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.
After a relatively quiet week on the injury front last week this week is full of questionable players. How you attack the injuries this week is going to make all the difference on how successful your week is. Remember in DFS there is no place for being timid. Take a stand on the injuries and their replacements and go for it.
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts - $7,600
Bramel: Although we can’t trust anything Indianapolis says about Andrew Luck, his full Friday practice and the universal positive vibes coming from the local media suggests he’s likely to play. If the Colts do not sign a quarterback on Saturday, you can expect Luck to play. Fatigue could affect his accuracy, however.
Buzzard: I am a little less optimistic that Luck plays and if he does that he finishes the game. As such I don’t think you can play Luck in any of your cash games this week and it is also questionable if he has the upside to play him in GPPs. If Luck sits out yet again I think you have to very heavily consider Matt Hasselbeck ($5,100) in a game that the Colts will likely be trailing. The deficit should cause the Colts pass ratio to be higher than normal and make Hasselbeck a great GPP option and you would want to even think about his as a cost savings option for cash games.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants - $8,900
Bramel: Beckham couldn’t make practice on Thursday or Friday but the Giants are holding out hope he’ll be able to contribute effectively by Monday night. Beckham’s history of slow-healing muscle strain makes it hard to feel confident he’ll be able to recover in time to play this week.
Buzzard: Beckham’s status and the fact that this is a Monday night game clearly eliminates Beckham from all cash game considerations. On the bright side his ownership percentage will be low. Combine this with Beckham’s propensity for big games and I think he makes for an interesting contrarian play but even so I wouldn’t go out of my way to use him in a high percentage of my lineups.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks - $6,900
Bramel: Lynch will play this week and practiced more this week than he has all season. The Seahawks will likely use Thomas Rawls to spell Lynch until Lynch proves he’s fully healthy.
Buzzard: As Jene mentions with Lynch at less than 100% and Seattle listed as large favorites against the Carolina Panthers there is little incentive for the Seahawks to play Lynch at his full workload. Since his price hasn’t really decreased with the injury and his matchup against the Panthers is less than ideal he is an easy fade this week.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans - $7,000
Bramel: Foster had consecutive full practices this week and told the media he felt he was over any hesitance he’d had with his groin strain. He should see a full workload again on Sunday.
Buzzard: While Foster has stated he is over his groin strain the tape seems to tell another story. I agree that Foster will get a full workload but I am worried that his efficiency will be less than we have seen in the past. Foster’s value is intriguing in a game that they should lean on him heavily. But I don’t think I can pull the trigger on him in cash games until he shows that he can run with the same efficiency as we have seen in the past given how high his cost is.
Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots - $5,800
Bramel: There’s very little to go on with Lewis. He managed to get back on the practice field on Friday and two of the better New England beat writers have tweeted their belief Lewis will be active. But this one could come down to pregame warmups. With luck, we’ll get a Sunday morning news blurb to aid our decision.
Buzzard: Lewis has been off to a great start this year and I would love to play him in my lineups this week as he is in a great spot against the Colts in a game the Patriots should have plenty of success moving the ball. However, this news is discouraging and we should temper our expectations at least slightly. If Lewis is deemed active I think you should still use him fairly heavily given all the reasons above but just keep in mind you are taking a risk doing so.
Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Raven - $6,400
Bramel: I think Forsett has a high ankle sprain and will have trouble seeing his usual workload – if he’s active at all – this week. Much may depend on how Forsett feels on Saturday after his limited Friday practice. Look for weekend notes here.
Buzzard: Jene’s insight here is great and the risk that Forsett has a high ankle is discouraging. Any risk that Forsett doesn’t finish the game or get his normal workload makes him a risk that isn’t worth taking in your cash games this week. You could take a shot in a GPP in what should be a favorable matchup but like Beckham above I would limit that exposure. If Forsett does scratch Javorius Allen will be in line for a very heavy workload since Lorenzo Taliaferro is already done for the year and would be a great play.
Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens - $6,100
Bramel: It will be very difficult for Smith to play through multiple fractures near his spine and ribs. He’s reportedly moving well in a straight line in practice, but taking hit and using his core to gain separation are other issues. I think the Ravens hold Smith out one more week.
Buzzard: With Smith all but officially considered out you should look at other options in the Ravens passing game like Kamar Aiken ($4,300) and Marlon Brown ($3,000) as there will continue to be a lot of targets to go around and will make a great way to save money in your lineup.
Bramel: Thomas may be limited by his neck injury, but is expected to play. The same can be said for Hilton, who was added to the injury report on Thursday with a groin injury.
Buzzard: Feel free to play both of these based on your current projections without concern for their respective injuries.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills - $5,600
Bramel: Rex Ryan left the door open for Taylor on Friday. Taylor’s lack of practice reps and the importance of mobility to his game will likely prove too much to overcome, however. I think Taylor will be inactive this week.
Buzzard: If Taylor misses the game this week EJ Manuel ($5,000) becomes an interesting play this week just like Hasselbeck above. Given all the possible cash savings throughout the industry this week I would probably hold off on pulling the trigger on Manuel in cash games but is an excellent GPP option as he gives you the ability to fit so many other great options into your lineup.
Bramel: Jeffery had another full week of limited practices and told reporters he was “feeling better.” But he didn’t say he was fully healthy and he’s been inactive with similar practice time in recent weeks. If on the active roster, Jeffery could risk aggravation and few targets.
Bramel: Bennett was added to the injury report with a quad injury on Friday. Late week muscle strains can be very difficult to overcome. The Bears won’t share any meaningful information, so this will be a tough game time call. Hope for more news here before Sunday morning.
Buzzard: The Bears are a mess this week as Eddie Royal ($3,600) is also listed as questionable. If one of these players is inactive the rest of the team gets a bump. If it turns out that several of these players are missing then the last men standing would be in position to be volume hogs which would make Marques Wilson ($4,000) and Matt Forte ($7,100) great plays.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills - $5,400
Bramel: I’m very surprised McCoy is listed probable and have to wonder if the Bills are pushing McCoy to return early because Karlos Williams is out while recovering from a concussion and the other backups are injured and ineffective. McCoy has already aggravated his injury once and will be at risk of doing so again this week.
Buzzard: It appears that McCoy will play this week which zaps all of the value from the backups that we have seen in the Bills backfield the last few weeks. Unfortunately, at the same time I don’t think McCoy is trustworthy for your cash lineups so you should ignore the entire Bills backfield this week in an unfavorable matchup against the Bengals.
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars - $4,800
Bramel: Yeldon didn’t practice this week and I think he’s much closer to doubtful than questionable. I’ll be surprised if the Jaguars allow him to play without practicing.
Buzzard: With Yeldon unlikely to play I think the Jaguars take to the air early and often against a very suspect Texans passing defense. Look for a hot Blake Bortles ($5,200), Allen Robinson ($5,900) and Allen Hurns ($5,000) to be the main beneficiaries. Toby Gerhart would likely get the majority of the carries in Yeldon’s absence but he has been hit and miss in the past and with so many injuries cropping up this week there should be better ways to save money this week.
Bramel: Riddick was added to the injury report on Thursday with a groin injury and didn’t practice on Friday. He’s unlikely to play this week. Bell fully practiced and is also questionable. Even if active, don’t expect a healthy number of touches for Bell.
Buzzard: With both Riddick and Bell limited look for Ameer Abdullah ($4,000) to be more heavily involved in the running game. But I think the bigger beneficiaries may be the Lions passing game as they are favored for the first time all year. So feel free to plug in Matthew Stafford ($5,300) and Calvin Johnson ($7,300) into your GPP lineups and hope they finally hit their stride.
Check the DraftKings blog on Sunday morning for the latest injury expectations.