Key fantasy football injury outlooks for Saturday’s matchups

Happy Holidays! This was the first week without a Thursday game but there is a full slate across Saturday, Sunday and Monday for those in fantasy playoffs – and even those who aren’t – to enjoy. A few players have already been ruled out but there are still a couple of key fantasy players whose status is in question.

For reference, players may be classified on the final injury report of any given week as Questionable, Doubtful or OUT. Besides the obvious designation of a player being ruled out, “Questionable” indicates a player is uncertain to play while “Doubtful” means a player is unlikely to play. Since the NFL did away with the “Probable” designation two years ago, players who are expected to play on Sunday (or Monday) are simply removed from the injury report by the reporting deadline (Friday evening for Sunday games, Saturday afternoon for Monday night games).

For the purposes of this injury-related game preview, players will be grouped by position. Below their name, team, injured body part (as listed on the official NFL injury report) and official game status designation the following elements are included: any known relevant details about the injury, the player’s involvement in practice that week and any additional notes to provide context around the player’s status.

For anyone seeking more specific detail about certain types of injuries, there is an illustrated injury glossary on the ESPN fantasy home page.

Also, please check out my “Answering the Bell” podcast where we take a deeper dive into various medical topics with special guests, including experts in their respective fields as well as athletes who have firsthand experience with various injuries or medical conditions. All episodes are archived here.

And now, on to the Saturday game preview.

Washington Redskins at Tennessee Titans, 4:30 p.m. ET
Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers, 8:20 p.m. ET

PLAYERS ALREADY RULED OUT: Jordan Reed, TE, Washington (ankle/foot); Vernon Davis, TE, Washington (concussion); Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers (neck)


Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans, foot (off pregame injury report)

Additional injury details: Added to injury report this week for foot

Practice report: Limited Tuesday; Full Wednesday-Thursday (The Titans conducted a walkthrough Tuesday; the Tuesday practice report is an estimation)

Notes: Mariota has been on the injury report for his elbow, hand, abdomen and more. This week it is his foot that is the focal point but it won’t be enough to sideline him. Two full practices in advance of Saturday’s game and removal from the injury report confirm his status.

Josh Johnson, Washington Redskins, ankle (off pregame injury report)

Additional injury details: Added to injury report this week for ankle

Practice report: Full Tuesday-Thursday (Washington conducted a walkthrough Tuesday; the Tuesday practice report is an estimation)

Notes: There is no doubt about Johnson’s status…but it’s still unlikely he’s starting in your fantasy championship.

Running Backs

Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers, knee (off pregame injury report)

Additional injury details: Sprained Right MCL Week 12; DNP Weeks 13-15

Practice report: Full Tuesday-Thursday

Notes: Fantasy players have to be breathing much easier seeing Gordon’s status confirmed in advance of the game with his removal from the pregame injury report. In fact, Gordon was very close to playing last week and were it not for that game being on a Thursday night, he might have. The extra recovery and conditioning time has no doubt served him well and Gordon heads into Saturday’s game in good shape.

Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins, shoulder (off pregame injury report)

Additional injury details: Injured in Week 5

Practice report: Limited Tuesday-Wednesday; Full Thursday

Notes: Peterson will be on the injury report through the end of the season because of the shoulder he dislocated in Week 5. He has yet to miss a game and he won’t miss this week either.

Wide Receivers

Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers, hip (Q)

Additional injury details: Injured in Week 15; hip pointer

Practice report: DNP Tuesday; Limited Wednesday-Thursday

Notes: Allen took a hard fall last Sunday which resulted in a hip pointer or a deep bruise to the upper and outermost portion of the pelvis. Allen’s immediate response of grabbing the area immediately upon trying to get up from the ground hinted at the nature of the injury. He was unable to continue despite trying to press through the discomfort. The area is not well protected with soft tissue making it vulnerable to an injury with a direct blow. Allen has made progress this week, managing two limited practices and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported he is expected to play, despite the questionable tag. The only concern would be if Allen were to land on the exact same spot and aggravate the injury but undoubtedly the team will be trying to pad the area to offer some protection. Allen’s talent, toughness and target volume is hard to overlook, even with him at less than 100 percent and facing a tough Ravens defense. Fantasy players are advised to confirm his status before kickoff.

Josh Doctson, Washington Redskins, back (Q)

Additional injury details: Added to injury report this week (Thursday)

Practice report: DNP Thursday

Notes: Late injury report additions are always worrisome, especially when it results in a “Did Not Participate in Practice” just two days before the game. For fantasy players who may have been considering filling a vacant flex spot with Doctson, the late injury and questionable status should be cause for pause.

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