Thu Sep 14 8:51am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
It took just a week for fantasy owners to lose two marquee players. You hate to see it, but it is the harsh reality of the game. Players are going to get hurt. And a key to many fantasy seasons is avoiding those injuries somehow. It is hard to do, but a healthy roster can go a long way. Here is to hoping you don't have many players on the injury list this week on your rosters. Unfortunately, it is a pretty long list for Week 2.
Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Eagles. The Eagles have already ruled out Gainwell for the game Thursday night because of a rib injury. The short week did not help matters for him to get on the field. D’Andre Swift likely starts with Gainwell out, but that isn’t 100 percent certain. Boston Scott and Rashaad Penny also could be in the mix for carries for the Eagles.
Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers. Johnson injured his hamstring last week and had to leave the game. He is expected to miss up to four weeks of action because of the injury. Allen Robinson and Calvin Austin should get more work in the Steelers offense with Johnson out.
Jakobi Meyers, WR, Steelers. Meyers is in the concussion protocol right now. He is up in the air to play this week. Don’t rule him out, though. He does have a chance to be cleared before the Week 2 game. Keep an eye on the player notes for the latest.
Greg Dulcich, TE, Broncos. Dulcich is another player that suffered a hamstring injury last week and had to leave the game. He is going to miss a few weeks of action because of his injury. This leaves Adam Trautman as the starter at tight end for the Broncos, getting a lot of playing time in that role.
Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs. Kelce is back practicing some on his knee injury. He is trending towards being ready for Week 2, but is likely a game-time decision. He is dealing with a bone bruise that can be pretty painful. As long as he is active, though, Kelce is a must start for fantasy owners.
Darren Waller, TE, Giants. Waller was able to play on his hamstring injury last week and played 54 percent of the snaps. He got plenty of playing time, which is a good sign. He is out of practice to star this week, but likely to play once again, barring a late-week setback with the injury.
Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens. Andrews missed the game last week because of a quad injury. He is practicing on a limited basis this week and has a good shot to return. Keep an eye on the practice reports to make sure he keeps practicing, but things are looking better for Andrews in Week 2.
Zack Moss, RB, Colts. Moss was close to playing last week, but held out. He is recovering from a broken hand. Moss is practicing in full this week and should make his season debut. He could even be the starter with Deon Jackson struggling in that role last week. Moss could have a big role from the get go for the Colts.
Raheem Mostert, RB, Dolphins. Mostert was held out of practice Wednesday because of a knee issue, but the Dolphins claim it was a rest and maintenance day for him. It doesn’t seem the injury is too serious, but make sure he gets in some practice time before the week is out. As long as he gets in some work before the weekend, look for him to play and start.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers. Ekeler is dealing with an ankle injury but missed practice Wednesday to attend a funeral. It isn’t certain how serous his knee injury is just yet. He does seem to be a little iffy to play, though, so watch the practice reports for the rest of the week on Ekeler. If he is unable to play, Joshua Kelley would have great value in a lead role for the Chargers.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers. Jones hurt his hamstring last week and had to leave the game early. The Packers claimed it wasn’t too serious, but he is out of practice to start the week. He is up in the air to play right now. He could end up being a game-time decision. If he misses, A.J. Dillon serves as the starter for the Packers.
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Broncos. Jeudy continues to practiced on a limited basis because of a hamstring injury. He did the same thing last week but was held out of the game. He is looking pretty iffy to play again this week, but hasn’t been ruled out just yet. He could play if he progresses before the week is out.
Christian Watson, WR, Packers. Watson remains out of practice because of a hamstring injury but was doing some stuff on the side. He is not looking good to play this week, but don’t rule him out just yet. He is finally getting closer to a return to action. Hopefully, it is sooner than later.
Cordarrelle Patterson, RB, Falcons. Patterson is already practicing in full this week. He was held out of last week’s game because of a thing injury. He is already practicing in full this week, though, so a return to the lineup this week is very likely. He should serve more of a reserve role for the Falcons, being used in a variety of different ways offensively.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Titans. Hopkins is dealing with some sort of ankle injury. He was held out of practice Wednesday. This could have been more of a veteran day off, though. We wouldn’t get too concerned unless he misses more practice before the week is out. So keep an eye on the practice reports before putting Hopkins in your lineups for Week 2.
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.
Dynasty | Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool will remain away from the team this week after expressing displeasure in regards to his role in the offense. Dynasty Analysis: After showing a ton of promise in his first two years with the Steelers, the wheels have fallen off the proverbial cart. Claypool was traded at last year's deadline but was only able to muster 14 catches for 140 scoreless yards in seven games with the Bears last year. Through three games this season, he has four catches for 51 yards and a score. This relationship seems fractured beyond repair as Head Coach Matt Eberflus is basically keeping him home instead of even being around the team. Expect a trade or release in the coming days. Claypool's ranking of WR81 has nowhere to go but up at this point.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (concussion) is still in concussion protocol after missing Sunday's Week 4 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. He has now been in the protocol for a week. Head coach Josh McDaniels said the veteran signal-caller is still the team's starting quarterback when he returns from the injury. Rookie Aidan O'Connell threw for 238 yards and an interception in the Week 4 loss, but he did score a rushing touchdown on a QB sneak. Garoppolo's eventual return to the lineup should help Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers get back on track.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Jalen Tolbert had his best game of the young season in the 38-3 shellacking of the New England Patriots on Sunday in Week 4. Tolbert hauled in all four of his targets for 53 yards, which was third on the team in this one behind tight end Jake Ferguson and receiver Michael Gallup. Both the catches and receiving yards were career-highs for the 24-year-old Tolbert, and he also made a big special-teams tackle early in the game. Fantasy managers can continue to ignore Tolbert, even in deeper formats, as he's currently behind CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks and Gallup on the receiver depth chart in Dallas.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus told ESPN1000 in Chicago that wide receiver Chase Claypool will remain away from the team this week as they prepare for their Week 5 matchup against the Washington Commanders on Thursday Night Football. The Bears made some changes to their offense heading into the Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, the biggest of which was making the struggling Claypool a healthy scratch. A report on Sunday also surfaced that the Bears are seeking to trade the 25-year-old wideout to a team that is in need of receiver depth. In the first three weeks this year, Claypool has just four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. His fantasy value has hit rock bottom at this point, but a change of scenery could do him some good.
It wasn't much, but Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks caught a season-high four passes on four targets for 27 receiving yards in the team's 38-3 blowout win over the New England Patriots in Week 4 on Sunday in Dallas. Cooks returned in Week 3 from a knee injury after missing one game and he has six receptions for 44 yards on 11 targets the last two weeks. The Cowboys really haven't had to throw the ball all that much early on this year, which has hurt Cooks in his first year with the team. That won't remain the a case all year, but the 30-year-old veteran wideout probably isn't going to have a very dynamic role in this offense unless CeeDee Lamb or Michael Gallup miss time with an injury.
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth (hamstring) is getting his injured hamstring scanned on Monday. It's not just a tweak, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac. We'll have to wait to see what the tests show on his hamstring, but at this point, he seems pretty questionable to play in Week 5 against the division-rival Baltimore Ravens. Before leaving Sunday's loss to the Houston Texans, the 24-year-old had three catches on four targets for just seven yards. If you've been rolling with Freiermuth as your TE1, you'd be wise to start making backup plans for Week 5 now. If he's unable to play against Baltimore, Darnell Washington and Connor Heyward would both be in line for bigger pass-catching roles for the Steelers.
New England Patriots wide receiver Demario Douglas hauled in two of three targets for 45 yards against the Cowboys in Week 4. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Douglas seemed to impress the Patriots' coaching staff throughout training camp and the first four weeks of the regular season, with the exception of his Week 2 fumble. The Patriots have a somewhat deep but not very top-heavy receiving corps, creating the possibility for Douglas to earn more targets if he keeps playing well. Dynasty managers would be wise to stash the Liberty product.
New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne hauled in two of three targets for 36 yards in Week 4 versus the Cowboys. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. This was the Bourne's worst game of the season in terms of both statistics and fantasy production. The 28-year-old had a big Week 1, playing 91 percent of snaps and scoring two touchdowns, but has come back down to earth since then. Notably, he has yet to log more than 56 percent of snaps in a single game since the opener. He has lost playing time to DeVante Parker and Demario Douglas and isn't an appealing fantasy option for the time being.
Cleveland Browns All-Pro pass-rusher Myles Garrett (ankle) rolled his ankle in the Week 4 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and was seen in a walking boot after the game, but it doesn't seem to be a major injury. The Browns are heading into their bye in Week 5, and Garrett assured reporters on Sunday that he's not going to miss any time with his ankle injury. It's great timing for the 27-year-old, the Browns defense and fantasy managers that have Garrett rostered in IDP leagues, as he should be back and ready to rock in Week 6 at home against the San Francisco 49ers. Garrett is one of the best pass-rushers in football and has nine tackles (eight solo) and 5.5 sacks through the first four weeks of the 2023 season.
Dynasty | Embattled Jets quarterback Zach Wilson completed 28-of-39 passes for 245 yards and two interceptions in the Jets close loss on SNF to the Chiefs. Dynasty Analysis: The Jets decided to stop playing it safe with Wilson and just let him loose in prime time. The results were shocking as he made difficult throws throughout the night and genuinely looked like a player who should have been taken in the top five of an NFL Draft. This is a small sample size and Wilson still made a critical mistake on a late fumble but the talk of Trevor Siemian taking over will be extinguished for now. Wilson is still off the dynasty radar but he at least has a pulse.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (finger) suffered a fractured finger on his left, non-throwing hand in the Week 4 win over the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, according to sources. Herbert's finger also suffered a gruesome nail injury, but he somehow finished the game and with the team's bye coming in Week 5, Herbert shouldn't miss any time. Once he returned to the game after having a split put on his fractured finger, he didn't take any snaps under center, except for a fourth-down sneak late in the game. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said he doesn't see this being a major issue for Herbert moving forward. The 25-year-old saved his fantasy day on Sunday with two rushing touchdowns, but he should remain a strong QB1 option coming off the bye for a Week 6 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, Oct. 16.
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for just 30 yards on 14 carries against the Cowboys on Sunday evening. He also hauled in two of three targets for an additional 10 yards through the air. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Stevenson's relative struggles were the product of an ugly game that saw Mac Jones get benched in the second half. With that said, the Patriots face the Saints next week, which could be a bit more favorable. Stevenson should be treated as a low-end fantasy RB2.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens caught just three of his seven targets for 25 yards in the team's 30-6 blowout loss to the Houston Texans. Still, outside of running backs, the second-year pro led the team in receiving yards. The entire Pittsburgh offense sputtered against a beatable Houston defense. They also lost quarterback Kenny Pickett (knee) and tight end Pat Freiermuth (hamstring) to injuries. It appears as though Mitch Trubisky could get the start against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5. The passing game can't get much worse, so Pickens will still be viewed as a flex option next week.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Warren received 14 opportunities out of the backfield in the team's 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans. The second-year pro turned eight carries and six catches into 55 total yards. Warren and Najee Harris nearly split the touches 50/50. The starter ran the ball 14 times and caught one pass on two targets. Both backs saw 49% of the snaps in the blowout loss. Warren and the Steelers face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5. An already struggling offense could have a new quarterback in Mitch Trubisky, who is likely to start in place of Kenny Pickett (knee).
New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed just six times for 16 yards against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. He added six receiving yards on two catches. The Patriots lost by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Elliott was reportedly expected to handle the workload of an RB1 on Sunday, but that certainly did not happen. Not only did he and the offense struggle, but he was out-touched by Rhamondre Stevenson, 16 to eight. Elliott should not be started in fantasy football, and he can be dropped in leagues with 10 or fewer teams.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris cobbled together a fantasy-relevant performance for the Steelers in their 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans. The third-year pro ran the ball 14 times for 71 yards and caught one pass for 32 yards. His 100-yard performance was his first of the young season, despite his lowest snap percentage of the campaign. Backup running back Jaylen Warren received 14 touches in the game. The Steelers scored just six points on the afternoon as the offense continued to sputter. Harris and the Steelers face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5, where quarterback Mitch Trubisky may start in place of Kenny Pickett (knee).
New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry remained the team's most involved pass-catcher on Sunday, hauling in four of five targets for 51 yards. The Patriots lost to the Cowboys by a score of 38-3, falling to 1-3 on the season. Henry has 17 catches, 176 yards, and two touchdowns so far, ranking as the overall TE6 in PPR leagues. As much as the Patriots' offense has endured sporadic struggles, Henry has remained a relatively constant force and should be started in most fantasy leagues going forward. The Patriots face the Saints in Week 5.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (knee) will miss some time but it appears he's avoided a season-ending injury. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports that an MRI showed no ACL injury to Pickett's knee. We'll have a better idea about Pickett's injury soon but expect Mitchell Trubisky to start in Week 5 against Baltimore. Following their tilt against the Ravens, the Steelers will have a bye week. Pickett hasn't been good for fantasy managers this season and isn't on rosters in standard-sized redraft leagues. The Steelers' offense has been a disaster so far in 2023 and a new quarterback may not solve the problem.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (hamstring) may not miss any time with what is believed to be a minor hamstring injury. The 30-year-old departed the game against New Orleans in the second quarter after snagging three catches for 40 yards. The Buccaneers are on bye in Week 5 which gives Evans more time to heal. They'll face the Detroit Lions in Week 6. If he is still unable to play two weeks from now, Chris Godwin will play the role of No. 1 wide receiver. Trey Palmer and Deven Thompkins would also earn more snaps.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Adam Thielen caught seven of his eight targets for 76 yards in a 21-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4. Thielen wound up leading all Panthers receivers in yardage while finishing second behind Terrace Marshall Jr. in targets and catches. Thielen has been productive since his Week 1 dud, going for 25 catches and two touchdowns over his past three games. Emerging as the top target in Carolina, Thielen has earned every week WR3 status in fantasy. He will look to stay hot against the Detroit Lions on the road in Week 5.