Check in on Sunday morning for actives/inactives
This article will be published Friday and continuously updated through Sunday morning.
This is in addition to a Tuesday update with transaction recommendations, and a Thursday Night Football preview. Remember that these projections are an imperfect analysis working with the most current information and five years of historical data. If players practice in full, they’ll be excluded from any specific analysis and should be assumed healthy unless otherwise stated.
The following fantasy-relevant players are officially OUT this week, doubtful, or trending in the wrong direction:
“*” indicates full breakdown below
Bryce Young (OUT)
Logan Thomas (OUT)
Anthony Richardson (OUT)
Justice Hill (OUT)
Jamaal Williams (OUT)
Odell Beckham Jr (OUT)
Zay Jones (OUT)
Austin Ekeler* (OUT)
Joe Burrow - Calf
Zac Taylor lied about A.J. Green in 2019, then he lied about Joe Mixon in 2020. So there’s little reason to believe anything that he says. Burrow was officially a DNP on Thursday (for their Monday night game) and the Bengals signed another QB. In reality, whether Burrow plays or not is simply the first layer. The second layer is how effective he’ll be. The third layer is can he stay on the field? I don’t give hard recommendations often, but I’m personally looking another direction this week at QB even in superflex leagues and just live with the result. Burrow is still a high risk to sit as of Friday. The flip side here is you could do worse by targeting the Rams defense with Jake Browning as the next-best option in Cincinnati.
CJ Stroud - Shoulder
Stroud’s adjusted completion percentage was virtually unchanged from Week 1 to Week 2. There’s nothing to see here until there are objective signs it’s an issue.
Austin Ekeler - High Ankle
Don’t expect Ekeler back if the Chargers win in Week 3. A less than 100% Ekeler in Week 4 if LAC loses again is in the cards.
Saquon Barkley - High Ankle
Saquon admitted he has a high ankle sprain. Week 5 is the soonest possible return for him.
Aaron Jones - Hamstring
Jones returned to practice this week and is trending in the right direction. NFL RBs see a recurrence rate around 24%, which is high. There is a reality in which you don’t need to start Jones this week to avoid the risk. For example, it’s more than possible gamers have some combination of Rachaad White, Jerome Ford, and Kyren Williams. However, the only hard recommendation is to not utilize Jones in cash games.
Kendre Miller - Hamstring
With a hamstring recurrence rate of 24% and a meniscus repair already this year, he’s highly volatile in Week 3 but could see a massive opportunity. He’s a viable flex play in Week 3 and a GPP play only understanding the risks.
Isiah Pacheco - Hamstring
This shouldn’t interfere with his Week 3 availability or performance.
Derrick Henry - Toe
We’ve panicked about Henry before, but he’s off the injury report now. However, you should have Tyjae Spears anywhere you can get him for the upside.
Jaylen Waddle - Concussion
The Dolphins have said that Waddle hasn’t practiced, but he still has a chance to clear protocol by Saturday. Since 2018, 52% of WRs return to game action the first week after a concussion. However, given the Dolphins’ history with the protocol in 2022, it will be interesting to see how they play it with Waddle. If he returns in Week 3, he’s highly volatile due to a 36% dip in production. He’s not a must-start in season-long leagues and should be avoided in cash. However, he was likely a top 4 pick for you so if you need him, throw him out there and see what happens as he needs just one target to pay off.
Christian Watson - Hamstring
Watson returned to practice on Friday and it feels like he’s gonna give it a go on Sunday. Be sure and check back on Sunday morning, though. There’s a 30% hamstring recurrence rate Watson has already succumbed to this calendar year. Fantasy gamers who need a big week or don’t mind the risk can start him if he’s active. But he should absolutely be faded in cash games.
DeAndre Hopkins - High Ankle
Hopkins was limited on Thursday after a full practice participation on Wednesday. By no means is Hopkins a must-start this week as his route participation dropped by 20% from Week 1 to Week 2 and he’s clearly not 100% yet. This is yet another opportunity to target Treylon Burks in GPP games despite the tough matchup.
Amon-Ra St. Brown - Toe
St. Brown was back at practice on a limited basis. Given the volume of targets and advanced analytics like TDIH (That Dog in Him), you should start him everywhere and absorb any perceived risk.
Puka Nacua - Oblique
Unless there are reports that he’s downgraded this week, don’t anticipate a big impact in availability or performance. Start him.
DK Metcalf - Ribs
Metcalf hasn’t practiced this week, but “is on track to play” according to Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune. This matches data that shows 71% of WRs play one week after a ribs injury. Just be sure to check in on this before Sunday. Start Metcalf as performance is not generally impacted.
DeVonta Smith - Hamstring/Thigh
This is worth mentioning as he was limited in practice, but this injury should be an absolute hair splitter between Smith and another WR of equal or higher ceiling. Do not bench him under any other circumstances.