It has been an extremely busy few days with news on the injury front. Some key players are returning while others have their statuses up in the air. Either way, important roster decisions will have to be made which will have a significant impact on fantasy matchups for Week 6. So without further ado, here is the next edition of the fantasy football walking wounded.
Cam Newton (QB-CAR)
Guess who’s back…no not Slim Shady. Cam Newton will return this week after recovering from a concussion and will immediately be an elite QB1 fantasy option. Newton has not played well thus far but he should be able to pad his statistics in what should be a high-scoring game against New Orleans.
Julio Jones (WR-ATL)
Jones had missed practice earlier in the week with a sore knee but returned in a limited capacity on Thursday. He will certainly be on the field this week against Seattle but will have to deal with Richard Sherman covering him. Jones is an elite wide receiver and clearly a must-start, but outside of his explosive 300-yard game he has put up pedestrian statistics thus far.
Dez Bryant (WR-DAL)
Bryant returned to practice on Thursday and appears ready to return on Sunday against the Packers. He has been a major disappointment thus far with just 11 receptions for 150 yards and only one touchdown in three games. The Cowboys dominant running game will face off against Green Bay’s dominant run defense so Dallas may have to rely on their passing game which makes Bryant’s return even more important.
Jordan Reed (TE-WAS)
Reed has been placed in the concussion protocol after showing signs earlier in the week. At this point it is unlikely he will be able to play this week against the Eagles, especially given he does have a history with concussions. Reed is an elite tight end but health has always been his biggest obstacle. Be prepared to seek an alternative because Reed will most likely be held out of Sunday’s game.
Kelvin Benjamin (WR-CAR)
Benjamin practiced in a limited capacity on Thursday but his status is not in jeopardy for Week 6 against New Orleans. Of course there is some concern that he was listed as questionable after undergoing major knee surgery in 2015. However, he will be good to go on Sunday and has an extremely favorable matchup against an awful Saints defense. Benjamin should be considered an elite fantasy option.
Eric Decker (WR-NYJ)
The Jets placed Decker on injured reserve as he will undergo shoulder surgery in the near future. He was unable to play through the pain and will now miss the rest of the season. He is expected to make a full recovery for 2017 but he can now be dropped in all redraft leagues.
Alshon Jeffery (WR-CHI)
It has become nauseating trying to expect Jeffery to produce statistics commensurate with his fantasy draft position. He is constantly banged up and has failed to assert himself as a WR1 since Brandon Marshall was traded to the Jets. Despite being limited in practice, he will play this week against the Jaguars. On paper this appears to be a favorable matchup but temper your expectations because all he has done is disappoint fantasy GMs for over a year.
Theo Riddick (RB-DET)
Detroit’s running game is in shambles as Riddick missed a couple days of practice this week with an ankle injury. He played through it last week against Philadelphia so he could certainly play through it again this week against the Rams. Riddick has been very effective in the passing game with 26 catches and three receiving touchdowns which makes him a viable RB2 option in PPR leagues.
Rashad Jennings (RB-NYG)
Jennings has missed three straight games with a thumb injury but appears ready to return for Week 6 against the Ravens. The Giants have had absolutely no running game thus far so Jennings should give them somewhat of a boost. However, he has marginal value as a RB2 because the offensive line has been atrocious and the Giants tend to abandon the run before ever really establishing a ground game.
Sammie Coates (WR-PIT)
Coates exploded last week against the Jets six catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns but did so despite having a laceration on his finger. He has been limited in practice this week but should be able to play on Sunday against Miami. Antonio Brown will command most of the attention of Miami’s secondary which could open up opportunities again for Coates who is a WR3 or Flex option heading into Week 6.
Tyler Eifert (TE-CIN)
Another week and the same old story. Eifert did not practice on Thursday and can be ruled out for Week 6. He is now dealing with another back injury so it remains to be seen when he will actually play in a game. You should continue to stash him if you have roster flexibility and depth, but our patience is waning for Eifert.
Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service, and is also the co-host of the Fantasy Alarm podcast. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment),