Thu Nov 8 8:26 am
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Normally, the injury story is pretty drab for fantasy owners but this one actually has some good news in it for once. There are a few key players ready to make a return from injury this week, which could be a big factor for fantasy teams down the stretch this year. Hopefully, this is a trend going forward. Either way, enjoy it for a week.
Derek Anderson, QB, Bills. Anderson remains in the concussion protocol but has a decent chance to be cleared before the week is out. Expect the Bills to do all they can to get Anderson ready because Josh Allen is expected to miss another week and Nathan Peterman is a disaster as the starter. So we expect Anderson back this week with Allen returning the following week, but keep an eye on the player notes for the latest.
Darren Sproles, RB, Eagles. Sproles is practicing this week and expected to return to action this week. His hamstring is finally doing better. And Sproles could have a decent role in the game with the Eagles struggling to run the ball in recent weeks.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs. Watkins suffered some sort of foot injury last week and needed an MRI. He is dealing with nothing serious but could still miss the Week 10 game. We'll know more later in the week but at this point, we think Watkins misses this week's game.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins. Tannehill has already been ruled out for Week 10 but he is making some progress with his shoulder injury. There is hope he is ready for the Week 11 game. For now, Brock Osweiler starts for the Dolphins.
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals. Green is dealing with a foot injury and is going to miss a few weeks of action. The good news is surgery has been ruled out but the bad news is this looks like a multi-week injury. Tyler Boyd will serve as the No. 1 receiver for the Bengals while Green is out.
Sam Darnold, QB, Jets. Darnold was in a boot Wednesday and not practicing. He has a foot sprain and is not looking good to play right now. We would get other options ready. The Jets won't push their rookie if he isn't ready to play. Josh McCoy starts if Darnold is out.
Geoff Swaim, TE, Cowboys. Swaim missed the game last week because of a knee sprain. He is practicing on a limited basis to start this week. He is making progress but still shaky to be ready for the Week 10 game. If he does more in practice before the week is out, Swaim might have a chance to play. Keep an eye on the practice notes for the latest.
Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks. Carson is not practicing to start the week because of hip and thigh injuries. He played last week but couldn't make it through a full game. It would not be a surprise if Carson sits out this week, giving Mike Davis much of the work at running back for the Seahawks.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars. Fournette is finally practicing in full and seems set to return from his hamstring injury this week. He should return to his starting role and get plenty of work as the No. 1 back for the Jaguars. Consider him a top No. 2 back for Week 10.
Matt Bryant, K, Falcons. Bryant has missed the last few weeks because of a hamstring injury. He still isn't practicing and looks iffy to return Week 10. He could practice before the week is out, though, which would put him on track to play. But for now, we would just expect to use other options at kicker.
Allen Robinson, WR, Bears. Robinson is another player set to return this week. He is practicing in full to start the week. His groin injury finally is close to full strength. He should return to his role as the No. 1 receiver for the Bears.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots. Gronkowski sat out last week because of ankle and back injuries. He was a game-time decision last week and should be another game-time call this week. He is practicing on a limited basis to start the week.
Sony Michel, RB, Patriots. Michel is inching closer to a return from is sprained knee. He was close last week but ended up sitting out. He is practicing on a limited basis to start this week. We think the chances of a return for Michel are pretty strong, but keep an eye on the player notes for the latest news on his injury status. Nothing is certain right now.
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.
The Arizona Cardinals signed veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to a one-year deal on Wednesday so that he can return for a 16th season. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Fitzgerald will turn 36 at the end of August but will remain the No. 1 wideout on the team because of his experience. His numbers took a hit in one of the worst offenses in the NFL in 2018, but he still led the team in receptions (69), receiving yards (734) and touchdowns (six). While Fitz can still make an impact on the field, he'll be returning to his third head coach in three years, but the addition of Kliff Kingsbury could improve the offense moving forward. We won't say for sure that Fitzgerald will return to the 1,000-yard mark, but he should be a serviceable WR3 at the very least.
Former Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano is expected to land with the New England Patriots in a top defensive role when linebackers coach Brian Flores heading to the Miami Dolphins.
Former New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has emerged as the favorite to be hired as Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator, according to sources.
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald announced Wednesday, Jan. 23, that he'll return for the 2019 season.
Fantasy Spin: Fitz had a 69-734-6 season, which was well below the 100-catch, 1,000-yard seasons the three years previously. The rookie quarterback was part of the problem, but he doesn't have much more upside next season. He's still a PPR asset, but he'll be a mid-round option as a WR3.
Updating an earlier report, Arizona Cardinals impending free-agent WR Larry Fitzgerald re-signed with the Cardinals on a one-year deal. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
Miami Dolphins WR Albert Wilson (hip) is on schedule with his recovery from an October hip injury that landed him on IR and could be at full speed when the team's offseason workout program begins in April.
Fantasy Spin: After four largely nondescript seasons in Kansas City, Wilson flashed some playmaking ability before getting injured against the Lions. There are far too many variables in Miami for an accurate read on Wilson's fantasy prospects for 2019, but he did enough last year to warrant your attention.
Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles would be eligible to be franchise or transition tagged and then traded if the team decides not to pick up his option, which ESPN's Chris Mortensen believes is a possibility as doing so would allow the Eagles to influence Foles' destination.
Fantasy Spin: Mortensen indicates such a move would prevent Foles from going to a division rival, but it's all speculation at this point. While it's far from a sure thing, Foles could have some fantasy value in the right situation.
Oakland Raiders CB Daryl Worley (shoulder) had successful surgery on his ailing shoulder last week, according to head coach Jon Gruden.
Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Crabtree is likely to be released in the offseason, according to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec.
Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent WR Cole Beasley claimed Tuesday, Jan. 22, that the Dallas front office encourages the coaching staff to get the football to certain players. 'I haven't been a huge priority in that regard. Maybe that will change but I'm not sure,' Beasley said.
Fantasy Spin: Beasley's frustrations are evident and understandable, although Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott and Michael Gallup are all bigger, more talented threats with the ball. Beasley does have a role to play and put together his second best season from a statistical standpoint. That being said, he's only a mid- to late-round PPR flier if he stays in Dallas.
Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said the team is "optimistic" that quarterback Alex Smith (leg) will be ready for the start of the 2019 season, but he also said "we'll see." In his first year with Washington, Smith was a disappointment, throwing for 2,108 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions with an 85.7 QB rating in 10 games before his gruesome leg injury. He'll be heading into his age-35 season and is unlikely to be ready for training camp or the regular season, so he's one to avoid for fantasy purposes. The 'Skins are in dire need of a long-term quarterback.
The Kansas City Chiefs relieved defensive coordinator Bob Sutton of his duties on Tuesday. Sutton was head coach Andy Reid's defensive coordinator for all six of his years in KC, but the Chiefs defense continued to trend downward in 2018 and was their Achilles heel in the AFC Championship loss to the Patriots last weekend. Defensive end Chris Jones -- third in the NFL with 15.5 sacks in 2018 -- and linebacker Dee Ford are the linchpins of this defense, but they must improve their talent in the secondary. The Chiefs ranked 31st in yards allowed per game (405.5), 31st in passing yards allowed (273.4), 27th in rushing yards allowed (132.1), 24th in points allowed (26.3) and tied for eighth in takeaways (27) in 2018.
Oakland Raiders impending free-agent TE Jared Cook will be re-signed if head coach Jon Gruden has his way, but Gruden admitted that Cook will be a popular name on the free-agent market.
Fantasy Spin: Cook was one of the few bright spots for the Raiders this season, and maybe the lone bright spot. He's a top-five fantasy tight end candidate now after finishing 2018 as the TE5.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones led all receivers with 24 receptions for first downs on 30 third-down targets this past season.
Fantasy Spin: Despite a slow start in the TD department (none in his first seven games) Jones also wound up leading the league in receiving yards (1,677) for the second time in the last four seasons. And even with Jones turning 30 this offseason (on Super Bowl Sunday), he remains an elite WR1 in all fantasy formats.
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said the team is unsure if impending free-agent running back Marshawn Lynch plans to play in 2019. Gruden said "we'd love to have him back" if he decides to play another season. Beast Mode will turn 33 in April and is coming off a season in which he played in just six games due to injury. Lynch ran 90 times for 376 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and three scores. Even if Lynch returns, he'd be more of a low-upside, injury-risk RB2 for Oakland that is more attractive in standard-scoring leagues.
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said the team would like to re-sign impending free-agent tight end Jared Cook, but he knows the market for his services will be competitive. He'll be in high demand after he set career highs across the board in catches (68), targets (101), yards (896) and touchdowns (six) for the Raiders. Given the sad state of the tight end position in fantasy, Cook was a strong TE1 this year and will likely be drafted as one again this year, depending on where he lands. Staying in Oakland might be the best for his value.
The Cincinnati Bengals are hiring former Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan as their next offensive coordinator. Callahan has never been an offensive coordinator in the NFL but has been a QBs coach since 2015. He'll oversee an offense that could easily bounce back after serious injuries to quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green derailed them in 2018. Cincinnati finished 26th in yards per game (310.8), 24th in passing yards per game (205.6), 21st in rushing yards per game (105.1) and 17th in points per game (23.0) in 2018.
Oakland Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch, an impending free agent this offseason, hasn't announced whether he plans on playing in 2019, but if he does, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said Tuesday, Jan. 22, that 'we'd love to have him back.'
Fantasy Spin: Lynch will be 33 by the time next season rolls around, but he'd still be a fantasy RB2 consideration if were to be projected to be the primary RB in Oakland.
San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo (knee) was throwing passes to RB Jerick McKinnon (knee) recently, 49ers general manager John Lynch said Tuesday, Jan. 22, in an interview.
Fantasy Spin: All appears to be going well in the recovery of Garoppolo, who was injured in Week 3. There are sure to be plenty of updates upcoming throughout the offseason, but expect Garoppolo to be ready for training camp.
San Francisco 49ers RB Jerick McKinnon (knee) was recently seen catching passes from QB Jimmy Garoppolo, general manager John Lynch said Tuesday, Jan. 22, in an interview.
Fantasy Spin: A preseason knee injury shelved McKinnon for the season, but at least it happened earlier enough that McKinnon is expected to participate in training camp and be ready for the start of 2019 season. And that coupled with the Niners' strong productiveness with several different backs makes McKinnon an intriguing fantasy bounce-back candidate.