We know that Aaron Rodgers is going to take things easy in practice this week as he is still dealing with his toe injury, but it also clear that it isn’t going to negatively impact him come Sunday. Despite not practicing on Thursday, I would expect he same to be true once again this week.

After sitting out practice on Wednesday, Joe Burrow was back on the field Thursday and that means things are trending in the right direction for Sunday. While he is also dealing with a knee injury, the greater concern, at least for me, is how Burrow looks throwing the ball. Based on the practice reports from Thursday, Burrow didn’t appear to have any issues throwing the ball so we should be able to move forward with him for Sunday without issue. 

I mean this as nicely as possible, but does it really matter who is under center for the Giants this week? Daniel Jones has yet to be cleared for contact, although he did look good throwing the ball on Thursday, so it looks like we are still another week away from his return. Whether it is a good thing or not, Mike Glennon seems to be moving in the right direction through concussion protocol, and if not, then it will be Jake Fromm at quarterback. In very few leagues should you be hanging on this decision. 

Jared Goff followed up leading Detroit to a last-minute victory on Sunday by retuning to practice on Thursday on a full basis after previously being listed on the Injury Report with an illness. It remains to be seen what complement of skill position players Goff will have at his disposal (more on that later), but we still have a mid-tier QB2. 

From a fantasy perspective, it was all about the 101 rushing yards from Taysom Hill last week that pushed his scoring forward. Sean Payton has said that if Hill is healthy, he will start, and likely take advantage of a scuffling Jets’ defense, on Sunday. With Hill practicing in full on Wednesday, that is the direction things seem to be moving in. 

TyRod Taylor is healthy and practicing in full so it’s his poor performance, and not his health, we have to keep an eye on leading up to game time on Sunday. If not Taylor, then it will be Davis Mills who will get the start, and either way it’s not the best fantasy situation. 

We already have confirmation that Justin Fields is starting on Sunday, with Andy Dalton not returning to practice yet this week after his Week 13 hand injury, there doesn’t appear to be anything that will limit his playing time. 


Running Back

Here we go again in San Francisco. Elijah Mitchell has yet to return to practice as of Thursday this week as he is dealing with both a knee injury, and perhaps more seriously, was dealing with concussion like symptoms earlier in the week. Mitchell still has the weekend to return to practice, but we are at the point where alternate plans should be in place. With that being said, it is good news that Jeff Wilson practiced in full on Thursday as he could have a busy day on Sunday. 

Another backfield that has a lot to digest, is Seattle. Alex Collins is trending towards being ready to go on Sunday, but there is Travis Homer to consider (no practice on Thursday), Rashaad Penny (who is actually healthy), and Adrian Peterson (who continues to hang around the NFL). Collins is likely the preferred target here, but the concern is that things are too crowded for anyone to truly stand out. 

Austin Ekeler came out of last week’s game banged up, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he has been limited in practice leading up to Sunday’s game. Unless we hear differently, Ekeler should continue to be a top option once again this week. 

After being unable to take the practice field on Thursday, D’Andre Swift and his shoulder injury are trending towards missing a second straight game on Sunday. Jermar Jefferson was unable to practice on Thursday as he is dealing with an illness, so this could be a heavy Jamaal Williams week for the second straight game. Williams did a solid job last week carrying the ball 17 times for 71 yards while catching one pass for nine yards. 

The Giants continue to take things slowly with Saquon Barkley so the fact that he was limited in practice on Thursday shouldn’t be a surprise. Last week, Barkley did touch the ball 17 times (11 carries for 55 yards and six receptions for another 17 yards) but he still isn’t getting all of the work in New York’s backfield. The problem though, is that feels like we are still waiting for Barkley to take the next step. 

With 21 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown along with eight catches for another 51 yards, David Montgomery had quite the day last week. As Montgomery deals with multiple nagging issues, who isn’t at this point in the season, he didn’t practice on Wednesday, but he was back in action on Thursday and should be good to go again on Sunday. If anything changes, then Khalil Herbert will get a late week bump. 

Last week Darrell Henderson dressed but didn’t play and if you couple that with the fact that he is practicing on a limited basis this week, I would feel good about him taking the field on Monday. And that is part of the problem as you need to make sure to have an alternate option available if news on Henderson doesn’t transpire favorably. After Sony Michel picked up 129 yards last week, this could turn into a messy situation from a fantasy perspective if both backs are active. 

Tearing the plantar fascia in your foot sounds painful so it’s not exactly surprising that Tony Pollard is going to be a game-time decision on Sunday. While he has carved out a nice role with Dallas and shown that he can be a useful contributor, it is still Ezekiel Elliot’s backfield even if he is dealing the standard nagging injuries for this time of year. 

Nothing against Melvin Gordon, but the preference for a fantasy perspective is for Javonte Williams to carry the load in Denver’s backfield. After coming out of last week with 178 combined yards, it is safe to say Williams will continue to have a substantial role even if Gordon does return (which seems to be where things are heading). 

With J.D. McKissic sidelined with a concussion, Antonio Gibson has taken on a larger role in Washington’s backfield but it’s possible that is coming to a conclusion this week. McKissic practiced on a limited basis on Thursday but he is still not out of the protocol, so the real question here is how busy will Gibson be?

Joe Mixon has been busy over the last few weeks and we have gotten the performance to match. While he hasn’t practiced either Wednesday or Thursday, it is a good sign that it was just due to a non-COVID illness, so for now we can feel confident about his status for Sunday. If not, then Samaje Perine should be on standby. 

At this point, I’m not sure what to make out of James Robinson and the Jaguars as eight carries for 24 yards isn’t going to cut it. A large part of the problem is the fact that Jacksonville consistently plays from behind, but despite Robinson being held out of practice on Thursday (it’s seemingly a regular occurrence as they manage his knee and heel) it doesn’t appear that his health is something we need to be concerned with. 

Chase Edmonds is ready to return to practice, and it’s possible that he is ready to return to action on Monday depending on how he comes out of practice this weekend. With that being said, John Conner has done enough that I’m unsure how much of a hurry I would be in to put Edmonds back into my starting lineup. 

As he deals with a concussion, Tevin Coleman has yet to return to practice and things aren’t looking too good for his status this week. If that is to be the case, we could get a heavy dose of Ty Johnson


Wide Receiver

Deebo Samuel has been one of the best receivers in the league this season, so the fact that he missed last week’s game with a groin injury was not good for fantasy managers as they push towards the playoffs. After not practicing on Wednesday, the understanding was that Samuel was going to return to action on Thursday but still didn’t happen. We still have some time left this week for Samuel to turn the corner, but I would have an alternative at the ready. It is troubling that Brandon Aiyuk only had three catches for 55 yards last week, but if Samuel is sidelined again, it should be another huge week for George Kittle

In recent games we have been left wondering what happened to DK Metcalf, but five catches for 60 yards last week could have been worse. Metcalf generally skips one practice a week for his foot injury but he also sat out Thursday with an illness. If he is in the lineup for Seattle, Metcalf should be in your lineup, but I would keep an eye on this heading into the weekend. 

Cooper Kupp broke the 100-yard mark for the seventh time this season last week so it came as a surprise to see that he is dealing with a toe injury. Kupp was limited in practice on Thursday, but unless something changes this weekend, I wouldn’t be concerned and we can continue rolling the stud receiver out. 

At this point we are well versed in how tricky it is to project things from a COVID-19 perspective, but we should be monitoring the Chargers’ wide receiver depth chart as both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams’ statuses are in doubt for this week. At this point there is optimism for Williams to take the field and Allen still has the possibility to, so that is a good thing. If one or both are sidelined, then we are looking at Jalen Guyton and Josh Palmer

Tee Higgins was back in practice, albeit on a limited basis, on Thursday and it doesn’t appear that he will have any lingering effects from his ankle injury this week. 

With as bad as Allen Robinson struggled to start the season, he almost made it easier on fantasy managers by missing the past few games with a hamstring injury. After practicing on back-to-back days this week, things are trending towards Robinson making his return, and potentially things will be better as Justin Fields has picked up a little more experience? Robinson should be busy too as Marquise Goodwin’s status is trending in the wrong direction as he missed practice on Thursday.

After having core muscle surgery, we are without Randall Cobb for the rest of the regular season and that means we should see more of Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The good news is that there doesn’t appear to be any concern with the status of Davante Adams as he practiced on a limited basis both Wednesday and Thursday despite dealing with a hamstring injury. If anything, it seems that Green Bay is simply being cautious with their star receiver. 

Elijah Moore has been stepping up over the past few weeks to as he begins to live up to the pre-season optimism that surrounded the rookie receiver. With Corey Davis now sidelined from the rest of the year it’s the perfect opportunity for Moore to continue taking the next step forward but Moore was unable to practice on Thursday. The Jets still appear to be optimistic regarding his status as he deals with a quad injury so we should follow suit with cautious optimism. 

Talking about the Giants’ receivers has become a weekly cluster of an occurrence, and here we are again. Based on the question marks across New York’s offense it’s almost best to ignore but Kenny Golladay could make an impact as it doesn’t appear that his rib injury will keep him from taking the field on Sunday. Things are also trending in the same direction for both Kadarius Toney and Sterling Sheppard to make their returns as all three receivers are practicing on a limited basis. 

Jarvis Landry continues to deal with a knee injury that is managed with rest during the practice week, but even as the only veteran receiver in town, he has failed to make much of an impact this season. 

The quarterback situation in Houston is a mess, Seattle is a tough opponent, and Nico Collins continues to deal with a myriad of injuries this season. However, if you are in the position of relying on Collins this week, and you shouldn’t be, he is at least healthy heading into Sunday. 

All Curtis Samuel has to show for his season to this point is 38 yards on 10 catches, so despite the fact that he is trending towards taking the field again this week as he deals with a groin injury, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to get him into your lineup. 

Dallas’ receiving corps is getting healthier, and that seems to include Cedrick Wilson who is in position to return after being sidelined last week. As he is back in the fourth receiver role, there isn’t much to see from a fantasy perspective here.