Between the injuries, the Thursday night game, the Sunday morning game, and four teams being on bye, fantasy managers have lots of decisions to make this week. I know it really is no different than any other slate, but given some of the names we have to monitor heading into Sunday it certainly feels worse.
No, this isn’t an episode of Friends, but the main thing to keep in mind here is that you must be prepared to PIVOT. Don’t get locked into any particular lineup scenario, give yourself multiple options, and stay up to do date on what will likely be an ever-changing news cycle. Let’s jump into some of the items we are keeping an eye on:
Not only does a quarterback need his throwing shoulder to actually throw, it’s a pretty big part of the job after all, but we also need Kyler Murray to be in good health to make sure he runs as well. Murray didn’t come out of the game last week but he only threw for 239 yards while coming up empty on his seven carries with zero yards. With 10 passing touchdowns this season Murray is a valuable player through the air but it’s also hard to dismiss his value on the ground with 110 rushing yards and three touchdowns in essentially four games. To this point Murray has been limited in practice this week as Arizona manages his reps, and with that being said it appears likely that he will take the field this coming week. The concern though is that both Murray can aggravate his injury and/or that Arizona will take things cautiously with him. If you can find a secure option without doing anything drastic, then I’m comfortable looking elsewhere. If not, you are stuck with Murray.
After we saw Daniel Jones exit the game in the second quarter last Sunday with a concussion, his outlook for this week looked bleak. While it still looks bleak as New York takes on Aaron Donald and a tough Rams’ defense but Jones appears to be progressing through the concussion protocol in practice this week. His ultimate outlook is still up for debate, Mike Glennon would get the start in his place, but this is a quarterback situation I would approach cautiously regardless of who is under center.
Jacoby Brissett has done a solid job of filling in for Tua Tagovailoa and it remains to be seen who will get the start for Miami this week in a favorable matchup against Jacksonville. From a fantasy perspective it doesn’t matter who gets the start as both are lower end QB2s, but in deeper leagues it is a situation you need to be ready for. The good news is that this is the first game of the day on Sunday. Brissett has been practicing on a limited basis as he deals with a hamstring injury, and Tagovailoa is eligible to return from his rib injury so this is a decision that could come down to the wire. The intention here for Miami is ultimately to get their incumbent back under center, so keep that in mind. UPDATE: Dolphins head coach Brian Flores says Tua Tagovailoa will start on Sunday against the Jaguars
You don’t need to talk in order to throw touchdown passes. Communicating in the huddle is totally different story though but Joe Burrow appears to be in good shape entering Sunday’s game. Based on what we have seen out of practice, Burrow didn’t even have any issues from a voice standpoint as he gets set to face Detroit in what will be a favorable matchup for the young Bengals’ offense. Through five games, Burrow has thrown 11 touchdown passes and I would look for that number to rise this week against the Lions.
Justin Fields got his job due to Andy Dalton’s injury (I mean it’s not like he was having success either) and now he looks to hold onto it. The rookie is going through some expected growing pains but he is also dealing with both rib and knee issues although he did practice in full on Wednesday. That bodes well for his status this week but we are looking for him to run more; just 59 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries to this point. Fields only has one touchdown pass under his belt so while the potential is there, and it doesn’t appear his health will hold him back this week, I would let him prove it first.
Seeing Ben Roethlisberger on the Injury Report is as common as leaves falling in autumn. The Pittsburgh quarterback practiced in full on Thursday and we can move forward with him without issue on Sunday against Seattle as he looks to improve on his six touchdown passes through five games to start the season.
You have to feel bad for Saquon Barkley. After working his way back from an ACL tear, Barkley seemed to be finding his groove last week until a sprained ankle sent him back to the bench. Barkley didn’t practice on Thursday and even though we haven’t gotten an official ruling on his status for this week, it looks like it will be a two-to-three-week absence. At this point we have to operate under the assumption that Devontae Booker will be getting the majority of the work in the New York backfield and he has value just from the standpoint of the expected touches. Last week Booker picked up 42 yards on 16 carries while scoring a touchdown and catching three passes for another 16 yards.
Early in the week we have become accustomed to seeing Antonio Gibson on the Injury Report with what has been now confirmed as stress fracture in his shin, but it hasn’t impacted his status on Sunday’s. Gibson practiced on a limited basis on Thursday and after carrying the ball 20 times for 60 yards and two touchdowns last week, it’s hard to find much fault with his outlook.
With Samaje Perine testing positive for COVID-19 and Chris Evans yet to carry the ball this season, it is a good sign that Joe Mixon is on track to take the field on Sunday. I wouldn’t read much into the fact he didn’t practice on Thursday as Cincinnati needs to take care to ensure that he is ready for Sunday after he carried the ball just 10 times for 33 yards and a touchdown last week. With no setbacks and no Perine, he is in position to build on that this week.
Being limited in practice with his groin injury is nothing new for D’Andre Swift and considering he is coming off his best performance of the season (11 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown with six catches for 53 yards), there doesn’t appear to be anything to worry about. Between his illness and hip injury there is a little more concern surrounding Jamaal Williams. Despite averaging 13 carries in his last three games, Williams has become touchdown dependent and after catching eight passes in the first week of the season he has become a non-factor in the receiving game.
With 36 touches in his last two games, for a combined 208 yards, Green Bay is keeping an eye on Aaron Jones’ workload but his is still a large part of their offense. An ankle injury is keeping him limited during the week and with 28 touches over the same stretch, the Packers’ attack is becoming more of a shared situation between Jones and A.J. Dillon. It doesn’t appear that Jones’ ankle will truly hold him back, but Dillon is beginning to become a real factor here.
Things are never easy. David Montgomery goes out and Damien Williams steps in. Sure, it is painful to lose a starter in Montgomery but at least there was a relatively clear-cut replacement as Williams. Last week he had a combined 84 yards and a touchdown but after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday it appears that we are now onto the rookie, Kahlil Herbert. Things could be worse as Herbert actually out carried Williams last week on his way to an 18 carry, 75-yard day. We should note though that he has yet to be targeted in the receiving game.
The good news with the Minnesota backfield comes from the flexibility and value to having both Alexander Mattison and Dalvin Cook. If you don’t have the handcuff, there is stand alone value from each without the other and this is situation that can go right down to the wire like it did last week. After not playing last week, it was a good sign to see Cook practice in full on Thursday despite his ankle injury and all indications are that he will take control of the Vikings’ backfield once again. Mattison is trending from the right direction as he deals with a shoulder injury, but with Cook slated to return, there isn’t much to see from his understudy.
Last week it looked like Christian McCaffrey might be making his way back to action, but instead he sat for the second straight week. It goes without saying that he is start if he is on the field but it remains to be seen whether or not that will be the case. After practicing on a limited basis on Wednesday he took a step back on Thursday, and if that trend continues then Chuba Hubbard is back on our radars for another week. UPDATE: Christian McCaffrey has been ruled out for Week 6.
Chase Edmonds played last week while dealing a shoulder injury but he touched the ball just nine times (six carries for 15 yards and three receptions for 19 yards). Arizona is taking things slowly with Edmonds this week, but he has practiced on a limited basis so far this week and things are looking even better for him on Sunday. If Edmonds is again limited, or out, then John Conner should see an uptick to his value.
After picking up 161 yards on the ground last week, it’s not a good sign that entering Friday, Nick Chubb has yet to practice. This is a situation to watch to see if his calf injury keeps him out of practice on Friday and puts a damper on his status for this weekend. Kareem Hunt would be the clear beneficiary, but he didn’t practice on Thursday either as he is dealing with both wrist and knee injuries. There is a lot to watch here this weekend and it’s very possible Demetric Felton and D’Ernest Johnon end up on our radars as a cheap DFS option or a desperation season long play. UPDATE: Nick Chubb has been ruled out for Week 6 & Kareem Hunt is questionable for Sunday
Last week it was a leg contusion for Melvin Gordon, and this week it is a hip injury. He is trending in a positive direction week after carrying the ball nine times (for the second straight week) for 34 yards. I’m not sure if this will be the week, or injury to cause it to happen, but it seems inevitable that rookie Javonte Williams will surge past him. To this point, things have been easy but last week he gained 61 yards on eight carries while adding 25 yards on three catches.
Dallas is being careful, rightfully so, with Ezekiel Elliott heading into this week but to this point all signs do point to him playing on Sunday despite his rib injury. The assumption is that it will be more of a pain tolerance situation as Elliot looks for his third straight 100-plus yard rushing day and his fifth straight game with a rushing touchdown. Last week, Elliot carried the 21 times, so the rib didn’t appear to have much of an impact even though the injury occurred during the game.
In a similar situation, across the field, Damien Harris is also dealing with a rib injury. Harris is coming off a 14 carry, 58-yard performance in which he found the end zone after rebounding from two rough weeks. For now, we can move forward with Harris for now but Rhamondre Stevenson and Brandon Bolden both get a boost if he ends up being inactive.
Despite the few extra days of rest, it is quite troubling that Chris Carson failed to return to practice on Thursday due to his neck injury. Initially, that was the plan, so it can’t bode well for his status this week. With Carson sidelined, we get another week of Alex Collins after picking up a combined 72 yards on 17 touches last week.
What do we make of the Giants’ wide receiver room? After missing the last two games with hamstrings the general sentiment is that Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton will both return for Sunday’s game. They each have some more work to do in practice, but the fact that they are trending that way is a positive sign with Kenny Golladay expected to be out with a knee injury. The main issue to keep an eye is whether Kadarius Toney takes the field after injuring his ankle last week. Toney returned after briefly exiting when he injured his ankle as he finished off a 10 reception, 189-yard performance prior to being ejected. Toney has been limited to this point in practice, and I am proceeding as if he will take the field until we hear otherwise, but it is something to be monitor.
The good news is that we will have DeVante Parker’s status early in the day as Miami plays Sunday morning after missing last week’s game. As he deals with both shoulder and hamstring injuries, Parker didn’t practice on Thursday and currently it’s not looking good for him to suit up on Sunday and I would proceed as such with Jaylen Waddle and Preston Williams getting a bump.
Seeing Tyreek Hill miss practice both Wednesday and Thursday with a quadricep injury is not a good sign for his status on Sunday. This is something we need to watch closely, but if Hill is in the lineup, he should be in yours. Mecole Hardman gets a nice bump if Hill is in fact sidelined and Demarcus Robinson should also be on your radar along with Byron Pringle, and dare we say, Josh Gordon who caught one pass for 11 yards last week.
Allen Robinson has been quite the frustrating player so far this season and that sentiment doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. Robinson didn’t practice on Thursday as he is dealing with an ankle injury and it’s not a good sign as it relates to his status Sunday. In the past he has generally played through injuries but it’s unclear whether or not that will happen this week. If Robinson does take the field, you have to tread carefully from a roster management perspective as he has just 17 receptions for 181 yards and a touchdown through five games so far this season.
If Robinson misses Sunday’s game, that will only mean good things for Darnell Mooney who likely will be on the field despite being limited in practice with a groin injury. That is nothing new for Mooney this year who has 20 catches for 261 yards on the season but is still looking for his first touchdown as Chicago works through quarterback issues.
With Mike Williams not practicing Wednesday or Thursday as he deals with a knee injury, it is not an ideal situation. Williams has been one of the more pleasant surprises around this league this year with 31 catches for 471 yards and six touchdowns so his absence would be significant both to fantasy teams and the Chargers. Keenan Allen would take on a larger role but Jalen Guyton would likely be the next man up. At this point, I would make alternate plans.
The hope here is that Minnesota is just being cautious with Justin Jefferson and his ankle, but it is something to be aware of even though the intention is that he will be on the field Sunday. It’s also not a good thing for the Vikings’ offense and Kirk Cousins that Adam Thielen wasn’t on the practice field either with a foot injury. The thought process is that he will be on the field as well on Sunday, but it is something to pay close attention to. If one or both receivers are out, K.J. Osborn should be in line for a nice boost.
DeAndre Hopkins wasn’t on the practice field Thursday, and the cause given was “illness”. It doesn’t appear to be COVID-19 related so that is a good thing and Hopkins’ workload in practice has been managed throughout the season to begin with. At this point, we can proceed as if Hopkins will be out on the field Sunday as he looks to build on his 312 yards and four touchdowns on the season.
The good news is that D.K. Metcalf’s foot injury is nothing new, so the fact that he missed practice on Thursday shouldn’t come as a surprise. With 25 receptions for 383 yards and five touchdowns it hasn’t been a problem yet for Metcalf and we can operate as if that will continue this week.
Pittsburgh lost JuJu Smith-Schuster for the season so the opportunity is there for Chase Claypool to step up. The second-year receiver has been limited in practice this week with a hamstring injury but all signs point to him being ready to go on Sunday along with Dionte Johnson. James Washington will step up into the third receiver role and it doesn’t appear that his groin injury is anything too serious.
Curtis Samuel continues to deal with a groin injury and he has yet to practice this week which doesn’t look favorably on his status for Sunday. At this point, he is far too risky to even keep around your roster now that bye weeks are upon us and it appears that Cam Sims will also be sidelined this week. That means we will see a lot of Terry McLaurin and Adam Humphries.
Thursday meant another missed practice for Sammy Watkins as he works through a hamstring injury and at this point it’s hard to feel confident in his status for Sunday. With just 18 receptions and 292 yards this season, we aren’t missing much with Watkins sidelined. Aside from Marquise Brown getting a boost, it will be interesting if Rashod Bateman is activated as he deals with a groin injury.
Danny Amendola didn’t take the field last week as he is still dealing with a thigh injury, but appears that things are trending better for this week. Amendola has value out of the slot in deeper leagues if he is active, but that is about it.
T.J. Hockenson has slowed down and it appears his knee injury is to blame. He continues to be limited in practice this week but it doesn’t appear to be enough to keep him off the field. The fact that he at least took the field is a good thing as he looks to rebound from a two catch, 22-yard performance last week. We know he is capable of it, and in seasonal leagues, you can’t look elsewhere.
With Darren Waller back to full practice on Thursday, you can exhale. Things have gone downhill from a performance standpoint for Waller after his prolific start to the season as he has 18 receptions for 214 yards and a touchdown in his last four games, but the good news is that we don’t have to worry about his health.
Last week’s Cleveland game was out of control on multiple levels one of with was David Njoku and his seven catches, 149-yard performance as he also added a touchdown. It was by far this best performance of the season and while he is capable of a repeat, it’s not something we can bank on. With that being said, it is a good sign to see him back at practice on Thursday as he works through a knee injury.
Robert Tonyan has left a lot be desired this season with just nine catches for 82 yards and a touchdown, so at this point he isn’t an option you should be relying on. With that being said he has been limited this week with a knee injury so keep an eye on his status if you are in a situation that warrants his use.