Another day, another dollar, and another injury in the NFL. Each week, big players go down, this time, being TY Hilton and Leonard Fournette, along with others. Although these two players are deemed "out", there are many others who have popped up on the injury report this week, so I'm here to let y'all know what I expect out of them this week, along with waiver wire options and stashes with league-winning upside for you sneaky MF'ers. Let's get this show on the road.
OUT: Jimmy Garoppolo
Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers hasn't practiced this week, which isn't a surprise after sustaining a knee injury week one. Similar to last week, I'm not worried about Rodgers' status. Sure, he didn't produce much against the Bills, a matchup many thought would bring top 5 numbers, but he looked to be much healthier than he had been in recent weeks. He was moving very well and barely missed on a few huge plays, namely a pair of deep strikes to Davante Adams. He has disappointed so far this year, but in a game with the 5th highest over/under of the week, they should be airing it out. Play Rodgers with confidence as a top 5 QB this week, despite losing Cobb (and maybe Allison) to injury.
WAIVER WIRE OPTIONS
Alex Smith (55%) - Washington Redskins
Matchup: @ New Orleans Saints
This game has the 3rd highest over/under of the week, set at 52.5. Smith and the Skins are coming off a bay and playing on Monday night, so they have a SUPER long week to gameplan for this matchup. The Saints have given up over 40 fantasy points to both Matt Ryan and Ryan Fitzpatrick, and held Tyrod and Eli to under 15.5, but Eli is awful and Tyrod has been replaced by rookie Baker Mayfield. Maybe Smith isn't on Ryan's level, but he is certainly a better QB than the other two, low scoring QBs the Saints have faced. Before the bye, Smith began to look like he was gaining a ton of chemistry with his receivers, and even dropped 2 scores and 220 yards on 20 attempts in week 3. His volume should increase in this spot, keeping up with the Saints, making him a fringe QB1.
Blake Bortles (39%) - Jacksonville Jaguars
Matchup: @ Kansas City Chiefs
The only QB the Chiefs have held off thus far is Case Keenum, other than that, they've given up at least 22 points to their other 3 opposing quarterbacks. Blake has looked good thus far, certainly better than Case Keenum. Blake has surpassed 20 yards in each game thus far, and last week, dropped 388 yards against a fairly stout Jets D. This week, they will be facing one of the league's most impressive offenses, but this doesn't automatically mean they'll be playing catch up. Their defense should be able to hold off the Chiefs for a bit, similar to the Broncos, so if the Jags were smart, they'd try to get a hold of the lead early. To do this, I'd figure Blake would come out chucking, especially with Fournette out and having T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant out of the backfield, two solid pass catching weapons. He isn't quite a top 12 QB this week, but if you have players on bye or in bad matchups, he certainly isn't a bad play.
Derek Carr (41%) - Oakland Raiders
Matchup: @ Los Angeles Chargers
I'm not a prisoner of the moment, I'm not chasing Carr's 437 yard, 4 TD performance, but he's in a great spot here. The Chargers D hasn't looked good with the absence of Joey Bosa, but their offense has been great. Because of this, I expect a shootout, and one thing you should look for when targeting a streaming QB is a good matchup with a high over/under (53.5, 2nd highest this week). Cooper hasn't been consistent, but in this matchup, he should be able to produce some, and Jordy Nelson and Jared Cook have turned back the clock. Paired with their receivers on the outside, Jalen Richard has looked good catching passes out of the backfield. Carr certainly has weapons to target in this spot, and his early-season inefficiency shouldn't be taken out of context, as he faced the Rams, as well as Miami and Denver on the road. Even though the Raiders are on the road, the Chargers' pass D hasn't been great and they have no semblance of a home field advantage. I'd expect the Black Hole to be in attendance in this game, and Carr should be a strong, back end QB1 this week.
OUT: Leonard Fournette, Rex Burkhead, Marlon Mack
Joe Mixon - Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon is returning this week from a small knee procedure that kept him out for 2 weeks. Now, he's returning in a matchup against the Dolphins, who haven't been great against the run. Despite his great matchup, I'm not sure he's the fringe RB1 he was looking like before his injury. With guys who have sustained injuries, I don't like playing their first week back. This is especially true when the team has a strong backup, in this case, Giovanni Bernard, who proved his worth during Mixon's absence. I think Cincy may ease Mixon in, giving Bernard a good amount of touches. With this diminished volume, he's more of a back-end RB2 this week. He definitely isn't a must-sit, but I'd temper expectations.
Devonta Freeman - Atlanta Falcons
This scenario is very similar to Mixon's; he is coming back off an injury, trying to reclaim his role in a strong offense. The difference, though, is Tevin Coleman, the 2nd option in Atlanta, was already getting touches before Freeman's injury. Because of this, I don't think Freeman comes back and immediately commands the lion-share of the workload. Coleman has looked great whenever Freeman has been out, and he could take over Freeman's typical load while Devonta gets what Coleman was getting before the injury. Because of this, I actually see him as a RB3 this week. I don't think he'll get the touches necessary to produce, and in what should be a high scoring game, he might not have the juice to outplay Coleman in a fast-paced game.
Marshawn Lynch - Oakland Raiders
Lynch has been on the injury report just about every week, but every Sunday, he comes out and produces. If you see his name on the injury report, disregard it unless he's sitting out late in the week and is a "game-time decision". Until then, fire him up as an elite RB2/back-end RB1.
Matt Breida - San Francisco 49ers
Breida has been limited in practice, as he was last week, but he still ended up playing. He didn't produce like he has in the past, but he got 3 receptions, which is promising, especially in PPR formats. He wasn't limited last week, so I wouldn't be too concerned about his availability here. He gets a good matchup against Arizona, who have allowed over 20 points to at least one RB in 3/4 weeks, only limiting the Bears in that span, holding Howard to 15 and Cohen to 8. Despite this, I think he has the explosiveness to produce in this spot, making him a back-end RB2.
Dalvin Cook - Minnesota Vikings
Dalvin has been kept out of games and limited since his hamstring injury he suffered earlier this year. Last week, he faced the Rams on a short week, and was limited to only one half of play, where he amassed 20 yards. The good thing about playing on Thursday, though, is he has a longer week to get healthy. He admittedly isn't 100%, and against a solid run defense that hasn't allowed a RB to surpass 12 points, he's a middling RB3 this week. If they get to the goal line, I'm not sure he gets those touches over Latavius Murray, who is a big body that has proven to find pay dirt, further limiting Cook's upside.
Lamar Miller - Houston Texans
Miller is reportedly dealing with a chest injury, one he sustained during Sunday's game against the Colts. He should be able to suit up this Sunday, but his injury isn't exactly what concerns me. Miller has been nothing other than TERRIBLE this season. Sure, you can blame it on his line, but Alfred Blue, who has never been a good RB, is basically putting up Miller's numbers thus far. Last week, Blue got 13 carries while Miller had 14, and as the weeks roll by, it looks like Miller won't be the every-down back people may have expected. When fully healthy, he's a back-end RB2, so dealing with these injuries makes him more of a RB3.
Alex Collins - Baltimore Ravens
Collins didn't practice Thursday, which doesn't bode well for his likelihood to play Sunday. His injury isn't the only thing that concerns me, though. Last year, he dealt with fumbling blunders throughout the season, and in Week Four, he fumbled on the goal line. Despite looking great between the tackles, Buck Allen has continued to get looks, and with the crucial fumble last week, he will continue to cut into his work and likely dominate GL touches. Because of this, combined with his injury, he's nothing more than a RB3, if he suits up.
WAIVER WIRE OPTIONS
Once again, waivers look to be dried up. There aren't any guys available in over 40% of leagues that I'd consider FLEX plays outside of Nyheim Hines (57%), so far that reason, I'll suggest a few stash options at the position.
Two guys who I really like as stash options are D'Onta Foreman (6%) and Corey Grant (4%). Foreman has a legitimate chance of winning the job in Houston since Miller and Blue haven't shown any signs of being impressive thus far. Foreman could have a tough time battling back from a torn Achilles, but if he's anywhere near his level of play from last season, he should have no trouble passing Miller on the depth chart. If you have an IR spot, he's a must-add. As for Grant, I like him simply because of Fournette's injury history. He's already been banged up twice thus far, and even when he returns, he isn't a guarantee to continue his production, especially is he can't handle a full workload on that hammy. Grant has always produce with his limited touches, and as long as Fournette is out, he should see enough touches to post a big week, helping him get more touches going forward.
OUT: TY Hilton, Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison* (in concussion protocol)
Davante Adams - Green Bay Packers
Adams has shown up on the injury report recently, dealing with a calf injury that kept him out Thursday. I'm not sure what to make of this because earlier this year, Adams had a "shoulder" injury that many seemed to be concerned about, yet played that week and scored a tuddy. I'm not certain that this is just for maintenance, as it may have been with his shoulder, so I'd monitor this throughout the week. If he does play, he's a WR1, even matching up against Darius Slay. Last week, he matched up against Tre'Davious White, who had been locked down all season, but still posted over 80 yards and had a couple near-touchdowns. He's A-rod's number one option, and Rodgers has come out and said he deserves more targets.
Deandre Hopkins/Jarvis Landry/ Julio Jones/ Amari Cooper/Larry Fitzgerald
All guys above were limited earlier this week, but as for most veterans, this was just for maintenance. The first 2 (Julio/Dhop) are elite WR1s, Landry is a back end WR1, Cooper is a low-end WR2 and Fitz is nothing more than a back end WR3.
Will Fuller V - Houston Texans
Will Fuller is on the injury report once again, but it is being reported that he will play Sunday. It may not be a great matchup against the Cowboys, but he's an elite talent, especially with Watson throwing to him. Their chemistry is almost unmatched, recording a touchdown whenever they have been on the field together, averaging a 4.29/77.43/1.43 line in games with DW. He is a legit top 15 option every week when he plays, so if he suits up, play him with confidence.
Corey Davis - Tennessee Titans
Davis was limited Wednesday with an "illness", which is hard to gauge. If it gets worse, we'll hear more about it later in the weak. I have other concerns about him heading into this week, though. Before last week, everyone was giving up on Davis after putting up 3 straight games posting no more than 12.2 fantasy points. Now, all of a sudden, he's seen as a WR2 after dropping 9/162/1 in a matchup at home against Philly that was decided in OT. Now, I'm not suggesting he is a bad player, far from it, but I'd temper expectations. This week, he gets Tre'Davious White, who has locked up everyone outside of Davante Adams. On the road in a tough matchup, he's a WR3 this week.
Josh Gordon - New England Patriots
Gordon, once again, is practicing in limited fashion this week. He is likely more healthy than he was last week, but isn't a full-go since he's on a short week. He played 18 snaps last Sunday, but he looked good out there. He made a pair of catches, one of which was inside the redzone, and looked great when he was blocking. He's easily one of their better passing options already, and if/when he's healthy, he'd likely only be behind Gronk. This week, he gets a decent matchup, and if I had any balls, I'd roll him out there as a WR3 with MASSIVE upside. I, as well as many others, don't have the stones to roll him out there this week,which is fine. I'd rather see him produce first than slot him in and see a dud. If you have him, hold on, as he has WR1 upside in this offense.
WAIVER WIRE OPTIONS
Dede Westbrook (42%) - Jacksonville Jaguars
Matchup: @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Jags' passing attack is one that's hard to predict because so far, it looks like one of them per week goes crazy. What's promising about Westbrook, though, is he demanded 13 targets last week, and playing in the slot, he should be able to abuse the Chiefs. Thus far, the Chiefs have struggled more against slot receivers, giving up almost 21 to Keenan Allen and over 24 to JuJu. I'm in no way comparing either of these two to Dede, who isn't anywhere near their level, but he runs over 81% of his routes out of the slot. The Jags will need to score in this game to win, so I'd expect Dede to see some volume, making him a FLEX option.
Mohamed Sanu (27%) - Atlanta Falcons
Matchup: @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Sanu put up a great game last week, but I'm not a prisoner of the moment. Sanu has been an integral part of this offense since he's joined the Falcons and has seen an uptick in targets recently, Despite Ridley putting up 6 scores this season, Mo is still outsnapping him by a wide margin, posting an 85% or greater snap shared in 3/4 games. Last week, he commanded 9 targets, turning them into 6/111/0, and in a game with a crazy high over/under, the Falcons should toss the ball enough for him to see volume, making him a FLEX options.
Tyrell Williams (10%) - Los Angeles Chargers
Matchup: Oakland Raiders
You can laugh all you want at this, but I'm the Tyrell Williams whisperer. Whenever I'm high on him, he puts up a huge game that week. In this spot, he may not seem excessive volume, but he has a great chance of finding the end zone. So far this season, the Raiders have allowed Brandin Cooks to 5/87/0, Albert Wilson to 2/74/1. Jakeem Grant 2/70/2, Kenny Stills to 3/61/1, and Antonio Callaway was a few drops/misses away from a 100 yard performance. What does Tyrell have in common with these guys? Speed. Last year, he burned the Raiders to the tune of 3/67/1 on only four targets in week 17. He's 6'3 and is a mismatch due to his size/speed combination. The Oakland secondary is pathetic, and he could be a low-end FLEX option with TD upside if you're desperate this week.
OUT: Evan Engram, Jack Doyle, O.J. Howard, Greg Olsen, Tyler Eifert, Will Dissly
Jimmy Graham - Green Bay Packers
Graham was listed on the injury report, but this was because of maintenance reasoning. The Packers are without a lot of their receiving options, so I expect him to suit up and be fine for Sunday. Without Cobb or Allison, he should approach 10 targets, which is extremely valuable at a position that has very little options. He's a locked in TE1 until he inevitably gets injured.
Rob Gronkowski - New England Patriots
Another year, another Rob Gronkowski injury. Gronk is expected to play, so there's no chance you can sit him. If you own Gronk, your backup is likely a waiver-wire caliber tight end, and if that's the case, you can't sit him. This doens't mean I'm not concerned, though. I hate playing players who are less than 100%, especially on a short week. If you have a guy like George Kittle, Jimmy Graham, or even Vance McDonald, I might have more confidence in them than Gronk. The Pats are getting Edelman back and are expecting to deploy Gordon more, so he may end up being a decoy. He's still a TE1, but not the top overall option due to injury concerns.
Hayden Hurst - Baltimore Ravens
Hurst looks to be ready to suit up for Sunday, but this doesn't automatically make him a TE1. The Ravens spent a first round pick of Hurst, and with the position being so easily injured, I doubt they deploy him in full, giving him a ton of snaps. He'll likely be on a pitch count in hopes of keeping him in good health, especially in his first game back.
WAIVER WIRE OPTIONS
Ricky Seals-Jones (28%) - Arizona Cardinals
Matchup: @ San Francisco 49ers
Guess who's back...back again...RSJ's back...don't tell a friend (pick him up for yourself). I'm pretty sure I've included him on every week's article thus far, and these past 2 weeks, he's produced, putting up 1/35/1 and 2/51/0. Sure, these aren't great numbers, but for what the tight end position is now, they certainly aren't bad. He looks to be one of the better pass catchers in Arizona, and his matchup is fantastic this week. The 49ers have allowed a touchdown every week thus far, including a score to Michael Roberts (who?), Demetrius Harris, and Antonio Gates. If the Cards get in the redzone, he has a good chance of finding paydirt, and at the tight end position, that's ll you can ask for.
Geoff Swaim (6%) - Dallas Cowboys
Matchup: @ Houston Texans
Swaim has logged a 100% snap share in 3/4 weeks and exceeded 94% each week. He has commanded 12 targets over the past two weeks and finished top 15 at the position over that span. He may be one of the best receiving options in Dallas, and in this matchup, should continue producing. The Texans have allowed a TD to the tight end position in each game thus far, outside of week 2 against the Titans, who only threw to Luke Stocker. These past 2 weeks, they've allowed TDs to Eric Ebron and Rhett Ellison, both team's TE1s, and Swaim, like RSJ, has a good chance of finding the sticks this week.
Rhett Ellison (5%) - New York Giants
Matchup: @ Carolina Panthers
What a surprise, a tight end who could be valuable because the starter on the team suffered an injury. With Engram down, Ellison is their default number one option at the position. The Panthers have allowed a TD in 2/3 weeks. Ellison didn't produce last week, but was targeted 5 times. As sad as it sounds, that actually isn't a bad number since the position is so depleted. He's not a traditional TE1, but he, again, has TD upside, which gives him some value this week.
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