Thu Oct 22 10:19am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
I wanted to talk some strategy when it comes to injury. Most of you probably do this but if not, here is a tip. If you have an injured player that is iffy to play. Try to use him in your flex spot so you have some flexibility if the player has to miss the game. That way you aren’t tied into using a specific position if the player misses. I realize that some circumstances might not allow that. You might have three must plays at running back each week, trying up a flex spot. But again, if you have flexibility at the flex spot, try to use those game-time decisions at those spots. Just a thought.
Now here is the latest injury news from around the league. . . . .
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles. Jeffery is trying to return from a foot injury but apparently injured his calf in practice this week. Both injuries will keep him out of action this week once again. We aren’t sure when he returns to action. Hopefully, sooner than later.
Denzel Mims, WR, Jets. Mims is finally nearing a return from his hamstring injury. As long as he doesn’t have any setbacks in practice this week, the Jets expect to have Mims in the lineup. He could make an impact in a hurry, getting a chance to play a role in a passing game looking for options at receiver.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles. Jackson is not even on the Injury Report this week. His hamstring injury is finally near full strength. He could play a big role right away, getting a chance to head right back into the starting lineup.
Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles. Ertz suffered a high-ankle sprain last week and is going to miss a good chunk of time with the injury. He could be out almost a month. Dallas Goedert will start for the Eagles if he is healthy enough to play.
Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles. Sanders is another injured Eagle. He will miss the game this week because of a knee injury. The good news is Sanders seemed to avoid something too serious. He might not be out much longer than this week. Boston Scott should get the start for the Eagles in Week 7.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Eagles. Goedert is eligible to return from Injured Reserve this week and has a chance to be ready for the Week 7 game. He is up in the air right now but has not been ruled out. He is looking like a game-time decision. But if he is active for this week, he is a top fantasy play as the starter in this offense. Goedert has huge upside going forward.
Jonnu Smith, TE, Titans. Smith suffered a sprained ankle last week and left the game early. His ankle injury is not considered too serious, though. Smith has been limited in practice this week and has a decent shot to play. We should have a better idea later in the week but consider him a decent bet to play right now. If Smith happens to sit out, Anthony Firkser would start for the Titans and have good fantasy value.
Sam Darnold, QB, Jets. Darnold has missed the last few games with a shoulder injury. He is practicing on a limited basis this week, so he is getting closer to a return. The Jets aren’t going to rush him back unless he is ready, though, so another week missed is likely for Darnold.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs. Watkins remains out of practice because of hamstring injury. He is not expected to play this week, giving Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman more playing time at receiver.
Michael Thomas, WR, Saints. Thomas sat out last week because of disciplinary reasons, but was also nursing an ankle injury. He has a new injury, though, besides the ankle, having some sort of hamstring injury. So he is dealing with two injuries, but was able to practice on a limited basis to start the week. He seems to have a decent shot to return this week but keep an eye on the practice notes late in the week before putting him in your lineup. He isn’t a sure thing to play just yet, looking like a game-time decision.
Raheem Mostert, RB, 49ers. Mostert left the game early last week because of an ankle injury. He is not expected to play this week and could miss a few weeks of action. Jerrick McKinnon will start while Mostert is out of the lineup once again.
DJ Chark, WR, Jaguars. Chark was back in the lineup last week but remains limited in practice because of an ankle injury. He should be good to go this weekend after playing last week and getting near his usual workload.
Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers. Allen was off last week but had to leave the previous week’s game because of back spasms. The Chargers are downplaying the injury, but he has been limited in practice to start the week. We would expect him to play but a back injury is a little scary because it could pop up at any time. But if active, it is hard to sit Allen because of his huge upside.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Five Hot Plays: Week 13
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller disappointed last week against a bad Falcons Defense but will likely bounce back this week against the Jets. The Jets Defense ranks 29th against opposing tight ends, and Waller is the second-most expensive DFS tight end this week. Waller has had a few bad performances this season but always seems to bounce back. He has followed up his disappointing performances this season with at least five catches in the following game. Look for Waller to rebound in a big way this week. He is definitely a must-start TE1 in Week 13.
Indianapolis Colts TE Trey Burton (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Burton has been targeted 11 times over the last two games and has two touchdowns during that span. He could be a possible low-end No. 1 tight end in deeper leagues.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Devontae Booker (back) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Booker likely will receive most of the work at running back with Josh Jacobs ruled out. He will have a favorable matchup this week and can be considered a low-end No. 2 running back or flex option.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Jalen Richard (chest) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Richard may have a bigger role in the offense with Josh Jacobs not available to play. He has a chance to be a flex option in deeper point-per-receptions leagues but is not a must-start option.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III had three catches on five targets for 56 yards last week and sees a favorable matchup this week against the Jets. Ruggs had a 36-yard reception last week against the Falcons, and the Jets have allowed 38 passing plays over 20 yards this season. His fantasy value is still limited considering he is not even averaging two receptions per game. He also has just one touchdown and has only helped the team move the chains eight times all year. The big-play potential is there against this Jets secondary, but Ruggs has proved to be unreliable. Fantasy owners can feel comfortable leaving him on the bench this week.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (non-injury) did not participate in practice Friday, Dec. 4, but is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Hilton posted a season-high 81 yards last week and picked up his first touchdown of the season. He will see a handful of targets this week and could be at least a flex option because of the matchup.
Indianapolis Colts QB Philip Rivers (toe) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Rivers has thrown at least two touchdowns in four of the last six games and has posted solid passing numbers over the last several weeks. He could be a possible low-end No. 1 quarterback in some deeper leagues this week.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Devontae Booker is set to start Sunday against the Jets due to Josh Jacobs (ankle) being out. Jacobs is a workhorse back, so Booker's touches have been limited throughout the season. He has just one game where he has seen double-digit carries, and he took advantage of that opportunity. While Booker has seen a limited amount of attempts, he is averaging 5.5 yards per carry. The Jets have actually been decent against the run, allowing 3.8 yards per carry so far this season. Booker will likely share some touches with Jalen Richard and Theo Riddick, but he is worthy of starting consideration.
Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Hopkins continues to be one of the top receivers in the NFL and is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues.
Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo has been cleared to play in Week 13 against the Saints. Koo was dealing with a quad injury, though he is good to go for the divisional rematch with New Orleans. The 26-year-old has been the best kicker in fantasy football this year, which shouldn't change against the Saints. Koo made all three of his field-goal attempts in his previous meeting with New Orleans and is a top-five option this week.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr struggled mightily last week against the Falcons but will have a good chance to bounce back against the 0-11 Jets. The Jets have allowed 21 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 104.8. Carr has played well against the Jets in his career, averaging 210 yards and over two touchdowns. Other than last week's performance, Carr has also played well on the road. He has nine touchdown passes and a passer rating of 103.1 away from Las Vegas. Carr does not put up the volume numbers to be in the QB1 conversation, but he should have QB2 value against a horrendous Jets team.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage has been a streaky fantasy performer this year. Gage has just four games this year with over 50 receiving yards and has been a little too streaky for his fantasy managers. The former LSU receiver has had some of his best games with Julio Jones (hamstring) in the lineup- and there's a chance his teammate returns this week. Still, the matchup with New Orleans is a tough one, given how well their defense is playing. Gage shouldn't be trusted in fantasy lineups for Week 13.
Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Williams has been targeted at least seven times in four of the last seven games and has posted at least 70 yards in all four of those games. He should see a handful of targets this week and could be a possible flex option in deeper leagues.
Seattle Seahawks running back Carlos Hyde (ankle) and defensive end Carlos Dunlap (foot) are listed as questionable for Week 13 against the Giants. Hyde got in a limited practice on Friday, so we'd anticipate him playing on Sunday. Dunlap missed practice all week, so he's definitely on the wrong side of questionable for a great matchup against the Giants and backup quarterback Colt McCoy. Hyde out-snapped Chris Carson in Week 12 as the Seahawks eased Carson back into action after an extended absence. Despite seeing more work on Monday night, Hyde had just 29 total yards on 17 touches and should take a back seat to Carson if he plays this weekend. Hyde is a RB3/4 if he plays, but he's best served as a Carson handcuff at this point. Dunlap has been excellent since joining the team and would be a starting defensive lineman in IDP leagues if he can suit up. Seattle's defensive unit is also a great streaming option this weekend against New York.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald remains on the Reserve/COVID-19 list as of Friday, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury. It means that the veteran receiver is likely to miss his second straight game in Week 13 against the Rams. DeAndre Hopkins is facing a showdown with All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, giving Christian Kirk plenty of opportunities to break out of recent funk that has coincided with quarterback Kyler Murray's shoulder injury. Hopkins remains a fantasy must-start despite the tough matchup, while Kirk will have WR3/flex value with some upside. Andy Isabella should operate as the No. 3 wideout once again with Fitzgerald out of the picture, giving him deep-league and DFS appeal as a sleeper.
Seattle Seahawks OT Brandon Shell (ankle), RB Travis Homer (wrist, thumb, knee) and CB Tre Flowers (hamstring) did not practice all week and are listed as doubtful for Week 13 versus the New York Giants. DE Carlos Dunlap (foot) also did not practice all week but is listed as questionable. OL Kyle Fuller (ankle) did not practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is also listed as questionable. OL Damien Lewis (groin) and RB Carlos Hyde (toe) were limited in practice Friday and are also listed as questionable. OL Cedric Ogbuehi (calf) was added to the injury report Friday but is expected to play after getting in a limited practice. OL Duane Brown (knee, rest), OG Jordan Simmons (calf), RB Chris Carson (foot), WR Tyler Lockett (knee), DE Benson Mayowa (ankle), WR Freddie Swain (foot), S Jamal Adams (shoulder), TE Jacob Hollister (knee, neck), WR David Moore (hip), CB D.J. Reed (foot), CB Shaquill Griffin (hamstring, elbow) and OG Mike Iupati (shin) practiced in full Friday and no longer appear on the injury report.
Updating a previous report, Jacksonville Jaguars WR DJ Chark Jr. (ribs) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Chark should be the main option in the passing game for the Jaguars this week and can be at least a flex option in fantasy leagues.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (foot, ankle) is good to go for a rematch with the New Orleans secondary in Week 13. Ridley has been banged up for a couple of weeks now but has still produced, putting up at least five catches and 50 yards in his last two games. The Saints' secondary has clamped down in the past few weeks, though they'll be without the services of Janoris Jenkins (knee). The potential presence of Julio Jones (hamstring) could also help Ridley's outlook. He should finish among the WR1 ranks this week.
Tennessee Titans WR Adam Humphries (concussion) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is not on the injury report for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Humphries is on track to play after missing several weeks because of the concussion. He will see a handful of targets this week but can be avoided in most leagues.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Chris Conley (hip) was limited during practice Friday, Dec. 4, and is listed as questionable for Week 13.
Fantasy Spin: Conley may be a game-time decision, so fantasy players will need to check the inactive list. He will see some targets if he plays this week, but players in most leagues should be able to find better options.