Week 6 Practice Report & Injury Recap (2020 Fantasy Football)
We lost a handful of players to injuries last week, although no injury was more felt than Dak Prescott’s. The quarterback went down with a gruesome ankle injury in a contract year, and you have to feel for him. Let’s hope that the Cowboys do the right thing and give him the extension he deserves.
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.
Broncos at Patriots (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Let’s put a big asterisk next to this injury report. The Patriots had to cancel Friday’s practice after a positive COVID-19 test, and any subsequent positive tests could derail this game. Again. Since the Patriots and Broncos already had their bye rescheduled, this is not ideal for the NFL.
Assuming that everything goes according to plan, the Broncos won’t have Hamler, as expected, but they might get Lock back under center. He’s trending in the right direction after logging full practice sessions all week. While he’s a big upgrade over Brett Rypien, he isn’t a fantasy-relevant quarterback outside of 2QB leagues, and the matchup with the Patriots is hard to get excited about.
Fant logged limited practices all week and should be good to go. In contrast, Gordon managed to get busted for a DUI and catch a non-COVID illness in the same week, so his status is much less certain. If you manage either of these players, you should have a backup plan in place.
Texans at Titans (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Texans: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Titans: WR Corey Davis (COVID) UNLIKELY.
Because the NFL’s COVID list works similarly to injured reserve, players on the list don’t receive practice report designations. As a result, I’m paraphrasing head coach Mike Vrabel’s statement concerning Davis’ availability.
Mike Vrabel said he didn’t anticipate anyone who’s still on the COVID-reserve list, i.e. Corey Davis, to be available by Sunday to play.#Titans
— Chris Harris (@ChrisHarrisWSMV) October 16, 2020
Although the Titans probably won’t have Davis, they will have Adam Humphries back this week, and he’s a low-end, volume-based WR4. He’s averaging five catches for 45 yards per game thus far, and that’s a solid floor if you need a bye-week filler. Davis’ injury also adds to the upside of both A.J. Brown and Jonnu Smith, as the two will face less competition for red-zone targets.
The Texans deserve commendation for their ability to stay healthy through five weeks. Kudos!
Browns at Steelers (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Browns: CB Greedy Williams (shoulder) IR, S Ronnie Harrison (concussion) OUT, S Karl Joseph (hamstring) OUT, WR Odell Beckham (illness) QUESTIONABLE, WR Jarvis Landry (hip/ribs) QUESTIONABLE, QB Baker Mayfield (chest) QUESTIONABLE.
Steelers: WR Diontae Johnson (back) OUT.
Yikes, Cleveland. There’s a whole lot to unpack with the Browns, so let’s start with the Steelers. Johnson’s absence will give Pittsburgh’s other receivers some chances to shine — Chase Claypool is the obvious pick, but since he’s likely to draw Denzel Ward (Ward is faster than him, but he’s also five inches shorter) in coverage, he may not have as much upside as some expect.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Eric Ebron should all have solid fantasy days due to the state of Cleveland’s secondary — the team will be without both of their strong safeties and one of their starting corners.
On offense, the Browns are still without Nick Chubb, and he’s unlikely to return until about Week 10 or so. Both of their starting wide receivers, Landry and Beckham, have missed multiple practices, although Landry was at least limited on Friday. Will they play? Well, Beckham missed time because of an illness feared to be COVID, but he’s since tested negative. He should be good for Sunday. Landry logged dangerously few reps this week, and he could be limited if he does play on Sunday. The chaos in the receiving corps leads me to believe that Rashard Higgins will make a great DFS option.
Mayfield practiced all week and should be good to play. I’m much less concerned about him than I am about Beckham and Landry. After all, his mama didn’t raise no wuss.
Ravens at Eagles (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Ravens: WR Miles Boykin (thigh) QUESTIONABLE, CB Marcus Peters (thigh) QUESTIONABLE, CB Jimmy Smith (knee) QUESTIONABLE.
Eagles: WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring) OUT, WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) OUT, CB Darius Slay (concussion) QUESTIONABLE.
The Eagles are the thinnest team at receiver in the league. Not listed are TE Dallas Goedert (IR) and WR Jalen Reagor (IR), neither of whom will be activated this week. That said, if either player is on waivers in your league, their imminent returns make them smart stashes.
So which Philadelphia pass-catchers should you start? The Ravens are the seventh-best defense against wideouts and only the 17th-best against tight ends, so Zach Ertz could have better luck this week than his counterparts. But if you must roll with a Philadelphia wideout, Travis Fulgham led this team in receiving stats while John Hightower led them (and the league!) in air yards last week, and both are boom-or-bust plays. Greg Ward has enough of a floor to be a low-end WR4 in PPR formats.
Boykin should be good to go since he only was limited in Friday’s practice, but if he can’t suit up, that would boost Marquise Brown’s value a little bit.
Football Team at Giants (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Football Team: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Giants: WR Darius Slayton (foot) QUESTIONABLE.
Despite suffering an injury last week, Kyle Allen is set and ready to start his second game for Ron Rivera and the Football Team. He flashed talent for the Panthers at the start of last season, so I’m interested to see how he’ll perform against a less powerful defensive front. He loves to air the ball out, so the speedy Dontrelle Inman could have a big day downfield.
The Giants’ offense has continued to struggle with injuries this season. The team lost Sterling Shepard to the injured reserve a few weeks ago, and he won’t get activated before this weekend’s game. His short-yardage looks will continue to go Evan Engram’s way, boosting his floor. Lastly, despite his questionable tag, Slayton should be able to play after logging at least limited reps in practice all week.
Falcons at Vikings (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Falcons: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Vikings: RB Dalvin Cook (groin) OUT.
Julio Jones is notably absent from this list. He should be good to go despite his hamstring injury, although it’s worth noting that he keeps re-injuring it after insufficient rest. If you started Jones in Weeks 2 or 4, he would’ve burned you because of his early departures, so I would consider benching him to prevent a similar disaster from sinking your lineup.
Cook’s absence is the bigger story here. Since the Vikings have a bye next week, it makes perfect sense for them to give him two weeks of rest to recover from the injury he suffered last week. Alexander Mattison is a mid-tier RB1 in his absence, especially against Atlanta’s embarrassing defense.
Lions at Jaguars (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
This game is going to be incredibly high-scoring. Both the Lions and Jaguars have struggled on defense, and their offenses will have to compensate by airing the ball out and putting up lots of points.
That said, the Jaguars are in a weird spot — their offense looked lost without Chark a few weeks ago, but Trufant’s absence gives me hope that they can post some strong numbers even if he can’t play. Without Chark, Laviska Shenault and Chris Conley would lead the long-range assault for the Jaguars, and both are smart DFS plays. Keelan Cole would also see additional volume in his short-yardage role, making him a high-floor WR4 play in PPR formats.
But will Chark play? I don’t think so. He failed to practice on either Wednesday or Thursday, and he only logged a limited session on Friday. That doesn’t bode well for his availability — he had practiced twice before he was ruled out against the Dolphins back in Week 3.
Bengals at Colts (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Colts went into their game with the Browns as betting favorites, but they came out worse for wear and with another mark in the loss column. The injury to Darius Leonard will limit their ability to stop the run, although leading tackler Anthony Walker looks a lot healthier this week, which is a plus. That said, the Bengals’ offensive line doesn’t present much of a challenge, so I’m not comfortable saying that Mixon will have a huge day — he just has a better chance to break a big play or two.
Alie-Cox’s injury leaves Trey Burton as the unquestioned TE1 in this offense. He’s totaled 11 targets through two games, and he’s not a bad streamer at the position in PPR formats.
Wilkins’ injury is interesting for Indy’s other two running backs. He logged limited practice reps on Wednesday, but he sat out on both Thursday and Friday, so I would be surprised to see him take the field. His absence would ensure lots of production from both Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines even if the Colts get ahead (he usually takes the clock-winding snaps), so they’ll both have moderately higher floors this week.
Auten Tate’s injury doesn’t have much of a fantasy impact, but it’s worth noting because Mike Thomas caught four passes for 31 yards and a score when Tate didn’t play in Week 2. He could be a sneaky DFS play as a result.
Bears at Panthers (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Panthers may have a run-funnel defense, but their secondary doesn’t leave much to be desired, either. Their two best corners, Apple and Jackson, are both dealing with injuries, which may limit their effectiveness further. Although they both practiced all week, their limitations make Allen Robinson a more appealing start than usual. That said, the best fantasy asset on the Bears this week will be David Montgomery.
Samuel is also listed as questionable, but he logged limited reps in every practice, so I would be surprised to see him miss any time. Both Samuel and Moore are must-fades against a tough Chicago defense, however.
Jets at Dolphins (Sunday, 4:05 PM EST)
Darnold is out again, so Joe Flacco will make his second start for the New York Jets. The gunslinger tossed a ton of deep passes last weekend — Jeff Smith ranked fourth in air yards for the week, and even Jamison Crowder caught a 52-yard bomb.
Flacco loved to throw deep back in Baltimore, and he could have both speedsters Perriman and Denzel Mims (IR) back this week. While Perriman is likelier to play than Mims, either could make home-run DFS plays, as could Smith.
Packers at Buccaneers (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)
The guys who cleared the injury report are the biggest stories here. Davante Adams is good to go for Green Bay, while Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Scotty Miller should all be back for the Buccaneers. Aside from Miller, you should start all of them with confidence this week — Miller is more of a high-risk WR4 play.
Why with confidence? Two starting corners have legitimate chances to miss this game. King missed practice on both Wednesday and Thursday, and he will be a game-time decision. Likewise, Bruce Arians called Davis a game-time decision after he was limited on both Thursday and Friday (although he also called Evans and Godwin game-time decisions, yet neither of them earned injury designations, so take whatever he says with a grain of salt).
Ervin won’t suit up for Green Bay this weekend, and his absence gives Jamaal Williams a slight boost. Williams and Aaron Jones will remain heavily involved in this passing game for as long as Allen Lazard is sidelined.
I don’t have much to say about Fournette. He’s a must-bench even if he’s good to go, as Ronald Jones has seized control of this backfield.
Rams at 49ers (Sunday, 8:20 PM EST)
Rams: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
49ers: LB Kwon Alexander (ankle) OUT.
It’s a short list for the 49ers this week, although it’s a much longer one when you look at their key players still on injured reserve. Alexander’s absence will open up some additional opportunities for the Rams’ backfield, as Alexander is the team’s second-leading tackler, but it’s hard to get excited about any of them at this point. Darrell Henderson is a high-risk play at RB2 because, honestly, who knows how Sean McVay intends to distribute the carries.
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