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Next Man Up: Playoffs Week 2

The playoffs are upon us and with them comes added importance to every injury. @ReflipeWThenuz breaks down all the injuries and highlights the next men up for your playoff lineups.

Each and every week, players across the NFL suffer injuries. This weekly article will explore the injuries that affect your dynasty squads. We will briefly discuss the injured players themselves and those who stand to benefit or suffer as a result. In order to make them easier to follow, we will break down the injuries by division. Without further ado, let us examine the Week 1 playoff injuries and the next men up.

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AFC East

New England tight end Hunter Henry exited his team’s Week 15 loss with a serious-looking knee injury. The veteran pass catcher has had a history of knee injuries from his time with the Chargers earlier in his career. The Patriots are notoriously tight-lipped about injury status throughout the week. Your best bet is to monitor practice reps to gauge the severity of Henry’s injury. If he does miss time, the Patriots will look to former Penn State star Mike Gesicki as the starting tight end. The talented athlete has had a challenging year in New England but could provide a hail-mary play for your tight-end premium leagues if you were playing Henry. 

New York quarterback Zach Wilson suffered a head injury in his team’s Week 15 loss. The former first-round pick has had a tough year filling in for an injured Aaron Rodgers in 2023. There has been some confusion as to whether Wilson suffered a concussion or was simply dehydrated in this one. If he cannot play, the Jets will look to veteran quarterback Trevor Siemian. No matter who is under center, I would not recommend coming anywhere near either of these players with your playoff lineups.

AFC South

Indianapolis wide receiver Michael Pittman was knocked out of his team’s Week 15 victory after suffering a brutal shot while attempting a diving catch. This was one of the scariest-looking hits of the weekend. However, it appears that the star receiver only suffered a concussion. He was eventually able to walk off the field under his own power. Pittman will need to progress through the league’s new mandated protocols ahead of next week to suit up for the Colts. The Colts will rely on Josh Downs and Alec Pierce as their top two wide receivers, supported by Isaiah McKenzie and D.J. Montgomery.

Indianapolis running back Zach Moss sustained a shoulder injury during his team’s Week 15 contest. He went down accurately during a horse collar tackle. Subsequent x-rays came back negative, and it appears Moss has dodged a major injury. As things currently stand, Moss plans to play next week. To be safe, keep an eye on his practice reps this week, but for now, you can plan on plugging him into your lineups, provided Jonathan Taylor is out another week. If Taylor does play, avoid Moss like the plague.

Tennessee quarterback Will Levis suffered a painful-looking ankle injury during his team’s Week 15 contest. Following the game, Levis suggested that he was right and that things could have been much worse. With the Titans looking towards the future, they may play it safe with Levis. Keep an eye on his practice reps as the week progresses. If Levis is forced to sit out, the Titans will turn back to former starter Ryan Tannehill, who would be a net neutral for the Titans skill players in your lineups. 

AFC North

Baltimore running back Keaton Mitchell suffered the worst-looking injury of the weekend when he went down with a devastating knee injury. There was little doubt that this was a season-ending injury from the moment it went down. The only question is how many ligaments he tore. At the moment, it appears he only suffered a torn ACL, which will require season-ending surgery. This injury will push Justice Hill back into a complementary role behind starter Gus Edwards. The latter of whom is the biggest beneficiary of this unfortunate event. Edwards should be a nice RB2 option for your playoff runs.

Cincinnati wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase suffered a shoulder injury during his team’s Week 15 victory. This one could keep the talented playmaker out of the fantasy playoffs, as it has been revealed he suffered a separated shoulder. The expectation is that he will miss this week against Pittsburgh at a minimum. He may miss the rest of the season, depending on how he responds to treatment. In his absence, Cincinnati will look to Tyler Boyd to take on a larger role alongside Tee Higgins. They will be the only trustworthy Bengals pass catchers outside of the running backs with seasons on the line.

AFC West

The AFC West escaped Week 15 without any fantasy-relevant injuries. 

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NFC East

New York quarterback Tommy DeVito briefly exited his team’s Week 15 loss with a potential head injury. As you can see above, this had the looks of a possible concussion. DeVito implied after the game that he was all right. The Giants appear to be starting the rookie again next week over veteran Tyrod Taylor. You should monitor his practice reps as the week progresses to ensure he is healthy. He would provide a desperation QB2 play in your Superflex leagues. 

NFC South

Arizona wide receiver Marquise Brown aggravated his heel injury during his team’s Week 15 loss. The former first-round pick has had an up-and-down year as he has fought through injury. Head coach Jonathan Gannon expressed some concern about his top receiver. Keep an eye on his reps this week. If Brown can’t go, the Cardinals would be forced to look to rookie Michael Wilson, Rondale Moore, Zach Pascal, and Greg Dortch as their top receivers. In reality, any missed action by Brown would open up additional targets for emerging tight end Trey McBride, who has already been dominating looks in the Cardinals passing game.

NFC North

Green Bay wide receiver Jayden Reed injured his toe late in his team’s Week 15 loss. The talented rookie has emerged as a bonafide weapon for the Packers and quarterback Jordan Love. There have been some reports that he may be dealing with a case of turf toe. If Reed is forced to miss any game action, the Packers will have to rely on Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure as their top two targets, depending upon the health of fellow receiver Christian Watson. Dontayvion Wicks and Malik Heath could also fill in. Doubs would be an excellent WR2 play if Reed and or Watson miss time.

Chicago wide receiver DJ Moore briefly exited his team’s Week 15 loss with an ankle injury. The top-tier receiver was able to finish out the game and appears to have avoided any meaningful injury. Keep an eye on his practice reps as the week goes on. If he were forced to miss time, Chicago would rely on Darnell Mooney, Tyler Scott, and Velus Jones Jr. as their top receivers. Cole Kmet would also get a significant boost in targets if Moore were to miss time.

NFC West

The NFC West made it through Week 15 without any major fantasy-relevant injuries. 

Thank you for reading this article! Please be sure to join the #Nerdherd, so you don’t miss out on any of the amazing things we have to offer Use my promo code DynastyHolliday for a 15% off discount. You will get rankings, extra podcasts, and access to our rookie film room. For just a couple of bucks more, you can get access to our revolutionary DynastyGM tool. So much for so little, why miss out on all the fun? Also, you absolutely must check out our new mock draft tool. Find it in your Apple & Android app stores. Follow me @ReflipeWThenuz for more dynasty content and other musings.

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