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.
Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers - $5,000
Bramel: The Chargers confirmed a MCL sprain for Gates on Friday. Gates was cleared to speak with the media and sounded concerned about his availability. Though he’s played effectively through painful injuries in the past, recovery from MCL sprain depends as much on how stable the knee feels as how much pain the athlete feels. If Gates plays, he’s likely to be limited to critical third down and red zone situations.
Buzzard: Gates injury is the biggest injury to track over the weekend. If Gates were 100% he would be the top play on the board as the Raiders have struggled mightily against the tight end. Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like that is going happen this week thanks to his MCL sprain. If Gates suits up he still makes an attractive GPP option as he has played well through pain in the past. The problem with Gates as a GPP play is that a lot of people may still be on him from articles that were written earlier in the week before the extent of his injury was known. As such his ownership will probably be higher than it should be. Combining those two factors I would tend to leave Gates for only very contrarian GPP lineups. Gates should be ignored in cash games as he is too high of an injury risk.
If Gates misses the game Ladarius Green ($2,900) becomes a very attractive option in both GPP and cash games. Green had a disappointing start to the season while Gates was out averaging only 4.6 catches for 58 yards. That said, as mentioned above, Oakland has been quite friendly to tight ends giving Tyler Eiffert, Crockett Gilmore, Gary Barnidge and Martellus Bennett their best games of the season. It should be relatively easy for Green to reach value.
Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers - $7,700
Bramel: Allen did treadmill work through Thursday then had a limited Friday practice. After Friday’s practice, Allen spoke with the media and was very positive about his status and said he felt good and would play this week. There’s a risk of aggravation or ineffectiveness, but all signs on Friday were positive here.
Buzzard: Allen has been off to a great start this year averaging 9 catches for 100 yards through the first six games of the season which is starting to make up for the disaster that was last season. I wouldn’t be worried about his injury this week but the great start has raised Allen’s price tag to a level that is a bit steep. Stevie Johnson is expected to return this week after missing last week and the Raiders have been especially susceptible to the pass against tight ends, as mentioned above, which make Allen a fade for me this week.
Odell Beckham Jr Jr., WR, New York Giants - $8,700
Bramel: Beckham rested until Friday, then put in a limited practice. That’s more than he was able to do last week before looking healthy on Monday night. Barring a surprise during pregame warmups, Beckham shouldn’t be limited much this week.
Buzzard: I am not too concerned about Beckham’s injury this week after playing almost all the snaps last week. The problem with Beckham continues to be the aggressive coverage that other teams are using on him which has greatly affected his target quantity from last year. If you feel fine with Beckham’s matchup this week plug him in but I am not sure I do.
John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals - $5,500
Bramel: Brown was held out of practice on Friday after being limited by hamstring tightness on Thursday. He was allowed to do a radio interview on Friday night, telling Sirius XM host Maurice Jones-Drew that he’ll be good to go on Monday night. A limited (or better) Saturday practice would be even more reassuring.
Buzzard: Brown is a great play this weekend so it is unfortunate that his game is not until Monday night. The Monday night start time limits are options. If the Sunday morning lock comes and we aren’t given a firm answer on his status I would recommend limiting him in my cash games to maybe 20% or less. If we are given a full go you can bump him up significantly. As for GPP lineups I would plug Brown in a fair amount of my lineups as long as we know that he hasn’t been ruled out. The matchup is just too juicy as the Ravens have been susceptible to the big play that Brown excels at.
If we do find out that Brown is inactive that gives a big bump to both Larry Fitzgerald ($7,400) and Michael Floyd ($3,200) who would be amongst the top plays of the weekend and should be in a lot of your cash and GPP lineups. Be sure to follow @jenebramel for Sunday morning updates.
Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots - $6,500
Bramel: Last week, two trusted New England beat reporters felt Lewis’ abdominal injury was a minor issue. After the game, those same reporters felt he looked limited. This week, neither has written anything on Lewis at all. There’s been no indication Lewis has aggravated his injury and will be inactive or limited. There’s also no indication Lewis is healthier than last week. In other words, we’re squarely back in the Belichick zone until pregame warmups…and possibly beyond.
Buzzard: Just when we felt like we were getting a feel for Lewis’s role in the offense things changed quickly. Not only did LeGarrette Blount ($4,800) take the majority of the carries last week he even scored a receiving touchdown against a Colts team that had re-tooled their defense to specifically stop players like Blount. The injuries would be a good reason for this shift and without further news Lewis is squarely on the fade list for me this week. His matchup against the Jets gives us a week to see what Lewis can do without fear of fading him.
Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars - $6,400
Bramel: Robinson practiced fully on Friday. It’s unlikely the Jaguars would have allowed him to steadily increase his practice participation if they had any concern he may suffer a setback. The probable listing is trustworthy and there’s very little chance of a surprise Sunday inactive. The full practice is also reassuring Robinson will not be limited during the game.
Buzzard: While it sounds like Robinson is good to go from an injury perspective there are other problems with him this week. Like Allen above Robinson has had a great start to the season which has risen his price drastically. Throw in a matchup with the Bills in London and you won’t be finding Robinson in my lineups this week.
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jackson Jaguars - $4,500
Bramel: Yeldon is a game time decision. The Jaguars put him through two limited practices, including a Friday walkthrough, with the coaches saying only that they’ll continue to check on him. He’s a game time decision for the early Sunday AM London start.
Buzzard: Yeldon is in a bad spot this week going up against the Bills and their stout defense. The injury makes it an even better fade. If Yeldon is inactive there aren’t really great pivots in the rest of the offense so it is safe to avoid the entire Jaguars team this week.
Bramel: Marshall and Decker were both limited in practice on Friday. But Todd Bowles said their Thursday and Friday limitations weren’t of major concern and the Jets listed both probable. Either could have an aggravation of their injuries on Sunday, but both appear to be coming into the game without limitation.
Buzzard: Neither of these injuries are particularly concerning to me and the Jets have a plus matchup against the Patriots in a game that they should be trailing thus requiring additional passing from Ryan Fitzpatrick. Neither are my go to plays of the week but don’t be afraid to play them in your GPP lineups. An added bonus would be if one had a setback during the game allowing the other extra targets.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs - $6,400
Bramel: It sounds like Maclin made significant progress through the late week practices and could be cleared to play this week. Reading between the lines of Andy Reid’s media comments on Friday, if Maclin comes into the training room without symptoms on Saturday, he will be sent to the independent neurologist for clearance. Expect to hear more on Maclin’s status late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
Buzzard: If Maclin plays he should be close to 100% and will be without limitations in a good matchup against the Steelers. Plug him into your GPP lineups without concerns. If Maclin isn’t cleared to play this week it opens up a big opportunity for Travis Kelce ($4,900). Kelce has been a bit of a disappointment so far this year with only 2 TDs, all of which came during week 1. This would be an ideal spot for Kelce to turn things around and could be plugged into both your cash games in the hole that Gates may have created and is a great GPP option as he has the ability to blow up at any time.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers - $6,800
Bramel: Roethlisberger cannot be formally ruled out yet, but he’s not likely ready to play yet. This week was about testing his mobility on his injured knee and finding a comfort level with a brace. I don’t think the Steelers will risk Roethlisberger aggravating the injury with a key divisional game with the Bengals next week.
Buzzard: If Roethlisberger is active at the last minute he will make for a great GPP play as he will likely be under owned and you can stack him with Antonio Brown, who will also be under owned because most people won’t have the opportunity to make the changes they need. Unfortunately that scenario is unlikely to happen. Landry Jones ($5,100) doesn’t make a great substitute if he is out either.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins - $4,200
Bramel: Reed has reportedly been cleared to play this week. The MCL and ankle sprains he was reportedly dealing with two weeks ago are apparently non-issues. Barring an unexpected recurrence of symptoms this week, Reed should play.
Buzzard: If you think Reed is in a good spot and need cap space play him without worry this week. Reed has been heavily targeted all season long when active so he could explode at any time. I think there are better cash game options this week but don’t mind playing him in some GPP lineups.
Check the DraftKings blog on Sunday morning for the latest injury expectations.