This article is part of our Injury Analysis series.
Injuries remain one of the dominant factors influencing the fantasy football playoffs. Even in situations where the starters are getting healthy, the success of their backups may force teams to ease them back into things, limiting their overall usage.
Chargers Running Backs
Starter Melvin Gordon has missed Los Angeles' last three games with a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his knee. He was close to suiting up Thursday against the Chiefs, but the team opted to hold him out to insure he would return as close to full strength as possible. MCL injuries can be braced to help stabilize the joint during lateral movement, but limitations may remain while the player is cutting or avoiding would-be tacklers.
All signs point toward Gordon playing against the Ravens as he was able to participate in limited practice on Monday. While Gordon remains the unequivocal lead back, the effectiveness of Justin Jackson could lead the team to limit his carries in his first outing in nearly a month. A Baltimore defense ranked No. 2 against the run serves as another potential limiting factor, further reducing Gordon's upside. Most teams will be hard pressed to outright bench the former Pro Bowler, but expectations should be appropriately adjusted for Gordon's first game coming off the injury. Teammate Austin Ekeler remains in the concussion protocol.
Chiefs Running Backs
Spencer Ware continues to nurse shoulder and hamstring injuries entering Week 16. The hamstring strains appears to be the more problematic injury as he was unable to shake