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.
This week there are a lot of players who have some light injury concerns but we aren’t really expecting there to be much change in their usage due to this injury. We are ok playing them as normal. This includes DeMarco Murray, Devonta Freeman, Julio Jones, Chris Ivory, Eddie Lacy, Tyrod Taylor, Brandin Cooks, John Brown, Jonathan Stewart, Allen Hurns, and T.Y. Hilton. If you feel like any of these players represent good value we wouldn’t hesitate to put them into your lineups. That said, please note there is a small amount of additional risk around any player that has an injury associated with them. This is because they may re-aggravate the injury, overcompensate for the injury and get hurt elsewhere or be a step slower than normal.
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts - $9,100
Bramel: The Colts are “supremely confident” Luck will play this week. Actions speak louder than words, however, and the team signed Josh Johnson to have “all bases covered.” I believe that means they will aggressively treat whatever is ailing Luck’s throwing shoulder through Saturday and then reassess. If enough progress is made, Luck will be active. If not, he won’t. Thankfully, Luck’s status as an elite quarterback means we’ll have multiple reports early Sunday morning on his progress. For now, consider Adam Schefter’s thinly disguised pessimism on Wednesday and Friday an ominous sign.
Buzzard: There have been a lot of major injuries to the quarterbacks this year which is a bit unusual as they tend to be a little more protected than the other positions. This injury is concerning for a couple of reasons. First of all, Luck has been slightly less efficient this year than his career would suggest so there is reason to believe this injury was already affecting his play. Secondly, he is an expensive quarterback and even if he plays there is a chance that he is pulled in game due to building a large lead against the Jaguars. With his cost you need Luck to play 100% of the snaps to make it worth his value. As such playing Luck in cash games is a bit risky. Playing him in GPPs is a good plan as he will likely be under owned due to some of the risk surrounding him.
If Luck is deemed inactive prior to the game you have to consider Matt Hasselbeck. At $4,800 he represents great value against an extremely weak Jaguars defense. He isn’t an automatic play despite his price tag in cash games as you typically want to spend up on your quarterback in cash games since they are more consistent than the other positions. But I would certainly consider him there and make him a part of my GPP plans.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks - $8,600
Bramel: I think the Seahawks will keep the status of Lynch quiet until Monday. There’s a slim chance we’ll get a meaningful update early on Sunday, but Lynch has a specific warmup routine and probably won’t know his own status until late Monday evening. If Lynch and the team know he’s out, I don’t expect that news to break until Monday evening either.
Buzzard: Given that this game is Monday night and the large spread against the Lions there is bound to be a lot of uncertainty surrounding Lynch when lineups lock on Sunday morning. Even if Lynch suits up just like Luck above there is a good chance that he doesn’t finish the game due to a large lead. As such I don’t see much upside in playing Lynch in either cash or GPP games this week.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans - $8,000
Bramel: Foster didn’t confirm he was playing in his Friday press conference, but said he was excited and his doctor had full confidence in the success of his surgery. Foster also hinted the team would take into account the quick turnover to the Week 5 Thursday night game and he would likely rotate with Alfred Blue if he played. I expect Foster to be active and use the first couple of series as a feeling out process. If he feels comfortable, he’s a threat to get 15+ touches. If not, they may keep him in the 10-15 range.
Buzzard: Similar to Lynch, Foster’s status really puts the Texans running game in question. I will have a hard time playing Foster whether or not he is active because his price is high enough that you really need him to be at full strength to hit value. The shark move will be to play Alfred Blue ($6,400) or Chris Polk ($5,100) who will likely be very minimally owned and will have a shot at big upside if Foster isn’t able to play the full game.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints - $8,400
Bramel: Sean Payton told local media the Saints plan on starting Brees. Three consecutive practices, though limited, are reassuring that Brees is no longer feeling any weakness in his throwing shoulder. Playing at home in the controlled environment of the dome works in his favor. But the shoulder could still fatigue as the game progresses or if he takes another hit while following through.
Buzzard: Brees and the Saints offense has an average matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. As such this injury puts a significant damper on his prospects for this week’s game. If he is limited at all or has any setback in the game it will be difficult for him to reach value which makes him an unsafe low upside risk that I won’t be taking in either cash games or GPPs. There is also no reason to take a risk on Luke McCown either.
Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinal - $7,000
Bramel: Andre Ellington admitted he isn’t where he wants to be physically and Bruce Arians said Ellington won’t start if he’s active. That marks Ellington as a game time decision who will be less than full strength, at risk of leaving the game early, and unlikely to be a significant part of the Cardinals’ game plan.
Buzzard: The Rams defense has been very tough thus far this year and Ellington’s status complicates an already crowded Cardinals backfield. There will be better spots for Ellington and David Johnson ($5,500) in the future. I would stay away from them this week.
Check the FanDuel blog on Sunday morning for the latest injury expectations.