The fantasy playoffs are here, and the Rotoworld crew has everything you need to survive and advance. Patrick Daugherty answers your lineup questions with his Week 15 Rankings, Nick Mensio tells you who to start and who to fade in Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em, and Evan Silva breaks down every matchup in his award-winning Matchups Column.
As for me, I am here to shed some light on the most important injury situations facing fantasy owners heading into the weekend. The sister resource to this column is the Rotoworld News Page, which will have every single inactive and all the late-breaking news up to kickoff and beyond. I also occasionally tweet about football @RMSummerlin.
Jets @ Cowboys
*Tony Romo (shoulder), Rolando McClain (concussion) and Morris Claiborne (hamstring, doubtful) are out. With Claiborne out and Tyler Patmon cut, the Cowboys will struggle to find enough competent bodies to cover the Jets’ spread attack. McClain’s absence weakens a rush defense which was shredded by Eddie Lacy last week. Chris Ivory is a great play. Dez Bryant (foot) is probable, but he is a risky WR3 at best with Matt Cassel running the show. Bryant has scored two touchdowns total this season with one game with more than 65 receiving yards.
*Devin Smith (knee) was placed on injured reserve Friday. Every member of the Jets’ active roster is probable or better.
Panthers @ Giants
*Ereck Flowers (ankle), Dwayne Harris (shoulder) and J.T. Thomas (ankle) are questionable. Flowers will play “barring anything unforeseen.” If Harris cannot play, Odell Beckham should see more time in the slot and less time against Josh Norman. Devon Kennard (foot, hamstring), Markus Kuhn (knee) and George Selvie (concussion) are out.
*Jonathan Stewart (foot) and David Mayo (hamstring) are out. Carolina is expected to deploy a running back by committee with Stewart sidelined. Fozzy Whittaker should get the start, but Cameron Artis-Payne is the better early-down option and Mike Tolbert always is a factor in the red zone. Stewart owners should look elsewhere for a replacement. Greg Olsen (knee, probable) will play and is a great option against a defense which struggles against tight ends. Charles Tillman (knee, probable) will make his return.
Falcons @ Jaguars
*T.J. Yeldon (knee) and Ryan Davis (knee) are doubtful. Gus Bradley kept the charade going all week, but Yeldon was never going to play. Yeldon hopes to be ready next week, but knee sprains are tough injuries for running backs to come back from. Denard Robinson will be the every-down workhorse with Yeldon out. He is a back-end RB1 in a great matchup. Allen Hurns (thigh) practiced in full Friday and is probable. Sergio Brown (thumb), Dwayne Gratz (hamstring), Nic Jacobs (hamstring) and Bryan Walters (back) are questionable.
Chiefs @ Ravens
*Matt Schaub (chest, shoulder) is probable, but John Harbaugh has been “noncommittal” on his starter after Jimmy Clausen was competent in a tough spot last week. Schaub likely will start, but he could have a short leash. Crockett Gillmore (back) is out and could be headed to injured reserve. Kyle Arrington (back), Marlon Brown (back) and Albert McClellan (ankle) are doubtful. Terrance West (calf) is questionable, but he is unlikely to play after suffering a mid-week injury.
*In a crushing blow to Charcandrick West owners across the universe, Spencer Ware (ribs) returned to practice Friday. His is officially listed as questionable, and we likely will not know his status until Sunday morning. If Ware sits, West would be a back-end RB1. If Ware plays, both are RB3/FLEX options. Justin Houston (knee), Husain Abdullah (concussion) and De’Anthony Thomas (concussion) are out. Houston got good news from Dr. James Andrews this week, but he is still without a timetable. Dee Ford had the best game of his career starting for Houston last week. Jeff Allen (ankle) is questionable.
Texans @ Colts
*Andrew Luck (kidney, out) returned to practice this week, but he is still at least a week away. Matt Hasselbeck (back, ribs) is probable and will start what may amount to the AFC South championship game. Donte Moncrief (foot) is listed as questionable, but he has not practiced all week. He should not be in starting lineups even if he plays. Anthony Castonzo (knee) and Jerrell Freeman (hamstring) are both set to make their returns. Greg Toler (knee/hamstring, questionable) got in limited sessions Thursday and Friday. Colt Anderson (ankle) and D’Joun Smith (knee) are out.
*Brian Hoyer (concussion) has been ruled out, leaving T.J. Yates to start his second game of this season. Hoyer was understandably “concerned” after suffering his second concussion in a month last week against the Patriots, but he reportedly was “feeling better” Friday. It would still be a minor surprise if he is cleared in time for Week 16. Alfred Blue (back) is probable, but it appears he has fallen behind Chris Polk on the depth chart. J.J. Watt (hand), Brian Cushing (hip) and Jadeveon Clowney (hamstring) are probable. NT Christian Covington (ankle) is out.
Titans @ Patriots
*Tom Brady is listed as questionable after missing Friday’s practice with an illness. He should be fine for Sunday. Julian Edelman (foot) practiced on a limited basis all week, but he is listed as doubtful. His return timetable is still up in the air. Devin McCourty (ankle) returned to a limited practice Friday and is listed as questionable. Reportedly dealing with a high-ankle sprain, McCourty is likely on the doubtful side of questionable. Scott Chandler (knee), Patrick Chung (foot), Dont’a Hightower (knee), Josh Kline (shoulder) and Matthew Slater (stinger) are also questionable. Hightower is expected to return after missing the last two weeks. Jonathan Freeny (hand) and Eric Martin (concussion) are out.
*Kendall Wright (ribs), Da’Norris Searcy (hamstring) and Mike Martin (knee) are out. With Wright out, Delanie Walker should serve as the de facto slot receiver. Phillip Supernaw (foot) is questionable.
Bills @ Redskins
*DeSean Jackson (knee) is probable after getting in limited practices Thursday and Friday. The Bills have given up the second-most passes of 20 or more yards this season and gifted several big-play opportunities to the Eagles and Texans the last two weeks. Jackson is a good bet for a big play. Jason Hatcher (neck, knee), Jeron Johnson (hamstring), Keenan Robinson (shoulder) and Chris Thompson (shoulder) are questionable. Thompson was a limited participant all week. Matt Jones would take a hit if Thompson suits up. Perry Riley Jr. (foot) and Andre Roberts (knee) are out.
*Karlos Williams (shoulder), Mario Williams (illness) and Bacarri Rambo (knee) are questionable. Karlos Williams is “iffy” in coach Rex Ryan’s words and may need another week before he is ready for full contact. Mario Williams is expected to play. Charles Clay (back), Seantrel Henderson (illness), Nigel Bradham (ankle) and Ron Brooks (concussion) are out. Chris Gragg will start in Clay’s place, but Robert Woods (hip, probable) could see the biggest bump in targets.
Bears @ Vikings
*Anthony Barr (groin, hand), Scott Crichton (concussion, neck), Harrison Smith (knee, hamstring) and Charles Johnson (ankle) are out. Missing Barr and Smith again is a big blow for the defense, but Linval Joseph (foot, questionable) and Everson Griffen (shoulder, questionable) both have a shot to play.
*Alshon Jeffery (calf), Zach Miller (illness), Sherrick McManis (concussion), Pernell McPhee (knee), Tracy Porter (ankle) and Will Sutton (knee) are questionable. Jeffery missed Thursday’s practice with an illness, but he should be good to go after getting in a limited session Friday. Miller should also play and is a great streaming option. Bryce Callahan (quad) is doubtful.
Packers @ Raiders
*Amari Cooper (foot) is probable despite being limited Thursday and Friday. Cooper has caught under 55-percent of his targets this season and has not found the end zone since Week 9. Despite those struggles, he remains a high-end WR3 in what should be a high-scoring game. Nate Allen (knee, out) practiced Wednesday, but he ended up sitting out the next two days. Coach Jack Del Rio said Allen did not suffer a setback, but the team decided “not to push it.” His availability for Week 16 is murky. Austin Howard (knee) is also out, and Neiko Thorpe (neck) is questionable.
*Davante Adams (foot), Mike Daniels (hamstring), T.J. Lang (shoulder) and Corey Linsley (ankle) are questionable. Adams was added the injury report Thursday, but his limited practice Friday suggests he will be ready to go. Ty Montgomery (ankle) and Sam Shields (concussion) are out. Montgomery suffered a setback this week and could be headed to injured reserve. Shields’ absence boost Amari Cooper’s value.
Browns @ Seahawks
* Marshawn Lynch (abdomen), Anthony McCoy (knee, ankle) and Jordan Hill (toe) are out. With Lynch out and Thomas Rawls (ankle) on injured reserve, Seattle will turn to a committee of Bryce Brown, Christine Michael and Derrick Coleman in the backfield. Coach Pete Carroll has been mum on how carries will be divvied up, but reports have suggested Brown will be given the first shot to earn the “hot hand.” Brown is the only reliable enough option to start in a must-win situation, but he is nothing more than a boom-or-bust RB3/FLEX. Kam Chancellor (tailbone) and DeShawn Shead (ankle) are questionable. Carroll said Shead will play, but Chancellor will be a game-time decision after not practicing all week. In a game they should win handily, it would not be surprising if Chancellor sat out.
*Travis Coons (right groin), K’Waun Williams (shoulder), Marlon Moore (ribs) and Justin Gilbert (concussion) are questionable. Coons expects to play Sunday, but the Browns may bring in insurance just in case. Andrew Hawkins (concussion) and Glenn Winston (concussion) are out.
Bengals @ 49ers
*Torrey Smith (back, toe), Tramaine Brock (hamstring) and Aaron Lynch (concussion) are questionable. Smith will be a game-time decision, but he is not a fantasy relevant player. Brock was added to the injury report late Friday. Alex Boone (knee) and Michael Wilhoite (ankle) are out.
*Andy Dalton (right thumb), Tyler Eifert (concussion), Jake Fisher (concussion) and George Iloka (groin) are out. Dalton is unlikely to play Week 16, and it would not be surprising if he sat out the rest of the regular season. A.J. McCarron played well in his place last week, but he faces a tough test against a 49ers defense which has given up just five passing touchdowns at home this season. Tyler Kroft will start for Eifert, but he is not worth a look in any format. Iloka missing is a blow to the secondary, but Adam Jones (foot) and Leon Hall (back) are probable.
Broncos @ Steelers
*DeAngelo Williams (illness) and Heath Miller (ribs) are probable. Williams remains a solid RB1 option even in the tough matchup, and Miller is a sneaky streaming option with Denver banged up at safety.
*C.J. Anderson (ankle), Andre Caldwell (quad), Todd Davis (shoulder), Bennie Fowler (ankle), Evan Mathis (ankle) and Darian Stewart (hamstring) are questionable. Anderson should play and could lead the backfield in touches after Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson struggled to get anything going on the ground last week. Anderson still has an uncertain workload, however, and has a tough matchup on the road. He is a risky RB3/FLEX option. Peyton Manning (foot), T.J. Ward (ankle), Lerentee McCray (hamstring) and Omar Bolden (hamstring) are out. Manning did not practice Friday after experiencing soreness in his foot. His availability for Week 16 remains a question mark. Ward and Bolden missing hurts the secondary, but David Bruton Jr. (knee, probable) is expected to return.
Dolphins @ Chargers
*Stevie Johnson (groin) did not practice all week and is doubtful, but Dontrelle Inman (neck) practiced in full all week and is probable. Inman will get the start and is a decent bet to lead the team in targets. Ladarius Green (ankle), Sean Lissemore (shoulder) and Steve Williams (hip) are questionable. King Dunlap (ankle) is out.
*Jarvis Landry (knee) had his practice reps managed this week, but he is probable. Rishard Matthews (ribs) and Bobby McCain (concussion) are questionable. With DeVante Parker playing competently while he was sidelined, it is unclear how big a role Matthews will have even if he plays. Jelani Jenkins (ankle, doubtful), Ja’Wuan James (toe, out) and Earl Mitchell (calf, out) will not play.
Cardinals @ Eagles
*Jordan Matthews (back) missed some practice time this week, but he got in full sessions Thursday and Friday and is probable. He still is not a good starting option in a tough matchup.
*Andre Ellington (toe), Jermaine Gresham (knee), Rashad Johnson (ankle), Patrick Peterson (ankle), Jerraud Powers (calf), Frostee Rucker (ankle, illness) and Lyle Sendlein (knee) are questionable. Coach Bruce Arians called Ellington a game-time decision, but he is unlikely to play. David Johnson will be an RB1 regardless of Ellington’s availability. Cory Redding (ankle) is doubtful.
Lions @ Saints
*Jairus Byrd (knee) and Terron Armstead (knee) both got in limited practices Friday and should be able to play. Every Saint got in at least a limited practice Friday.
*Calvin Johnson (ankle) returned to practice Friday, getting in a limited session. He has a great opportunity to bounce back from his dud against the Rams last week. Lance Moore (ankle) is practicing in full and should play for the first time since Week 12.