Welcome to Week 16, also known as championship week for the majority of fantasy leagues. While the injury report has been lengthy all season, this is the week to focus on the players that could mean the difference between getting one more, oh-so-important victory or coming this close to winning it all.
All season, you could take a flier on a player that make take advantage of a situation because of a player being injured. Now it is the time to take the points where you can get them. Monitor the inactive report Sunday morning, and above all, trust your gut.
Here is the Week 16 injury report, featuring only the key players that those who are hoping to take the home title need to know or worry about.
Note: All games are at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday unless otherwise noted.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
Questionable – Foot
This one is going to be tough for fantasy owners. Brees insists he is going to play, despite having a torn plantar fascia (similar to the injury that has sidelined Peyton Manning). The Saints do not have any chance to get into the postseason, but it appears that Brees will be given a chance to play, depending on the severity of his injury. Still, fantasy owners should be very wary of starting him, even in a great matchup. He's going to be a game-time decision and there is no guarantee he plays the full game. In the championship week of your fantasy playoffs, don't trust Brees.
Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
Questionable – Hamstring
After missing practices this week, Baldwin will be a game-time decision on Sunday with a hamstring injury. The problem with that is he plays in the late game. Fantasy owners should not be counting on him just because of the lack of practice and the late game. If you own another player that can fill the spot that Baldwin is filling on your roster (either another WR or a flex, if possible), pencil him in. If you can, keep an eye on Baldwin’s status throughout the afternoon as the matchup against the Rams is good and he’s been on fire lately. If Baldwin plays, you should start him. However, flexibility is the key given his Questionable tag, so make sure you have another option at the ready. For Seattle, Tyler Lockett and Jermaine Kearse will both get a slight boost if Baldwin is out. Both would be WR3s.
Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell, WRs, New England Patriots at New York Jets
Questionable – Knee; Doubtful – Foot; Questionable – Foot
Even though he’s listed as Doubtful, there’s no reason to expect Edelman to play today. The focus has been on getting him healthy for the playoffs, which for the Patriots doesn’t begin until the Divisional Round. Amendola and LaFell are both questionable after putting in limited practices this week. Amendola has been dealing with this knee injury for a few weeks now, and he will likely be a game-time decision. Even if he plays, it will be tough to trust Amendola fantasy-wise. LaFell has been a fantasy disappointment, but he’s the safest of this trio in terms of likelihood of being active today. He did have four receptions for 88 yards in Week 15 and with Edelman out and Amendola likely either out or limited, LaFell will have a bigger role. LaFell is a WR3, but still hard to trust.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Doubtful – Hamstring
Jeffery has been banged up much of this year (to the dismay of fantasy owners) and it is unlikely that he will play this week. He missed practice this week and the Bears don't have anything to play for. Fantasy owners should not count on Jeffery this week. While Eddie Royal is listed as questionable, he should play, but isn't a recommended fantasy option. The Bears’ offense will run through Matt Forte (with Jeremy Langford factoring in a bit) and tight end Zach Miller.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys at Buffalo Bills
Out – Foot
Between dealing with nagging injuries to his surgically repaired foot as well as his ankle, along with issues at quarterback, Bryant's season has been a disappointment. He didn’t practice this week and the Cowboys have nothing to play for, so the team just decided to go ahead and rule him out for today’s game, and likely next week’s too. Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams will be the starting wide receivers, but neither are great fantasy options, as both are WR3s.
Ben Watson, TE, New Orleans Saints vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
Questionable – Knee
After missing practice, fantasy owners should be a little concerned. Because he is playing later today, if you can plug in another tight end that you know is playing, do so. Watson will be a game-time decision, and while the matchup is a good one (Jacksonville is in the top 10 in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends), it's too hard to trust him. Between the quarterback situation being up in the air and his own injury situation being a question mark, try to find another option.
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars at New Orleans Saints (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
Doubtful – Knee
After missing Week 15, Yeldon isn't going to play in Week 16 either. He can be dropped in all redraft leagues. Denard Robinson will take over again, as he was able to practice in full. Robinson did have a good matchup against Atlanta last week, but only managed 28 rushing yards. His fantasy day was salvaged by eight receptions for 46 yards. The Saints’ defense is terrible, which makes Robinson a RB2 with upside.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys
Out – Knee
After tearing his MCL in Week 15, McCoy has been ruled out for Week 16. Karlos Williams is in line to be the starter in his absence, although he has been banged up for most of the season as well. Mike Gillislee also should be in the mix, as he turned four carries into 81 yards and a touchdown in Week 15 after McCoy went down. Williams will be the starter and probably have a few more carries, but both backs will get work. Williams is a RB2; Gillislee is a RB3.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Out – Foot
When Stewart was out in Week 15, Cameron Artis-Payne was the running back that got the most work (and did the most with it). He had 59 rushing yards on 14 carries and added two receptions for 34 yards. Mike Tolbert will still be in the picture for short-yardage and goal-line work, but Artis-Payne is the running back to start over Fozzy Whittaker. Artis-Payne is a high-end RB3 in a good matchup. Leave Whittaker on waivers.
Shaun Draughn, RB, San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions
Out – Knee
After injuring his knee in Week 15, Draughn has been ruled out for Week 16. Kendall Gaskins will most likely draw the start, but he isn't a viable starting option for fantasy purposes. DuJuan Harris and Bruce Miller also figure to get some touches, but the matchup isn’t ideal. The Lions’ run defense has been stout. They've only allowed three touchdowns to opposing running backs in the past six weeks (and two of those were to Todd Gurley). It probably goes without saying, but stay away from the 49ers to fulfill your fantasy needs.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.