NFL injury report: Latest news on Christian McCaffrey, Drew Brees and top fantasy stars for Week 14

By Matt Johnson
Sep 20, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) after scoring a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the third quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NFL injury report: We’re heading into the home stretch of the regular season and as NFL teams battle for playoff spots, fantasy managers are preparing their lineups for the start of the fantasy playoffs. With Week 14 right around the corner, there are plenty of key updates to follow from the NFL injury report.

The focus for Week 14 is on two of the NFL’s biggest stars. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. Both have missed significant time this season and their absences have already been felt. Fortunately, there’s good news on the injury front for both.

Of course, there are plenty of other high-profile players dealing with injuries. The Detroit Lions have been without Kenny Golladay and D’Andre Swift for weeks. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner and Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs are dealing with their own issues.

Let’s dive into the NFL injury report for Week 14, the start of the fantasy football playoffs. As more updates are provided and new injuries pop up, we’ll provide updates.

NFL Week 14: Schedule and game-by-game predictions

Update: Dec. 13 9:45 AM EST

NFL injury report: Julio Jones out for Week 14

ESPN insider Adam Schefter reported the news on the Atlanta Falcons superstar receiver, who’s dealing with a hamstring injury and won’t be suiting up for Sunday’s road game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

To be real about it? Probably for the best Atlanta is shelving the seven-time Pro Bowler right now. Although Jones would be playing if he could help it — he’s missed only four contests in the previous six seasons — the 4-8 Falcons are all but eliminated from playoff contention and have little to gain other than pride by trotting the 31-year-old out on the field.

Just don’t tell that to interim head coach Raheem Morris, who’s doing all he can to promote himself as a viable candidate for the 2021 vacancies, including the full-time gig in Atlanta as Dan Quinn’s successor. Regardless, a new regime is on the way for the Falcons after years of continuity, and preserving Jones’ long-term health has to be a big-picture priority no matter who is in charge at this moment.

NFL injury report: Antonio Gibson out for Week 14

Update: Antonio Gibson (turf toe) ruled out for Week 14

Unfortunately for the Washington Football Team, their rushing attack is bound to take a big hit in Week 14 against San Francisco. Dynamic rookie Antonio Gibson has been ruled out for Week 14.

Gibson has been a fantasy revelation in 2020. Despite running back not being his primary position in college at Memphis, the third-round pick has quickly ascended among the best ball-carriers in the league, racking up 11 rushing touchdowns on the year.

Considering Washington still managed to knock off the previously undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers this past Monday without Gibson most of the way, quarterback Alex Smith and Co. may be able to get by versus the Niners. That said, Gibson presents a whole other dimension to the Football Team’s offense that will be sorely missed.

In Gibson’s absence, look for Peyton Barber to get the bulk of the carries, with J.D. McKissic continuing to serve as a pass-catching specialist. Barber scored a touchdown and had 14 carries for 23 yards against the Steelers, while McKissic nabbed a team-high 10 receptions for 70 yards in the massive upset win.

Related: NFL Rookie of the Year: Antonio Gibson gaining ground

NFL injury report: When will Christian McCaffrey return from shoulder injury?

Update: Christian McCaffrey unlikely for Week 14 with new injury

It’s been a frustrating NFL season for McCaffrey. The All-Pro back departed in Week 2 with a high-ankle sprain, then suffered a shoulder injury upon his return in Week 9. Before the team’s Week 12 bye, McCaffrey was able to practice on a limited basis. Following some additional time to rest, things are trending in the right direction.

Unfortunately, in a recurring theme this season, McCaffrey is injured once again. The All-Pro running back reportedly injured his quad during private training this past week. He was a limited practice participant Wednesday, before being downgraded to a non-participant Thursday.

Matt Rhule told reporters he doesn’t expect McCaffrey to suit up in Week 14. As a result, the league’s highest-paid running back will head into Week 15 having played just two games in 2020. In his absence, Mike Davis steps in as the starter. He’ll face the Denver Broncos, who have allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per game (139.7) in the past three contests.

Carolina Panthers injury report: D.J. Moore (ankle) placed on Reserve/COVID-19 list

NFL injury report
Nov 29, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore (12) his helped off the field in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

D.J. Moore injured his leg against the Minnesota Vikings, coming down awkwardly on his right foot. Non-contact injuries are always concerning and everyone is alarmed when a player can’t return to the game. Luckily, X-rays determined Moore avoided a serious injury.

Carolina certainly would have been without their No. 1 receiver if they played in Week 13, but the bye came at the perfect time. A full week to rest is huge for Moore’s ankle, giving him a shot to play in Week 14 against the Denver Broncos.

Unfortunately, a COVID-19 outbreak will now sideline Moore. Carolina announced on Monday that Moore tested positive for the coronavirus. He will miss Week 14 and is uncertain for Week 15. Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel are WR2s in fantasy this week.

Related: 2021 NFL mock draft – Blockbuster trades shake up 2021 NFL Draft.

NFL injury report: New York Giants QB Daniel Jones (hamstring) expected to start Week 14

NFL injury report
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) takes the field for a possession in the first quarter during an NFL Week 12 football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. New York Giants At Cincinnati Bengals Nov 29

Update: Daniel Jones expected to start in Week 14

Daniel Jones left in the third quarter of Week 12 with a hamstring injury and things don’t sound promising. Fortunately, MRI results determined he avoided major damage. New York still played it safe with their young quarterback and the decision paid off. Coming off a stunning victory and sitting atop the NFC East, the news keeps getting better for the Giants.

Daniel Jones left in the third quarter of Week 12 with a hamstring injury and things don’t sound promising. Fortunately, MRI results determined he avoided major damage. New York still played it safe with their young quarterback and the decision paid off. Coming off a stunning victory and sitting atop the NFC East, the news keeps getting better for the Giants.

According to The Athletic’s Dan Duggan, Jones underwent a final check on his hamstring Saturday and it went well. The second-year quarterback is now expected to start in Week 14, with the team facing a pivotal matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. From a fantasy perspective, this is good news for Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard. With that said, Jones shouldn’t be started in any fantasy league.

Related: NFL defense rankings – Examining the top defenses in the NFL.

Pittsburgh Steelers injury report: Latest update on James Conner (COVID-19)

NFL injury report
Nov 22, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) lruns past Jacksonville Jaguars free safety Jarrod Wilson (26) during the second quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Update: Steelers activate James Conner from COVID-19 list

While it’s concerning when any member of the NFL family tests positive for COVID-19, there is additional reason to be alarmed with Conner. Pittsburgh’s starting running back is a survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which puts him at greater risk for health complications from the coronavirus.

Fortunately, there have been no reports indicating Conner is dealing with severe symptoms nor is he repeatedly testing positive. While the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols technically could have allowed him to return for Week 13, there was no way Pittsburgh would risk it given the number of practices missed.

Following Week 13, the Steelers activated Conner off the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Given Buffalo’s defense is allowing 4.7 yards per carry this season, Conner needs to be in fantasy lineups for Week 14.

NFL injury report: When will Drew Brees return?

NFL injury report
Nov 15, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Update: Drew Brees out for Week 14, uncertain to return in Week 14

Drew Bress might have suffered one of the most painful injuries in the NFL season. He left in Week 10 with a rib injury, but the full extent of the damage wasn’t known until days later. The future Hall of Famer suffered 11 fractured ribs and a collapsed lung, guaranteeing a multi-week absence.

Shortly after the diagnosis, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Week 15 was the team’s target date for a return. In an interview before Week 13, Brees mentioned that being unable to fly is one of the reasons he has been sidelined. Unable to travel for road games, Brees is making progress and ramping up activity.

New Orleans Saints rumors: Latest news, buzz surrounding team’s future

As expected, per The Athletic’s Jeff Duncan, Taysom Hill is expected to start in Week 14. The Saints are overwhelming favorites in Week 14 against the Philadelphia Eagles and there is no incentive to rush Brees back into action. Consider Hil a top-10 fantasy quarterback for Week 14. Meanwhile, with Hill not utilizing him as a pass-catcher, Alvin Kamara is a low-end RB1.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, there are now no guarantees that Brees return in Week 15. While he is pushing to face the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans is preparing as if Taysom Hill will be under center. If that’s the case, it would be a significant blow for Alvin Kamara’s fantasy value and the Saints in Week 15.

Detroit Lions injury report: Latest news on D’Andre Swift, Week 14 status

NFL injury report
Nov 15, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift (32) runs after a catch for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Washington Football Team at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Update: D’Andre Swift expected to start in Week 14

Swift was a fantasy darling who many expected huge things from over the final stretch after a breakout performance. Unfortunately, the rookie suffered a concussion days later and missed consecutive games in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

On the verge of returning to practice before Week 13, more issues popped up. Adrian Peterson noted Detroit’s exciting rookie hadn’t been the same since suffering the concussion. Swift missed practice on Thursday and Friday with an illness, then was ruled out before the game. He was a full participant in practice on Friday and is questionable for Week 14.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Swift is expected to start on Sunday. Additional time to recover should help him recover from the complications he has been dealing with. Facing one of the NFL’s worst run defenses, Swift could explode against the Green Bay Packers. He ranks as a top-12 running back for Week 14.

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Kansas City Chiefs injury report: Will Clyde Edwards-Helaire play in Week 14?

Related: NFL Rookie of the Year, Week 17 – Jonathan Taylor surges, Justin Herbert still the favorite.

The Kansas City Chiefs and head coach Andy Reid likely angered plenty of fantasy managers on Sunday. Edwards-Helaire was expected to play, after missing the final days of practice due to an illness. Kansas City listed him active for Sunday Night Football, leaving fantasy managers to believe they were in the clear to start the exciting rookie.

Instead, Edwards-Helaire didn’t see the field. Following the win, Reid revealed that CEH lost weight due to the stomach virus he was dealing with and the team wanted to exercise caution. Fortunately, the 21-year-old is trending in the right direction and should return to a more prominent role in Week 14.

For those who made the fantasy playoffs, Edwards-Helaire is a low-end RB2 for next Sunday’s game. The Miami Dolphins allow opponents to average 4.6 yards per carry this season and surrender 120-plus yards on the ground. CEH won’t see enough volume to make him a great play, but he ranks as a top-20 running back for Week 14.

NFL injury update: Will Kenny Golladay return in Week 14?

NFL injury report for Week 14
Oct 4, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) before the game against the New Orleans Saints at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Update: Kenny Golladay ruled out for Week 14

Kenny Golladay entered the 2020 season hoping to build off his 11-touchdown campaign in 2019. Instead, the Pro Bowl receiver has spent most of his contract year on the NFL injury report. After missing two games to start the season with a hamstring injury, Golladay has since missed another five due to a hip injury. After missing practice all Week, Golladay has now been ruled out for Week 14.

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At this point, it’s difficult to see the 27-year-old receiver returning this season. Detroit is out of the playoff race, has an interim coach and Golladay has no reason to risk making his injury worse. We expect Golladay to miss Week 14 and it might not be long before he lands on injured reserve. Marvin Jones will draw a matchup against standout corner Jaire Alexander; we don’t trust him as a fantasy starter.

Seattle Seahawks news: RB Rashaad Penny (knee) will return to practice before Week 14

NFL injury report
Dec 2, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (20) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings free safety Harrison Smith (22) after making a reception during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Rashaad Penny was coming off the best stretch in his NFL career during the 2019 season when everything changed. He went down with a knee injury on Dec. 8, suffering a torn ACL and additional damage. It’s taken the 24-year-old running back a full year to recover, but he is closing in on a return.

Penny will hit the practice field before Week 14, rejoining his teammates and taking a crucial step towards playing football once again. Since he will be more than a year removed from his last game, the Seahawks will likely use the full three-week window before clearing him to return. For fantasy managers with Chris Carson, that means he should remain the featured running back in Seattle’s offense from Week 14-16.

NFL injury report: Latest update on Las Vegas Raiders RB Josh Jacobs

NFL injury report
Nov 15, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) is escorted off the field by media relations director Will Kiss after the game against the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 37-12. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Update: Josh Jacobs expected back for Week 14

Jacobs avoided a major injury in Week 12, when the team initially feared their star running back hurt his ankle. Fortunately, an MRI determined he avoided significant damage and was just dealing with a sprained ankle. However, he couldn’t practice this past week and was ruled out for Week 13 more than 48 hours before the game.

Entering Week 14, there’s some reason to be concerned for Jacobs’ availability. The fact that he couldn’t get in even a limited practice is troubling. But that’s not the only factor we have to consider. Las Vegas plays the Colts on Sunday, then hosts the Chargers four days later on Thursday Night Football.

Jacobs didn’t practice with the team on Wednesday and head coach Jon Gruden already indicated the team doesn’t expect the featured running back to play in Week 14. However, the 5-foot-10 running back got in a limited practice session on Thursday and Friday. He is considered questionable, with a decision expected on Saturday.

Now, per NFL Network, Jacobs is expected to suit up for the Raiders in Week 14. While he might receive a slightly lesser workload, he must be in all fantasy lineups thanks to his outstanding talent. We’ll keep an eye on him, with the Raiders playing on Thursday Night Football in Week 15.

Related: NFL world reacts to Raiders’ wild Week 13 victory

NFL injury report: Players we’re monitoring for Week 14

  • Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott: Dealing with a bruised calf, expected to start in Week 14
  • New Orleans Saints RB Latavius Murray: Added to NFL injury report with knee injury Thursday, will play in Week 14
  • Tennessee Titans WR A.J. Brown: Missed consecutive practices with ankle injury, returned on Friday. Expected to play in Week 14.
  • Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins: Missed practice on Thursday with neck, back injuries. Will play in Week 14.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans: Didn’t practice on Thursday (hamstring), returned on Friday. Expected to suit up in Week 14 vs. Minnesota Vikings.
  • Houston Texans WR Brandin Cooks: Barring an unexpected change, Cooks will not play on Sunday.
  • Cincinnati Bengals WR Tee Higgins: Despite missing some practice time with a hamstring injury, Higgins is expected to start in Week 14.
  • Houston Texans WR Keke Coutee: Dealing with a knee injury, Coutee will start in Week 14. He is a WR3 with Cooks inactive.