Thu Sep 19 8:53am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Well, that wasn’t a good week for injuries, was it? There were several big-name players that were injured, causing shockwaves throughout fantasy land. Hopefully, the injury bug didn’t hit you too hard. But if it did, the good news it is early and you have time to get your roster in order for the rest of the season. Don’t give up hope!
Here is the latest injury news from around the league. . . . .
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers. Newton remains in a walking boot because of a foot injury and is yet to practice this week. His status is not looking great right now. He might not be able to practice all week after aggravating a previous foot injury. At this point, we think Newton will miss the game but keep an eye on the player notes for the latest. Kyle Allen is the starter if Newton sits.
David Njoku, TE, Browns. Njoku was knocked from last week’s game because of a concussion. He also apparently suffered a wrist injury in the game. The wrist injury was much more serious, breaking his wrist. He will be sidelined at least four weeks with the injury.
Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants. Shepard missed last week’s game because of a concussion he suffered in the opener. He still isn’t practicing in full just yet, which means he hasn’t passed the concussion protocol. We would expect him to be able to return this week, but we won’t know for sure for another day or two. Stay tuned.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles. Jeffery had to leave last week’s game because of a calf injury. He is not expected to play this week because of the injury and could miss a few weeks of action.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles. Jackson is another Eagles receiver that went down with an injury. His injury was a groin injury and also could keep him out a few weeks. Nelson Agholor becomes the top option at receiver with Jeffery and Jackson out of action.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Eagles. Goedert is another injured Eagles player Goedert also is suffering from a calf injury. He has not been ruled out yet but things don’t look great for him right now. He could miss a week or two, making Zach Ertz the only prime target for the Eagles at tight end.
James Conner, RB, Steelers. Conner injured his knee last week but says the injury isn’t serious. He expects to play this week and have close to his usual workload. This injury is something to monitor but feel pretty good using him right about now.
Tyler Kroft, TE, Bills. Kroft is yet to play this year after breaking his foot in May. He is practicing in full for the first time all season this week. Kroft is right on track to play, barring a setback. He should move into the starting lineup for the Bills and could be a player to monitor going forward.
Devin Singletary, RB, Bills. Singletary suffered a hamstring strain last week and had to leave the game. He is being held out of practice to start the week, which is not a good sign. At this point, we don’t see Singletary playing this week, giving Frank Gore an even bigger workload at running back for the Bills.
Albert Wilson, WR, Dolphins. Wilson still isn’t practicing after aggravating his calf injury in Week 1. Things do not look good for him to play this week. He might be a few weeks away from returning.
Drew Brees, QB, Saints. Brees injured his thumb last week and need surgery to repair the injury. Early reports are he is expected to be back within eight weeks. Teddy Bridgewater takes over as the starter for the Saints while Brees is out of action.
Damien Williams, RB, Chiefs. Williams hurt his knee last week and left the game a little early. He has not practiced yet this week and is going to be questionable to play this week. Consider him a true game-time decision.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Chiefs. McCoy sprained his ankle during the game last week and had an MRI on the injury. He avoided something serious but still is in danger of missing the game this week. Just like Williams, McCoy did not practice Wednesday. He is going to be another game-time decision for the Chiefs. You would expect one of these two backs to play but it isn’t certain which one right now.
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys. Gallup is going to miss a couple weeks of action because of a knee injury. He had to undergo minor knee surgery to repair his meniscus tear. Early indications are he will miss two to four weeks of action. This opens the door for Devin Smith and Randall Cobb to get more targets in the Cowboys offense while Gallup is out of action.
Marlon Mack, RB, Colts. This is a little bit of a surprise, but Mack has been out of practice to start the week because of a calf injury. This is a new injury, so we’ll keep you posted. At this point, it doesn’t sound too serious. He still would seem to have a decent shoot to play, especially if he gets in some practice before the week is out. Jordan Wilkins would get most of the work at running back if Mack were unable to play.
Sam Darnold, QB, Jets. Darnold remains out because of mono but is targeting a Week 5 return. This means he will miss this week’s game and get the Jets’ bye week to get two more weeks of rest before returning Week 5. Luke Falk gets the start at quarterback this week with backup Trevor Siemian also injured.
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.
Five Hot Starts: Week 4
Carolina Panthers running back Mike Davis will take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4. Carolina had no qualms about Davis as their lead back, considering he handled 21 touches in his first game as the starter. While it's foolish to count on McCaffrey-like production from Davis, he can certainly deliver strong fantasy numbers with this kind of volume. The Cardinals' defense ranks 20th in fantasy points allowed to halfbacks, so it's a matchup where the 27-year-old can do some damage. Davis may have slightly more value in PPR formats, as the Panthers may be playing catch-up against the Cardinals, lending him more work in the passing game. Still, he can be played as a high-end RB2/low-end RB1 in Week 4 across all formats.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (ankle) and wide receiver Scotty Miller (groin, hip) are both missing practice on Thursday for the second straight day. Fournette suffered a minor ankle injury in the Week 3 win over the Broncos, but he'll need to get in at least a limited practice on Friday to have a shot at facing the Chargers in Week 4, where he's be an RB3/flex for fantasy managers. If he can't go, Ronald Jones II would become more intriguing as a flex play in deeper leagues. If healthy, Miller will be Tampa's No. 2 wideout with Chris Godwin (hamstring) out again. But even if Miller suits up, it's worth noting that he played just 43 percent of the snaps last weekend, making him a WR4/5, even if he plays. Justin Watson or rookie Tyler Johnson would be the Bucs No. 2 wideout against the Bolts if Miller is inactive.
The Cleveland Browns Defense draws a tough road matchup against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4. Despite the unit coming off an excellent outing against Washington in Week 3, the Browns are not a recommended fantasy option vs. Dallas this weekend. The Cowboys sport an explosive offense and are installed as 4.5-point favorites for Week 4. This game has a high over/under set at 55.5 points and many expect it to develop into a shootout. Fantasy managers who have been counting on the Browns defense will want to look elsewhere for production this week.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is a sleeper in Week 4 despite a tough matchup against the Cardinals. Arizona has allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing signal-callers, though they've surrendered two passing touchdowns in two of three contests this season. Bridgewater quietly ranks in the top-10 in passing yards, completion percentage and yards per attempt. He's had to throw the ball at least 34 times in two games this year because his defense has struggled- and he could be forced to sling it against a Cardinals' team scoring 25.7 points per game. Bridgewater is a good play this week in 2-QB or DFS formats and could also be a nice pivot for those who have Ben Roethlisberger or Ryan Tannehill as their starting quarterbacks in redraft leagues.
The Atlanta Falcons signed kicker Elliott Fry to their practice squad on Thursday with Younghoe Koo (groin) expected to miss time with a groin strain. There's a chance that Fry is elevated to the active roster in time to make his NFL debut on Monday night against the Packers. The Falcons have no other place kicker on their roster, so we'd expect Fry to get the nod this week unless they bring in another kicker between now and Monday. The Falcons have scored plenty of points through three weeks, making Koo fantasy relevant in the majority of leagues, but Fry should be avoided if he gets a shot because of his lack of experience.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) missed his second straight day of practice on Thursday, and it's unclear when the issue arose for Hopkins. Nuk leads the league in catches (32) and yards (356) through the first three weeks, so his status should be monitored closely as we approach their Week 4 game against the Panthers. The All-Pro receiver is obviously a must-start if he's active, but his fantasy managers need to keep a close eye on his status heading into the weekend. If Hopkins needs to sit out, Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella could be quarterback Kyler Murray's top three wideouts.
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said that running back Kareem Hunt (groin) will not practice on Thursday. This is one to watch, as Hunt also missed practice on Wednesday. Even though Nick Chubb is the team's lead running back, Hunt has been involved enough in this offense to warrant weekly RB2 consideration. That would continue in Week 4 against the Cowboys if Hunt is healthy enough to play, but his fantasy managers need to monitor his status heading into the weekend. If Hunt cannot play, Chubb will be a no-doubt RB1, while receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry could see more aerial targets. D'Ernest Johnson would be next up as Chubb's direct backup.
Tennessee Titans star wide receiver A.J. Brown (knee) had a chance to play in Week 4, but he's instead expected to return in Week 5 after the team had their Week 4 contest against the Steelers pushed back due to COVID-19 concerns. Brown has been dealing with a bone bruise and has missed the last two games. He should be at or close to full strength next week against the Bills. The 23-year-old had a quiet Week 1 against the Broncos, but it could've been due to the fact that he injured his knee in that contest. If Brown is back against Buffalo next weekend, he'll have a tough matchup on his hands in All-Pro cornerback Tre'Davious White, so fantasy managers may want to temper expectations a bit.
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (toe) is now considered unlikely to play on Thursday night against the Jets, according to a source. Lindsay practiced this week and is on the trip and is feeling better, but the Broncos could play it safe and hold him out for another week. A final decision will likely come closer to game time, so check back then if you were considering starting him as an RB4/flex in much deeper leagues. It'd be wise to avoid him altogether if he's active, since he'd be unlikely to see a big enough workload behind Melvin Gordon III. Royce Freeman is on track to serve as Gordon's backup yet again, but he's unlikely to see more than a handful of touches.
Baltimore Ravens All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey is signing a five-year, $98.75 million contract extension on Thursday, according to a source. The deal comes with $66 million in guarantees. Humphrey is one of the best corners in the league and had the best year of his career in 2019, racking up 65 tackles, three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. The 24-year-old former first-rounder has 14 combined tackles, two QB hits, one interception, four passes defensed and one forced fumble in three games so far in 2020. Humphrey is exceptional for the Ravens Defense, but he's not really in play for fantasy managers in IDP leagues.
Baltimore Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey agreed to a five-year, $98.75 million extension Thursday, Oct. 1.
Free-agent S T.J. Ward (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed deal with the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Oct. 1.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry heads to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in Week 4. Landry is off to a quiet start, averaging just 4.0 catches per game through the first three weeks of the season. While he has descended to WR3 status in fantasy, Landry does have the potential for a big game in Week 4. The Cowboys have an explosive offense and a shaky pass defense that ranks just 24th in DVOA. Those two factors could combine to turn this game into a shootout, which would benefit Landry greatly. Fantasy managers can treat Landry as an upside WR3 in Week 4.
Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper is off to a slow start with his new team. Through three games, Hooper has just seven receptions for 62 scoreless yards and hasn't drawn more than four targets in a game. He does have the potential to break out in Week 4 as the Browns travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys. Dallas has a high-scoring offense and a shaky defense, which could turn this game into a blowout. That would benefit Hooper as he could see an uptick in usage in the passing game. That being said, it will be hard to trust him as anything more than a TE2 until he proves it on the field.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is off to a modest start in 2020. Through three games has hauled in 11 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown on 22 targets. He has the potential for a big game in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys as Dallas has an explosive offense and a shaky pass defense. Those two factors could combine to force Cleveland to throw more passes than they have attempted over the past two games. Fantasy gamers can start Beckham as a solid WR2 for Week 4's matchup with Dallas.
New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder (hamstring) will play in Week 4 Thursday, Oct. 1, against the Denver Broncos.
Fantasy Spin: The tweet ended with "he's not 100 percent, but he'll give it a go." That doesn't exude confidence in your WR3 on a Thursday night. Keep that in mind.
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb travels to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in Week 4. Chubb could see an increased workload as Kareem Hunt's status for Week 4 is in question after he missed Wednesday's practice with a groin injury. If Hunt is unable to suit up, Chubb can be treated as a solid RB1 in Week 4 and a lock-button building block in DFS contests. Even if Hunt does play, fantasy gamers can still lean on Chubb as a quality RB2 in fantasy. The Cowboys run defense ranks 15th in DVOA through three games. Their pass defense has been even worse, which sets this contest up as a potential shootout. The Browns should make plenty of trips to the red zone, so Chubb has a good shot at finding the end zone this weekend.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield heads to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in Week 4. The Browns have leaned heavily on the run through the first three games of the season, which has capped Mayfield's weekly upside. The third-year quarterback is averaging just 28.3 pass attempts per game and only topped 23 attempts once, in a Week 1 blowout against the Baltimore Ravens. Sunday's game against an explosive Dallas offense could force the Browns to throw with more frequency as there is potential for a shootout considering the Cowboys' shaky defense. Mayfield remains a QB2 in fantasy but he does have high upside, especially in DFS tournaments, for Week 4.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) returned to practice on Wednesday. Thomas has been out the past two weeks while nursing an ankle sprain. In Wednesday's practice, Thomas was reportedly moving well and showing good signs of progress. He's currently questionable for Week 4 against the Detroit Lions. If he's able to go, Drew Brees will see a boost in his value, while Tre'Quan Smith and Emmanuel Sanders become more risky plays. Make sure to monitor the situation closely over the next few days if you're a Thomas owner.
New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring) is expected to play in the team's Week 4 game on Thursday night against the Denver Broncos. Crowder missed the team's previous two games while dealing with a hamstring injury. It doesn't sound as if Crowder will be 100% for the Thursday's game, but he is still worth starting as a WR3 in all fantasy formats, especially in PPR. In his only game this year, Crowder caught seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. The Jets have been sorely missing him in their passing game the previous two weeks.