Thu Oct 15 10:12am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
The big injury last week was the unfortunate one to Dak Prescott. This is a huge loss for fantasy owners and will be near impossible to replace, considering his amazing start to the season. The rest of the league wasn’t hit too hard by injuries last week and some key players are set to return this week. So it isn’t all negative on the injury front. Let’s hope it keeps up going forward.
DJ Chark, WR, Jaguars. Chark was knocked out early from last week’s game because of an ankle injury and is out of practice to start the week. This is not a great sign for his availability this week. He is looking a little iffy to play right now. He will need to get in some practice before the week is out if he hopes to have any chance to play Week 6. Get other options ready.
Sam Darnold, QB, Jets. Darnold has already been ruled out for the Week 6 game. He is still battling his shoulder injury and could miss more time. Joe Flacco gets another start for the Jets this week.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings. Cook left lsat week’s game early because of a groin injury. He seems to have avoided something too serious, though. There is an outside chance he still plays this week. Cook is out of practice to start the week. It makes sense for the Vikings to likely hold Cook out since the team has a bye the following week, giving him two weeks to get back to full strength. So don’t rule him out just yet but expect the Vikings to play it cautious with their star back. Alexander Mattison is likely to start Week 6 for the Vikings.
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals. Green suffered a hamstring injury last week and left the game early. He has been limited in practice to start the week. Green is looking questionable to play right now. But even if he plays, Green probably isn't worth a start for fantasy teams because he has been doing next to nothing on the field and is battling an injury.
Drew Lock, QB, Broncos. Lock is practicing in full this week and fully expected to return to the starting lineup for the Broncos. His shoulder injury is much improved and shouldn’t limit him much going forward.
Cam Newton, QB, Patriots. Newton has been activated from the COVID-19 list and should return to practice Thursday. He is expected to return to the starting lineup this week for the Patriots, giving them a big boost at the quarterback position.
Julio Jones, WR, Falcons. Jones is out of practice to start the week because of a hamstring injury, which kept him out of last week’s game. Don’t rule him out yet because he doesn’t need to practice much to play but get other options ready. Keep an eye on the practice notes for the latest. But for now, plan on Jones missing this one.
Davante Adams, WR, Packers. Adams is back to practicing in full. HIs hamstring injury is much better. He is fully expected to return to the lineup and serve as the No. 1 option in the passing game for the Packers.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles. Jeffery is getting closer to a return from his foot injury. He is practicing on a limited basis again this week. He is going to have to ramp up his work in practice before he hits the field, though. Keep an eye on the practice reports the rest of the week to see if that happens. There is a chance he is back in action this week.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles. Jackson remains limited in practice because of a hamstring injury. He has missed the last few games and remains questionable to play this week. We should have a better idea late in the week but for now, count on him to miss the Week 6 game.
Chris Godwin, WR, Bucs. Godwin is back practicing some this week, which is a positive for him. His hamstring injury is improving some. He has a shot to return this week. Consider him a game-time decision.
Kyle Allen, QB, Washington. Allen was knocked out of last week’s game because of an arm injury suffered on a big hit. He is healthy enough to play this week, though, and has already been named the starter for the Week 6 game. Alex Smith will move back to a backup role for Washington this week.
Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers. Johnson had to leave the game last week because of a back injury. The Steelers were downplaying the injury but he is out of practice to start the week, which is a bit of a concern. He has missed practice in recent weeks and played, but nothing is certain at this point. Keep an eye on the practice notes later this week before putting him in your lineup. He is up in the air right now.
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 Fantasy Takeaways from Week 11
Buffalo Bills tight end Tommy Sweeney (heart) will miss the rest of the season after a cardiologist discovered that he has myocarditis, which is a heart condition. Sweeney started the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a foot injury, and he was nearing a return when his condition was discovered during an NFL-mandated checkup. He was also placed on the COVID-19 list in Week 7 after being a high-risk close contact to teammate Dawson Knox, who tested positive for the virus. The 25-year-old caught eight passes for 114 yards in six games in his rookie season in 2019. Knox remains the team's top pass-catching tight end, with Lee Smith, rookie Reggie Gilliam and Tyler Kroft backing him up.
San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams tested positive for COVID-19 last week and has landed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list along with eight of his teammates. Williams, who is considered a high-risk individual after a fight with cancer, said he was feeling OK and expects to recover. It's unknown if the blind-side protector for quarterback Nick Mullens will be available in Week 12 against the division-rival Rams. It's Williams' second stint on the COVID-19 list after he was previously deemed a high-risk close contact. If Williams doesn't clear the league's protocol in time, it'll make Mullens more vulnerable against a good Rams pass rush next Sunday.
Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh confirmed that defensive lineman Brandon Williams was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday after he was considered a close contact of running backs Mark Ingram II and J.K. Dobbins, who tested positive for coronavirus. Williams will have to quarantine for five days and will miss the Thanksgiving tilt on Thursday against the undefeated Steelers. As of now, the contest remains on schedule for Thursday night. Williams, a third-round pick in 2013, has just 20 tackles (13 solo) in eight games for Baltimore this season. The Ravens Defense has basically been a must-start fantasy unit all year long, but they'll face a tough Steelers offense on Thursday and should be faded in DFS.
Despite New York Jets head coach Adam Gase all but saying that 2020 fourth-round pick James Morgan is essentially getting a redshirt year as a rookie, the organization made the call Monday to release quarterback Mike White, who had been serving as Joe Flacco's backup. While Sam Darnold (shoulder) continues to battle injuries, Morgan may now slot into the backup role without White on the roster. New York's quarterback situation continues to remain fluid, but Morgan could get a look in the final weeks of the year if the team's losing woes continue and Darnold remains embattled with his shoulder injury. White, who has not yet thrown an NFL pass, will be looking for a new home prior to the conclusion of the year.
The New York Giants Defense could have both safety Xavier McKinney (foot) and linebacker Oshane Ximines (shoulder) back in the mix Sunday versus Cincinnati after having designated both to return from injured reserve Monday. McKinney was the team's second round Draft choice in 2020, although he would likely play a limited role in his first game, per head coach Joe Judge. Ximines has started three of the four contests that he has appeared in this year, combining for five tackles and three quarterback hits. Their availability will become clearer following Wednesday's practice. While not a standout group in their own right, the Giants' defense should receive sizable season-long streamer appeal due to its matchup versus Ryan Finley and Co., who will be navigating their first game all year without Joe Burrow.
Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jesse Davis (COVID-19/reserve list) has been placed on the COVID-19/reserve list as of Monday, and will reportedly not be available for Sunday's game versus the Jets. (Players do not have to test positive to be added to the list.) Davis' absence likely means that Rob Hunt will slide over to man the right tackle spot, blocking for Tua Tagovailoa, who is expected to start after being removed late in Week 11 in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick. The loss of Davis means that Tagovailoa will have a new blind spot protector, while Salvon Ahmed is expected to lead the backfield once again, albeit with a shifting o-line in front of him. At this time, it appears as if Sunday's matchup between Miami and New York is in no danger of being shifted, although the situation will remain fluid throughout the week.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip) has been sidelined since Week 8 due to a hip ailment, but despite the quick turnaround ahead of a Week 12 matchup versus Houston, the team's top receiver was listed as a would-be limited practice participant Monday. While he will likely need to log some actual practice time in order to suit up Thursday, his status is beginning to trend in the right direction for potentially facing an exploitable Texans secondary. Golladay has exceeded the 100-yard plateau as a receiver in each of his last two full contests in 2020, making him a must-start asset should he eventually get the green light to suit up. Check back over the coming days to get a better read on his status with the Lions taking the field for practice Tuesday.
Houston Texans wide receiver Randall Cobb (toe) would not have been available to participate in Monday's practice had there been one. After leaving Sunday's win over New England due to a toe injury, Cobb is not trending in the right direction to return for Thursday's matchup with the Lions. Keke Coutee earned praises in the slot in place of Cobb, and would figure to continue seeing an increased usage with the veteran sidelined. The Lions Defense is allowing the fifth-most receiving yards to opposing wide receivers this season, putting Coutee, Brandin Cooks, and Will Fuller V in line for increased usage should Cobb ultimately not make it back in time for the contest.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Dez Bryant was moved back to the practice squad following the team's Week 11 win over Tennessee. While Bryant saw a drastic upswing in usage versus the Titans, even securing four receptions for 28 yards, he cannot be viewed as a fantasy asset in any sized season-long format due to his fluctuations between the active roster and practice squad. The Ravens can recall the former All-Pro to the 53-man roster once more before needing to sign him full-time. While he may not be available for Thursday's meeting against Pittsburgh, the fervor to utilize him against his former squad, Dallas, would be strong during Week 13. Check back for any updates as it pertains to Bryant's status within the Baltimore offensive gameplan.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) continues to work his way back from a shoulder injury, with the expectation that he can return to practice Wednesday. Darnold has expressed some optimism that his shoulder has improved with the time off, although how aggressive the Jets will be in rushing their young QB onto the field remains to be seen. Joe Flacco has filled in for Darnold, leading the offense to 27 and 28-point performances, respectively, in the past two weeks with the team's full allotment of wide receivers at his disposal. Even when healthy in 2020, Darnold has done little to inspire confidence in fantasy managers, making the Jets quarterback room an avoidable conundrum heading into Week 12 no matter who eventually gets tabbed to make the start.
The San Francisco 49ers placed defensive linemen D.J. Jones and Jordan Willis on the COVID-19/reserve list Sunday, with the move becoming public Monday. With San Francisco having been on its bye week, the duo did not have to worry about missing game action, although their status for next Sunday's matchup against the Rams remains in question. (Players do not have to test positive to be placed on the list.) Jones has started all 10 games for the 49ers Defense this season, having compiled 14 tackles (six of which have come for a loss), in addition to two quarterback hits and two sacks. Willis has been utilized with less frequency, but the loss of either against Los Angeles would be a hit to the team's defensive line depth. Check back to see how San Francisco moves forward throughout the week as they continue to combat roster moves within the organization.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (thigh) would have only been able to practice in a limited capacity Monday had one been available to him. With the Ravens taking on the Steelers on Thanksgiving, the team's primary pass-catching threat has just three days to recover from the team's Week 11 matchup to get ready for its arch nemesis. Andrews had arguably his best game of 2020 on Sunday, compiling a season-high 96 receiving yards versus the Titans, while also hauling in his sixth touchdown of the year. The Steelers Defense gave Andrews fits during their Week 8 matchup, limiting him to three catches for 32 yards, as the Pro Bowl tight end is yet to find the end zone in four career meetings against Pittsburgh. Check back throughout the week to receive updates to his status as they become available.
New York Jets running back La'Mical Perine (ankle) is expected to land on injured reserve due to a high ankle sprain, ruling him out for at least the next three weeks. The move paves the way for Frank Gore to become the bell cow out of the backfield, with Ty Johnson set to serve as his backup. Perine notched his second rushing score of the season Sunday, and figured to continue seeing a solid amount of reps down the stretch in 2020 as New York attempts to gauge his skill level heading into next year. But the injury will complicate the Jets' offense even more than before, making them a targetable group for fantasy managers deploying the streamer option for season-long defensive units. It's possible that Perine could return before the conclusion of the year, but in the meantime, Gore can be added off of the waiver wire as an RB3/Flex in medium-sized or larger season-long formats.
The Las Vegas Raiders made a splash earlier Monday by signing Vic Beasley to their practice squad, following up that announcement by claiming outside linebacker/defensive end Takk McKinley off of waivers. McKinley has already failed a physical with two different organizations, with the Raiders hoping to add him to their defense for the stretch run of the 2020 season. In four starts with the Falcons this year, McKinley has compiled eight tackles, seven quarterback hits, one pass defended, and one sack. The move may come as particularly appealing to McKinley, who could get a chance to face Atlanta as soon as Sunday, as the Raiders are set to travel to take on the Falcons in Week 12. Even with McKinley in the mix, the Raiders defense remains outside of fantasy consideration in all but the deepest of season-long formats.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Ravens on Thanksgiving, thereby having just three days' rest between their Week 11 and 12 contests; if the estimated practice attendance for Monday is any indication, they may be at far less than 100 percent for that contest. A whopping 15 players were listed as "DNP" had a practice session happened, headlined by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (non-injury related), but also including JuJu Smith-Schuster (foot), Eric Ebron (non-injury related), cornerback Joe Haden (knee), and defensive end Cameron Heyward (non-injury related). Many of those absences could be chalked up to the Steelers attempting to limit their players' reps ahead of a key matchup, but check back throughout the coming days to see how their practice participation status progresses.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (ankle) and running back Antonio Gibson (ankle) were both listed as DNPs on the team's injury report for Monday, indicating that they would not have been able to suit up for practice, had there been one. With just three days to recover from Week 11 before facing the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, two of Washington's key offensive cogs will have a short window to heal up. McLaurin roasted the Cowboys' secondary earlier this year for seven receptions, 90 yards, and a touchdown, but his absence would pave the way for Cam Sims, Steven Sims Jr., and Isaiah Wright to take on larger offensive roles in Week 12. As for Gibson, J.D. McKissic looms as the biggest beneficiary out of the backfield if Gibson's ankle ailment proves problematic. Check back for updates on both players as they become available.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein (back) appears to be heading into Thursday's matchup against Washington at less than 100 percent after sustaining a minor back injury during Week 11. Zuerlein missed an extra point versus Minnesota -- his third of the year -- but he added another field goal to his total, making him a flawless 17-for-17 inside of 50 yards this season. Head coach Mike McCarthy expects Zuerlein to be ready for Thursday's game, and with the Cowboys offense having begun to trend back in the right direction with Andy Dalton at the helm, Zuerlein reclaims much of the fantasy shine that had worn off due to the team's floundering offense. Check back prior to kickoff on Thanksgiving to make sure Zuerlein gets the green light to suit up.
New York Jets QB Mike White was released Monday, Nov. 23. TE Ross Travis was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list and returned to the practice squad.
The Las Vegas Raiders signed former Falcons and Titans outside linebacker Vic Beasley to their practice squad on Monday. Beasley didn't work out for the Titans this year and was released three weeks ago after recording only three combined tackles and one forced fumble in five games in 2020. Beasley was the eighth overall pick by the Falcons in the 2015 draft out of Clemson, and he excelled as an inside linebacker with Atlanta in 2016. Beasley recorded a league-high six forced fumbles (one for a touchdown) and 15.5 sacks that year on his way to being named a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro. Since then, though, the 28-year-old has 18 sacks in four seasons. He'll provide intriguing pass-rushing depth for Las Vegas.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Nov. 23.
Fantasy Spin: It's unclear at this point whether or not Thielen tested positive or was deemed a close contact - the distinction being that the former would rule him out for Week 12 while the latter would give him a chance to play against the Carolina Panthers. Stay tuned. If Thielen can't go, Justin Jefferson would step up into the lead role. Olabisi Johnson would likely start opposite him, but he'd be a desperation play at best. Irv Smith might stand to benefit the most from a fantasy perspective.