Lamar Jackson, Travis Kelce, NFL Injury Statuses and Fantasy Impact for Week 16

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 24, 2021

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson warms up before an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Lamar Jackson and Travis Kelce are two of the most reliable fantasy football players when they are on the field, but neither may suit up for Week 16.

Jackson has not practiced for 12 consecutive days and is still listed as questionable with an ankle injury. 

Baltimore's starting quarterback is not expected to play Sunday in the AFC North clash at the Cincinnati Bengals, per NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala

Kelce was placed in COVID-19 protocols earlier in the week along with some of his Kansas City Chiefs teammates. 

Kansas City got some good news Friday when backup tight end Blake Bell was taken off the reserve/COVID-19 list. Kelce and Tyreek Hill have one more day to clear protocols, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

The statuses of Jackson and Kelce are just two things fantasy football players have to deal with in their Week 16 postseason matchups. 

Plenty of other players are listed as out because of the NFL's coronavirus protocols and others are dealing with injuries. The list of affected players can be found below. 


Lamar Jackson Hasn't Practiced in 12 Days

Lamar Jackson will likely miss his second straight game with the ankle injury he suffered in the Week 14 loss to the Cleveland Browns. 

Jackson was relieved by Tyler Huntley in that contest and in the Week 15 defeat to the Green Bay Packers. Huntley got the Ravens close to winning both matchups.

Huntley did not practice Friday due to a non-COVID illness, per Rapoport, but he is still expected to start under center, per Kinkhabwala

Baltimore's No. 2 quarterback threw for 485 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games with Jackson injured. 

Huntley has been a serviceable fantasy replacement for the 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player in a landscape that is barren with quality backups from a fantasy perspective. 

Tua Tagovailoa, Ben Roethlisberger and Mac Jones are among the best potential waiver-wire options in some leagues. 

The free-agent situation could be bleaker in other leagues. That may lead to Zach Wilson, Taylor Heinicke or Davis Mills making spot starts in playoff contests. 

Huntley has been the best insurance plan from a fantasy standpoint in the last two weeks, and as long as he plays, he will be one of the top lower-tier quarterbacks. 

Wilson might be the best spot starter if you have been waiting for Jackson's return. Wilson is going up against a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that conceded at least 20 points in the last six weeks. Wilson has over 200 passing yards in two of the last three weeks and could be the best of the dire-straits options because of his matchup. 


Travis Kelce Still on COVID-19 List

Travis Kelce is one of the biggest names affected by COVID-19 in the NFL right now. 

The Kansas City tight end is one of the best players at his position—if not the best player—and fantasy managers were hoping to ride him to advancement in the playoffs. 

Kelce has one more day to clear protocols, but plans for a replacement should already be in motion in case he is ruled out for the clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Bell's removal from the reserve/COVID-19 list is a plus for Patrick Mahomes, but he may not receive the same number of targets as Kelce. Bell might be worth the risk if he earns red-zone targets, but there could be better options elsewhere. 

Evan Engram has a pair of four-catch games in the last month and is facing a Philadelphia Eagles defense that gives up the third-most receiving yards to tight ends. 

Houston's Brevin Jordan is a dark-horse option at tight end because of his matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers' league-worst defense against tight ends. Jordan has scored in two of his last three appearances, and Houston could be short-handed with Brandin Cooks on the reserve/COVID-19 list. 

Cole Kmet and C.J. Uzomah could also be solid replacements for Kelce if he does not play. They are both going up against weak defenses versus the position.

Uzomah has been a trustworthy target of Joe Burrow in Cincinnati, while Kmet may benefit from Nick Foles' approach in the short passing game in Seattle.