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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas acknowledged that wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (neck) remains a "big question mark" heading into the 2020 season and beyond. Enunwa played in just one game in 2019 before being shut down for the year, and he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. He also played in just 1 games in 2018 due to neck and back issues, and it's unknown if he'll ever be 100 percent again, which makes it hard for the Jets to rely on him behind Breshad Perriman and Jamison Crowder. If healthy, the 27-year-old (28 in May) wideout would likely be the team's No. 3 receiver, but he'll have to compete with Josh Doctson and Vyncint Smith and prove he's healthy in training camp.
The Kansas City Chiefs have had contract talks with defensive tackle Chris Jones, but there haven't been any offers up to this point. The Chiefs will also be trying to work out a long-term extension with Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, but that is unlikely to happen until sometime after the draft. The Chiefs placed the franchise tag on Jones earlier this offseason, but they'll have until July 15 to figure out an extension. The 25-year-old made the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2019, registering nine sacks, 36 tackles (23 solo), eight tackles for loss and 20 QB hits. Jones has become an essential inside presence on KC's defensive line and has 33 sacks in his four seasons in the league.
Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith should see an increased role in the offense in 2020 now that Stefon Diggs is playing for the Bills. When wide receiver Adam Thielen was out for almost two months with an injury last year, Smith caught 36 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns and emerged as a reliable target for quarterback Kirk Cousins. Minnesota's offense also relies heavily on tight ends under coach Gary Kubiak; tight ends have received an average of 23 percent of targets per season in Kubiak's 21 seasons as a head coach or offensive coordinator. Even battling for targets with Kyle Rudolph, Smith could become worth rostering as a TE2 in standard leagues in his second season in the NFL.
Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup had 39 catches for 686 yards and five touchdowns in November and December last season compared to 27 catches, 421 yards and one touchdown in the first two months of the year.
Fantasy Spin: Gallup had more receptions, yards and touchdowns in the final two months of 2019 than he did in his entire rookie season, and he and Amari Cooper suddenly look like one of the better receiver duos heading into 2020. For his part, Gallup should be a WR3 with upside.
Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee had 43 catches for 522 yards and two touchdowns in the month of December last season compared to 26 catches, 212 yards and one score over the first three months combined.
Fantasy Spin: Jared Goff actually led the NFL in pass attempts last year, and now that Todd Gurley is not in the mix, Higbee's strong finish to 2019 could be a sign of things to come if the Rams continue to embrace a pass-heavy attack. Target him as a TE1 in 2020.
Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews caught 31 passes for 440 yards and five touchdowns at home in 2019 and had 33 receptions for 412 yards and five scores in road contests.
Fantasy Spin: It didn't matter where the Ravens were playing. Andrews was routinely Lamar Jackson's favorite target and the most consistent member of the passing attack in an otherwise run-heavy offense. He's locked in as a TE1 heading into 2020.
Houston Texans WR Will Fuller played in 11 games in 2019, and the team averaged 26.3 points in those contests compared to 19.6 in the five games he missed. Houston had an 8-3 record when Fuller played and went 2-3 without him in the lineup.
Fantasy Spin: Fuller will be asked to be the No. 1 receiver for Houston in 2020 following the trade of DeAndre Hopkins, and while good things tend to happen when he is on the field, he has yet to play a full season. In fact, Fuller has played 11 or fewer games in each of the past three seasons. Fuller will have WR2 upside, but fantasy owners need to make sure to have depth at the receiver position if they choose to take a chance on him.
Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson threw for 14 touchdowns versus only three interceptions in seven home games last season. In eight road outings, he accounted for 12 passing scores versus nine interceptions.
Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb averaged 100.4 yards rushing, 0.75 touchdowns and 3.1 catches in eight games while Kareem Hunt served his eight-game suspension to begin last season. After Hunt was activated, Chubb averaged 86.4 yards rushing, 0.25 TDs and 1.4 catches.
Fantasy Spin: Hunt was very successful in his backup running back/slot role over the second half of the season, so it's fair to wonder if new head coach Kevin Stefanski has any designs on changing something that worked so well under the previous regime. Working in Chubb's favor is the likelihood Cleveland will be holding leads more often this season, meaning he could in a position to break off some more long scoring runs against tired defenses late in games. With Hunt around, however, Chubb should be considered a high-end RB2.
Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner broke a tackle once only every 23.2 rush attempts last season. In 2018, he broke a tackle once every 10.8 carries.
Baltimore Ravens RB Gus Edwards averaged 2.5 yards per carry before contact and 2.8 yards per carry after contact in 2019, slightly outperforming starter and backfield teammate Mark Ingram (2.4 and 2.6, respectively) in each category.
Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker finished third in the league with 939 yards before the catch last season, while his 13 yards before catch per reception was good for sixth among qualified players.
New England Patriots RB Sony Michel averaged 19 carries for 73 yards and scored four touchdowns in three games with Rex Burkhead injured last season. In those same contests, Michel compiled six of his 12 catches for the year. In the 13 games Burkhead was active, Michel averaged 14.6 carries for 53 yards and scored only three times.
Free-agent WR Jaron Brown (Seahawks) likely will not re-sign with the Seattle Seahawks this offseason since the Seahawks signed WR Phillip Dorsett earlier in the offseason.
New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa (neck) is not considering retirement even though he is recovering from a neck injury. He is scheduled to receive $10.1 million in guaranteed money over the next two seasons.
Fantasy Spin: Enunwa has been limited to 12 games over the last three seasons because of injury and his status for the 2020 season is still uncertain. Fantasy players should keep an eye on his situation, but he should be considered a risky option in all leagues.
San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida didn't have much of a role on offense to end last season behind Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman. If Jerick McKinnon is actually healthy in 2020, he gives the 49ers a legitimate route-runner and third-down option out of the backfield. San Fran could be willing to trade Breida's rights for a low-round draft pick. Of all the backs in this crowded backfield, Breida is the most likely to be playing for another team come the start of the season. The 25-year-old from Georgia Southern has been productive with 5.0 yards per carry on 381 career rushing attempts in his three years with the Niners, but he's also consistently battled nagging injuries and is now buried on the depth chart. A move out of this crowded backfield and onto another team with more opportunity would be best for Breida's real-life and fantasy value.
The Seattle Seahawks may only be willing to pay free-agent LB Jadeveon Clowney $13 million to $15 million annually to return, according to 710 ESPN Seattle's John Clayton. Clowney is reportedly seeking a deal which will pay him at least $17 million per year.
Pittsburgh Steelers TE Eric Ebron is one of six tight ends with at least 20 red zone touchdowns over the last five seasons, and he joins a Pittsburgh offense that ranked last in red zone scoring in 2019.
Fantasy Spin: A healthy Ben Roethlisberger under center should also go a long way to helping the Pittsburgh offense, but Ebron addresses a big need. He's a lower-end TE1 candidate, even if he could be a little touchdown dependent.
Free-agent CB Prince Amukamara (Bears) likely will not re-sign with the Bears this offseason, in the opinion of The Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs.
Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson probably will be looking for around $20 million per season in his next contract, in the opinion of The Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs.
Fantasy Spin: Robinson had a bounce back season in 2019 and finished with 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns. He will continue to be the main option in the passing game for the Bears and should be a weekly starting option in fantasy leagues.