Thu Feb 9 8:47am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
It would be great if there were no injuries for the Super Bowl, but that isn't the case. We are dealing with some injuries that could impact the game. And unfortunately, it is one sided when it comes to the injuries. There is not a single player on the list from the Eagles, so they are heading into the game pretty healthy. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are beat up in spot, especially at receiver. Hopefully, it doesn’t impact the game too much.
L'Jarius Snead, CB, Chiefs. Snead was knocked out of the Chiefs last game because of a concussion. He has already cleared the concussion protocol, though, and is set to return to the lineup for the Chiefs. Snead is a big plus for the defense and secondary. His return should really help the defense.
Kadarius Toney, WR, Chiefs. Toney claims he will be ready to go Sunday, but is battling ankle and hamstring injuries. It is not 100 percent certain he plays, but it is trending that way. Toney might be a little limited in the game if active, though. He will be a risk to use for fantasy teams.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs. Mahomes continues to battle his ankle sprain but is practicing in full this week. His ankle is getting better. He likely won’t be 100 percent for the game, but should be healthier than the last. The extra week of rest likely did him some good.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Chiefs. McKinnon is another Chief battling an ankle injury but is practicing in full. He should be just fine for the Super Bowl. McKinnon should be near 100 percent for the game.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Chiefs. Smith-Schuster injured his knee in the Championship Game and had to leave early. He is back practicing in full and should be ready to go for this weekend, barring some setback late in the week. He seems to have avoided something too serious.
Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs. Hardman aggravated his pelvis injury and has already been ruled out for the Super Bowl. He will miss the game, giving guys like Skyy Moore and Marquez Valdes-Scantling a little more playing time for the Chiefs.
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.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said that offensive tackle Abraham Lucas (shoulder) had shoulder surgery this offseason, which is why he's been limited at organized team activities. However, Carroll said Lucas should be ready for the start of the regular season. Lucas was the 72nd overall pick in last year's draft and managed to start 16 games for Seattle in 2022 as their right tackle. As long as the 24-year-old offensive tackle is able to take part in training camp, he should be ready for Week 1 as the team's starting right tackle for his sophomore season in the NFL.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said again on Thursday that there remains no firm timetable on the returns of safety Jamal Adams (quadriceps) and linebacker Jordyn Brooks (knee), and that they won't have a timetable for six to eight weeks or so. Still, both players are doing well in their rehab and have their sights set on being ready for the regular season. Adams set an NFL record for defensive backs with 9.5 sacks in 2020, but he's played in just 25 games combined in the last three seasons due to injury. But if he's healthy in 2023, he'll be a force in IDP fantasy leagues. Brooks, the former 27th overall pick in 2020, has totaled 345 tackles in 33 games in his first two NFL seasons, but he tore his ACL in Week 17 of 2022. His fantasy value will depend on whether he has a realistic chance to be ready for Week 1.
Dallas Cowboys rookie tight end Luke Schoonmaker (foot) was wearing a protective boot on his right foot at organized team activities on Thursday and is dealing with a case of plantar fasciitis that has limited his activity. Schoonmaker is missing out on valuable repetitions heading into his first NFL season, but hopefully he'll be able to work out in full once training camp commences at the end of July. If healthy, the 24-year-old second-rounder should compete for playing time immediately in his first NFL season with fellow tight ends Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot. Schoonmaker has plenty of long-term upside at the position as a pass-catcher, but it's tough to see him making a huge splash in fantasy in his first year in Dallas.
Washington Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy was quick to praise quarterback Sam Howell after organized team activities on Thursday. "His demeanor does not change and I will say this: he autocorrects himself as well," Bieniemy said. While Howell will compete with Jacoby Brissett in training camp this summer, the 22-year-old Howell is expected to have the leg up for the starting gig to open the 2023 regular season in D.C. The fifth-round pick last year impressed the coaching staff in last year's season finale against Dallas, and he has an intriguing skill set as a dual threat at the QB position. He certainly has the weapons around him to succeed and be a worthwhile QB2 in superflex leagues if he earns the starting job.
It's unknown whether the Cleveland Browns will make an attempt to sign free-agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and reunite him with quarterback Deshaun Watson, but Watson has shopped the Browns to Hopkins as a potential landing spot. Watson said, "of course we would love to have him," but that those decisions are made "out of my range." The addition of Hopkins in Cleveland would definitely make Watson a more intriguing low-end QB1 in fantasy, but it would also be bad news for wideouts Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Elijah Moore. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported on Thursday that Hopkins is open-minded about teams league-wide, and he's prepared to be patient. Minicamp could be considered a soft deadline for the 30-year-old to pick a new team, while training camp would be more of a hard deadline.
Despite Chicago Bears running back Khalil Herbert averaging 5.7 yards per carry as the No. 2 behind David Montgomery last year, the Bears signed veterans D'Onta Foreman and Travis Homer and drafted Roschon Johnson. "You know how things go in the NFL now. They're doing things running back by committee," Herbert said. "You need one, two, three really good guys that really carry the rock and there be no drop-off." Herbert said he added five pounds to his core this offseason, but he plans to stay between 215 and 220 pounds for the season. The 25-year-old will mainly battle for early-down carries with Foreman, but Johnson's presence also lowers Herbert's fantasy ceiling. And when you add the rushing prowess of quarterback Justin Fields, Herbert suddenly becomes more of a dicey RB3/flex in fantasy.
Chicago Bears rookie second-round cornerback Tyrique Stevenson should be in line to start at outside cornerback across from Jaylon Johnson in his first year in the NFL with second-year corner Kyler Gordon moving to the slot full time in 2023. "He uses his length well," cornerbacks coach and pass-game coordinator Jon Hoke said. "He's really, really instinctive. He has a way of getting his hands on a lot of footballs. He does know the game of football. It comes relatively not easy, but he does understand concepts easier than some guys do, so it's been a real plus." Rookie fifth-round corner Terell Smith has also impressed Hoke during organized team activities this week.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said "no one has worked harder than Justin Fields in this offseason," dating back to February. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams is already seeing improvement in Fields' leadership, decision-making and accuracy during organized team activities. The Athletic's Kevin Fishbain said Fields' work leading the offense in a two-minute drill that ended in a touchdown was notable despite it being voluntary OTAs. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said in early May that Fields was "light years ahead of where he was" last offseason. The 24-year-old must get better as a passer to take the next step, but he led all QBs in 2022 with 1,143 rushing yards and also scored eight TDs on the ground. If Fields can avoid sacks and become more efficient with his arm, he'll soon be in the elite tier of QB1s in fantasy.
Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, the second overall pick in this year's NFL draft, has really impressed the coaching staff at organized team activities this week. Head coach DeMeco Ryans said Stroud has been "eye-opening" and has "seized" first-team snaps on offense over Davis Mills. Stroud is also already looking more comfortable running the offense than he did earlier in the offseason. The Texans are in no rush to name a starting QB for the 2023 season, but at this point, it would probably be a surprise if Stroud didn't open his first NFL season as the starter under center over Mills. The 21-year-old has tons of long-term potential, but with limited proven offensive weapons around him this year, he's unlikely to make much noise in single-year fantasy leagues.
As a rookie in 2022 after being the team's top draft pick, Chicago Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon was asked to play both outside and inside cornerback. This year, the plan is for Gordon to be their slot corner. "He's a good blitzer because he's physical, understands the timing, understands how to beat a block," cornerbacks coach and pass-game coordinator Jon Hoke said. "In zone coverage, he understands how to route-match based on what he's got. He understands the concepts that he's being attacked with." The move inside should allow the 23-year-old at more chances for tackles, meaning he could become valuable in fantasy IDP formats after he had 71 tackles (55 solo), three interceptions, six passes defensed, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in 14 starts last year.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Rashaad Penny (leg) was seen taking part in organized team activities on Thursday for his new team. The oft-injured Penny played in just five games in his final year with the Seattle Seahawks in 2022 due to a broken fibula. Unless he suffers a setback, Penny should be full-go for training camp this summer and the start of the regular season, but how long that lasts is anyone's guess. Miles Sanders is no longer in Philly, but Penny will battle for touches alongside trade acquisition D'Andre Swift, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott. When healthy, Penny might have the most fantasy upside of the group, but his extensive injury history makes him extremely volatile to fantasy managers. Still, he won't cost a ton, making him a very intriguing RB3/flex flier for his home run-hitting ability.
Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (ankle) said he's ahead of schedule in his rehab, and his plan is to be ready for the start of training camp at the end of July. Pollard suffered a high-ankle sprain and broken fibula in his left leg in the postseason earlier this year, but he was limited in organized team activities last week and is making great progress in his recovery this offseason. It remains to be seen if he'll be back to full speed for Week 1 of the regular season, but with Ezekiel Elliott out of the picture in Dallas, Pollard will enter the 2023 campaign as the unquestioned lead back for the Cowboys. The 26-year-old isn't in the elite tier of high-end RB1s in fantasy, but he's just below them and should be considered a top-10 RB despite coming off a serious injury.
Dynasty | ESPN lists the Lions as a possible landing spot for free agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Dynasty Analysis: Teddy Two Gloves has simply never been the same following a devastating knee injury he suffered while with the Vikings back in 2016. Still, he's proven to be a capable backup who can keep things afloat for a while if a team's starter goes down. After stops with the Vikings, Saints, Panthers, Broncos, and Dolphins, Bridgewater is currently looking for a new home. The Lions make some sense considering Hendon Hooker is likely to redshirt behind Jared Goff for at least one year. Bridgewater is off the dynasty radar at this point.
Dynasty | ESPN lists the Bucs as a possible landing spot for free agent running back Ezekiel Elliott. Dynasty Analysis: It seems odd on paper with Tampa Bay in rebuilding mode but it also seems there really aren't any natural landing spots left for Elliott. The seven year veteran's production has fallen off a cliff in recent years, so it really isn't shocking. Touchdown production has kept him relevant of late but with Tony Pollard taking over as the lead back in Dallas, Elliott's future is in real question. Tampa Bay has Rachaad White as their starter but he remains unproven. Wherever Elliott ends up, his dynasty value is going to be limited. He currently comes in as our RB52 and that seems to be falling by the week.
Dynasty | Second-year receiver Justyn Ross is trusted by Patrick Mahomes Dynasty Analysis: Ross missed all of 2022 due to a foot injury and subsequent surgery but he's been full-go in OTAs and has performed well enough to be a trusted receiver for Patrick Mahomes. Ross went undrafted during the 2022 NFL Draft due to injury concern but his red-shirt 2022 rookie season allowed him to rest, recover and be 100% for 2023. At 6'4/210 lbs., he could be the big receiver the offense needs to replace departed Juju Smith-Schuster (NE) if he can find a way to garner material snaps during the regular season. It's a long offseason and Ross needs to show he can remain healthy to be in the mix come September. If he continues to trend during training camp, he's a deep sleeper with a high ceiling dynasty coaches will want to consider. Very sparsely ranked as DLF's WR121, Justyn Ross can be added now in deep-roster leagues for coach's with available space.
Dynasty | Second-year receiver Jalen Tolbert was mentioned by head coach Mike McCarthy as an "excellent example" of a player making a jump Dynasty Analysis: Tolbert was trending in 2022's dynasty rookie drafts as an upside second-round selection with talk of a possible starting situation. Instead, the rookie wasn't able to crack the starting lineup and was inactive on most game days, causing him to slide back down rankings. Fast forward to 2023 and it appears Tolbert is finally gaining notice and, though he won't factor as a starter given the presence of CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup, things can change quickly in the NFL and the sophomore's 6'3" size could be difficult to keep off the field. Found as DLF's WR91, patient and enterprising dynasty coaches looking for a low-valued upside prospect may want to consider addition of Jalen Tolbert.
Dynasty | Second-year running back Kyren Williams is sharing snaps with starter Cam Akers during OTAs Dynasty Analysis: The 2022 fifth-round selection missed the start of the season due to a foot injury during training camp, followed by an ankle injury to begin the regular season. While many believed the rookie could garner starter's snaps, it never transpired, and Williams finished with 35 carries for 139 yards. In a Sean McVay backfield, anything is possible as the mercurial coach often demonstrates flights of fancy in his play calling and backfield committee. While Williams receiving snaps with the first-team isn't immaterial, there's little way anything can be drawn from the report other than he is healthy and should be seen as Akers' backup. Kyren Williams is found as DLF's RB81.
Dynasty | Rookie receiver Puka Nacua is playing all three receiver positions and is making an impression Dynasty Analysis: He's also said to have a firm grasp of the playbook. The fifth-round rookie out of BYU has good size (6'2/205) and had material production in his final (and only) two years with the Cougars. The Rams clearly need additional dynamic in the receiver room and Nacua gaining notice while star Cooper Kupp is away from camp is a positive sign. Kupp and Van Jefferson figure to be the team's top-two receivers to begin the season with veteran Ben Skowronek lining up in three-wide formations. With little behind the veterans, Nacua may be able to compete for regular season snaps with a good training camp. He's listed as DLF's WR103.
Los Angeles Chargers left tackle Rashawn Slater (biceps) tore his bicep muscle in Week 3 last year and didn't play again the rest of the season. However, he said his bicep has been "100 percent" healthy for at least the last couple of months. He has been training with personal offensive-line trainer Duke Manyweather alongside teammates Trey Pipkins III and Foster Sarell. With a starting O-line of Slater, Zion Johnson, Corey Linsley, Jamaree Salyer and Pipkins, the Chargers will enter the 2023 season with one of the most solid offensive lines they've had in recent memory. "I just feel like the potential is insane with us," Slater said of the young group. "It's a really cool thing to be a part of." If they can stay healthy all year, they'll be a huge boost for quarterback Justin Herbert and running back Austin Ekeler.
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell said that running back David Montgomery (undisclosed) won't take part in organized team activities on Thursday due to an undisclosed injury that he suffered at practice last week, but his injury isn't considered serious. After four seasons with the Chicago Bears, where he put up 800-plus rushing yards in every season, Montgomery comes to Detroit as the expected primary option on early downs in 2023. The 25-year-old had a total of 155 receptions in his tenure in Chicago as well, but the presence of first-round rookie Jahmyr Gibbs will certainly lower Montgomery's overall fantasy ceiling, especially in PPR leagues. Treat Montgomery as a low-end RB2/high-end RB3 in his first year with the Lions.