Week 16 NFL Injury Wrap: George Kittle returns, Browns short at receiver

Scott Pianowski
·6-min read

It’s a holiday week and it’s fantasy football championship week, so there’s a lot going on. We’re giving you the Injury Wrap earlier this week, and this file will be updated periodically over the next 48 hours (note the time stamp at the bottom). Have a safe holiday, and good luck in your Week 16 games.

• The Browns have receiver problems, as Cleveland placed four of them on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday: Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge. Linebacker Jacob Phillip was also placed on the reserve list. Marvin Hall, recently cut by the Lions, percolates to the top of Cleveland’s WR depth chart. Perhaps Cleveland will rely on the running game, plus TE Austin Hooper, to take down the Jets.

• George Kittle (foot) has been activated from injured reserve and is expected to play at Arizona. It’s his first appearance since week 8. The 49ers play Saturday, so make sure you double check his final status before committing. I’ve slotted him at TE10, interested but maintaining some caution; two of my colleagues have him in their Top 4.

• Hunter Henry was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday. He won’t play against Denver. If you’re headed to the wire, you might want to consider Austin Hooper (54 percent rostered, the Jets are a free spin), Tyler Higbee (50 percent), Dalton Schultz (19 percent), or Cole Kmet (12 percent). Irv Smith was a disappointment last week, but he’s another option. Perhaps Chargers backup tight end Donald Parham Jr. (only five catches, but 75 yards and two scores this year) will do something versus the Broncos.

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• Keenan Allen (hamstring) is a game-time decision; he was limited in Friday’s practice. If Allen can’t go, you might explore Jalen Guyton or Tyron Johnson, both of whom have been getting deep with regularity. They aren’t direct fills for Allen — the styles are different — but every bump in potential opportunity matters.

• Marquise Brown (knee) was added to the injury report Thursday but was able to practice Friday. He’s been in a groove of late (17-272-3 over the past four games), so we were excited to see him against the Giants. Just confirm his status on game day.

• Ezekiel Elliott (calf) had limited practices Wednesday and Thursday, giving him a shot to play against Philadelphia. Keep in mind, he missed all of the work last week. Stand by, Tony Pollard managers. Michael Gallup (hip) has been practicing and is expected to play.

• Terry McLaurin (ankle) was downgraded to doubtful, so have other plans there. The Football Team isn’t clear at quarterback; Alex Smith (calf) had a full practice Friday but is a game-time decision at best for the home match against Carolina. Otherwise, Dwayne Haskins, who took first-team reps most of the week, will start. Antonio Gibson (toe) had three straight limited days and is listed as questionable.

• The Dolphins remain one of the toughest teams to decipher. Myles Gaskin was activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list, putting him on track to play at Las Vegas. But we have to consider that Salvon Ahmed played well last week, and Matt Breida was also effective. The passing game is a mess of uncertainty — DeVante Parker (hamstring), Mike Gesicki (shoulder), and Jakeem Grant (hamstring) are all listed as questionable. Parker wound up being a game-night scratch Saturday.

• Derek Carr (groin) returned to full practice Wednesday and was removed from the final injury report. Barring a last-second setback, look for him to start Saturday against Miami. With that, it’s back to the bench for Marcus Mariota.

• The Titans held A.J. Brown (ankle) and Jonnu Smith (knee) out of Thursday’s practice. We’ll have to see how the do in the critical Friday practice, two days in advance of the match at Green Bay.

• James Robinson (ankle) won’t play against Chicago. Dare Ogunbowale and Devine Ozigbo are the two backs of note behind Robinson.

• All signs point to Christian McCaffrey (thigh) missing Week 16, and he’s no sure thing to play Week 17, either.

• Brandon Allen (knee) is available this week, though the Bengals haven’t named a starter. Ryan Finley was effective in a scaled-down role against Pittsburgh. Tyler Boyd (concussion) missed the week of practice and will not play.

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• Tre’Quan Smith (ankle) won’t play Christmas Day against the Vikings, joining Michael Thomas (ankle) on the sidelines. Perhaps Emmanuel Sanders will seize the day.

• Julio Jones (hamstring) missed the full week and won’t play against Kansas City. Russell Gage has a different role than Jones, but he gets a lift in value, with extra targets available. Gage has a 10-150-1 line over the last two weeks, with Jones out.

• James Conner (quad) is back to full practice, setting him up to play against the Colts. Benny Snell had some moments in the Week 15 loss to Cincinnati, but he’s clearly the fallback option. Eric Ebron (back) had a full practice Thursday.

• Aaron Jones (toe) missed some work this week but is expected to play Sunday, barring a setback. But the Packers aren’t confident on Jamaal Williams (quad), who has not been practicing. It seems AJ Dillon will likely get some work Sunday night against Tennessee.

• Allen Robinson (hamstring) wasn’t able to practice Thursday. The Bears are still in the playoff hunt and Robinson would like to get a shot at his old Jacksonville team, so we’ll see if he can progress between now and Sunday.

• Tyreek Hill (hamstring) retuned to a partial workout Thursday after missing the previous day. He’s expected to go against Atlanta.

• Kyle Rudolph (foot) won’t play on Christmas at New Orleans. Irv Smith and Tyler Conklin have been splitting opportunity the last two weeks. Alexander Mattison (concussion) will not play.

• Ronald Jones (reserve/COVID-19) won’t play at Detroit. Leonard Fournette, by default, is an interesting play against the struggling Lions defense.

• Stefon Diggs (foot) had a full practice Thursday, so it appears his late injury against Denver last week was no major concern. Buffalo is at New England on Monday.

• Duke Johnson (neck) is out another week. David Johnson has been quiet as a receiver most of the year, but he exploded for 11 catches against the Colts. The Bengals are obviously a favorable Week 16 draw.

• Daniel Jones (hamstring/ankle) is trending in the right direction for a return against Baltimore. Golden Tate (calf) was held out of Thursday’s practice.

• Phillip Lindsay (hip/knee) has been ruled out for Sunday’s game at the Chargers.

• Chase Edmonds (knee/ankle) did some work Thursday after missing previous sessions. He’s questionable for Saturday’s game against the 49ers. Dan Arnold (back) was added to the injury report Thursday, worrisome just two days removed from game night. Larry Fitzgerald (groin) was limited Thursday and is also questionable.

• Matthew Stafford (ribs/thumb) wants to play Saturday against Tampa Bay, though he’s listed as questionable. The Lions are dealing with a makeshift coaching staff, putting the entire offense in jeopardy. Kenny Golladay (hip) is out for another week, while kicker Matt Prater (back) is questionable.

Last Updated: Dec. 26, 6:50 pm ET

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