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.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones shouldn't have a hard time against a leaky Minnesota Vikings secondary in Week 14, but uncertainty remains with rookie quarterback David Blough starting for the Lions. Jones has hauled in 17 receptions for 206 yards and three touchdowns over the last four weeks, proving to be at least somewhat quarterback-proof. Fantasy owners need more assurance than that heading into the first week of the fantasy playoffs though. Jones did absolutely torch the Vikings in Week 7, going off for 93 yards and four touchdowns, but that was with Matthew Stafford (back) throwing the passes. Jones will slot in as a boom-or-bust WR3 in Week 14.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay was able to haul in 158 yards and a touchdown with rookie quarterback David Blough under center in Week 13, but a closer look into the game tells a different story. Most of Golladay's production, including his touchdown catch, came on one play in the first quarter. It was a very quiet afternoon for Golladay and the entire Lions offense from then on. Golladay doesn't have the toughest Week 14 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings on deck, but it should be noted that the Vikings did hold him to just one catch for 21 yards when these two teams met back in Week 7. With so much uncertainty surrounding Golladay this week, he will slot in as a fringe WR2 against the Vikings.
The Washington Redskins Defense has performed well both in real life and in fantasy football the last two weeks, greatly contributing to the fact that their team has won its last two games. With fantasy championships at stake in Week 14, now is not the time to buy into this trend so much that you believe they are up to the task of handling Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers may not be launching MVP-level numbers around, but he also doesn't turn the ball over or otherwise make mistakes that make things easy on opposing defenses. If Washington is able to post its third straight impressive defensive effort in a row this week, so be it. Let it happen on the waiver wire.
Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack is expected to be back on the field for a Week 14 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mack hasn't played since Week 11 due to a broken hand, but according to Colts coach Frank Reich, Mack won't be limited or on any kind of a pitch count. While fantasy owners are likely thrilled that Mack is back, he has a rough matchup to welcome him. Tampa Bay features the league's best run defense and one of the league's worst pass defenses, so the Colts are more likely to take to the air than to rely on their running game. Mack is a low-floor RB2 for this one.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Kelvin Harmon can hang his hat on an increased role in an otherwise terrible pass offense over the last few weeks, but that's where the positives begin and end regarding his Week 14 outlook. The Packers are in a three-way tie for the second-fewest receptions allowed to wide receivers on the season, and the Redskins much prefer to run the ball anyway. Harmon is worth monitoring in deep PPR leagues as the fantasy playoffs progress, but he can't be confidently relied upon this Sunday.
Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri is out for Week 14 due to a knee injury. The Colts signed Chase McLaughlin earlier in the week and he will assume kicking duties for Indianapolis against the Tampa Bay Bucs. Vinatieri says that IR has not been discussed, so he can be seen as week-to-week for now. McLaughlin makes for a solid fill-in kicker for any fantasy teams looking to tweak their kicking game.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin's outlook has been and will continue to be hurt by having Dwayne Haskins as his quarterback, but there is big-play potential in his spectrum of outcomes for Week 14 if this pass offense can display some level of competence. The Packers are allowing nearly 16.5 yards per catch to opposing WRs, setting McLaurin up well if his inaccurate rookie QB can actually connect with him a few times. Adding to the risk in this matchup is that while Green Bay is susceptible to big plays from wideouts, the Pack is tied for the second-fewest receptions allowed to the position. As such, McLaurin doesn't carry a high PPR floor, and cannot be considered a safe play.
Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson was a non-factor in his return from injury last week, and there is little evidence to suggest he'll see much of an uptick in Week 14 against the Packers. Dwayne Haskins is given minimal opportunities to throw the ball for obvious reasons, and it helps that Washington has been able to establish an effective rushing attack of late. Thompson doesn't factor into that rushing attack, so his opportunities to produce fantasy numbers are almost entirely limited to whatever work he sees on passing downs. The Packers could theoretically jump out to an early lead and force the Redskins to throw, in turn boosting Thompson's outlook. That's not worth banking on this late in the season with fantasy championships at stake.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf) won't be suiting up for a Week 14 matchup against the Tampa Bay. Hilton had another setback in practice a few weeks ago and wasn't able to practice at all this week. He has already stated that he's not sure if he'll be able to play again this season. At this point, fantasy owners should not be expecting anything from the speedy wide receiver. Zach Pascal will benefit the most from Hilton's absence, especially against a soft Tampa Bay secondary.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) did not practice Friday, Dec. 6, and is listed as doubtful for the team's Week 14 game against the Detroit Lions.
Fantasy Spin: Unless there's a semi-miraculous change in fortune over the next 48 hours, it appears as if Thielen will miss his fifth start in the last six games. His fantasy owners should be well-versed in the Plan B drill.
Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson continues to split backfield work with Derrius Guice, but the two of them proved together last week that they can both enjoy success in the right matchup. They'll get their second consecutive "right matchup" this week at Lambeau Field against a Packers Defense giving up the sixth-most rushing yards per game and the second-most total rushing touchdowns to opposing backs. Guice is the better boom-play here, with more potential for big-time production on middling volume. Peterson should still be in line for enough of his own share, however, and should be regarded as a flex possibility unless you are fortunate enough to be super-deep at running back.
Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper (knee) practiced again Friday, Dec. 6, and will play Sunday, Dec. 8, in Week 14, head coach Dan Quinn announced.
Fantasy Spin: Check back pre-game Sunday to be certain, but it appears as if it's an early Christmas for Hooper owners, who have been without fantasy's top tight end (10.8 points per game) since Week 10.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (wrist) told reporters on Friday that he expects to be activated from the injured reserve for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Njoku has been sidelined since he fractured his wrist during Week 2's win over the New York Jets. He told reporters that he felt ready to play two weeks ago, but it is apparent that the team did not want to rush him back into action. It remains to be seen whether he will see a full complement of snaps in his first game back against Cincy. That being said, Njoku's Week 15 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals makes him a priority waiver add for any forward-thinking fantasy GM hurting at the tight end position. Arizona has been one of the worst defenses in the league when it comes to defending enemy tight ends.
Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins will go for his third straight victory in Green Bay on Sunday. Whether the Redskins pull off the upset or not, their two-game winning streak is in spite of their quarterback--not because of him. Haskins has just two touchdowns in six appearances this year, and hasn't eclipsed 215 passing yards in any of his starts. This is arguably the least interesting pass offense in the NFL, with both Haskins and his pass-catchers shouldering the blame for that distinction. The rookie's only upside for Week 14 comes in the form of potential garbage-time chances at production, as the Packers could reasonably be expected to win this one going away.
Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice couldn't have many better matchups in which to follow up on his excellent Week 13 outing. The Packers are allowing the sixth-most yards per game to running backs, and their 13 rushing touchdowns surrendered to RBs is the second-most. We know the Redskins would run the ball on every single play if they could, so look for Guice to once again be a focal point of his team's offensive game plan. Continuing to cap his upside is the presence of Adrian Peterson, but Guice proved last week that a backfield split isn't enough to totally neutralize him when the matchup is right. Guice should be viewed as a fantasy starter in all formats for Week 14.
Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (shoulder) practiced again Friday, Dec. 6, and will play in Week 14 against the Carolina Panthers, head coach Dan Quinn announced.
Fantasy Spin: Good news for Jones owners as the wideout will return to the WR1 ranks, and now all that's needed is for Jones to deliver a WR1-quality stat line and snap his frustrating eight-game streak without a TD.
New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell (non-injury) on Friday, Dec. 6, sat out a second consecutive day of practice with an illness, and head coach Adam Gase said he's unsure if Bell will be able to play Sunday, Dec. 8, in Week 14.
Fantasy Spin: Bad timing for Bell owners who will need to be extra vigilant up until kickoff. If Bell can't go, it will likely be a combo of Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery filling in, but neither would be much more than a dart-throw flex option.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert erupted for 154 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in Week 12, rendering starter Tevin Coleman obsolete. The fifth-year back has been explosive in limited opportunities this season, averaging 5.9 yards per tote, but it may not translate into increased usage in Week 13 against the New Orleans Saints. With Matt Breida (ankle) returning and Coleman inevitably in the mix, Mostert will likely revert to his standard change-of-pace role. Against a tough Saints rush defense, the Niners may play the hot hand, giving Mostert an upside of double-digit touches. But due to the high backfield uncertainty, fantasy managers should prudently view him as a flex option.
Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen (concussion) on Friday, Dec. 6, was ruled out of Week 14 with a concussion.
Fantasy Spin: As expected, Olsen is a no-go for the first time this season. Backup Ian Thomas is a decent fantasy fill-in if the tight end options are as thin as they are in most leagues.
New York Giants TE Evan Engram (foot) is expected to play in Week 14 after missing the previous three games with a foot injury. 'All indications are he'll be ready to go,' Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said before practice Friday, Dec. 6.
Fantasy Spin: A return for Engram, who ranks sixth among tight ends with an average of 13.7 PPR points per game, would be a welcome sight for his fantasy teams who have had to make do without him for the last month. We'll, of course, check the practice and injury reports leading up to Monday night's game in Philly, but the light appears green at the moment.