This week’s Thursday Night game is an important divisional matchup between the Chiefs and Chargers. If the Chargers win, they could draw even with the Chiefs atop the AFC West. There also happens to be a lot of important injury news to monitor from this one. Melvin Gordon (knee) is questionable, Austin Ekeler is out, Spencer Ware is doubtful, Sammy Watkins (foot) is out, and Tyreek Hill is questionable. Gordon traveled with the team and is going to be a game-time decision. Ware likely won’t play while Tyreek should be able to give it a go. If Gordon is unable to play, RB Justin Jackson is in a great spot against a Kansas City defense that struggles to defend the run. If Ware sits it will be the trio of Damien Williams, Darrel Williams, and Charcandrick West sharing the load. Damien Williams is most likely to see the bulk of the work and is the only one worth considering for fantasy purposes.
On the defensive side of the ball, Chiefs S Eric Berry is expected to make his season debut. His snaps are likely to be limited but he will provide a massive upgrade for the defense. The Action Network’s Anthony Amico noted in his recent in-depth breakdown of Berry’s return that he “allowed an average of .38 yards per coverage snap in 2015 and 2016, per Pro Football Focus.” The Chiefs current safeties are allowing nearly double that mark at 0.60 and 0.59. For a deeper look at this game be sure to check out Evan Silva’s Matchup Column.
Wentz Likely Out for Week 15
Wednesday morning wasn’t kind to the Eagles as QB Carson Wentz was unable to practice with back spasms. NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport then reported that Wentz isn’t expected to play in Week 15 and could potentially miss the rest of the season. This is horrible news for the 6-7 Eagles who are only half a game behind the Vikings for the last wild-card spot.
With Wentz out the Eagles will turn to Nick Foles at quarterback. The question is, which player will you get? Will it be the Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles? Or will it be the signal-caller who flamed out as the starter in St. Louis and occasionally plays like a bottom-10 quarterback? This will be the key to creating a solid projection for the Eagles Offense going forward. Using the Injury tool over at TheQuantEdge.com, we saw a stark difference between Wentz and Foles in 2017 after his season-ending injury. Nearly every notable metric for the Eagles saw a sizeable drop including nearly a two percent dive in yards per attempt as well as a 6.2 percent decrease in explosive pass rate (rate of 20+ yard passes). This is obviously comparing him to an MVP-like season for Wentz in 2017 but Foles is a downgrade even after his playoff heroics. The Eagles will need the Super Bowl MVP badly this week as they head to Los Angeles to take on the Rams as 11-point underdogs.
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Lamar Jackson to Start in Week 15
After getting injured in Week 14 against the Chiefs on the final few plays, Lamar Jackson’s status has been up in the air. Not only was he injured, but veteran Joe Flacco is healthy. Despite all of this, on Wednesday Coach John Harbaugh announced Lamar Jackson will start Week 15 against the Bucs. Flacco will dress and serve as the team’s backup which means Robert Griffin III will be inactive. Jackson draws a plum matchup against the Bucs’ defense which ranks bottom-five at defending the run. Despite struggling as a passer, Jackson should be able to run enough to produce strong fantasy points.
Adam Thielen (ankle) is practicing in full for Week 15 against the Dolphins. This is a great sign for his availability and likely means his injury suffered last week isn’t a big deal. … Texans designated CB Kayvon Webster (quad, IR) to return. Webster has a three-week window to be added to the active roster. He will add depth to their secondary. … Odell Beckham (quad) was limited on Wednesday. It’s reportedly “getting better” and the Giants have no reason to force him to practice in full on a Wednesday. He should be good to play this week but his status should be monitored. … Seahawks LB Mychal Kendricks suffered a broken tibia and is done for the season. Kendricks had just returned from his suspension and now will be out for all of 2018. He is set to be a free agent in March but could be brought back by the Seahawks on a cheaper contract. … DeSean Jackson (thumb) remained sidelined at Wednesday's practice. Jackson still can’t squeeze a ball, a big issue for a wide receiver. He will likely miss Week 15, boosting Chris Godwin’s snaps once again. Godwin will likely improve upon his 1-10-0 line on 10 targets from last week. … Bears placed CB Bryce Callahan (foot) on injured reserve, ending his season. Callahan was injured in last week’s win over the Rams. He is a significant loss now that Sherrick McManis will be manning the slot. … Jordan Reed (toe) and Josh Doctson (concussion) didn’t practice on Wednesday. This isn’t anything new for Reed who has been one of the most injury-prone players over the past few seasons. Doctson won’t be able to return until after he passes the concussion protocol. This isn’t a good start for the wideout. … LeSean McCoy (hamstring) is not practicing Wednesday. He pulled his hamstring in the first quarter of last week's game and might not get much run the final three games. Chris Ivory was the team’s lead running back last week in his absence. … Isaiah Crowell (toe) remained sidelined at Wednesday's practice. Crowell had a walking boot on earlier this week but has played through multiple injuries this season. His status is one to monitor. … Coach Adam Gase confirmed Ryan Tannehill (ankle) is fine and will start Week 15 against the Vikings. This is good news for the Dolphins who are somehow still in the playoff hunt at 7-6. … David Johnson (quad) did not practice Wednesday. Coach Steve Wilks said Johnson is still expected to play this week against the Falcons. He draws a good matchup against a defense that has allowed the most receptions to running backs the past two seasons. … Matt Breida (ankle) returned to practice Wednesday, getting in a limited session. Breida hasn’t been ruled out early in the week which means he has a solid chance to play. … T.Y. Hilton (ankle) didn’t practice on Wednesday. This is a different injury for Hilton who’s been struggling with shoulder and groin issues the past few weeks. As long as he practices prior to Saturday he has a good chance of playing. … Austin Hooper (leg) didn't practice Wednesday. This is a bad start for Hooper who likely won’t play a full complement of snaps even if he is healthy. … Saints waived WR Brandon Marshall. This didn’t last long. The aging wideout is well past his prime and might not resurface anywhere this season. … Ben Roethlisberger (ribs) didn't practice on Wednesday. Ben has seemingly played through every injury imaginable at one point in his career so against the Patriots it’s very likely he will play. … James Conner (ankle) remained sidelined at Wednesday's practice. This is a bad sign for his chances of playing in Week 15. If he sits Jaylen Samuels will draw the start for the second consecutive week. … Allen Robinson (hip) didn't practice on Wednesday. He is likely just getting a rest day after playing a full set of snaps in Week 14. … Head Coach Pete Carroll said Doug Baldwin (hip) is "day to day." Baldwin didn’t practice on Wednesday but should be able to return at some point this week. His practice status should be monitored.