Heading into the fantasy football playoffs, a Jalen Hurts injury caused concern for managers, but will he be back for the fantasy championships? Let’s examine the latest update for Hurts’ shoulder injury and whether he is expected to return to the field in Week 17.
Will Jalen Hurts Return From His Shoulder Injury for Fantasy Managers?
After he suffered a shoulder injury in the Philadelphia Eagles Week 15 game against the Chicago Bears, Hurts did not practice all week before being ruled out for Week 16. He opened Week 17 as a non-participant but returned to the field as a limited participant on Thursday. That has opened the door to Hurts being able to make it onto the field in Week 17 as the Eagles host the New Orleans Saints with a chance to win the division and clinch a first-round bye.
The situation with Hurts is intriguing because the Eagles only need to win one more game to clinch everything for the 2022 NFL playoffs. Therefore, if he returns this week, the Eagles could yet rest him in Week 17 and then also in the Wild Card week before having him return for their first playoff game in the Divisional Weekend.
The problem is that if Hurts returns in Week 17, the chances of him aggravating the injury will be greater than if he sits another week and plays in Week 18. In terms of a best-case scenario for the Eagles, having Hurts rest this week and winning anyway would allow them to consider resting him for a full four weeks to ensure he is as close to 100% as possible for the playoffs. The danger of that is that Hurts could be a little rusty returning after a four-week absence from game action.
Entering Friday, the most likely outcome heading into the weekend is that Hurts would be questionable. That would then give the Eagles another 40 or so hours to see how Hurts’s shoulder is feeling and allow him to warm up as a game-time decision. The good news is that the Eagles play in the 1 p.m. ET window, so fantasy managers will not have to risk making a decision on Hurts without knowing if he is active.
If Hurts is active, it will be close to impossible not to start him. He currently averages 26.4 fantasy points per game, the highest number for any QB in the league so far. The Saints have been a relatively tough matchup for opposing QBs. They allow an average of 12.21 fantasy points per game to the position in the last four weeks and 15.93 on the season.
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However, Hurts is relatively matchup-proof. The biggest concern with starting Hurts this week is in the event of him aggravating the injury and being a mid-game downgrade. Equally, if the Eagles open a big lead over the Saints this weekend, they could bench Hurts to protect him from injury.
That makes it somewhat tricky to know exactly what Hurts’s output would be. Despite that, unless you have a clear top-five option to start over Hurts this week, not starting him in fantasy championship week could be a major mistake.