With the fantasy playoffs starting in many leagues this week, no one wants to see their players on the injury report. Every week of the season, many players find their name on the report. Some are just precautions while others have a legitimate ailment that may cause them to miss some time. This week’s report includes a few players whose absence will influence fantasy. Here are the key injuries impacting NFL fantasy in Week 14.
Matthew Stafford, QB
A right-hand injury could hold Matthew Stafford out of the Lions Week 14 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The injury, to his throwing hand, has limited Stafford at practice. Without Stafford, the Lions would have to turn to Jake Rudock.
Who Benefits: Theo Riddick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense. If Stafford is unable to play on Sunday, the one Lion who could benefit from his absence is Theo Riddick. Starting Rudock would change the Lions offensive game plan. One of the changes would likely see an increase in Riddick’s playing time as a check down option. If Caldwell wants to keep the Lions playoff chances alive, a smart game plan incorporating Riddick’s strong receiving abilities is necessary. The Buccaneers defense will also benefit if Jake Rudock. Rudock has thrown five passes in his NFL or a total of 24 yards and an interception. It is difficult to see him leading the Lions offense as efficiently as Matt Stafford.
Joe Mixon, RB
Joe Mixon suffered a concussion in the Bengals’ Monday night loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 13, leaving his status uncertain going into Week 14. If he does not pass concussion protocol, he will not be able to play against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Who Benefits: Giovanni Bernard. If Mixon is ruled out of Sunday’s game, Giovanni Bernard will see the bulk of the work on Sunday. Bernard filled in for Mixon in Week 13, after he left the game with a concussion. Bernard finished with a season-high 15 touches for 96 yards from scrimmage. Bernard will see double-digit touches again in Mixon’s absence, making him an excellent player to target on waivers.
Tyrod Taylor, QB
A knee injury knocked Tyrod Taylor out of the game in Week 13 and had limited him in practice this week. At 6-6, the Bills need Taylor over their remaining four games, if they want any chance at making the playoffs.
Who Benefits: LeSean McCoy and the Indianapolis Defense. In the absence of Tyrod Taylor, the majority of the offense will revolve around LeSean McCoy. McCoy will see a heavy workload, which should result in a good day in fantasy. The other beneficial of Taylor’s absence would be the Indianapolis Colts’ defense. Even if LeSean McCoy has a good game against the Colts, their defense can still get points if the Bills start Nathan Peterman. When the Bills elected to start Nathan Peterman over Taylor a few weeks ago, the Chargers ate Peterman alive. Peterman was picked off five times in a half before the Bills went back to Taylor.
Robbie Andersen, WR
New York Jets
Robby Anderson joined the injury report on Thursday, after injuring his hamstring in practice. Anderson’s status for the Jets Week 14 game against the Broncos is now in doubt.
Who Benefits: Jermaine Kearse. If Anderson cannot go on Sunday against the Broncos, Jermaine Kearse will move into the number one receiving role for the Jets. Kearse started the season as the Jets number one target. He posted excellent early season numbers before Anderson emerged as the top target. The two have co-existed well over the last few weeks, with both topping 100-yards receiving in Week 13. However, Kearse should see extra targets go his direction if Anderson is out.
Ryan Shazier, LB
The Steelers’ star linebacker, Ryan Shazier, is doubtful for the Sunday night game against the Baltimore Ravens. Shazier’s injury is to the back. Even if he is cleared to play, limiting Shazier and ensuring he is healthy come the playoffs should be the Steelers top priority.
Who Benefits: Alex Collins. The Ravens running back will benefit the most if Shazier is out on Sunday. Collins is coming off his best fantasy game of the season when he rushed for 75 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 attempts. The Steelers defense struggled to stop Giovanni Bernard after Shazier left the game in Week 13. Expect Collins to put up excellent numbers against a Steelers defense without Shazier.
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