Week 11 Practice Report & Injury Recap (2020 Fantasy Football)
Another week of football means another week of injuries. 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.
Bengals at Football Team (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Mixon is yet to return to practice with his foot injury, and I’m curious why the Bengals didn’t just stash him on injured reserve a few weeks ago — he hasn’t played since Week 6 at this point! Giovani Bernard will continue to start in his stead, but Samaje Perine is a threat to some of his workload. While the elder Perine cousin isn’t fantasy-relevant himself, he does cap Bernard’s ceiling.
With Kyle Allen now on injured reserve, it’s Alex Smith’s team for the foreseeable future. Smith led the league in passing yards last week — in his first start since his life-threatening injury — which is a testament to his incredible endurance.
Smith favors J.D. McKissic in the passing game, and he should continue to be a fantasy-viable option in PPR formats with him under center. That said, the Bengals have given up the third-fewest receptions to running backs (30), so it’s probably more of an Antonio Gibson week.
While neither Wright nor Inman should be on your fantasy radars as starters, their status is worth monitoring for Logan Thomas and Terry McLaurin managers. If one (or both) can’t play, the two players should get more volume than usual.
Falcons at Saints (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Sean Payton is a troll. While it sounds like Taysom Hill will get the start, subsequent comments suggest that it’s foolish to take Payton at face value here. No one really knows what’s going to happen, but barring any more developments, I would bench Winston and only start Hill at tight end (if that’s an option in your league).
Fortunately, we’ll have more clarity about what the Saints intend to do once the game is over. They’ll need to replace Drew Brees for a minimum of three weeks, so both Winston and Hill are worth at least stashing in case he substantially favors one over the other.
The high number of successful dump-off passes to Alvin Kamara means that quarterback skill won’t matter much when it comes to determining fantasy value, as Kamara will end up generating a ton of points for whoever starts.
Lattimore should also get the start this week, as he logged limited sessions from Wednesday through Friday. That said, the shutdown corner’s availability is something to monitor if you roster members of Atlanta’s passing game.
Steelers at Jaguars (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Steelers: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Jaguars: WR Laviska Shenault (hamstring) OUT, TE James O’Shaughnessy (knee) OUT, QB Gardner Minshew (thumb) QUESTIONABLE, WR Collin Johnson (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE.
While the Steelers enter this game pretty healthy, the Jaguars could be without multiple pieces on offense. We already know that Shenault will miss another game, and his absence has benefited Keelan Cole and Chris Conley. We also know that O’Shaughnessy will miss time, and his injury means that Tyler Eifert should be a low-end streaming option.
The bigger question is at quarterback. On Thursday, head coach Doug Marrone said that Minshew wouldn’t play this week. On Friday, reports surfaced that he was “unlikely to play” through his questionable tag (the original RotoWire blurb doesn’t link to the source, and I couldn’t find it on Twitter, so take that information with a grain of salt). Yet Minshew earned a questionable tag for this week, so he could suit up. Potentially.
If Minshew starts, that news would only affect those unlucky enough to get stuck with starting Jake Luton in 2QB/Superflex leagues. Neither quarterback will swing his receivers’ value much in a tough matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Patriots at Texans (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Patriots: K Nick Folk (back) QUESTIONABLE, CB Stephon Gilmore (knee) QUESTIONABLE, RB Damien Harris (ankle, chest) QUESTIONABLE, N’Keal Harry (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE.
Texans: WR Kenny Stills (back) QUESTIONABLE.
Just like Sean Payton, Bill Belichick is also a troll. After listing 16 players as questionable last week, he decided to list 15 as questionable this week. For some perspective, 13 of the 16 players tagged as “questionable” played in Week 10, good for 81.3%. Remember — questionable tags are supposed to indicate players who have about a 50% chance to play.
I suspect that all of these guys will suit up for New England. Gilmore is the only one who might not, as he didn’t play last week, but he should be good after logging a full week of limited practice sessions. Gilmore’s return would reduce the fantasy value of either Will Fuller or Brandin Cooks, depending on which wideout he ends up covering.
Damien Harris should play through his questionable tag again, and Sony Michel is the bigger concern for Harris managers. The Patriots will have until Saturday to activate him, and if they do, that could reduce Harris’ workload. That said, the matchup with the Texans is a smash spot for Harris, as they give up the most rushing yards per game (154), so I would lock him into your lineup at RB2/FLEX even if Michel gets activated.
Eagles at Browns (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Eagles: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Browns: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Both teams enter this one relatively healthy. While he’s not listed on their injury report, tight end Zach Ertz isn’t ready to play this week, although the Eagles opened his 21-day practice window earlier in the week. Dallas Goedert remains a low-end TE1 with Ertz sidelined.
Lions at Panthers (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Lions: WR Danny Amendola (hip) OUT, WR Kenny Golladay (hip) OUT, RB D’Andre Swift (concussion) OUT, QB Matthew Stafford (thumb) QUESTIONABLE.
Panthers: RB Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) OUT, CB Donte Jackson (toe) DOUBTFUL, QB Teddy Bridgewater (knee) QUESTIONABLE.
We’ve got a lot to unpack in this matchup, and I’ll start with Detroit. Both Amendola and Golladay will miss Week 11, and Marvin Jones becomes a high-end WR2 as a result. Jones dominated this team in targets (10) and air yards (104) last week, and he should do so again — especially with cornerback Donte Jackson sidelined.
Behind Jones, Marvin Hall makes a decent boom-or-bust punt play in DFS due to his absurdly long-range average depth of target (aDOT). T.J. Hockenson should be a high-end TE1 due to the injuries as well. Those evaluations would change if Stafford were forced to miss time, but it sounds like he’ll get the start on Sunday.
The bigger story is at running back. Swift’s absence means that Adrian Peterson is in for a heavy workload, and he shouldn’t have a problem exploiting Carolina’s fourth-worst rushing defense. He’s a low-end RB2/FLEX this week.
On Carolina’s side of the ball, McCaffrey will miss another game, and that vaults Mike Davis into the RB1 conversation. The Lions have an abysmal rushing defense like the Panthers, which makes this a smash spot for him. He’ll be in for even more work if Bridgewater is forced to sit out. Bridgewater hardly practiced this week, however, so I wouldn’t consider starting him here.
Titans at Ravens (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Ravens lost Nick Boyle for the season last week, and the blocking tight end will be sorely missed. His injury will make life more difficult for Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards, and you should adjust your evaluations of those players accordingly. The Ravens already lost left tackle Ronnie Stanley for the season a few weeks ago, too, so these backs will need to generate a lot more yardage on their own.
Baltimore probably won’t have two key pieces along their defensive line, too. Those absences will make life a lot easier for Derrick Henry, as I expect that the Ravens will struggle to stop the run without their Pro Bowl nose tackle.
Jets at Chargers (Sunday, 4:05 PM EST)
Though they don’t appear on the injury report, the Chargers have lost their two best running backs, Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. They’re both still on injured reserve; Jackson will be stuck there for at least two more games, and while Ekeler is technically eligible to return, he won’t be back until Week 12 or 13.
The Chargers seem content to roll with Kalen Ballage as their starter, and neither Joshua Kelley nor Troymaine Pope saw much work behind him. You can return both of them to waivers — even if the Chargers suddenly reverse course and feature one of them, Ekeler’s impending return means that they won’t be of much use anyway.
The Jets will start Joe Flacco again in Week 11, and honestly, he’s an upgrade over Darnold. Flacco knows how to take deep shots, which is exactly what Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims excel at. They’re both decent boom-or-bust plays at WR4/FLEX against the Chargers.
Dolphins at Broncos (Sunday, 4:05 PM EST)
Dolphins: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Broncos: QB Drew Lock (ribs) QUESTIONABLE.
The Dolphins still won’t have Preston Williams or Myles Gaskin this week, as they’re both on injured reserve. They will get Matt Breida back, but after Salvon Ahmed’s dominant share of the workload last week, I would be surprised if the team moves away from him. He’s a viable low-end RB2/FLEX against a defense that just gave up 200-plus rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns to the Raiders.
The Broncos haven’t committed to a starting quarterback yet, although signs point to Drew Lock getting the start. However, he shouldn’t be on your fantasy radar, and he should only crack your lineup as a QB2 if you have no other options. He has only played well against bad defenses, and Miami has one of the league’s better units.
Cowboys at Vikings (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)
Cowboys: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Vikings: TE Irv Smith (groin) QUESTIONABLE.
There’s not much to report here. The Cowboys are amidst a lost season without Dak Prescott, but their original backup, Andy Dalton, has finally gotten healthy. He battled both a concussion and COVID-19 over the past month, so it’ll be good to see him back out on the field.
While Dalton’s return is a small boost to everyone in this offense, he wasn’t playing very well before his concussion, so it’s not going to change their fortunes dramatically. I am most optimistic about Amari Cooper, and I think he should be a strong WR2 this week, especially against Minnesota’s embarrassing secondary.
The Vikings could be without Smith again, but he shouldn’t be on your fantasy radar anyway. Smith has just 13 catches on the year, five fewer than teammate Kyle Rudolph, and you shouldn’t let the pair of touchdowns he scored in Week 9 fool you — the Vikings just don’t need him to do much in their run-first scheme.
Packers at Colts (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)
After an extended absence, Allen Lazard should be back this week, as he was activated from injured reserve and logged limited reps all week. He’ll be a much-needed shot in the arm for this receiving corps, as Aaron Rodgers didn’t have much to work with behind Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
With Tyler Ervin sidelined again, Jamaal Williams should command all of the change-of-pace snaps, and he’s a low-ceiling, high-floor option at RB3/FLEX in PPR formats. Aaron Jones will obviously out-snap him, but there is enough offensive work to go around for Williams to post decent numbers.
Doyle returned to practice on Thursday, and though he hasn’t yet cleared the concussion protocol, he should do so by Sunday. His return doesn’t mean much for his own fantasy value, as he’s the third option at his position, but it could hurt Mo Alie-Cox and Trey Burton‘s usage.
Chiefs at Raiders (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Chiefs: WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring/calf) QUESTIONABLE.
Raiders: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
I want to put a big asterisk by the Raiders’ “no fantasy-relevant injuries” tag. Their entire defense had to miss practice this week due to COVID-19 close contacts! This organization has handled coronavirus embarrassingly, and they’re set to struggle on Sunday Night Football, as the Chiefs will have had an additional week to prepare. Head coach Andy Reid is dangerous when coming off a bye, so I suspect that we’re about to see an absolute blowout win by Kansas City.
Watkins should suit up, and if he does, he’s a viable WR4/FLEX in PPR formats. He won’t win you any matchups, but he’s a reliable option if you’re thin at the position or have players on a bye.
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