offense would have to be downgraded, leaving D’Andre Swift as a Top 20 running back, Marvin Jones as a Top 50 receiver, and T.J. Hockenson as a Top 10 tight end. All three players are good enough to produce decent numbers in these less-than-ideal circumstances, but the upside of all three would be significantly reduced.

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.