A handful of key fantasy pass-catchers were knocked out of action in Week 14. Receivers Deebo Samuel (hamstring), DeVante Parker (leg), and Mike Williams (back) all got injured early in their games and didn’t return, while Mike Gesicki (shoulder) and Noah Fant (illness) were among the tight ends that couldn’t finish their games. These key contributors will have fantasy football owners sweating some key decisions on Week 15 waiver wire pickups as the fantasy playoffs continue, so we have the latest injury updates below.
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Mike Gesicki injury update
Gesicki was having an excellent day for the Dolphins (five catches, 65 yards, two TDs) before he left the game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury. Gesicki wouldn’t return to action, and he appeared to be in pain after suffering the injury.
Gesicki’s status moving forward is uncertain. If he has to miss time, Adam Shaheen would be the next man up at tight end for the Dolphins. Shaheen isn’t the same sort of contested-catch playmaker that Gesicki has been during his career, but he has three TDs on the year, so he can be considered in fantasy lineups as a TD-dependent streamer.
Deebo Samuel injury update
On the first offensive play for the 49ers against the Washington Football Team, Samuel suffered a hamstring injury and left the game. He was quickly ruled out with the injury and didn’t see the field again.
According to ESPN’s Nick Wagoner, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said that Samuel’s injury “didn’t look good”, and Wagoner indicated that there’s “a real chance Samuel won’t return this season.” Considering that there are just three games left in the year and the 49ers are virtually out of the playoff race, sitting Samuel, who has dealt with hamstring and foot injuries all season, would be the sensible choice.
With Samuel out, Brandon Aiyuk will continue to serve as the No. 1 receiver for the 49ers and he could have a massive Week 15 against the Cowboys after seeing a whopping 16 targets against Washington. He is a must-start and potential WR1, and Kendrick Bourne can be added from the waiver wire and used as a top streaming option thanks to his terrific matchup and high-volume target share after getting seven looks against Washington.
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DeVante Parker injury update
Parker suffered a leg injury against the Chiefs and headed to the locker room before the end of the first half. He was deemed questionable to return but never managed to make it back in the game.
Parker has had a history of leg injuries at the NFL level, as he dealt with a hamstring pull in 2016 and suffered a quad strain in ’18. These injuries weren’t major, but the fact that Parker has another leg issue is concerning, and it’s possible that he may need to miss time.
If Parker is out, Jakeem Grant will see some extra targets as will Mack Hollins, who did an admirable job filling in for Parker (five catches, 66 yards). Both are available on the waiver wire and can be added to teams looking for potential flex plays. That said, the Dolphins are playing the Patriots in Week 15, so the ceiling of Grant and Hollins may be low. Still, they are worth having around, especially if you’re a Parker owner.
Noah Fant injury update
Fant tried to play on Sunday for the Broncos but evidently fell ill early on with a non-COVID-related illness. He exited in the first quarter and was deemed questionable to return before being downgraded to out.
Fant’s illness shouldn’t sideline him long term. It’s just unfortunate that he got sick during the game, as fantasy owners could have pivoted away from him had he been a last-minute inactive. If Fant’s illness sidelines him longer than anticipated, Nick Vannett (four catches, 20 yards, one TD) and Troy Fumagalli (four catches, 53 yards) would split time at TE, though neither would be a particularly strong fantasy option. Fant seems likely to return in Week 15, so don’t worry too much about the Broncos TE situation.
Mike Williams injury update
Williams suffered a back injury on the first drive of the Chargers’ game against the Falcons and wasn’t able to return to action. Williams has dealt with back injuries in the past, so there is certainly some concern about whether he’ll be able to play moving forward. Either way, he seems likely to miss the Chargers’ Week 15 Thursday Night Football game against the Raiders.
With the Chargers out of contention, they could decide to sit Williams until he’s 100 percent. If that happens, Tyron Johnson will likely serve as the Chargers’ No. 2 receiver after he saw seven targets and caught six passes for 55 yards and a TD against the Falcons on Sunday. He can be used as a flex play for teams that are in need of some help at WR.