The injury status of each player is one of the most key inputs into our lineup decisions each week. The question isn’t only if the player will play but how limited will they be if they do play. However, the most important thing to consider is who will pick up their touches if they are limited or miss the game completely. Each week our resident injury expert Jene Bramel will break down the injuries and Steve Buzzard will break down what it means for your cash and GPP lineups. See this article for definitions of all DFS terms.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks - $6,700
Bramel: Lynch was added to the injury report with an abdominal injury on Friday. Pete Carroll would only say that Lynch “felt something” in his abdomen during practice and it was something Lynch had dealt with before. Carroll expects Lynch to play, but his role and snap count will likely be determined by how he feels as he warms up.
Buzzard: Even if Lynch suits up this is a poor matchup against the Cardinals who are allowing only 3.8 yards per attempt and 90 yards per game rushing which is approximately 10% and 19% tougher than average. As such this is a good week to ignore Lynch in all of your DFS lineups. Additionally, it limits the upside of both of the backup backs in Thomas Rawls ($3,500) and Fred Jackson ($3,000) making them nothing more than long shot GPP plays.
Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago Bears - $4,800
Bramel: I don’t see Matt Forte playing this week. He’s doing some conditioning work, but PRP injections aren’t given for two week injuries and there’s indications from observers that Forte still has some knee swelling. Forte is well to the doubtful side of questionable.
Buzzard: Forte’s injury brings us to his replacement Jeremy Langford who filled in admirably for Forte last week running for 72 yards on 18 carries and throwing in 70 receiving yards on 3 catches while scoring a TD. Unfortunately, this week’s matchup against the Rams is much more difficult as the Chargers have allowed 4.9 yards per attempt on the season compared to the Rams who are allowing the fifth best yards per attempt at 3.8. The other question is that Alshon Jeffery could be out as well, see below. On one hand this could open up additional opportunities for Langford as there won’t be many options on the Bear’s offense. On the other hand when you take a below average offense, take away all their best players, and pit them against one of the best defenses in the league it could lead to very few opportunities period leaving Langford as a boom or bust GPP play.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears – $7,100
Bramel: Jeffery is listed questionable after a mid-week groin strain. Jeffery has played effectively through muscle strains before and those who watched the media portion of Friday practice felt he was moving well enough to play.
Buzzard: Jeffery’s injury is pretty unfortunate because with Eddie Royal already ruled out and Forte most likely out as well as noted above Jeffery would be in line for yet another huge game. His last three stat lines are 8-147, 10-116, and 10-151. Based on his projected role I don’t have a problem playing Jeffery even with this questionable tag but be careful to manage your bankroll carefully with him. If Jeffery scratches Marquess Wilson ($3,800) and Martellus Bennett ($4,700) could be in line for all the targets that they can handle which would give them as much upside at their price points as just about anyone on the slate. However, limiting their upside is going to be the Rams defense which is one of the toughest in the league allowing 220 yards per game which is the fourth best in the league and is 12% harder than average.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions - $7,500
Bramel: Johnson insists he’ll play this week, which is reassuring after a missed Friday practice. This is a situation you’ll want to watch during pregame warmups, however, as there’s a chance Johnson’s injury is worse than he’s letting on.
Buzzard: Johnson has been a poor play for most of the season and his latest injury doesn’t instill much confidence that this will be the week that he turns things around. However, as John Lee appropriately notes in his Tipandpick’s article Calvin Johnson will have a significant height advantage over all of his defenders and height is one skill that doesn’t start to deteriorate over the years or when a player is injured. With the injury status and his year to date stats of only 82 yards per game and 3 TDs on the season Johnson’s ownership levels should be near all-time lows. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Johnson reach the end zone and he makes a fine GPP play but not someone I am willing to roll the dice on in cash games.
Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars - $5,800
Bramel: Hurns was confident he’d play on Sunday after a limited Friday practice. Allen Robinson told reporters he had a “good feeling” on Hurns, too. This situation is a little different for Hurns. He has generally been limited on Thursday and near full on Friday, but was only able to make it through a limited Friday workout this week. Consider him more dinged up than he’s been over the past month, but likely to play.
Buzzard: Hurns has had a great season averaging 79 yards per game with 6 TDs on the season on only 36 receptions. This translates out to 17.6 yards per reception and a TD on 17% of his receptions. Neither of these stats are sustainable and have caused his price to rise to an all-time high. Throw in his injury status and he is a clear fade to me. I would instead look to his partner in crime Allen Robinson ($6,700) who is having an equally impressive and likely unsustainable start as well. But with either a limited or no Hurns this isn’t the week that things start going south for him.
John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals - $5,500
Bramel: Brown felt well enough to leave Arizona over the bye week rather than stay in town and get regular treatment. He’s been limited this week in practice and will reportedly be a game time decision, but I think the Cardinals have been preparing him for this week’s game since before the bye. He should be good to go.
Buzzard: It is good to see Brown back for this show down against the Seahawks as it should be one of the better games of the week and in key matchups like this you love seeing teams with their top players. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help us because the Seahawks defense continues to be one of the stingiest in the league only allowing 186 passing yards per game. I am staying away from all of the Cardinals passing game in this one.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos - $7,300
Bramel: Sanders did not practice this week and was reportedly still too sore to practice on Friday. There’s a chance he’ll be active this week, but he will likely be too limited to see his usual workload.
Buzzard: Sanders stats are down slightly on the season but not nearly as much as some people would have thought before the season started. Unfortunately, this successful season has kept his price higher than what you would want to pay for him. Add in this injury and he is a clear fade for me this week. Instead I would devote my attention to Demaryius Thomas ($7,400) who should see an increase in targets whether Sanders plays or not.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers - $5,500
Bramel: Lacy is listed questionable but will likely be active this week. Between the ongoing groin and conditioning issues and the improved play of James Starks, Lacy isn’t likely to see more than a reserve workload.
Buzzard: Lacy has fallen off the cliff since week 5. From week 5 on he has accumulated only 78 yards on 36 carries for 2.36 yards per attempt which is about as bad as you can get in the NFL. Clearly Lacy shouldn’t be in your lineups this week. Instead continue to keep James Starks ($4,900) on your radar as he makes a solid cash and GPP play for yet another week.
Check the DraftKings blog on Sunday morning for the latest injury expectations.