Lamar Jackson (ankle) missed the game against the Packers last week, and while most people thought he'd certainly be ready for Week 16 against the Bengals, his status is still very much up in the air. Jackson's fantasy football owners are dying to get him back for a win-or-go-home situation with a fantasy championship game berth on the line, so obviously, updates on his injury and whether he's playing are potentially huge for all fantasy leagues.
We'll continue to update this article with news on Jackson up until the official active/inactive report comes out on Sunday around 11:30 p.m. ET. For all the latest fantasy updates, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.
Is Lamar Jackson playing in Week 16?
UPDATE: Jackson did not practice Thursday.
UPDATE 2: NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Friday that Jackson is "unlikely to play" against the Bengals, and on Saturday afternoon, the Ravens announced Jackson wouldn't travel with the team to Cincinnati. With Tyler Huntley being placed on the reserve/COVID list on Saturday, Josh Johnson will start. He is not an option in single-QB leagues, and his presence downgrades all Ravens' players, especially the wide receivers. Mark Andrews is the only player worth starting for sure at this point, though Marquise Brown remains a boom-or-bust flex.
Jackson remained out of practice Wednesday, and John Harbaugh said he is considered "day-to-day" and the Ravens will "wait and see" how he's doing later in the week. This is precisely the situation Jackson was in last week, so his availability could go either way.
The Ravens really need this win to stay afloat in the AFC playoff race and AFC North divisional standings, so while they'd really like to see Jackson take the field, we now know Tyler Huntley is a capable backup. If Jackson is just at 50-percent effectiveness, do we know for sure he's better than a 100-percent healthy Huntley? He might be, but it doesn't seem like a given based on Huntley's play in Weeks 14 and 15.
Ultimately, the Ravens will probably start Jackson if he can reasonably go, but that doesn't mean he's a "safe" fantasy play. If you spent relatively early fantasy draft capital on Jackson, it would be tough to sit him at this point in the season, and we do believe his upside remains high. However, his downside is as worrisome as it's ever been throughout his career. Even before his injury, he was on a run of bad passing games with lots of turnovers and wasn't the factor on the ground that we have been accustomed to. He's been matchup-proof throughout his career, but if his rushing upside is limited, we can't expect a ton of fantasy success in a matchup with a top-eight defense against fantasy QBs.
Again, Jackson has been a sure thing since taking over as the starter in Baltimore, but for this week, he's more of a boom-or-bust option. We still rank him as a low-end QB1 at the QB12 spot, but there's a chance you have a quarterback ranked ahead of him. If Tyler Huntley gets the start, view him as a mid-tier QB2. He obviously has upside, too, but it's tough to know whether his floor would be lower than a banged-up Jackson. It's unfortunate this is all happening at this crucial part of the season, but that's fantasy football.