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Next Man Up: Regular Season Week 15

Ladies and gentlemen it’s playoff time. With that each injury takes on added significance. @ReflipeWThenuz breaks down the Week 14 injuries and the next men up.

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 both the injured players themselves and the players 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. The playoffs are finally here, and with them, each injury takes on an added layer of significance. Who’s in and who’s out of your championship lineups heading into week 15. Without further ado, let us examine the Regular Season Week 14 injuries and the next men up.

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AFC East:

New England RB Damien. Harris was knocked from Thursday Night Football with a back injury. The injury occurred when the second-year back out of Alabama took a shot while picking up a blitz for QB Cam Newton. Harris appeared to be in a good deal of pain as he was down on the field for quite some time before jogging off under his own power. Early reports seem to be positive about his availability moving forward. However, as this is playoff season, we have to have a backup plan in place. For the Pats, those plans would be Sony Michel, and third-down specialist James White who would split the workload in the event of a Harris missed game. Keep an eye out for more news out of New England.

Miami TE Mike Gesicki had to be helped to the locker room with a shoulder injury late in his team’s Week 14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Gesicki was on his way to one of his better games, having already put up a 5/65/2 stat line. The third-year TE had been riding a hot streak as of late, and his likely loss will surely ding some playoff squads. Early indications are that the talented TE will likely miss a game or two depending on the outcome of his scheduled MRI. In his absence, the Dolphins will turn to their other TE’s Durham Smyth and Adam Shaheen. With WR Devante Parker also going down (more on that in a bit), this is quickly becoming a passing game to avoid for your fantasy playoffs.

Miami WR DeVante Parker left his team’s Week 14 loss with a leg injury. Soft tissue injuries have been a bugaboo for the talented former first-rounder for years. He seems to have fallen victim to them once again. It was later revealed to be a hamstring strain. There are no indications yet as to his status for Week 15. For his sake and that of his QB, hopefully, he will be ready to go. The Dolphins are in the thick of the AFC playoff battle, and with the loss of their TE Mike Gesicki, Parker is a player they simply cannot afford to miss. However, if he does miss time. Look for the Dolphins to turn to Lynn Bowden of all people who led the team in targets this past week. The former Raider seems to have settled into his role as a WR in Miami nicely and could be in line for a heavy target share.

AFC South:

The AFC South made it through the week relatively intact. 

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AFC North:

Pittsburgh RB James Conner let down a lot of dynasty owners with his 10/18/0 stat line in his team’s Week 14 loss to the Buffalo Bills. It now appears that there may have been a legitimate reason for his down performance. Conner appears to be dealing with a quad injury, according to Head Coach Mike Tomlin. The oft-injured RB may be in line for a rest week with the lowly Cincinnati Bengals up next on the schedule as Pittsburgh gears up for their playoff push. If Conner cannot go, he would put his backup Benny Snell in line for a nice spot start against one of the league’s lowliest defenses. Keep an eye on how this week goes for the Pittsburgh backfield.

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AFC West:

Chargers WR Mike Williams suffered a back injury early in his team’s Week 14 victory over the Falcons. Big Mike has had a history of back issues going all the way back to his college days at Clemson. Long on talent but short on health, it is starting to be a guessing game if Williams will ever put together a fully healthy season. If Williams misses time, look for the Chargers to turn to Jalen Guyton, Tyron Johnson, and KJ Hill to fill the void left by their former top-ten pick. As talented as he is, Williams shouldn’t be in your championship lineups anyway. The real ding would be to the potential upside of Rookie of the Year frontrunner Justin Herbert.

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NFC East:

Washington QB Alex Smith was forced from his team’s Week 14 victory over the San Francisco 49ers with a calf injury. The likely comeback player of the year has amazingly kept the Washington Football Team in the hunt for the NFC East division title. Early indications are Smith has a legitimate shot of suiting up and playing on Sunday. The initial reports are that the Football Team’s signal-caller will miss a couple of days of practice and see how he is at that point. Keep an eye on this one, as there will certainly be more news to come out of D.C. in the coming days. If I were a betting man, I would anticipate Smith playing. With a tough matchup against Seattle on tap and a one-game lead for the NFC East crown, you can bet Alex Smith will do everything he can to get in that game.

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NFC South:

Tampa Bay RB Ronald Jones fractured his pinky finger in his team’s Week 14 victory over the Vikings. The Bucs starting RB had finally wrestled control of the backfield away from Leonard Fournette, who was a healthy scratch for this one. Jones had a pin inserted into the injured finger on Monday. This is the same procedure that teammate Chris Godwin had earlier in the year. It cost Godwin one game at the time. There is a chance that Rojo plays through the injury but, in all likelihood, look for the Bucs to fire up Leonard Fournette to pair with LeSean McCoy for Week 15 against the Falcons.

NFC North:

The NFC North made it through the first week of the fantasy playoffs unscathed. 

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NFC West:

San Francisco WR Deebo Samuel suffered a significant hamstring injury in the team’s Week 14 loss to Washington. The 49ers just cannot buy a break when it comes to the injury bug in 2020. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said, “it doesn’t look good” when asked about the talented WR. All signs point to his 2020 regular season being finished. San Francisco will lean further on rookie Brandon Aiyuk supplemented by Kendrick Bourne and Richie James.

San Francisco RB Raheem Mostert suffered an ankle injury in his team’s Week 14 loss to Washington. The talented yet oft-injured speedster had an MRI on his ankle on Monday. The team expects to know more by Wednesday. Jeff Wilson Jr. would likely draw the start in Mostert’s place if the talented lead back cannot go in Week 15. It is also possible that Jerrick McKinnon could work his way back into the rotation if Mostert is out. San Francisco is quickly becoming a team to avoid for the short term.

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