Notable Sunday Morning Injury Updates
Chiefs: WR Sammy Watkins (concussion, neck-questionable) needs final clearance in order to play tomorrow night, but he was trending toward playing as of this morning.
Eagles: WR Jalen Reagor (thumb surgery) is expected to miss at least six weeks, which puts him out right up to the team's Week 9 bye. WR Alshon Jeffery (foot-out), I'm told, looked good during his limited work this week. The hope is that they increase his practice time in Week 4 in order to give him a chance to play at the 49ers.
Falcons: WR Julio Jones (hamstring-questionable) plans to warm up today to try to play. In the past, he has played without practicing.
Lions: WR Kenny Golladay (hamstring) has told his teammates that he's planning on playing today. However, he indicated to the local media that the injury isn't fully healed. He seemed to think that he has a better idea of how to handle this hamstring injury than he did earlier in the career with a similar type of injury. Rookie WR Quintez Cephus, who backs him up, is slated to eventually replace veteran WR Marvin Jones down the road.
Packers: The coaches are going to give WR Davante Adams (hamstring-doubtful) a chance to play this evening by seeing how he feels after pre-game warm-ups. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who has really started to gain the confidence of QB Aaron Rodgers and the coaching staff, would start if Adams can't go.
Raiders: RB Josh Jacobs (hip-questionable) and TE Darren Waller (knee-questionable) are expected to be in the lineup today. In fact, I'm told both were "fine" to play after Friday's practice. WR Henry Ruggs (hamstring, knee-out) would have played had he not suffered a hamstring injury during Thursday's practice.
Here's an inside look at tomorrow's injury picture from a fantasy football standpoint where I see some advantages:
1) Falcons vs. Bears: Their brutal secondary (46.3 fantasy points given up vs. opposing WRs) will be even worse off with now two more key players out in the secondary: rookie CB A.J. Terrell (reserve/COVID-19), starting S Ricardo Allen (elbow). They're already without CB Kendall Sheffield (foot), who has yet to play a game this season. He's one of their top-4 CBs.
Terrell's absence will force the coaches to play journeyman CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson more than they would like. The team signed two UDFA CBs off their practice squad for depth purposes. I would fully expect the Bears to attack Wreh-Wilson when he's in the game opposite CB Isaiah Oliver.
BTW, they're also giving up a ton of production to QBs (36.3 fantasy points per game--worst in the NFL), RBs (30.1 FPPG), and TEs (22.7 FPPG).
I know it's only two games, but they're really bad from a personnel standpoint mostly due to injury issues, but some of it is due to average talent and continued underachievement carried over from last season. At some point down the road, their defense will improve, but you might as well take advantage of it now.
2) Vikings vs. Titans: Like the Falcons, their secondary has been absolutely torched through two games (a whopping 53.1 FPG vs WRs--though most of that came in week 1--74.4 FPTS).
Keep in mind starting DE Danielle Hunter (neck) is on IR and so is OLB Anthony Barr (shoulder). These are major losses (our Greg Cosell said Barr is very good in coverage) and now two starting CBs are out: rookie Cameron Danzler (rib-2nd straight game) and Mike Hughes (neck).
Third-year CB Holton Hill, who is very talented but who has had his share of off-the-field issues, will start along with first-round pick Jeff Gladney, who played 82% of the defensive snaps last week against the Colts. Gladney, I'm told, is a very aggressive CB who can be beaten by formation or getting him to bite on fakes, etc.
They have no viable 3rd or 4th CB until Danzler or Hughes returns to the lineup. The advantage here to slot WR Adam Humphries, who has gotten off to a fast start. The Titans mentioned to me recently how much they missed him last season on 3rd downs while he was out with a high ankle sprain.
3) Bengals at Eagles: Their run defense has been bad so far (36.8 FPPG) and they're still without starting DT Geno Atkins (shoulder), who has yet to play this season and veteran DT Mike Daniels (groin) did not practice this week. Players who don't practice during the week typically don't play on game day.
They're going with Christian Covington in place of Atkins if Daniels is inactive. Covington is basically a 4th DT and now they're asking him to play a lot of snaps (59% last week vs. Browns). The Eagles have a major advantage here, especially if Daniels is out. And even if he plays, Daniels will be playing with an injury which caused him to miss all practices this week. Advantage here for Miles Sanders. Sanders, after his first few carries where he looked rusty last week, was really good vs. the Rams.
4) 49ers at Giants: By now, you're aware of some of the key players on defense that are out. But what you may not have realized is how many key backups are also not available…
(2 starters, 3 key backups) DLs: DEs Nick Bosa (ACL-IR), Dee Ford (back/neck-out Week 3), Ronald Blair (ACL-reserve/PUP), DTs Solomon Thomas (ACL-IR), Julian Taylor (knee-reserve/PUP).
(1 starter) LBs: SLB Dre Greenlaw (thigh contusion-out Week 3).
DB: CB Richard Sherman (calf-IR-out through at least Week 4). And inconsistent CB Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring-questionable) got hurt during practice this week and was limited in Thursday and Friday's practice. He started for Sherman last week. If he can't go, they'll go with oft-injured CB Jason Verrett (hamstring-practiced fully this week), who missed the first two games.
Without Sherman in the lineup and if the NYG can protect QB Daniel Jones well, the NYG passing game could actually do quite well in this game.
Some random players I like based on injury or personnel matchups:
Mitchell Trubisky at Falcons: I thought I'd never recommend him, but this matchup is so damn good I'd actually consider him in DFS if I happened to be looking for a cheap QB. The matchup won't get much better than this for him all season. I'm cautiously optimistic that Trubisky can put up 250+ yards and 2 TDs in this ga
Carson Wentz vs. Bengals: Yes, he has been poor so far, but the Bengals have very little pass rush and the Eagles OL actually rebounded very well last week. The Bengals also don't have much talent at CB (much better at S).
Daniel Jones vs. 49ers: It comes down to pass protection here. IF they can protect Jones, he'll have a chance to put up solid numbers. They're getting a huge break with Nick Bosa out.
Cam Newton vs. Raiders: I'm blown away by how well he's playing, but I recall a conversation I had back in July with former NFL WR Torrey Smith. He said that he called Newton the day that he agreed to his contract with the Patriots and Newton was already in the playbook. As one QB who played for the Patriots told me previously, it's a hard offense to learn at first for a QB, but Newton has done a really good job in a short period of time picking it up.
I have a feeling this game will be a blowout with the Raiders coming off of an emotional win at home and on a short week.
Ryan Tannehill at Vikings: See my notes above. I know they don't want him throwing much, but when he does, he'll likely have great success in this game.
Miles Sanders vs. Bengals: See my notes above. I'd be quite shocked if he doesn't have well over 100 yards and at least 1 TD. I'm told he came out of last week's game well (and he's not on the injury report).
Kenyan Drake vs. Lions: I did all I could not to draft him this season (yeah, I hated the Drake), but had to draft him in one of the NFFC leagues because he was the best player on the board in the 2nd round. This week, he faces the NFL team with the worst group of DTs (as mentioned to me by someone who does advance work on the Lions this season).
David Montgomery at Falcons: From talking to the Bears this week, one person said it was his best game as an NFL player. Very decisive, downhill, and he finished his runs well. He'll face a less than average front-7 on Sunday.
Allen Robinson at Falcons: I know he has not been what we thought he would be so far, but the Falcons secondary is really bad--almost as bad as last season. I'm expecting a breakout game here. From talking to the Bears, their entire WR group did not play well last week, but they should bounce back on Sunday.
Darius Slayton vs. 49ers: As a #3 fantasy WR this week against an injured defense, Slayton's matchup without having to face the great Richard Sherman is looking better than expected here.
Adam Humphries at Vikings: See above, but I would also add that his role will continue to grow the longer that starting WR A.J. Brown is out. From what I'm told Brown's knee was bothering him for a bit (not something that just happened in Week 1).
Buccaneers at Broncos: Love the matchup against the wild Jeff Driskel at QB. I'd be surprised if the Broncos passing game has much success in this game. The Buccaneers’ talent on defense has been the best they've had in years and DC Todd Bowles has really gotten the most of the unit going back to mid-season last year.
Colts vs. Jets: The Jets have next to no quality offensive talent on offense on the field on Sunday due to injury. And TE Chris Herndon has been asked to block way more than he should be through 2 games. The Colts D is looking really good here from a personnel standpoint vs. Jets offense.