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Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Pickups - Week 7

Things are starting to get difficult for fantasy football managers.

Indianapolis, Minnesota, Miami and Baltimore all have the week off, so fantasy managers are already playing shorthanded. Fielding a full lineup is going to be tough as it is if you have a few injuries. If one of your key guys is listed as questionable heading into their game, you better have a backup plan the A-Team would have been proud of back in the 80s.

Without further ado, here are my pivot plays and post-waiver pickups for Week 7 --- and the questionable superstars who you might need to replace:

 

Week 7 Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Pickups

Darren Fells (HOU, TE) vs. GB

If Denver’s Noah Fant (ankle) cannot go again on Sunday, you could go with…

Before you go thinking Fells is a bottom-of-the-barrel choice at the tight end position, remember that he scored a career-high seven touchdowns last year. Deshaun Watson loved throwing to him inside the red zone, but then early in 2020 Fells lost his place as Houston’s top tight end to up-and-comer Jordan Akins. Fells subsequently only caught six passes over his first four games.

Akins is banged-up with multiple injuries, however, and Fells has reclaimed his role and has thrived just like he did last season. He recorded eight receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown during the last two weeks he has been Houston’s main man at tight end. Fells is a nice fallback option if you are a Fant fan who gets burned at the last minute as his home matchup against Green Bay should not scare any fantasy managers away.

 

Anthony Firkser (TEN, TE) vs. PIT

If Tennessee’s Jonnu Smith (ankle) cannot suit up on Sunday, you could go with…

Backup tight ends are about as valuable in fantasy football as punters and waterboys. Even if you were in an AFC South fantasy league you probably would have passed on Firkser. Smith started strong as Tennessee’s top tight end (19-234-5) and made Firkser a fantasy non-factor the first month-plus, but Smith is on a limpy leg due to an ankle injury suffered this past week.

All Firkser did once Smith got hurt last Sunday was step in and step up to the tune of eight catches for 113 yards and a touchdown. I know Firkser is facing an undefeated Pittsburgh team with a top-10 pass defense, but we have seen how well the Titans passing attack has gone with Ryan Tannehill as its leader. No matter who is plugged in as a pass catcher, that person produces when Tannehill is throwing to him. Firkser is the perfect insurance policy if you have Smith on your roster. 40 yards and a TD is not out of the question if he starts for Smith.

 

Nelson Agholor (LV, WR) vs. TB (MONDAY)

If New Orleans’ Michael Thomas (ankle) cannot find his way to the field on Sunday, you could go with…

Agholor is getting to be a modern-day Cris Carter --- all he does is catch touchdown passes. Despite only being targeted 11 times in five games, Agholor has reached the end zone a trio of times and is averaging an impressive 18.5 yards per catch after never averaging more than 12.5 yards a catch in any of his first four seasons.

Agholor is not Derek Carr’s top target or second-best target. Might not even be his third-best. The fact is that Agholor is making plays every time the ball is spiraled his way, however, and he could break a play or two versus Tampa Bay on Sunday night. When picking up a player for fantasy purposes when you have a lineup emergency, it is sometimes best to get a game breaker who can post a ton of fantasy points in one shot rather than go for a guy who needs a volume of targets to be worthwhile. Agholor has shown he can give fantasy managers a lot with just one or two catches in a game.

 

Frank Gore (NYJ, RB) vs. BUF

If Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon (foot) cannot overcome his injury on Sunday, you could go with…

I know Gore is 100 years old. I know being a favorite of Adam Gase is like being a favorite of Rich Kotite. And I know Gore has not amassed more than 70 combined yards in a game this season and is facing a desperate Buffalo defense that will be out for blood after losing two straight games and tail spinning out of control. I know all this.

I also know that there is not much on the waiver wire at running back at this point of the season, especially at the end of the week after the first round of waiver picks have happened. On top of that, Buffalo has the 25th-ranked run defense in the league and can be exploited if the Jets offensive line brings its best game of the season. The Jets have nowhere to go but up, and neither does Gore. If you need someone in a pinch if Mixon’s foot holds him back, you might as well plug in this veteran and pray for the best. One thing is for sure --- Gore will get touches because there is not much behind him on the depth chart in the Jets backfield.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:

 

2020 Updates - Running List

Week 6

 

Week 5

 

Week 4

Week 3

Week 2

Week 1 - 2020

 

2019 Updates - Running List

Week 17

  • Leonard Fournette (illness, neck) has been downgraded to doubtful.
  • Josh Jacobs (shoulder) has officially been ruled out for Week 17.
  • Zach Ertz (back, ribs) and Nelson Agholor (knee) have been ruled out.
  • Jordan Howard (shoulder) has been cleared for Week 17 and will return.
  • Derrick Henry (hamstring) will make his return this week.
  • Jamaal Williams (shoulder) will not play in Week 17 against the Lions.
  • Sony Michel (illness) has been added to the Week 17 injury report.
  • Kyler Murray (hamstring) will be a game-time decision in Week 17.
  • Mark Ingram (calf) has officially been ruled out for Week 17.
  • James Conner (quadriceps) will not play in the 2019 finale.
  • Dalvin Cook (shoulder) has been ruled out for Week 17 against the Bears.
  • Alexander Mattison (ankle) is questionable to play in Week 17 against the Bears.
  • Jordan Wilkins (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 17 against the Jaguars.
  • Robby Anderson (calf) and Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) are questionable.
  • D.J. Moore (concussion) has been ruled out for Week 17 against the Saints.
  • Will Fuller (groin) will not play in Week 17.
  • Terry McLaurin (concussion) has been officially ruled out.
  • Chris Godwin (hamstring) has officially been ruled out for the Week 17 season finale against the Falcons.
  • Corey Davis (concussion) has passed the league's concussion protocol.
  • Rams placed rookie running back Darrell Henderson (ankle) on Injured Reserve.
  • The Steelers placed quarterback Mason Rudolph (shoulder) on Injured Reserve.
  • Marshawn Lynch has signed a deal and will return to the Seahawks.
  • Cincinnati Bengals placed wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle) on Injured Reserve.

 

Week 16

  • Chris Carson (hip) suffered a fractured hip in Week 16 and is out for the season.
  • Zach Ertz (rib) suffered a fractured rib in the Week 16 win over the Cowboys.
  • Dwayne Haskins (ankle) suffered a high ankle sprain in the Week 16 loss to the Giants.
  • Kyler Murray tweaked his hamstring on Sunday against the Seahawks.
  • Mark Ingram rushed for 55 yards before leaving with a calf injury Sunday.
  • LeSean McCoy is officially inactive for Week 16.
  • David Njoku is officially inactive this week.
  • Derrick Henry (hamstring) will miss Week 16.
  • Dalvin Cook (shoulder) and Alexander Mattison (ankle) are not expected to play.
  • Damien Williams (rib) has been cleared to play on Sunday night.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) will make his return this week.
  • D.J. Chark (ankle) is surprisingly expected to play in Week 16.
  • Kerryon Johnson (knee) is expected to return, but could be limited.
  • DeVante Parker (hip) is good to go for Week 16.
  • Dak Prescott (shoulder) was limited in practice all week but start.
  • Joe Mixon (calf) practiced in full on Friday and is good to go.
  • Christian Kirk (ankle) will be a game-time decision in Week 16.
  • Bo Scarbrough (ribs) was limited in practice all week and is questionable.
  • Robby Anderson (illness) was limited in practice on Friday and is questionable.
  • Gerald Everett (knee) is expected to return this week.
  • Nelson Agholor (knee) and Jordan Howard (shoulder) are listed as questionable.
  • Noah Fant (shoulder) is listed as questionable for Week 16.
  • Vance McDonald (concussion) practiced in full and will return this week.
  • Greg Zuerlein (quadriceps) missed practice all week and is questionable.
  • A.J. Green (ankle) has been officially ruled out for Week 16.
  • Chris Godwin (hamstring) has been ruled out for Week 16.

 

Week 15

 

Week 14

 

Week 13

  • Amari Cooper (knee) was a full participant in practice on Monday.
  • Frank Reich is hopeful that wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf) will return this season.
  • Zac Taylor expects John Ross (collarbone) to be active for Week 14.
  • T.J. Hockenson (ankle) is going on Injured Reserve.
  • Andy Reid said Darrel Williams (hamstring) likely will not play in Week 14.
  • Chester Rogers (knee) suffered a likely season-ending fractured knee.
  • Austin Hooper (knee) is expected to return to practice on Monday
  • Gardner Minshew will start over Nick Foles going forward.
  • Matt Breida (ankle) has officially been ruled out again.
  • Zach Ertz (hamstring) is questionable for this week.
  • Kyler Murray (hamstring) is officially good to go.
  • Marlon Mack (hand) is targeting to return next week.
  • Adam Thielen (hamstring) is 50-50 for Monday Night Football this week.
  • Golden Tate (concussion) is out for this week.
  • Tyler Lockett is good to go for MNF against the Vikings.
  • David Njoku (wrist) will miss another week.
  • Chase Edmonds will return from injury in Week 13.
  • Drew Lock (thumb) will make his first NFL start today instead of Brandon Allen.
  • Jeff Driskel (hamstring) has officially been placed on injured reserve.
  • Damien Williams (chest) has been ruled out for Week 13.
  • Gerald Everett (knee) will not play this week.
  • T.Y. Hilton (calf) suffered a setback, and has now been ruled out for this week.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) will miss another game this week.
  • Matt Breida (ankle) was limited in practice all week and is questionable for Week 13.
  • George Kittle (ankle, knee), Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) and Deebo Samuel (shoulder) are all good to go.
  •  Jacob Hollister (toe) was a limited participant in practice on Friday and is questionable.
  • Lions rookie quarterback David Blough will start instead of Jeff Driskel, who is dealing with a hamstring injury and will serve as the backup.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion, knee) cleared the league's concussion protocol but remains out of practice with a knee injury. It's not looking good for this week.
  • Devonta Freeman (foot) is set to return on Thursday against the Saints after missing the last two games.
  • Julio Jones (shoulder) was questionable to face the Saints on Thursday, and flagged as a game-time decision, but is now expected to suit up and play through his injury.
  • Damien Williams (ribs) did not practice on Wednesday. After a bye week, he still was not able to practice so it's not looking great right now.
  • Tyreek Hill (hamstring) returned to practice on Wednesday, and looks like he'll return in Week 13 against the Raiders.
  • Adam Thielen (hamstring) was held out of practice on Wednesday. He had an injury scare on Monday, and is now in danger of missing Week 13 after a bye week.
  • Jordan Howard (shoulder) has not been cleared for contact. It does not look like he'll be returning for this week's game.
  • Alshon Jeffery (ankle) and Nelson Agholor (knee) both practiced in full.
  • Chase Edmonds is on track to return from injury in Week 13.
  • Dante Pettis (knee) suffered a left knee injury early in Wednesday's practice.
  • Gerald Everett (knee) did not participate in practice on Wednesday.
  • Drew Lock (thumb) and Brandon Allen will split reps in practice this week.
  • Phillip Dorsett (concussion) said he has cleared the league's concussion protocol.
  • Marlon Mack (hand) is still out and remains out of practice on Wednesday.
  • Matthew Stafford (back, hip) missed practice all week and has been ruled out for Week 13.
  • Taylor Gabriel (concussion) has been ruled out for this week.
  • Austin Hooper (knee) will miss his third straight game in Week 13.
  •  Titans placed tight end Delanie Walker (ankle) on season-ending Injured Reserve.

 

Week 12

 

Week 11

 

Week 10

  • Tyler Lockett was forced from the game with a leg injury.
  • Emmanuel Sanders exited with a rib injury and did not return.
  • Devonta Freeman exited the game with a foot injury and did not return.
  • Matthew Stafford has been ruled out with fractured bones in his back.
  • Patrick Mahomes will make his return in Week 10.
  • Matt Ryan is good to go and will make his return this week.
  • Matthew Stafford (back) is a game time decision and has been advised by some not to play.
  • George Kittle (knee) is doubtful for Monday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.
  • David Johnson (ankle) practiced in full all week and is good to go for Week 10.
  • Kareem Hunt will make his season debut this week.
  • Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook are expected to both return this week.
  • Chris Herndon IV is expected to be active for the first time this season.
  • Le'Veon Bell is expected to suit up against the Giants this week.
  • Amari Cooper (knee/ankle) is expected to play in the Sunday night game.
  • Jacoby Brissett (knee) is out for Indy's Week 10 contest against the Miami Dolphins.
  • Lamar Jackson returned to practice on Friday and is expected to play on Sunday.
  • Evan Engram (foot) said he will not play in Week 10 against the Jets.
  • James Conner (shoulder) is not expected to play in Week 10.
  • Adam Thielen is officially ruled out for this week.
  • Davante Adams (toe) did not have an injury designation on Friday's report and is good to go.
  • Sterling Shepard (concussion) will remain on the bench for the fifth straight game.
  • T.J. Hockenson (head) is good to go for this week.
  • Adam Thielen (hamstring) is not expected to play in Week 10.
  • Amari Cooper (knee) is expected to return to practice on Friday and play on Sunday.
  • A.J. Green (ankle) will be out indefinitely after suffering a setback.
  • James Conner (shoulder), Trey Edmunds (ribs) and Benny Snell Jr. (knee) all missed practice on Thursday.
  • T.Y. Hilton (calf) remains out of practice for the second straight day on Thursday.
  • George Kittle (ankle, knee) will not practice on Thursday.
  • Le'Veon Bell (knee) will be limited in practice on Thursday.
  • Corey Davis (hip) and Delanie Walker (ankle) missed practice for the second straight day.
  •  The Giants are considering putting Sterling Shepard (concussion) on season-ending IR.

 

Week 9

  • Preston Williams (knee) was carted to the locker room early in the third quarter.
  • Jacoby Brissett (ankle, knee) was forced from the game and did not return.
  • DeSean Jackson (abdomen) aggravated his injury in Week 9 and did not return.
  • Dede Westbrook is officially inactive for Week 9.
  • James Conner (shoulder) is reportedly unlikely to play in Week 9.
  • Davante Adams is officially active and makes his return this week.
  • T.Y. Hilton (calf) is out for Week 9, and could be out for 3-4 weeks.
  • DeSean Jackson (abdomen) said the plan is for him to play in Week 9 against the Bears.
  • Adam Thielen (hamstring) is expected to play on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • Patrick Mahomes (knee) has officially been ruled out for this week.
  • Lions placed Tra Carson (hamstring) on IR and signed running back Paul Perkins.
  • Titans activated Ryan Succop (knee) from IR and waived Cody Parkey.
  • Adrian Peterson (ankle) returned to a full practice on Friday and is expected to play.
  • David Johnson (ankle) is expected to return in Week 10 against the Buccaneers.
  • Adam Gase isn't optimistic that tight end Chris Herndon IV (hamstring) will play.
  • Sterling Shepard (concussion) has cleared the league's concussion protocol and is set to return to action.
  • Patriots are activating rookie wide receiver N'Keal Harry (ankle) from Injured Reserve.
  • Bruce Arians has ruled out tight end O.J. Howard (hamstring) for Week 9.
  • Broncos placed quarterback Joe Flacco (neck) on season-ending Injured Reserve.
  • Case Keenum (concussion) has been ruled out and Dwayne Haskins will start instead.
  • Marquise Brown (ankle) is expected to play in Week 9.
  • David Johnson is still listed as questionable, but is not expected to play Thursday night.
  • Chase Edmonds (hamstring) will not play on Thursday night against the 49ers.
  • Davante Adams (toe) is day-to-day heading into Week 9 against the Chargers.
  • Patrick Mahomes (knee) was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday.
  • Adam Thielen (hamstring) got in a limited practice on Wednesday.
  • Miles Sanders (shoulder) is not practicing on Wednesday, but the belief remains that his injury is minor.
  • Cam Newton (foot) and wide receiver Curtis Samuel (shoulder) are not practicing on Wednesday.
  • Sterling Shepard (concussion) remains in the league's concussion protocol, but he took part in contact during practice.
  • Marquise Brown (ankle) returned to practice on Wednesday.
  • DeSean Jackson (abdomen) and running back Darren Sproles (quadriceps) both returned to practice.
  • James Conner (shoulder) did not practice on Wednesday.
  • Chris Herndon IV (hamstring) will remain a limited participant in practice on Wednesday.

 

Week 8

 

Week 7

 

Week 6

 

Week 5

 

Week 4

  • John Ross is now expected to miss several weeks due to his shoulder injury. It is reported that he could be out for a month. Auden Tate should see a bigger role in the passing game.
  • Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross (shoulder) injured his right shoulder on Monday night against the Steelers.
  • Vance McDonald is officially inactive for MNF.
  • Christian Kirk is dealing with an ankle injury, which occurred on the second-to-last play of the game.
  • Mitch Trubisky was knocked out of the game in the 1st quarter with a shoulder injury.
  • Josh Allen is being evaluated for a head injury and left the game in he 4th quarter.
  • Jarvis Landy has been ruled out with a concussion.
  • T.J. Hockenson was cared off the field after suffering a concussion.
  • Rashaad Penny (hamstring) is inactive for the 2nd straight week.
  • Jalen Ramsy (back) is officially ruled out.
  • Kenny Stills injured his hamstring and was forced from the game.
  • T.Y. Hilton is officially out with a quad injury.
  • Terry McLaurin has been ruled out for Week 4.
  • Chris Godwin Expected To Suit Up On Sunday
  • LeSean McCoy Good To Go For Week 4
  • T.Y. Hilton Doubtful To Face Raiders
  • Vance McDonald Doubtful For Monday Night
  • Julian Edelman Expected To Play Sunday
  • Jamaal Williams Released From Hospital
  • Cam Newton Won't Return Until He's 100 Percent
  •  Justin Jackson Could Be Out A Few Weeks
  • Terry McLaurin Expected To Play Sunday
  • Melvin Gordon will be active Sunday, but is expected to be on a limited snap count.
  • Davante Adams has been diagnosed with turf toe, but received good news on his MRI. It does not look like he has a serious injury, and is not expected to miss a lot of time.
  • Davante Adams left the game with a foot injury.
  • Alshon Jeffery is officially active for Week 4.
  • Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert are practicing in full, and expected to play this week.
  • Vance McDonald is in a sling, and it's still unknown how serious of an injury he has.
  • DeSean Jackson is not expected to play this week.
  • Cam Newton's foot injury will keep him out in Week 4, and most likely several weeks longer.
  • Saquon Barkley officially has been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, and is expected to miss at least 4-6 weeks.
  • Tevin Coleman may be able to return in Week 5, after the bye.
  • Julian Edelman is expected to be fine for Week 4.

 

Week 3

 

Week 2

 

Week 1

  • Tyreek Hill Expected To Miss A Few Weeks
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster Injures Toe In Loss To Patriots
  • Tevin Coleman Expected To Miss Time
  • Nick Foles Headed To IR
  • Derrius Guice Likely Sidelined
  • Devin Funchess Suffers Broken Collarbone
  • Will Dissly Injured Against Bengals
  • Mike Williams Suffers Knee Injury Sunday
  • Joe Mixon Questionable To Return In Week 1
  • Tyreek Hill Goes for 16 Yards Before Exiting
  • Nick Foles Suffers Broken Clavicle In Week 1
  • Albert Wilson Injured In Week 1

 

2018

Week 17

- Aaron Rodgers has been ruled out with a concussion.
- Antonio Brown is officially out.
- James Conner is officially active.
- Spencer Ware will not play again this week.
- Davante Adams is inactive for Week 17.
- Kenny Golladay has been ruled out.
- Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara are not playing.
- DeSean Jackson will not suit up in Week 17.
- D'Onta Foreman and Keke Coutee are officially not playing.
- Ezekiel Elliott will be rested in Week 17 and will not play. Backups Darius Jackson and Rod Smith are expected to split time at running back instead.
- Marcus Mariota will not play, Blaine Gabbert will start instead.
- Allen Robinson is out for this week.
- Julio Jones is expected to play this week.
- Lamar Miller will make his return on Sunday.
- James Conner is expected to return this week.
- Spencer Ware is practicing and should play.
- Rashaad Penny is expected to make his return in Week 17.
- Tyler Boyd has officially been ruled out.
- Odell Beckham Jr. will not play this week.
- Leonard Fournette will not play this week.
- Matt Breida and Marquise Goodwin both will not suit up.
- Todd Gurley is officially out again this week.
- Jordan Reed and Colt McCoy have been placed on IR.
- Phillip Lindsay has a serious wrist injury and will undergo surgery. His season is over.
- Taylor Heinicke has been placed on IR with an elbow injury.

 

Week 16

- Phillip Lindsay has been ruled out for the game with a wrist injury.
- Mike Wallace has been activated off of IR.
- Matt Breida will miss the remainder of the season.
- Dante Pettis has already been ruled out for next week.
- Rashaad Penny is expected to return in Week 17.
- Austin Ekeler should be back next week.
- Demaryius Thomas is believed to have a torn Achilles.
- Todd Gurley is officially inactive for today's game.
- Eric Ebron has left the game and is out with a concussion.
- Julio Jones is officially active.
- DeAndre Hopkins is officially playing.
- Spencer Ware has officially been ruled out.
- D'Onta Foreman will be active for the first time.
- Randall Cobb will not play this week.
- T.Y. Hilton is suiting up for Week 16.
- Lamar Miller has officially been ruled out.
- Keke Coutee is officially out this week.
- Rashaad Penny will be a game-time decision.
- Matt Breida will suit up in Week 16.
- Todd Gurley will be a game-time decision. If he ends up missing this week's game, then C.J. Anderson is expected to start.
- Julio Jones returned to practice but will be a pre-game decision.
- Spencer Ware is doubtful for this week.
- Lamar Miller is still questionable to play this week.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster is questionable, but teammates expect him to play.
- Odell Beckham Jr. has officially been ruled out.
- LeSean McCoy will make his return this week.
- James Conner has officially be ruled out.
- Austin Ekeler has been ruled out again for Saturday.
- Sammy Watkins is officially out.
- Tyler Boyd will not play again in Week 16.
- Jordan Reed will miss Saturday's game.
- Bruce Ellington is out again this week.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster left practice on Thursday with a new groin injury.
- Keenan Allen is practicing, but will be a game-time decision.
- Josh Gordon has officially been suspended indefinitely for violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement.
- Josh Gordon is stepping away from football to deal with his mental health. There are rumors that he may be suspended indefinitely for substance abuse.
- Melvin Gordon will make his return Saturday.
- Jamaal Williams has a new toe injury as of this week.
- Odell Beckham Jr. is still not practicing.
- Julio Jones only participated in walk-through.
- Aaron Rodgers practiced, Randall Cobb did not.
- LeSean McCoy was limited in practice.
- Sammy Watkins is still not practicing.
- Aaron Jones has been place on IR.
- Melvin Gordon was "full speed" on Tuesday.
- Marcus Murphy has been placed on IR.
- Odell Beckham Jr. could return in Week 16.
- Melvin Gordon has a decent chance to return in Week 16.
- Ito Smith has been placed on IR and will have knee surgery.
- Hunter Henry has been activated off the PUP.

 

Week 15

- Randall Cobb is in the concussion protocol.
- Marcus Murphy dislocated his elbow on Sunday.
- Frank Gore is expected to be out for the season.
- Tyler Boyd has an MCL sprain.
- Todd Gurley injured his knee, but is back in the game.
- Josh Adams (back) is questionable to return.
- James Conner is officially out for today's game.
- Julio Jones is back in the game.
- Tyler Boyd is out for the game with a knee injury.
- Julio Jones (ribs) is questionable to return.
- Aaron Jones has officially been ruled out for the game.
- Marcus Murphy (wrist) is questionable to return.
- Frank Gore was carted off with an ankle injury.
- Aaron Jones (knee) is questionable to return.
- T.Y. Hilton is officially playing.
- LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory are both officially out.
- Josh Lambo is out, Kai Forbath will replace him.
- Melvin Gordon is expected to return next week.
- Matt Breida (ankle) is expected to play this week.
- LeSean McCoy will be a game-time decision.
- Dante Pettis (foot) is good to go for Sunday.
- Doug Baldwin is expected to return this week.
- T.Y. Hilton (ankle) will be a game-time decision.
- Matthew Stafford (back) is expected to play.
- James Conner is expected to miss Week 15, but return next week.
- Rashaad Penny has officially been ruled out.
- Odell Beckham Jr. (quad) has officially been ruled out.
- Jordan Reed (foot) is out for Week 15.
- DeSean Jackson will be out again in Week 15.
- Keke Coutee (quad) will not play this week.
- Isaiah Crowell has been placed on IR.
- Matthew Stafford is questionable for Sunday.
- Kerryon Johnson and Bruce Ellington are officially out.
- LeSean McCoy has been limited in practice and is questionable.
- Keenan Allen never returned after exiting in the first quarter.
- Keenan Allen (hip) left the game and is questionable to return.
- Spencer Ware is officially inactive. Tyreek Hill is active.
- Melvin Gordon has officially been ruled out for Week 15.
- James Conner may be able to play without practicing this week.
- Carson Wentz has been diagnosed with a fractured vertebrae.
- Melvin Gordon is doubtful for Thursday night.
- Spencer Ware is doubtful for Week 15.
- Austin Ekeler is out for this week.
- Odell Beckham Jr. (quad) is not practicing again on Thursday.
- Chargers added Troymaine Pope from the practice squad.
- Carson Wentz may miss the rest of the season, an MRI was inconclusive.
- Isaiah Crowell and Quincy Enunwa did not practice.
- Tyreek Hill is expected to play on Thursday night.
- Brandon Marshall was released by the Saints.
- Carson Wentz (back) is expected to miss Week 15.
Austin Ekeler is expected to miss Thursday's game.
- Melvin Gordon is not looking good for Thursday's game.

 

Week 14

- Doug Baldwin will be a game-time decision for Monday's game.
- Austin Ekeler is at risk for missing Week 15's Thursday night game.
- Ben Roethlisberger (ribs) is back in the game after leaving earlier.
- Spencer Ware (shoulder) left the game, and went to the locker room.
- Jordan Reed (foot) is out of the game, doubtful to return.
- Quincy Enunwa is heading to the locker room.
- Sam Darnold is back in the game, after exiting earlier.
- LeSean McCoy (quad) left the game and is questionable to return.
- Isaiah Crowell (foot) is out of the game and questionable to return.
- Odell Beckham Jr. (quad) will not play Sunday.
- Sammy Watkins is out and will miss multiple weeks.
- T.Y. Hilton will play in Week 14.
- Mitch Trubisky will officially return this week.
- Evan Engram will suit up for Week 14.
- Joe Flacco is officially inactive.
- Doug Martin (knee) is expected to suit up.
- Keke Coutee is officially out this week.
- Emmanuel Sanders tore his Achilles in practice, and has been placed on IR.
- DeSean Jackson (thumb) may end up missing the rest of the season.
- Mitch Trubisky will make his return this week.
- Sam Darnold will return this week as the starter.
- Evan Engram returned to limited practice this week.
- Doug Martin (knee) should be good to go this week.
- Marquise Goodwin returned to practice this week.
- The Texans activate D'Onta Foreman from the PUP list.
- James Conner has a sprained ankle, and has been ruled out for Week 14.
- Matt Breida has been ruled out for Week 14.
- A.J. Green will need surgery (foot) and has been placed on IR.

 

Week 13

- James Conner's leg injury is not considered serious.
- A.J. Green is in a walking boot.
- Leonard Fournette has been reinstated from his suspension.
- Kareem Hunt was not claimed off waivers by any teams.
- Christian Kirk has been placed on IR.
- Saquon Barkley says his shoulder is good to go.
- Trey Quinn is in a walking boot.
- Matt Breida injured his ankle before and during the game. Jeffery Wilson was the lead running back in his place.
- Chris Carson dislocated his finger, but isn't expected to miss time.
- Greg Olsen's season is over after rupturing his plantar fascia.
- T.Y. Hilton and Saquon Barkley are both back in the game.
Saquon Barkley is in the medical tent with a shoulder/arm injury, after an awkward tackle.
- T.Y. Hilton was slow to get up after what looked to be a shoulder injury.
- Lamar Jackson is back in the game after heading to the locker room.
- Lamar Jackson is out of the game with a possible concussion.
- A.J. Green is hurt (foot) and has left the game on a cart. He is out for the rest of the game.
- Greg Olsen is out for the game (foot) after being carted off.
- Stefon Diggs will be a game-time decision.
- Marlon Mack is good to go for Week 13.
- Keke Coutee will be inactive for this week.
Randall Cobb is expected to return this week.
- Devin Funchess is expected to play but be limited.
- Sammy Watkins will not play in Week 13.
- DeSean Jackson has been ruled out for Week 13.
- Chris Thompson is practicing in full and is expected to play.
- Mitch Trubisky has officially been ruled out again.
Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin are out again.
- Joe Flacco is officially out again this week.
- Alex Collins has been sent to IR, his season is over.
- Kenneth Dixon is being activated from IR.
- Kareem Hunt has been released by the Chiefs.
- Kareem Hunt appears to be headed to the Commissioner Exempt List, sidelining him indefinitely while the league investigates.
- Kareem Hunt has been sent home from practice. It does not appear that he will play this week, and a suspension is expected at some point.
- Video has surfaced of Kareem Hunt in a physical altercation with a woman earlier this year. Stay tuned for further updates.
- Keke Coutee will be a game-time decision.
- Melvin Gordon has officially been ruled out.
- Sammy Watkins will not play in Week 13.
- Stefon Diggs has been listed as questionable, but should play.
- Evan Engram is officially out for this week.
- Sammy Watkins has not resumed practicing yet.
- Gus Edwards and Alex Collins are back at practice.
- Devin Funchess has returned to practice.
- Kerryon Johnson remains sidelined this week.
- A.J. Green will make his return this week.
- Marlon Mack is still in the concussion protocol.
- Chris Thompson has resumed practicing and may suit up.
- Leonard Fournette's suspension has been upheld. He will miss Sunday's game.
- Tre'Quan Smith was a limited participant in Tuesday's practice.

 

Week 12

- Leonard Fournette has been suspended one game for fighting.
- Marvin Jones, Andy Dalton, Jack Doyle, Phil Dawson and Jeff Heuerman are all heading to IR.
- Melvin Gordon has a Grade 2 MCL sprain and will be out for a few weeks.
- Marlon Mack left the game to be evaluated for a concussion and did not return.
- Melvin Gordon is out of the game, and has gone into the locker room with a knee injury. He did not return.
- Andy Dalton has been ruled out with a thumb injury.
- Sony Michel is back in the game, seems to be fine. Andy Dalton is still out.
- Andy Dalton is heading to the locker room with what looks to be a hand injury.
- Sony Michel limped off the field with an injury, looked very uncomfortable. He did not go into the medical tent, it's unclear what the injury is or how serious it is.
- Alex Collins is a surprise scratch for today.
- Devin Funchess is officially out for Week 12.
- Doug Baldwin is officially active.
- A.J. Green is has been ruled out for Sunday.
- Rob Gronkowski will make his return this week.
- Jimmy Graham (broken thumb) is questionable to play and was able to catch.
- Torrey Smith is returning this week.
- Doug Baldwin will be a game-time decision
- Melvin Gordon is listed as questionable for Sunday.
- Marquise Goodwin is not expected to play this week.
- Randall Cobb is questionable to play Sunday night.
- Joe Flacco is out again, Lamar Jackson will start.
- Marcus Mariota is expected to play this week.
- Ryan Tannehill will make his return on Sunday.
- Pierre Garcon is ruled out with his knee injury.
- Tre'Quan Smith is officially out for Thursday night’s game.
- Kerryon Johnson has officially been ruled out for Thursday.
- Marvin Jones has officially been ruled out for Thursday.
- Chris Thompson has officially been ruled out for Week 12.
- Jamison Crowder is officially out for Thursday's game.
- The Bears are preparing to play without Mitch Trubisky on Thursday. Chase Daniels would start instead.
- A.J. Green has a good chance to return in Week 12 if he doesn't have any setbacks.
- Tre'Quan Smith's status for Thursday is uncertain, he missed practice with a foot injury.
- Marvin Jones is in danger of missing his second straight game.
- O.J. Howard's season is over. He's been placed on IR with foot and ankle injuries.
- Kerryon Johnson (sprained knee) is week-to-week. He is not expected to play in Week 12, Thanksgiving day, but surgery is not required.
- Jimmy Graham is going to try and play with a broken thumb this week.
- Jameis Winston will resume as the starter in Week 12.
- O.J. Howard (ankle) is getting a second opinion.
- Jakeem Grant will have season-ending surgery on his leg.
- Pharoh Cooper has officially been activated off IR.
- Josh Allen is expected to return in Week 12
- Joe Flacco is not expected back for Week 12.

 

Week 11

Kerryon Johnson exited the game and is questionable to return with a knee injury.
- Cam Newton has exited the game with an injury, but is probable to return.
- Alex Smith is officially out for the season with a broken leg.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick has been benched, Jameis Winston is in.
- Marcus Mariota is out of the game with an elbow injury.
- Joe Flacco is out this week, Lamar Jackson expected to start instead.
- Keke Coutee is expected to make his return this week.
- Jimmy Graham has a broken thumb and may miss up to 4-6 weeks.
- Marvin Jones (knee) is officially out for Week 11.
- Keenan Allen (hip, finger) is good to go for Week 11.
- A.J. Green will not play this week. He's still out with a toe injury.
- Chris Thompson and Jamison Crowder are both out again this week.
- Jordy Nelson will miss Week 11 with a quad injury.
- Kenneth Dixon has been cleared to practice, returning from IR.
Chris Carson (hip) will return and start on Thursday night.
- Randall Cobb (hamstring) has been ruled out for Week 11.
- Devante Parker (shoulder) is week-to-week.
- Royce Freeman (ankle) will be back this week.

 

Week 10

- Cooper Kupp is confirmed to have a torn ACL and is out for the year.
- Cooper Kupp seems to have injured his knee on a non-contact injury. He was down on the field, assisted of the field with a heavy limp and has been taken to locker room.
- Marvin Jones looks to have injured his knee and is out of the game.
- Julian Edelman went to the locker room with an ankle injury.
- Chris Carson is officially out. Mike Davis will serve as the primary running back, while Rashaad Penny can be a sneaky bench stash in deeper leagues.
- Randall Cobb is officially inactive. Marquez Valdes-Scantling should be seeing heavy snap counts and targets as the #2 wide receiver option.
- Rob Gronkowski is officially inactive.
- Chris Carson is officially out for Week 10.
- Sony Michel is officially active.
- Robby Anderson is inactive.
- Sammy Watkins is officially out.
- Sammy Watkins is unlikely to play this week.
- Le'Veon Bell isn't expected to join the Steelers next week, making him ineligible to play this season.
- Pierre Garcon has been ruled out for Week 10.
- Chris Carson will be a game-time decision.
- Rob Gronkowski is highly questionable to play, but travelled with the team.
- Matt Barkley is expected to start for the Bills - fire up the Jets D/ST.
- Sony Michel is expected to make his return this week.
- Leonard Fournette is practicing in full for Week 10 and will play.
- Jamison Crowder has officially been ruled out for Week 10.
- George Kittle was limited all week and is questionable to suit up.
- Allen Robinson is practicing in full for Week 10 and will play.
- Sammy Watkins had an MRI on his foot but is expected to play.
- Darren Sproles aggravated his injury and is expected to miss more time.
- Sam Darnold has a foot sprain and will not play in Week 10.
- Josh McCown will start instead of Sam Darnold.
- Giovani Bernard is expected to return in Week 10.
- Chris Thompson has once again been ruled out.
- Dez Bryant tore his Achilles and has officially been placed on IR.
- James Conner has been placed in the concussion protocol.
- Allen Robinson is practicing in full for Week 10.
- Dez Bryant will officially sign with the Saints on Thursday.
- Le'Veon Bell may not play at all this year.
- Leonard Fournette is practicing on Wednesday.
- Sammy Watkins has an MRI on his foot.
- Darren Sproles is back at practice, and expected to play this week.
- Sam Darnold has a foot sprain and is not expected to play in Week 10.
- Sony Michel and Rob Gronkowski are practicing in full.

 

Week 9

- James White started the second half with his knee wrapped up. He then came back into the game.
- Rob Gronkowski and Sony Michel are officially out tonight.
- Chris Carson left the game with a hip injury and did not return. His status is questionable for Week 10.
- Chris Carson is officially active for Week 9.
- Cooper Kupp will make his return this week.
- Stefon Diggs is officially out for Week 9.
- A.J. Green is expected to miss some games with his foot injury.
- Kenny Stills will now be active for Week 9 after pre-game warmups.
- Allen Robinson and Khalil Mack are out this week.
- Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson are officially active.
- Ty Montgomery is inactive for Week 9.
- Dalvin Cook is expected to play on limited plays, if there are no pre-game setbacks.
- Chris Carson will be a game-time decision, but Seattle is optimistic.
- Melvin Gordon will make his return.
- Kenny Stills is not expected to play on Sunday.
- Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson both have a good shot to play this week.
- Royce Freeman will not play in Week 9.
- Geronimo Allison has been ruled out for Week 9. This should yield increased snaps and targets for Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
- Stefon Diggs is looking like a risk for playing Sunday, as wide receiver Chad Beebe has been elevated off the practice squad.
- Chris Thompson has been ruled out for Week 9.
- Keke Coutee has been ruled out for Week 9.
- Theo Riddick will make his return in Week 9.
- Sony Michel and Rob Gronkowski are questionable.
- Tyreek Hill is off the injury report and good to go.
- Ryan Tannehill is at least two weeks away from returning.
- D'Onta Foreman is expected to practice starting next week.
- Sam Bradford has been released by the Cardinals.
- Raheem Mostert has been placed on IR with a broken arm.
- Raheem Mostert left the game and looks to have a serious arm injury.
- George Kittle returned to the game after sitting out a few series.
- George Kittle is heading to the locker room in the second quarter.
- Nick Mullens is starting in place of C.J. Beathard.
- Ty Montgomery has been traded to the Ravens.
- Golden Tate has been traded to the Eagles.
- Demaryius Thomas has been traded to the Texans.
- Ben Roethlisberger has a broken left index finger. He played through it on Sunday, and should be fine moving forward.
- A.J. Green was seen in a walking boot on Tuesday, after injuring his toe on Sunday. The severity of the injury is unknown at this time - it may be precautionary, but clearly something to monitor.
- Chris Thompson injured a different rib on Sunday.
- Ronald Jones II is expected to miss a few weeks.

 

Week 8

- Jameis Winston has been benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
- Ronald Jones II is done for the day with a hamstring injury.
- Emmanuel Sanders took a big hit but is back in the game.
- Chris Thompson (rib, knee) is expected make his return this week.
- LeSean McCoy (concussion) is expected to play on Monday night.
- Allen Robinson (groin) is not expected to suit up this week.
- Matt Breida (ankle) should play, but touches may be limited.
- Rob Gronkowski is questionable for Monday night's game.
- Sony Michel is doubtful for Monday night, although he had a limited practice on Saturday.
Robby Anderson is doubtful to suit up.
Quincy Enunwa has been ruled out for Week 8.
- Jack Doyle is expected to make this return this week.
Cooper Kupp is doubtful for Week 8.
Isaiah Crowell practiced in full this week.
- Pierre Garcon has been ruled out for Week 8.
- Will Fuller is confirmed to have a torn ACL, and is out for the year.
Dalvin Cook could be out two more games, through bye week.
Bilal Powell has been sent to IR with a neck injury.
Allen Robinson, Khalil Mack remain out on Thursday.
Marlon Mack was limited this week with ankle injury.
- Marshawn Lynch (groin) has been sent to IR.
- Kenny Stills (groin) has been ruled out for Week 8.
- Albert Wilson (hip) will miss multiple games, and may be a candidate for IR.

 

Week 7

- Keke Coutee's injury (hamstring) isn't considered to be serious.
- Adam Vinatieri (groin) aggravated an injury in Week 7.
- Adrian Peterson (ankle, shoulder) is officially active.
- Pierre Garcon (knee, shoulder) is officially active.
- Chris Thompson (knee, ribs) is officially out this week.
- Paul Richardson (knee, shoulder) is officially out this week.
- Bilal Powell has been ruled out for the game with a neck injury.
- Keke Coutee (hamstring) re-injured his hamstring, has left the game, and is questionable to return.
Sony Michel (knee) was carted off, after getting twisted badly when tackled. He is questionable to return.
- LeSean McCoy (head) has been ruled out for the game.
- Albert Wilson (leg) was forced from the game and is questionable to return.
- Chris Hogan is being evaluated on the sideline with a potential injury.
Melvin Gordon (hamstring) is officially out for Sunday's 9:30 am ET game in London
- Rob Gronkowski (back) is officially out for Sunday.
- Julian Edelman (foot) is expected to play this week.
- T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is good to go this week.
- Isaiah Crowell (foot) is good to go for Sunday.
- Marshawn Lynch (groin) is expected to be out at least one month.
- Jamison Crowder (ankle) has been ruled out for Sunday's game.
- Dalvin Cook (hamstring) has been ruled out for Sunday's game.
- Leonard Fournette (hamstring) has been ruled out for Sunday's game.
- Terrelle Pryor (groin) was released by the Jets earlier this week.
- Giovani Bernard (knee) has been ruled out for Sunday's game.
- Tyler Kroft (foot) has been ruled out for Sunday's game.
- Royce Freeman sprained his ankle Thursday night.
- Josh Rosen (foot) injured his toe and is in a walking boot.

 

Week 6

 

Week 5

 

Week 4

 

Week 3

 

Week 2

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Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Pickups - Week 6

The pivot plays and post-waiver pickups keep coming, RotoBallers!

There is no Thursday game this week to burn fantasy football players, but there are now two Monday night games and plenty of Sunday games that could catch fantasy managers off guard if they do not have backup plans in place for the “questionable” players on their rosters. You always need a Plan B in fantasy football, especially in 2020.

Without further ado, here are my pivot plays and post-waiver pickups for Week 6 -- and the questionable fantasy football starters who you might need to replace.

 

Keelan Cole (JAC, WR) vs. DET

If Atlanta’s Julio Jones (hamstring) cannot trot out there on Sunday afternoon...

While fantasy managers are falling over themselves to pick up Philadelphia's Travis Fulgham and Kansas City's Mecole Hardman, Cole is an intriguing late-week pick that will probably fall through the waiver wire cracks. Jacksonville's No. 2 WR has yet to have a 60-yard game on the season, but he has found his way to the end zone three times in the Jaguars' five contests. Cole has also received steady work as he has been targeted at least five times in each of his outings.

Detroit's pass defense is mediocre, and the Lions have allowed No. 2 and No. 3 receivers to burn them this season. New Orleans' Tre-Quan Smith caught two touchdown tosses from Drew Brees in Detroit's last game, and Arizona's Andy Isabella pulled the same two-TD trick on them in Week 3.  It would be no surprise to Cole have five catches for 50-60 yards and a score on Sunday.

 

Irv Smith Jr. (MIN, TE) vs. ATL

If Denver’s Noah Fant (ankle) or Houston’s Jordan Akins (concussion) cannot suit up...

Smith was selected in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft and was immediately made an important part of Minnesota’s offense as the Vikings ran much of their system out of two-tight-end formations. Smith did little to build off his promising rookie campaign this season, however. He had just two catches for 14 yards entering Week 5 and was probably dropped in most fantasy leagues. But Smith bounced back this past Sunday night by hauling in four passes for 64 yards against Seattle’s 32nd-ranked pass defense.

While Smith’s track record this year (other than his performance last week) has been far from Pro Bowl-worthy, Atlanta’s track record when it comes to pass defense is has been as horrendous as Seattle’s. Atlanta has the second-worst pass defense in the NFL and has had just as much trouble keeping its defensive backs healthy as it has covering receivers and tight ends. Now that Smith is getting more involved in Minnesota’s passing attack, this is the perfect time for him to have another good game against a terrible secondary.

 

J.D. McKissic (WAS, RB) at NYG

If Minnesota’s’s Dalvin Cook (groin) cannot limp onto the field on Sunday...

McKissic is not going to win a rushing title in his lifetime. We know this. He has rushed for 75 yards this season and 402 yards over the course of the four seasons coming into the present one. It is not his forte, despite being a running back. Washington opts to leave the running to Antonio Gibson and Peyton Barber.

What McKissic can do well is catch the ball out of the backfield, and that skill comes in handy for fantasy players in a pinch, especially if they participate in PPR leagues. McKissic has caught 16 passes (on 20 targets) for 123 yards over his last three games. With Washington facing the winless New York Giants this Sunday in a game with surprising division title implications, look for McKissic to keep being featured on swing and screen passes with Kyle Allen back under center helming the offense. There is nothing more welcomed in PPR leagues than points from short dump-offs that only gain a few yards.

 

Gabriel Davis (BUF, WR) vs. KC

If Buffalo’s John Brown (calf) cannot make it on Monday night...

Davis is likely available in most fantasy leagues since No. 4 wide receivers rarely make it on fantasy rosters unless those higher on the depth charts on their teams get injured. Davis is not your run-of-the-mill No. 4 WR, though. The fourth-round rookie has an abundance of talent and has the size and speed that could make him a premium playmaker, and so far he has made plenty of plays even though he usually is not a starter. Davis has either accounted for 50-plus yards or scored a touchdown in each of his past four games, and he was targeted nine times by Josh Allen and had a score called back due to a penalty this past Tuesday at Tennessee.

Kansas City may have the sixth-ranked pass defense in the league, but that is largely because of games against Baltimore and New England where the Chiefs held Lamar Jackson and Brian Hoyer each under 135 yards passing.  The Chiefs allowed an average of 300 passing yards in their other trio of contests. If Brown cannot go on Monday night, picking up and using Davis as a fill-in should work out all right. Davis has proven he can play and be a point producer when given ample opportunities.



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Inside the Tent - Week 6 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About three years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now: injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates. Feel free to reach out on Twitter (@aaronburgerPT) for any injury questions!

 

Inside the Tent Updates

Sam Darnold, QB - New York Jets

  • Darnold was sacked in the first quarter of the Jets' Week 4 game and was thrown onto his right shoulder. He was diagnosed with an AC joint sprain and missed Week 5 as a result. Unfortunately, he was ruled out for Week 6 on Wednesday. AC joint sprains are particularly painful but even more so if the throwing shoulder is involved. Darnold should be able to return next week against the Bills.

Drew Lock, QB - Denver Broncos

  • Lock is dealing with a rotator cuff strain after a brutal hit in Week 2 against the Steelers. He missed Weeks 3, 4, and 5 as a result but seems primed to return in Week 6. He practiced in full all week but bears a questionable tag for Week 6. Lock will return but has to travel to New England to face the Patriots without two skill position players in Noah Fant and Melvin Gordon.

Phillip Lindsay, RB - Denver Broncos

  • Lindsay has not played since Week 1 due to turf toe. He was able to practice in full on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday which means he will likely be good to go for Sunday against the Patriots. Turf toe can easily be reaggravated but he is certainly worth a start with Melvin Gordon out.

Davante Adams, WR - Green Bay Packers

  • Adams suffered a hamstring strain in Week 2 and missed Weeks 3 and 4 as a result. The Packers had their bye in Week 5 and now Adams will be ready to go for Week 6. As with all soft tissue injuries, there is a chance of re-injury but that remains unlikely due to the rest he was given and rehabilitation done to prevent this from happening again.

Julio Jones, WR - Atlanta Falcons

  • Jones suffered a hamstring strain in Week 4 and missed Week 5 as a result. Going into the weekend, he missed practice on Wednesday and the Falcons didn't practice on Thursday. He turned in a limited practice on Friday and is free of an injury designation for Week 6. Risk adverse fantasy managers should leave Jones on the bench but those who don't mind some risk should slide him into lineups.

Chris Godwin, WR - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

  • Godwin suffered a hamstring strain in Week 3 and missed Weeks 4 and 5 as a result. The Buccaneers had an extended break with Godwin practicing in a limited fashion on Wednesday and Thursday but in full on Friday. With this being said, he will likely have a questionable tag heading into the weekend but expect him to play against Green Bay.

Noah Fant, TE - Denver Broncos

  • Fant suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 4 and would have missed Week 5 if the Broncos had played. These often cause players to miss three or more games but Fant is being ruled as questionable for this week. Based on the injury, it is much safer to look elsewhere for tight end this week if Fant is indeed active based on how debilitating high-ankle sprains can be. UPDATE: Fant has been ruled OUT for Week 6.

 

Last Week's Injury Updates

Dak Prescott, QB - Dallas Cowboys

  • Injury: Prescott suffered a fracture and dislocation to his right ankle in a brutal injury on Sunday. He was being tackled and his foot got caught in the turf causing excess force through the inside part of his ankle. There are two bones that make up the lowe part of the leg: the tibia and the fibula. There are also ligaments on the inner part of the ankle which may be involved including the tibiocalcaneal and posterior tibiotalar ligaments.
  • News: He will be done for the 2020 season after having surgery on Sunday night following the game.
  • Outlook: This is not a career threatening injury for Prescott but it may certainly affect the offer he will get from the Cowboys which is a sad reality of sports. Prescott, in my opinion, should be able to make a full recovery although he may be limited in off-season activities. His mobility may take a slight hit but he should remain a dynamic playmaker within the game for quite some time.

Baker Mayfield, QB - Cleveland Browns

  • Injury: Mayfield was taken to the ground in Week 5 and landed on top of his throwing shower and ribs. When a player lands on the tip of their shoulder, there's always concern for an AC joint sprain which is what Sam Darnold is dealing with right now. As far as the ribs are concerned, Mayfield is likely just dealing with a contusion, or bruise, which is painful nonetheless.
  • News: Following the game, he received x-rays but thankfully they were negative for any fractures in his ribs. Mayfield was able to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday and Thursday while turning in a full practice on Friday.
  • Outlook: Mayfield will be active for Week 6 but given the beating the Pittsburgh defense can give, it would be wise to generate a quick passing scheme in order to keep him upright. Rib injuries are always painful so expect some extra padding around that area. It will be interesting to see Mayfield's throwing motion but expect him to be competitive against a tough Steelers Defense.

Dalvin Cook, RB - Minnesota Vikings

  • Injury: Cook suffered a hip adductor strain in Week 5 and has been ruled out for this week against the Falcons. The hip adductor muscle group, better known as the groin, is commonly injured when a player's foot is planted and the leg is stretched out to the side. There are three severity of strains: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III with Grade I being the least severe and Grade III being the most severe. Cook is likely dealing with a Grade I strain.
  • News: Cook was not able to practice on Wednesday or Thursday and has been ruled out for Week 6.
  • Outlook: With Cook sidelined, it should be the Alexander Mattison show this week for Minnesota. He was drafted as a high upside backup if something were to ever happen to Cook and this is the week fantasy managers will get to start him as an RB1. This will be short-lived though, as the Vikings have a bye week next week and Cook should be back in Week 8.

Keenan Allen, WR - Los Angeles Chargers

  • Injury: Allen left the Charger's Monday night game and didn't return due to muscle spasms in his back. Spasms are the result of any injury where the muscle feels it must protect the joint. Treatment includes injections, stretching, and modalities to decrease tone and ultimately relax the muscles.
  • News: The Chargers have their bye week this week so Allen is not expected to miss any time.
  • Outlook: Allen should be able to play in Week 7 and seems to be locked in as a WR1 with Justin Herbert at the helm for the Chargers.

Diontae Johnson, WR - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Injury: Johnson was hit in the back on a punt return and was unable to return in Week 5. Any time there is a direct blow to the body, there's always concern for bone bruises or muscle spasms in the area. Bones, just like any other tissue in the body, can bruise as they have their own blood supply.
  • News: Following the game, Coach Mike Tomlin was optimistic about Johnson and believed he would ultimately be able to play in Week 6. Unfortunately, after missing practice on Wednesday and being limited on Thursday, he was ruled out for this week against the Browns.
  • Outlook: The Steelers wide receivers will look similar to last week with JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool acting as the main cogs. We certainly can't expect another four touchdown performance from Claypool but he should once again be busy with Johnson out. Eric Ebron will continue to be a red zone threat and should be able to find the end zone in Week 6.

D.J. Chark, WR - Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Injury: After dealing with a chest injury to start the year, Chark returned to form in Week 4, catching two touchdowns and racking up 95 yards on eight receptions. Unfortunately, the injury bug caught Chark once again but this time his ankle is involved. As far as the extent of the injury, the two common injuries within the ankle are lateral ankle sprains and high-ankle sprains. The high-ankle sprain is much more concerning but thankfully it seems like Chark is dealing with the less severe lateral ankle sprain.
  • News: Chark missed practice on Wednesday or Thursday but was able to practice in a limited fashion on Friday. With this pattern, expect Chark to either be a game-time decision or be filed out 90 minutes prior to kickoff. Either way, it's going to be tough to roster Chark with any confidence.
  • Outlook: If Chark is able to play, expect him to be limited in the routes he can run and expectations should be tempered. He is always dangerous in the red zone though, so a touchdown or two could certainly save his fantasy day. Laviska Shenault is dealing with a hamstring injury himself but is trending in the right direction following a full practice on Friday. He should see an increase in volume this week if Chark is out or limited.


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What Dak Prescott's Injury Means For Andy Dalton

On Sunday, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury against the New York Giants. It was a horrifying moment for anyone watching the game.

With Prescott out, the Cowboys turned to Andy Dalton at quarterback to end the game. Dalton was 9-for-11 throwing the football, with 111 yards. He didn't throw for a touchdown or an interception, but lost a fumble.

Dalton will now be the starter for the Cowboys moving forward. And while we've heard all of the "lol Cowboys still have the best quarterback in the division" jokes over and over now, what are we really to make of Dalton in this role? Can he be successful enough for fantasy managers to make him a starting option?

 

Dalton's Past Performance

Andy Dalton brings with him something that backup quarterbacks don't always bring: a long track record of NFL performances as a starting quarterback.

That gives us some room to explore his past, though it's not as simple as just saying "he's thrown for 4000-plus yards twice, so he's going to be fine."

Instead, let's focus on Dalton's 2019 performance to start, since it was his most recent season and was fairly uneven, since he was benched for Ryan Finley for a time.

Still, Dalton started 13 games last year, which is good enough as a sample size. He completed 59.5 percent of his passes for 3,494 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. The 14 picks were his most since 2014 -- that they came in three fewer games is definitely something that gives me pause.

Per PlayerProfiler, Dalton played on a Bengals offense that was fifth in passing plays per game last year. He was 11th among quarterbacks in attempts but just 18th in passing yards. A supporting cast efficiency that ranked 32nd among quarterbacks and protection rate that ranked 19th ere pretty big factors in that.

Still, even if we account for issues with who he was throwing the ball to, numbers like this worry me a lot:

image taken from PlayerProfiler

I'm especially concerned by that clean pocket completion percentage. If the offensive line woes were really the main culprit of his inefficiency, wouldn't we have seen some improvement on his completion percentage ranking on those clean pocket looks? Or was he so rattled by the lack of blocking and weapons that nothing could have saved his 2020 season and he was destined to be bad even when he wasn't getting pressured?

Good question and one I don't have an answer to except to say that the last time the Bengals had an offensive line rank in the top 10 in lowest adjusted sack rate was 2014, when they ranked fifth. Dalton was a Pro Bowler that year, passing for 3,398 yards and 19 touchdowns, but he also threw 17 interceptions and had a QBR that was lower than the year before and after. So, maybe the line isn't the culprit for Dalton's struggles?

 

How He Fits Into This Offense

Well, the Cowboys run the most passing plays per game in the NFL this year, thanks in large part to a defense that can't keep the opposing team from scoring. That's meant Dallas has had to run more plays than they might otherwise be running.

It also should mean that they're forced to keep running pass plays. Maybe not at quite so high a rate -- Ezekiel Elliott will get more chances to run the ball, though I don't think Booger McFarland was correct at all about this take:

Yes, Zeke's a good running back, but the downgrade from Dak to Dalton doesn't somehow make you better just because it means three more carries per game for Ezekiel Elliott.

Anyway, the big question is how Dalton will play with a better supporting cast. Remember, he was 32nd among quarterbacks in supporting cast efficiency last year. Dak this year is 14th and was eighth last year. Dalton gets a huge upgrade to the players who he is throwing the ball to, which is going to help him play more efficient football. And a better protection rate will keep him upright, though it might not help improve his efficiency too much.

But hey -- Dak was a top five fantasy quarterback rest of season and averaged 29.6 fantasy points per game including his final game, and he did so despite not being top 10 in any of these things:

image taken from PlayerProfiler

You can succeed in this offense without elite efficiency. So, even though Dalton does represent a decline in efficiency here, he can still be successful from a fantasy perspective because of the available opportunities for him.

This is, of course, assuming Dalton isn't completely cooked. Last year was bad bad, but he was throwing to the likes of John Ross and Auden Tate. Now, he gets CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup. Considering the only consistent weapon he had last year was Tyler Boyd, I think this upgrade should help Dalton's efficiency. He was still 11th in accuracy rating last season, but 32nd in receiver target separation. In theory, Dalton should have some juice left and should be solid in Dallas.

Not Dak solid. But I'd project Dalton to be a high-end fantasy QB2 moving forward. He'll miss more than Dak. He'll throw picks more than Dak. He won't be as mobile. But he's also going to throw the ball a ton to three very good wide receivers, and Ezekiel Elliott's presence should open up passing lanes and the defense crowds the box a little more against Dallas.

 

Is There Dynasty Impact Here?

Could Dalton play so well that the Cowboys decide to let Prescott walk in free agency?

The answer to that is both yes and no. Yes, the Cowboys could let Dak leave if they don't feel comfortable with how much money he commands. No, Dalton's performance doesn't have an impact on that, and if Dak leaves, we'd expect to see the Cowboys draft a quarterback.

So, in terms of dynasty, Dak was a top-five dynasty QB before the injury. Because current-season value does matter, I might drop him a couple of spots, but he's still solidly a top-10 dynasty QB.

As for Dalton, his value does rise a good bit since we can assume he starts 11 games this year, but long term, he's about where he was, which is at the level of "solid backup." Yes, he should be universally rostered in Superflex. No, you shouldn't trade the farm for him, though a Dak manager in win-now mode might be fine with paying more than they should for Dalton right now.



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Inside the Tent - Week 5 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About three years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now: injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates. Feel free to reach out on Twitter (@aaronburgerPT) for any injury questions!

 

Inside the Tent Updates

Drew Lock, QB - Denver Broncos

  • Lock is dealing with a rotator cuff strain after a brutal hit in Week 2 against the Steelers. He missed Week 3 and Week 4 but has practiced in a limited fashion on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. It's still up in the air whether or not he'll be able to play. His practice status will be worth monitoring for the rest of the week as the Broncos now play next Sunday.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB - San Francisco 49ers

  • Garoppolo is dealing with a high-ankle sprain and was not able to play in Week 4. He turned in limited practices on Wednesday and Thursday and practiced in full on Friday. He was cleared and is good to go for Week 5 against the Dolphins. Garoppolo may have decreased mobility but given the 49ers passing scheme, concern levels are low for re-injury.

Phillip Lindsay, RB - Denver Broncos

  • Lindsay was not able to play once again in Week 4 due to turf toe. He was able to practice in full on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday which means he will likely be good to go for next Sunday. Turf toe can easily be reaggravated but he is certainly worth a start.

Raheem Mostert, RB - San Francisco 49ers

  • Mostert is dealing with a sprained MCL and missed Week 4 as a result. This week, he was able to practice in a limited fashion throughout so there's certainly a chance he plays. Mostert may be a game-time decision and he will likely test his knee pregame. If he sits, Jerick McKinnon is a safe start against a soft Miami defense.

Cam Akers, RB - Los Angeles Rams

  • Akers sustained an injury to the cartilage in his ribs and missed Weeks 3 and 4 as a result. Akers was able to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday and in full on Thursday and Friday. Expect Akers to be sporting extra protection around his ribs as these injuries are always painful.

Davante Adams, WR - Green Bay Packers

  • Adams suffered a hamstring strain in Week 2 and missed Weeks 3 and 4 as a result. The Packers are on bye in Week 5 and Adams will be ready to go for Week 6. Considering the rest he was able to take, he will be one-hundred percent and his risk for re-injury is low.

Chris Godwin, WR - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

  • Godwin suffered a hamstring strain in Week 3 and missed Weeks 4 and 5 as a result. The Buccaneers now have a long break and won't play again until October 18th. Expect to see Godwin back on the field in Week 6.

Michael Thomas, WR - New Orleans Saints

  • Thomas is dealing with a high-ankle sprain and did not play in Weeks 2, 3, or 4. With high-ankle sprains, players usually miss three or more games so Thomas may be able to suit up for Week 5. He was able to practice in a limited fashion on Thursday and Friday but the Saints' practice reports will be worth monitoring through the weekend. Of note, the Saints' bye is next week so don't be surprised if they hold him out for one more game.

Mike Williams, WR - Los Angeles Chargers

  • Williams also suffered a hamstring strain in Week 3. This is likely also a Grade I strain and we can expect to see Williams back in Week 6. Leading into Week 5, he was not able to practice on Thursday but was able to practice in a limited fashion on Friday. He should be avoided if he does play given his injury history and Justin Herbert's preference for Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry.

Henry Ruggs III, WR - Las Vegas Raiders

  • Ruggs was not able to play in Week 4 due to a hamstring strain and a lingering knee sprain. He was able to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday and in full on Thursday and Friday. He is trending in the right direction and can be counted on in Week 5 for a Raiders offense that is missing a big-play option.

Last Week's Injury Updates

Josh Allen, QB - Buffalo Bills

  • Injury: Allen was being tackled on Sunday and fell on an outstretched hand, grabbing his left shoulder while he was on the ground. Any force like this to the shoulder can cause labral damage as the humerus, or upper arm bone, is forced into the glenoid, or the socket part of the shoulder joint. Labral tears vary in severity if he even sustained one. The good news is that Allen was able to return to the game and finish the job, pushing the Bills to 4-0.
  • News: He was able to practice in full all week and does not carry an injury designation heading into Week 5. Of greater concern is the status of the game against the Titans given their COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Outlook: Allen may sport some type of shoulder brace to add stability to the joint, but other than that, there's no real concern for the labrum considering it's in his non-throwing shoulder. He's obviously a very physical player, and if it gets re-aggravated, it'll be a pain tolerance issue. Fantasy managers can continue to start Allen with the utmost of confidence.

Lamar Jackson, QB - Baltimore Ravens

  • Injury: Jackson missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with an unknown knee injury and an illness. He didn't appear to injure his knee in Week 4, so this is likely inflammation within the joint or simply load management. Jackson is obviously one of the more mobile quarterbacks in the league and over the course of the year, he's going to get banged up at points.
  • News: After missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday, he was able to suit up for Friday so there are no concerns heading into the weekend. Missing Wednesday practices may become commonplace for Jackson in order to keep him healthy and fresh.
  • Outlook: After a disappointing Week 3, Jackson returned to form in Week 4 against the Washington Football Team. He will continue to be a QB1 as long as he is healthy and can be started with confidence.

Sam Darnold, QB - New York Jets

  • Injury: Darnold was sacked in the first quarter of Week 4's Thursday night game and was thrown onto his right shoulder. He only missed four plays and returned to the game. When a player lands on the tip of their shoulder, the first concern is always an AC, or acromioclavicular, joint sprain. There are three grades of AC joint sprains: Grades I, II, and III. Grade I sprains are the least severe and include stretching of the ligament beyond its normal limits. Grade II sprains involve a complete rupture of the acromioclavicular ligament. Darnold is likely dealing with a Grade I sprain and can be out anywhere from two to four weeks.
  • News: He was not able to practice this week and Joe Flacco will start for the New York Jets.
  • Outlook: With Flacco under center, this may actually be good news for Le'Veon Bell who is coming off injured reserve this week. Flacco heavily targets running backs so Bell may hold some value in PPR formats. Jamison Crowder should maintain his presence in the middle of the field.

Austin Ekeler, RB - Los Angeles Chargers

  • Injury: Ekeler sustained a significant hamstring strain in Week 4 and will be sidelined for four to six weeks. He was tackled by a Buccaneer and his left knee hyperextended, causing the hamstring tendons to stretch beyond their anatomical limits. All three of the hamstring tendons attach below the knee so any excessive motion into knee extension will cause stress upon the tendons. It's been reported by Ian Rapoport that Ekeler is dealing with a Grade II strain. In Grade II strains, there's tearing within the musculotendinous unit and healing times will depend on blood flow and alignment of tissue.
  • News: Ekeler was placed on injured reserve on October 9th and will be out until at least Week 8. Expect the Chargers to use their bye as an advantage to give Ekeler more time to rehab leading to a Week 11 return.
  • Outlook: With Ekeler sidelined, the Chargers' two-back committee will now consist of Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson. Given Kelley has been involved in the red zone, look for Jackson to take a bulk of the snaps between the 20s, including receiving work. This injury should give a boost to Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry's fantasy value.

Nick Chubb, RB - Cleveland Browns

  • Injury: Chubb had his knee rolled up on during Week 4's matchup against Dallas and suffered a sprained MCL as a result. Ligament sprains vary in severity starting with Grade I, progressing to Grade II, and ending with Grade III, which is a complete rupture of the ligament. Considering he's already been placed on injured reserve, Chubb is likely dealing with a Grade II or Grade III sprain and will miss at least six weeks.
  • News: Chubb was placed on injured reserve on October 5th.
  • Outlook: With Chubb unavailable for the foreseeable future, Kareem Hunt with handle lead back duties for the Browns. Considering their preference to establish the run this season, D'Ernest Johnson should see an increase in snap share as well as usage. He is more valuable in standard formats while Hunt becomes a bonafide PPR RB1. Dontrell Hilliard is also worth a speculative add just in case he's the one that sees an increase in snaps instead of Johnson.

Julio Jones, WR - Atlanta Falcons

  • Injury: Julio Jones has been battling a nagging hamstring strain since training camp and it caught up to him in Week 4, causing him to leave the game. Hamstring strains, like other soft tissue injuries, can linger and easily re-aggravate.
  • News: Jones was not able to practice at all this week and is inactive for Week 5 against the Panthers. This has happened in the past for his foot and toe injuries.
  • Outlook: Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, and Olamide Zaccheaus should see an increase in targets. Of note, Olamide Zaccheaus led the Falcons with nine targets last week.

Noah Fant, TE - Denver Broncos

  • Injury: Fant sustained a high ankle sprain in Week 4 and will miss Week 5 as a result. High ankle sprains differ from low ankle sprains in that they involve the connection (syndesmosis) between the tibia and fibula. These are the two lower leg bones and there is a sheet of connective tissue between them. In high ankle sprains, this tissue is stretched and the joint becomes unstable. The severity, or grade, depends on how far beyond its anatomical limit the ligament is stretched.
  • News: He was not able to practice at all this week and is OUT for Week 5.
  • Outlook: With Fant sidelined for Week 5, the Broncos will lean on Jerry Jeudy and the quarterback throwing it to him has yet to be named. Behind Fant, look for Jake Butt and Nick Vannett to pick up the slack in the tight end room.

O.J. Howard, TE - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

  • Injury: Howard ruptured his Achilles tendon and will be done for the 2020 season. The Achilles tendon attaches the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles to the calcaneus, which is the heel bone. This injury often happens during a sudden burst or when landing on the ball of the foot after jumping.
  • News: He was placed on injured reserve on October 6th.
  • Outlook: Howard will take time following surgery to rehab and will be ready for the 2021 season. With Howard sidelined, look for Cameron Brate to get more receiving work as Rob Gronkowski has been primarily used as a blocker and obviously has a significant injury history himself.


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Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Pickups - Week 5

Welcome to the newest weekly column here at RotoBaller! It is not easy these days being a fantasy football manager. Injuries are ravaging rosters throughout the NFL and fantasy worlds. Then fantasy managers must navigate last-minute COVID cancellations and the dreaded bye weeks. It is enough to make many think that coin collecting or bird watching would be better hobbies to invest time into than fantasy football.

The dreaded “questionable” tag that banged-up players are labeled with causes more ulcers for fantasy managers than fast food and annoying in-laws combined. You wait and wait until Saturday night or Sunday morning to find out if your “questionable” player is going to suit up, and sometimes he doesn’t. Then you are left scrambling like Lamar Jackson for a last-minute backup plan, but your league’s waiver wire is bare because that week’s free-agent picks have already been made and all the decent available players are gone. That’s where I and this column comes in.

Without further ado, here are my pivot plays and post-waiver pickups for Week 5 --- and the questionable superstars who you might need to replace:

 

Week 5 Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Pickups

 If Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans (ankle) does not play Thursday night, you could go with…

 Cameron Brate (TB, TE) at CHI

If you are participating in a showdown DFS contest on Thursday night, Brate is the perfect bargain-basement option. He is already going to get more time and targets due to O.J. Howard’s season-ending injury and will get more attention from Tom Brady than Giselle gets if Evans misses the game (along with WR Chris Godwin).

Brate has been a fantasy zero this year due to other talented tight ends being ahead of him on the depth chart, but this is a guy who scored 20 touchdowns between 2016 and 2018. Brate will have to split targets at TE with Rob Gronkowski, but Gronk’s presence did not hurt Howard this season and should not affect Brate, either. Brate is a touchdown-dependent player, but he could certainly get a TD against a Chicago Bears Defense that has allowed three tight ends to find the end zone over their first four games.     

If New Orleans’ Michael Thomas (ankle) or Los Angeles’ Mike Williams (hamstring) does not play Monday night, you could go with…

Jalen Guyton (LAC, WR) at NOR

There is nothing worse than having a key cog in your fantasy squad listed as questionable heading into a Monday night game because there is no safety net. New Orleans wideouts Emmanuel Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith are probably rostered already in most leagues, so grabbing Guyton and praying rookie signal-caller Justin Herbert can put the ball into his hands seems like your best option.

Guyton is an undrafted rookie who is a distant third on L.A.’s WR totem pole behind Keenan Allen and Williams. The good news for Guyton, though, is that Williams is always injured, and that is the case again this week. Guyton only has seven targets in four games this year, yet he has two touchdowns including a 72-yarder last week. Allen eats up all the targets, so do not expect Guyton to have a seven-catch game on Monday night. But with New Orleans’ cornerbacks hurting, Guyton will have a chance to make a big play or two that could result in major fantasy points.

If San Francisco’s Raheem Mostert (knee) does not suit up on Sunday, you could go with…

Rex Burkhead (NE, RB) vs. DEN

Burkhead just had a three-TD performance two games ago, yet he is available in more than half of leagues because New England’s running-back-by-committee never allows him to have more than a dozen touches in a game, especially now that Damien Harris returned from injury and ran for 100 yards in his opening game of the season.

Burkhead is still the best all-around back in New England’s backfield. Harris a better pure runner, James White is a better pure receiver, but Burkhead can play on all downs and has the best nose for the end zone out of the trio. Denver has a middle-of-the-road run defense and has an offense that will gift the Patriots offense field position all game long. Burkhead is no long-term solution in fantasy football, but he is a solid stopgap option, especially this week.

If Atlanta’s Julio Jones (hamstring) cannot limp out onto the field on Sunday, you could go with…

Zach Pascal (IND, WR) at CLE

Pascal is no pipsqueak (6’2”, 214) and is also not a speedster (12.9 career YPC). He is also not Aaron Jones when it comes to getting his body into the end zone (eight touchdowns in 36 career contests). What Pascal is, however, thanks to untimely injuries to others, is the No. 2 WR in Indy --- if not the No. 1 WR.

Philip Rivers has had an interesting way of distributing the football this season. Most notably he has not been solely focused on longtime top target T.Y. Hilton and has aimed for Pascal the second-most of any of the Colts pass catchers. Pascal will run routes this week against a Cleveland pass defense that is ranked 30th in the NFL and just allowed Dallas gunslinger Dak Prescott to throw for about 1,000 yards last weekend. Pascal is not going to blow the fantasy doors off this week, but he could catch 6-to-8 passes for 75 yards and a score.



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Resetting the Rules - How Fantasy Leagues Can Cope with COVID

Out, out, out, in, in, in, in, in, in, out, in, out, in, in, out, in, out, out, out, in, in.

That’s not me working as a bouncer for the pretend nightclub I started in my house (it’s me and my wife and my two dogs, no Darren Waller fundraiser situation here,) it’s me seeing how many of the Rotoballer Top 20 have missed time, barely four weeks into the season. 

It’s worth noting that by no stretch of the imagination is this unexpected, but for a pastime that most of us specifically leaned into because it was something to do mid-COVID-19 (more so than usual) some of our leagues didn’t spend September toiling away at the lengthy rules that were needed to ensure that games could function week-in and week-out.

 

Changing the Rules

Many of us haven’t had to set a roster with a Tuesday night football game involved when the 2010 Eagles and Vikings were forced to postpone their game due to a snowstorm (if you’d like to win bar trivia, that was Andy Reid’s Eagles team, which would’ve put him in the useless statistics library if the Chiefs-Patriots game had to be pushed to Tuesday.) Many of us wouldn’t have assumed an IR of 10 players was a good idea for the whole league. While some of our leagues maybe did away with buy-ins or other facets to make the complicated game slightly more simple in 2020, a much larger portion of you did not. 

Sportrac has 224 players on IR as I write this, plus 67 opt-outs in the pre-season. This doesn’t cover the players who are on a single game Out designation, of which there are 62 on offense as of my writing this on 10/5. There are bad years, and then there is 2020. 

The NFL is a bit of a moving target as far as rules and regulations for COVID-19; while it originally hoped daily testing and contained travel would help ensure games could be played safely and normally, the league has also dished out hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines before even a hundred total games have been played. It announced Monday that regulations would be updated, which serves as a nice reminder; the league didn’t quite know how this would shake out.

The NFL updating its own rules serves as an important reminder to everyone in your league; it’s not too late to update some of your own. For some of you, you’ve already done this. For others, especially the ones frustrated over how your teams have been affected while your leagues have ultimately stayed silent, this is something you can forward over to your commissioner to review. 

One last note: none of these rules require a change that should affect anyone’s roster. We won’t recommend you switch to team QBs like an XFL fantasy league or switch the scoring to best ball, as those changes wouldn’t affect all teams equally. Too much season has already occurred, now it’s more about making it sustainable the rest of the way.

 

Ground Rules

Any new league rule that is proposed and adopted should abide by the following three principles:

  1. The rule has to provide relief for poorly affected teams while also providing an opportunity for less affected teams, without straying too far in either direction
  2. The rule has to be unanimously approved, or at least majority+1 (seven of the 10 in a 10-player league, though I always hope the commissioner lets the league decide and stays out of it); if we’re not largely on board, then let’s not do it
  3. Is the juice worth the squeeze, or will instituting this rule cause more of a headache to everyone than it will provide a solution? The goal is to ensure that the league is fun, fair, and competitive. A hundred rules to try to provide total fairness to an already weird year isn’t a solution, it’s just some temporary safeguards that may have some unintended consequences. 

I would also say that rules are more necessary if there is a financial implication, or even a winner/loser punishment system, for the league. Leagues that didn’t have a buy-in or prize this year may find that rolling the dice week to week makes more sense. On the other hand, if you’ve paid quite a bit of money for a down year, I’d almost certainly insist that some rules be added so that I didn’t simply forfeit my investment.

Everything on my list follows these three rules, and while it may evoke some commissioner eye-rolling, it’s a good start that most of the league can agree upon!

 

Designated Players

If a game is being threatened with a COVID-19 related postponement, one of the easiest things you can do is mark a designated player for each of your starters whose games are being threatened with a new start date. Whether it’s a “wait and see” approach like the Patriots and Chiefs ended up taking, or rescheduling for a future contest like the Titans and the Steelers, more games will end up being threatened this year in a similar matter. Your ground rules should be as follows

  1. If a legitimate reporting sports organization (ESPN and Adam Schefter, the NFL or NFL PR, Fox Sports, or another outfit that has reporters who communicate directly with the league off) reports that a game risks being postponed the day before a kickoff, swap in the temporary starter and bench the designated player. The designated player is the starter you’d prefer to start whose game is being threatened. 
  2. Text or email your commissioner and their opponent to let them know which of their starters are being substituted for a designated player. This must be done the day before the game, and cutoff times can be decided by the league. 
  3. If the game that was set to be postponed is actually played, the commissioner swaps in the designated player. If the game is not played, the lineup is not adjusted.

This means that you have a safeguard in place for the games whether they occur or not, and you win or lose based on a full lineup, not a last-second cancellation.

 

Additional IR or Bench Spots

With the statistics I highlighted above regarding league-wide injury statistics, there’s a high probability that each team in your league has enough major injuries to warrant consideration of more IR spots. For affected teams, it’s a necessity. Keeping a healthier roster, having the room to acquire backups or upside guys, means that they’ll be competitive even if they’re less so. For teams not affected, especially when it comes to keeper leagues, the upside is obvious; you get more places to stash the guys who you can keep next year. 

Not interested in IR specific roster spots? Why not open up the bench and let guys go deeper. This is even more of a boon for the team managers who don’t have a lot of IR guys, though it may require a way to do a mini-draft to fill the five or six bench spots more fairly (though waiver chaos has its obvious benefits)

It’s arguably one of the most controversial new rules on this list, but if your bench is small and BYE weeks are arriving, is it really worth winning because teams had to drop their short-term IR studs just to roster a whole team? I have no interest in winning a matchup because a guy felt the need to drop Christian McCaffrey to temporarily roster Justin Jackson.

 

Best Projected Substitutes

If a game is canceled on the day-of and the “designated player” option isn’t doable, you can institute a sweeping rule that allows for any day of replacements, even if games have already started, for the highest projected player. For lack of a better term, I call it the “Best Projected Substitute”

The rule is simple; if the league votes to institute this rule, and a game is canceled on the day-of, any affected players are automatically replaced with the highest projected player in that position on the bench. Team managers are allowed to add drop or adjust their lineup as they see fit without commissioner intervention, but it is a stopgap for teams that may not be able to adjust in time to institute a replacement, or their best available replacement is locked. 

This is one of the trickier rules, as your league may find that you want this rule to only be in place once Sunday games start. But the most careful clarification is regarding locked players and projections; the commissioner is only allowed to substitute in the player with the highest projection, regardless of the actual score. This may mean a player has already played on Thursday and gets added to a lineup, or it could regard a player with a questionable designation on Monday. You’ll want to be clear here because solving one problem could mean more are added, so it’s best to get this rule exact before it becomes necessary.



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Inside the Tent - Week 4 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About three years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now: injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates. Feel free to reach out on Twitter (@aaronburgerPT) for any injury questions!

 

Inside the Tent Updates

Drew Lock, QB - Denver Broncos

  • Lock is dealing with a rotator cuff strain after a brutal hit in Week 2 against the Steelers. He missed Week 3 and is missing Week 4 as well. According to James Palmer, Lock is "legitimately 50/50 to play" in Week 5.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB - San Francisco 49ers

  • Garoppolo is dealing with the notorious high-ankle sprain and was not able to practice all week. With this being said, it will be Nick Mullens under center for the San Francisco 49ers as they take on the Eagle in Week 4. Garoppolo will likely be back next week but if not, Week 6 at home against the Dolphins is a sure thing.

Tyrod Taylor, QB - Los Angeles Chargers

  • Taylor had his lung punctured during a pain injection before Week 2 and therefore has missed two games thus far. He has not practiced all week but Head Coach Anthony Lynn has not yet ruled out Taylor. With that being said, expect to see rookie Justin Herbert out there once again in Week 4.

Phillip Lindsay, RB - Denver Broncos

  • Lindsay was not able to play once again in Week 4 due to turf toe. Expect Lindsay to be back in Week 5 against the Patriots. Lindsay was able to practice in a limited fashion all week leading up to Thursday night so this is certainly a positive sign leading into Week 5.

Raheem Mostert, RB - San Francisco 49ers

  • Mostert is dealing with a sprained MCL and has not practiced all week leading up to Week 4. According to Cam Inman, Mostert is OUT for Week 4.Mostert has a good chance to return in Week 5.

Tevin Coleman, RB - San Francisco 49ers

  • Coleman was placed on injured reserve on September 23rd with a sprained MCL. It's quite clear that his injury is significantly worse than his Raheem Mostert's.

Cam Akers, RB - Los Angeles Rams

  • Akers sustained an injury to the cartilage in his ribs and missed Week 3 as a result. Akers has not practiced all week and is OUT for Week 4 according to Jourdan Rodrigue. Expect Akers to be back on the field in Week 5.

Davante Adams, WR - Green Bay Packers

  • Adams suffered a hamstring strain in Week 2 and missed Week 3 as a result. Hamstring strains often take two or more games to heal so don't be surprised if Adams misses another game. He was able to practice Wednesday and Thursday in a limited fashion so it'll be crucial to see if he practices in full on Saturday. Expect Adams to be a game-time decision or have a limited role if he does play. This is a tough situation considering he plays on Monday night so make sure to have a contingency plan. UPDATE: Adams has tweeted that he will not be playing on Monday night.

A.J. Brown, WR - Tennessee Titans

  • A.J. Brown was able to play in Week 1 with a bone bruise in his knee but was unfortunately not able to suit up for Week 2 or Week 3. Bone bruises can be quire frustrating because athletes must really depend on their bodies to heal the ailment. Like the skin, or anything else in the body, bones can also bruise as they have their own blood supply. Bone bruises in the knee are often a result of stress put on ligaments and pulling at the bone where the ligament attaches. The Titans obviously do not play this week due to multiple COVID-19 cases but expect to see Brown on the field in Week 5.

Michael Thomas, WR - New Orleans Saints

  • Thomas is dealing with a high-ankle sprain and did not play in Week 2 or Week 3. With high-ankle sprains, players usually miss three or more games so expect to see Thomas back on the field during Week 5 at the earliest. Thomas will be OUT for Week 4 according to Tim Twentyman.

Henry Ruggs III, WR - Las Vegas Raiders

  • Ruggs missed practice on the Thursday leading into Week 3 and did not play due to a hamstring strain and a lingering knee sprain. He did not practice at all this week due to his hamstring strain and is therefore doubtful for Week 4.

George Kittle, TE - San Fransisco 49ers

  • Kittle is managing a sprained MCL but was able to practice in full all week. With this being said, Kittle is a full-go for Week 4 and can be started with confidence.

Week 3 Injury Updates

Leonard Fournette, RB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Injury: Fournette popped up on the Tampa Bay injury report on Wednesday. It's not quite clear what he's dealing with but the two most common injuries in the ankle include inversion ankle sprains and high-ankle sprains. Inversion sprains occur lower in the foot and the most common ligament that's sprained is the anterior talofibular ligament. Another common ankle injury in football players is the high-ankle sprain which involves the syndesmosis between the tibia and fibula. Considering Fournette's injury came out of nowhere on Wednesday, one would expect that it's the former, an inversion sprain.
  • News: He wasn't able to practice at all this week and is OUT for Week 4.
  • Outlook: With Fournette shelved this week, this leads to a great opportunity for Ronald Jones II to take back the lead back duties in Tampa Bay. Expect LeSean McCoy to get some more receiving work out of the backfield and help on third downs.

Chris Carson, RB - Seattle Seahawks

  • Injury: Carson was the victim of an alligator roll during the Seahawk's game against the Cowboys and suffered a knee sprain as a result. The defender twisted Carson's leg and continued to roll, causing a rotary force on his knee. Based on how he's progressed this week, Carson is likely dealing with a Grade I MCL sprain. This is definitely best case scenario based on how vicious and dirty the play was.
  • News: He was able to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday and Thursday before turning in a full practice on Friday. He is listed as questionable for Week 4 but expect him to play.
  • Outlook: Carlos Hyde is also questionable so one could expect a limited workload for both Hyde and Carson. Carson is certainly lucky that a play which has no place in football didn't result in an ACL or meniscus tear. If Carson is active, he should be in your lineups.

Tarik Cohen, RB - Chicago Bears

  • Injury: Cohen suffered a torn ACL in his right leg just one week after signing a three-year extension with the Chicago Bears. The ACL is within the knee and helps to provide stability while preventing excess forward movement of the tibia on the femur. The most common mechanism of injury for ACL tears is the knee collapsing inward with the foot planted.
  • News: He was placed on injured reserve on September 28th. Cohen will have an MRI to determine if other ligaments or menisci are involved.
  • Outlook: With Cohen missing the rest of the 2020 season, the Bears will lean on David Montgomery to head their backfield. Look for Cordarrelle Patterson to see increased usage in the passing game as well.

Diontae Johnson, WR - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Injury: Johnson, the young wide receiver for the Steelers, suffered a concussion in Week 3 and missed the remainder of the game as a result. Concussions are a result of blunt force trauma to the head and/or neck and the signs and symptoms that present are a result of the chemical cascade that occurs within the brain. No two concussions are the same and as a result, timelines are always difficult to predict.
  • News: The Steelers are not playing in Week 4 due to COVID-19 cases present within the Titans organization.
  • Outlook: Johnson should be back in Week 5 and will likely be peppered with targets considering Ben Roethlisberger's eye for him so far this season.

Chris Godwin, WR - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

  • Injury: Godwin suffered a hamstring strain in Week 3 and exited the game early. It's being reported that Godwin will be out at least two weeks with a mild hamstring strain, or a Grade I. Grade I strains involve stretching to the musculotendinous unit with no significant tearing. Hamstring strains are one of the injuries where re-injury later in the season is always a concern.
  • News: He was not able to practice all week and has been ruled OUT for Week 4.
  • Outlook: With Godwin sidelined, this should result in a target share increase for Mike Evans. Scotty Miller is questionable with a hip injury so this could mean Justin Watson sees more snaps as well.

Mike Williams, WR - Los Angeles Chargers

  • Injury: Williams also suffered a hamstring strain in Week 3. This is likely also a Grade I strain and we can expect to see Williams back in Week 6. The hamstring group is made of three muscles which help with flexing the knee, hip extension, acceleration, and deceleration. They are often injured when changing speeds rapidly.
  • News: He was not able to practice at all this week and has been ruled OUT for Week 4.
  • Outlook: Look for Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry, and Austin Ekeler to absorb the majority of the targets for the Chargers with Justin Herbert under center once again.

Russell Gage, WR - Atlanta Falcons

  • Injury: Russell Gage suffered a concussion in Week 3 and was not able to return. Concussions are a result of blunt force trauma to the head or neck. The chemical cascade which occurs in the brain produces the signs and symptoms which come along with concussions including headaches, dizziness, nausea, and sensitivity to light.
  • News: Gage was able to practice in a limited fashion on Thursday and in full on Friday. The Falcons play on Monday night so be sure to check the practice report on Saturday.
  • Outlook: Considering the Falcons play on Monday night, there is always inherent risk when waiting to play someone who had an injury the week before. Ultimately, Gage will likely play in Week 4 considering he was able to get a full practice in on Friday. If he practices in full on Saturday, it's all systems go for the slot wide receiver from LSU.

DeSean Jackson, WR - Philadelphia Eagles

  • Injury: Jackson suffered a hamstring strain in Week 3 and is out for Week 4. He has a significant history of lower body soft tissue injuries, all of which carry risk for re-injury. The hamstrings help athletes to accelerate and decelerate and are often injured when trying to change speeds rapidly.
  • News: He was not able to practice at all this week and is OUT for Week 4.
  • Outlook: With Alshon Jeffery, Jalen Reagor, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, and DeSean Jackson out, the Eagles will lean on Greg Ward Jr. and John Hightower to lead their passing attack from the wide receiver position. What this really means though is that Zach Ertz is guaranteed at least 12 targets.

Dallas Goedert, TE - Philadelphia Eagles

  • Injury: According to reports, Goedert is dealing with a fracture in his left ankle. One could hypothesize that his fibula is the culprit based on the three week timeline that's being reported by Jeff Kerr and Tyler Sullivan. The fibula is actually non-weight bearing which actually means athletes can come back faster compared to a fractured tibia. One could argue that this is a better scenario compared to a high-ankle sprain.
  • News: He was placed on short term injured reserve on September 29th.
  • Outlook: With Goedert out, the middle of the field belongs to Zach Ertz and Zach Ertz alone. Expect even more targets for Ertz as there simply aren't enough healthy bodies for the Eagles once again.

Jordan Reed, TE - San Francisco 49ers

  • Injury: Reed initially injured his ankle, returned to the game, then injured his knee in Week 3 against the Giants. It's being reported as a knee sprain so either the MCL, LCL, PCL, or ACL is involved. Considering he's being given a 6-8 week timeline, there could be multiple ligaments involved.
  • News: He was placed on injured reserve and will spend three weeks there. After that, he will continue to rehab and we will hopefully see him around Thanksgiving.
  • Outlook: George Kittle is back this week for the 49ers so they won't miss a beat with a threat over the middle to soak up targets and rack up yards after reception. Deebo Samuel as also back this week which is certainly a welcome addition.

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Inside the Tent - Week 3 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About three years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now: injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates. Feel free to reach out on Twitter (@aaronburgerPT) for any injury questions!

 

Inside the Tent Updates

Phillip Lindsay, RB - Denver Broncos

  • Lindsay missed Week 2 against the Steelers and fantasy managers can expect to be without him for at least two more weeks, if not more. He is dealing with turf toe which is the result of hyperextension of the big toe, causing the ligaments and tendons on the bottom of the toe to stretch. Lindsay has been announced as DOUBTFUL for Week 3.

Le'Veon Bell, RB - New York Jets

  • Bell was placed on injured reserve as of September 15th with a hamstring strain. Now that he's on injured reserve, he will be out until at least Week 5. Hamstring strains, like the majority of soft tissue injuries, are more susceptible to re-injury.

A.J. Brown, WR - Tennessee Titans

  • A.J. Brown was able to play in Week 1 with a bone bruise in his knee but was unfortunately not able to suit up for Week 2. Bone bruises can be quire frustrating because athletes must really depend on their bodies to heal the ailment. Like the skin, or anything else in the body, bones can also bruise as they have their own blood supply. Bone bruises in the knee are often a result of stress put on ligaments and pulling at the bone where the ligament attaches. Brown will likely miss Week 3 after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Hopefully he will be able to suit up for Week 4 but that may too be in question. Brown has been ruled OUT for Week 3.

Michael Thomas, WR - New Orleans Saints

  • Thomas is dealing with a high-ankle sprain and obviously did not play in Week 2. The Saints certainly suffered as they lost to the Las Vegas Raiders. With high-ankle sprains, players usually miss three or more games so expect to see Thomas back on the field during Week 5 at the earliest. Thomas will be OUT for Week 3 according to Dan Graziano.

Chris Godwin, WR - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Godwin missed Week 2 with a concussion sustained in Week 1 but turned in full practices on Wednesday and Thursday after being removed from the league's concussion protocol on Monday. This leads us to believe he will be active for Week 3 but as with all concussions, there is certainly risk for another.

Kenny Golladay, WR - Detroit Lions

  • Golladay suffered a hamstring strain before Week 1 and has yet to make his 2020 debut. There is reason for optimism though as Golladay was able to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Expect to see Golladay in Week 3 in what should be a high-scoring affair in the dessert.

Henry Ruggs III, WR - Las Vegas Raiders

  • Ruggs was able to play on Monday as the Raiders defeated the Saints. He was quite ineffective though only catching one of his three targets for four yards. He didn't look hampered by his MCL sprain and will once again be good-to-go for Week 3. Ruggs missed practice on Thursday and will be OUT in Week 3 due to a hamstring strain and his knee sprain.

Jamison Crowder, WR - New York Jets

  • Crowder missed Week 2 with a hamstring strain and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday for the Jets. This is not a positive sign and he will likely be out for another two or three weeks. As of Friday, Crowder has been ruled OUT for Week 3.

George Kittle, TE - San Fransisco 49ers

  • Kittle is managing a sprained MCL and was able to turn in a limited practices on Wednesday and Thursday which is always a positive sign. Unfortunately, the 49ers may hold Kittle out for Week 3 based on concerns about MetLife Stadium's turf and the injuries it may or may not have caused the 49ers in Week 2. Be sure to monitor practice reports and keep an eye on the RotoBaller news feed for updates about George Kittle's availability. Kittle has been announced as OUT for Week 3 according to Matt Maiocco.

Week 3 Injury Updates

Drew Lock, QB - Denver Broncos

  • Injury: Lock suffered a significant rotator cuff strain in Week 2 against the Steelers. There are four muscles that make up the rotator cuff: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. Based on reports from the team, Lock is likely dealing with a significant Grade I strain which should keep him away from surgery but will sideline him for at least four weeks. It has also been reported he is dealing with an AC, or acromioclavicular, joint sprain from the impact against the ground.
  • News: According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Lock's injury will be re-evaluated in two weeks and will be out for at least four weeks.
  • Outlook: The Broncos have their bye week in Week 8 so don't be surprised if Lock doesn't see the field until Week 9. Jeff Driskel will take the snaps from under center for the Broncos and they also signed Blake Bortles. This significantly affects any and all pieces of the Broncos offense including Melvin Gordon and Jerry Jeudy.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB - San Francisco 49ers

  • Injury: Jimmy Garoppolo had his right ankle rolled up on and is now dealing with a high-ankle sprain as a result. High ankle sprains are different from low ankle sprains in that they involve the connection (syndesmosis) between the tibia and fibula. These are the two lower leg bones and a sheet of connective tissue binds them together. With a high ankle sprain, this tissue is stretched and the joint becomes unstable.
  • News: He was not able to practice on Wednesday or Thursday and the 49ers will roll with Nick Mullens under center in Week 3.
  • Outlook: Mullens is no slouch as a backup and should be able to run Kyle Shanahan's offense in an efficient manner. Look for the 49ers to utilize Jeff Wilson Jr. and Jerick McKinnon out of the backfield and scheme creative plays to get them in space.

Tyrod Taylor, QB - Los Angeles Chargers

  • Injury: Tyrod Taylor unfortunately had one of his lungs punctured, resulting in a partially collapsed lung, while getting a pain injection into his ribs. Medically, this is termed a pneumothorax, and will result in Taylor being out for Week 3.
  • News: Taylor will not play in Week 3 and Justin Herbert will be under center for the Chargers for the second week in a row.
  • Outlook: With Herbert under center in Week 2, the Chargers had the Chiefs on the ropes and controlled the game for three quarters. Herbert seemed to prefer Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler compared to Taylor having eyes for Mike Williams. Once Taylor is recovered, likely before Week 4, we will seemingly have a quarterback controversy on our hands.

Saquon Barkley, RB - New York Giants

  • Injury: Saquon Barkley suffered a torn ACL, meniscus, and MCL in his right knee as his knee collapsed inward while planted in the turf. This is worrisome considering the meniscus tear compared to a "clean" ACL tear.
  • News: Barkley was placed on injured reserve on September 22nd.
  • Outlook: As far as recovery is concerned, the meniscus certainly complicates things early in the rehab process as knee flexion will be limited to allow for proper healing. Barkley will also not be able to fully bear weight on his right leg until about 3 weeks post-op. Barkley may miss voluntary workouts but should be back for training camp in 2021. The Giants signed Devonta Freeman to join Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman in the Giants' running back room. Until roles are defined, this may be a situation to avoid.

Christian McCaffrey, RB - Carolina Panthers

  • Injury: McCaffrey suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 2. As stated above, high-ankle sprains involve the syndemosis between the tibia and fibula. These injuries often occur when the ankle is flexed too far upwards into dorsiflexion and externally rotated. McCaffrey is likely dealing with a Grade I sprain.
  • News: McCaffrey was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday, indicating that he will miss at least three weeks.
  • Outlook: When the dust settles, expect McCaffrey to be back for either Week 7 or Week 8. We saw last year when Barkley attempted to come back too early from a high-ankle sprain that the efficiency may not be there if ankle isn't fully healed. The Panthers will likely give McCaffrey ample time to heal considering the contract they signed him to this offseason.

Raheem Mostert, RB - San Francisco 49ers

  • Injury: Mostert suffered a sprained MCL in Week 2 against the Jets. The medial collateral ligament runs along the inner part of the knee and is commonly injured in football players when the knee collapses inward during a tackle. Mostert is likely dealing with a Grade I sprain, which is the least significant.
  • News: Mostert has not practiced this week and is doubtful for Week 3 against the Giants.
  • Outlook: Without Mostert, the 49ers will lean on Jeff Wilson Jr. and Jerick McKinnon to lead the 49ers' rushing attack. Expect Wilson to see the goal-line work with McKinnon working between the 20's and catching passes out of the backfield.

Tevin Coleman, RB - San Francisco 49ers

  • Injury: Tevin Coleman is unfortunately dealing with an MCL sprain and will be out for multiple weeks. The MCL, or medial collateral ligament, runs along the inside of the knee and helps to provide stability to the joint. Coleman is likely dealing with a Grade I sprain. 
  • News: Coleman was placed on IR on September 23rd. With this news, Coleman will miss at least three weeks as he rehabs from his MCL sprain.
  • Outlook: With Coleman out of the mix, look for Jeff Wilson Jr. and Jerick McKinnon to lead the 49ers backfield. Wilson should be more valuable in the red zone with McKinnon commanding some caries and targets between the 20's.

Cam Akers, RB - Los Angeles Rams

  • Injury: Cam Akers sustained an injury to the cartilage in his ribs in Week 2. As I always say with rib  injuries, these are extremely painful and often come down to a game-time decision. Ribs are surrounded by cartilage and this cartilage can sometimes become dislodged from the rib itself. Unfortunately, this is what happened to Akers.
  • News: Akers has been ruled OUT for Week 3. 
  • Outlook: With Akers sidelined, Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcom Brown will handle the carries for the Rams. Look for Akers to be back in Week 5 and hopefully begin to return on his draft stock.

Davante Adams, WR - Green Bay Packers

  • Injury: Davante Adams suffered a hamstring strain in Week 2. As stated before, hamstring strains often occur during moments of acceleration or deceleration and tend to linger even after an athlete returns to play. Soft tissue injuries such as hamstring strains are vulnerable to re-injury if they are not rehabbed properly or the athlete comes back too soon.
  • News: Adams was not able to practice at all this week and is DOUBTFUL for Week 3.
  • Outlook: Ultimately, Adams will be a game time decision or won't play so fantasy managers should certainly have a plan B. Based on the severity, it's possible Adams will miss next week as well.

Courtland Sutton, WR - Denver Broncos

  • Injury: After coming back from a sprained AC joint in his shoulder, Sutton tore his ACL and will be done for the year. The ACL is obviously in the knee and helps to add stability to the knee, specifically prevent anterior translation of the tibia on the femur.
  • News: Sutton was placed on IR on September 22nd.
  • Outlook: Without Sutton. the Broncos will lean on their rookie, Jerry Jeudy, to provide stability in the passing game. They lost Drew Lock as well so expect for this offense to take a step back until he returns.

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Making Lemonade: Players Who Will Benefit from Injuries

The NFL has taken many precautions to protect its players and coaches from COVID-19. The league has now gone two consecutive weeks without seeing a single positive test, suggesting that these measures have been successful.

Sadly, the NFL has not been able to shield its athletes from the injury bug. This past slate of games saw an unprecedented number of players go down. From Christian McCaffrey to Raheem Mostert, and from Saquon Barkley to Courtland Sutton, no one was safe. The constant stream of bad news was quite fitting for 2020.

Very few fantasy teams made it through the week unscathed. Many managers will be forced to look to the waiver wire or the trade block to salvage their teams. If the injury report has you in tears, look no further. This article will examine some of the most likely players to step up during the absences of their teammates.

 

Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos

Broncos quarterback Drew Lock sprained his AC joint in his throwing shoulder last week, which will damage the team's passing attack. Then, WR1 Courtland Sutton was pronounced out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Backup RB Phillip Lindsay has already missed a game and could be out longer. That leaves their new free-agent running back to carry the load.

Gordon, who saw 19 carries in Week 2, will become a larger focal point of the offense during Lock's 2-6 week absence and beyond. Denver trailed for the majority of the contest, and yet Gordon still had 21 touches. Granted, his YPC was just 3.7, but he was up against a stout Pittsburgh defense that held Saquon Barkley to just 6 yards rushing. Gordon is generally considered to be an RB2, but his usage alone could get him into RB1 territory over the next few weeks.

 

Evan Engram , New York Giants

Giants receiver Sterling Shepard has been diagnosed with turf toe, an injury that is known to linger. With Shepard hobbled and Golden Tate just returning from an injury himself, other receiving options will see a larger share of the team's targets. Engram could be the biggest beneficiary here, as he led the Giants in catches, receiving yards, and targets last week.

Shepard was targeted on four of the team's 40 pass attempts despite exiting the game in the second quarter, so there is room for Engram's target share to increase. Star tailback Saquon Barkley's season-ending injury should make the team more pass-heavy overall also. Engram has already seen 15 total targets in the first two weeks, so his already-good usage could become great. He also has played 99.2 percent of the team's snaps, suggesting that he will be on the field enough to capitalize on these extra opportunities. Engram will be a big enough part of the passing game to be a TE1 going forward.

 

Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have been devastated by injuries so far this season. Key contributors have gone down on both sides of the ball, including running back Raheem Mostert. With tailback Tevin Coleman likely out multiple weeks as well, McKinnon is poised to assume a larger role. McKinnon's performance thus far has been very promising. He has rushed for 101 yards on just six carries, resulting in a sky-high 16.8 YPC.

Granted, this is in a small sample size, and it includes a game against the Jets. However, McKinnon's 2.26 fantasy points per opportunity rank third among all NFL running backs through these two weeks. When McKinnon starts getting double-digit touches, look out.

 

Chris Herndon, New York Jets

The Jets have looked terrible, and wideout Breshad Perriman's ankle sprain won't help matters. Pairing this with fellow receiver Jamison Crowder's hamstring injury leaves the Jets desperate for playmakers. Herndon could be the fill-in, despite his so-so production so far. His poor stats have mainly been due to inaccurate passing from quarterback Sam Darnold. Herndon has gained the fifth-most average target separation among tight ends, and he has the sixth-highest air yards share at his position.

With better play from Darnold and even more passes coming his way, Herndon could have a breakout performance. His five yards on four targets last week will be the exception, not the rule.

 

Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints

Star Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas is hampered with an ankle injury that will likely last for a few more weeks. Thomas set the NFL record for single-season catches last year, meaning a massive target share has opened up in New Orleans. It looks like Smith could be the next man up.

After a Week 1 performance where he saw just one target, Smith had five catches for 86 yards on Monday. His catches, yards, and targets all dwarfed those of teammate Emmanuel Sanders, suggesting that Smith might be the team's top wideout for the moment. Such a role in a Drew Brees offense is very lucrative fantasy-wise. Snatch up Smith before anyone else does.

 

Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts

Colts receiver Parris Campbell is out indefinitely with an MCL injury, leaving the door open for Pittman. The rookie actually led Colts wideouts in targets last week with six, so quarterback Philip Rivers is clearly willing to throw his way. Pittman did turn those targets into just 37 yards, but he is still adjusting to the NFL. The Colts also hardly had to throw because they led against the Vikings nearly all game.

When the team is in more passing situations, Pittman will be a primary target. Rivers had 363 yards passing in Week 1, 71 of which went to Campbell, indicating that Pittman will have a decent ceiling as he progresses.



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Inside the Tent - Week 2 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About three years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now: injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates. Feel free to reach out on Twitter (@aaronburgerPT) for any injury questions!

 

Week 1 Injury Updates

 

James Conner, RB - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Injury: James Conner is unfortunately a player I find myself writing about far too often given his history of knee, shoulder, and quadriceps injuries. In Week 1 though, it was Conner’s ankle which failed him and caused him to miss about three quarters of the Steelers’ Week 1 win against the Giants. Thankfully though for Conner, it seems as if his ankle sprain is of the “low” variety compared to the notorious high ankle sprain. When a player experiences a low ankle sprain, a ligament is stretched beyond its anatomical limits resulting in pain and laxity within the joint. The most common ligament affected during lateral ankle sprains is the anterior talofibular ligament. As with all soft tissue injuries, there is a risk of re-injury if a player returns too soon.
  • News: Conner was able to practice in full on Thursday and Friday after not practicing on Wednesday. When a player is able to practice fully for two consecutive days, this is a good sign that said player will play that week.
  • Outlook: The Pittsburgh backfield is tough to decipher at the moment given the success Benny Snell Jr. had on Monday night and Conner’s extensive injury history. Throughout the offseason though, Mike Tomlin reiterated that James Conner is the bell-cow back so one must assume that until there's a significant change in snap counts and opportunities when both Conner and Snell are healthy, Conner will be the “guy” in Pittsburgh.

Phillip Lindsay, RB - Denver Broncos

  • Injury: Phillip Lindsay suffered an instance of “turf toe” Monday night against the Titans. Turf toe involves the metatarsophalangeal joint which is the big toe joint in the foot. This injury occurs as a result of the big toe bending too far upwards and stretching the ligaments and tendons that run along the bottom of the toe. The severity and how long a player will be out depends on how far the ligaments and tendons are stretched as well as pain tolerance.
  • News: Lindsay did not practice at all this week and has been ruled out for Week 2’s matchup against the Steelers.
  • Outlook: With Lindsay likely sidelined for multiple weeks, Melvin Gordon will lead the Broncos’ backfield in carries and try to stay healthy himself. With the Broncos being seven point underdogs, Gordon may return on value in PPR formats as the Broncos try to keep pace with the Steelers. Those with Lindsay on their roster should look elsewhere and prepare for a multi-week absence.

Marlon Mack, RB - Indianapolis Colts

  • Injury: Marlon Mack unfortunately suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon during the second quarter of the Colts’ Week 1 matchup against the Jaguars. Mack caught a pass out of the backfield and landed on the ball of his right foot while beginning to accelerate. Upon analysis, one can see Mack’s calf musculature involving the gastrocnemius and soleus recoil into the leg following the rupture. Mack will require surgery to reattach the tendon and benefit from an extensive rehab process to regain range of motion, strength, and return to sport specific activities when appropriate.
  • News: Mack was placed on the IR and will miss the remainder of the 2020 season. In 2021, we will see Mack eased back into the equation for whatever team he is on considering he will be a free agent in 2021.
  • Outlook: With Mack out, this clears the way for Jonathan Taylor to carry the load as the Colt’s lead back. In Week 1, Taylor rushed nine times for 22 yards but caught all six of his targets for 67 yards. Nyheim Hines also benefited from Mack’s departure rushing seven times for 28 yards and a touchdown while catching eight passes on as many targets for 45 yards and another score. Both backs will hold season long value with Taylor being much more consistent.

Miles Sanders, RB - Philadelphia Eagles

  • Injury: Miles Sanders, Philadelphia’s second-year running back, sustained a hamstring strain during Eagles’ training camp which was first reported as a lower body injury on August 19th. Hamstring strain recovery times, like all soft tissue injuries, depend on severity and how the player is progressing through rehab and football/team drills. Given the time frame, Sanders was likely dealing with a Grade I strain causing him to miss about four weeks. There are three muscles which make up the hamstrings group and they are strained when stretched beyond their anatomical limits; often during periods of acceleration or deceleration.
  • News: Sanders missed Week 1 as a result of this hamstring strain and was clearly not close to playing as he didn’t make the trip to Washington. When players don’t travel for away games, it’s a clear indication said player wasn’t relied on for the game plan. This week at practice, Sanders was able to turn in full practices on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday which means Sanders will be close to or fully recovered for Week 2.
  • Outlook: Sanders will make his 2020 debut in Week 2 against a Rams team which allowed 127 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown to Ezekiel Elliott on Sunday night. Boston Scott was injured in Week 1 against The Washington Football Team but hasn’t been listed in the Eagles’ injury reports. One could expect Sanders to be on the field early and often against the Rams in what should be a close game.

Le'Veon Bell, RB - New York Jets

  • Injury: Le’Veon Bell sustained a hamstring strain in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills. As stated above, the hamstrings group is made of three muscles and they are often injured during moments of acceleration or deceleration. Bell likely sustained a Grade I strain but this will keep him out for anywhere from three to five weeks.
  • News: Bell was placed on IR which means he will miss at least three weeks thanks to the new IR protocols for the 2020 season. Based on the severity, Bell will be back anywhere from Week 4 to Week 6 with a significant risk of re-injury if he comes back too soon. 
  • Outlook: Already lacking weapons on offense, the Jets are now without their dynamic, three-down back in Le’Veon Bell. Kalen Ballage was signed by the Jets to provide depth behind Frank Gore but this is an offense that should be avoided if possible. When Bell returns from IR, he will once again be startable but expectations must be tempered under Adam Gase.

DeVante Parker, WR - Miami Dolphins

  • Injury: DeVante Parker, like Le’Veon Bell and Miles Sanders, is battling a hamstring injury. As stated before, hamstring strains often occur during moments of acceleration or deceleration and tend to linger even after an athlete returns to play. Soft tissue injuries such as hamstring strains are vulnerable to re-injury if they are not rehabbed properly or the athlete comes back too soon.
  • News: Parker was able to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday which is a step in the right direction. Head coach Brian Flores said that Parker will be a game-time decision so in lineups he should certainly be avoided.
  • Outlook: With Parker possibly sidelined or acting as a decoy, Preston Williams will likely see an uptick in targets in a game where the Dolphins will likely play from behind. If Parker sits this week, depending on the severity, he should be able to return for Week 3.

Michael Thomas, WR - New Orleans Saints

  • Injury: Michael Thomas, New Orlean’s star WR, suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 1 and is likely to be out for multiple weeks. High ankle sprains often occur when the foot is rotated outward while planted or flexed too far upwards. A high ankle sprain is different from a low ankle sprain in that it involves the connection (syndesmosis) between the tibia and fibula. These are the two lower leg bones and there is a sheet of connective tissue between them. With a high ankle sprain, this tissue is stretched and the joint becomes unstable.
  • News: NFL Network's Tom Pelissero has reported that Thomas is expected to miss “several weeks” but more recent reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter shine a more positive light saying Thomas has surprised at practice and there is “a little hope” he can play on Monday night. Officially though, Thomas hasn’t practiced this week and remains doubtful for Week 2.
  • Outlook: Ultimately, the Saints are likely to be without Thomas on Monday night when they face the Las Vegas Raiders. High ankle sprains are injuries that require multiple weeks of rehab and a process of easing back into game speed. Saquon Barkley and Alvin Kamara both dealt with high ankle sprains last year with Barkley missing four weeks and Kamara missing three games. With Thomas sidelined, expect the Saints to lean on Kamara out of the backfield as well as Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook over the middle of the field.

Chris Godwin, WR - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Injury: Chris Godwin sustained a concussion in Week 1. A concussion is the result of blunt force trauma to the head and the resultant chemical cascade that occurs within the brain. Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headaches, confusion, drowsiness, and difficulty remembering things. Symptoms and how a player responds to increased activity during the week will indicate how soon that player can return to action.
  • News: Godwin was not able to practice Wednesday or Thursday but was limited on Friday. Unfortunately, any time a player isn’t able to get consecutive limited practices in during the week, this often means their availability will be in serious question. Godwin is doubtful this week but may be a game-time decision.
  • Outlook: With Godwin likely sidelined, look for the Buccaneers to pound the rock with Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette, as needed, against a soft Carolina run defense. Carolina was gashed by Josh Jacobs last week allowing him to rush for 93 yards and three touchdowns while catching four of six passes for an additional 46 yards. For a team with such high expectations coming into the season, they may try to look to the running game and establish a lead to lighten the load on Tom Brady. Godwin should be back next week and the Buccaneers will have all their weapons.

Kenny Golladay, WR - Detroit Lions

  • Injury: Kenny Golladay suffered a strained hamstring before Week 1 and missed the Lions’ opener as a result. Strained hamstrings, like other soft tissue injuries, can linger for multiple weeks and re-injure if a player tries to come back too soon. These hamstring strains specifically happen during moments of acceleration or deceleration and result from the muscle and tendon being stretched beyond their anatomical limits. 
  • News: Golladay was not able to practice at all this week and will be OUT for Week 2 against the Packers.
  • Outlook: With Golladay sidelined, expect the Lions to lean on Marvin Jones and T.J. Hockenson to stretch the field with D’Andre Swift seeing targets out of the backfield. Keep an eye out to see if Gollday travels with the team to Green Bay, as well as Wednesday’s practice report.

Henry Ruggs III, WR - Las Vegas Raiders

  • Injury: Henry Ruggs III was tackled in Week 1 after catching a pass and his left ankle got caught in the turf and rotated outwards. His knee, upon further review, actually collapses inward a bit as well putting stress on his MCL, or medial collateral ligament. His injury is being listed as a knee but I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s also dealing with a high ankle sprain. A high ankle sprain, much more serious than a low ankle sprain, involves the connection between the tibia and fibula being stretched beyond its anatomical limits causing severe pain and instability. The MCL sprain, depending on the grade, could keep Ruggs out anywhere from two to six weeks but the high ankle sprain is more concerning.
  • News: Ruggs was not able to practice Thursday or Friday and based on such will be doubtful for the Monday night game against the Saints. 
  • Outlook: Without Ruggs, the Raiders will have to funnel targets to Darren Waller and their other rookie wide receiver, Bryan Edwards. Hunter Renfrow will be patrolling the middle of the field and is a sneaky PPR play with Ruggs out of the equation for the time being.

Jamison Crowder, WR - New York Jets

  • Injury: Jamison Crowder is unfortunately another player who sustained a strained hamstring, likely because of the lack of preseason games and ramp up period this season. As stated above, the hamstring group consists of three muscles along the back of the thigh that are strained when they are stretched beyond their anatomical limits; most often during periods of acceleration or deceleration. Crowder is likely dealing with a Grade I strain, which is the least serious but often causes a player to miss at least one or two weeks.
  • News: Crowder was not able to practice this week and has been ruled OUT for New York’s Week 2 game against the 49ers.
  • Outlook: Crowder was a bright spot for an otherwise stagnant Jets offense catching seven of 13 targets for 115 yards and a touchdown. Without him, the Jets are lacking serious receiving threats and will likely struggle to move the ball against a stout 49ers defense. Chris Herndon is the beneficiary of this injury as we should see his targets increase without Crowder on the field.

George Kittle, TE - San Fransisco 49ers

  • Injury: George Kittle suffered a scary hit on Sunday resulting in his knee hyperextending while still planted in the turf. This is a common mechanism of injury for a MCL sprain and with the news coming from practice this week, that appears to be what Kittle is dealing with. The MCL, or medial collateral ligament, is on the inner part of the knee and adds stability to the joint. Based on reports and the overall concern from the 49ers, we are likely looking at a Grade I sprain which still can keep Kittle out for two to four weeks.
  • News: Kittle wasn’t able to  practice Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday this week and has been ruled OUT against the Jets.
  • Outlook: In the grand scheme of things, the 49ers are smart to keep Kittle out and let him continue to rehab his knee. This increases the likelihood that he will be ready for Week 4 against the Eagles or possibly Week 3 against the Giants. The 49ers signed Mohammed Sanu to reunite with Kyle Shanahan and provide another target across the middle. The 49ers will rely on their running attack this game as they should be able to handle the New York Jets.

Blake Jarwin, TE - Dallas Cowboys

  • Injury: Blake Jarwin unfortunately tore his right ACL when he planted and attempted to make a cut towards the middle of the field on Sunday night against the Rams. His knee collapsed inward, which is a classic mechanism of injury for an ACL rupture.
  • News: Jarwin was placed on IR and his 2020 season is over. He should be fully recovered for 2021 based on how early in the season this injury occurred.
  • Outlook: Without Jarwin, the Cowboys will look to Dalton Schultz to provide stability from the tight end position and will rely more on Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb down the field and across the middle.

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Injury News You Need to Know Before Drafting!

Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano discuss the top injury headlines and underreported news that fantasy football GMs need to know before the final draft weekend of 2020.

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Injuries Suck

Pierre and Chris break down the most notable players suffering preseason injuries before the final week of fantasy football draft season.

Players discussed include:


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Wing-Clipped: Managing the Eagles Wide Receivers

What seems to be an on-going joke around the NFL in recent seasons is the health status or lack thereof regarding the Philadelphia Eagles receiving corps. One person who isn't laughing: Carson Wentz. The often-injured quarterback has been dealing with a rash of injuries to his playmakers, limiting the weapons at his disposal. You have to go back to the 2017 season for the last time that he dealt with a fully healthy group of receivers, finishing with his best statistical season (33 TD with seven interceptions and a QB7 finish in fantasy). We all can recall the trainwreck that was the 2019 season with every starter being lost to injury, forcing Wentz to suffer through the likes of Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, and Deontay Burnett to finish the season.

The Eagles' front office made the conscious effort to address this problem through the NFL Draft by adding a trio of promising rookies to this group. But it would not be an on-going joke without laughter. The laughter (or tears for Philly fans) is that the Eagles are already dealing with a rash of injuries to the position early in camp. Alshon Jeffery, recovering from Lisfranc surgery, is likely to miss the early portion of the 2020 season. Rookies Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins are both battling injuries and are expected to miss time as well. That leaves the only healthy receivers at the moment as DeSean Jackson (often injured), Greg Ward (slot option), J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (underperformed in 2019), and rookie John Hightower.

We all know that the top option in the passing game will continue to be Zach Ertz, while also mixing in Dallas Goedert in 12 personnel packages. But how can Carson Wentz expect to excel while once again playing with a thin cupboard? I examine the options for Wentz at receiver and how fantasy managers should value them for the upcoming 2020 season.

 

Alshon Jeffery

As previously mentioned, Jeffery is slow to come back from Lisfranc surgery he had last December. The expectation at the moment is that he will miss at least the first game of the season, if not more. One true thing is that Wentz is a better fantasy quarterback with Jeffery on the field. His PPG and passing touchdowns are both higher with Jeffery in the rotation.

With this expected to be his final season with the team, once Jeffery returns he should immediately start once again and give managers a solid WR3/Flex option weekly. With a WR67 ADP currently, he can be a player that you grab at the end of your draft and see how his injury status changes going into the season.

 

DeSean Jackson

Jackson has not played a full 16-game schedule since 2013. Coincidentally enough, that was the last time that he was fantasy viable with a WR12 finish that season. With a top finish of WR23 (2014) since then, Jackson has constantly battled nagging injuries, one after another. Many managers will call back to the points explosion to begin the 2019 season (35.4 FP) as a reason to be excited about what's to come. But don't fall for fool's gold.

Jackson is a player that has more appeal in best-ball formats than in regular season-long. He will pop a big week now and then but become largely invisible for weeks at a time. His WR58 ADP is somewhat inflated due to the crisis befalling this team currently. Let another manager in your league be the person to deal with Jackson on the roster as you select someone with a higher upside.

 

Jalen Reagor

The rookie wideout from TCU that was drawing rave reviews now finds himself on the sidelines with a torn labrum. The injury could cost him the first month of the season, but with the Raiders' Tyrell Williams going on IR with a similar injury, this is cause for concern. The Bears' Anthony Miller has struggled through his first two seasons with a banged-up shoulder as well, so expecting big things from Reagor upon return could be a bit of a stretch.

With him learning multiple positions as a rookie, it is clear the Eagles were expecting him to contribute right away. Now instead of a potential sleeper pickup in drafts, managers must let him slide down the board to potentially pick up as a WR5 and see how the injury shakes out.

 

John Hightower

An intriguing dynasty prospect, Hightower is a name that I have been pushing throughout the summer for rookie drafts. A player with size/speed combo, Hightower projected out to become the replacement for Jeffery in the lineup as early as 2021. Now that timeline has been pushed up with the injury bug hitting this team, will he be a candidate to start right away? No. But he could be mixed in the rotation quite a bit and see some appeal as a waiver pickup early on. He remains a player I would want in dynasty preferably, but could be worth a roster stash in deeper redraft leagues.

 

Greg Ward

Ward is a player that the coaching staff seems to love. But his athletic abilities are somewhat lacking for a guy that is slated to play a majority out of the slot. With most of his 28 receptions coming at the end of the 2019 season, maybe he can carry some of that momentum over into the new season. But once the health of other players becomes clear, Ward is a player that will see his snap share decrease dramatically. He could see some sneaky appeal from a DFS standpoint early in the season, but from a season-long perspective, Ward should be left on the waiver wire.

 

The Rest of the Group

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside - The 2019 rookie was given chances to earn time on the field, especially with the rash of injuries and he still struggled mightily. Only 10 receptions on the season, it is hard to rely on him in 2020 in any format until he shows he belongs.

Quez Watkins - Watkins is a speedster (4.35) with a productive career at Southern Miss. He may be the eventual replacement for DeSean Jackson as the team's deep threat but expecting much from him in 2020 may be a long shot. If injuries continue to take hold of this group he could see more snaps on the field, but he will need seasoning to adjust to the level of play at the NFL. He is more of a dynast stash at the moment but could be a player that pops a week in DFS in 2020 in the right matchup.



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Who Replaces Deebo Samuel in the 49ers Offense?

In the midst of a quiet portion of the early NFL offseason, the defending NFC champs were dealt a blow to their chances of returning to the big game. During a workout with teammates on June 18, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel injured his foot. As it turns out, Samuel suffered a broken foot which gives him a recovery timetable of 12-16 weeks.

It's not devastating in the sense that Samuel isn't lost for the entire season as would occur with an ACL or Achilles tear. Some, including Samuel himself following successful surgery, are optimistic that he'll be ready for Week 1. The truth, unfortunately, is that even in the best-case scenario, Samuel won't be at 100% for the start of the season and could wind up missing half the year while mending from this injury, if not more.

Either way, his fantasy value has taken a hit and the door is now open for other Niners to step up in his place. Let's break it all down bit by bit.

 

Injury Details

Not as widely recognized as other sports injuries, Samuel suffered a Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal. This particular type of injury is more common than you would think and is also far more menacing than it sounds.

Typically, a fracture will heal with sufficient rest over time. This particular type of fracture doesn't bode well for a swift recovery, though. In a study done two years ago by the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, possible issues include the possibility of refracture, delayed healing, and post-surgical complications such as infection. The Niners are familiar with this already, as this is exactly what happened to receiver Trent Taylor last year. Taylor suffered a Jones fracture in the preseason and was only expected to miss a handful of games. Then, he required a second surgery to correct the first, and the area around the screw inside his foot became infected and forced him to miss all of 2019.

Those eager to blow off this injury as a minor setback before the season gets underway might also pay attention to these quotes from the comprehensive cohort study:

"50% of all players with a previous Jones fracture demonstrated incomplete healing. Moreover, position-specific performance scores over the first 2 years of a player’s career were lower across all positions for those with fractures compared with controls."

"For every position group, players with Jones fractures had lower fantasy scores compared with controls."

That might explain some of the immediate reactions from the medical community regarding his injury.

Dr. David Chao immediately tweeted out that he expects a PUP stint, for what it's worth.

 

The number of weeks isn't what we need to focus on. It's the fact that, much like your favorite brisket (y'all do have that up north, right?), his recovery will need to be low and slow.

All of this adds up to the fact that Deebo Samuel should simply be avoided in redraft leagues. No matter how great he feels about his surgery on Instagram or how optimistic sports doctors, amateur doctors, dynasty owners, or Niners fans are, he is almost certain to miss at least the first six weeks of the season. Once he returns, he shouldn't be played much right away, he may not be back to previous performance levels, and risk of re-injury remains worryingly high.

In redraft leagues, he simply isn't worth clogging up a roster spot. As far as dynasty goes, there is no need to make a move either way here unless a panicked owner in win-now mode is willing to sell him at a discount.

Samuel's ADP has already dropped from the early sixth round to the 11th in best-ball leagues. It should be far lower, as there are numerous receivers who will outperform him even for the portion of the season he does play. Naturally, some will pivot to other options on the 49ers roster. But is there someone who can step in and replace the production expected by Samuel?

 

It's Gotta Be the Rookie, Right?

The first logical step is to look at first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk out of Arizona State. He posted nearly 1,200 receiving yards and finished third in Yards After the Catch among qualified FBS receivers in 2019. He chipped in another 672 return yards fielding both kickoffs and punts. His straight-line speed isn't overwhelming, but he has good burst and is able to avoid tackles, hence the high YAC totals.

San Fran ranked second in points scored and fourth in offensive yardage last season. The fact that they chose to spend the 25th overall pick of the NFL Draft on a receiver indicates that they plan to involve him in the offense right away, as well as on special teams. Aiyuk was supposed to be the complementary piece to Samuel on the other side, but now he will have to serve as a temporary replacement. This should mean a steady supply of targets and a huge jump in fantasy value. That assumes he can step up and be the next Deebo, but he may not be up to the task, at least not right away.

Most rookies take a few weeks to get acclimated to the speed of the pro game and fully learn and integrate into a playbook. This may especially be the case with Kyle Shanahan's offense. Plus, this year more than ever, rookies are at a disadvantage because of the COVID-19 situation. Team activities, meetings with coaches, and access to facilities are all limited, which means we may see less of an impact from rookies than we've gotten accustomed to.

The last thing to consider with Aiyuk is the fact that Deebo Samuel could return by midseason and negate much of the value Aiyuk would have for fantasy leagues in the second half of the season. As mentioned above, first-year wideouts take a while to get going. A.J. Brown only caught 22 passes for 348 yards in the first eight weeks before going off for 703 yards in the final eight games. Samuel himself had 22 receptions for 227 yards in the first half of the 2019 season and went on to post 35 receptions for 575 yards in the second half. There's a chance Aiyuk becomes this year's rookie breakout, but now you'll have to pay up with a draft pick to take that chance rather than scooping him off waivers midseason. Aiyuk belongs on fantasy rosters for 12+ team leagues, but if his ADP rises too far this offseason, don't overpay by making him than a top-150 overall pick.

 

Digging for Gold

If Aiyuk isn't the easy answer, then where else can we find value on this roster? The truth is that this isn't an offense that revolves around any single player, especially at WR.

The main man in the passing game is at tight end, obviously. George Kittle will still be the top target and could actually be the one that benefits the most from this injury, believe it or not. It's hard to imagine that he could play a bigger role than he already does, but that is exactly what tends to happen when teams lack reliable weapons on the outside. The emergence of TEs like Darren Waller and Mark Andrews last year has more to do with the lack of top-flight wide receivers on those teams than anything.

My pod co-host Chris Mangano stated his case for Kittle as the biggest riser in San Fran after this injury news broke. If anything, it just secures him as the TE1 over Travis Kelce, but it's not as if he should become a first-round pick unless you're playing in a TE-Premium league like FFPC. We're not looking at tight ends replace a receiver anyway, as that's not how fantasy leagues work.

A name that many, including myself, are trying to forget after last year is Dante Pettis. He caught on as a trendy sleeper before 2019 after ending his rookie year with a strong stretch that included six consecutive games with at least six targets, four touchdowns in a three-game span just before the fantasy playoffs, and an average of four receptions and 72 yards per game from Week 12 on. Needless to say, things didn't work out so well in his second season.

Pettis was in the coach's doghouse throughout the preseason and never found his way out. Shanahan repeatedly called him out for lack of effort and it resulted in Pettis becoming a non-factor. He played two snaps in the season opener against Tampa Bay, saw the field a fair amount over the next few weeks but was only targeted a total of 24 times before disappearing off the map after Week 10. Is there a chance that Pettis reforms his work ethic, impresses his coaches, and breaks out in this third NFL season? Sure there is. There's also the chance that tonight's winning lotto numbers are inside that fortune cookie. I wouldn't put money on it though.

Kendrick Bourne would seem to be next in line at receiver, as he was fourth on the team in targets last year after Emmanuel Sanders, who is now in New Orleans. Bourne might see a slight increase in action, but after three full seasons, he is averaging two catches and 25.6 yards per game. It's doubtful he will suddenly emerge to be anything more than a role player.

The same goes for Richie James or Trent Taylor. James was going to be on the roster bubble until Samuel's injury, with the addition of Aiyuk and return of Taylor from IR. James could make the final squad after all, but is simply depth at receiver. His main role is going to remain as a return man on special teams. Taylor has a chance to assume the slot role, but we already outlined that a player recovering from a Jones fracture is a risky proposition. He'll have to fight for snaps and even then, he won't steal many looks away from Kittle across the middle of the field. Neither is worth consideration outside of the deepest dynasty league.

Jauan Jennings has an outside shot to make the roster, which could push Bourne out, but he was unimpressive at the combine and will have an uphill battle to climb this preseason. Free agent Travis Benjamin could replace Dante Pettis or Richie James, but he won't be any more valuable. He is a speedy return man with hands of stone, often dropping easy touchdown bombs from Philip Rivers. His career catch rate of 52.3% dropped after a 37.5% rate last year.

 

A Fantasy Nugget

It's easy to forget that aside from Samuel in round two, the 49ers selected another receiver in round three last year: Jalen Hurd. He missed the entire 2019 season with a stress fracture in his back. Hurd has the physical talent to succeed, however, and now his window of opportunity is wide open.

Hurd stands at 6'4" and 226 lbs, which gives Jimmy Garoppolo a big target. He also has the ability similar to Samuel to line up in the backfield and move around the field in multiple formations. Hurd was used at RB more often than at WR in his stops at both Tennessee and Baylor.

He could become a versatile weapon for Shanahan on bubble screens and crossing routes, as well as seeing some carries as he did in college.

The first pivot for fantasy owners seems to be Aiyuk based on immediate ADP shifts after Samuel's injury, but Hurd is the screaming value that shouldn't be ignored. His versatility and word of how impressive he has looked in workouts have me targeting him in the later rounds of drafts.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Jerick McKinnon. Yes, he's still in the league. Matt Breida is gone, so McKinnon can play a role in this crowded backfield as a pass-catcher and change-of-pace back. Injuries happen at RB all the time (just ask McKinnon), so he has sleeper appeal once again. While the Niners clearly have a plethora of options at receiver, even if none are particularly outstanding, the injury to Samuel could simply make the passing game more conservative and focus on running the ball even more.

Ultimately, the real winner from this situation is probably George Kittle, but don't rule out the running backs like Tevin Coleman and McKinnon as fantasy risers, who haven't seen a bump in ADP just yet. While Brandon Aiyuk will be draft-day darling, Jalen Hurd is the smarter pick and might wind up being this year's Deebo.

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Deebo Samuel Out, What Now for 49ers? Fantasy Bomb Pod

Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano discuss the fantasy football impact of 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel injuring his foot in preseason. Who will step up at WR for San Francisco in 2020 and what is Deebo's draft value?

Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well!

Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM (channel Sirius 210, XM 87) - every weekday morning between 6-7 AM ET, Saturday nights from 9-11 PM ET and Sunday nights from 9-11 PM ET. You can also find new weekly shows on the site under RotoBaller Radio podcasts.

 

Deebo Goes Down

Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano examine the San Fran offense to determine who could see an uptick in targets and if/when Deebo Samuel is worth drafting in 2020.

Players discussed include:

Deebo Samuel
Brandon Aiyuk
Jalen Hurd
Kendrick Bourne
Dante Pettis
George Kittle
Jerick McKinnon
Jimmy Garoppolo


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Inside the Tent - Week 17 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About two years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates.

 

Inside the Tent Updates

Derrick Henry, RB - Tennessee Titans

  • The back-to-back playoff "Ace Up the Sleeve" wasn't able to play in Week 16 due to his hamstring strain. Henry is not listed on the Titans' Week 17 injury report as they try to write their ticket to the playoffs against the Texans.

Dalvin Cook, RB - Minnesota Vikings / Alexander Mattison, RB - Minnesota Vikings

  • Cook has been ruled OUT for Week 17 against the Bears and Mattison is questionable. Cook is rehabbing from a shoulder injury and will be back for the playoffs while Mattison is dealing with a high ankle sprain. As we saw with Alvin Kamara and Saquon Barkley this season, these high ankle sprains are no joke and although a player is active they will likely not be 100%.

Week 17 Injury Updates

Chris Carson, RB - Seattle Seahawks

  • Injury: Carson will be out for the remainder of the 2019 season with what is being called a hip fracture. This is very concerning for a running back and there's a scenario where Carson misses some if not the majority of the 2020 season as well.
  • News: Carson has unfortunately been ruled out for Week 17 and the 2019 playoffs.
  • Outlook: With Carson and Rashaad Penny both out for 2019, the Seahawks brought back a familiar face, Marshawn Lynch. Although this is exciting for the fantasy football community, there are reports that Travis Homer will receive the bulk of the workload against the 49ers in Week 17.

James Conner, RB - Pittsburgh Steelers

    • Injury: Conner sustained a quadriceps strain in Week 16. The quadriceps muscle is on top of the thigh and acts to extend the knee and is a major power generator in the lower extremity. Depending on the grade (Grade I, Grade II, or Grade III), Conner will rehab for anywhere from 2-12 weeks.
    • News: Conner has been ruled out for Week 17 against the Ravens.
  • Outlook: This is essentially a lost season for Conner and I wouldn't be surprised if the Steelers drafted a running back in the 2020 NFL draft. Conner unfortunately can't seem to stay healthy and it doesn't seem like he can withstand being a bell-cow back. I hope I'm proved wrong as I'm a big fan. Benny Snell Jr. and Jaylen Samuels will handle the majority of the work for the Steelers as they fight for a playoff spot in Week 17.

D.J. Moore, WR - Carolina Panthers

  • Injury: Moore sustained a concussion in Week 16 and is OUT for Week 17. A concussion is obviously the result of blunt force trauma to the head and the resultant chemical cascade that occurs within the brain. Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headaches, confusion, drowsiness, and difficulty remembering things.
  • News: Moore, a second-year breakout, has been ruled OUT for Week 17.
  • Outlook: Please don't pick up any Panthers wide receivers to play in your championship matchup if you're still playing. Just don't. Moore will be 100% within a few weeks and will look to build on a successful 2019 season.

Will Fuller, WR - Houston Texans

  • Injury: Fuller suffered a groin strain in Week 16 against the Buccaneers. When referring to the groin area, we're likely looking at the hip adductor group which helps to bring the legs closer together and can be injured during explosive movements.
  • News: The time Fuller will be sidelined will be depend on the severity of the strain. If it's a Grade I strain then he could be back for the playoffs but if it's a Grade II or III, he's done for 2019.
  • Outlook: As far as fantasy is concerned, Fuller is done for the year but if he can make it back for the playoffs then he could give Deshaun Watson a great downfield threat.

Zach Ertz, TE - Philadelphia Eagles

  • Injury: Ertz is dealing with a fractured rib and is OUT for Week 17 against the Giants. Rib fractures are extremely painful and Ertz was actually able to play through it in Week 16.
  • News: Ertz has been ruled OUT for Week 17.
  • Outlook: If the Eagles are able to make it into the playoffs, which seems likely at this point, he should be able to give it a go as long as he wears extra protection for his ribs.

 

As always, good luck this weekend RotoBallers!

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Inside the Tent - Week 16 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About two years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates.

 

Inside the Tent Updates

Derrick Henry, RB - Tennessee Titans

  • The back-to-back playoff "Ace Up the Sleeve" was able to play in Week 15 but didn't score while totaling 86 yards. Hamstring strains are notoriously susceptible to re-injury and Henry will likely be out in Week 16 because of said hamstring strain.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster once again missed Week 15 with a knee injury. The exact structure involved is unknown but he's been seen with a brace indicating that a ligament is likely involved. The original injury occurred on the same play in which he sustained his concussion against the Browns. At this point, it's safe to say he suffered either a ligament sprain or a bone bruise in his knee considering his long absence. He practiced in full this week but he is deemed a game-time decision. Be sure to check inactives ninety minutes before game-time.

Greg Olsen, TE - Carolina Panthers

  • After missing Week 15 recovering from a concussion, Olsen will be back in Week 16. Tread carefully though as this is Will Grier's first NFL start and his efficiency is yet to be determined. There's always risk of sustaining another concussion within a month so hopefully Olsen can stay on the field.

Week 16 Injury Updates

Dalvin Cook, RB - Minnesota Vikings / Alexander Mattison, RB - Minnesota Vikings

  • Injury: Two Minnesota Vikings running backs, two different injuries. Cook will likely miss Week 16 with a new shoulder ailment. He's been dealing with a right sternoclavicular joint sprain but this injury is to his left shoulder. I'm not one to speculate about injuries but Cook likely underwent an MRI to determine which structure is involved. Mattison on the other hand is dealing with a high ankle sprain. This is a sprain to the ligament between the tibia and fibula, the two lower leg bones. These are specifically tough to come back from, especially for running backs (Alvin Kamara and Saquon Barkley).
  • News: Cook hasn't practiced this week to this point this week and will likely miss Week 16. Mattison also didn't practice this week so far and will likely be out as well.
  • Outlook: All of this to say, it's Mike Boone season people! Boone looked good this preseason and certainly has fresh legs. If you were fortunate enough to grab him off waivers, start him with confidence. The Packers Defense is not what it was Weeks 1-3 and Mike Zimmer's squad is especially good at home. Hopefully Kirk Cousins can break the curse and get a win on Monday Night Football.

Chris Godwin, WR - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

  • Injury: Godwin sustained a Grade II left hamstring strain in Week 15. The hamstring group is obviously on the back of the thigh and extends the hip and flexes the knee. It also plays a role in acceleration and deceleration.
  • News: He has unfortunately been ruled out for the remainder of 2019 which is a real bummer for the fantasy finals. Godwin will be ready to go for training camp.
  • Outlook: With Godwin sidelined, Breshad Perriman ended up with three touchdowns on six targets which is clearly not sustainable. He obviously did benefit from having Mike Evans and Chris Godwin out but to expect him to do that again would be foolish. Temper expectations but he could certainly have a part in the likely shoot-out between the Buccaneers and Texans.

As always, good luck this weekend!

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Inside the Tent - Week 15 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About two years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates.

 

Inside the Tent Updates

James Conner, RB - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Conner is dealing with an AC, or acromioclavicular, joint sprain. This is the joint where the clavicle, or collarbone, meets the shoulder blade via a bony protrusion known as the acromion. There are 3 types of sprains: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III. Considering he did not have surgery, which would be required for Grade III, he is likely dealing with a Grade II sprain. Conner re-aggravated his AC joint sprain in Week 11 against the Browns. As we often talk about, soft tissue injuries can easily be re-aggravated if they are not given the full time to heal. James Conner is back for Week 15 against the Bills on Sunday night. Benny Snell Jr. has done well in his absence so don't be surprised if the Steelers limit his touches to keep him fresh.

Julio Jones, WR - Atlanta Falcons

  • Jones was back on the field in Week 14 after being a game time decision in Week 13 with an AC joint sprain. He was able to practice in a limited fashion this week and even turned in a full practice on Friday. Just in time for fantasy semi-finals! AC joint sprains can be re-aggravated if an athlete lands hard on that shoulder and the joint's ligaments are stretched. This injury is certainly painful.

Adam Thielen, WR - Minnesota Vikings

  • Thielen has been out with a hamstring strain since Week 9 when he re-aggravated his original hamstring strain from Week 7. Thielen is slated to make his return in Week 15 after turning in limited practices all week. Soft tissue injuries, such as hamstring strains, are especially susceptible to re-aggravation but Thielen has certainly had enough time to heal.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster has been ruled OUT for Week 15 with a knee injury. The exact structure involved is unknown but he's been seen with a brace indicating that a ligament is likely involved. The original injury occurred on the same play in which he sustained his concussion against the Browns. At this point, it's safe to say he suffered either a ligament sprain or a bone bruise in his knee considering his long absence.

Greg Olsen, TE - Carolina Panthers

Week 15 Injury Updates

Jameis Winston, QB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

  • Injury: Winston sustained a small fracture in his throwing thumb, which was shown via x-ray. He missed a few plays and was actually able to finish the game in Week 14. The thumb is made of three bones: metacarpal, proximal phalanx, and distal phalanx.
  • News: He turned in limited practices on Wednesday and Thursday before practicing in full on Friday. This puts him in line to start for the Buccaneers on Sunday, for better or worse.
  • Outlook: I can't remember a player that can make so many mistakes during the course of a game yet still put up awesome fantasy numbers. It's actually impressive and we can't even be mad about it. The Bucs draw the Lions in Week 15 who haven't looked the same on defense since trading away Quandre Diggs. Despite the injury, you still have to roll Jameis out there in the semi-finals because although he could put up an eight point game, it'd be a shame to miss out on a 35 point performance.

Derrius Guice, RB - Washington Redskins

  • Injury: Guice sustained a sprained MCL, or medial collateral ligament, in his left knee. The MCL is on the inner part of the knee and helps to prevent the inward collapse of the knee and also stabilizes the joint. Ligaments are sprained when they are stretched beyond their normal anatomical limits. There are three grades of sprains: Grade I, II, and III with Grade III being a full rupture. Guice likely sustained a Grade I or Grade II sprain.
  • News: Of note, this is the same knee that Guice sustained a torn ACL in. Unfortunately, Guice was placed on IR and will miss the rest of 2019.
  • Outlook: Guice will take the offseason to get completely healthy and will be ready to go for Week 1 of preseason. Notably, players often look much better year two after an ACL repair.

Rashaad Penny, RB - Seattle Seahawks

  • Injury: Penny planted on his left leg and unfortunately sustained a torn ACL. The anterior cruciate ligament is within the knee and helps to stabilize the knee. It often is torn during non-contact injuries, like in Penny's case.
  • News: It was reported on Monday that Penny indeed had torn his ACL. Surgeons will allow for swelling to decrease before they perform ACL reconstruction surgery. Hopefully Penny avoided any additional damage to the MCL or menisci.
  • Outlook: With Penny out, Chris Carson has the Seattle backfield all to himself. In the fantasy semi-finals, you'll be able to lean on Carson and he should have a very nice day against the Panthers who have been very soft against the run. Carson should easily be an RB1 in Week 15.

Derrick Henry, RB - Tennessee Titans

  • Injury: Henry has been dealing with a mild hamstring strain in his left leg for the past few weeks and re-aggravated it on Sunday. The hamstring group is obviously on the back of the thigh and extends the hip and flexes the knee. It also plays a role in acceleration and deceleration. Henry is dealing with a Grade I strain given the fact he's been able to play.
  • News: He was not able to practice all week which is certainly not a good sign. Henry has insisted that he will be playing and I surprisingly believe him. Make sure to check 90 minutes before kickoff to see if he'll be active.
  • Outlook: If Henry does not play, Dion Lewis immediately becomes startable in what could be a shootout. The Titans have been hyper-efficient and the Texans have the skill players to go blow-for-blow with the Titans.

Alshon Jeffery, WR - Philadelphia Eagles

  • Injury: Jeffery planted on his right foot to start his route on Monday night and immediately went down. After further testing, it was determined he sustained a Lisfranc injury. Lisfranc injuries involve the metatarsal bones in the foot being displaced from the tarsus, which is another bone in the foot.
  • News: Jeffery will undergo surgery to repair his Lisfranc injury this week and will face a 9-month recovery which muddies the water for his 2020 prospects.
  • Outlook: Without Jeffery the Eagles' offense is just decimated. There's no other way to put it. Expect more 12 personnel with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert on the field at the same time.

Mike Evans, WR - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

  • Injury: Evans sustained a Grade II right hamstring strain in Week 14. As stated above, the hamstring group is obviously on the back of the thigh and extends the hip and flexes the knee. It also plays a role in acceleration and deceleration.
  • News: He has unfortunately been ruled out for the remainder of 2019 which is a real bummer for the fantasy semi-finals. Evans will be ready to go for training camp.
  • Outlook: It's to be seen if Chris Godwin will benefit from Evans being out but either way, you're going to play him. Expect more red zone looks for Godwin with Evans out.

D.J. Chark, WR - Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Injury: Chark sustained an ankle sprain in Week 14 and was seen after the game with a boot and scooter as to not weightbear on his foot. There are numerous bones in the foot with ligaments connecting them. Considering Chark was wearing a walking boot and utilizing a scooter, it is likely a Grade II sprain. When an ankle is rolled, we're often looking at a low ankle sprain involving the anterior talofibular ligament.
  • News: Chark has been ruled OUT for Week 15 although he will travel with the team to Oakland. Talk about a good teammate!
  • Outlook: With Chark sidelined, expect more targets to be funneled to Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley. The Jaguars are 6.5 point underdogs so expect Gardner Minshew to be slinging it around.

Concussion Crew

  1. Devante Parker, WR - Miami Dolphins
  2. Jared Cook, TE - New Orleans Saints
    • Parker and Cook sustained concussions in Week 14 and are questionable for Week 15. Parker turned in limited practices on Thursday and Friday while Cook was able to get a limited practice in on Thursday but a full practice in on Friday. Be sure to check active lists 90 minutes prior to kickoff to see if these two will be active.

As always, good luck this weekend!

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Inside the Tent - Week 14 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About two years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates.

 

Inside the Tent Updates

James Conner, RB - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Conner is dealing with an AC, or acromioclavicular, joint sprain. This is the joint where the clavicle, or collarbone, meets the shoulder blade via a bony protrusion known as the acromion. There are 3 types of sprains: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III. Considering he did not have surgery, which would be required for Grade III, he is likely dealing with a Grade II sprain. Conner re-aggravated his AC joint sprain in Week 11 against the Browns on Thursday night. As we often talk about, soft tissue injuries can easily be re-aggravated if they are not given the full time to heal. James Conner is once again OUT for Week 14 against the Cardinals. He should be back in Week 15. Look for the Steelers to continue to ride Benny Snell Jr. on early downs and Jaylen Samuels for change of pace duties.

Marlon Mack, RB - Indianapolis Colts

  • Mack will be active in Week 14 against the Bucaneers as he has apparently recovered from a fractured metacarpal in his hand. Look for the Colts to use a mixture of all their running backs in an attempt to crack this tough Tampa Bay run defense.

Julio Jones, WR - Atlanta Falcons

  • Jones will be back in Week 14 after being a game time decision in Week 13 with an AC joint sprain. He was able to practice in a limited fashion this week and as long as he doesn't land awkwardly on his shoulder, he should be good to go for the fantasy playoffs.

Adam Thielen, WR - Minnesota Vikings

  • Thielen has been out with a hamstring strain since Week 9 when he re-aggravated his original hamstring strain from Week 7. The Vikings are coming off their bye and face the Seahawks who own the other NFC Wild Card spot. Unfortunately, Thielen was not able to play against the Seahawks and it looks like he may be sidelined once again considering he was not able to practice Friday. Coach Mike Zimmer said, "there's really no sense to push it," so there's certainly a chance they'll continue to let him heal.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster has been ruled OUT for Week 14 with a knee injury. The exact structure involved is unknown but he's been seen with a brace indicating that a ligament is likely involved. The original injury occurred on the same play in which he sustained his concussion against the Browns. At this point, it's safe to say he suffered either a ligament sprain or a bone bruise in his knee considering his long absence.

Austin Hooper, TE - Atlanta Falcons

  • Hooper was able to practice all week and is projected to be active for Week 14 after recovering from an MCL sprain in his left knee that he sustained in Week 10. He has been able to practice all week which is always a good sign but as with all soft tissue injuries, there's a chance for re-injury.

Week 14 Injury Updates

Baker Mayfield, QB - Cleveland Browns

  • Injury: In Week 13, Mayfield stepped into a throw and hit his throwing hand against the helmet of a Steelers defensive lineman. Anytime this happens, we're concerned of an UCL sprain or hand contusion, or bruise. The UCL is a ligament in the thumb which helps to provide stability to the joint. It is the same ligament Drew Brees had surgery on earlier this year.
  • News: Mayfield was able to practice all week and is projected to play in Week 14 against the Bengals. He finished the second half against the Steelers with a glove on his throwing hand.
  • Outlook: The Bengals have had a pretty soft defense all year but AFC North games in December are hard to project as high scoring. In the first week of fantasy playoffs though, you'll definitely be starting Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, and Kareem Hunt (depending on your options).

Dalvin Cook, RB - Minnesota Vikings

  • Injury: Cook sustained a sprained SC, or sternoclavicular, joint in Week 13 against the Seahawks. He was listed as questionable to return but was not able to come back to the game. The ligaments at the SC joint can sprain just like any other joint and are extremely painful when injured.
  • News: Cook was able to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday and Thursday before turning in a full practice on Friday. He will likely be active in Week 14 but the chance for re-injury is concerning.
  • Outlook: It's tough to sit Dalvin Cook in the first round of the fantasy playoffs so I believe you have to play him. Alexander Mattison will certainly get more run this game but I'm not buying him as a starter in Week 14.

Greg Olsen, TE - Carolina Panthers

  • Injury: Olsen suffered a concussion in Week 13 as a result of a helmet to helmet hit. Concussions are obviously the result of blunt force trauma to the head and the symptoms come from the chemical cascade within the brain as a result.
  • News: Olsen was not able to practice all week and is OUT for Week 14.
  • Outlook: With Olsen sidelined, look for Ian Thomas and Chris Manhertz to fill in. On the outside, more targets should fly towards D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel.

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Inside the Tent - Week 13 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About two years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates.

 

Inside the Tent Updates

James Conner, RB - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Conner is dealing with an AC, or acromioclavicular, joint sprain. This is the joint where the clavicle, or collarbone, meets the shoulder blade via a bony protrusion known as the acromion. There are 3 types of sprains: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III. Considering he did not have surgery, which would be required for Grade III, he is likely dealing with a Grade II sprain. Conner re-aggravated his AC joint sprain in Week 11 against the Browns on Thursday night. As we often talk about, soft tissue injuries can easily be re-aggravated if they are not given the full time to heal. James Conner is once again OUT for Week 13 against the Browns. He should be back in Week 14. Look for the Steelers to continue to ride Benny Snell Jr. and Jaylen Samuels.

Marlon Mack, RB - Indianapolis Colts

  • Mack will once again be out in Week 13 against the Titans as he recovers from a fractured metacarpal in his hand. He will likely be back in Week 15 or Week 16. With Mack out, Jonathan Williams once again ran the table against the Texans and it's clear he's the more talented back compared to Jordan Wilkins. Look for the Colts to continue to ride Williams down the stretch considering his fresh legs and burst.

Adam Thielen, WR - Minnesota Vikings

  • Thielen has been out with a hamstring strain since Week 9 when he re-aggravated his original hamstring strain from Week 7. The Vikings are coming off their bye and face the Seahawks who own the other NFC Wild Card spot. I believe this is the week we finally see Thielen back out there but of course there is always risk of re-injury with soft tissue injuries. The Vikings were extra cautious to allow for proper healing this time around though.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster has been ruled OUT for Week 13 with a knee injury. The exact structure involved is unknown but he's been seen with a brace indicating that a ligament is likely involved. The original injury occurred on the same play in which he sustained his concussion against the Browns.

Austin Hooper, TE - Atlanta Falcons

  • Hooper was out for Week 13 with an MCL sprain in his left knee that he sustained in Week 10. He will likely be back for Week 14 or Week 15.

 

Week 13 Injury Updates

Julio Jones, WR - Atlanta Falcons

  • Injury: Julio Jones sustained a sprained AC joint in Week 12 when he landed on his shoulder. This is the classic mechanism of injury for an AC joint sprain. The AC joint is short for  acromioclavicular joint and this is where the clavicle meets the shoulder blade. As usual, there are three grades of sprains: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III. Jones likely sustained a Grade I sprain.
  • News: Jones obviously did not play on Thanksgiving against the Saints. He was able to participate in warm ups though so it seems like he was at least close to playing.
  • Outlook: He should be able to suit up in Week 14, just in time for the fantasy playoffs. With him back, targets should decrease for Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage.

Zach Ertz, TE - Philadelphia Eagles

  • Injury: Ertz sustained a hamstring strain in Week 12. The hamstring group is on the back of the thigh and allows the knee to flex and the hip to extend. Just like sprains, muscle strains have three grades as well: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III. Ertz likely sustained a Grade I strain which is the least serious.
  • News: Ertz is officially questionable for Week 13 against the Dolphins. The Eagles did promote a TE from the practice squad which may mean Ertz won't be able to go. There is optimism around the Eagles that he will play but they likely won't need him against the Dolphins and they have Dallas Goedert.
  • Outlook: If he sits, Goedert is obviously a must start and Alshon Jeffrey will see more targets. Also, with Jordan Howard out, look for Miles Sanders to get more run.

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Inside the Tent - Week 12 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About two years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates.

 

Inside the Tent Updates

James Conner, RB - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Conner is dealing with an AC, or acromioclavicular, joint sprain. This is the joint where the clavicle, or collarbone, meets the shoulder blade via a bony protrusion known as the acromion. There are 3 types of sprains: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III. Considering he did not have surgery, which would be required for Grade III, he is likely dealing with a Grade II sprain. Conner re-aggravated his AC joint sprain in Week 11 against the Browns on Thursday night. As we often talk about, soft tissue injuries can easily be re-aggravated if they are not given the full time to heal. James Conner is once again OUT for Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He should be back in Week 13 or 14 at the latest. 

Adam Thielen, WR - Minnesota Vikings

  • Thielen has been out with a hamstring strain and this bye week should allow for the final healing to take place. Look for Thielen to be active in Week 13.

Tyler Lockett, WR - Seattle Seahawks

  • Lockett was dealing with compartment syndrome following a hit to the outside of his lower leg in Week 11 against the 49ers. Compartment syndrome can occur when there is bruising and swelling under the skin which compresses on blood vessels and nerves. When severe, this requires surgery to relieve pressure under the skin by draining fluid and blood. Thankfully, the Seahawks had a bye in Week 11 and this allowed for the swelling to subside. Lockett should be good to go for Week 12 after turning in limited practices all week which is always a good sign. There is certainly risk of re-injury, especially if he gets hit in the same area, which will likely have extra padding.

Austin Hooper, TE - Atlanta Falcons

  • Hooper is out for Week 12 with an MCL sprain in his left knee that he sustained in Week 10. He will likely be back for Week 14 or Week 15. The Falcons take on the Bucaneers this weekend so without Hooper look for Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley to have nice days receiving-wise.

 

Week 12 Injury Updates

Marlon Mack, RB - Indianapolis Colts

  • Injury: Mack sustained a fractured metacarpal in Week 11 against the Jaguars. Metacarpals are the longer bones in the hand. What's significant is that he had surgery to stabilize the fracture and also that it occurred on his right hand.
  • News: He obviously missed Week 12 against the Texans but should be back Week 15 or Week 16. The surgery he underwent was successful and there's a small risk of re-injury if he sustains a blow to that area.
  • Outlook: With Mack out, Johnathan Williams once again ran the table against the Texans and it's clear he's the more talented back compared to Jordan Wilkins. Look for the Colts to continue to ride Williams down the stretch considering his fresh legs and burst.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Injury: JuJu sustained a concussion in Week 11  but that isn't the injury that's keeping him out in Week 12 vs. the Bengals. After the game last Thursday, JuJu was spotted with a brace on his knee. Reports revealed that he sustained the injury on the same play as the concussion. In the video, it's tough to see which ligament or structure was stressed.
  • News: JuJu wasn't able to practice all week and has been ruled OUT for Sunday. If he has a ligament sprain (MCL, LCL, ACL, PCL), it could be a few weeks until he sees the field again.
  • Outlook: With JuJu sidelined, James Washington and Diontae Johnson will carry the load for a depleted wide receiver group. The Steelers offense, without James Conner as well, will likely struggle to move the ball even against a sub-par Cincinnati defense.

Tyreek Hill, WR - Kansas City Chiefs

  • Injury: Hill sustained a hamstring strain on Monday night. The hamstring muscle group is on the backside of the thigh and helps the hip to extend, knee to flex, and assists in acceleration/deceleration. When the hamstrings are strained, they are simply stretched past their anatomical limits. Hill's strain is likely a Grade I strain which is the least severe.
  • News: He underwent an MRI to determine the severity of the strain and it was deemed minor, supporting the Grade I tag.
  • Outlook: Hill tried to come back into the game on Monday so he is mentally ready to come back. Unfortunately, hamstring strains are very susceptible to re-injury so if he does not take the necessary time to rest and rehabilitate he could be out even longer than 2-4 weeks. The Chiefs have a bye in Week 12 so hopefully he will be able to return for Week 13.

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Inside the Tent - Week 11 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About two years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates.

 

Inside the Tent Updates

Jacoby Brissett, QB - Indianapolis Colts

  • Brissett is coming back from an MCL sprain sustained against the Steelers in Week 9. He was not able to play in Week 10 and Brian Hoyer got the start. Brissett was able to practice in full all week and will therefore play in Week 11 against the Jaguars. Brissett was turning in a nice 2019 season before this MCL sprain so the Colts skill players will be happy to have him back.

James Conner, RB - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Conner is dealing with an AC, or acromioclavicular, joint sprain. This is the joint where the clavicle, or collarbone, meets the shoulder blade via a bony protrusion known as the acromion. There are 3 types of sprains: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III. Considering he did not have surgery, which would be required for Grade III, he is likely dealing with a Grade II sprain. Conner re-aggravated his AC joint sprain in Week 11 against the Browns on Thursday night. As we often talk about, soft tissue injuries can easily be re-aggravated if they are not given the full time to heal.

T.Y. Hilton, WR - Indianapolis Colts

  • Hilton strained his calf in practice leading up the the Colts' Week 9 matchup against the Steelers. When calves are strained, they are simply stretched past their anatomical limits. Hilton's strain is likely a Grade II strain which is more severe than a Grade I but not a complete rupture (Grade III). Hilton has been ruled out for Week 10 which is a smart move considering the timeline for returning from calf strains (2-3 weeks). Hilton was not able to practice all week and will likely not play in Week 11.

Adam Thielen, WR - Minnesota Vikings

  • Thielen unfortunately re-aggravated the hamstring strain that plagued him in Week 7. He once again was not able to play in Week 10 and has not practiced all week leading up to Week 11. Thielen will once again not be on the field when the Vikings take on the Denver Broncos this weekend.

Week 11 Injury Updates

Matthew Stafford, QB - Detroit Lions

  • Injury: Stafford is dealing with the transverse process fracture in his low back or lumbar region. The transverse process is a piece of the vertebrae or backbone and serves as a muscular attachment point. If you remember, Stafford also dealt with this at the end of the 2018 season.
  • News: Stafford was not able to practice at all this week and will likely not play in Week 11.
  • Outlook: With Stafford out, Jeff Driskel Will be under center for the Lions against the Cowboys. Kenny Golladay was able to save his Week 10 performance with a touchdown but expectations should definitely be tempered for the Lions' skill players.

Devonta Freeman, RB - Atlanta Falcons

  • Injury: Freeman sustained a mid-foot sprain in the Falcons' Week 10 victory against the Saints. There are numerous ligaments throughout the foot that help to add stability and maintain the arch of the midfoot. As always, there are three different grades for ligament sprains: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III. In Freeman's case, we're likely looking at a Grade I or mild Grade II sprain.
  • News: Ian Rapoport reported that Freeman will miss "about two weeks" which supports the notion of a Grade I sprain. He did not practice this week.
  • Outlook: With Ito Smith already on IR, Brian Hill will take over RB duties for the Falcons against the Carolina Panthers.

Ty Johnson, RB - Detroit Lions

  • Injury: Johnson sustained a concussion in the Lions' Week 10 loss against Chicago. A concussion obviously results from trauma to the head and the symptoms related to concussions including nausea, sensitivity to light, headaches, dizziness, and mood changes occur as a result of the chemical changes within the brain from the impact.
  • News: Johnson was not able to practice on Wednesday, turned in a limited practice on Thursday, and was a full participant on Friday. He is questionable for Week 11 so make sure you check the injury report 90 minutes before kickoff.
  • Outlook: If Johnson is not able to suit up, look for J.D. McKissic to continue passing down snaps and Paul Perkins to have an increased role in the running game.

Tyler Lockett, WR - Seattle Seahawks

  • Injury: Lockett sustained a contusion to the outside of his lower leg that was severe enough to send him to the hospital after the Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. Pete Carroll told reporters that Lockett was dealing with bruising and swelling. Reports came out that that he was actually dealing with compartment syndrome. Compartment syndrome can occur when there is bruising and swelling under the skin which compresses on blood vessels and nerves. When severe, this requires surgery to relieve pressure under the skin by draining fluid and blood.
  • News: Thankfully, Lockett did not require surgery and was released from the hospital Tuesday. He is week to week at this time.
  • Outlook: The Seahawks have a bye in Week 11 and there certainly a possibility Lockett will be good to go for Week 12. He was been hyper-efficient this season and is a guy that's just flat out good at football.

Emmanuel Sanders, WR - San Francisco 49ers

  • Injury: The veteran from SMU is dealing with an injury to his rib cartilage. He took a hit to the right side of his trunk and was seen grabbing for his side on the next play. The cartilage that Sanders injured attaches the rib to the sternum, or breast bone. There is no surgery to help with the recovery as it's simply a pain management issue. Julian Edelman dealt with this earlier in the season and was able to play through it.
  • News: Although he was not able to practice this week, Sanders told reporters that he is planning on playing in Week 11.
  • Outlook: Fantasy players should be cautious with Sanders this weekend as this could easily be re-aggravated with any hit to his right side. Either way, Deebo Samuel could have a breakout week with George Kittle also sidelined with a bone bruise.

Austin Hooper, TE - Atlanta Falcons

  • Injury: Hooper sustained a left MCL sprain in Week 10 against the Saints. The MCL, or medial collateral ligament, is a ligament on the inside of the knee that helps to stabilize the joint and prevent inward collapse. As always, there are three different grades for ligament sprains: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III.
  • News: According to Ian Rapoport, Hooper is slated to miss about a month with this sprain which leads me to believe it's a significant Grade I or mild Grade II sprain.
  • Outlook: With Hooper sidelined, look for more targets to be funneled to Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Additionally, the Carolina Panthers secondary is rather beat up this weekend so the Falcons could target that as they try to salvage their season.

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Inside the Tent - Week 10 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About two years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates.

 

Inside the Tent Updates

Patrick Mahomes, QB - Kansas City Chiefs

  • Mahomes was not able to play in Week 9 as he continues to rehab from a dislocated patella. Just as I predicted in last week’s Inside the Tent article, Mahomes is ready to go for Week 10 and will be leading the Chiefs into Nashville to take on the Titans. Expect the Chiefs to ramp their offense up to match the talents of Mahomes.

Alvin Kamara, RB - New Orleans Saints

  • Kamara is coming back from a knee sprain as well as a low-grade high ankle sprain. He was not able to play in Weeks 7-9 and Latavius Murray turned in great fantasy performances as a result. With the Saints coming off their bye, expect Kamara to be close to 100% as he was able to practice in full on Thursday. Going forward though, it’s expected that Murray will see an increased workload compared to the beginning of the season where Kamara dominated the touches.

David Johnson, RB - Arizona Cardinals

  • Johnson did not play in Week 9 against the San Francisco 49ers and as a result, Kenyon Drake dominated the Cardinals backfield. With another week of rest and rehab, Johnson is ready to go in Week 10 against the Buccaneers and their stout run defense. Johnson was not listed on the final Cardinals injury report.

Matt Ryan, QB - Atlanta Falcons

  • Coming off an ankle sprain, Ryan is good to go this weekend against the Saints. The Falcons will likely be playing from behind so some garbage time Matt Ryan points are certainly in play. As with all soft tissue injuries, ankle sprains are susceptible to re-injury so there’s a certian level of concern but he has had adequate time to rest and rehabilitate his ankle to this point.

James Conner, RB - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Conner is dealing with an AC, or acromioclavicular, joint sprain. This is the joint where the clavicle, or collarbone, meets the shoulder blade via a bony protrusion known as the acromion. There are 3 types of sprains: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III. Considering he did not have surgery, which would be required for Grade III, he is likely dealing with a Grade II sprain. Conner is not likely to play this Sunday as he missed practice this week. Once again, Jaylen Samuels is a great start as far as volume is concerned.

T.Y. Hilton, WR - Indianapolis Colts

  • Hilton strained his calf in practice leading up the the Colts' Week 9 matchup against the Steelers. When calves are strained, they are simply stretched past their anatomical limits. Hilton's strain is likely a Grade II strain which is more severe than a Grade I but not a complete rupture (Grade III). Hilton has been ruled out for Week 10 which is a smart move considering the timeline for returning from calf strains (2-3 weeks).

 

Week 10 Injury Updates

Jacoby Brissett, QB - Indianapolis Colts

  • Injury: Brissett was removed from the Colts’ Week 9 game when one of his offensive linemen was driven back into his plant leg which caused it to collapse inward. This is a classic mechanism of injury for an MCL sprain. The MCL is a ligament that runs along the inner part of the knee and provides stability to the joint. Imaging confirmed a mild MCL sprain which is known as a Grade I MCL sprain.
  • News: Brissett is a game-time decision in Week 10 against the Dolphins. 
  • Outlook: Ultimately, I believe Brissett will play this week agianst the Dolphins with a brace to prevent excess motion of his knee joint. The Colts have a great offensive line that usually keeps Brissett upright. Brian Hoyer did a serviceable job in Week 9 against the Steelers so even if Brissett isn’t able to play, Colts’ fantasy players are still a great start against the Dolphins.

Adam Thielen, WR - Minnesota Vikings

  • Injury: Thielen unfortunately re-aggravated the hamstring strain that plagued him in Week 7. Hamstring strains, more so than other soft tissue injuries, are susceptible to reinjury given their action of helping athletes sprint as well as decelerate. They are responsible for explosive movements so they can easily be re-injured with explosive movements which is how Thielen re-injured his hamstring.
  • News: Thielen has been ruled OUT for Week 10.
  • Outlook: Stefon Diggs will continue to be the #1 passing option for Minnesota. They face a tough Cowboys Defense this weekend who ranks top-10 in passing yards per game so expectations should be tempered. Also, it’s well documented that Kirk Cousins often does not fair well against formidable opponents while on the road.

Preston Williams, WR - Miami Dolphins

  • Injury: Williams, a great story as an undrafted rookie, unfortunately tore his ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, in Week 9 and is done for the 2019 season. The ACL controls forward movement of the tibia, or shin bone, and is often injured during “non-contact” injuries.
  • News: With this ACL tear, or Grade III sprain, Williams will not play during the 2019 season and will undergo ACL reconstruction surgery. The typical return to play time for this surgery is 9-12 months so Williams may not be ready for Week 1 in 2020.
  • Outlook: With Williams out, it’s tough to see how the targets shake out in Miami. It’s certainly positive that Ryan Fitzpatrick is willing to air it out though. Albert Wilson and Devante Parker should be in line for more targets in Week 10 against the Colts.

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Inside the Tent - Week 9 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About two years ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates.

 

Inside the Tent Updates

Patrick Mahomes, QB - Kansas City Chiefs

  • Mahomes was not able to play in Week 8 as he rehabs from a dislocated patella and although he practiced in a limited fashion all week, I expect the Chiefs to wait one more game before bringing him back. Once a patella is dislocated once, it is more likely to happen again compared to a person that's never dislocated a patella.

Alvin Kamara, RB - New Orleans Saints

  • Kamara is coming back from a knee sprain as well as a low-grade high ankle sprain. He was not able to play in Weeks 7/8 and Latavius Murray turned in great fantasy performances as a result. With the Saints heading into their bye, I expect Kamara to be 100% as the second half of the season progresses.

David Johnson, RB - Arizona Cardinals

  • Johnson did not play in Week 9 against the San Francisco 49ers and as a result, Kenyon Drake dominated the Cardinals backfield. With another week of rest and rehab, Johnson should be ready to play in Week 10 against the Buccaneers and their stout run defense.

Davante Adams, WR - Green Bay Packers

  • Adams is trying to get back on the field after a diagnosis of turf toe sustained in Week 4. This injury is difficult to recover from considering how the underside of the big toe is stretched every time an athlete takes a step, let alone sprints. Adams has been doing more at practice this week and a video surfaced of him leapfrogging a teammate. Adams is questionable for Week 9 but I believe he plays.

Matt Ryan, QB - Atlanta Falcons

  • Dealing with an ankle sprain, Ryan should be back for Week 10's matchup against the Saints after their Week 9 bye. A game between the Saints and Falcons with healthy players is always good for the fantasy community.

 

Week 9 Injury Updates

Joe Flacco, QB - Denver Broncos

  • Injury: Flacco is dealing with a herniated disc in his neck. The intervertebral discs between each vertebrae have two parts: the annulus and the nucleus pulposus. The nucleus pulposus is the inner structure and is often compared to jelly within a doughnut. With various, repeated spinal movements, this nucleus pulposus can cause the outer annulus to herniate and impinge on a spinal nerve root causing numbness, tingling, and pain into the arm(s).
  • News: He was placed on IR on 11/1 and his 2019 season is over. 
  • Outlook: The Broncos will now look to Brandon Allen to lead their offense. He is a career backup and until we learn more about him, expectations for Courtland Sutton, Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman, and Daesean Hamilton have to be tempered.

James Conner, RB - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Injury: Conner is dealing with an AC, or acromioclavicular, joint sprain. This is the joint where the clavicle, or collarbone, meets the shoulder blade via a bony protrusion known as the acromion. There are 3 types of sprains: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III. Considering he did not have surgery, which would be required for Grade III, he is likely dealing with a Grade II sprain.
  • News: He was not able to practice all week which is not a good sign for his Week 9 availability.
  • Outlook: With Conner sidelined for Week 9 and likely Week 10, Jaylen Samuels will see a ton of work for the Steelers. Benny Snell Jr. would be available to help lighten the load but he underwent knee surgery this week as well to trim some of the meniscus in his knee. 

T.Y. Hilton, WR - Indianapolis

  • Injury: Hilton strained his calf in practice leading up the the Colts' Week 9 matchup against the Steelers. When calves are strained, they are simply stretched past their anatomical limits. Hilton's strain is likely a Grade II strain which is more severe than a Grade I but not a complete rupture (Grade III).
  • News: Hilton has been ruled out for Week 9 and there are reports he will be out for 3-4 weeks. This timeline is accurate given a Grade II strain of the calf but soft tissue injuries are always suceptible to reinjury. 
  • Outlook: The Colts' passing attack obviously takes a hit with Hilton out and facing an improved Steelers Defense certainly doesn't help either. With Hilton sidelined, look for Zach Pascal to get more run and spread the defense out for Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle to work the middle of the field.

Brandin Cooks, WR - Los Angeles Rams

  • Injury: Cooks is unfortunately dealing with another concussion, his fourth since the Super Bowl. Obviously a concussion is the result of a blow to the head and the symptoms that present like dizziness, disorientation, nausea, visual changes, and mood swings present due to the chemical changes that occur in the brain as a result of the blow. 
  • News: Cooks has actually been sent to Pittsburgh to see concussion specialists, likely with UPMC as they have a great concussion program and are renowned for the strides they've made in concussion research. He will not play in Week 9 and is likely out for anywhere from 2-3 weeks. 
  • Outlook: Josh Reynolds now steps up as the starting wide receiver for the Rams in Cooks' absence. Reynolds will lineup with Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods and provide a large target during red zone situations. Jared Goff loved looking Reynolds' way last year when Cooks missed time.

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Inside the Tent - Week 8 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About a year ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates.

Inside the Tent Updates

Patrick Mahomes, QB - Kansas City Chiefs

  • There was some hope mid-week that Mahomes could actually suit up in Week 8 but unfortunately for the Chiefs and the fantasy community, he has been ruled OUT for Week 8. He was able to practice in a limited fashion all week though so a Week 9 return is certainly not out of the question.

Alvin Kamara, RB - New Orleans Saints

  • Kamara is coming back from a knee sprain as well as a low-grade high ankle sprain. He was not able to play in Week 7 and Latavius Murray rewarded anyone that started him. Now heading into Week 8, Kamara was able to turn in two limited practices on Thursday and Friday so it's looking like he will play in Week 9. His snap count will most likely be limited but he will be out there nonetheless. UPDATE: Kamara has officially been ruled out for this week.

David Johnson, RB - Arizona Cardinals

  • Johnson was the thorn in the fantasy community's side in Week 7 when he "started," proceeded to get one attempt for two yards, and then handed the baton to Chase Edmunds who certainly did not disappoint. Johnson is once again a game-time decision with an ankle sprain. Soft tissue injuries are always vulnerable to re-injury so it's most likely better if he sits this week to fully recover. Johnson was not able to practice all week. UPDATE: Johnson has officially been ruled out for this week.

Davante Adams, WR - Green Bay Packers

  • Adams is trying to get back on the field after a diagnosis of turf toe sustained in Week 4. This injury is difficult to recover from considering how the underside of the big toe is stretched every time an athlete takes a step, let alone sprints. Adams did not practice all week although he was seen lightly jogging on the side and running routes about half speed. He is listed as doubtful and likely won't see the field until Week 9 at the earliest.

Christian Kirk, WR - Arizona Cardinals

  • Kirk is recovering from an ankle sprain sustained in Week 4. He missed Weeks 5, 6, and 7 and is once again a game-time decision for Week 8. From the video, he is lucky he did not suffer a more serious injury so that's one positive to take away from this instance. As always, soft tissue injures (strains, sprains, and contusions) are vulnerable to re-injury so that's something to take into consideration if he does indeed lace them up this weekend.

 

Week 8 Injury Updates

Matt Ryan, QB - Atlanta Falcons

  • Injury: Ryan sustained a right high ankle sprain in Week 7 when his ankle got twisted while being tackled. High ankle sprains differ from low ankle sprains in the structures involved. In a high ankle sprain, the syndesmosis, or connection, between the two lower leg bones is stretched and these bones are now able to move more freely which is certainly not a good thing.
  • News: He was able to practice on Friday and according to Ian Rapoport, there is a realistic chance Ryan will play in Week 8. He has been a mainstay in Atlanta for years so he is an exception to the "two limited practices in a row" rule of thumb.
  • Outlook: Ultimately, I believe Ryan plays but I'm not sure how effective he will be. High ankle sprains are very painful and can easily be re-aggravated. If Ryan isn't able to play, Matt Schaub will assume QB duties and everyone on the Atlanta offense gets a downgrade. UPDATE: Ryan has officially been ruled out for this week.

Kerryon Johnson, RB - Detroit Lions

  • Injury: Johnson was removed from the Lions' Week 7 game and was seen on the sidelines with a compression sleeve on his right knee. He was riding the stationary bike which was a good sign but ultimately it was reported he would undergo surgery on his right knee. The exact play where he was injured is unknown so one could only speculate what happened or what surgery he underwent.
  • News: He was placed on the IR on October 22nd. This means the earliest he could come back is Week 16, right in the middle of the fantasy playoffs.
  • Outlook: Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic were hot commodities on this week's waiver wire although the exact workload split is unknown at this time. The Lions' gameplan often includes pounding the rock and stopping the run but Matt Stafford will be asked to do a little more with Johnson sidelined.

Adam Thielen, WR - Minnesota Vikings

  • Injury: Thielen sustained a hamstring strain in Week 7. The hamstring muscle group is on the backside of the thigh and helps the hip to extend, knee to flex, and assists in acceleration/deceleration. When the hamstrings are strained, they are simply stretched past their anatomical limits. Thielen's strain is likely a Grade I strain which is the least severe.
  • News: There was actually hope that Thielen could play this Thursday when the Vikings faced the Redskins which is why I hypothesize it's only a Grade I strain. The MRI revealed no significant damage which would not be the case for a Grade II or III strain.
  • Outlook: Thielen obviously did not suit up for Week 8's first game on Thursday night but there's certainly a possibility he will be out there in Week 9 against the Chiefs in a game Patrick Mahomes may return for as well.

Will Fuller, WR - Houston Texans

  • Injury: Will Fuller also sustained a right hamstring strain in Week 7 against the Colts. The hamstring muscle group is on the backside of the thigh and helps the hip to extend, knee to flex, and assists in acceleration/deceleration. When the hamstrings are strained, they are simply stretched past their anatomical limits.
  • News: Ian Rapoport reports that the strain is "significant" which means Fuller likely sustained a Grade II strain. Grade II strains are classified by partial tearing along the tendon or muscle belly itself. Rapoport also reported that Fuller will be out "several weeks" which adds to the Grade II strain theory. He has been ruled OUT for Week 8.
  • Outlook: Keke Coutee and Kenny Stills should see an increased target share with Fuller once again sidelined. The Texans' offense used to be debilitated when Fuller was injured but Stills is a great deep threat and Coutee can work underneath while DeAndre Hopkins gets his normal workload.

Delanie Walker, TE - Tennessee Titans

  • Injury: Delanie Walker is dealing with an ankle sprain that was re-aggravated in Week 7 against the Chargers. We talk about the risk of re-injury with soft tissue injuries because it can happen at any time. Ankle sprains often occur when the ankle is turned inward, resulting in a lateral ankle sprain. If the ankle is turned outward, a medial ankle sprain is more likely.
  • News: Walker has been ruled OUT for Week 8 against the Buccaneers.
  • Outlook: With Walker out, look for Jonnu Smith to step right in and assume the same duty he had last year when Walker was sidelined. Smith has some nice big play ability but Ryan Tannehill's target share has yet to be determined.

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Inside the Tent - Week 7 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About a year ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates.

 

Inside the Tent Updates

Todd Gurley, RB - Los Angeles Rams

  • According to Sean McVay, Gurley is good to go for Week 7 after missing Week 6 with a quadriceps contusion. We may see Gurley with some extra thigh pads to protect the area but he should be ready to roll against an Atlanta defense that is soft against the pass. If Jared Goff is able to make some good reads and move the ball, we may see a 2+ TD game for Gurley.

Saquon Barkley, RB - New York Giants

  • All rejoice... Saquon Barkley will be playing in Week 7. Barkley recovered very well from his high ankle sprain sustained in Week 3. The Giants (thankfully) didn't rush him back for their game against the Patriots and after practicing in full all week it's all systems go for the young playmaker.

David Johnson, RB - Arizona Cardinals

  • Johnson was limited in practice leading up to Week 6 with a back injury but this week he's ailing with an ankle injury. One can speculate between a low and high ankle sprain but he's a game time decision this week after missing practice on Wednesday but turning in back to back limited practices Thursday and Friday. The fact that he's even being considered to play lends to the belief that it's a low ankle sprain. Kliff Kingsbury told media that if the game was on Friday, he wouldn't have played so that's certainly indictive of Johnson's status at this time. Please tread with caution this week and if he's not about to suit up Chase Edmunds becomes a high end RB2.

Davante Adams, WR - Green Bay Packers

  • Adams is dealing with turf toe in his right big toe. He didn't play in Week 6 and he will also be sidelined for Week 7. It may be frustrating for the fantasy community but this is better than trusting him and the injury being re-aggravated. Anytime the toe is bent upward, like during sprinting, this injury could flare back up.

Christian Kirk, WR - Arizona Cardinals

  • Kirk is recovering from an ankle sprain sustained in Week 4. He missed Weeks 5 and 6 and is now a game-time decision for Week 7. He was able to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday which is certainly a good sign. He should be able to give it a go but his involvement may be limited this week. As with all sot tissue injuries, there's certainly a chance of re-injury. If he's able to make it out of this week unscathed, he's good to go as long as he stays healthy for the rest of  the 2019 season.

Week 7 Injury Updates

Patrick Mahomes, QB - Kansas City Chiefs

  • Injury: This update is a little early and I would usually write this heading into Week 8 considering this happened in Week 7 but it was Thursday night and it's Patrick Mahomes we're talking about here. From video analysis and reports, it's been determined that Mahomes sustained a lateral patellar dislocation. The patella is obviously the knee cap and lateral means towards the outside of the knee. The patella was relocated by slowly extending, or straightening, the knee. This sounds awful but considering there was no structural damage via MRI, Mahomes certainly dodged a bullet.
  • News: As was stated above, there was no structural damage to the ligaments that hold the patella in place and there was no fracture. 
  • Outlook: With Mahomes sidelined anywhere from 3-5 weeks, Matt Moore will be under center for the Chiefs. This is an obvious downgrade for guys like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Demarcus Robinson, LeSean McCoy, and Damien Williams going forward.

Alvin Kamara, RB - New Orleans Saints

  • Injury: Kamara is dealing with a high ankle sprain. A high ankle sprain is different than a low ankle sprain in that it involves the connection (syndesmosis) between the tibia and fibula. These are the two lower leg bones and there is a sheet of connective tissue between them. With a high ankle sprain, this tissue is stretched and the joint becomes unstable. This is concerning considering Kamara's shiftiness and balance with the ball in his hands.
  • News: Kamara has unfortunately been ruled OUT for Week 7. He wasn't able to practice all week so this was a foregone conclusion. Hopefully the sprain isn't serious and this rest will help him be ready for Week 8. 
  • Outlook: With Kamara out, one has to believe that Latavius Murray will see the majority of the work in the Saints' backfield. They also signed Zach Zenner to handle short yardage and goal-line work but who knows how involved he will be in his first week with the team. Murray is a fine flex play this week but expectation should be tempered as the Saints face a tough Chicago defense and points will be hard to come by for either team. 

Amari Cooper, WR - Dallas Cowboys

  • Injury: Cooper is dealing with a quadriceps contusion. This is the same injury that kept Todd Gurley out last week. Cooper played a few snaps in Week 6 but re-aggravated his quad. A quadriceps contusion is simply a bruise along the muscle belly, most likely from a helmet to the front of the thigh. They can be very painful obviously and linger for a few weeks.
  • News: Cooper practiced in a limited fashion on Friday and is likely to suit up against the Eagles.
  • Outlook: The Eagles' weakness on defense is certainly their secondary and although they will be getting Jalen Mills back, things still aren't looking good for the Philly pass D. If Cooper is able to play a full game without re-aggravating his quad, he should have a nice day if Dak Prescott has time to throw.

Will Dissly, TE - Seattle Seahawks

  • Injury: Dissly unfortunately tore the Achilles tendon in his left leg on Sunday against the Browns. The Achilles tendon attaches at the heel and serves as the means of attachment for the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. These are otherwise known as the calf muscles (ode to Phil Mickelson) and help athletes with acceleration and jumping.
  • News: He was placed on injured reserve and is done for the 2019 season. A 2020 Week 1 return is certainly on the table for Dissly as he came back from a torn patellar tendon that he sustained in 2018 beautifully.
  • Outlook: With Dissly out, the Seahawks will have to utilize Luke Wilson in the redzone or find a way to get Chris Carson more involved in the passing game. Another outcome that is certainly possible is that D.K. Metcalf could see his red zone targets increase significantly.

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Inside the Tent - Week 6 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About a year ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates.

 

Inside the Tent Updates

Davante Adams, WR - Green Bay Packers

  • Adams is dealing with turf toe in his right big toe. He has been ruled out for Week 6 and although this stinks for your fantasy team right now, this is definitely the right call for the rest of the season. These can easily be re-aggravated so it’s better to be cautious.

Christian Kirk, WR - Arizona Cardinals

  • Kirk, recovering from an ankle sprain in Week 4, missed Week 5 and has now turned in three limited practices leading up to Week 6. Two limited practices in a row are usually a sign the player will suit up. The Cardinals are going against a soft Atlanta defense that Deshaun Watson just embarrassed and we could see the Kyler Murray breakout we’ve been waiting for.

 

Week 6 Injury Updates

Patrick Mahomes, QB - Kansas City Chiefs

  • Injury: Mahomes re-aggravated his left ankle sprain in Week 5 when an offensive lineman stepped on his foot. He had his ankle liberally taped and his mobility was affected the rest of the game as he sported a noticeable limp.
  • News: He turned in full practices all week so he will obviously start in Week 6. As if there was ever any doubt.
  • Outlook: Although he’s starting, expect Mahomes’ mobility to be affected by this re-aggravation. He is one to extend plays and find his targets improvising down the field so this will be something to keep an eye on.

Todd Gurley, RB - Los Angeles Rams

  • Injury: Gurley is dealing with a quadriceps contusion, which is really just a bruise along the muscle belly. Contusions can be very painful depending on severity and location. It’s notable that this is the same leg that Gurley had his ACL reconstruction on.
  • News: Gurley didn’t practice all week and is OUT for Week 6. It’s notable that Sean McVay told reporters, "I think he knows his body as well as anybody. I think we all know what a tough, elite competitor he's been in terms of the things that he's been able to push through.”
  • Outlook: When the Rams take the field in Week 6, Todd Gurley will not be there. With him out, the real question is whether it will be Malcom Brown or Darrell Henderson who benefits. McVay told reporters that this may be the week the Rams rely on Henderson so that’s certainly something to note.

David Johnson, RB - Arizona Cardinals

  • Injury: Johnson is being sidelined with a low back injury. He was able to finish the second half but was obviously in some pain. There are plenty of things that could be going on with his back including back spasms or a disc issue. Back spasms can be controlled with soft tissue work as well as muscle relaxers. Disc pathologies are more difficult to treat and the symptoms can be decreased with physical therapy and chiropractic care.
  • News: He was not able to practice on Wednesday or Thursday but turned in a limited practice on Friday. With this situation, Johnson will likely be a game-time decision when the Cardinals face the Falcons.
  • Outlook: If Johnson isn’t able to give it a go, Chase Edmunds will have a great opportunity to see the majority of RB snaps for Arizona. He is able to catch passes out of the backfield and Kliff Kingsbury loves his skillset.  

Wayne Gallman, RB - New York Giants

  • Injury: Gallman is unfortunately dealing with a concussion. Concussions are obviously the result of a hit to the head and the signs and symptoms associated with concussions are from the chemical cascade that occurs in the brain. Signs and symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, and difficulty orienting oneself to time.
  • News: He did not practice this week and did not play in Thursday Night Football.
  • Outlook: As he progresses through concussion protocol he will see how his symptoms respond to activity. There’s a good chance Saquon Barkley is back for Week 7 so Gallman will return to his backup duties.

Sammy Watkins, WR - Kansas City Chiefs

  • Injury: Watkins re-aggravated the hamstring strain he was dealing with it leading up to Week 5. The hamstring group are the three muscles that are located in the back of the leg and help to bend the knee, extend the hip, and decelerate from sprinting. He was likely dealing with a Grade I hamstring strain.
  • News: Watkins did not practice at all this week so he is considered doubtful for the Chiefs this weekend.
  • Outlook: With Watkins likely out, look for Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle, Mecole Hardman, and possibly Tyreek Hill to carry the load for the Chiefs. Watkins hasn’t done much since Week 1 so I’m sure the Chiefs are anxious to get Hill back from his sternoclavicular joint posterior dislocation.

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Inside the Tent - Week 5 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About a year ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news and updates.

 

Inside the Tent Updates

Saquon Barkley, RB - New York Giants

  • Initially thought to be out anywhere from four to eight weeks with a right high ankle sprain, it appears as if Barkley actually has a shot to play in Week 5. To say this would be miraculous would be an understatement. He was seen at practice on Wednesday and Thursday doing drills on the side. Even though he’s looking and feeling good, I would be surprised if he suits up on Sunday. He’s the Giants’ biggest asset and the face of the franchise (sorry, Daniel Jones) so they’ll obviously be cautious with him. Head Coach Pat Shurmur hasn’t ruled Barkley out for Week 5.

T.Y. Hilton, WR - Indianapolis Colts

  • Hilton re-aggravated the quadriceps strain he sustained earlier this year. We often see this with soft tissue injuries when players attempt to come back too quickly. Hilton returned to practice on Thursday in a limited fashion which is certainly a positive sign for Week 5.

Terry McLaurin, WR - Washington Redskins

  • McLaurin is dealing with a hamstring strain and missed Week 4 as a result. Leading up to Week 5, he has turned in two limited practices on Wednesday and Thursday which means he is trending towards playing on Sunday. Unfortunately, he is playing against the Patriots and the Redskins don’t even know who the QB will be this week. Go ahead and leave McLaurin on the bench this week.

Vance McDonald, TE - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • McDonald’s diagnosis is unknown but judging by the video and the fact he was spotted in a sling, he is likely dealing with an AC joint sprain or shoulder pathology. It was serious enough for the Steelers to go out and trade for Nick Vannett. McDonald has not practiced this week and is out for the foreseeable future.

 

Week 5 Injury Updates

Mitch Trubisky, QB - Chicago Bears

  • Injury: Trubisky had his left arm stretched overhead and had a defender land on top of him. This is certainly not the best position for your shoulder to be in. This is a common mechanism for a shoulder dislocation. Trubisky also likely suffered a minor labrum tear. The labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the shoulder joint and adds stability.
  • News: Trubisky has not practiced this week and Chase Daniel will start for the Bears.
  • Outlook: With Chase Daniel now at the helm for the Bears, they obviously take a step back. Trubisky will likely only one or two games and will be back for Da Bears.

Josh Allen, QB - Buffalo Bills

  • Injury: Allen sustained a concussion in Week 4 against the Patriots. When an athlete suffers a concussion, the signs and symptoms that occur are a result of the chemical cascade that occurs within the brain from the blunt force trauma. Concussions are one of the more confusing pathologies within the medical community.
  • News: Allen is in concussion protocol and judging by the hit, he will not be suiting up in Week 5. 
  • Outlook: Matt Barkley is in at QB for the Bills and this obviously slightly downgrades the offense. Allen’s rushing ability and his nose for the big play keeps Bills drives going and the offense on the field. John Brown should be on your bench for the Bills’ matchup against the Titans.

Marlon Mack, RB - Indianapolis Colts

  • Injury: A lateral ankle sprain has been plaguing Marlon Mack. Also known as an inversion sprain, this is the “common” ankle sprain. This type of sprain occurs when the ankle is turned inwards beyond the limits of the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Considering Mack was able to practice this week, this is likely a Grade I sprain which is the least severe.
  • News: Mack was able to practice in full on Friday which is a good sign he’ll play on Sunday night against the Chiefs.
  • Outlook: The Colts will obviously have to put up points to hang with the Chiefs and if they’re in a situation where they can punch it in, it’ll be Mack doing so. He is a fine play this week against one of the league’s softer run defenses.

Davante Adams, WR - Green Bay Packers

  • Injury: Davante Adams is dealing with turf toe in his right big toe. Turf toe is a result of the big toe being stretched too far upwards and therefore stretching the ligaments on the bottom of the toe. A.J. Green was plagued with this last season. Adams certainly won’t be playing this week and he could possibly be out for three weeks. 
  • News: Adams did not practice this week and has been ruled out for Week 5.
  • Outlook: With Adams watching from the sidelines, Marquez Valdes-Scantling is likely the Packers top option in the receiving game. Also expect more looks for Geronimo Allison if he is playing in the slot on Sunday.

Christian Kirk, WR - Arizona Cardinals

  • Injury: The Cardinals promising wide receiver sustained a right high ankle sprain in Week 4. High ankle sprains involve the connection between the two lower leg bones and can be extremely painful when cutting or changing directions. Between the tibia and fibula, there is a connection called a syndesmosis. In high ankle sprains, this structure becomes stretched depending on severity.
  • News: On Tuesday, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury told media members that Kirk’s injury was not as serious as initially thought which is certainly positive news. He did not practice this week and will not be playing against the Bengals.
  • Outlook: Considering his injury is not as serious as initially thought, expect Kirk to be limited in practice next week and potentially be a game time decision in Week 6. If he does not play, he should be ready to go in Week 7.

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Fantasy Football Injuries - Stash 'Em or Drop 'Em?

Fantasy players are generally impatient sorts. That’s not a criticism, just a reality. There are only 13 regular season matchups and the results of every game feel so heavily magnified. Owners always want to improve their team, and they want to improve it now!

So naturally, many fantasy owners don’t have the endurance or composure to wait for their injured stars or significant players to return. They constantly wonder whether they should cut the injured player to make room for that tempting waiver wire addition. Some owners simply release their injured top players and regret a possible short-sighted move later in the season.

So what should be your tolerance level in waiting for key fantasy players to return from extended injury absences? We have the answers. Should you Stash or Trash the following players in leagues that do not have Injured Reserve spots?

 

Quarterback Injuries

Cam Newton - QB, Carolina Panthers

He reportedly has a Lisfranc injury and it is possible we may not see him return until after Carolina’s Week 7 bye. Newton did not have a TD pass in two games and rushed for -2 yards. He just doesn’t seem like the dynamic dual threat he used to be, and the Panthers don’t have to rush him back with Kyle Allen winning games. Tear the name off the back of the jersey and you would not be considering him as a stash.

Decision: Trash him. You need room on your bench and there are no assurances Newton can return to anywhere near his past form when he returns.

Drew Brees - QB, New Orleans Saints

He will likely be out for another five weeks after undergoing thumb surgery. I have actually seen Brees land on free agency in some leagues. Pick him up if you see him on waivers. Brees is a Top 10 fantasy QB when he returns. He threw for 370 yards and two TDs in the season opener.

Decision: Stash him.

 

Running Back Injuries

Devin Singletary - RB, Buffalo Bills

He has not played since Week 2 because of a hamstring problem and Frank Gore has clearly emerged as the lead RB in his absence. Although he showed some considerable promise with 127 yards from scrimmage and a TD, Singletary had only 15 touches in two games.

Decision: Trash him in 10-team leagues, stash him in 12-teamers where RBs are even more scarce.

Saquon Barkley - RB, New York Giants

No sane owner is going to cut him, as he could miss another three to seven weeks with a high ankle sprain. But to veer off the waiver angle briefly, what is his trade appeal? If you have him, don’t trade away maybe the top RB in fantasy. Wait for him to return. If you don’t have him you may be able to deal for Barkley by swapping a RB2 type and another piece. Offer it up.

Decision: Keep him if you have him, make a trade offer if you do not.

Derrius Guice - RB, Washington Redskins

He is on injured reserve with a knee injury and could be out another six weeks or so, if not longer. We saw him briefly at the beginning of the year and he totaled just 18 yards on 10 carries in the season opener.

Decision: Trash him. Unfortunately it seems like Guice cannot evade health issues and we can’t have any real confidence about his level of production when he returns.

 

Wide Receiver Injuries

John Ross - WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Ross was placed on IR with a shoulder injury and will miss at least the next eight weeks. He started the season off with two 100-yard games and three TDs, but then cooled off.

Decision: Trash him. Ross had finally started to tap into his potential, but was not an every week starter.

A.J. Green - WR, Cincinnati Bengals

He will be out until at least Week 6, according to a recent ESPN report. If you are rostering Green, you likely drafted him willing to wait for him to return. He now has a checkered history of health issues and how effective he will be on his immediate return is anyone’s guess.

Decision: Stash him. If you drafted Green you made a commitment to wait for him to help you in the second half of the season.

Tyreek Hill - WR, Kansas City Chiefs

He may be back in two weeks from a collarbone injury. Hill is nearing his return and it would be downright crazy to cut him. Hill was likely an early round pick in many cases and will be well worth the wait to return.

Decision: An obvious stash.

Mike Williams - WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Injuries have really cut into his possible production so far, and he has been banged up. We will have to wait and see if he can possibly be ready for Week 5.

Decision: Stash him for now, there is still a lot of TD promise when he comes back.

DeSean Jackson - WR, Philadelphia Eagles

There is no reported return timeline as Jackson continues to deal with a nagging groin injury. He did get off to a great start with Carson Wentz this year with eight catches for 154 yards and two TDs in the season opener.

Decision: Trash him. Jackson has been historically inconsistent and there were no assurances he could have built on the Week 1 momentum.

 

Tight End Injuries

David Njoku - TE, Cleveland Browns

He may miss another six games or so because of a broken wrist. You may be able to get him back for the fantasy playoff push.

Decision: Stash him if you can, he works at the thinnest position in fantasy football.

T.J. Hockenson - TE, Detroit Lions

The very promising rookie had caught two TD passes in four games, but now there is no reported timetable for his return as he recovers from a concussion and a shoulder problem.

Decision: You have to trash a player who is not yet a regular fantasy starter and has no return date in sight.

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