Thu Oct 17 9:05am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Well, the injury list is super long once again. Not good. It seemed to be trending the right way in recent weeks, but things took a turn for the worse this week. There are a ton of players on here this week with many expected to miss the Week 7 game. This is going to leave fantasy teams short, especially if you consider there are four teams on a bye. Hopefully, your team isn’t scrambling this week because of injury. Here is the latest. . . . .
DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles. Jackson continues to make progress from his abdomen injury. He is not practicing in full just yet but could before the week is out. There is optimism that Jackson will be ready for the Week 7 game. He is at least trending that way. But for now, keep an eye on the notes for the latest to make sure Jackson gets in more work at practice.
Devin Singletary, RB, Bills. Singletary is already practicing in full this week. His hamstring injury is finally better. He is set to return to the lineup this week. It isn’t sure his role but he should be at least be the backup to Frank Gore and get a lot of work in that role. It could be a matter of time before he takes over the starting role for the Bills. He was trending that way before getting injured.
Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys. Cooper was knocked from last week’s game because of a thigh bruise. He is out of practice to begin the week, which isn’t a good sign for his status. We would expect him to miss the game unless he makes a big recovery later in the week.
Randall Cobb, WR, Cowboys. Cobb missed last week backs of a back injury and was unable to practice to start the week. Things are not looking good for Cobb to play Week 7. Tavon Austin could serve the Cobb role in the Cowboys offense, working out of the slot.
Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants. Barkley is right on track to return from his sprained ankle. He is practicing in full and looks to be about 100 percent recovered from the injury. As long as he is playing, Barkley should be in all fantasy lineups.
Evan Engram, TE, Giants. Engram is dealing with a sprained knee, causing him to miss last week’s game. Engram is practicing in full, though, and is set to return to the starting lineup Week 7. He should be ready to go for this weekend’s game.
Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants. Shepard missed last week because of a concussion and remains in the league's concussion protocol. He has been limited in practice this week. Shepard will need to clear the protocol before the week is out, so keep an eye on the notes for the latest. But at this point, it doesn’t look great for Shepard return.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Bears. Trubisky missed his last game because of a shoulder injury. He had a bye this past week but still isn’t 100 percent to start the game this week. His status is still up in the air a little. He is practicing in full, though, and claims to be close to 100 percent. We would expect Trubisky to return to the lineup and start the Week 7 game.
Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals. Kirk was a game-time decision last week but was held out of the game because of his sprained ankle. He is still rehabbing the injury and not practicing in full. He has a chance to return this week, especially after being held out the past few games, but nothing is 100 percent certain for him. Kirk is likely another game-time decision for Week 7.
Marquise Brown, WR, Ravens. Brown missed the game last week because of a sprained ankle and remains out of practice. He is looking iffy to play once again. He’ll need to get in some work before the week is out. Consider him a game-time decision, but get other options ready. Things aren’t looking great for Brown at the moment.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs. Watkins has already been ruled out for the Week 7 game because of his hamstring injury. He is getting closer to a return but isn’t ready just yet.
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals. Green keeps inching closer to a return from his ankle injury. He is practicing some on the side but is not a full participant just yet. There was hope he would return this week, though, and he has not been ruled out. He’ll need to ramp up his activity if he hopes to play. The good news is he is getting very close.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Raiders. Williams missed his last game because of a foot injury and had a bye last week, so expectations were for him to be ready for this week. Unfortunately, he is not practicing to start the week. This is not a good sign for his status. We would expect him to miss another week of action.
Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints. Kamara was dealing with an ankle injury last week and did not look good in the game. He really struggled with the injury. He is not looking great to play this week, especially after the team signed Zach Zenner as insurance for Kamara. Get other options ready. If Kamara can’t go, Latavius Murray starts and get most of the load at running back for the Saints.
Wayne Gallman, RB, Giants. Gallman has been battling a concussion and missed the Week 6 game. He is practicing on a limited basis to start the week. He will need to pass the concussion protocol to play this week. Unless he has a setback, look for him to return to his backup running back duties in Week 7.
John Brown, WR, Bills. Brown suffered a groin injury his last time out but had a bye this past week. The week off was supposed to get him healthy for Week 7. Brown is practicing on a limited basis to start the week, though, which is a little unexpected after the week off. He should be able to play this week but keep an eye on the inactives Sunday to be sure.
Chris Thompson, RB, Redskins. Thompson suffered a toe injury last week and had to miss the game. He is out of practice to start the week and expected to miss the Week 7 game. The Redskins could be really thin at running back this week.
Case Keenum, QB, Redskins. Keenum suffered shoulder and foot injuries last week. He is really beat up right now and was out of practice to start the week. Dwayne Haskins was taking all the first-team reps in practice and looks like the likely starter for Redskins in Week 7.
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams. Gurley missed the game last week with a quad injury and is iffy to play again this week. He is practicing on a limited basis to start the week, though, which is a positive. And with Malcolm Brown also banged up a little, this could expedite the return of Gurley. consider him a game-time decision but things are looking up for a Gurley return.
David Johnson, RB, Cardinals. Johnson was iff to play last week because of a back injury but was able to play and produced big. He is now suffering from an ankle injury, too. He is out of practice right now and could follow a similar pattern to last week. He was a game-time decision and practiced some on a limited basis, so expect more of the same this week. Chase Edmonds is the lead back for the Cardinals if Johnson is out.
Davante Adams, WR, Packers. Adams has been out because of a toe injury and remains sidelined because of the injury. He is not expected to play again this week, leaving a big hole at receiver for the Packers.
Geronimo Allison, WR, Packers. Allison was knocked from last week’s game because of a scary hit. He suffered a chest injury and concussion on the play. It does not look good for Allison to play this week. He is a long shot to suit up.
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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
The Cleveland Browns will likely be looking to replace defensive end Olivier Vernon this offseason, as he's due to make $15.25 million in 2020. Vernon will either be released or will need to take a pay cut to stay in Cleveland. If Vernon is released, the Browns could look to defensive end Everson Griffen or free safety Anthony Harris on the open market. New head coach Kevin Stefanski is familiar with both players from his time with the Vikings. The Browns will be looking to upgrade their pass-rushers and safeties in the offseason. Vernon, 30 this October, played in just 10 games in 2019 with the Browns and recorded just 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
There's a real chance that the Baltimore Ravens move tight end Hayden Hurst this offseason, and the Patriots could be involved, according to sources. The Patriots were heavily linked to Hurst prior to the 2018 draft. Hurst was selected with the 25th overall pick in the first round that year, but he's underwhelmed with 43 catches for 512 yards and three touchdowns in his two seasons in the NFL and has fallen down Baltimore's depth chart behind Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle. New England will be looking to beef up their receiver depth, including at tight end, so Hurst could be a player on the rise if he's dealt to New England. Of course, the Patriots might not have Tom Brady under center in 2020 either.
Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons said in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday that he expects to receive the franchise tag. Over the Cap estimates that the tag for safeties this year will be worth $12.7 million. Simmons is hoping that he'll be able to work out a long-term deal by the deadline of July 15 if the Broncos put the tag on him. The former third-round pick on 2016 is developing into one of the better safeties in the league. The 26-year-old had 93 tackles (65 solo)and a career-high four interceptions over a full season in 2019. Simmons has had 90-plus total tackles each of the last two seasons and should remain in Denver for the long-term.
Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said that the team hasn't met or negotiated with quarterback Dak Prescott's agent Todd France since September of last year. There haven't been talks between the two sides this offseason, but they may meet during the scouting combine this week. Jones also said that no contracts with Prescott or wide receiver Amari Cooper will be agreed upon until the new collective-bargaining rules for 2020 are decided. The Cowboys had a "very upbeat" conversation with Cooper's representation during Super Bowl week. The Cowboys continue to say that Prescott is their quarterback of the future. Expect talks to heat up this week, with Prescott ultimately staying in Dallas as a high-end QB1 for fantasy owners.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (neck) is expected to take part in spring workouts to some degree. "Once we see him, we'll have a better feel for it. But he'll have some limitations up until training camp before we really turn him loose," executive vice president Stephen Jones said. Vander Esch was a stud in his rookie season, but he played in just nine games in 2019 because of his neck injury, recording 72 tackles (43 solo), half a sack and one forced fumble. If fully healthy entering the 2020 season, LVE can be an IPD force because of his tackling ability from sideline to sideline. The Cowboys need him in the middle of the field on defense.
In a discussion between ESPN reporters Jeff Darlington and Adam Schefter on the Rich Eisen show last week, Darlington said that he expects the Tennessee Titans to "be in the mix" to sign New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who will become a free agent next month. The Raiders might also try to make a splash and sign Brady if the Patriots let him reach the open market. It would be a surprise if Brady left New England, but he's considering other options and could choose a playoff contender like the Titans after they reached the AFC Championship last year. Brady also played with Titans head coach Mike Vrabel in New England. Brady lacked weapons in the passing game in 2019, but he also looked a little washed up. If he were to go to Tennessee's run-first offense, Brady would be squarely in the QB2 mix with limited fantasy upside.
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue wants a long-term deal and is looking for $22 million annually. Ngakoue said he would be unlikely to show up until Aug. 11 if he had to play under the franchise tag. The young pass-rusher has compiled 37.5 sacks (second on the all-time franchise list) since being drafted in the third round of 2016. He also has 14 forced fumbles in that time. If the Jags place the tag on Ngakoue, which ESPN's Mike DiRocco expects, it would be for around $19.3 million in 2020. The 24-year-old (25 next month) had eight sacks, four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception last year and is firmly in the mix in IDP leagues with what he's done the last four seasons.
The Indianapolis Colts are unsure if kicker Adam Vinatieri, who will be a free agent next month, will return in 2020. The 47-year-old future Hall of Famer is rehabbing the knee injury that he dealt with last season, and he hasn't decided yet on if he will retire. The 2019 season was the worst year of Vinatieri's long career, as he missed 14 kicks total -- eight field goals and six extra points -- and landed on Injured Reserve in Week 13. The Colts also signed Chase McLaughlin to a one-year extension in January, so Vinatieri might not be back even if he decides to keep playing.
The Atlanta Falcons are expected to pick up quarterback Matt Schaub's $2 million option for the 2020 season, according to a source. Schaub made just one start in 2019 and was underwhelming in place of Matt Ryan. The veteran signal-caller attempted 67 passes for 580 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in parts of six games last season. He'll be 39 in June and is a shaky backup option if Matty Ice were to miss any more games next season due to injury. Even if Schaub is starting games at some point next year, he'd be a shaky second QB in two-quarterback leagues.
Free-agent LB Vontaze Burfict (Raiders) was reinstated by the league in January and has reportedly been working out at his alma mater (Arizona State) in an effort to returning to the NFL in 2020. Burfict was suspended for the final 12 games of the 2019 season after delivering a helmet-to-helmet hit to Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle.
Jacksonville Jaguars impending free-agent DE Yannick Ngakoue is seeking a long-term deal that pays $22 million annually. The franchise tag would be worth around $19.3 million if used on him.
Fantasy Spin: Ngakoue was tied for fifth in fantasy points at the position last season in 15 games. It was a down year that he only had eight sacks, and there is certainly is more in the tank.
Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler needs to see 15 to 20 touches per game, according to head coach Anthony Lynn.
Fantasy Spin: Ekeler is one of the more versatile backs in the NFL, and he finished 2019 with 92 catches and eight receiving touchdowns. There's a good chance he will be he unquestioned top back and a potential RB1 in 2020 if Melvin Gordon doesn't return, but even if Gordon is back, Ekeler can be a RB2 in PPR formats.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said on Sunday that the team isn't pursuing a long-term contract extension with running back Marlon Mack currently. It doesn't mean that it's not on the table or that the Colts don't want to keep Mack around for the long-term, but it's not a pressing issue. The 23-year-old (24 next month) is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2020 season. He's been the starter the last two years and had 247 carries for 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019. However, he's also missed eight games the last two seasons, so Indy might be hesitant in thinking he'll continue to be a lead back for years to come. Mack does have a strong offensive line in front of him, but he'll be more of a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 going into the final year of his contract in 2020.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR DJ Chark Jr. credits his success in 2019 to an improved commitment to preparation, and Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com believes Chark should deliver 1,000 receiving yards and eight to 10 touchdowns in 2020.
Fantasy Spin: Chark emerged as the top receiver for the Jaguars in 2019, and while Jacksonville is unlikely to have a high-powered passing attack, Chark should be able to deliver WR3 production as the No. 1 option.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster had eight catches on 11 targets in the six quarters he played with QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) in 2019, and Brooke Pryor of ESPN believes Smith-Schuster needs another 'reliable offensive weapon' to be at his best.
Fantasy Spin: While Smith-Schuster's numbers would have been better with a healthy Roethlisberger under center, we still don't know if he can replicate his monster 2018 numbers as the go-to option of the passing attack.
Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki will likely be used as a slot receiver in sets featuring three or more receivers in offensive coordinator Chan Gailey's system, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com.
Fantasy Spin: After a quiet rookie year, Gesicki showed signs of life in 2019, finishing with 51 catches for 570 yards and five touchdowns. He could be worth a flier as a high-upside TE2.
The Baltimore Ravens are hopeful of re-signing DE/LB Jihad Ward, a pending unrestricted free agent. The team thinks he fits well with them and they like his motor, versatility. The two sides have had discussions over the past week.
New England Patriots FS Devin McCourty might be a candidate for the franchise tag, and he could cost $11.5 million against the cap if that's the route head coach Bill Belichick and company elect.
New England Patriots PK Stephen Gostkowski (hip) has one year remaining on his contract, but he is 36 years old and coming off hip surgery. Releasing him would free up nearly $3.5 million in salary cap space.
Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack is not in line for a contract extension at this time. '(Marlon), we love him, but we love the other two guys. We want him back and he wants to be back, really. There were some mis-reports that we were pursuing an extension there. That's not the case. I don't know where those came from,' team owner Jim Irsay said Sunday, Feb. 23.