Week 7 Practice Report & Injury Recap (2020 Fantasy Football)
It’s been a crazy week for injuries. We’ve seen multiple late-breaking stories, and we have an entire offensive line in quarantine. As a result, this week’s article is longer than normal.
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.
Steelers at Titans (Sunday, 1:00 PM EDT)
Steelers: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Titans: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Alright, look at these two teams making my life easy. After missing last week’s game, Diontae Johnson logged a full week of practice and will play on Sunday. His return will make this wide receiver corps a headache to deal with in fantasy — Chase Claypool has tons of upside but no floor with Johnson active, and we are yet to what Johnson’s role will look like alongside a post-breakout Claypool.
The Titans got the rest of their key weapons back from the COVID-19/reserve list: Corey Davis and MyCole Pruitt. Davis’ return makes Kalif Raymond an easy fade, and Davis could start sapping into Jonnu Smith and A.J. Brown‘s volume. Likewise, Pruitt’s return makes it hard to get excited about fellow reserve tight end Anthony Firkser. It may not mean much, but Pruitt currently sits above Firkser on the team’s unofficial depth chart.
Cowboys at Football Team (Sunday, 1:00 PM EDT)
Unless you’re a fan of these two teams, most of these names may look unfamiliar. While you may have heard about Dallas’s injured offensive line, it’s worse than what this injury report suggests — their two starting tackles, La’el Collins and Tyron Smith, are on injured reserve, as is backup Cameron Erving. Their next man up at left tackle, Knight, is out.
These injuries leave Dallas with Greg Senat and Terence Steele at tackle, and the tandem has a combined eight career NFL starts. Yikes. Strong interior offensive line play could help mitigate poor performances along the edge, but starting right guard Zack Martin is out, so don’t expect much there. Their poor health caps the upside of Ezekiel Elliott, who has never had to run behind an offensive line this terrible, and Andy Dalton, who may struggle to complete passes with such little time.
The Washington defense is a must-stream; Chase Young and company are about to feast.
The other story with Washington is at receiver. Their starting WR2, Steven Sims, is on injured reserve, and they’ll be without two of their depth options, Gandy-Golden and Wright. The three receivers have combined for 29 targets this season, 13% of the total looks in this offense. Look for Washington to feature Terry McLaurin and their running backs more than usual, and Dontrelle Inman could be a viable streamer or DFS play.
Bills at Jets (Sunday, 1:00 PM EDT)
Bills: WR John Brown (knee) OUT, TE Dawson Knox (calf) OUT, CB Josh Norman (hamstring) OUT, CB Tre’Davious White (back) QUESTIONABLE.
Jets: OG Alex Lewis (shoulder) DOUBTFUL, OT George Fant (knee) QUESTIONABLE, OT Mekhi Becton (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE, QB Sam Darnold (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE, WR Jamison Crowder (groin) QUESTIONABLE.
The biggest story here is the return of Sam Darnold. He’s good to go barring a setback, per Adam Gase. While I wouldn’t start him in 1QB leagues, he’s a QB2 by default since four teams have byes this week. His return doesn’t hurt or help anyone in this offense. The other good news for Darnold is that most of his offensive linemen (except Lewis) should play through their injuries.
Crowder’s injury is something to monitor. The receiver was limited on Wednesday, didn’t practice on Thursday, and was limited again on Friday. That’s an unusual trajectory, and I’m not sure what to make of it. If you’re a Crowder manager, have a backup plan in place.
With both Brown and Knox out, Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley are safer-than-usual starts this week. Knox has missed a few games already this season, and Tyler Kroft has looked fairly good when forced into the starting role, so he could be a viable streamer or DFS play.
Buffalo’s injuries in the secondary would be concerning if they were not playing the league-worst Jets. Neither corner would’ve been lined up against the only fantasy-relevant player on the Jets, Crowder, so this is kind of a non-story. Crowder’s usage out of the slot gets him away from most tough matchups, which is why he was so successful against the Bills back in Week 1. That said, Breshad Perriman could be in for a big day if White can’t play; otherwise, I would leave Perriman on your bench (or on waivers).
Packers at Texans (Sunday, 1:00 PM EDT)
It looks like another Darren Fells game. Akins failed to practice at all this week, so I don’t think he’ll be able to suit up for this one. Whenever Akins misses time, Fells becomes a touchdown-dependent streamer and a smart punt play in DFS.
There’s a lot more to unpack with Green Bay. Jones picked up a minor calf strain and will be a game-time decision for Week 7’s matchup. Head coach Matt LaFleur described him as “more questionable than doubtful,” which is a good sign, but Jones managers should still have a backup plan in place. If both Jones and Ervin miss time, Jamaal Williams looks like a high-end RB2, while A.J. Dillon could get his first real taste of NFL action. That said, I wouldn’t consider starting Dillon even if Jones sits out.
Tonyan practiced only once this week, so there’s a realistic chance that he could miss this game. If you’re counting on him to start, you should put together a contingency plan. Kevin King’s absence gives Brandin Cooks a slight boost, especially since Will Fuller is likely to draw shutdown corner Jaire Alexander.
Browns at Bengals (Sunday, 1:00 PM EDT)
We had some late-week surprises in this one. Hooper will have to miss this game due to appendicitis, and his absence will pave the way for David Njoku and rookie Harrison Bryant to get more targets. The fantasy community is torn on which one is the better option, but I have to lean with Njoku here due to his strong showing in Week 1 and professional-level experience. Rookie tight ends don’t do much in their first season, and Njoku should be a viable streamer this week.
Notably, Jarvis Landry did not earn an injury designation, and he should continue to play through his rib injury.
The Bengals won’t have Joe Mixon, and his absence paves the way for Giovani Bernard to get a ton of usage. That said, Cincinnati’s offensive line doesn’t leave much to be desired, and Mixon only totaled 46 yards on 16 attempts against the Browns back in Week 2. While Bernard is a good play in PPR formats, it’s hard to get excited about him as much more than a low-end RB2 or flex.
Lions at Falcons (Sunday, 1:00 PM EDT)
Lions: CB Desmond Trufant (hamstring) OUT.
Falcons: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Both teams are heading into this game with relatively clean bills of health. Julio Jones has finally bounced back from his hamstring strain, although those always run the risk of re-injury. Kenny Golladay seems to have put his in the past, however, as he hasn’t had any issues with it since his return in Week 3.
Desmond Trufant won’t get his chance at a revenge game, and the Lions will continue to struggle against the pass as a result. Detroit has the eighth-worst defense against wide receivers, so both Jones and Calvin Ridley should post above-average numbers.
Panthers at Saints (Sunday, 1:00 PM EDT)
Panthers: CB Donte Jackson (toe) QUESTIONABLE, CB Eli Apple (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE, WR Curtis Samuel (knee) QUESTIONABLE.
Saints: WR Emmanuel Sanders (COVID) OUT, WR Michael Thomas (ankle/hamstring) OUT.
Drew Brees won’t have his top two receiving weapons against the Panthers this week. That’s good news for Tre’Quan Smith and Jared Cook, who should see more usage in the passing game as a result. I’ll call Smith a WR3 and Cook a TE1.
That said, the Panthers’ fourth-worst rushing defense means that Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray will benefit the most. Kamara should finish as the overall RB1 here, and Murray has a shot to finish as a higher-end RB2.
For Carolina, Apple and Samuel were both questionable last week and failed to play. That said, Apple practiced in full all week, and Samuel was limited just once, so they should both be full-go this Sunday. Samuel’s return caps D.J. Moore’s upside, and you shouldn’t expect him to do much against Marshon Lattimore.
Buccaneers at Raiders (Sunday, 4:05 PM EDT)
Buccaneers: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Raiders: WR Bryan Edwards (foot/ankle) OUT, OT Trent Brown (COVID) OUT, OT Kolton Miller (COVID) TBD, OG Denzelle Good (COVID) TBD, OC Rodney Hudson (COVID) TBD, OG Gabe Jackson (COVID) TBD.
Las Vegas’ entire starting offensive line is currently on the COVID-19/reserve list. Right tackle Trent Brown tested positive earlier this week, and he won’t be able to clear the league’s protocol before Sunday’s game. The rest of the offensive line is in quarantine, and they’ll be good to play (without much practice, however) against Tampa Bay if they continue to test negative.
That said, the Buccaneers have one of the best defenses in the league, both in the secondary and in the trenches, so you should fade every Raider heading into Week 7’s matchup. I’d even think about benching Josh Jacobs. The only player who may benefit from the chaos is Darren Waller, as his short-yardage targets don’t require much pass protection, and Carr will be likelier to dump the ball off to him if he’s under pressure.
Jaguars at Chargers (Sunday, 4:25 PM EDT)
Chark practiced once last week and led the league in targets (14) and air yards (197). He only practiced once this week as well, but last week proved that he doesn’t need much time on the practice field to see tons of volume. The Chargers have suffered a bunch of injuries in the secondary and now give up the 13th-most points to wide receivers, so Chark is a safe start as long as he suits up.
Jackson was limited in Wednesday’s practice, but he was a full participant on both Thursday and Friday. The injury designation doesn’t scare me at all, and he’s a low-end RB2 for me in a tantalizing matchup — the Jaguars give up the fifth-most points per game to opposing running backs.
49ers at Patriots (Sunday, 4:25 PM EDT)
You can’t name a better combination than Edelman and the questionable tag. The wide receiver was listed as questionable over half of the time last season, and wouldn’t you know it, he played through it every single time. He will again on Sunday, although the Patriots’ run-first offense makes him a fade in fantasy.
The 49ers’ backfield is a mess. Tevin Coleman is still on IR, Mostert will now be on IR for at least three weeks, and Wilson is struggling with a calf injury. All of this points to value for Jerick McKinnon, and I’m expecting him to rebound from his series of down weeks. If Wilson suits up, he should have value behind McKinnon; if not, JaMycal Hasty could put up fantasy-relevant numbers in a backup role.
Chiefs at Broncos (Sunday, 4:25 PM EDT)
Chiefs: WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring) OUT.
Broncos: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
The Broncos will get three offensive weapons back this week: Noah Fant, K.J. Hamler, Melvin Gordon. Gordon should return to the lead back role even with Phillip Lindsay around, and although Lindsay won’t disappear completely, he hasn’t seen enough usage behind Gordon to merit flex consideration.
The return of Fant and Hamler could cause those who just picked up Tim Patrick some disappointment. While Patrick (18.2% target share) has undoubtedly been playing like one of this team’s best receivers, Fant (16.8%) and Hamler (7.5%) still have roles to play in this offense, and there are only 32 targets per game to go around in Denver.
Seahawks at Cardinals (Sunday, 8:20 PM EDT)
This game is going to be high-scoring, especially with Adams sidelined. Seattle’s defense has been a sieve this season, and without Adams, they’ll struggle to limit Kyler Murray through the air. It’s a great week to fire up Christian Kirk and DeAndre Hopkins.
Speaking of Hopkins, he earned a questionable tag. The team is “hopeful” that he can play this week, and he’s a WR1 if he does. He missed practice on both Wednesday and Thursday, so his status will be something to monitor as game time approaches. Larry Fitzgerald would see the largest increase in targets if Hopkins can’t play.
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