As the second week of the fantasy playoffs get rolling, there are several key injuries at the running back position that will require the attention of fantasy football owners. Christian McCaffrey (shoulder/thigh), Antonio Gibson (toe), and Joe Mixon (foot) have all missed time in recent weeks, while Myles Gaskin and David Johnson landed on the COVID list late last week and missed Week 14. These injuries and illnesses will have an impact on our Week 15 RB rankings and potential waiver wire pickup, so owners will need to pay close attention to them.
For all the latest fantasy updates, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.
Is Christian McCaffrey playing this week?
McCaffrey (shoulder/thigh) has played just once since Week 2 as he has battled numerous injuries. With the Panthers out of the playoff race, many are likely wondering whether McCaffrey will return to action this season, but it appears that he is planning on it.
According to Panthers beat writer Bill Voth, both coach Matt Rhule and McCaffrey are expecting McCaffrey to return in 2020. His ability to do so will obviously hinge on how he performs at practice, but neither side is willing to shut him down just yet.
McCaffrey will need to see an improvement in practice status to have a chance at playing in Week 15 against the Packers. Last week, he was listed as “limited” on Wednesday before being a non-participant on Thursday and Friday. The Panthers are playing a Saturday afternoon game, so that could complicate any potential return for McCaffrey. If he can’t play, Mike Davis will be the team’s starter once again and can be trusted as a solid RB2 against a shaky run defense.
Is Antonio Gibson playing this week?
Gibson (toe) missed the first game of his rookie season while dealing with a painful turf toe injury he suffered against the Steelers in Week 13. Gibson was always unlikely to play last week, but he missed every day of Washington practice with the injury. Unless he can return to practice early in the week, even if it’s just on a limited basis, Gibson will probably have to miss another week while recovering.
If Gibson isn’t ready to go in a tough matchup against the Seahawks, J.D. McKissic and Peyton Barber will once again split the work for Washington. McKissic has more upside since he is more explosive and catches more passes, but Barber does have some TD potential. Both can be considered as flexes, but in a matchup like this, McKissic is the better play, especially in PPR formats.
WEEK 15 WAIVER WIRE: Top pickups
Is Myles Gaskin playing this week?
Gaskin was placed on the COVID list last Saturday after testing positive for the virus. As ESPN’s Field Yates reported, Gaskin is expected to miss Week 15 given the timing of his positive test coupled with the NFL’s COVID protocols.
With Gaskin expected to miss the game, DeAndre Washington could be in line to be the Dolphins’ lead back once again if Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) can’t return to action. Ahmed didn’t practice at all last week after being limited for all of Week 13, so his outlook appears to be bleak, and Washington can be trusted as a fringe-RB2/flex based on his volume in the backfield.
Is David Johnson playing this week?
Like Gaskin, Johnson was placed on the COVID list late last week, and that brought up some concern about whether he’d be able to play in Week 15. However, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Johnson was placed on the COVID list because he was a close contact, and coach Romeo Crennel expects him to return for this week’s game against the Colts.
With David Johnson returning, Duke Johnson will go back to having minimal impact as a runner. He still will catch some passes and could be considered a PPR flex play, but David Johnson will get a bulk of the carries against a tough Colts run defense.
Is Joe Mixon playing this week?
Mixon (foot) still hasn’t played since Week 6, but as ESPN’s Ben Baby reported last week, Bengals coach Zac Taylor still views Mixon returning as a “possibility.” For that to happen, Mixon will have to return to practice — a feat he hasn’t achieved since the lead-up to Week 6 — so it seems unlikely that he will return, especially with the Bengals heading for another top-five draft choice.
With Mixon out, Giovani Bernard has mostly been used as the lead back for the Bengals, but that changed last week, as Samaje Perine and Trayveon Williams both out-carried the veteran. With all three set to take on the Steelers and their excellent run defense in Week 15, none are recommended starts — and Mixon would be tough to trust on the unlikely chance that he returns to action, too.
Help us to become independent in PANDEMIC COVID-19. Contribute to diligent Authors.