Veteran tight end Greg Olsen exited the Carolina Panthers' Week 13 loss to the Washington Redskins following a helmet-to-helmet hit from linebacker Ryan Anderson. The Panthers tight end is currently in concussion protocol, calling into question his status for Week 14. If Olsen can't go, look for Ian Thomas to step into a starting TE role.
While Olsen has been hindered with numerous injuries in recent seasons, concussions have not been an issue. His last noted concussion suffered was in the final week of the 2011-12 NFL season. This suggests that it won't be a lingering issue, but head injuries can be unpredictable, so it's hard to rule out any possibilities this early.
The Panthers are also not likely to rush one of their team leaders back from a head injury and risk more serious injury if they continue to lose and fall out of the playoff race.
Olsen is third on the team in receptions, with 48 on 71 targets, and his 61.6 snaps per game are second in the NFL among TEs, trailing only Zach Ertz. His absence would allow Thomas to play a big role.
Thomas stepped in and caught all four of his targets for 24 yards in Week 13, and he thrived in a similar situation last year. In the final four games last season, Thomas caught 20 of 27 targets for 200 yards and two touchdowns. That was good for 13.0 PPR fantasy points per game, which would rank as TE10 on a per-game basis this season.
If Olsen returns to action he'll continue to be a viable starting option at the position for the fantasy football playoffs. If he misses any time though, Thomas immediately enters the conversation as a potential top-12 option, and he'll be a great streaming pick TE play down the stretch.
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