Thu Oct 7 11:46am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
The injuries continue to mount but at least some players could make a return this week. That is a positive on the injury front, especially if Christian McCaffrey can get back on the field in Week 5. So we will take the good with the bad. Hopefully, the recent trend of injuries starts to slow because it isn’t fun trying to replace some of these key fantasy players.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers. McCaffrey got back to practice Wednesday and got in some limited work. He was apparently running well at practice, though, and looked good. He has a chance to play this week, but is looking like a game-time decision. If he is active, McCaffrey will be a must play for his fantasy owners - even if he his role is somewhat limited.
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington. Thomas injured his hamstring last week and was placed on Injured Reserve. Early expectations are he should be out four weeks of action. This leaves Ricky Seals-Jones as the starter for Washington while Thomas is out.
Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants. Shepard remains out of practice because of a hamstring injury. He missed the game last week and is likely to miss another week of action. He is going to need to get some practice in before he returns to the lineup.
Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks. Carson is dealing with a neck injury and has not practiced all week. He has not been ruled out for the Thursday night game, though. He is being considered a game-time decision. But even if he plays, expect Carson to be a little limited in the game. Alex Collins is going to get some work whether Carson plays or not.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys. Elliott has a sore knee and was held out of practice Wednesday. This is a new injury and one to keep an eye on this week. We expect him to play this week but make sure he gets in some practice before the week is out. And as long as he is active, Elliott is a must start for fantasy teams.
Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys. Cooper has a hamstring injury and missed practice Wednesday. He seems to be hurting, having played just 47.5 percent of the snaps last week. It is tough to sit him, though, even if he plays just half the game. He still has a high ceiling in this offense.
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals. Mixon sprained his ankle last week and has been out of practice to start the week. He has not been ruled out just yet and the injury isn’t considered too serious. But even with that said, this injury could keep him out a week or two. We should know more before the week is out, so keep an eye on the player notes for the latest. If he misses, Samaje Perine starts for the Bengals.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers. Garoppolo missed the second half of last week’s game because of a calf injury. He has not been able to practice to start the week, but is not being ruled out yet. We expect him to miss the game this week, though, giving Trey Lance the start. Unless something changes in the next day or two, look for the rookie to get his first NFL start.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions. Hockenson played last week but is dealing with some sort of knee injury, which kept him out of practice Wednesday. We don’t think this is too serious, but make sure he gets some practice in before the week is out. If he misses more time, his status could be up in the air for this weekend.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Broncos. Bridgewater was knocked from last week’s game with a concussion. He will need to clear the concession protocol before the week is out if he hopes to play. He still seems to have an outside shot to play, but Drew Lock seems the better bet to start this week. Keep an eye on the player notes for the latest.
Julio Jones, WR, Titans. Jones remains out of practice because of a hamstring injury. He will need to get in some practice before the week is out if he hopes to play Week 5. At this point, it is looking like Jones will miss another week of action plan accordingly.
A.J. Brown, WR, Titans. Brown missed last week but is practicing on a limited basis this week, which is a good sign for him. Brown has a shot to return to the lineup, barring a late-week setback. If he is active, Brown is a must start for his fantasy owners.
Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals. Higgins has missed the last two games because of a shoulder injury. He returned to the practice field Wednesday, though, and seems on track to return to the lineup. Higgins is trending the right way for his fantasy owners.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Bucs. Gronkowski missed the game last week and it was revealed he is dealing with some cracked ribs. This is a very painful injury and likely to keep him out a few more weeks of action. Cameron Brate should start while Gronkowski is out of the lineup.
Darius Slayton, WR, Giants. Slayton missed the game last week because of a hamstring injury. He is still out of practice and expected to miss another game. Kadarius Toney should see an expanded role in the offense once again with Slayton out.
Chase Claypool, WR, Steelers. Claypool popped up on the injury report late last week because of a hamstring injury. He missed the game but is back practicing some to begin the week. This is a good sign for Claypool to make a return in Week 5. As long as he keeps progressing, look for Claypool to be back in the lineup this week.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings. Cook played last week with his ankle injury but was a little limited in the game. He pretty much split the carries with Alexander Mattison. Cook is out of practice to start the week but is resting his injury as much as anything. Cook might not do much in practice all week, but should be in the lineup once again. The only issue is Cook might not get a full workload once again until he is closer to full strength.
Elijah Mitchell, RB, 49ers. Mitchell has missed the past two games with a shoulder injury. He has returned to practice on a limited basis this week, though. He is doing better and has a chance to return to the lineup for San Francisco. It isn’t certain how Mitchell will be used upon his return, though. He was starting before the injury but Trey Sermon has manned that role with Mitchell out.
David Montgomery, RB, Bears. Montgomery suffered a knee injury last week but avoided a torn ACL. He is dealing with a sprained knee, though, and expected to miss four to five weeks of action. Damien Williams will start while Montgomery is out of the lineup.
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.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams (groin) will play in Week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons. With DeVante Parker (hamstring) out, Williams should serve as the No. 2 wideout for Tua Tagovailoa in what should be a good matchup for the Dolphins passing attack. The last time he played without Parker was in Week 5, when he was targeted five times, catching three passes for 60 yards while playing 74 percent of snaps. Consider him an intriguing flex option and a good value play in DFS contests.
New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden (thigh) and kicker Nick Folk (knee) are both active for Sunday's contest against the Jets. With Rhamondre Stevenson being a healthy scratch, Bolden should have some role on Sunday, but not enough for fantasy managers to use him in any lineups. Folk has been a solid kicker this season and would be a solid fantasy play this week, even with the knee injury, as he's already been playing through it.
Washington Football Team quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip), who suffered a hip subluxation in the season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, is still weeks away from returning, according to sources. Fitzpatrick remains on crutches, meaning Taylor Heinicke will remain the starter for the foreseeable future. The 38-year-old Fitzpatrick likely undergo an MRI exam next week, but the belief is that he won't be able to return until at least after the team's Week 9 bye. The team is hopeful that he will return this year, but his rehab has gone slower than expected, and it's not a certainty that he'll return. Although Heinicke has struggled of late, head coach Ron Rivera still has confidence in him, and his starting job doesn't appear to be in danger. Against the Green Bay Packers in Week 7, Heinicke will remain a midrange QB2.
New York Giants TE Evan Engram (calf) is active for Week 7's game against the Carolina Panthers.
Fantasy Spin: Engram returned to practice in a limited fashion Friday, Oct. 22, after sustaining a calf injury which had sidelined him on the previous day, so it's not surprising that he was cleared to play this afternoon. He should be viewed as a low-end TE1 option in deeper fantasy leagues.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (calf) and wide receivers Darius Slayton (hamstring) and John Ross (hamstring), who were all listed as questionable, are active in Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers. Engram and Slayton could have very big roles in the passing game with receivers Kenny Golladay (knee), Kadarius Toney (ankle) and Sterling Shepard (hamstring) all out on Sunday. Slayton is returning after a three-week absence, though, so he'll still be hard to trust in fantasy, even as a deep-league flex play. Dante Pettis saw a much bigger workload last week with Golladay and Toney out, and Collin Johnson and Ross should also be involved as well. Engram will be a low-end TE1 play with upside with so many of New York's offensive weapons on the shelf.
As expected, the Kansas City Chiefs will have wide receiver Tyreek Hill (quad) and tight end Travis Kelce (neck) for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans. With the Titans missing multiple pieces in the secondary, this should be a strong game for the Chiefs passing attack. Even with the injury concerns, fantasy managers should fire Hill and Kelce up as a WR1 and TE1, respectively.
New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring) is not active for Week 7's game against the Carolina Panthers.
Fantasy Spin: Shepard was injured during practice Thursday, Oct. 21, although he was able to practice in a limited role the following day, meaning that there is a good chance that he can return to action in Week 8. Expect the likes of WR Darius Slayton and TE Evan Engram to see increased numbers of targets this afternoon in his absence.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill (quadriceps) is officially active for the Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Hill did not do much during practice this week but should receive close to his normal workload in Week 7. He should be a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Tennessee Titans WR Julio Jones (hamstring) is officially active for the Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Jones has struggled with hamstring injuries over the last few seasons but will be able to play against the Kansas City Chiefs. He can be considered a No. 3 receiver or flex option in fantasy leagues.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (hamstring) is inactive for Sunday's contest against the Atlanta Falcons. He last played in Week 4 against the Colts. With Parker out, look for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to focus on wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and tight end Mike Gesicki against a weak Falcons secondary. Gesicki had 115 yards last week against Jaguars and should be a strong DFS play on this slate.
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson is a healthy scratch again in Week 7, returning to the inactive list after playing for the past two weeks. Considering Stevenson had eight touches, a touchdown, and a 33 percent snap rate last week, him returning to Bill Belichick's doghouse is a bit of a surprise. Damien Harris is the only running back in New England worth anything when it comes to fantasy right now.
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (hamstring) has been ruled out for the Week 7 contest against the Carolina Panthers. He'll be joining running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) and receivers Kenny Golladay (knee) and Kadarius Toney (ankle), who were ruled out on Friday, on the sidelines. The good news is that tight end Evan Engram (calf) and receivers Darius Slayton (hamstring) and John Ross (hamstring) will play, but the Giants offense will be missing their best weapons. It will be Shepard's third missed game of the season with his hamstring injury. Slayton will be returning after three straight missed games, so there's no guarantee he'll be the top receiving option in his first game back. Dante Pettis and Collin Johnson figure to be involved in three-receiver sets as well.
Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (hamstring, shoulder) has been declared inactive for the Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Jaylen Waddle and Preston Williams probably will be the main receivers for the Dolphins while Parker is sidelined. Waddle should be at least a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues, while Williams can be a flex option in some leagues.
Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (shin) is active, as expected, in Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers. Cornerback William Jackson III (knee) is out, so Washington's corner depth will be shaky against the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Gibson has been playing through a hairline fracture in his shin the last couple weeks, although he did see only 10 carries in the Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Consider him more of an RB2 than RB1 this week, especially since backup and pass-catching back J.D. McKissic could see more run if Washington is playing catchup against a strong Green Bay offense for much of the day.
New York Jets running back Tevin Coleman (hamstring) is inactive for Sunday's Week 7 contest against the New England Patriots. He's joined on the inactive list by tight end Tyler Kroft and wide receiver Jeff Smith. With Coleman out, there should be a few more snaps available for Michael Carter, but Coleman only played five offensive snaps in Week 5 against Atlanta, so his absence doesn't really move the needle here.
Green Bay Packers linebacker Preston Smith (oblique) and cornerback Kevin King (shoulder) are out for the Week 7 battle against the Washington Football Team on Sunday. Smith will break his consecutive games played streak at 102 after suffering an oblique injury in last week's win over the Chicago Bears. King will be missing his second straight game with his shoulder injury. Eric Stokes, Chandon Sullivan and Rasul Douglas will once again serve as Green Bay's starting corners on Sunday. Green Bay's defense loses a little luster with Smith out of the lineup, but they're still on the streaming radar for this weekend against Washington.
The New York Giants have declared CB Sam Beal, RB Saquon Barkley, WR Sterling Shepard, DL Danny Shelton, CB Josh Jackson, WR Kadarius Toney and WR Kenny Golladay inactive for Week 7.
The Atlanta Falcons have declared DB Kendall Sheffield, LB Dorian Etheridge, CB Avery Williams, DL John Cominsky, DT Mike Pennel, QB Feleipe Franks and WR Frank Darby inactive for Week 7.
The Miami Dolphins have declared WR DeVante Parker, DL John Jenkins, OL Greg Mancz, CB Noah Igbinoghene, OT Greg Little and TE Hunter Long inactive for Week 7.
The Kansas City Chiefs have declared OT Prince Tega Wanogho, LB Anthony Hitchens, C Austin Blythe, FB Michael Burton, CB DeAndre Baker and OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif inactive for Week 7.