Fantasy Injury Updates: Latest news on Lamar Jackson, Jaylen Waddle, Adam Thielen, more affecting Week 15 start ’em, sit ’em decisions
Lamar Jackson, Jaylen Waddle, Adam Thielen, Josh Allen, and T.J. Hockenson will need to be monitored as we head toward the start of the fantasy playoffs. Each player mentioned is in the “must-start” category based on their body of work this season, so their availabilities will have significant impacts on Week 15 start ’em, sit ’em decisions. Get the latest injury updates below.
Lamar Jackson injury update
UPDATE: Jackson missed practice on Thursday.
Jackson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, and since the Ravens signed Josh Johnson from the Jets’ practice squad, it seems he’s in real danger of missing the game against Green Bay. Offensive coordinator said as much on Thursday when revealed Jackson’s status “could go down to the wire.”
If he plays, it’s tough to justify sitting him, even if he’s hobbled. Green Bay is statically a top-12 defense against fantasy QBs, but Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, and Justin Fields have produced 20-plus fantasy points against it over the past three games. If he’s out, Tyler Huntley will get the start. He played relatively well against a struggling Cleveland defense, but we’re not confident in his outlook in this matchup. He’s outside our top-24 QBs and should only be considered in two-QB/superflex leagues.
Jaylen Waddle injury update
Waddle was placed on the reserve/COVID list early on Thursday, but with just three days until the matchup with the Jets, it’s tough to know whether he’ll be cleared. In all likelihood, he won’t be able to go, but nothing is official here yet. Keep your eye out for any official word.
Since he’s not dealing with a physical injury, his status as a high-end WR2 will go unchanged if he can play against the lowly Jets. If he’s out, DeVante Parker should be viewed as at least a low-end WR2 with WR1 upside. Mack Hollins, Preston Williams, Albert Wilson, and Isaiah Ford are all candidates to see more targets in this case, but we’re not confident in any of them in fantasy playoffs. Mike Gesicki is likely the real beneficiary of a Waddle absence, anyway.
Adam Thielen injury update
UPDATE: Thielen was held out of practice on Thursday.
Thielen (ankle) missed Week 14 against the Steelers, and since he’s dealing with a high-ankle sprain, he looks to be on the wrong side of “questionable” for Week 15. The Vikings haven’t released a practice report this week, so we don’t know for sure what will happen here. We’re probably just going to have to play it by ear later in the week, but we don’t expect Thielen to play against the Bears.
Chicago is a bottom-six team against fantasy WRs, so K.J. Osborn draws real flex appeal if Thielen doesn’t play.
Josh Allen injury update
UPDATE: Allen was limited in practice on Thursday.
Allen (foot) was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice, but there doesn’t seem to be much concern that he’ll miss Week 15 against the Panthers. While Carolina has looked elite on defense at times this season, they haven’t played great as of late, and Allen is matchup-proof. Yes, the matchup and injury knock him down some in our rankings, but we don’t think benching him is the right move. The offense is explosive, and even if his running is limited some, he can produce monster numbers in the passing game with efficiency and volume.
We view him as a low-end QB1, but he always has an overall QB1 ceiling. If he’s out, fantasy owners in two-QB/superflex leagues can consider Mitchell Trubisky, who will have more upside than you probably think in such a loaded offense. He also has rushing upside.
T.J. Hockenson injury update
UPDATE: Hockenson underwent thumb surgery and is OUT for the remainder of the season.
Hockenson (hand) missed practice Wednesday, and it doesn’t sound overly optimistic that we’ll see him in Week 15 against the Cardinals according to Chris Burke of the Athletic. Arizona is a top-10 defense against fantasy TEs, but if Hockenson plays, we shouldn’t be worried about his injury. This isn’t a lower-body injury that will affect his route-running or mobility, but obviously he needs his hands to make catches.
All in all, he should be viewed as a low-end TE1 in standard and a mid-tier TE1 in PPR leagues. His floor should be safe in PPR, but he may not have a great day on the yardage or touchdown front.