Joe Mixon, D’Andre Swift, Austin Ekeler, Damien Harris, and Rhamondre Stevenson are all up in the air for Week 16, and obviously, many fantasy owners are eagerly waiting on their statuses for crucial start ’em, sit ’em decisions. Get the latest injury updates on each player below as you prepare for the second round of your fantasy playoffs.
Joe Mixon injury update
Mixon (ankle) practiced in full Wednesday, and Zac Taylor said he’s “feeling good,” so there is little worry he’ll be out for the matchup with Baltimore. If he suffers a setback, Samaje Perine would presumably take on a full workhorse role, but for now, Mixon is in his usual spot as a must-start option.
The Ravens are one of the tougher RB matchups around the league, but we know Mixon has produced in several tough matchups. This Bengals’ offense always has a ton of upside, so again, go ahead and start him with confidence. We currently have Mixon at the RB13 in PPR and RB15 in standard leagues.
D’Andre Swift injury update
Swift (shoulder) was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, marking the first time since Thanksgiving he’s participated in a practice or game. That said, he definitely has a shot to play, but nothing is a given here. It’ll all depend on how he looks in practice and if the Lions are comfortable with his progress. Detroit is obviously trying to win games, but you’d think they’d hold him out if he had any perceived significant risk to irritate his injury. All in all, this feels like it’s going to be a game-time decision situation.
Jamaal Williams (reserve/COVI list) also returned to practice and will be playing in Week 16. If Swift plays, it’ll certainly be tough to resist the urge to start him. We view him as a mid-tier RB2 in PPR leagues heading into a matchup with Atlanta, but his upside is sky high if he’s actually healthy and given a significant workload. If he’s out, Williams can be played in your RB2 or flex spot, but his ceiling is lower and he’d be more at risk to handle a split workload with breakout RB Craig Reynolds.
Austin Ekeler COVID update
After some confusion early in the week, Ekeler was officially placed on the reserve/COVID list on Wednesday, so he’s at risk for missing the game against Houston. In fact, on his weekly radio show, Ekeler said his availability is “not looking good.”
Houston is a top-six matchup for RBs, so his services would certainly be missed in the semifinals of the fantasy playoffs. Hopefully, Ekeler owners have grabbed his handcuff, Justin Jackson, though. We’ll just have to wait and see on Ekeler’s status, but we rank him as a top-five play with overall RB1 upside. If Jackson gets the start, he’s a high-end RB2 with RB1 upside.
Damien Harris/Rhamondre Stevenson injury update
UPDATE: Stevenson remained sidelined Thursday
Harris (hamstring) was limited and Stevenson (illness) missed practice Wednesday, and both could play in Week 16 or both could be inactive. It’s always a sticky situation when the top two backs are in danger of missing a game, especially those who have carried both on fantasy rosters this season. Ultimately, it’s tough to know how this situation will play out, but if one of them is active and the other isn’t, that RB will carry a lot of starting interest. We haven’t seen them both fully healthy in the same game in some time, so we’re unsure if Harris would be a workhorse in that situation or if it’ll be a 1A, 1B backfield.
We do know Buffalo is now just a neutral matchup, at best, for fantasy RBs. Again, if one is active and the other is out, it’d probably be a smart move to start the one who is active. If they’re both active, Harris is the better play in your RB2 spot, but he could have plenty of touches and goal-line opportunities stolen by Stevenson. If they’re both out, Brandon Bolden becomes a highly attractive play at the flex spot in PPR leagues.
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