By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
This injury report is pretty filled this week, especially if you consider we have a season-high six teams on a bye. This is concerning for fantasy owners in Week 9. Things could be tough for some teams to fill out a top lineup. Hopefully, you aren't one of those teams struggling to put together your best lineup. Here are all the latest injury updates from around the league. . . . .
C.J. Beathard, QB, 49ers. Beathard is dealing with a wrist injury and very iffy to play this week. It isn't helping matters that the 49ers play the Thursday game. At this point, we would expect Beathard to miss the Week 9 game, giving little-known Nick Mullens the start. If Mullens starts, the entire 49ers offense deserves a fantasy downgrade.
Chris Thompson, RB, Redskins. Thompson injured his ribs last week after returning from a different rib injury. He is not practicing yet and likely to miss the Week 9 game. And even if he plays, you just don't know how much he plays after playing very little last week. Go with safer options.
Royce Freeman, RB, Broncos. Freeman missed the game last week because of a high ankle sprain and remains out of practice this week to start the week. He is likely to miss another week of action and even if active, he likely wouldn't play a big role in the game. Phillip Lindsay should dominate carries for the Broncos in Week 9.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins. Tannehill has already been ruled out for the Week 9 game because of a shoulder injury. It isn't certain when he'll return. Brock Osweiler starts another game for the Dolphins.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings. Cook is practicing some this week and his hamstring injury finally seems to be making progress. He still isn't a sure thing to play, though, especially with the Vikings having a bye next week. The team could opt to hold him out one more week to give him two more full weeks of rest. Latavius Murray seems likely to start another game for the Vikings
Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs. Hill missed some time last week because of a groin injury but he is practicing in full to start the week. His groin injury seems pretty minor and as long as he doesn't suffer a setback later in the week, Hill will be fine to use for fantasy teams.
Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins. Stills was held out of the game last week because of a groin injury. He is out of practice to start the week and looks likely to miss a section week of action. DeVante Parker and Danny Amendola should get most of the snaps at receiver for the Dolphins in Week 9.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers. Gordon got in a limited practice Wednesday. He is dealing with a hamstring injury and is iffy to play this week. Consider him a game-time decision. If Gordon can't play, Austin Ekeler is the starter for the Chargers.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings. Diggs suffered some sort of rib injury last week and was held out of practice to start the week. We aren't sure the severity of the injury just yet but it seems holding him out was likely just a precaution. We would expect Diggs to play but make sure he gets in some practice before the week is out.
Sony Michel, RB, Patriots. Michel is practicing on a limited basis this week as he tries to return from a sprained knee, which kept him out of last week's game. He has a shot to play this week but looks like a game-time decision at the moment. The issue is the Patriots play the Sunday night game, so waiting on Michel could be a scary proposition for fantasy owners if you don't have backup options on the limited teams left.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams. Kupp has missed the last two games because of a sprained knee. He is making good progress, though, and seems to have a pretty good shot at playing this week. He has been practicing on a limited basis. The Rams are in a big game with the Saints, so expect the team to do all they can to get Kupp ready. At this point, we think he'll suit up for the game.
Allen Robinson, WR, Bears. Robinson was held out of last week's game because o a groin injury. He is still out of practice this week and likely to miss another week of action. Get other players ready to play.
Keke Coutee, WR, Texans. Coutee missed last week after re-aggravating a hamstring injury. The Texans had a short week, though, because of a Thursday game. Things are looking better for Coutee to play this week. He is trending that way and should have a big role in the game with Will Fuller now out for the season.
Matt Bryant, K, Falcons. Bryant was unable to play the Falcons last game because of a hamstring injury. He is expected to test his injury later this week, so keep an eye on the player notes for the latest on his status. He could play this week if he practices well late this week. If he can't go once again, Giorgio Tavecchio starts for the Falcons.
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.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Ryan Switzer is working to fill the slot receiver role in his second year with the team. The 24-year-old caught 36-of-44 targets for 253 yards and a score in his first year with the Steelers. While he was a big part of the team's return game, he was at most times fifth in the pecking order for targets. At just 5'8 185 lbs, Switzer fits the proverbial mold of an NFL "slot" receiver, but getting the reps and building chemistry with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is of utmost importance heading into 2019. The more reps that you get, the more game experience you get, the better the feel and the better you get, Switzer mentioned in an interview with TribLive.com. While Brown is now in Oakland, there are 168 targets to fill in his place, so if Switzer wants a role on offense, he will need to hit the ground running once training camp starts. He doesn't hold any draft value due to a crowded receiving corps in Pittsburgh, but if he can carve out a role early on, he has the chance to hold a solid floor in PPR formats.
Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins will have to prove himself in training camp in order to earn the Week 1 start over Case Keenum, but his coaches like what they've seen so far. Per Kyle Melnick of Redskins.com, offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell has been impressed with Haskins's work ethic. O'Connell is used to the slow learning curve inherent in rookies, but Haskins has somewhat broken that mold. This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise after Haskins led all of college football in passing yards and passing touchdowns in his only season as a starter. It's also worth noting that Melnick mentions Urban Meyer praising Haskins as "the most accurate passer he's coached." While it will take a considerable leap forward for Haskins to earn the starting job in Washington, he's off to a good start this spring and summer.
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is in line to, once again, be quarterback Tom Brady's favorite target as the beginning of training camp looms. The 33-year-old caught 74 passes for 850 yards and six touchdowns through 12 games last season, including 26 receptions for 388 yards in three playoff games. Edelman racks up targets thanks to his kismet chemistry with Brady and sneaky route running. Age may one day catch up to Edelman but the only thing that could stifle the veteran's production in 2019 would be injury. He will be a solid, mid-round WR2 come fantasy draft day.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Riley Ridley was a surprise selection when the Bears drafted him in the fourth round. The rookie, and brother of the Falcons Calvin Ridley, is a big receiver who has impressed the coaching staff throughout the offseason workout programs. But fantasy owners need to be patient with a prospect like Ridley and rookie wide receivers can easily struggle to crack the lineup in the first half of a season. Ridley caught 13 touchdowns in 28 career college games at Georgia so he could steal some red zone targets from teammates Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller. But owners should not expect production right out of the gate and will only have dynasty value when fantasy draft rooms open in about one month.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton may be using more play fakes this upcoming season. With the arrival of new head coach Zac Taylor, Dalton may utilize play-action more often than he has in previous seasons. Under Taylor, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff averaged 10 yards per play-action attempt last season, good for fourth in the league. However, with the retirement of guard Clint Boling and the season-ending injury to tackle Jonah Williams (shoulder), along with the Bengals having only a step of separation on just 53.8 percent of their targets last season, it will be an uphill battle for the 32-year-old. If whats left of the offensive line can hold it together, however, Dalton will have plenty of time to utilize who is available to him on the offensive side of the ball under a new system.
The Atlanta Falcons No. 1 offseason priority is now to lock up wide receiver Julio Jones to a long-term deal, but that could take a while, according to sources. Jones believes that owner Arthur Blank will get something done and hasn't been threatening a holdout with another year still left on his deal. The 30-year-old is getting to be a bit more of an injury risk, but he's still an elite fantasy wideout and will be one of the first guys off the board in the early rounds.
The Atlanta Falcons and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett agreed to a four-year contract extension on Monday. The contract is expected to be worth $68 million with $38 million guaranteed, according to a source. He was initially set to receive the $15.209 million franchise tag if a deal wasn't worked out by Monday. The team can now move on to extensions for receiver Julio Jones and linebacker Deion Jones. The Falcons and Deion Jones' representation will meet face-to-face on Wednesday. Jarrett, a fifth-round pick in 2015, has been a top defender for Atlanta and had 53 total pressures in 2018, according to Pro Football Focus. He also had six sacks, three forced fumbles and a team-high 16 QB hits.
Arizona Cardinals rookie wide receiver Andy Isabella, a second-round pick this year, looks like he'll get an initial chance in the offense behind veteran Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk, who looked good in his rookie season in 2018. Rookies Keesean Johnson and Hakeem Butler could also be in the mix, but they might have a steeper climb for relevant work early on. Isabella is a great long-term pick in dynasty leagues and has late-round sleeper appeal in what could be a high-flying offensive attack under rookie quarterback Kyler Murray and new head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (leg) is no longer wearing an external fixator on his surgically repaired right leg. He credited the fixator with allowing him "to heal and walk again." Although Smith is unlikely to play in 2019 or perhaps ever again in the NFL, this is a step in the right direction and some needed good news for the veteran signal-caller. The 'Skins drafted quarterback Dwayne Haskins in the first round, so Smith's future isn't in D.C. You can ignore him in upcoming fantasy drafts completely.
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (wrist) said the training staff will determine the repetitions he gets at training camp, but "in my mind I'm ready. I'm 100 percent," Lindsay said. He should be ready for Week 1, barring a setback this summer. Lindsay was one of the most pleasant surprises in his rookie season after going undrafted. The 24-year-old became Denver's go-to back and finished with 192 attempts for 1.037 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. He also caught 35 passes for 241 yard and another score. His stock is obviously way up going into his second season, but he'll still have to remain effective to hold off a push from Royce Freeman.
In 2018, Phillip Lindsay had 192 carries to fellow rookie Royce Freeman's 130, but Justin Adams of CBS 4 believes that that may change in 2019. Lindsay is recovering from a wrist injury and has yet to participate in offseason activities with the team, which Adams believes has put Freeman in a position to potentially wind up as Denver's lead back. That's the role Freeman was initially drafted to play before Lindsay broke out in the preseason, so it wouldn't be a shock to see Freeman assert himself more in 2019. Keep an eye on the situation, as it could lead to Lindsay losing fantasy value while Freeman gains some.
Miami Dolphins WR Albert Wilson (hip) may start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Fantasy Spin: Wilson did not do much this offseason, so fantasy owners should monitor the situation during training camp. He played well at times last season and could be the No. 1 receiver for Miami this season if he is healthy. He has a chance to be a late-round option in fantasy drafts.
Free-agent RB Alex Collins (leg) recently suffered a broken leg and had surgery to repair the injury, according to a source.
Free-agent WR Martavis Bryant (Raiders) has applied to the NFL for reinstatement. He has been working with the NFL and the NFL Players Association to address his mental health issues.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is reportedly considering holding out from Cowboys training camp. The team and Elliott (with his agents) have been in conversation for over a month, and the general thought is that Elliott won't hold out if he thinks the team is "making a serious push to get an extension worked." Elliott knows his value is at a high point right now and with the beating he takes each year, he does not want to risk going into the season without an extension at least in the process of getting done. This seems like a lot of smoke and not much fire for now, but it's something to keep an eye on as the Cowboys are scheduled to report to training camp in less than two weeks.
Chicago Bears running back Mike Davis will head into training camp looking to become more than the 'forgotten' man in the team's backfield. Most of the fantasy buzz this summer has gone towards teammates Tarik Cohen and rookie David Montgomery but don't count out Davis. The free agent acquisition fell short of having a 'breakout campaign' last season but set career- best marks in carries (114), yards (514), receptions (34), receiving yards (214) and total touchdowns (5). Davis was one of many running backs that the Seahawks rotated last year and he posted two games with 100 yards from scrimmage or more. Davis was in line for a heavier workload this season but drafting Montgomery is certain to cut into the timeshare. It is hard to envision a scenario where Davis averages more than 15 carries a game this season but could lead the team in touches in the red zone for an ascending offense.
Houston Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and the team were unable to reach a long-term deal before Monday's deadline, which means Clowney will play on the franchise tag this season. The former number-one overall pick is expected to hold out for most of training camp, but there's been no indication yet that he'll miss time during the season. Clowney's been injured a lot, but when healthy he's a disruptive defender and has tremendous upside in IDP leagues. His uncertain future does introduce some uncertainty for dynasty owners, though, as Monday's news likely means Clowney won't be a Texan when the 2020 season rolls around.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones' contract extension is now the team's 'most pressing priority,' but NFL Network's Ian Rapoport states that it 'might take a while.' However, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Jones' agent and the team are scheduled for face-to-face negotiations on Wednesday, July 17.
Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott has privately said he intends to hold out of training camp unless he gets a new contract, according to Pro football Talk's Mike Florio via a league source.
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson's receiving skills 'should come back to the forefront' after being 'all but ignored last season,' in the opinion of Darren Urban of AZcardinals.com.
Fantasy Spin: This has been the assumption among fantasy owners since Arizona hired Kliff Kingsbury, but it always helps to get it confirmed from a scribe that covers the team like Urban does. Johnson's goal of a 1,000/1,000 season may be a bit too much to ask, but this figures to be the 27-year-old's best shot of hitting those marks since his incredible 2016 campaign. He's well worth a pick in the top half of the first round of most fantasy drafts.