As fantasy football managers contemplate their playoff lineups in Week 17, a Tony Pollard injury is causing some headaches heading into Thursday Night Football. With the Dallas Cowboys playing on a short week, what is the latest on Pollard’s injury, and is he in danger of missing the game?
Is Tony Pollard’s Injury a Serious Concern?
The first indication Pollard was dealing with an injury was Monday, getting listed as a non-participant due to a thigh issue. That was followed up by Pollard being a non-participant again on Tuesday. All eyes will now be on Pollard’s status in practice Wednesday, as well as his game-day status heading into Thursday.
However, positive impressions were coming out of Dallas regarding Pollard on Tuesday. In a radio interview with 105.3 The Fan, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told Shan & RJ that Pollard “looks good for the game” and that the team is “counting on him playing” despite the short week.
Additionally, head coach Mike McCarthy was also seemingly not that concerned. He told reporters that Pollard would “be part of it” when discussing practice but also stressed the team would be doing “individual, more perimeter things” and that he wanted “to make sure Malik gets some work there, too.”
This now gives fantasy managers a bit of a headache with Pollard. It has been somewhat of a breakout year for the fourth-year RB. He has averaged a career-high 15.2 fantasy points per game in half-PPR and scored double-digits in 11 of his 15 games. Included in that are eight double-digit scores in the last nine games.
However, Pollard has struggled a little more in the last couple of weeks. While he averages 5.3 yards per attempt over the season, he has managed just 94 yards on 28 attempts in the last two weeks. That is an average of just 3.36 rushing yards per attempt in that period. Without adding 92 yards on 10 receptions in that period, Pollard would have been a disappointing fantasy option in Weeks 15 and 16.
The Titans have been a reasonably tough run defense this season. Their average of 15.58 fantasy points per game to RBs over the course of the season is the third-lowest return against a defense this year. In the past four weeks, their 15.78 fantasy points allowed to RBs is still the eighth-lowest number for opposing backs on average in that span.
The last four weeks emphasize how difficult this matchup is to judge. The fantasy points allowed in that span have been 14.8, 23.6, 4.5, and 20.2. The majority of that damage has been split between multiple backs, meaning that there was not a situation where one single back had success.
It is also worth noting that in the last few weeks, the Titans have been shutting down RBs in the receiving game. Against Houston, the three backs combined for three receptions for 13 yards. The Chargers’ backfield, led by the pass-catching weapon that is Austin Ekeler, could only manage 19 yards on three receptions from five targets.
In Week 14, Travis Etienne and JaMycal Hasty did not see a single target. In Week 13, Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, and Boston Scott combined for 57 yards on seven receptions from eight targets. That is a four-week total of 89 receiving yards on 13 receptions. If the Titans can restrict Pollard in a similar way, he could be a fantasy championship week letdown if he does suit up.