Fantasy Injury Updates: Latest news on Travis Kelce, Mike Evans, Darren Waller, more affecting Week 17 rankings
Travis Kelce, Mike Evans, Darren Waller, and Pat Freiermuth could all be close calls for Week 17, and since we’re heading to the final week of the fantasy season, it’s now or never for this group of elite pass-catching options. The tight end position would clearly benefit from the return of Kelce, Waller, and Freiermuth, and Mike Evans could be primed for an explosive game since Chris Godwin is out for the year. Get the latest updates on each player.
For updates on banged-up QBs Jimmy Garoppolo, Lamar Jackson, and Justin Fields, click here; for the latest on ailing RBs Dalvin Cook, D’Andre Swift, James Conner, and Elijah Mitchell, go here; for news on injured WRs Elijah Moore and Adam Thielen, click here; for updates on more injured RBs, including Clyde Edwards and Jordan Howard, go here. For all the latest fantasy news, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.
WEEK 17: Best waiver wire pickups
Travis Kelce COVID update
Kelce (reserve/COVID) should have plenty of time to clear protocols and play in Week 17 against the Bengals (though it’s a little surprising he wasn’t cleared on Monday), but we know by now it’s not a smart move to assume anything about these types of situations. We don’t have to convince Kelce owners they should start him if he plays, but we should note Byron Pringle is clearly the beneficiary of his absence, and no other Chiefs’ TE looks like an attractive play.
Mike Evans injury/COVID update
Evans (hamstring, reserve/COVID) has an uphill battle to play in Week 17 since he has two ailments to deal with, and it’s an unfortunate break for Evans’ fantasy owners in their championship games. He would be set to face the Jets, and his ceiling would be overall WR1. However, it’s tough to think he’ll be out there, so we could be looking at another monster target game for Antonio Brown, whose ceiling would be the overall WR1.
Tyler Johnson is no longer a consideration after he drew zero targets and ran fewer routes than Cyril Grayson Jr. Grayson could be a deep league boom-or-bust play, but he’s probably better suited as a DFS dart throw. That said, Breshad Perriman’s return to the lineup from the reserve/COVID list could mean he becomes irrelevant. Overall, Brown and Rob Gronkowski are the only pass-catchers to trust here. We rank Evans as the WR7 in standard and WR8 in PPR leagues if he plays, but at this point, it’s not looking good.
Darren Waller injury update
Waller (knee, back) hasn’t played or practiced since Thanksgiving, and he could very well be on his way to missing a fifth straight game. That said, Raiders coach Rich Bisaccia said he’s “hoping” Waller is able to practice Wednesday. We’ll see what the practice reports tell us later in the week, but since his Week 17 matchup with the Colts is a very friendly spot for TEs, Waller is a must-start. Darius Leonard (reserve/COVID) will be out for Week 17, so that certainly helps Waller’s case.
For now, we have Foster Moreau as a low-end TE1 or high-end TE2 since he’s been productive in his past two games, so he would be a legitimate streamer if Waller is out.
Pat Freiermuth injury update
Freiermuth (concussion) missed the game against the Chiefs last week but could return against a Cleveland defense that allows the 10th-most fantasy points to TEs. It’s always tough to speculate on a head injury, but 15 days will have passed between the injury and this game, so Freiermuth has a decent shot at returning.
For now, we have Freiermuth as the TE14 in standard and PPR leagues. He ranks first among all tight ends in red-zone targets (18), so a touchdown could easily give him a top-12 finish. If he’s out, Zach Gentry has just a decent floor in PPR leagues, but his ceiling is far too low for most leagues.