Thu Nov 14 9:10am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
There were a couple more fairly big-named players get hurt last week, leading to more uncertainty for fantasy teams. The top overall fantasy tight end went down, a low-end No. 1 or No. 2 fantasy back got injured, and an emerging receiver suffered an injury. This isn’t great news for fantasy owners. There are a couple players set to return this week, though, which is a good thing. All the latest injury news from around the league is below.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles. Jeffery is dealing with a sprained ankle. He is considered day to day and iffy to play Week 11. The Eagles are likely to do anything they can do get Jeffery on the field, but that doesn’t mean he’ll play. Philadelphia is really thin at receiver right now with DeSean Jackson sidelined. We would consider Jeffery a game-time decision this week.
Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons. Hooper suffered a sprained knee last week and left the game. He is going to avoid surgery for the injury, but expects to miss about a month of action. This is a huge loss for fantasy teams. Luck Stocker like takes over as the starting tight end while Hooper is out of action.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts. Hilton has missed the last two games because of a calf injury. He is out of practice to start the week but has not been ruled out. The Colts are still holding out hope Hilton can play. He will need to get in some practice before the week is out for that to happen. Keep an eye on the player notes for the latest on Hilton, but get other options ready. Hilton seems pretty iffy right now.
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Colts. Brissett was close to playing last week and is already practicing in full to start this week. His knee injury is much better. Unless he has some sort of setback later in the week, Brissett will be ready to go for the Week 11 game, returning to the starting lineup for the Colts.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions. Stafford was a late scratch last week because of a back injury He is dealing with fractured bones in his back. He is out of practice to start the week and the chances of him playing this week don’t look great. Jeff Driskel gets another start if Stafford can’t play. We should know for sure late in the week but get other options ready.
Matt Breida, RB, 49ers. Breida is dealing with an ankle sprain once again, aggravating a past injury. He is going to miss a week or two of action. This gives Raheem Mostert a bigger role in the offense for the 49ers, serving as the No. 2 back for the team.
James Conner, RB, Steelers. Conner is set to return from his shoulder injury this week after missing the last few games. He is practicing in full and not even on the Injury Report. He will return to the starting lineup in Week 11.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons. Freeman suffered a foot injury last week, leaving the game early. He has not been officially ruled out to play this week but is considered a long shot to suit up. Brian Hill should start and get most of the work at running back for the Falcons in Week 11.
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals. Green had a setback last week with his ankle, dealing with some swelling. He is out of practice to start this week, which is not a great sign for Green. He could return at some point this season, but that likely isn’t this week. He will need to start practicing more regularly to get back on the field.
Dede Westbrook, WR, Jaguars. Westbrook has missed the last several game because of neck and shoulder injuries. He was close to a return last week but couldn’t play. He is set to play this week, though. He already is practicing in full and ready to return to the starting lineup for the Jaguars in Week 11.
Will Fuller, WR, Texans. Fuller is back practicing some on his injured hamstring this week. This is a positive step for Fuller. He has a chance to play this week. Consider him a game-time decision. If he plays, he has a high ceiling in this pass-first offense but also a low floor, making him a boom or bust fantasy play.
Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings. Thielen remains out of practice because of a hamstring injury. He is likely to miss the game again this week. Thielen could return in another week or two. The Vikings want to make sure he is completely healthy before putting him back in the lineup after his setback a few weeks back.
George Kittle, TE, 49ers. Kittle has already been ruled out for Week 11 because of his ankle and knee injuries. He remains out of action after missing the game last week. He could return in another week or two, though. He is not dealing with a long-term injury.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Rams. Cooks is practicing some this week but ruled out again. He suffered another concussion a few weeks back and has been slow to recover. The Rams won’t rush their starting receiver back too soon because of the seriousness of the injury. At this point, we aren’t sure when he returns.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, 49ers. Sanders was knocked from last week’s game because of bruised ribs. He is out of practice to begin the week. He has not been ruled out just yet but the chances of him playing don’t look great at the moment. He is dealing with a pretty painful injury. The 49ers might take a cautious approach with their No. 1 receiver, so get other options ready to use in Week 11.
Robbie Gould, K, 49ers. Gould missed the game last week because of a quad injury and is out of practice to start the week. We are sure the 49ers will do all they can to get their starting kicker back in the lineup after seeing their backup miss a game-winning attempt last week. But even with that said, Gould is looking pretty iffy to play. He probably misses again, barring a late-week turnaround.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Five Hot Starts: Week 4
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is coming off of his best performance of the year and will look to keep it going in what should be an entertaining battle against the New England Patriots. Patriots coach Bill Belichick is likely staying up at night trying to find a game plan to stop Mahomes and the Chiefs explosive offense, but Mahomes as shown that the offense he leads is one of the best in a long time and wont be easy to stop. The Patriots Defense has only allowed 66 points on the season, but they have allowed 357 yards passing per game. The Patriots are likely to try run the ball and clock to prevent Mahomes from being on the field, but the MVP has shown that he doesnt need much time to do damage and he remains a QB1 every week.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson will square off with the Cardinals in Week 4. Anderson has gotten off to a great start, as he's caught 20 of 23 targets for 278 receiving yards and one score through three games. The 27-year-old connected on a 75-yard score in Week 1, so there's always the threat of the big play when he's out there. Arizona has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing wideouts, though they have surrendered the 10th-most passing plays of 20 yards or more and the seventh-most of 40 or more. Anderson can be volatile but his target share this year makes him easier to trust. He's a WR3 this week in a game where the Panthers could be playing from behind.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers will have a difficult matchup in Week 4 against the undefeated Bears. Rivers has been an average fantasy performer through the first three weeks with three passing touchdowns and three interceptions. The Bears Defense ranks seventh against opposing quarterbacks, so it is not likely that he will that he will have a strong fantasy day. The Bears also lead the league in opposing quarterback completion percentage, so it is also reasonable to expect Rivers to be inefficient. Combine these aspects with the fact that Rivers has not thrown the ball much over the last two weeks, and there is no reason to suggest that Rivers will be a viable fantasy option this week. DraftKings agrees and has his price set at $5,500.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce will draw a tough matchup against the Patriots in Week 4. Kelce is the top option with wide receiver Tyreek Hill for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but the Patriots have done a stellar job against the tight end position in 2020. The Patriots have only allowed eight receptions, 73 yards and a touchdown to tight ends in three weeks and had their way with Darren Waller in Week 3 against the Raiders. Kelce is arguably the best tight end in the game and should be started every week, but those in DFS may want to check out other options in Week 4.
New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring) is active for Thursday night's contest against the Denver Broncos. It remains to be seen how much Crowder actually plays in this game and he's a fairly risky option in season-long leagues, but he is an intriguing play in DFS. Braxton Berrios's Week 4 value takes a hit with this news and should only be started in deep leagues.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson has three touchdown runs in the past two games and has seen a marked increase in his passing game usage over the course of the season, catching six passes against Miami. He gets a solid Week 4 matchup against the Bengals, who are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Robinson's coming off a game in which he had 17 touches; if he gets that many again against this weak Bengals run defense, we'll be looking at another good performance for the undrafted rookie. Consider him an RB2 option this week.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V (hamstring) was a surprise entrant to the injury report on Thursday. Fuller has a history of missing games with hamstring issues, so this should be a worrisome sign for his availability against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. A healthy Fuller has game-breaking speed, but even he's not at 100 percent, he can be a complete afterthought, as he was in Week 2 when he was clearly not fully healthy and ended up not being targeted. Even if things trend towards Fuller playing, there's enough uncertainty to drop him down a tier in this week's rankings.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr. is a risky play in Week 4 against the Cincinnati Bengals. While Chark -- who missed Week 3 with chest and back issues -- appears on track to play, the Bengals Defense has been solid against the pass this year, allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Adding to the concerns for Chark is that the Jaguars and quarterback Gardner Minshew II have been spreading the ball around a lot so far this year, getting a whole host of receivers involved and not giving anyone a major share of the work. If someone breaks out here, it's Chark, but for now he should be considered a borderline WR2/3 with plenty of downside in Week 4.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II is coming off a disappointing Week 3 performance in which he failed to throw for a touchdown despite completing 71.43 percent of his passes. Now, Minshew will look to bounce back against the Bengals on Sunday. The problem? Cincinnati is only allowing 16.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, the eighth-lowest mark in the NFL. Maybe that success can be attributed to the quarterbacks they've faced so far, but with Minshew not being an elite passer, it's best to consider him as a risky, low-end QB2 at best in Week 4.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (hamstring) returned to practice in a limited fashion on Thursday after sitting out of the team's Week 3 win over the Saints. Adams did very little (three catches, 36 yards) when he was hurt in Week 2, but he went off for 14 receptions, 156 yards and two scores in the season-opener on 17 targets against the Vikings. It looks like Adams is on track to return for the Monday night matchup with the Falcons and their shaky secondary, so Green Bay's All-Pro wideout will once again be a must-start high-end WR1 for his fantasy managers. Allen Lazard, who had over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown last week in Adams' absence, will be a boom/bust WR3/flex with Adams on track to return this week.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard (core), who stepped up with 146 receiving yards and a touchdown in Week 3 against the Saints, has a new core muscle injury and did not practice on Thursday. It helped that Davante Adams (hamstring) was inactive last Sunday night, but Lazard has gained a lot of chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and seems to be the preferred target behind Adams. His status will be one to watch for Monday Night Football against the Falcons this week, but if he's questionable for that one, fantasy managers should look for better options. If Lazard were to sit out this week, Marquez Valdes-Scantling could step up as a flex option in deeper leagues.
Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith (back) returned to practice on a limited basis on Thursday for the first time in a few weeks. Smith played in the season-opener but hasn't been on the field since, but it looks like he has a chance to return to the starting unit this Sunday against the Browns. Dallas really needs the 29-year-old in the fold, as they're already short-handed on the offensive line. Smith's return would be great news for quarterback Dak Prescott, who has performed admirably the last two weeks without his starting blind-side protector. Cleveland has a pretty nasty pass rush, so Smith would help a depleted offensive line as the Cowboys seek their second win of the season.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (back) was added to the injury report on Thursday with a back injury that he's working through. Beckham was officially limited in Thursday's practice, so it looks like he still has a good shot at suiting up in Week 4 against the Cowboys. Through three games in 2020, OBJ has 11 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown and is seeing consistent enough targets to make him a solid WR2 each and every week. This Sunday against a Dallas offense that hasn't had trouble putting points on the board, the Browns figure to throw the ball frequently. The Cowboys secondary is also allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to the receiver position.
New York Jets quarterback Joe Flacco (neck) is active for the Thursday night game against the Broncos as Sam Darnold's backup. With Flacco active, the team released quarterback Mike White. The 35-year-old Flacco is purely a clipboard holder for Darnold as long as he's healthy, which makes him useless in fantasy football. Never much of a fantasy asset even during his prime with Baltimore, the Jets would be in even more trouble if they were forced to use him as their starter in the event of a Darnold injury. New York also has rookie signal-caller James Morgan on their roster behind Flacco.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 1.
Fantasy Spin: Jones was not able to play last week because of the injury but appears to be on track to play this week. He has been one of the top receivers in the NFL for several season and should be a weekly starting option when healthy.
New Orleans Saints OG Andrus Peat (ankle), TE Jared Cook (groin), DE Marcus Davenport (elbow) and CB Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 1. CB Janoris Jenkins (illness), WR Michael Thomas (ankle) and LB Chase Hansen (hip) were limited. DT David Onyemata (calf) was not given a practice designation.
Atlanta Falcons WR Russell Gage Jr. (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 1.
Fantasy Spin: Gage still needs to pass his concussion tests before he is cleared to play, so fantasy players should know more about his status in a few days. He will receive a handful of targets if he plays and could be a flex option in deeper leagues.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore faces a tough matchup in Week 4 against Arizona. No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to the wide receiver position than the Cardinals, though fellow number-one wideouts Terry McLaurin and Kenny Golladay were able to post good numbers against this defense. Moore is of a similar talent level to those two and commands a whopping 49.4% of his team's targeted air yards, which ranks second in the league. The second-year pro also ranks 11th in the league in targets, so he's seeing ample opportunity. In a game where Carolina may be forced to throw more, fantasy managers can plug Moore in as a solid WR2 with upside.
New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (elbow) and cornerback Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) didn't take part in the portion of practice open to the media on Thursday. As key members of the team's defense, their statuses are something to watch heading into Week 4 against the Lions. Lattimore tweaked his hamstring in practice on Wednesday, but the injury isn't considered serious. The 24-year-old has 15 tackles through three games for the Saints, and his absence this Sunday would be good news for Lions star receiver Kenny Golladay, who scored a touchdown in his season debut in Week 3. If one or both of Davenport or Lattimore are inactive, it makes New Orleans' defense a less-appealing fantasy streamer.
New York Jets WR Jeff Smith was activated from the Reserve/Injured list Thursday, Oct. 1. Free-agent CB Javelin Guidry was also elevated from the practice squad. QB Mike White and CB Nate Hairston were released to make room on the roster.