Injury Status: Week 7

Thu Oct 22 10:19am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

I wanted to talk some strategy when it comes to injury. Most of you probably do this but if not, here is a tip. If you have an injured player that is iffy to play. Try to use him in your flex spot so you have some flexibility if the player has to miss the game. That way you aren’t tied into using a specific position if the player misses. I realize that some circumstances might not allow that. You might have three must plays at running back each week, trying up a flex spot. But again, if you have flexibility at the flex spot, try to use those game-time decisions at those spots. Just a thought.

Now here is the latest injury news from around the league. . . . .

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles. Jeffery is trying to return from a foot injury but apparently injured his calf in practice this week. Both injuries will keep him out of action this week once again. We aren’t sure when he returns to action. Hopefully, sooner than later. 

Denzel Mims, WR, Jets. Mims is finally nearing a return from his hamstring injury. As long as he doesn’t have any setbacks in practice this week, the Jets expect to have Mims in the lineup. He could make an impact in a hurry, getting a chance to play a role in a passing game looking for options at receiver.

DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles. Jackson is not even on the Injury Report this week. His hamstring injury is finally near full strength. He could play a big role right away, getting a chance to head right back into the starting lineup. 

Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles. Ertz suffered a high-ankle sprain last week and is going to miss a good chunk of time with the injury. He could be out almost a month. Dallas Goedert will start for the Eagles if he is healthy enough to play.

Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles. Sanders is another injured Eagle. He will miss the game this week because of a knee injury. The good news is Sanders seemed to avoid something too serious. He might not be out much longer than this week. Boston Scott should get the start for the Eagles in Week 7.

Dallas Goedert, TE, Eagles. Goedert is eligible to return from Injured Reserve this week and has a chance to be ready for the Week 7 game. He is up in the air right now but has not been ruled out. He is looking like a game-time decision. But if he is active for this week, he is a top fantasy play as the starter in this offense. Goedert has huge upside going forward.

Jonnu Smith, TE, Titans. Smith suffered a sprained ankle last week and left the game early. His ankle injury is not considered too serious, though. Smith has been limited in practice this week and has a decent shot to play. We should have a better idea later in the week but consider him a decent bet to play right now. If Smith happens to sit out, Anthony Firkser would start for the Titans and have good fantasy value.

Sam Darnold, QB, Jets. Darnold has missed the last few games with a shoulder injury. He is practicing on a limited basis this week, so he is getting closer to a return. The Jets aren’t going to rush him back unless he is ready, though, so another week missed is likely for Darnold.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs. Watkins remains out of practice because of hamstring injury. He is not expected to play this week, giving Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman more playing time at receiver.

Michael Thomas, WR, Saints. Thomas sat out last week because of disciplinary reasons, but was also nursing an ankle injury. He has a new injury, though, besides the ankle, having some sort of hamstring injury. So he is dealing with two injuries, but was able to practice on a limited basis to start the week. He seems to have a decent shot to return this week but keep an eye on the practice notes late in the week before putting him in your lineup. He isn’t a sure thing to play just yet, looking like a game-time decision.

Raheem Mostert, RB, 49ers. Mostert left the game early last week because of an ankle injury. He is not expected to play this week and could miss a few weeks of action. Jerrick McKinnon will start while Mostert is out of the lineup once again.

DJ Chark, WR, Jaguars. Chark was back in the lineup last week but remains limited in practice because of an ankle injury. He should be good to go this weekend after playing last week and getting near his usual workload.

Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers. Allen was off last week but had to leave the previous week’s game because of back spasms. The Chargers are downplaying the injury, but he has been limited in practice to start the week. We would expect him to play but a back injury is a little scary because it could pop up at any time. But if active, it is hard to sit Allen because of his huge upside.

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 jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

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Player Notes
Alvin Kamara Dec 3 6:20pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (foot) and wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) were both limited participants in Thursday's practice. Both Thomas and Kamara have had their practice reps capped in each of the past two weeks as they continue to deal with their respective injuries. There's nothing to suggest that they won't be on the field come Sunday, though fantasy managers would be wise to keep a watchful eye on Friday's injury report. Both players should be in fantasy lineups if they're active, though they both carry a bit more risk than normal in the absence of Drew Brees (ribs, lung).

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Sterling Shepard Dec 3 6:20pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard has been the team's top-receiver since coming back from a toe injury in Week 7 and will look to stay hot against a beatable Seahawks secondary. Shepard has at least six catches in every game since Week 7 as he's been the lone trustworthy Giants receiver in fantasy. New York will likely be starting backup QB Colt McCoy this week so Shepard's ceiling is lowered some. However, Shepard should be started as a low-end WR2 in fantasy given his target share and a matchup with Seattle, who allows the most PPR fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

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Darius Slayton Dec 3 6:20pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton has been a boom-or-bust option for fantasy all season and is a risky start despite a good matchup in Seattle. Slayton's targets have been sporadic with a season-high of 11 targets and a season-low of one target. He's eclipsed 90 yards thrice, but has also been held under 10 yards twice. To make matters worse, New York will likely be without starter Daniel Jones (hamstring) and turn to 10-year journeyman Colt McCoy. Slayton is not a recommended start despite facing a Seahawks Defense that allows the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

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Evan Engram Dec 3 6:00pm ET

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram has been the top-pass catcher in the offense over the last month and will look to keep that momentum in a road date with the Seahawks. Engram has nine-plus targets in four of his last five games and put up a season-high 129 yards last week. New York will likely be starting backup QB Colt McCoy this week, but fantasy managers should still trust Engram's volume given the dearth of startable tight end options. Engram is a must-start tight end in all formats.

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Todd Gurley Dec 3 6:00pm ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring), running back Todd Gurley II (knee), and tight end Hayden Hurst (ankle) all missed Thursday's practice. All three were able to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday, so it's certainly not ideal to see a downgrade in their activity levels. Still, the Falcons could just be exercising caution with three important offensive players ahead of a divisional tilt with New Orleans. It is worth noting that Jones and Gurley missed last week's contest due to their injuries. If Jones or Hurst were unable to play, it would open up even more targets for Calvin Ridley (foot, ankle), who has gotten in two limited sessions so far this week. Backups Brian Hill and Ito Smith would operate in a committee if Gurley were to miss the contest.

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Graham Gano Dec 3 5:50pm ET

New York Giants kicker Graham Gano has been solid over the last several games but becomes a risky fantasy start with Big Blue likely starting backup QB Colt McCoy in Seattle. Gano is 5-for-five on 40-plus yard kicks over the last three weeks and hasn't missed a field goal since Week 2. Despite the accuracy, there's the risk the New York offense struggles to put up points making Gano a risky start in fantasy. Most fantasy managers should be able to find a better kicker option on waivers.

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New York Giants Dec 3 5:40pm ET

The New York Giants Defense has been a solid unit in fantasy in recent weeks, but that ends in Week 13 with a daunting matchup in Seattle. Russell Wilson and company have been one of the best offenses in football this season and New York hasn't been good enough to trust when they have a bad matchup. To make matters worse, the Giants will likely be starting backup QB Colt McCoy which puts the defense at risk to be playing with bad field position most of the afternoon. The Giants defense is not a recommended start in fantasy for this matchup.

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Breshad Perriman Dec 3 5:33pm ET

New York Jets LB Blake Cashman (hamstrings), OL Alex Lewis (non-injury), DL John Franklin-Myers (non-injury) and RB Frank Gore (non-injury) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 3. OL George Fant (knee, ankle), OL Pat Elflein (shoulder) and WR Breshad Perriman (shoulder) were limited. OL Connor McGovern (elbow), QB Sam Darnold (shoulder) and OL Chuma Edoga (ankle) practiced in full.

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Jimmy Graham Dec 3 5:33pm ET

Chicago Bears TE Jimmy Graham (non-injury) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 3.

Fantasy Spin: Graham has been held to under 40 yards in seven of his last eight games and can be avoided in most fantasy leagues.

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Jordan Reed Dec 3 5:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end Jordan Reed has seen exactly six targets in each of his past two games. He caught five of his six targets for 62 yards in Week 10, but only managed two catches for 18 yards in Week 12. This week, the 49ers have a favorable matchup against the Buffalo Bills, who are allowing 373.1 yards from scrimmage per game on the year. Reed should see around six targets once again, which gives him a chance to deliver a decent PPR game, but his upside is limited. He shouldn't be started in any non-PPR leagues.

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Alfred Morris Dec 3 5:30pm ET

New York Giants running backs Alfred Morris and Dion Lewis have split time as the backup to Wayne Gallman and neither has seen enough work to trust in fantasy. Morris has been the change-of-pace runner, but is yet to see double-digit carries in a game and has just one target on the season. Lewis, on the other hand, has been a passing-downs back and has just one game with more than three carries and that was back in Week 2 when Saquon Barkley (knee) left mid-game. Both can be left on waivers in fantasy.

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San Francisco 49ers Dec 3 5:30pm ET

The 49ers Defense had a fantastic outing in Week 13, forcing four turnovers against the Los Angeles Rams. This week, however, they are in a tough spot as they face a Buffalo Bills team that is averaging 27.2 points per game on the year. While they may end up forcing a few Josh Allen turnovers, the 49ers could surrender around 30 or more points this week, which would make for a rough fantasy week. They can remain on the waiver wire this week as you look for other options.

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Nelson Agholor Dec 3 5:23pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders S Johnathan Abram (knee), WR Nelson Agholor (ankle), DT Maliek Collins (hamstring, ankle) and RB Josh Jacobs (ankle) did not participate in practice for a second consecutive day Thursday, Dec. 3. CB Damon Arnette (concussion, neck), OG Denzelle Good (ankle), DT Maurice Hurst (ankle, calf), LB Nick Kwiatkoski (ankle), OT Sam Young (knee) and CB Isaiah Johnson (groin) were limited. RB Devontae Booker (back), S Erik Harris (cafl), C Rodney Hudson (knee), FB Alec Ingold (ribs), OG Gabe Jackson (knee), OT Kolton Miller (ankle), DE Carl Nassib (knee) and RB Jalen Richard (chest) practiced in full.

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Matthew Stafford Dec 3 5:23pm ET

Detroit Lions WR Quintez Cephus (non-injury), WR Kenny Golladay (hip), DL Da'Shawn Hand (groin), CB Jeff Okudah (shoulder) and RB D'Andre Swift (illness) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 3. DE Austin Bryant (thigh), LB Christian Jones (knee) and QB Matthew Stafford (thumb) were limited. WR Danny Amendola (hip), TE Hunter Bryant (concussion) and CB Mike Ford (concussion) practiced in full.

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Brandon Aiyuk Dec 3 5:20pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is set to make his return from the COVID-19/Reserve List in Week 13 against the Buffalo Bills. Aiyuk has tallied at least 75 receiving yards in each of his past three active games. Fellow receiver Deebo Samuel broke out in a big way in Week 12 with 11 catches on 13 targets. This week, Aiyuk and Samuel should split the bulk of the targets from quarterback Nick Mullens. The Bills are extremely vulnerable against the pass, allowing 243.5 passing yards per game, so both Aiyuk and Samuel should produce. Start Aiyuk with confidence as a WR3 this week.

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Wayne Gallman Dec 3 5:20pm ET

New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman has seen his touches increase in five-straight weeks and has burst into must-start status in fantasy as the lead-back for the G-Men. It's unlikely Gallman will handle more touches than the 27 he had last week, but with starting QB Daniel Jones (hamstring) unlikely to play this week Gallman will still see plenty of work against a middle-of-the-pack run defense in Seattle. Gallman has six touchdowns in his last five games and is the most likely Giant to find pay-dirt this week. Start Gallman as a volume-based RB2 in all formats.

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Jimmy Graham Dec 3 5:13pm ET

Chicago Bears LB Khalil Mack (back) did not participate in practice for a second consecutive day Thursday, Dec. 3. DT Akiem Hicks (hamstring), OT Charles Leno Jr. (toe) and OL Germain Ifedi (leg) were limited. TE Jimmy Graham (rest), CB Buster Skrine (rest), LB Danny Trevathan (rest), QB Nick Foles (hip), OL Rashaad Coward (knee), S Sherrick McManis (hand), LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder), DT Brent Urban (ankle, hand), LB James Vaughters (knee) and LB Josh Woods (foot) practiced in full.

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Jack Cichy Dec 3 5:13pm ET

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Jack Cichy was claimed off waivers by the New England Patriots Thursday, Dec. 3, according to a source.

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Zach Ertz Dec 3 5:13pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Dec. 3.

Fantasy Spin: Ertz likely will be able to play in the Week 13 game, but it is not known if he will be eased into the offense or have his normal workload. He could be a low-end No. 1 tight end in some leagues but is not a must-start option.

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Deebo Samuel Dec 3 5:10pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel had his 2020 breakout performance in Week 12, when he caught 11 of his 13 targets for 133 yards. Samuel will likely see his targets go down this week as the team will get Brandon Aiyuk back from a stint on the COVID-19/Reserve List. However, the 49ers have a much better matchup this week against the Buffalo Bills than they did last week against the Los Angeles Rams. The Bills are allowing 243.5 passing yards per game this year. Both Samuel and Aiyuk should be able to do some damage. Start Samuel as a WR3 in all formats this week.

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