Fantasy Injury Updates: Christian McCaffrey, Josh Jacobs, Antonio Gibson impacting Week 14 start ’em, sit ’em decisions
With the fantasy football playoffs officially here, owners are going to be holding out hope that some of their big-name players will be able to return from injury to help bolster their team and make start ’em, sit ’em decisions just a bit easier. The RB position has been notably banged-up this week and this year, with players like Christian McCaffrey, Josh Jacobs, Antonio Gibson, Joe Mixon, and D’Andre Swift out of action. If any of these players return, it will have a big impact on fantasy matchups and lineup decisions for owners in must-win situations.
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Is Christian McCaffrey playing this week?
Fresh off a bye week, McCaffrey (shoulder) is expected to return for the Panthers. However, according to The Athletic’s Joseph Person, McCaffrey added a new ailment to his list of ailments, a quad injury, that tightened up on him at practice. Thus, he remained limited in his first session of the week on Wednesday.
If McCaffrey can overcome that thigh injury, he should return to action this week against the Broncos. That said, his calf injury and status will need to be monitored, as McCaffrey has been dinged up all year and the Panthers won’t want to risk rushing him back during a season in which they probably won’t make the playoffs.
If there’s any sort of setback with McCaffrey, Mike Davis would take over as the Panthers’ lead back against and he would be a solid RB2 with some good volume against a middling defense. This still seems unlikely, but McCaffrey owners should have a contingency plan in place, just in case.
Is Josh Jacobs playing this week?
Jacobs (ankle) missed Raiders practice on Wednesday as a result of the injury that caused him to miss Week 13 against the Jets. Raiders coach Jon Gruden said he was “not confident” that Jacobs would return against the Colts earlier in the week, so he appears to be on track to miss another week of action.
With Jacobs likely out, Devontae Booker would be the lead back again for the Raiders. The Colts have been strong against the run this year, but Booker’s volume will give him a chance to be a low-end RB2 and if not, a top flex play. Meanwhile, Jalen Richard will carry some value as a potential PPR flex.
Is Antonio Gibson playing this week?
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Gibson is dealing with a case of turf toe and his status against the 49ers in Week 14 is “in doubt.” Gibson was listed as a non-participant on Washington’s Wednesday practice report, so barring a surprising upgrade in status, Gibson will probably miss Week 14 and his next chance to get on the field will come in Week 15 against the Seahawks.
With Gibson absent, Washington will have just two RBs on their active roster: J.D. McKissic and Peyton Barber. McKissic would serve more as a pass-catching threat and could be a PPR monster after posting 10 catches for 70 yards against the Steelers. Meanwhile, Barber will be the main between-the-tackles runner and though he may not generate a ton of yards (2.7 yards per carry on the season), he’ll have both volume and TD upside.
Washington could also promote Javon Leake from the practice squad, so he’s a name to keep an eye on, though he’ll still certainly be behind McKissic and Barber in the pecking order.
Is Joe Mixon playing this week?
The Bengals have already ruled Mixon (foot) out for their Week 14 game against the Cowboys. However, per ESPN’s Ben Baby, Bengals coach Zac Taylor did say there is a “possibility” that Mixon returns before the end of the season.
Since Mixon has been out since Week 6 and the Bengals are well out of playoff contention, it may make sense for the team to shut him down. Mixon’s owners can’t count on him playing at this point, so consider him a high-upside bench stash until he has a chance to return to action.
With Mixon out, Giovani Bernard will continue to be the lead back for the Bengals. He will get a great matchup in Week 14 against a Dallas rush defense that was just gashed by the Ravens.
Is D’Andre Swift playing this week?
Swift (concussion/illness) has missed the last three games for the Lions but appears to be on track to play in Week 14. On Wednesday, Swift logged a limited practice for the Lions, so that indicates that he should have a chance to improve throughout the week and get back on the field Sunday.
If Swift does return, he’ll be a top-20 play against a Packers defense that has had issues against the run this year. If he can’t suit up, Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson will continue to split reps in the Lions backfield with Peterson representing more upside, as he has scored twice on the ground in each of his last two games.