Week 12 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.
Dolphins at Jets (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Dolphins won’t have Salvon Ahmed, their leading rusher over their last three games, but they should get Myles Gaskin back. He has been practicing this week, and though the team intends to review the film before they commit, I’m expecting Gaskin to return to his regular role this Sunday.
The team also plans to review Tua Tagovailoa’s practice tape as well. The rookie quarterback injured his thumb during Wednesday’s session, so I would closely follow this situation if you’re thinking about starting him. Since the Dolphins still have Ryan Fitzpatrick, the rookie’s injury status won’t swing his receivers’ value much, so don’t worry about DeVante Parker.
Speaking of Parker, it sounds like Preston Williams is looking less and less likely to return. The team is holding out hope that he’ll be back sometime in December, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he fails to come back before the end of the regular season. That means a lot more volume for Parker.
Meanwhile, the Jets lost starting running back La’Mical Perine to injured reserve this week. That leaves Frank Gore as the starter, and even though Adam Gase said that he plans to rotate in Ty Johnson and Josh Adams to keep him fresh, I wouldn’t consider picking up either of them. Gore is the only back on the Jets worth a roster spot, and he’s a very low-end RB2 this week.
Cardinals at Patriots (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Bill Belichick continues to list everyone and their brother as questionable. The New England Patriots handed out 15 questionable designations this week, the same number as he did last week. Only one of those players (Adam Butler) missed the game.
The questionable tag is intended for players with a 50% chance of playing. When 93% of your players with the tag suit up anyway, you’re likely misusing it. Expect both Harris and Harry to play through their questionable designations.
In Arizona, Kyler Murray powered through his shoulder injury and didn’t receive an official injury designation. He’ll play on Sunday despite having been limited in practice on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Panthers at Vikings (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Surprisingly, the Panthers gave McCaffrey a questionable tag. That’s despite Matt Rhule’s statement on Wednesday that he didn’t expect McCaffrey back for Week 12, and I’m not sure what to think here. Rhule again emphasized his pessimism on Friday, and while I’m tempted to take him at face value, Carolina is facing a must-win situation if they want to stay alive in the playoff hunt.
If you’re a McCaffrey manager, you shouldn’t let his questionable tag swing your decision-making too much. Likewise, Mike Davis managers shouldn’t let it affect them, either. I would keep an eye on the final inactives list, as you should do every week, just to confirm that Rhule doesn’t reverse course with little notice.
Aside from tight end Irv Smith (and Adam Thielen, who finds himself on the COVID-19/reserve list), the Vikings are pretty healthy right now. Smith’s likely absence puts Kyle Rudolph back on the streaming radar as a low-end, touchdown-dependent option. If Thielen can’t get the requisite negative tests before Sunday’s game, Justin Jefferson should be a surefire WR1.
Browns at Jaguars (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Jaguars will start veteran backup Mike Glennon this week regardless of Minshew’s status, and he’ll have fewer weapons than usual to work with. Jacksonville won’t have two of its three most-targeted receivers, which will leave Keelan Cole and Laviska Shenault to pick up the slack.
Glennon is a known quantity. He averaged 23.3 completions, 208 yards, 1.0 passing touchdowns, and 1.3 interceptions per game the last time he started. He also averaged 5.9 yards per attempt. These are game-manager numbers, and that’s good news for both Cole and Shenault, as they usually draw targets closer to the line of scrimmage. They’ll both be viable low-end streamers this week, especially since the Browns won’t have Ward, their best cornerback.
Titans at Colts (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Aside from some minor injuries along their offensive line, the Titans are pretty healthy this week. I wouldn’t worry about center Ben Jones and guard Rodger Saffold if you’re a Derrick Henry manager; both of them logged limited practice sessions all week and should suit up. Saffold is technically a game-time decision, but I believe his chances of playing are a bit better than 50%.
Meanwhile, the Colts listed Rivers as questionable after the veteran failed to practice on Wednesday and Thursday. However, he got in some limited reps on Friday, and Frank Reich indicated that he would start on Sunday. Like most weeks, Rivers is a very low-end QB2.
Pascal also failed to practice until Friday. That said, he shouldn’t be on your fantasy radar — the Colts run far too often, and rookie Michael Pittman has emerged as the lead receiver, which has reduced Pascal’s workload over the past few weeks.
Giants at Bengals (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Bengals are now without their Week 1 starters at quarterback and running back. That’ll happen when you don’t invest in your offensive line!
Brandon Allen will replace Burrow this week, but due to the poor blocking he’ll have to work with, I wouldn’t start him unless you’re absolutely desperate in a 2QB/Superflex league.
Meanwhile, the Bengals expect Bernard to clear the concussion protocol and play on Sunday. He logged a full practice on Friday, which is always a good sign, and he should get most of the work ahead of Samaje Perine. Bernard should draw a ton of dump-off passes from Allen, and he’s a rock-solid RB2 in PPR formats.
Chargers at Bills (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Los Angeles backfield is going to remain a frustrating one this week. Not only does Kalen Ballage have a questionable tag, but Austin Ekeler even has a chance to return. While I expect Ballage to suit up, his value will obviously depend on Ekeler’s status.
If you’re planning to start Ballage this week, you should have a backup plan in place. If he does get activated, Anthony Lynn will probably limit Ekeler’s workload — not enough for you to leave Ballage in your starting lineup as an RB2, but enough to consider using him as a low-end RB3/FLEX.
The Bills won’t have WR2 John Brown this week, and that will create some opportunities for both Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis. Beasley should be a viable WR4/FLEX in PPR formats, while Gabriel looks like a bargain-bin, high-upside DFS play.
Raiders at Falcons (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
While the Raiders come into this one relatively healthy, the Falcons do not. They definitely won’t have one of their key offensive weapons, and they could be without two more.
Gurley’s arthritic knee might be acting up. He failed to practice once this week after picking up some “battle wounds” against the Saints, and they were enough to keep him out of every practice this week.
Brian Hill should get the start, and he’s looked pretty good this season. Yes, he was a complete bust in his two starts last year, but he’s been more efficient this season. He has outperformed his 4.14 yards per carry from last year (1.83 in his two starts), as he currently averages 4.35 yards per carry. He makes for a great RB2 play against the Raiders, as they give up the fourth-most PPR points per game to the position.
While both Jones and Hurst have a chance to play, I’m not sure how likely that is. Jones logged limited sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, but he couldn’t practice on Friday, so he’s trending in the wrong direction. He was expected to be a game-time call from the get-go, so we probably won’t know much more until Sunday. Have a backup plan if you intend to start Jones. If he doesn’t play, Olamide Zaccheaus could be an intriguing boom-or-bust option in DFS.
Tight end Hayden Hurst failed to practice at all until Friday, and he was a limited participant in that session. He failed to catch a pass against the Saints last week, and I would plan to look elsewhere at the position.
49ers at Rams (Sunday, 4:05 PM EST)
The San Francisco backfield has been difficult to deal with all season, and this week is no exception. Kyle Shanahan said that the team plans to activate both Raheem Mostert and Jeffrey Wilson before Sunday’s game, adding that both players should be considered questionable.
Keep a close eye on the 49ers’ inactives list. If Mostert returns, he’s a must-start even in a bad matchup. If Mostert and Wilson can’t play, McKinnon should be a viable RB3/FLEX; if one of them does come back, I would leave him on your bench.
Saints at Broncos (Sunday, 4:05 PM EST)
Saints: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Broncos: WR Jerry Jeudy (ankle/Achilles) QUESTIONABLE.
Although they won’t have Drew Brees this week, the Saints will have most of their key offensive weapons. That’s good news for Taysom Hill, who will remain in the QB1 conversation due to his rushing ability.
The Broncos should have all of their playmakers as well. That said, Jeudy’s status will be worth monitoring — the rookie wideout logged limited practices on Wednesday and Friday, but he completely missed Thursday’s session, so I would make sure to have a backup plan in place.
Chiefs at Buccaneers (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)
There aren’t many injuries to discuss here, but it’s worth noting that the Buccaneers are struggling with some issues on the left side of their offensive line. Their starting left guard, Marpet, and left tackle, Smith, both received questionable tags. That said, Marpet practiced fully this week, while Smith failed to practice at all.
Bears at Packers (Sunday, 8:20 PM EST)
Guess what? It’s Mitch Trubisky time! The Bears will turn to their former first-round pick with Foles banged-up and struggling, and he’ll be auditioning for another team to give him a second chance. Trubisky is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season, and I don’t think that the Bears will bring him back. He’s a low-end QB2 against the Packers this week.
In contrast, Green Bay should have their full arsenal of weapons against the Bears this week. While it’s not a very big arsenal, it’s been enough for Aaron Rodgers. Valdes-Scantling, who is usually a boom-or-bust WR4/FLEX option, is likelier to be a “bust” than a “boom” against this defense — especially if he’s playing through an injury.
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