Week 4 Practice Report & Injury Recap (2020 Fantasy Football)
After a bloody Week 2, Week 3 was a bit of a return to normal. We still lost some fantasy-relevant players, but not nearly as many as the week before, and we didn’t see any season-ending injuries to first-round picks.
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). It’s vital stuff to follow for your fantasy matchups, and I’ll walk you through the important things to know.
Ravens at Football Team (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Ravens could be without starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley this week. He’s someone that they’ll miss dearly against a pass rush this good, and even though the Football Team won’t have star Chase Young this week, they still have a boatload of talent capable of rushing the passer. While missing a tackle is rarely a boost for a quarterback, Jackson may have to run more frequently this week, and that could increase his fantasy production. Very counterintuitive.
The Football Team’s receiving corps is also quite banged-up. Sims technically played through an injury last week, but he rarely saw the field, and Dontrelle Inman picked up most of his targets. Expect even more out of Inman this week, as McLaurin picked up a thigh injury on Thursday and couldn’t practice this Friday. I also like Logan Thomas more as a result of these injuries.
Chargers at Buccaneers (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Chargers: OT Bryan Bulaga (back) OUT, OG Trai Turner (groin) OUT, WR Mike Williams (hamstring) OUT, QB Tyrod Taylor (chest) OUT.
Buccaneers: RB Leonard Fournette (ankle) OUT, WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) OUT, WR Scotty Miller (hip/groin) QUESTIONABLE.
Yikes. There’s a lot to report in this game, and that’s rarely a good thing. I’ll start with the one silver lining — the Chargers will get Justin Jackson back this week, and since he’s still listed above Joshua Kelley on the team’s official depth chart, he could eat into Kelley’s workload. That said, the Chargers have a depleted offensive line, and their backups may struggle to create openings against the Buccaneers’ tough front seven.
Both Fournette and Godwin failed to practice all week, so it’s no surprise that they’ll miss this week’s game against the Chargers. Godwin was in for a tough matchup out of the slot with Desmond King, but now Justin Watson is likely to draw that coverage, as Watson has taken just under half of his snaps out of the slot (44.2%).
Scotty Miller led the Buccaneers in receiving last week after Godwin went down, so he’s a low-end starter if he can play. He failed to practice on either Wednesday or Thursday, but since he logged a full session on Friday, I’m optimistic about his availability.
Seahawks at Dolphins (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Seahawks: S Jamal Adams (groin) OUT, CB Quinton Dunbar (knee) OUT, CB Shaquill Griffin (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE, CB Neiko Thorpe (hip) QUESTIONABLE, Chris Carson (knee) QUESTIONABLE, Carlos Hyde (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE.C
Dolphins: CB Byron Jones (groin/Achilles) DOUBTFUL.
The Seahawks might be 3-0, but their injury report is a mile long. While not everyone received an injury designation, 26 names made the list, and only three of them were resting vets.
Seattle’s injuries are worst in the secondary and at running back. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins should be able to take advantage of Seattle through their air with so many of their players banged-up — they’re guaranteed to be without a starting safety and a starting corner, and they may not have their other starting corner (Griffin) and his backup (Thorpe). That said, I expect Griffin to play because he could log a full practice on Friday.
At running back, Carson should be able to play against the Dolphins, and Hyde should be able to go as well. Carson actually practiced more than teammate Carlos Hyde, as Carson logged a full Friday practice while Hyde could not. Start Carson with confidence this week.
Vikings at Texans (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Vikings: CB Mike Hughes (neck) OUT.
Texans: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
After a COVID-19 scare, both teams will enter this one relatively healthy. The Vikings won’t have one of their starting cornerbacks this week, but they’ll get the other one, Cameron Dantzler, back from injury. He may help Minnesota’s secondary be a little better than it has been, but the Vikings’ passing defense is still the ninth-least efficient in the league. Expect big things out of Deshaun Watson.
Saints at Lions (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Yikes. The Saints are pretty banged-up, and they’ll be without some of their key weapons this week. Sans both Thomas and Cook, the Saints will feature Alvin Kamara in a massive role, and Latavius Murray should see some work to help spell him. Adam Trautman may see some targets with Cook down, while both Emmanuel Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith will continue to pick up Thomas’ workload. Smith has been the higher-volume of the two options.
The Saints’ banged-up secondary makes the Lions’ passing offense more attractive. Matthew Stafford should cut them up through the air, and you can expect Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones to be reliable starting options.
Browns at Cowboys (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Cowboys look healthy, but the Browns do not. They won’t have one of their two starting cornerbacks this week (Williams), and the other (Ward) missed Wednesday’s practice and could only log limited reps on Thursday and Friday. That’s a recipe for disaster against Dallas’s elite receiving corps.
The Browns’ rushing attack may also be at a disadvantage this Sunday. Starting guard Joel Bitonio and committee back Kareem Hunt failed to practice in full this week; Bitonio was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday, while Hunt was limited on Friday. Hunt’s injury makes Chubb likelier to see additional reps, although Bitonio’s could hold the whole unit back.
Jaguars at Bengals (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Heading into Week 4, both of these teams are relatively healthy. That said, the Jaguars are already down a kicker (Josh Lambo), and the guy they signed to replace him is already questionable with a knee injury. That’s not a good look for the organization, but they haven’t yet added another kicker, so he should be good to go.
The Bengals are a bit banged-up along their defensive line. Atkins hasn’t played yet this season, while Daniels dealt with a groin injury before his current elbow issue. If they can’t get healthy soon, Cincinnati may have to add a free agent like Damon Harrison or Domata Peko as a substitute. But until then, the Bengals will be vulnerable on the ground, and you can expect James Robinson to run roughshod over them this week.
Colts at Bears (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Colts are thin at receiver. They lost Parris Campbell in Week 2, and the next man up, Pittman went down in Week 3. Philip Rivers’ leading receivers are now T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, and Mo Alie-Cox, while practice-squad signee Daurice Fountain will offer some pop over the top.
Hilton’s track record makes it hard to rank him below a WR3, especially with these injuries, while Pascal is a low-upside option at WR4. Alie-Cox looks like a low-end TE1 now, and while Jack Doyle is still listed as the starter, Alie-Cox has both out-targeted and out-played him thus far.
Mack has been listed as questionable every week this year — yet he’s also played in every game. He’s a safe bet to suit up on Sunday.
Cardinals at Panthers (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
With McCaffrey still on injured reserve (and thus not on the practice reports), there’s not a whole lot to say about the Panthers. However, their receivers should fare quite well against Arizona because the Cardinals won’t have either of their starting safeties.
On the other hand, Arizona’s receivers are in quite a bind — head coach Kliff Kingsbury called both DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk game-time decisions. While Kirk was able to log limited practices all week, Hopkins wasn’t so lucky, as he failed to practice at all, and I don’t expect him to play. For context, Julio Jones failed to practice last week, and the Falcons listed Julio Jones him as questionable and called him a game-time decision — yet he failed to play.
At this point, Kirk is likelier to play than Hopkins, and he’ll be a high-upside WR3 if Hopkins sits. If neither can go, fire up Andy Isabella as a high-upside WR3 and Larry Fitzgerald as a volume-dependent WR4.
Giants at Rams (Sunday, 4:05 PM EST)
Giants: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Rams: RB Cam Akers (ribs) OUT.
Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard are still gone for the Giants, but they’re on injured reserve, so they won’t appear here. While Shepard’s absence will give Evan Engram and Golden Tate plenty of short-yardage opportunities, they haven’t been too efficient with the ones they’ve gotten so far. I would leave every Giant except Darius Slayton on your bench this week.
For the Rams, Akers’ injury continues to linger. It looks like Darrell Henderson has won the starting job over Malcolm Brown with Akers hurt, and he’ll get the bulk of the carries. That said, the two of them split the snaps pretty evenly last week — Henderson got 33 to Brown’s 32. Henderson is a high-risk RB2 this week, while Brown is a low-upside RB3/4 who has more value in standard-scoring leagues.
Bills at Raiders (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)
Things look pretty grim for the Raiders at wide receiver. Of the three college receivers that they took in the first three rounds, one is out, one is doubtful, and the last one (Lynn Bowden) is a Miami Dolphin. As a result, we can expect their target distribution to look like it did last season — Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller will get peppered with targets.
For the Bills, Moss logged limited practice sessions all week. It’s an improvement after he missed last week’s game against the Rams, but honestly, I would be surprised if he were healthy enough to get his full workload on Sunday. Devin Singletary played on 89 percent of the snaps without him last week, so he should get a slightly smaller workload in Week 4.
Patriots at Chiefs (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)
This game is going to be a shootout, and both teams are pretty healthy. The Chiefs don’t even have any entries on this list (although DL Chris Jones is questionable).
While New England has a pair of entries on this list, I don’t expect either Edelman or Michel to miss Week 4. Both of them were able to log limited practice sessions all week long, and it’s historically hard to take Belichick’s questionable tags very seriously. Edelman was questionable for most of his games last year and played in every single one!
Eagles at 49ers (Sunday, 8:20 PM EST)
Eagles: TE Dallas Goedert (ankle) IR, WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring) OUT, WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) OUT, WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside (calf) DOUBTFUL.
49ers: TE Jordan Reed (knee) IR, QB Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) OUT, RB Raheem Mostert (knee) OUT.
Philadelphia’s situation at receiver would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad. In addition to the names listed above, the Eagles have also lost Jalen Reagor to a thumb injury. Zach Ertz looks like a high-end TE1 right now, while Greg Ward seems like a strong volume-based play in PPR formats. Miles Sanders should also see more receiving volume than usual.
We’re yet to see any results on the convert-Hakeem Butler-to-tight-end experiment, but he’s a sneaky add-and-stash before Week 4. Similarly, Jeffery logged limited reps on Wednesday and Friday, and he’s another great add-and-stash before he returns.
Like the Eagles, the 49ers have had more than their fair share of injuries. Quarterback Nick Mullens has been a serviceable replacement for Garoppolo, so I’m not discounting any San Francisco players due to his injury.
The return of George Kittle will offset Reed’s absence, and Mostert’s absence (along with Tevin Coleman’s, who is on injured reserve) will give Jerick McKinnon and Jeffrey Wilson tons of looks. McKinnon is a high-upside RB2 with more value in PPR formats, while Wilson is a high-upside RB3 with more value in standard-scoring leagues.
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