Week 18 Fantasy Football Injury Report

Week 18 Fantasy Football Injury Report

For most of us, the traditional Fantasy Football season is over. First off, let’s congratulate the champs on a job well done. Second, and more importantly, this does NOT mean the fun is over. Whether you are in a two-week championship, looking to beat the books or just a fan of the sport, there is A LOT of football left. As always, you can’t have football without injuries, and it’s my job to help you understand the biggest injuries this week. Welcome to the Week 18 Fantasy Football Injury Report!

Week 18 Bye Weeks: None, but there are only games on Saturday and Sunday this week. Also, the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens have both locked up the number one seed and have nothing to play for in Week 18, so plan accordingly!

Injury news happens fast and can change quickly, so for the most up-to-date news and analysis, follow me on X @SGPNFootballDoc! This article is updated daily until Sunday Night Football, so check back in before setting your lineup!

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Week 18 Fantasy Football Injury Report

Week 18 Inactives

Christian McCaffrey (RB) San Francisco 49ers
Lamar Jackson (QB) Baltimore Ravens
Zay Flowers (WR) Baltimore Ravens
Odell Beckham Jr. (WR) Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco (QB) Cleveland Browns
Amari Cooper (WR) Cleveland Browns
Dustin Hopkins (K) Cleveland Browns
Deuce Vaughn (RB) Dallas Cowboys
Greg Dulcich (TE) Denver Broncos
Jameson Williams (WR) Detroit Lions
Patrick Mahomes (QB) Kansas City Chiefs
Keenan Allen (WR) Los Angeles Chargers
Rashee Rice (WR) Kansas City Chiefs
Kadarius Toney (WR) Kansas City Chiefs
Matthew Stafford (QB) Los Angeles Rams
Kyren Williams (RB) Los Angeles Rams
Cooper Kupp (WR) Los Angeles Rams
Tyler Higbee (TE) Los Angeles Rams
Hunter Henry (TE) New England Patriots
DeVonta Smith (WR) Philadelphia Eagles
Josh Jacobs (RB) Las Vegas Raiders
Michael Mayer (TE) Las Vegas Raiders
Zach Wilson (QB) New York Jets
Brock Purdy (QB) San Francisco 49ers
Jamal Agnew (WR) Jacksonville Jaguars
Noah Brown (WR) Houston Texans
Jonathan Mingo (WR) Carolina Panthers
Darnell Mooney (WR) Chicago Bears
AJ Dillon (RB) Green Bay Packers

Christian McCaffrey (RB) San Francisco 49ers

Injury: Calf Strain
Injury Date: 12/31/2023
Expected Recovery Time: 1-3 weeks
Recovery Time to Week 18: 1 week
Replacement Player(s) to Target: Zamir White (RB) Las Vegas Raiders

The importance of the NFL regular season is put on display right away on this Week 18 Fantasy Football Injury Report. The San Francisco 49ers locked up the number one seed in the NFC last week, and it allows their superstar RB to rest up. Christian McCaffrey is the best offensive player in the NFL this season, and his health is vital to his team’s playoff chances.

The entire city of San Francisco and Niners backers everywhere held their collective breath once McCaffrey was knocked out of the game last week.

Thankfully, the injury appears minor and should not affect him in the playoffs. The 49ers stud RB injured his calf muscle and is already ruled out for this week. This is a precautionary measure as a mild calf strain typically takes 1-3 weeks to recover, and the reinjury risk increases if a player returns before two weeks.

Fortunately, due to the Niners’ regular season success, McCaffrey will have three weeks for his calf to heal. I expect him to be a full go for the second round of the playoffs at this point.

49ers RB Christian McCaffrey is dealing with a minor calf strain that is unlikely to bother him in the playoffs, but he is out this week – SIT.

Jayden Reed (WR) Green Bay Packers

Injury: Ribs Injury
Injury Date: 12/31/2023
Expected Recovery Time: 2-4 weeks
Recovery Time to Week 18: 1 week
Replacement Player(s) to Target: Wan’Dale Robinson (WR) New York Giants

Packers rookie WR Jayden Reed has been a Fantasy Football sleeper, so it is a shame to see him on the injury report for Week 18. In the middle of a two TD performance, about the only thing that could have slowed him down was an injury. Unfortunately, Reed was knocked out of the game with a rib injury, and his status for this week is up in the air.

Initial X-rays were negative, which is a good sign, but Reed is not out of the woods yet. Rib injuries are notorious for not revealing the true extent of the injury, with a small fracture or cartilage damage showing up on additional testing and imaging.

All rib injuries are painful, especially with rotational movements, but the recovery timelines vary with severity. At this point, we are in wait-and-see mode for Reed’s injury, and his practice participation will be key.

Packers WR Jayden Reed is dealing with a rib injury of unknown severity at this point – MONITOR.

DeVonta Smith (WR) Philadelphia Eagles

Injury: High Ankle Sprain
Injury Date: 12/31/2023
Expected Recovery Time: 4-6 weeks
Recovery Time to Week 18: 1 week
Replacement Player(s) to Target: Darius Slayton (WR) New York Giants

The situation in Philadelphia is going from bad to worse. Not only did they suffer an embarrassing loss that ruined their playoff home-field advantage, but they also suffered a key injury. Stud WR DeVonta Smith had his ankle rolled up on by a defender, causing him to leave the game and require crutches afterward.

Given the mechanism of injury, where he was hit on the outside of his leg and his ankle rolled in, the fear is he suffered a high ankle sprain.

There are reports that the sprain is mild, but even mild cases of a high ankle sprain take several weeks to recover. Typically, it takes 4-6 weeks for a mild high ankle sprain to fully recover.

This injury is going to negatively affect Smith’s ability to run routes and be stable on that ankle. At this point, I would expect Smith to be limited if he is able to play and likely out if he did suffer a high ankle sprain.

Eagles WR DeVonta Smith avoided a major injury but is likely to be limited or out in the next couple of weeks – SIT. 

Alvin Kamara (RB) New Orleans Saints

Injury: High Ankle Sprain
Injury Date: 12/31/2023
Expected Recovery Time: 4-6 weeks
Recovery Time to Week 18: 1 week
Replacement Player(s) to Target: Justice Hill (RB) Baltimore Ravens

This Saints offense has not given their fans a whole lot to cheer about this season. However, they were able to explode on that Tampa defense last week. It did come at a price, though, as their RB1 Alvin Kamara lands on the Week 18 Fantasy Football Injury Report.

Kamara went down awkwardly while being tackled on a carry, and the defender landed on his outside leg. This led to his ankle rolling inward, which is indicative of a high ankle sprain injury mechanism.

A typical recovery time for even a mild high ankle sprain is 4-6 weeks. With Week 18 potentially being the last game of his season, I would expect Kamara to try to play this week.

However, this does not mean he will be very effective or explosive. It will be difficult for him to cut and plant on his ankle, with his lateral mobility being most affected. He will very likely be limited this week, and there is a good chance he will be unable to play together.

Saints RB Alvin Kamara is dealing with a high ankle sprain that puts his availability in doubt – SIT. 

Jaylen Waddle (WR) Miami Dolphins

Injury: High Ankle Sprain
Injury Date: 12/24/2023
Expected Recovery Time: 4-6 weeks
Recovery Time to Week 18: 2 weeks
Replacement Player(s) to Target: Demarcus Robinson (WR) Los Angeles Rams

The Miami Dolphins are an absolutely ELECTRIC team. There is not much in this world that can slow them down, but injuries are on this shortlist. While star WR Tyreek Hill is still on the mend with his high ankle injury, his running mate picked up the same injury. Speedy WR Jaylen Waddle is dealing with a high ankle sprain that he injured two weeks ago.

A high ankle sprain refers to damage to the ligaments connecting your tibia and fibula. These are your two lower leg bones, and the ligaments are located above your ankle. These injuries require more force to occur, which results in more damage and a longer recovery time than a typical low ankle sprain.

Even in mild cases, a high ankle sprain takes 4-6 weeks to fully recover. At this point, I expect Waddle to miss these last two regular season games and return for the playoffs. If the Dolphins do play on Wild Card Weekend in three weeks, Waddle would still be limited but has a good chance to play with the injury.

Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle is dealing with a high ankle sprain but has a chance to play this week – MONITOR.

Trevor Lawrence (QB) Jacksonville Jaguars

Injury: AC Sprain
Injury Date: 12/24/2023
Expected Recovery Time: 1-2 weeks
Recovery Time to Week 18: 2 weeks
Replacement Player(s) to Target: Tyrod Taylor (QB) New York Giants

Trevor Lawrence is becoming a staple on the fantasy football injury report, and Week 18 is no different. After clearing the concussion protocol in under a week, while dealing with an ankle sprain, the Jaguars QB found himself knocked out of ANOTHER game.

The good news is that this injury is the least serious out of the three he has suffered these past few weeks. The bad news, it’s located on and affects his throwing shoulder.

The Jaguars were dominated from start to finish two weeks ago. In an attempt to be a spark for his team, Lawrence rolled out and picked up a short 4th down with his legs. This required a diving effort where he landed hard on his throwing shoulder.

This resulted in a minor AC sprain, which refers to damage to the joint connecting the shoulder to the clavicle. This is a painful but common injury that most players play through. Given Lawrence’s toughness and the magnitude of this game, I fully expect him to play this week.

He’ll likely receive a pain-relieving injection in the shoulder pregame and try to play through it. The injury to his throwing shoulder complicates the situation and may lead to some limitations.

Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence picked up another injury but has a good chance to play this week – MONITOR. 

Courtland Sutton (WR) Denver Broncos

Injury: Concussion
Injury Date: 12/24/2023
Expected Recovery Time: 1-2 weeks
Recovery Time to Week 18: 2 weeks
Replacement Player(s) to Target: Darius Slayton (WR) New York Giants

We continue this Week 17 Fantasy Football Injury Report with a bit of injury to insult. The Denver Broncos essentially destroyed their playoff chances with an embarrassing loss to the New England Patriots.

To make matters worse, they paired this defeat with the loss of their best WR, Courtland Sutton, during the game. Sutton had his helmet bounce off the ground after attempting to make a catch early in the game. He was quickly ruled out of the game after being taken to the locker room for evaluation.

The Denver WR is in the concussion protocol, and his Week 17 availability is in question. A concussion refers to a disruption in brain function after a direct or indirect blow to the head. A player’s reaction time and decision-making are negatively impacted, which are both crucial to their playing ability.

Concussion recovery is a bit tricky as symptoms and response to treatment change from person to person. Typically, the recovery time for a concussion is 1-2 weeks. Sutton’s practice participation will be key to determining his availability for this week. With Sutton already missing last week’s game, there is a good chance he will clear the concussion protocol this week. Sutton practiced fully Thursday and I expect him to clear concussion protocol this week.

Broncos WR Courtland Sutton is in the concussion protocol but has a good shot to return this week – START.

Josh Jacobs (RB) Las Vegas Raiders

Injury: Quad Strain
Injury Date: 12/10/2023
Expected Recovery Time: 2-4 weeks
Recovery Time to Week 18: 4 weeks
Replacement Player(s) to Target: Zamir White (RB) Las Vegas Raiders

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, on the Raiders’ offense worked three weeks ago. There are not many ways a shutout can get worse for an offense, but leave it to the Raiders to find a way. Starting RB Josh Jacobs injured his leg late in the game and missed the final few drives.

He is likely dealing with a quadriceps strain, referring to damage to the muscle in his upper leg. These injuries typically take a few weeks to heal and are tough to play with right away. At this point, Jacobs has missed the past three games and only logged a limited practice.

Raiders RB Josh Jacobs is practicing in a limited fashion and is still working his way back to full speed. – SIT.

Top Waiver Wire Targets

Zanir White (RB) Las Vegas Raiders 
Wan’Dale Robinson (WR) New York Giants
Darius Slayton (WR) New York Giants
Justice Hill (RB) Baltimore Ravens
Luke Musgrave (TE) Green Bay Packers
Demarcus Robinson (WR) Los Angeles Rams
Joshua Palmer (WR) Los Angeles Chargers
Tyrod Taylor (QB) New York Giants
Michael Mayer (TE) Las Vegas Raiders

Short-Term Injured Reserve

These players will miss a minimum of 4 games.

Skyy Moore (WR) Kansas City Chiefs
Luke Musgrave (TE) Green Bay Packers 
Michael Thomas (WR) New Orleans Saints
Salvon Ahmed (RB) Miami Dolphins
Jerrick McKinnon (RB) Kansas City Chiefs 
Dorian Thompson-Robinson (QB) Cleveland Browns
Zach Ertz (TE) Arizona Cardinals
Evan Hull (RB) Indianapolis Colts
Kenny McIntosh (RB) Seattle Seahawks
Justin Shorter (WR) Buffalo Bills
Jelani Woods (TE) Indianapolis Colts

Season Ending Injured Reserve

These players will miss the entire season.

Anthony Richardson (QB) Indianapolis Colts
Tank Dell (WR) Houston Texans 
Justin Herbert (QB) Los Angeles Chargers
Mike Williams (WR) Los Angeles Chargers
Kirk Cousins (QB) Minnesota Vikings
Rhamondre Stevenson (RB) New England Patriots
Kendrick Bourne (WR) New England Patriots
Daniel Jones (QB) New York Giants
Joe Burrow (QB) Cincinnati Bengals
Jamal Agnew (WR) Jacksonville Jaguars
Deshaun Watson (QB) Cleveland Browns
Cam Akers (RB) Minnesota Vikings
Nick Chubb (RB) Cleveland Browns 
JK Dobbins (RB) Baltimore Ravens 
Aaron Rodgers (QB) New York Jets

Commissioner Exempt List 

Players are unable to play or practice until allowed off the list.

Hassan Haskins (RB) Tennessee Titans – Aggravated Assault Charges

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