Week 9 is now in the books and the playoff picture is starting to take shape in both the NFL and fantasy leagues. The need for depth and roster flexibility is critical at this point in the season with players going in and out of the lineup. Players playing at less than 100% also creates significant lineup predicaments for GMs who need some form of dependability from the players they choose to start. This is why fantasy football is an art, not a science. GMs can take at least take solace knowing that all of their fellow league mates share in the same mental gymnastics when it comes to roster volatility. So without any further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the 2018 fantasy football emergency room.
A.J. Green (WR-CIN)
Quite a bit has developed since last week with A.J. Green . He was in a walking boot early last week which was reported to just be a precautionary measure, and there did not seem to be much concern whether he would be ready to return for Week 10. Now we have learned that Green was being evaluated for potential surgery, which thankfully he does not need. However, Green is expected to miss another couple games due to his toe injury. This is especially devastating for both the Bengals and fantasy GMs who are looking to make pushes towards the playoffs. Green is an elite wide receiver with 45 catches for 687 yards and six touchdowns. Tyler Boyd figures to be the biggest beneficiary of Green’s absence so he immediately becomes a WR2 option while Green is out.
Stefon Diggs (WR-MIN)
Fantasy GMs were cautiously optimistic that Diggs would be able to play in Week 9 against Detroit, but the rib injury he suffered last week was too much to overcome so quickly. Diggs was held out of the game and now he will have another two weeks to recover since the Vikings are on a bye for Week 10. Diggs is a solid fantasy wide receiver with 58 catches for 587 yards and four touchdowns thus far. Given all the rest he will have, he should be good to go for Week 11 barring any setbacks.
Rob Gronkowski (TE-NE)
There is no question that Rob Gronkowski is one of the most talented players in the league and an elite fantasy player. However, his days of being a top draft pick are over because he just cannot stay on the field long enough to justify such a selection. Gronkowski missed Week 9’s game against the Packers with multiple injuries including a back issue which once again reared its ugly head last week. New England clearly does not need Gronkowski on the field to win as indicated by their stellar record in games he has missed over the years. We should know more later in the week in terms of whether he will play next weekend against the Titans. For now you should be ensuring that you have an alternative ready to play in his place.
Paul Richardson (WR-WAS)
The Redskins have not fared well lately signing free agent wide receivers. Their newest bust is Paul Richardson who came over from Seattle and has managed just 20 catches for 262 yards and two touchdowns. Richardson has been placed on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury which marks the end of his disappointing debut season in Washington. He can now be dropped in all league formats and Maurice Harris moves up the depth chart in his place.
Geronimo Allison (WR-GB)
Bad news could be on the horizon for Geronimo Allison who recently saw a specialist on core muscle injuries. The Packers are very concerned about the severity of Allison’s injury and think it could be serious enough to cost him the rest of the season. If Allison does indeed require surgery or is shut down for an extended period of time, then Marquez Valdes-Scantling would be firmly entrenched as Green Bay’s second wide receiver opposite Davante Adams . Valdes-Scantling should absolutely be added if he is still on the waiver wire for some reason.
John Ross (WR-CIN)
The Bengals are growing thin at wide receiver with A.J. Green ’s injury, so they desperately need John Ross to be healthy. He has been dealing with a groin injury which has limited him to five games on the season and only seven catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns. He did return to practice on Monday which is a good sign. Cincinnati will host the Saints in Week 10 so Ross could be a streaming WR3 or Flex option in what should be a high scoring game.
Chris Carson (RB-SEA)
Carson was a question mark heading into Week 9 against the Chargers, but he did end up playing. Unfortunately, Carson suffered another injury during the game and was taken out due to a thigh issue. Seattle has indicated that Carson won’t participate much in practice this week which means his status for Week 10 against the Rams could be in jeopardy. If Carson is unable to play, then would once again become the featured running back with Rashaad Penny getting more touches as well.
Chris Ivory (RB-BUF)
Ivory suffered a shoulder injury during the Bills blowout loss to Chicago on Sunday. He was attempting to reach the end zone at the goal line when he took a huge hit and was knocked out of the game. Ivory has rushed for 280 yards and one touchdown on the season as LeSean McCoy ’s handcuff. He is only worth rostering if you are in desperate need of depth because the Bills offense is atrocious and they abandon the running game fairly quickly because they are playing from behind in most games.
Keke Coutee (WR-TEN)
Keke Coutee indicated that he does not want to return until he is 100% healthy from his hamstring injury which has cost him the past two games. Coutee had a golden opportunity to step in as the Texans’ number two wide receiver when Will Fuller went down, but Coutee was dealing with injuries of his own. Now the team has acquired Demaryius Thomas so Coutee would be relegated to the team’s third receiver when he is able to come back. Houston has a bye this week so Coutee should hopefully be able to return for Week 11.
ON THE MEND
Leonard Fournette (RB-JAX)
Fantasy GMs may finally get the opportunity to dust off Leonard Fournette and actually put him in lineups for Week 10 against Indianapolis. The Jaguars had targeted this week for his return after the team’s bye and he also returned to practice on Monday which is another good sign that plan is still in place. Fournette has been hampered by a hamstring injury all season which has limited him to just 71 yards rushing over parts of two games. However, temper your expectations because Fournette is quite fragile and is a high risk for re-injury. Also keep in mind the team just acquired Carlos Hyde so there is a good chance Fournette’s touches will be limited.
Sony Michel (RB-NE)
Michel was held out of Sunday night’s showdown with the Packers despite getting in some limited practice last week. He continues to work his way back from a knee injury and appears to be headed towards a return for Week 10 against Tennessee. The Titans defense has been stingy so Michel will be up against a formidable adversary. He is still a solid RB2 if he is active in addition to James White maintaining his must-start status.
Khalil Mack (LB-CHI)
Mack was inactive for the second consecutive game as he is dealing with an ankle injury. As expected, the Bears completely decimated the hapless Bills even without Mack who likely would have been in for a monster game had he played. Mack is a stalwart in IDP leagues and is aiming to return this coming week against a Lions team that was completely obliterated by the Vikings defense in Week 9.