NFL Week 16 Injuries Bettors Need to Know: Who is Left to Protect Matt Stafford?
The cruel reality of the NFL is that most teams aren’t able to start the same 22 men on a week-by-week basis. The physical nature of every single play is what makes fans love the sport, but also what can ultimately cripple the experience with the loss of key players. Monitoring Market Share and Vegas line breakdowns are very important in predicting future performance, but so is accounting for how the absence of key players could impact the rest of the team.
Let’s run through some of the key injuries for Week 16. You can view daily practice participation and estimated game statuses using the Injury Dashboard over at FantasyLabs.
Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints
Devonta Freeman‘s reign as the Falcons’ featured back is over, as RB Tevin Coleman (concussion, not listed on final injury report) will return after a one-week absence. The always electric WR Julio Jones (ankle/thumb, not listed) is good to go for his showdown against stud-rookie CB Marshon Lattimore, but G Andy Levitre (triceps, questionable) is shaping up to be a game-time decision. A mostly-healthy Falcons offense is bad news for a Saints defense that will be without S Kenny Vacarro (groin/wrist, IR), DE Alex Okafor (Achilles, IR), LB A.J. Klein (groin, IR), and DE Trey Hendrickson (ankle, out). The good news for the Saints is they’re expected to welcome back WR Ted Ginn Jr. (ribs, questionable).
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots
Kelvin Benjamin (knee, questionable) has been playing through a torn meniscus in recent weeks and is once again expected to gut it out Sunday. The outlook is less bright for CB E.J. Gaines (knee, questionable), who is shaping up as a true game-time decision. The Bills will face a mostly healthy Patriots secondary, but LeSean McCoy has an opportunity to ball out against a front seven that took a rather large hit with 6’6″ 350-pound DT Alan Branch (knee, out) sidelined. The Patriots offense will look a bit different without RB Rex Burkhead (knee, out) involved, and WR Chris Hogan (ribs, questionable) isn’t guaranteed to suit up after being a late scratch last week. James White (ankle, questionable) could assume a larger passing-game role if both aforementioned offensive weapons are ultimately unable to suit up.
Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Aaron Rodgers‘ (collarbone, IR) season is over upon being eliminated from playoff contention, meaning Brett Hundley will pilot an offense without No. 1 WR Davante Adams (concussion, out) vs. a mostly-healthy Vikings defense excluding S Andrew Sendejo (ankle, questionable). Things aren’t great on the other side of the ball for the Packers either, as the secondary could be without CBs Davon House (back, questionable) and Damarious Randall (knee, questionable), while the front seven is at risk of playing without OLBs Nick Perry (ankle, doubtful) and Clay Matthews (hamstring, questionable). This is all great news for a Vikings offensive line that will be fully healthy if LT Riley Reiff (ankle, questionable) is able so suit up.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. New York Jets
The presence of DEs Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are bad news for any opposing offense, but the Jets will at least face a slightly-weakened front seven with both DT Corey Liuget (knee, out) and LB Denzel Perryman (hamstring, out) sidelined. The line play on the offensive side of the ball could also be in jeopardy for the Chargers, as LT Russell Okung (groin, questionable) and RT Joe Barksdale (hip, questionable) could join TE Hunter Henry (kidney, IR) on the bench. It’s good news for the Jets backfield, although it’s hard to predict who exactly will benefit with each of Matt Forte (knee, questionable), Elijah McGuire (illness, questionable), and Bilal Powell all expected to suit up – plus they’ll have to get the job done without starting G Brian Winters (abdominal, out).
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Detroit Lions
The Lions’ offensive line is a trainwreck at the moment, as each of C Travis Swanson (concussion, out), G T.J. Lang (foot, doubtful), and RT Rick Wagner (ankle, questionable) are uncertain to suit up Sunday. Still, Detroit will benefit from a banged-up Bengals defense missing starters CB Adam Jones (groin, IR), LB Nick Vigil (ankle, out), and LB Kevin Minter (hamstring, IR). The Bengals are at least a bit healthier on defense, as they’ll welcome back CB Dre Kirkpatrick (concussion, not listed) and LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion, not listed). RB Joe Mixon (concussion, not listed) will return and look to provide a spark on offense, but he’ll have to do so without RT Andre Smith (knee) and LT Cedric Ogbuehi (shoulder, out).
Denver Broncos vs. Washington Redskins
The Broncos are expected to start QB Paxton Lynch (ankle, questionable) if he’s healthy enough to play now that QB Trevor Siemian’s season is over (shoulder, IR). The offense hopes to have WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle, questionable) and WR Cody Latimer (thigh, questionable) against a Redskins defense that will be without LBs Zach Brown (ankle, questionable) and Ryan Anderson (knee, out). The Redskins could benefit from the absence of Broncos OLB Shane Ray (wrist, IR), although they have their own concerns at the line of scrimmage with LT Trent Williams (knee, IR) done for the season and RT Morgan Moses (ankle, questionable) not guaranteed to suit up. The backfield is a giant question mark outside of pass-catching back Kapri Bibbs, as RB Samaje Perine (groin, questionable) didn’t practice Friday after failing to finish practice Thursday, and backup LeShun Daniels (hand, out) is already sidelined.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks
Elliott is back, but the Cowboys could be without arguably the most important piece of their offense: LT Tyron Smith (knee, questionable). They’ll face off against the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom, although business hasn’t been booming lately with S Kam Chancellor (neck, IR) and CB Richard Sherman (Achilles, IR) sidelined. The front seven will benefit from the presence of starting LBs Bobby Wagner (hamstring, not listed) and K.J. Wright (concussion, not listed).
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