Leading up to week two of the Fantasy Playoffs, there are a lot of questions and injury issues impacting the running back position. Raheem Mostert (ankle), Ronald Jones (finger) and James Conner (quad) all face new injuries, while Antonio Gibson (toe), Christian McCaffrey (thigh) and the Dolphins RBs Myles Gaskin (COVID) and Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) have missed the action in recent weeks. These injury issues could create tough decisions to start, make sitting decisions, and will impact some potential sleeper and streamer options that could rise in our Week 15 RB ranking.
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Is Raheem Mostert playing this week?
Mostert (ankle) had an MRI on Monday, and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said the team would know more about his status on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Nick Wagoner . On Wednesday, Mostert was a non-participant in training for the 49ers, so it’s not a good sign for his availability at Week 15.
With Mostert looking uncertain, it seems likely that Jeff Wilson Jr. will have a bigger role in the 49ers backfield. Wilson has averaged 11 touches per game since returning from a sprained ankle in Week 12, but if Mostert is out Wilson could be in line for a lead-back type workload against a Cowboys defense. who has fought a lot against RB this year. It already looked like a high-end flex before Mostert’s injury, but Wilson could jump into the high-end RB2 lineup if he leads the San Francisco backfield.
Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon would also be in line for increased workloads if Mostert were to run out of time. Coleman is said to have some flexible appeal as a dependent option on TD, and McKinnon could have an advantage over PPR, but it’s hard to trust as he hasn’t registered an offensive touch since Week 12.
Is Antonio Gibson playing this week?
Gibson (toe) was listed as a non-participant in Wednesday’s Washington practice report. This report was only an estimate, but it’s still not a good sign. Washington also recruited Lamar Miller from the Bears’ practice squad to provide extra depth at the starting point, which could indicate Gibson is further away from the return than many had hoped.
Either way, it looks like Gibson will be a longtime player to play in Week 15 and if he doesn’t show up on the pitch on Thursday, fantasy owners can probably look forward to another week of. JD McKissic and Peyton Barber to carry the load. Both would be potential flexible games, with McKissic having more of an edge, giving his ability to rush and receive double threat. Barber would likely need a TD to pay given his 2.7-yard average per carry.
And for those wondering, Miller wouldn’t be eligible to play Week 15 due to NFL COVID protocols. He could factor in the RB rotation at week 16 if Gibson is left out.
Is Ronald Jones playing this week?
Jones underwent surgery to fix a broken pinky finger on Tuesday and the following day was placed on the COVID list. He was already “questionable” to play due to the finger injury, so his addition to the COVID roster makes him almost certain he won’t be able to play for the Bucs against the Falcons on Sunday.
While Jones is expected to be out, Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy will likely share the work for the Buccaneers. Fournette was a healthy scratch in Week 14, but he should be treated as the comeback point guard with McCoy functioning more as a receiving option against Atlanta. Both can be trusted, as the flex plays against the Falcons as Atlanta’s weakness is against the RBs who catch the passes.
Is Christian McCaffrey playing this week?
McCaffrey (thigh) has only played once since Week 2 battling ankle, shoulder and thigh injuries, and it looks like he’s on his way to miss another game.
According to ESPN’s David Newton, Panthers coach Matt Rhule has confirmed that McCaffrey is expected to miss Saturday’s game against the Packers due to his injuries. With McCaffrey out again, Mike Davis will get the Panthers’ start again and should have a shot at being a solid RB2 against a questionable defense.
At this point, it’s also fair to wonder if McCaffrey will be playing again this season. It’s not like you can drop him off in any fantasy format in case he plays, but make sure you have contingency options in place for the final two weeks of the fantasy season.
Is James Conner playing this week?
Conner is battling an ATV injury, and it’s unclear if that’s bad enough to keep him sidelined in a favorable Week 15 game against the Bengals. Conner hasn’t been very productive the past few weeks on the field, and he’s just finished a day of 10 carries and 18 yards against the Bills.
The Steelers play a Monday night football game, so Conner’s first chance to practice this week will be Thursday. If he can’t take the field for this session, he will become a real question mark for fantasy owners. Conversely, if he is a limited or full participant, this should indicate that he will have a chance to play except in the event of a setback.
If Conner can’t play, Benny Snell would be next in line for a leadership role and should be a true RB2 against weak defense against the Bengals. Make sure you catch him on the waiver wire if you need RB depth or if you need Conner’s handcuffs.
Are Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed playing this week?
The Dolphins RB Hall has suffered countless injuries and illnesses this year. Before week 15, Myles Gaskin (COVID) is not supposed to play after testing positive for the disease last week. Meanwhile Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) was spotted in training in a red no-contact jersey and was listed as limited to training on Wednesday. This might give her a chance to dress up at week 15.
If Ahmed can leave, he and DeAndre Washington would form a committee as RB with Matt Breida, who returned from the COVID list, mingling. If Ahmed can’t play, Washington would serve as more of a point guard and get some RB2 consideration based on his volume. Ahmed will definitely need to be watched, but if he’s on the pitch against Thursday it could be a sign that he’s ready to return to action.