The Fantasy Football regular season ended the way it went for most of the season: With a whole bunch of injuries.
How could it be any other way?
The day opened with the Texans losing their No. 1 wide receiver for the second week in a row, and their quarterback was chased from the game not too long after. And neither of those might have been the biggest injuries at their respective positions Sunday. Before we get to the top waiver wire targets coming out of Week 14's action, let's walk through the biggest injuries we might be trying to replace in Week 15:
Justin Herbert (finger) – Herbert left in the second quarter and was ruled out shortly after halftime, with what we would later learn is a fractured right index finger. It's a different injury than the fracture he played through on his left hand earlier in the season, and it puts the rest of his season in question. With the Chargers falling to 5-8 Sunday, any kind of multi-week injury could potentially spell a season-ender for Herbert with four weeks left, though it's too early to say that for sure. If Easton Stick does have to start for the Chargers moving forward, it certainly wouldn't be good news for an offense that has struggled of late. Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler would still be worth starting in Week 15 against the Raiders, but both would be more in the WR/RB2 range of the rankings.
C.J. Stroud (concussion) – Stroud was struggling through one of his worst games before hitting his helmet on the turf and leaving the game in the second half. He was replaced by Davis Mills, who went 1 for 5 for 4 yards as the Texans lost 30-6. Stroud already lost Tank Dell to a season-ending leg injury last week, and saw Nico Collins leave with a calf injury earlier in the game, so it's fair to wonder how much he might have been able to do even if he was healthy. Stroud didn't have any concussions in college that I could find, so hopefully there won't be any lingering side effects here, though obviously that's impossible to predict when it comes to concussions. Stroud will have to clear the concussion protocol to play in Week 15, and if he's without Collins (and Dell, obviously), it might be tough to trust him even against a beatable Titans defense.
Josh Jacobs (knee) – Jacobs limped off in the second half and went almost immediately to the locker room. He was never officially ruled out, but Jacobs didn't return to the game, finishing with 50 total yards on 13 carries and two catches as the Raiders lost, 3-0, to the Vikings. If Jacobs has to miss time – and with the Raiders playing Thursday in Week 15, that might be likely – Zamir White would likely handle the early-down work, with Ameer Abdullah getting much of the passing work. With no teams on bye, neither would likely be much more than a fringe RB3 in what looks like one of the worst offenses in the league.
Alexander Mattison (ankle) – Mattison came out of halftime and seemingly got hurt on the first play of the half, playing just one more snap before coming out of the game. Mattison was mostly replaced by Ty Chandler in the second half, with Kene Nwangwu playing 7% of the snaps after Mattison's injury. Chandler finished the game with 35 yards on 12 carries and added 7 yards on three receptions, and would be in the RB2/3 range of the rankings for Week 15 against the Bengals if needed.
Justin Jefferson (chest) – Jefferson ended up with just two catches in his return from IR, as he suffered an internal chest injury in the second quarter against the Raiders. He went to the hospital for testing, but coach Kevin O'Connell told reporters that Jefferson had already been cleared to travel back to Minnesota with the team. The extent of the injury beyond that is not yet known, and the Vikings do have a slightly shorter week to recover from this, with their Week 15 matchup against the Bengals coming Saturday. If Jefferson is able to play, you're going to start him, but with the Vikings QB position up in the air (Joshua Dobbs was benched for Nick Mullens Sunday), he's obviously less of a sure thing than normal, even without the injury.
Nico Collins (calf) – Collins didn't even make it through the first drive of the game before leaving with the injury, catching one pass for 13 yards to push his season total over 1,000 yards. Hopefully, he'll be able to add to that total moving forward, but it's definitely concerning since Collins missed time earlier in the season with a calf injury. The Texans were already playing with Tank Dell (leg) and Dalton Schultz (hamstring) out, so they really can't afford any additional injuries. This offense could be in rough shape for Week 15 against the Titans.
It's been a tough season for injuries, and we're going to be looking for more replacements as the playoffs get sit to begin in most Fantasy leagues in Week 15.
Here's who we'll be looking to add ahead of Week 15:
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Ty Chandler RB
MIN Minnesota • #32
Age: 25 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Chandler has seen his role increase over the past month, and now it looks like he could be thrust into a significant role for the Fantasy playoffs. This offense isn't as good as it was earlier in the season, but Chandler could still be a must-start Fantasy option with a three-down role for Week 15 Bengals – Kene Nwangwu played just 7% of the team's snaps after Mattison's injury, while Chandler played 83%, including 10 of 13 passing downs. If you need a running back, he sure looks like the guy to target heading into Week 15 if you don't play in one of the 18% of CBS Fantasy leagues where Ezekiel Elliott is still available.
BAL Baltimore • #80
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Likely had been a bit of a disappointment without Mark Andrews before this one, so it was nice to see he still has this kind of upside in this offense. His 16% target share still left something to be desired, with both Odell Beckham and Zay Flowers earning 10 targets, but all that tells us is that Likely isn't a one-for-one replacement for Andrews in this offense. He never has been, and that's okay; he can still be a very good Fantasy option at tight end while being worse than Andrews. If you don't have one of the true must-start options, you should make sure Likely isn't on your waiver wire, because he's one of the highest-upside options outside of that group.
Chase Brown RB
CIN Cincinnati • #30
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Brown is still obviously the No. 2 back in the Bengals offense, but he's also playing well enough that they probably need to keep giving him opportunities. Brown had 11 touches Sunday after getting nine the week before – he had just five all season before that. Brown is bringing a big-play ability to the Bengals offense, and he's been a nice change of pace for Joe Mixon. He looks like one of the must-have RB handcuffs right now, because if anything happens to Mixon, Brown looks like a potential must-start RB.
BAL Baltimore • #3
Age: 31 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Beckham now has at least 12 PPR points in four of his past five games, and the Ravens sure look like they've got him back to being one of the more dangerous big-play weapons in their offense. He isn't the guy he used to be, but Beckham has a reception of at least 40 yards in three of his past four games, and was targeted 10 times Sunday in a surprisingly pass-heavy game script in the rain against the Rams. There are going to be some duds along the way – like his three-catch, 34-yard showing last week – but Beckham looks like a boom-or-bust WR3 with plenty of upside.
CHI Chicago • #21
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
If you can't get your hands on Chandler or Elliott, Foreman is probably the next best thing at the running back position if you need a starting option in Week 15. Foreman came back from his ankle injury and was the lead rusher for the Bears (I mean, besides Justin Fields). Khalil Herbert had just three carries, while Roschon Johnson had just one, so Foreman's 11 were the clear tops in the backfield. It's still a bit of a three-way split, but Foreman was the only back to be targeted in the passing game, too. Foreman played 37 of 66 snaps, while Johnson handled 18 and Herbert played just 11, the first time Foreman has been the clear lead back when everyone is healthy. It doesn't necessarily make him a must-start back, but he's probably gonna be in the top-24 range next week, even in a tough matchup against the Browns.
Zamir White RB
LV Las Vegas • #35
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
I'll admit, I have an awfully hard time getting excited about White at this point, even if Jacobs is out. Jacobs is RB13 in PPR scoring per game this season, and that's come with a passing game role I don't think White has any chance of replicating, especially given the significant decrease in targets Jacobs has seen since Josh McDaniels' firing. Still, White will be a starting running back for Week 15 against a beatable Chargers defense if Jacobs is out, and with just three days off before that one kicks off, it might be tough for Jacobs to get back to health in time. White will be in the RB3 range of the rankings if Jacobs is out, and he's worth adding if you're desperate for RB help.