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Week 1 Practice Report Recap (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Isaiah Sirois | @is_sirois | Featured Writer
Sep 11, 2020

We haven’t even seen a down of football, but we’ve already seen some key injuries around the league. Freak practice accidents can be just as season-changing as a player going down on the field, so you’ll need to monitor injury statuses closely.

Each Friday, I’ll break down the NFL practice reports by matchup. That’s when teams release two key pieces of information: first, a player’s status (full-go, limited, no-go) in practice that week; second, their injury designation (questionable, doubtful, out); and it’s vital stuff to follow for your fantasy matchups.

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Eagles at Washington (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)

Eagles: WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) OUT, RB Miles Sanders (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE, OT Lane Johnson (ankle) QUESTIONABLE.
Washington: No fantasy-relevant injuries.

Notably, Jalen Reagor did not receive an injury designation for Sunday’s game. The rookie wideout should be a full-go, and that’s important for a Philly receiving corps that’s already down Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery won’t be back for a few weeks (if we see him again at all), and while he’s gone, Reagor, Jackson, Ertz, and Goedert will get a small boost in value.

Miles Sanders’ injury status requires close attention. Hamstring injuries have some of the highest re-injury risk in the NFL, so even if Sanders suits up, there’s still a risk that this comes back up again. With B.T. Sanders and Johnson questionable for

Dolphins at Patriots (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)

Dolphins: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Patriots: N’Keal Harry (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE.

Belichick listed Julian Edelman as questionable almost every week last season, yet he played in 16 games. Harry’s questionable designation is more of the same, as the sophomore wide receiver logged a full practice session on Friday. Don’t adjust your expectations for New England based on this injury report.

No news is great news for Miami, as Xavien Howard, DeVante Parker, Byron Jones, and Preston Williams are all set to go. While I’m not high on Parker this week, you don’t need to worry about his health.

Packers at Vikings (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)

Packers: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Vikings: DE Danielle Hunter (neck) IR.

A lot of folks have speculated about Danielle Hunter’s injury, but the Vikings have kept mum about it. The defensive end hasn’t practiced since mid-August, and the club has since traded for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. I have no special insight into what’s going on with Hunter, but I know that Ngakoue is a downgrade, albeit a slight one. Minnesota allowed the Packers to score 44 total points against them last season, but it’ll be harder for them to contain Aaron Rodgers this year with their inexperienced cast of cornerbacks and no pass rushing from Hunter.

Colts at Jaguars (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)

Colts: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Jaguars: RB Devine Ozigbo (hamstring) IR.

Both of these teams will enter Week 1 fairly healthy. The Jaguars’ loss of Ozigbo allowed them to add Dare Ogunbowale, but the two players to roster in this backfield are James Robinson and Chris Thompson. Ogunbowale will get snaps on special teams but not much else.

Bears at Lions (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)

Bears: LB Robert Quinn (ankle) DOUBTFUL, RB David Montgomery (groin) QUESTIONABLE, LB Khalil Mack (knee) QUESTIONABLE.
Lions: WR Kenny Golladay (hamstring) DOUBTFUL, WR Danny Amendola (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE.

Yikes. It looks like Golladay will miss Week 1 with a late-week hamstring injury. That’s not good, and it’ll be something for his drafters to monitor before next week. Marvin Jones figures to see a big bump in targets if Golladay misses time, as would Danny Amendola if he can suit up. Jones should benefit the most, however, as Amendola has been limited in practice all week.

David Montgomery is another name to follow, but it sounds like he’ll be good to go for Sunday. He was catching passes in practice, and teammate Tarik Cohen said that it was “like the injury never happened.” You’ll obviously need to bench him if he’s out, but it looks like he’ll be good to go for Sunday.

If you planned to start the Bears’ D/ST in this game, you’ll need to follow Quinn’s and Mack’s statuses closely. Quinn probably won’t suit up because he didn’t practice at all this week, but Mack logged limited reps and could be a full-go on Sunday. You’ll want at least one of them to play to count on any sacks this weekend.

Raiders at Panthers (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)

Raiders: WR Tyrell Williams (shoulder) IR.
Panthers: No fantasy-relevant injuries.

Both the Raiders and Panthers have avoided too many preseason crises. That’s a welcome break from a year ago — remember when the Panthers had to deal with questions about Cam Newton’s health? Oh, and when the Raiders had to deal with Antonio Brown? Not fun.

The Raiders put wide receiver Tyrell Williams on injured reserve a few weeks ago, and his absence paves the way for early-season targets for rookies Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs III, but I wouldn’t start either of them if you don’t have to. Darren Waller should benefit the most from Williams’ absence, and he’s a safe bet to lead the team in targets.

Jets at Bills (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)

Jets: WR Denzel Mims (hamstring) OUT.
Bills: No fantasy-relevant injuries.

It looked like Mims might play after he logged a full practice on Wednesday and a limited one on Thursday. But he was a no-go today, and he’ll be a no-go on Sunday, too. Mims’ absence makes Breshad Perriman the best perimeter receiver for New York, and he’s roughly equivalent to Robby Anderson. But with Levi Wallace and Tre’Davious White to contend with, he isn’t the best option against Buffalo — that honor falls to Jamison Crowder. Crowder averaged 13.5 targets against the Bills last year, and he broke the 20-point threshold both times in PPR. His numbers may tick downward a bit, but you can still bank on him for a solid WR3 finish with WR2 upside.

Browns at Ravens (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)

Browns: CB Kevin Johnson (abdomen) OUT, CB Greedy Williams (shoulder) OUT, LB Mack Wilson (knee) OUT.
Ravens: RB Justice Hill (thigh) OUT, WR Chris Moore (finger) OUT.

The Ravens’ offense should fare well against a depleted Cleveland secondary. Johnson and Williams’ absence will leave a big hole behind Denzel Ward. That pressure will probably fall on the safeties, who will also have to compensate for the absence of starting WILL linebacker Mack Wilson. I’m high on Mark Andrews this week as a result.

Hill and Moore aren’t essential pieces of Baltimore’s offense, and their absence just means more targets (or carries) for the usual suspects.

Seahawks at Falcons (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)

Seahawks: OT Cedric Ogbuehi (shoulder) OUT. 
Falcons: CB Kendall Sheffield (foot) QUESTIONABLE.

The Falcons are in trouble in their secondary, and that’s good news for Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Starting cornerback A.J. Terrell was a limited participant on both Thursday and Friday, and while he will be available for Sunday, the team is already very thin at corner. Depth corner Kendall Sheffield failed to practice all week, and the team has since ruled him out. Newly-acquired Darqueze Dennard and 2018 second-rounder Isaiah Oliver are Atlanta’s best healthy options, but Dennard is a newcomer, and Oliver only earned a 56.8 grade from PFF. It’s safe to expect solid fantasy performances from both Lockett and Metcalf, and I’m giving them a boost in my rankings.

It’s also worth noting that Seattle may have some issues at tackle. Although both starters cleared the injury report, backup Cedric Ogbuehi is out, and both starter Duane Brown and reserve tackle Jamarco Jones were limited on Friday. Brown even missed Thursday’s practice as well. It shouldn’t affect your start/sit decisions this week, but it’s a situation to follow if you own either Russell Wilson or Chris Carson.

Chargers at Bengals (Sunday, 4:05 PM EST)

Chargers: OC Mike Pouncey (hip) OUT, OT Bryan Bulaga (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE, OG Trai Turner (knee) QUESTIONABLE, WR Mike Williams (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE. 
Bengals: DT Geno Atkins (shoulder) OUT.

Atkins won’t suit up for the first time since he tore his ACL in 2013. The defensive tackle will be sorely missed, but the Chargers’ litany of injuries along their offensive line will surely soften the blow. I’m hesitant to give any Chargers running backs a boost without Atkins, as this will surely be a messy game in the trenches, and newly-acquired defensive tackle D.J. Reader should be able to compensate somewhat.

That said, these injuries do make me a bit more confident in the Chargers’ passing game, as they may need to lean on the passing game a bit more. Well, aside from Mike Williams’ shoulder injury. That one concerns me, as the former first-rounder is a vital part of this passing game. Since he’s been limited all week, I think that he’ll be able to suit up, but Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry may have to shoulder a bit more of the workload. I’m giving those two a bit of a boost for Sunday, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Allen catch a deep ball from Taylor.

Cardinals at 49ers (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)

Cardinals: OT Josh Jones (ankle) QUESTIONABLE.
49ers: WR Deebo Samuel (foot) OUT, WR Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE.

The 49ers are in a bind at wide receiver. They won’t have Samuel on Sunday, they lost Emmanuel Sanders in the offseason, and rookie first-rounder Brandon Aiyuk is already nursing a hamstring injury. Aiyuk logged limited practice sessions on Thursday and Friday, so he should be able to suit up, but he’s a high-risk WR3 play at best on Sunday. Kendrick Bourne is probably the wide receiver to start in that offense, although George Kittle is the safer bet against Arizona’s atrocious tight end defense. Even Jordan Reed could be a sneaky option, too, but he’s not someone to consider outside of hail-mary DFS lineups and super-deep leagues.

Buccaneers at Saints (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)

Buccaneers: WR Mike Evans (hamstring) DOUBTFUL.
Saints: No fantasy-relevant injuries.

Evans will likely miss Tom Brady’s debut in Tampa. That’s probably not much of a boost for Chris Godwin, though, as the wideout is likelier to draw Marshon Lattimore in coverage when not in the slot. Lattimore wasn’t perfect last year, but he completely shut out Mike Evans in Week 5 last year, as Evans failed to catch any of his three targets.

So who benefits here? Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard could see an uptick in usage, and among wide receivers, Scotty Miller sounds like Tom Brady’s favorite behind Evans and Godwin. That said, the six-foot-three Justin Watson or the six-foot-two Tyler Johnson could be better suited to filling Evans’ role on the outside. Watson is my preferred option of the two, and he could be a smart spot-start in DFS or in deeper leagues.

That said, there’s still a case to be made for Miller, and there’s a chance that Arians features Godwin in the slot to keep him away from Lattimore — leaving him to cover Watson, Miller, or Johnson. My advice? Leave Godwin in your lineup and hope for the best, start Gronkowski with confidence, and consider Watson and Miller in DFS.

Cowboys at Rams (Sunday, 8:30 PM EST)

Cowboys: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Rams: No fantasy-relevant injuries.

Both teams are healthy for what should be a high-scoring game. While there were concerns about Darrell Hendersons’ availability, it sounds like he’s good to go. Malcolm Brown will get the start on Sunday, but you should expect both Cam Akers and Henderson to play committee roles. Sean McVay wants to do what Kyle Shanahan did in San Francisco last year, so I would take a wait-and-see approach with all members of this backfield. We can’t really trust any of them to be better than an RB3 this week.

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Isaiah Sirois is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Isaiah, check out his archive and follow him @is_sirois.

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