Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stop an NFL game, but they might make you wish you hadn't started some of your best Fantasy players. Weather forecasts can change, obviously, so I don't want to spend too much time worrying about the individual game forecasts because there will be time for that later in the week.
But I do want to talk about weather more generally. There's a massive winter storm descending on seemingly most of the continental United States, and it's going to lead to some pretty miserable conditions around the league. We're talking temperatures as low as the single digits and, most concerningly, high winds.
That could especially be an issue in Cleveland, where the current forecast calls for winds of 29 mph, with gusts of up to 60 mph; Buffalo, Tennessee, New England, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh could all feature gusts of up to 30 mph, too. And that's what you should be worried about.
Cold weather isn't ideal, but games played in freezing temperatures tend to see a pretty modest reduction in scoring: From 2000 through 2022, the average game saw 44.2 points per game, while the average game played in freezing temperatures averaged 42.4. Add in 15-plus mph winds and freezing temperatures, however, and that average drops to 37.9, with passing production affected most. As you expect, teams tend to run more and pass less when the weather gets like this. We have meteorologist Kevin Roth on Wednesday's FFT Podcast to bring more detail.
We'll be keeping a close eye on these reports heading into Thursday's game – remember, most of the games are being played on Saturday this week, so we'll have our YouTube Q&A stream and a newsletter with injury updates for you Saturday morning.
We'll also have a slightly different schedule for the rest of this week's newsletters – with injury reports coming out today for most of the league, that's what we'll focus on today, with Heath Cummings' position previews set to drop in your inbox later in the week, and Jamey Eisenberg's Start 'Em & Sit 'Em picks coming tonight. And, if you missed it yesterday, you can find my Week 16 rankings for quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end right here.
For now, here are the injuries you need to know about for Week 16's first practice run:
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🚑Week 16 Injury Watch
Jalen Hurts (shoulder) isn't ruled out – yet
Hurts didn't practice Tuesday with his sprained right shoulder, but coach Nick Sirianni told reporters he'll have a game plan for both Hurts and Gardner Minshew to play, and he wouldn't rule his starter out. I'll just say that I'm assuming it's a real long shot that Hurts plays this week, and I'd say the same about Week 17 as well. It's not impossible, obviously, but given the reporting about the injury – and the fact that the Eagles have to win just one of their remaining three games to lock up the No. 1 seed – it just doesn't seem like there's much need to push it. Gardner Minshew is a top-12 QB for me if Hurts is out.
Nick Chubb is dealing with a foot injury
At this point, we don't really have any details on Chubb's injury. Coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters, "He's rehabbing," but gave no additional details. When asked if Chubb would play Saturday against the Saints, Stefanski just had this to say: "Hope so." For what it's worth, Chubb spoke with the media before practice Tuesday, which we usually don't see with players who aren't going to play. That's not proof that he will play, but this could be a situation where he's getting something like a rest day on a short week.
Dallas Goedert (shoulder) was activated from IR
We had hoped Goedert would be back last week when he was designated to return, but it turned out that he needed an extra week. However, he's on the active roster this time, so it seems all but certain he'll be back. Obviously, Goedert could be a bit limited in his first game back from this shoulder injury, but given the state of the TE position, I have a hard time seeing who I'd sit him for – Travis Kelce is just about the only sure thing at this point. Start Goedert.
Khalil Herbert, Mecole Hardman designated to return from IR
As we learned with Goedert last week, of course, just being designated to return from IR doesn't mean you will return. They still have to be activated, and that has to come at least a day before the game. Both players have reportedly been targeting a Week 16 return, though in Herbert's case, it isn't necessarily a welcome return for Fantasy – David Montgomery has averaged 19.1 PPR points per game in four without Herbert, compared to 9.5 when Herbert has been active. Herbert could be worked in slowly, but if he plays, Montgomery is more like a low-end RB2 than a fringe RB1. Hardman was averaging 18.3 PPR points in his last four games before the injury, though that was on just 5.5 targets per game, which is pretty hard to sustain. He's more like a TD-or-bust WR3 than anything else.
- FP = Full participation in practice.
- LP = Limited participation.
- DNP = Did not practice.
Injuries to watch for Week 16
It's not clear what these injuries mean quite yet.
Ryan Tannehill (ankle) – DNP. Tannehill was in a tremendous amount of pain after getting his ankle rolled up on, and it looks like there's a real risk he'll have to miss this week's game. The Titans should still be able to handle the Texans with Malik Willis, but it's not a guarantee – and seeing as they're in a fight for their playoff lives, it's especially bad timing for another recurrence of this injury for Tannehill.
Brock Purdy (oblique/ribs) – LP. Purdy is expected to keep playing through the injury.
Ken Walker (ankle) – DNP. Walker played through the injury last Thursday, so I'm assuming this is just a rest day, but we'll keep an eye on it over the next few days.
Damien Harris (thigh) – LP. Harris has missed the past three games with the injury, and he was out last week despite being limited, so who knows if he'll be back. For what it's worth, this was an estimated participation report, so it's hard to know what Harris's status is at this point. He's probably only worth playing for Fantasy if Rhamondre Stevenson's ankle injury becomes an issue again.
Chris Olave (hamstring) – DNP. This was just an estimated injury report, so we don't know how serious the injury is for Olave. However, it might explain why he played right around half the team's snaps in Week 15. He's a WR2 at this point.
Noah Fant (knee) – DNP. It's a new injury for Fant, so I'm not sure what to make of this yet. We'll monitor it over the next few days, because he could be a viable streamer with Tyler Lockett expected to miss this week's game.
Trending up for Week 16
This doesn't mean they will play, but we got good news about them Tuesday.
Josh Allen (elbow) – LP. This is the first time in a few weeks that Allen has been listed as limited, so it's worth noting. I don't think there's much to be concerned about, given that he's been playing through the injury for much of the season, so I'm just noting it here.
Kenny Pickett (concussion) – FP. Pickett has cleared the concussion protocol and will return to the starting lineup for the Steelers in Week 16 against the Raiders. It's not clear at this point whether he's an upgrade or a downgrade over Mitchell Trubisky, which isn't a great sign for the future of the Steelers offense.
Diontae Johnson (toe) – LP. Coach Mike Tomlin told reporters he expected Johnson to practice without limitations later in the week, so it doesn't seem like there's much to be concerned about here.
Corey Davis (concussion) – FP. Davis missed last week's game, but it looks like he's been cleared to return. Unfortunately, with Zach Wilson expected to start for the Jets, it's hard to buy into the team's No. 2 WR, if Davis is even that alongside Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore. He's not a non-entity for Fantasy, but Davis is a risky start, for sure.
Chase Claypool (knee) – LP. Claypool missed last week's game, but it looks like he's making progress. You'd have to be in a pretty deep lead to use Claypool, who has just 111 yards in five games since joining the Bears.
Treylon Burks (concussion) – FP. Burks has missed the past two games, but it looks like he'll be back out there this week. Unfortunately, if Tannehill is out, it'll be very tough for Burks to produce – Willis attempted just 26 passes in two starts in place of Tannehill earlier in the season. Burks would be a desperation play if Willis is in.
Hayden Hurst (calf) – LP. This is the first time Hurst has been listed as limited since suffering the injury in Week 13. However, this was an estimated practice report, so it's hard to say what his chances of playing are.
Pat Freiermuth (foot) – LP. Freiermuth was on the injury report with this issue last week and ultimately played through it, though he played just 56% of the snaps and didn't have a target, so it's hard to feel great about starting him at this point. That's a disappointing outcome after it looked like he might be breaking out mid-way through the season. He's just a low-end TE1 at this point.
Trending down for Week 16
This doesn't mean they won't play, but they aren't moving in the right direction yet.
Lamar Jackson (knee) – DNP. Jackson has now missed seven straight practice sessions dating back to his Week 13 injury. He has a chance to come back, but at this point, you should expect Tyler Huntley to remain the starter for the Ravens against the Falcons. It's a great matchup, but Huntley hasn't shown enough to be much more than a desperation QB2.
Mike White (ribs) – DNP. White has already been ruled out for Week 16, and at this point it isn't clear if he's going to return. Zach Wilson will start Thursday against the Jaguars.
Deebo Samuel (ankle/knee) – DNP. Samuel is expected to miss three weeks, and this is just Week 2 of the injury, so no surprise here.
Tyler Lockett (hand) – DNP. Lockett is expected to miss at least one game after undergoing surgery to repair a broken finger, but it might be just the one game. That's hard to believe, but it's what Pete Carroll said Tuesday.
Nico Collins (foot) – DNP. Collins remains sidelined, while Brandon Cooks (calf) was limited Tuesday. Cooks was limited late last week and couldn't play, so we'll need to see him get a full practice in before expecting him to play. Chris Moore (foot) was also limited Tuesday. He's only worth using if both Collins and Cooks are out again, though I'd prefer to avoid these pass catchers if I can.
Devin Duvernay (foot) – Duvernay suffered an injury during Tuesday's practice and was placed on IR, ending his season. That's bad news for an offense that isn't exactly overstuffed with playmakers in the passing game. The likes of James Proche, Tylan Wallace, and DeSean Jackson will all see increased opportunities, but none are likely to do enough to matter for Fantasy.