Below is a no-nonsense quick-hitting analysis of current player injuries that could impact performance on game day. For any questions related to this article such as “should I drop [player A] for [player B]?” please refer to the staff’s weekly projections. In reality, there isn’t much information available yet; however, definitely bookmark this as it will be updated and fleshed out through Sunday morning. This second version includes players who are on the injury report and/or have a notable status prior to Week Four.
The following players have been ruled out as of Saturday:
Sam Darnold- Doubtful
Chris Godwin - Hamstring
Godwin missed the last two games because of a hamstring injury. This is something the Bucs are obviously taking slow with him due to his recent history with this injury. Nevertheless, Godwin practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday which is a good sign as he didn’t practice at all leading up to Week 5. Even better is that before Week 1 his teammate, Mike Evans, waited until Friday to get in a limited practice then played and caught a touchdown. This tells us Arians will trot players out there if they show even partial signs of effectiveness. Another positive note is that the average missed time for hamstring injuries is 2 games which he’s obviously already surpassed… short week or not. As it stands today, there's a better than 50% chance Godwin plays. Is that a slam dunk? No. Is there extra volatility around Godwin on Sunday if he’s ultimately active? Absolutely. Either way, so long as no new reports surface and he isn’t downgraded before Sunday, I think Godwin will be available.
Update: Full participation on Friday. All systems go (with a touch of volatility this week due to re-injury risk).
Mike Evans - Ankle
This is just something to monitor. He was limited Wednesday then limited Thursday. If you feel like Evans hasn’t looked like himself, this could be why.
Leonard Fournette- Ankle
Fournette has missed two weeks and was limited all week in practice. He’s questionable for Week 6 and has a chance to play but I would be surprised if he does. Furthermore, it’s unknown if this is a lateral ankle sprain or a high ankle sprain, so timelines are a bit blurry. Lastly, his history complicates the matter more. Is this a recurrence or a new injury? I’m not trusting him if he’s active before even considering the backfield distribution.
Julio Jones - Hamstring
Speaking of a 2 game absence with a hamstring injury, this would be Julio’s second game officially missed. He still hasn’t practiced (it’s been two weeks) and I don’t expect him to play. He tweaked this issue in Week 2, missed Week 3, tried playing through Week 5, and well, here we are. This isn’t going away soon but when it does, I don’t think it’ll be this week. I’m concerned about the rest of season for Julio.
Update: Jones was shockingly removed from the injury report completely and will play this week. I’m personally not going to go all-in on Julio until I see him finish a game, but I would understand the need to start him.
DJ Chark - Ankle
Chark hasn’t practiced at all yet and this is looking eerily similar to the 2019 version of this injury. Unfortunately, he has a history of ankle injuries so it’s extremely hard to predict he’ll be active at this point. If he is, understand this is a game in which his snaps, routes, and overall production could take a hit.
Update: Chark is questionable for Sunday and I would be surprised if he starts but as coaches have shown us this year, expectations can change. If Chark does play, his floor and ceiling are extremely wide apart.
Darius Slayton- Foot
Art Stapelton expects Slayton to play. It’s obviously not a slam dunk, but if the team isn’t taking it too seriously and Art is saying he’ll play, there’s not much overall concern. Clinically, this could go either way. A week full of limited practices either means the team wants the player to take some time to rest or the injury is legit. It sounds like this is the former and not the latter.
Odell Beckham Jr. - Illness
He took a COVID test on Thursday and the Browns should know by Friday what the initial results are. Keep in mind that not only is this concerning from a perspective of potentially getting the disease and his health suffering, if it’s negative he’ll be playing in a game after he felt sick all week. Even if he doesn’t have COVID being sick the Thursday before an NFL game is never good as fatigue and hydration become an issue. Continue to monitor his status.
Update: He's cleared for Sunday but is a volatile choice. Even though he didn’t have COVID, he was sick so overall fatigue and implementation into the game plan could be an issue. Add in the tough matchup and you’ll have to rely on shear volume, gadget plays, or a superhuman performance from Mayfield.
Jarvis Landry- Hips/ribs
Landry has been playing through pain and took a shot last week before crawling off the field. Now with the added ribs issue, Landry didn’t practice this week except for the walk through. There’s about a 40-50% chance Landry doesn’t play in my opinion, but rejoice if he’s active. If active, it’ll be a tough matchup with this pain-control issue.
Breshad Perriman- Ankle
If he’s coming off a high ankle sprain, this is his first chance at coming back. Gase said he expects Perriman to be active as well. But I mean, how confident are you in a wide receiver in that offense likely still dealing with residual effects of a high ankle sprain?
Noah Fant - Ankle
After being sidelined since October 1st, Fangio says of Fant “I think he’s truly questionable- 50-50.”
Well, considering this is the second straight week Fant has been limited on a Thursday, your guess is as good as mine. Looking at averages for ankle injuries: Average missed days for lateral (low) ankle sprains is 6-14 days, for high ankle sprains 15 days. Because we don’t know which specific type this is, we hope that the law of averages doesn’t steer us in the wrong direction. Fant is a toss-up to play. Given the landscape of tight end this year (again) if he’s active, you probably have to play him.
Update: Officially ruled out. Apparently this is a high ankle sprain according to Fant himself.
Curtis Samuel- Knee
There isn’t a lot of information on what this injury is but we do know a few things. First, Samuel was limited all week in practice. Second, new head coach Matt Rhule is being very conservative with Christian McCaffrey and his injury. Third, after inspecting the first five weeks of the injury report from Carolina, it seems that most players who were out on Sunday didn’t practice the Friday before. I would say there’s better than 50% chance he plays, but understand there might be some volatility with him this week.
John Brown- Knee
Brown practiced fully on Friday and should be ready this week. Overall the 30 year old carries volatility but in the short term, he seems to be recovered.
Baker Mayfield - Chest
Mayfield’s got a ribs injury that can be extremely painful to play through. He’s been limited all week but regardless of his practice status, this injury makes him volatile this week. Taking one shot to the ribs could be enough to knock him out. Just understand that this week.
Update: He’s questionable and I’m still nervous about his overall upper quarter health against the Steelers.