Week 14 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.
Vikings at Buccaneers (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Both teams will be without key defensive pieces in this matchup. Kendricks is the soul of Minnesota’s defense, and his absence was sorely felt against the Jaguars last week. The Vikings will have to make do without him again, and as a result, Minnesota may struggle against the run or in coverage against tight ends. That’s good news for Rob Gronkowski.
Minnesota should get Smith back this week at tight end, but they’re unlikely to have Kyle Rudolph this week. Rudolph failed to catch any of his targets last week, so I wouldn’t be surprised if something happened to him and went unreported. As long as he plays, Smith has some appeal as a streamer in this matchup due to Rudolph’s absence.
That said, I’m more excited about Minnesota’s wideouts. The Buccaneers probably won’t have PFF Darling Jamel Dean this week, and that should free up Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson for some bigger plays downfield.
Cardinals at Giants (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Giants should get Jones back this week, as even though he earned a questionable tag, the quarterback was a full participant in Friday’s practice. Jones could only log a singular limited practice session last week, so it’s clear that his circumstances have changed.
Two of Arizona’s best players, Hopkins and Drake, earned questionable tags heading into this matchup. Hopkins failed to practice until Friday, and he only logged a limited session in his return, but head coach Kliff Kingsbury didn’t sound worried about his status.
“He’ll be ready to roll,” Kingsbury said on Friday.
Drake was a late addition to the practice report on Thursday, and he’s listed as questionable with a hip injury. Since he practiced through it on Thursday and Friday, I expect him to play this Sunday, but we may see a few extra snaps for Chase Edmonds.
Chiefs at Dolphins (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Chiefs: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Dolphins: RB Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) OUT.
Both sides have several players who were limited in practice this week, but not many of them earned injury designations. For fantasy purposes, all you need to know is that Salvon Ahmed won’t play on Sunday, which ensures that Myles Gaskin will play his typical workhorse role. Gaskin was limited with a knee injury all week, but you can expect the Dolphins to lean heavily on him with how thin they are at the position.
Titans at Jaguars (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Mike Glennon will make his third start for Jacksonville this week, and he should have most of his weapons in this matchup. The only one in question, Tyler Eifert, was limited on Thursday and Friday with a shoulder injury. He missed Wednesday’s practice, too, but the Jaguars designated it as a veteran’s day off. Should the Jaguars surprise us and keep Eifert out, James O’Shaughnessy could be a viable streaming option.
Meanwhile, the Titans sent Humphries to injured reserve, and he can’t return until Week 17. His absence will ensure that Corey Davis and A.J. Brown will continue to dominate the receiving corps in targets, and both will be valuable weapons down the stretch.
Cowboys at Bengals (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Two big-name players earned questionable tags heading into this Week 14 matchup, but I expect both of them to play through them. Elliott practiced all week and told reporters that it’s “important” for him to play through the injury.
“I’m sure it’s going to be sore during the game, but it’s Week (14),” Elliott said, but he added that “I don’t think it should limit me much at all.” The bigger concern with Elliott has to be the decline in offensive line play, as Dallas just hasn’t been the same without Travis Frederick, Tyron Smith, and La’el Collins.
Higgins picked up a hamstring injury that he practiced through this week, but head coach Zac Taylor anticipates having him against Dallas. “[He’s] improved throughout the week, so I’m optimistic about him,” Taylor said. Higgins himself downplayed the injury when it happened, too. While it’s hard to get excited about starting a Cincinnati receiver with Brandon Allen under center, Higgins should be available for you if you need him.
Texans at Bears (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
Texans: RB David Johnson (COVID-19/reserve) OUT, TE Pharaoh Brown (concussion) OUT, WR Brandin Cooks (foot/neck) QUESTIONABLE, WR Keke Coutee (knee) QUESTIONABLE.
Bears: CB Buster Skrine (concussion) OUT.
The Texans are in quite the pickle. They lost Will Fuller to a suspension, Randall Cobb to injured reserve, and cut Kenny Stills, leaving Deshaun Watson without many players to throw to. While he should have Cooks and Coutee this Sunday, both are dealing with minor ailments. Cooks was limited in practice all week with his foot and neck injuries, while Coutee looked to be in much better shape, as he fully participated on Thursday and Friday.
I like Coutee a lot, and you can read why here, but the slot receiver is in for an even easier matchup than normal here. The Bears won’t have slot cornerback Buster Skrine, which should help Coutee produce WR3/FLEX-type numbers.
At running back, look for the Texans to feature Duke Johnson. He’s a smarter start in PPR formats, as he didn’t get many rushing attempts when David Johnson was last sidelined.
Broncos at Panthers (Sunday, 1:00 PM EST)
The Panthers may not have two of their best playmakers for their matchup against the Broncos. McCaffrey looked like he was on track to return this week, but he suffered a quad injury “while training on his own,” according to Ian Rapoport, and he’s now doubtful. Mike Davis should be a viable RB2/FLEX option as a result.
Likewise, the Panthers probably won’t have deep-threat D.J. Moore, either. He didn’t practice all week and hasn’t been activated from the team’s COVID-19/reserve list. The Panthers did get Curtis Samuel back, and both Samuel and Robby Anderson are in for extra targets with Moore sidelined. They’re both smart starts even against a tough Denver defense.
Jets at Seahawks (Sunday, 4:05 PM EST)
In a fantastic week to target New York’s wide receivers, they won’t have two of their starters. Mims will miss the game due to a family emergency, while Crowder suffered a soft-tissue injury during the week, and he has trended in the wrong direction since then. He was limited on Thursday and missed Friday’s practice entirely.
Without two of their best weapons, Breshad Perriman is the best situated to exploit Seattle’s league-worst defense against the position. He’s a fantastic upside play at WR3/FLEX, and he’s a fantastic DFS value play. Braxton Berrios will get the bulk of Crowder’s work out of the slot if he can’t play, and he could be a smart option as well.
The injury to Frank Gore means that Ty Johnson should get workhorse-level reps this week, and as we saw last week with Wayne Gallman, backup running backs can fare quite well against Seattle. That said, we also saw third-stringer Alfred Morris score two touchdowns, so Josh Adams might not be a bad play, either, as New York’s change-of-pace back. That said, Gore got a questionable tag, so he could end up playing after all.
Colts at Raiders (Sunday, 4:05 PM EST)
Colts: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Raiders: RB Josh Jacobs (ankle) QUESTIONABLE.
I don’t know what to make of Jacobs this week. It’s pretty much a must-win game for the Raiders, so they may feel pressed to push him back into action, and the running back was a limited participant on Thursday and Friday. Earlier in the week, head coach Jon Gruden said that he didn’t expect Jacobs to play, but he’s certainly been trending in the right direction. If you’re a Jacobs manager, you have to start him if he plays, but you’ll need a backup plan to hedge your bets, too. Devontae Booker, Josh Adams, and Peyton Barber could all make for good reserve options at the position.
Washington at 49ers (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)
Washington: Antonio Gibson (toe) OUT.
49ers: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Gibson has a case of turf toe, and he won’t be available this week against the 49ers. He may not be available against the Seahawks next week, either. Until Gibson returns, Washington will trust J.D. McKissic with the passing-down work and Peyton Barber with the short-yardage snaps. McKissic is a fantastic RB2/FLEX in PPR formats, while Barber is a decent, touchdown-dependent flex play in deeper formats.
Saints at Eagles (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)
Saints: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
Eagles: OT/OG Jason Peters (toe) OUT.
Future Hall of Famer Jason Peters will miss the remainder of Philadelphia’s season. He hasn’t been good this year, but it’s another blow to the league’s worst offensive line in adjusted sack rate, and it comes the week before they’ll play the league’s best defensive line, per the metric. So if you’re thinking about starting Jalen Hurts this week: don’t.
It’s still to be determined whether the Saints will activate Drew Brees from the injured reserve, and they’ll have until Saturday to do so. He was on-track to play earlier in the week, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see him until Week 15. Taysom Hill will remain a viable low-end QB1 if Brees doesn’t suit up.
Falcons at Chargers (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)
Falcons: WR Julio Jones (hamstring) OUT.
Chargers: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
The Falcons will have to make do without Julio Jones, and that’s not a great proposition for their offense. Although Matt Ryan is averaging 286 passing yards per game, he hasn’t thrown for more than 250 in any game that Jones has missed this season, and he’s averaged only one touchdown per game through that span.
Packers at Lions (Sunday, 4:25 PM EST)
The Lions won’t have Golladay again this week, and honestly, I don’t know if he’ll be back this season. Golladay has not practiced once since Week 8. Marvin Jones and T.J. Hockenson have been Stafford’s leading receivers since then, and they should continue to be fantasy-viable weapons.
That said, worth noting that Jones drew coverage from Jaire Alexander without Golladay back in Week 2, and he only caught four passes for 23 yards and a score against him, so Stafford may look elsewhere. Hockenson, Danny Amendola, or Quintez Cephus could all end up leading this team in receiving.
The best Detroit player to target in fantasy will be D’Andre Swift, however, as the running back should be good to play against Green Bay’s third-worst running back defense. Interim head coach Darrell Bevell said that Swift was “trending in the right direction,” and if he plays, he’s a must-start. If Bevell holds Swift out, expect Adrian Peterson to post strong numbers instead.
Steelers at Bills (Sunday, 8:20 PM EST)
Steelers: CB Joe Haden (concussion) OUT.
Bills: No fantasy-relevant injuries.
He’s not technically listed on the injury report, but John Brown is unlikely to play in Week 14, which will give Gabriel Davis a sizeable role. Joe Haden’s absence should help Buffalo’s passing game as well, and their eighth-best defense against opposing wideouts could have a down game.
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