We're going to be watching plenty of injuries coming out of Week 15, but the most important of them might be the ankle injury that forced Jonathan Taylor out of Saturday's game against the Vikings after just one touch. It was a brutal bit of bad luck for Fantasy players relying on Taylor in the Fantasy playoffs, but it also potentially creates an opportunity for two viable Fantasy running backs to emerge on waivers ahead of Week 16.
With Tayor leaving the game after just two snaps, the Colts turned to a combination of Zack Moss and Deon Jackson at running back. Though Jackson had been the lead back when Taylor missed time earlier in the season, it was Moss who led the way Saturday, playing 53 of 79 offensive snaps; Jackson played 25.
Unsurprisingly, given that, Moss was the more productive of the two, rushing for 81 yards on 24 carries, while Jackson had 55 yards on 13 carries. Jackson did have a catch (for just 1 yard), but both he and Moss had just one target, and Moss surprisingly played 25 pass snaps to 11 for Jackson; he ran 14 routes while Jackson ran just nine.
Which is to say, while the game script – the Colts led 33-0 at one point before ultimately losing – surely helped Moss get to 24 carries, it's not at all obvious that is why he had the edge on Jackson. The passing game role was more split than the overall role, but Moss was still the lead there, as he was in all other facets of the game.
The Colts probably aren't going to have too many other opportunities with a 30-point lead, so those two aren't going to combine for 30-plus carries if Taylor is out next week. However, the schedule does set up pretty well, with a Chargers defense allowing 5.4 yards per carry this season on the way in Week 16. We don't know the extent of the injury at this point, however with the Colts season effectively over and Taylor having suffered multiple injuries to his ankle, it's worth considering the possibility that this might end his season early; Adam Schefter reported Saturday evening that it is "uncertain when or if he'll play again this season."
That could put Moss in line not just for the matchup against the Chargers in Week 16 but also a roughly equally juicy matchup against the Giants in Week 17. Moss and Jackson would likely split work again, but with Moss emerging as the lead alternative Saturday, I'd bet on him being the lead back, and he might just be a top-24 RB for next week; Jackson would be more like a PPR RB3.
We'll be keeping a close eye on Taylor's status in the coming days, but as of Sunday evening, he's looking like the top target for waivers heading into the Fantasy semifinals. Here's who else we'll be looking to add heading into Week 16:
ATL Atlanta • #25
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Allgeier didn't need an injury to become the Falcons lead back Sunday; he seemingly took the opportunity and ran with it. Cordarrelle Patterson was still plenty involved, but with Caleb Huntley leaving with an ankle injury, Allgeier led the backfield in carries and yards, while both he and Patterson found the end zone. The Falcons passing game was nonexistent with rookie Desmond Ridder making his first start, so Allgeier had to carry a very heavy load under difficult conditions, and he acquitted himself very well. There's no guarantee that he'll be the team's lead back in Week 16, but it wouldn't be surprising either. It's a tough matchup against Baltimore, but Allgeier will probably be in the RB3 range in my rankings for that one.
HOU Houston • #26
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Coming into Sunday's game, we didn't quite know what to expect from the Texans backfield. Would Rex Burkhead or Dare Ogunbowale be the lead back in Dameon Pierce's absence? Turns out, it would be Freeman, newly elevated from the practice squad to lead the team in carries – Burkhead didn't get a single one, while Ogunbowale had just 14 yards on eight carries. Freeman didn't do a ton, but he's seemingly a lead back, and that makes him Fantasy relevant. Week 16 featured a tough matchup against the Titans, but if you're desperate, he'll get some opportunities.
NO New Orleans • #83
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Johnson has had a nice little breakout this season, and Sunday's was his best game yet. You can't count on multiple touchdowns every week, however, he's been a big part of the team's red zone offense for a while now, and actually led the team in targets Sunday. He's not quite a touchdown-or-bust option, with 40-plus yards in four of his past five games, though he's also scored in each of those four as well, a nice bonus. He's got a pretty good matchup against Cleveland on the way and could be a top-12 option for next week.
K.J. Osborn WR
MIN Minnesota • #17
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Osborn has been a pretty big bust this season, averaging fewer yards than last despite being in a more pass-heavy offense. However, Week 15 was a breakout showing from him, so let's hope he can manage to build off that. With the Vikings in desperate comeback mode, Osborn was huge, leading the team in receiving yards while matching Justin Jefferson's team-high in targets. You can't expect a repeat of that, but if you're desperate for help at WR, this kind of game showed what his upside can be.
Dawson Knox TE
BUF Buffalo • #88
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Knox has been one of the bigger disappointments at the position so far this season, and things hit a low point when he caught just two passes on three targets between Weeks 12 and 13. However, he's bounced back nicely over the past two weeks, catching 10 of 15 passes thrown his way for 139 yards and a touchdown in each of his past two games. The Bills have been pretty desperate in searching for more help in the passing game, even going so far as to add old faces Cole Beasley and John Brown in recent weeks. But maybe they've rediscovered something with Knox. He's got a pretty good matchup against the Bears in Week 16, and will be in the streaming TE discussion, at least.