Being successful at fantasy football requires diligence, persistence and forethought. There are many instances where GMs do not know the official status of a player until right before kickoff. This means that GMs have to pay close attention and continue to follow up for updates quickly and consistently so they can make the best-informed decision. The uncertainty of a player’s status is one of the most frustrating aspects of fantasy football because it affects so many other decisions that have to be made. So without any further adieu, let’s take a look at some of the walking wounded in the fantasy football emergency room.
Drew Brees (QB-NO)
Fantasy GMs are still on the edge of their seats waiting to find out if Drew Brees will be under center for Week 8. He has been out since Week 2 with a thumb injury but is now on the cusp of returning. He was limited in practice this week, and is likely crawling out of his skin to get back on the field. Logic would dictate that the Saints will put their Hall of Fame quarterback on the field as soon as he is physically able to play. However, the Saints have not lost since Teddy Bridgewater took over and they have a bye next week. It is quite plausible that Sean Payton will give Brees an extra two weeks to truly be 100% and roll with Bridgewater one more time. Check back in later today and over the weekend for more updates on this situation.
Alvin Kamara (RB-NO)
Kamara practiced in a limited capacity on Thursday as he continues to work his way back from an ankle sprain. He missed last week’s game but New Orleans did not miss a beat as Latavius Murray stepped in and was highly productive. There is a chance that Kamara will play this Sunday, but we can expect his snaps to be limited if he does take the field. Fantasy GMs will need to closely monitor the Saints for updates over the next 24-48 hours because critical decisions on both Brees and Kamara will have to be made. Murray is a solid RB1 if Kamara is held out.
David Johnson (RB-ARZ)
All signs are pointing towards David Johnson being inactive for this week’s game against the Saints. He only played a couple snaps last week against the Giants and then was held out of the rest of the game as he continues suffering from ankle and back injuries. Chase Edmonds filled in admirably for Johnson against the Giants terrible defense, scoring three touchdowns. He will have a much tougher matchup this week against New Orleans, but he does remain a viable RB1 option assuming Johnson is ruled out. Arizona showed clear signs that they anticipate Johnson’s absence because they signed Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner to provide depth in the backfield heading into Week 8.
Matt Ryan (QB-ATL)
Atlanta’s coach has indicated that Matt Ryan will play on Sunday despite him missing practice on Thursday. Ryan suffered an ankle injury last week and was forced out of the game during their loss to the Rams. Atlanta has been horrendous this year, but Ryan does remain a solid fantasy quarterback. He has also been one of the most durable quarterbacks in the league by not missing a start since 2009. It would be very surprising if Ryan does not play, but GMs should consider an alternative since he probably will not be 100% even if he is on the field.
Davante Adams (WR-GB)
The Green Bay Packers have transformed their team right before our eyes. They are 6-1 this season due to a solid running game and terrific defense. They are in first place in the NFC North, and have managed to continue winning without their All Pro wide receiver Davante Adams over the past several weeks. He has still not returned to practice as he continues suffering from turf toe. The Packers have not ruled him out yet, but the fact he hasn’t practiced this week does not bode well for his status on Sunday night against Kansas City. Fantasy GMs should be prepared to go another week without him.
Keenan Allen (WR-LAC)
The Chargers are in a free fall and have been decimated by injuries at the wide receiver position. Now we can add Keenan Allen to the list, as he did not practice on Thursday due to a hamstring injury. Fantasy GMs need to monitor his status on Friday because he can still be cleared to play on Sunday if he can get some work in and show signs of improvement. Allen has been a solid WR2 with 44 catches for 564 yards and three touchdowns. If he is unable to play, then Philip Rivers will be throwing the ball to Austin Ekeler , Melvin Gordon and Hunter Henry all day since they have no other viable wide receivers active.
Kerryon Johnson (RB-DET)
Johnson’s injury situation devolved quickly earlier this week as he ended up undergoing surgery on his knee. The Lions subsequently placed him on injured reserve meaning he can return by Week 16 at the earliest. What this means is that Johnson’s fantasy season is over so GMs in redraft leagues can drop him immediately. Rookie Ty Johnson immediately gets sprung into a larger role along with J.D. McKissic . Ty Johnson was targeted heavily on the waiver wire this week, and should be in starting lineups as Detroit has a favorable matchup against the Giants and their horrendous defense. Kerryon Johnson now has suffered significant injuries in his first two seasons making him a huge fantasy risk going forward.
Josh Jacobs (RB-OAK)
Rookie running back Josh Jacobs has not practiced this week due to a shoulder injury. However, it is still possible and even likely that he will play on Sunday against Houston. He played through the injury last week against Green Bay, so there is no reason to suspect he won’t be able to do the same in Week 8. Jacobs has been extremely productive this season leading all rookie running backs in most offensive categories. He is a solid RB2 if he plays, but Oakland’s backups Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington are not worth playing in the event Jacobs is held out of the game.
A.J. Green (WR-CIN)
It was not long ago when fantasy drafts were taking place and GMs selected A.J. Green with the expectation that he would be playing by Week 4. We are now at Week 8 and A.J. Green is still not active. The Bengals have a bye next week so it seems likely that Week 10 is when Green will finally make his season debut. Cincinnati has been abysmal this year so it is debatable how productive Green actually will be when he returns. GMs who have been stashing him all along should bite the bullet and just hold onto him for another couple weeks at this point hoping to get something out of him.
Tyrell Williams (WR-OAK)
The Raiders have been surprisingly competitive this year despite a rash of injuries and the Antonio Brown debacle. Tyrell Williams stepped in and made an immediate impact catching a touchdown in each of the first four games. He has been dealing with plantar fasciitis since Week 4, but is expected to return this Sunday against Houston. Fantasy GMs can plug him in as a WR3 or Flex option this week as he is clearly the Raiders best wide receiver and should see a heavy dose of targets from Derek Carr .
Josh Gordon (WR-NE)
The Patriots revolving door at wide receiver took another turn as they have placed Josh Gordon on injured reserve with a knee injury. It appears that the team is likely going to waive him, which means that he will be able to sign somewhere else and play once he is physically able to do so. Gordon has been disappointing through six games totaling 20 catches for 287 yards and one touchdown. New England acquired Mohamed Sanu earlier this week, so he will join Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett as Tom Brady ’s primary targets. Gordon always has explosive fantasy potential so GMs should consider stashing him if you have roster flexibility because he could land on another NFL team this year. However, if you need the roster spot then Gordon can be set free.
Dede Westbrook (WR-JAX)
Westbrook has missed some practice this week as he continues dealing with a shoulder injury that has plagued him for a few weeks. He played last week and was highly productive with six catches for 103 yards. It is expected that he will play through the injury again this week but there is some risk associated with him being less than 100%. The Jaguars do have a favorable matchup against a Jets team that is coming off a shellacking by the Patriots. Westbrook is a solid WR3 if he plays as he has been Gardner Minshew’s primary target thus far.
Sterling Shepard (WR-NYG)
Shepard will miss another game this week as he continues to be in the league’s concussion protocol. The Giants still have not had a full complement of offensive players on the field at one time and they will have to wait at least another week for that opportunity. Shepard did practice in a limited capacity on Thursday, but the Giants will not rush him back after suffering his second concussion in a matter of weeks. None of the Giants wide receivers are great fantasy options right now as Daniel Jones has struggled mightily over the past several games. Evan Engram is the only Giants pass-catcher worth starting besides running back Saquon Barkley .
O.J. Howard (TE-TB)
Howard did not practice on Thursday as he is suffering from a hamstring injury. It has been a downward trend for Howard this week so it appears that Cam Brate will see extra playing time making him a viable streaming option for Week 8. Brate has produced better statistics than Howard anyway, so he should be rostered in most leagues given how scarce the tight end position is right now.