The latest from the Week 14 NFL injury report and the fantasy football implications for each of the key players. Also, follow Garrett on Twitter @GarettThomas.
I am sure you are well aware, it’s handcuff season in the fantasy realm. During Week 13, we saw some big names go down with injuries. James Connor was ruled out on Monday with a high ankle sprain. This, coming after a misdiagnosis of his ankle, which team doctors originally believed to be a bone bruise.
Then in San Francisco, you had fantasy owners get hosed by Matt Breida as he tweaked his ankle in the pregame warm-ups. This was bound to happen at some point because Breida has been on the injury report nearly every week this year. Fantasy players were forced to watch backup Jeff Wilson Jr. dominate the touches, scoring 19.4 PPR fantasy points to Breida’s 8.7.
While the two backups are probably taken, if you need a spot start this week, both running back handcuffs could show you a bullish return. I would prefer to start Connor’s handcuff Jaylen Samuel against the Oakland Raiders – especially in DFS. However, we know that head coach Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco loves to feed his running backs, making Wilson Jr. a quality flex start as well.
For the players below, keep them on your radar throughout the rest of the week. Some are trending in a negative fashion; while some will play, but garner pivots if you can find the right plug-ins.
Always move the player who is playing the latest game into the flex position, especially if they are injured. This just gives you more options if a player misses. This is recommended, but ultimately, play your best players.
Melvin Gordon (RB, LAC) – Knee
I know you are drooling to play Melvin Gordon against the Bengals this week. Unfortunately, I just cannot see the Chargers rolling him out there for several reasons. First, they are playing Cincinnati at home, which makes for an easy matchup. Secondly, with Justin Jackson’s performance, along with Austin Ekeler’s ability, the Chargers have excellent running back depth. Lastly, and I feel it is most important, the Chargers are on deck to play Week 15’s Thursday Night Football game against division-rival Kansas City. All these factors give me the conviction to tell you: Gordon ain’t playin’ this week.
Chris Carson (RB, SEA) – Shoulder – MNF
I will start with this: I do not know if you want to play Chris Carson, even if he is healthy. He is facing a tough, fringe-playoff team in Minnesota this week. Keep in mind this will be a Monday Night Football game. Further, Rashaad Penny keeps flirting with the opportunity to take touches away from Carson.
As for his injury concern, Carson practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday. Since the Seahawks are playing later in the week, Carson does have the luxury of resting an extra day. However, if you are going to try and start Carson, it would be important to have a backup to plug into your lineup. If Carson misses, Penny will be the biggest beneficiary. Lucky for you, he is available in 77-percent of ESPN leagues!
Cam Newton (QB, CAR) – Shoulder
This one is not so much about whether Cam Newton will play or not, but more the fact he clearly has a shoulder issue that is affecting him. Watching him in Week 13, Newton did not have the arm that we are accustomed to seeing. Not to mention, Newton has had this shoulder injury continually pop up on the injury report, week after week. With Newton’s juicy schedule during the fantasy playoffs, it is going to take a lot of guts to bench him.
There are rumors as to how severe Newton’s injury is, but a lot of folks see it as dead arm. And who knows, if that is the case, maybe we will see Newton scramble more. This is possible because Newton and the Panthers essentially have to win out in order to go to the playoffs and him running could be the formula for that. Adjust your expectations week-to-week depending on Newton’s health and arm strength. I do not see Newton missing action, though.
T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)
T.Y. Hilton has been a non-participant over the course of the previous two days due to a shoulder injury. Seeing Hilton on the injury report is not a rare occurrence, as he was listed last week. However, the difference for this week is that he has now missed two practices in a row. Monitor his practice status for Friday. Even if he puts a limited practice in, that would be a sigh of relief. If he does miss on Sunday, Chester Rodgers, Ryan Grant and Dontrelle Rogers would potentially pick up the extra targets for Indianapolis.
Julio Jones (WR, ATL)
Julio Jones has a history of playing through nagging injuries and this week, Jones popped up on the injury report with a foot injury. Jones has missed practice the past two days, which should be concerning for fantasy owners.
When on the field, Jones is a fantasy stud – despite the rough outing he had against Baltimore last week. Any progression would be good news, so follow his practice report as the week progresses. If Jones does miss, Calvin Ridley Jr. and Mohamed Sanu would pick up the slack. On a brighter note, head coach Dan Quinn did suggest to the media that he expects Jones to play this week. If he does, start Jones up against a struggling Packers team.