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.
Bramel: There are lots of wide receiver injuries on this week’s list. I think Julio Jones ($9,200), Randall Cobb ($7,500), and James Jones ($5,700) have limiting injuries but are healthy enough to see their usual usage. Davante Adams, Sammy Watkins and Alshon Jeffery have yet to be ruled out but I don’t expect any of them to play. If Jeffery sees the field, it’ll be in a limited role. I’d also put Eddie Royal ($3,700) on the doubtful side of questionable after he missed practice all week.
Buzzard: Finally, a week with a little more clear injury situation which allows us to finally make decisions based on what we have seen year to date instead of speculation. The key take away from this list is the status of Jeffery and Royal. If both of these players end up scratching as expected the Bears will have approximately 40% of their targets available to be distributed around to other players like Matt Forte ($7,000), Martellus Bennett ($5,000), and Marquess Wilson ($3,400). With Jay Cutler ($5,300) back under center and a game script that will likely call for a lot of passing Forte and Bennett make for solid cash and GPP options and Wilson is a GPP option. Stack any of them with Cutler who is likely to be under owned as a starting point for at least a portion of your GPP lineups. If either Royal or Jeffery play then I am only really interested in Bennett for my cash games and Forte as a GPP contrarian option.
Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals - $6,100
Bramel: The extent of Hill’s knee injury is unknown. The Bengals are notorious for minimizing multi-week injuries. However, it isn’t something that limited him during last week’s game and his full Friday practice and probable listing make it likely he’ll be in line for his usual snap count and touches this week.
Buzzard: Hill’s injury is a little concerning but the bigger concern is how the Bengals are splitting the carries between him and Giovanni Bernard ($4,800). Until the running back rotation switches to one of the two or a more serious injury materializes both Bengals running back are off limits for our daily lineups.
Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders - $6,300
Bramel: There are no specifics on Murray’s shoulder injury. He was back to a full practice on Friday and listed probable. There’s some risk of aggravating any shoulder injury for a running back but I don’t think the injury will have a major impact on Murray’s usage this week.
Buzzard: Murray has been a pleasant surprise from the start of the DFS season thanks in large part to his heavy workloads. Anything that puts that heavy workload in jeopardy can quickly zap his value. This week there are two things that put that workload in risk. First of all, there is this injury to Murray’s shoulder. Secondly, and possibly more importantly, is the game script risk as the Raiders take on the Broncos as 4.5 point underdogs. Murray won’t be in my lineups this week.
Charles Clay, TE, Buffalo Bills - $4,100
Bramel: Rex Ryan minimized Clay’s calf injury after practice on Thursday and Clay was back taking limited practice reps on Friday. Both news items fit with the Bills listing Clay probable. Calf strains are easily aggravated, but Clay’s injury looks very minor.
Buzzard: As mentioned above we are not expecting Sammy Watkins to suit up. Watkins typically draws 15-20% of the team’s targets on any given week and a lot of the defensive attention. Just like with the Bears above without Watkins there are lots of targets to go around and Clay should be one of the biggest beneficiaries. The minor nature of this injury doesn’t worry me and Watkin’s status excites me about Clay’s opportunity this week. Feel free to play Clay without worry in both your cash and GPP lineups.
Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals - $5,300
Bramel: Ellington will play this week and the full Friday practice makes it likely that the stiffness that held him back last week has improved. However, Ellington isn’t yet healthy enough to assume his pre-injury workload.
Buzzard: I am looking forward to seeing Ellington get back to his pre-injury workload as he is the most talented back on the Cardinals and I love to see talent out on the field. Unfortunately, for Ellington the backfield is pretty crowded at this point with Chris Johnson ($4,400) and David Johnson ($4,300) heavily involved in the game plan. As such I am staying away from all Cardinals running backs. Ellington’s return could also eat into Larry Fitzgerald’s ($6,800) monster workload to start the season.
Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons - $4,200
Bramel: Unless he doesn’t respond well to his full Friday practice, Coleman will be back this week. He’s likely to need pain control and extra padding, but his recovery has progressed without any setbacks thus far.
Buzzard: While Coleman was out Devonta Freeman has set the fantasy world on fire by rushing for 7 TDs in only 66 attempts in the first four games of the season. Everyone has said that Freeman has locked up the lead running back job based on this play but there are plenty of warning signs as that TD rate is very unlikely to be sustainable and he scored at that rate while amassing only 3.8 yards per attempt. On the other hand the Falcons spent the 73rd pick of this year’s draft on Coleman and have high hopes for him. I don’t think Freeman’s DFS and season long fantasy value is about to fall off a cliff but just don’t expect the production you have seen so far. As for Coleman he can’t be played in your lineups until we see him starting to pick away at Freeman’s workload.
Check the DraftKings blog on Sunday morning for the latest injury expectations.