Here are all of the fantasy-relevant Week 17 injuries, along with the fantasy impact, how long the players are expected to be out, and who to target as a replacement. Please note this may not be an exhaustive list, as teams sometimes wait until later in the week to release injury information.
Joe Burrow (knee), QB, Cincinnati
With under a minute to go in the Bengals’ Week 17 win over the Chiefs, Burrow appeared to tweak his knee, and limped off the field. Backup quarterback Brandon Allen handled the Bengals’ remaining few offensive plays, which were all kneel-downs to seal the victory. Burrow put up another monster fantasy performance in Week 16, throwing for 446 yards and four touchdowns. After the game, Burrow was seen dancing jubilantly in the locker room as the Bengals celebrated clinching first place in the AFC North.
It sounds like Burrow avoided a major issue, and his removal from the game was purely precautionary. We would expect Burrow to be fine for the Bengals’ Week 18 matchup versus the Browns that has playoff seeding implications on the line.
Damien Harris (hamstring), RB, New England
Per Patriots beat writer Zack Cox, Harris did not play at all during the second half of the team’s Week 17 win over the Jaguars due to a hamstring injury. Prior to getting injured, Harris put up 47 total yards and two scores on 10 touches. During the Patriots’ post-game news conference, Harris downplayed the injury, stating “I’m good”.
Typically injured players aren’t made available to the media, so the fact that Harris shared anything has to be considered a good sign for his status moving forward. There was also little reason to have Harris play while hurt given the Patriots were already winning by double-digits at half time. Nevertheless, a hamstring injury for Harris is particularly concerning given he already missed Week 15 due to the same issue. Rookie Rhamondre Stevenson carried the load for New England while Harris was on the sidelines, rumbling for 107 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 19 carries. If Harris is not able to suit up for Week 18 versus the Dolphins, or the Patriots decide to rest him, Stevenson should be considered a locked-in RB1 with massive touchdown upside.
Ronald Jones (ankle), RB, Tampa Bay
Jones exited the Buccaneers’ Week 17 win over the Jets with an ankle injury during the third quarter, and did not return despite being listed as questionable. Prior to the injury, Jones was having a disappointing fantasy performance with just 27 total yards on 11 touches. The Bucs did not offer any post-game insight into Jones’ status for Week 18 and beyond.
With Jones sidelined, the Bucs ran a backfield committee of Ke’Shawn Vaughn (45 total yards on 10 touches) and newly signed Le’Veon Bell (35 total yards on 6 touches). Expect more of the same for Week 17 versus the Panthers if Jones is not healthy enough to play, though the Buccaneers likely remedy for their backfield woes is simply more passing from Tom Brady.
Michael Carter (concussion), RB, New York Jets
Carter exited the Jets’ Week 17 loss to the Buccaneers during first half to be evaluated for a concussion, and did not return. Carter finished the contest with 63 total yards on just four touches.
With Tevin Coleman (COVID) unavailable, Austin Walter handled the bulk of the Jets’ rushing load after Carter exited, finishing with 49 yards on 14 carries. Ty Johnson had a much better day at the office, contributing 82 total yards and a score on just 8 touches in his usual change-of-pace role. Regardless of whether Carter and/or Coleman get cleared in time for Week 18 versus the Bills or not, none of the Jets running backs profile as exciting fantasy options in what projects as a highly unfavorable matchup.