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Injury Analysis

Daniel Jones: trending in the wrong direction

by C.D. Carter
Updated On: December 19, 2020, 12:01 pm ET

Injury-ravaged secondaries could create pristine matchups for a few quarterbacks and their pass catchers this week, Christian McCaffrey remains sidelined, Daniel Jones is trending in the wrong direction, and James Conner is looking iffy for Monday night. 

Let's get into how Week 15 injuries might affect your start-sit decisions in fantasy's penultimate week. 

Saturday Games

Bills @ Broncos 

Bills S Jaquan Johnson (ankle) is out and TE Lee Smith (knee) is questionable. TE Dawson Knox, who has played 74 percent of the Bills’ offensive snaps and seen 11 targets over the past two weeks, is a viable streaming option against Denver. 

Broncos G Graham Glasgow (foot), RB Melvin Gordon (shoulder), RB Phillip Lindsay (hip), and S Trey Marshall (shin) are listed as questionable but Gordon and Lindsay are expected to suit up. Gordon is a mid-range RB2 and Lindsay is a RB3 with little upside outside a Gordon injury. 

Panthers @ Packers

Panthers G Dennis Daley (concussion) is out and RB Christian McCaffrey (thigh) is considered doubtful. CMC won’t play, leaving Mike Davis to absorb workhorse duties against the Packers. It’s a favorable matchup against a spotty Packers run defense -- whether the Panthers will be in position to run the ball against Green Bay is another question altogether. 

Panthers S Tre Boston (hamstring), DE Austin Larkin (shoulder), DE Efe Obada (knee), T Russell Okung (calf), and WR Curtis Samuel (hamstring) are considered questionable. Samuel should be active. He’ll be a decent flex option, especially if Carolina faces lots of negative game script here. 

Packers G Simon Stepaniak (knee) and TE Jace Sternberger (concussion) are out. WR Malik Taylor (hamstring) is listed as questionable. 

Sunday Early Games

Bears @ Vikings 

Bears CB Buster Skrine (concussion) is out, while S Deon Bush (foot), TE Jimmy Graham (hip), CB Jaylon Johnson (shoulder), LB Khalil Mack (shoulder), and LB James Vaughters (knee) are considered questionable. If Graham -- who was limited at Friday’s practice -- is inactive, Cole Kmet should see more snaps and a couple more targets as his role in Chicago’s offense grows. 

Vikings LB Eric Kendricks (calf) and TE Kyle Rudolph (foot) are out and RB Alexander Mattison (illness) is questionable. Irv Smith is a borderline TE1 with Rudolph on the shelf again. Without a full complement of snaps and pass routes last week, Smith turned four targets into 65 yards and a touchdown. Chicago opponents have consistently attacked the Bears’ defense via the tight end. 

Lions @ Titans 

Lions T Tyrell Crosby (ankle), WR Kenny Golladay (hip), DE Da'shawn Hand (ankle), and CB Darryl Roberts (hip) are out. DT John Penisini (shoulder), C Frank Ragnow (throat), and QB Matthew Stafford (rib, right thumb) are considered questionable. Stafford didn’t practice all week but traveled to Tennessee and has a shot to play. It remains unclear why Detroit would start a banged up Stafford in a meaningless game at the end of a lost season. Chase Daniel would start at QB for the Lions if Stafford is sidelined. 

Titans CB Adoree' Jackson (knee), G Rodger Saffold (toe), TE Geoff Swaim (ankle), and S Kenny Vaccaro (illness) are questionable. 

49ers @ Cowboys 

49ers C Hroniss Grasu (knee) and WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring) are out. Brandon Aiyuk should once again dominate targets with Samuel sidelined. He’s a borderline WR1 option. 

49ers CB Emmanuel Moseley (hamstring), LB Fred Warner (stinger), and CB K'Waun Williams (ankle) are questionable. 

Cowboys CB Deante Burton (shoulder) is out and RB Ezekiel Elliott (calf), CB Rashard Robinson (knee), and S Xavier Woods (groin) are questionable. Though head coach Mike McCarthy expressed concern about Elliott’s calf injury this week, the expectation is for Elliott to play against the Niners. He could cede snaps and touches to Tony Pollard, the more effective Dallas running back. 

Bucs @ Falcons 

Bucs LB Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) and DT Ndamukong Suh (not injury related) didn’t practice Friday but both are expected to suit up. 

Falcons CB Ricardo Allen (concussion), DT Marlon Davidson (knee), CB Darqueze Dennard (quadricep), and WR Julio Jones (hamstring) are out. Calvin Ridley is the only sure thing for fantasy purposes in Atlanta’s offense. Russell Gage is a low-ceiling WR3/4 play with Julio sidelined. 

Seahawks @ Football Team 

Seahawks G Phil Haynes (groin), RB Travis Homer (knee), and T Jamarco Jones (groin) are out. DE Carlos Dunlap (foot), S Damarious Randall (foot), T Brandon Shell (ankle), and CB Jayson Stanley (shoulder) are listed as questionable. 

Washington LB Cole Holcomb (concussion), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (ankle), and QB Alex Smith (calf) are out, and RB Antonio Gibson (toe) is doubtful. Dwayne Haskins will start for Washington -- a positive for Terry McLaurin, who was peppered with targets in Haskins’ early season starts. Haskins represents a marked downgrade for J.D. McKissic, who had benefited from Smith’s penchant for check downs over the past month and a half. 

Texans @ Colts 

Texans CB Phillip Gaines (knee), RB Duke Johnson (neck), S Lonnie Johnson (knee), RB C.J. Prosise (ankle), and CB John Reid (neck) are listed as questionable. Duke Johnson, who did not practice Thursday or Friday, doesn’t have a great shot to play, positioning David Johnson as a solid volume-based play against the Colts. David Johnson is a high-end RB2 if Duke is sidelined. 

Colts TE Mo Alie-Cox (knee), DT DeForest Buckner (ankle), and T Anthony Castonzo (knee) are questionable. Alie-Cox missing this game could be a boost for Trey Burton, though the team’s tight end rotation is harder to predict than which city the Raiders will move to next. Buckner would constitute a major loss for the Colts front seven, and a definite boost for Deshaun Watson and the Houston offense. 

Patriots @ Dolphins 

Patriots DT Adam Butler (shoulder), DT Byron Cowart (back), T Jermaine Eluemunor (ankle), K Nick Folk (back), DT Lawrence Guy (shoulder), RB Damien Harris (ankle), T Justin Herron (ankle), CB J.C. Jackson (knee), CB Jonathan Jones (neck), G Shaquille Mason (calf), WR Donte Moncrief (thigh), WR Matt Slater (knee), RB J.J. Taylor (quadricep), and RB James White (foot) are questionable. Harris should be able to suit up but fantasy managers should keep a close eye on New England’s Sunday inactives. 

Dolphins RB Salvon Ahmed (shoulder), LB Jerome Baker (knee), G Ereck Flowers (ankle), TE Mike Gesicki (shoulder), WR Jakeem Grant (hamstring), S Bobby McCain (ankle), WR DeVante Parker (hamstring), LB Elandon Roberts (chest), and LB Kyle Van Noy (hip) are questionable. 

Ahmed could resume lead-back duties if Myles Gaskin remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list. If Ahmed and Gaskin can't go, it'll again be DeAndre Washington taking the lead back role for Miami. Ahmed would be a low-end RB2 play if he's active and Gaskin is not. Slot receiver Lynn Bowden would shape up as an intriguing volume based option if Parker or Grant are out. 

Jaguars @ Ravens

Jaguars CB Sidney Jones (Achilles) is out. RB James Robinson (knee) practiced fully Friday and should be fine for this one. 

Ravens CB Jimmy Smith (ribs, shoulder) and LB Kristian Welch (foot) are out. CB Anthony Averett (ankle), DT Calais Campbell (calf), CB Davontae Harris (ankle), S Anthony Levine (abdomen), CB Marcus Peters (calf), DT Broderick Washington (concussion), CB Tramon Williams (thigh), TE Luke Willson (hip), and DE Derek Wolfe (neck, back) are questionable. 

Ravens WR Marquise Brown and WR Miles Boykin are expected to be removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list in time to play against the Jags. Brown is a boom-bust WR3 play against a burnable Jacksonville secondary. 

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Afternoon Games

Chiefs @ Saints

Chiefs RB Darwin Thompson (illness) and LB Damien Wilson (knee) are out and T Mike Remmers (back, neck) is listed as doubtful. After practicing fully on Friday, T Eric Fisher (back) is questionable. 

Saints DT Malcom Brown (shoulder, calf), G Nick Easton (concussion), and WR Michael Thomas (ankle) are out. Drew Brees coming back from his broken ribs and Thomas being inactive gives Alvin Kamara a sky-high PPR floor against KC. He’s a lock to see double digit targets. Emmanuel Sanders becomes a WR3 option with Thomas sidelined. 

Eagles @ Cardinals 

Eagles T Jack Driscoll (knee) and CB Avonte Maddox (knee) are out. S Grayland Arnold (hamstring), DT Malik Jackson (concussion), and CB Darius Slay (concussion) are considered questionable, but Slay is not expected to play. The injury-ravaged Philly secondary sets up well for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals receivers. 

Cardinals LB Kylie Fitts (hamstring), K Zane Gonzalez (back), DT Jordan Phillips (hamstring), and S Jalen Thompson (ankle) are out. RB Chase Edmonds (ankle), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (hamstring), and G Justin Pugh (calf) are listed as questionable. Edmonds was able to get in a limited Friday practice after missing Wednesday and Thursday practices. Kenyan Drake could see pass game involvement if Edmonds -- who has a 13 percent target share -- is inactive. 

Jets @ Rams 

Jets Jamison Crowder (calf) is questionable after being limited in practice all week. The team leader in targets, Crowder should be viable as a flex option against LA. 

Rams C Brian Allen (not injury related), LB Justin Hollins (not injury related), and LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (not injury related) are questionable. 

Sunday Night Football

Browns @ Giants

Browns S Andrew Sendejo (concussion) and G Wyatt Teller (ankle) are out. WR KhaDarel Hodge (hamstring), TE Austin Hooper (neck), CB Kevin Johnson (groin), TE David Njoku (knee), and CB Denzel Ward (calf) are listed as questionable for Sunday night. Hooper and Njoku being out would make Harrison Bryant a top streaming play, though we probably won’t know about the tight ends’ statuses until Sunday evening. 

Giants CB Darnay Holmes (knee) is out. Giants TE Evan Engram (calf), QB Daniel Jones (hamstring, ankle), and TE Kaden Smith (knee) are questionable. Engram was added to Friday’s injury report -- never a good sign for Sunday availability. Smith would be the primary pass catching tight end for New York if Engram can’t go. Both Smith and Engram missing this game would make Levine Toilolo the team’s only healthy tight end. 

Saturday reports say Jones is “trending toward” missing Week 15. Colt McCoy would start for the Giants and crush the fantasy prospects of every New York pass catcher. A gimpy Jones starting wouldn’t be much better. Fantasy managers should only start Giants pass catchers if they have no other options. 

Monday Night Football

Steelers @ Bengals 

Steelers RB James Conner (quadricep) returned to practice Friday, getting in a limited session. That would seem to put him on a path toward playing Monday night. If he can’t go, Benny Snell would take over primary back duties for the Steelers. Both players are touchdown dependent low-end RB2 plays in a Pittsburgh offense that has no interest in establishing the run.  

Bengals QB Brandon Allen (knee) and LB Logan Wilson (ankle) did not practice Friday. Allen is not expected to play. The Steelers Defense is an elite option with Ryan Finley starting (not that they weren't with Allen at QB). Finley under center makes the Bengals pass catchers nearly unplayable outside deep leagues. 

C.D. Carter

C.D. Carter is co-host of Living The Stream, owner of DraftDayConsultants.com and author of fantasy football books, including How To Think Like A Fantasy Football Winner. He can be found on Twitter @cdcarter13. He never logs off.