Injuries are part of Fantasy Football, unfortunately. Make sure to adjust your lineups accordingly heading into Week 15.
Jan 3, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) scrambles with the football during the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Considering the nature of the sport, fantasy football owners suffer their own sort of internal non-physical injuries—for the most part. Any freak injury to any of your players can and probably will decimate your entire team.
However, the good news is, not to sound like we’re cheering for someone’s injury to happen, but with one man’s opportunity gone, another’s presents itself.
With Week 14 in the books, fantasy owners everywhere are absolutely dismantled or pleased with their performances from the past week. As always, Week 15 should promise to be another good one as it’s the start for a select few fantasy football owners of the postseason.
Without further ado, here’s an injury report heading into Week 15 fantasy football with the top five injuries to keep an eye on.
Next: 5. Keep an eye on this Panther
5. Wide Receiver, Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina Panthers
It’s been a disappointing fantasy season for Kelvin Benjamin owners in 2016. Of course, there was some risk involved when owners were considering the former Florida State wideout during their drafts this year. Coming off an ACL injury last year there was all the reason for pessimistic talks, but there was also a reason for optimism.
After getting off to a great start this season, scoring three touchdowns in the first two games, he’s only scored two since. That’s scary. If that’s not raising any eyebrows, then I just don’t know what will.
On top of that, the 25-year old has only amassed 765 yards through 13 games which have him falling short of the 1,000-yard mark. As a rookie, Benjamin showed flashes of great potential, but maybe it’s possible that he’s not 100 percent yet. It’s a stretch to say that given that he’s played in all but one game this year. However, he’s been affected by poor play from the offensive line and quarterback position.
He’s currently dealing with a back injury that his him listed as questionable for Monday Night’s tilt against the Washington Redskins. Over the last four weeks, he’s only caught three passes or less. Outside of a productive-fantasy game in Week 12 in which he caught for 53 yards and one touchdown on two catches, he’s been bad, to say the least.
Washington has actually not been bad defending the pass as they rank 12th in the NFL. It seems that the addition of cornerback Josh Norman is paying its dividends, and you best believe that Norman figures to be all over the third-year receiver.
Next: 4. The former first-round pick wideout faces a shoulder injury
Dec 4, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper (89) is defended by Buffalo Bills cornerback Kevon Seymour (29) on a 37-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter during an NFL football game at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Bills 38-24. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
4. Wide Receiver, Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders
The second-year wideout is off to a great start to his young career. Cooper totaled 1,070 yards and 10 touchdowns in his rookie year. Many thought that it would difficult for him to put up similar numbers in his sophomore year, but he’s actually on pace to pass last year’s receiving yards mark and a has a shot to tie last year’s touchdown total.
For the most part, Cooper has been a steady and safe fantasy starting option in 2016. He’s already gathered a grand total of 1,010 receiving yards and six touchdowns. With three games left in the regular season, there’s definitely reason to believe he’ll at least tie last year’s receiving yard total.
However, the one thing that owners should be wary about is the fact that he hasn’t caught for at least 100 yards since Week 8. He had a monster game that week, catching for 173 yards and a touchdown.
Facing a San Diego Chargers defense on the road that has defended well against the pass, ranking 9th in the NFL, albeit a vulnerable defense, it still doesn’t promote much confidence to start him. On top of all that, he’s dealing with a shoulder injury that could keep him out of the game or limit him.
That would be a nightmare for owners to fall into that trap of starting him and seeing him out there in a limited role. Derek Carr at quarterback certainly gives us optimism, but we want to be sure Cooper is 100 percent healthy before remotely considering starting him.
Next: 3. What's been up with Cam this year?
Dec 11, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) on the sidelines in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
3. Quarterback, Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers
The reigning MVP has been a letdown this season. That almost hurts to say out loud, but it’s been the truth pretty much in 2016.
After throwing for a career-high 35 touchdowns in 2015 he’s only amassed a measly 15 by his standards this year. That’s scary to realize given his skill set. It’s not his career-low (18 touchdowns in 2014) but there hasn’t been much room for optimism this year.
Outside of the fact that he probably will surpass his career-low in passing touchdowns, he is surely on his way to passing for a career-low in passing yards. Newton currently has amassed 2,774 passing yards, which he’ll need another 400 or so yards to at least tie his career low in 2014 (3,127 yards).
He’s dealing with a shoulder injury but is expected to make the start for Monday Night’s tilt against the Washington Redskins. Similar to teammate Kelvin Benjamin, it’s become really difficult to consider the 27-year old quarterback as of late.
He’s only surpassed the 300-yard in the passing attack only twice this year, which is probably the most surprising part. The offensive line has had struggles, but no one saw this type of low production coming for a quarterback of Cam’s stature.
He’ll go up against the Redskins which has been vulnerable but have been great at home this season. He’ll also face former teammate Josh Norman in this one, so you have to figure Norman will have some tricks up his sleeve.
You have to start Newton is he’s healthy, but we certainly don’t feel good about it.
Next: 2. A Cowboy to be careful about starting
Dec 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) fumbles the ball late in the fourth quarter as New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins (20) makes the hit at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
2. Wide Receiver, Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys
The former Oklahoma University wideout has been a huge disappointment this year overall. Of course, he’s had some good games since coming back from his injury, but there’s still reason to be concerned if you’re an owner.
The veteran wideout has caught for 644 yards and six touchdowns through 10 games this year. It’s really good numbers considering that he’s been out for a good chunk of the season, but he’s a fantasy player that’s hurt you when it matters.
He was held to no catches last week against their divisional foes the New York Giants and actually fumbled what would’ve been his sole catch in the game. Owners that were confident the Pro Bowl receiver was going to light up the Giants secondary were burned.
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He actually has not surpassed the 100-yard mark since Week 10 in which he caught for 116 yards and one touchdown. Over the last three games, he’s been held to five catches or less which certainly raises a flag about how defenses might keying in on him.
When healthy, there’s no doubt that Bryant possesses an elite skill set that makes him one of the best receivers in the NFL. However, injuries have derailed some of that skill set and have definitely made him look susceptible to good defensive coverage. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been playing great defense the last couple of weeks, so this is definitely not a gimme for America’s team—much less for Dez.
Next: 1. A-A-Rod will play in his coldest game ever!
Dec 4, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws a pass during the third quarter against the Houston Texans at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 21-13. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
1. Quarterback, Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
The man who told all of Green Bay to R-E-L-A-X at one point after worrying a lot of fans, and actually went out and played great the rest of the season, deserves the benefit of the doubt.
He’s dealing with a calf injury that caused him to miss practice all week and there were reports that there was a possibility of him missing the game. However, Rodgers has already come out and said that he’ll be out there for Sunday’s divisional matchup against the Chicago Bears.
This game will be in Chicago and is set to be the coldest game Rodgers has ever played in. While cold weather is fun from a fan’s perspective, we’re not so sure that’s the case for the actual players.
The veteran quarterback did play in a tough weather condition game two weeks at home against the Houston Texans, in which he threw for only 209 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. We’re of course going to start to Rodgers in any and all leagues, but even with his great ability to make plays, owners should at least tempt some of their expectations this week.