Fantasy Football: Week 9 Injury Report
Injuries are an unfortunate part of football. It's one thing we hate having occur to not only the players we roster but within the game itself. With that said, this does create opportunities for teammates, opening up potential pickups in season-long leagues while also producing value plays in daily fantasy football.
Using the practice report, we can glean a lot of information based on who's available and what coaches are saying from press conferences. This knowledge can allow us to make emergency plans to pivot or change our lineups come Sunday morning when inactives are announced.
Based on this week's practice reports, here are a few quick-hitters to give you a leg up on lineup decisions as crunch time approaches for Sunday lineup lock.
Tyreek Hill (groin) had a minor setback in practice this week but should be good to go this week. A key cog in the Kansas City Chiefs offense, Hill is currently WR4 in PPR formats and will have some challenges this week against the Cleveland Browns' passing defense, which is best in the league per numberFire's metrics. Still, this shouldn't discourage owners from playing their stud wide receivers -- especially for a player who can accrue points via the air, rush attempts, and can take special teams kicks for touchdowns at a moment's notice.
Mike Evans (knee) was a missing participant on Wednesday but upgraded in the following practices. With Ryan Fitzpatrick as the signal caller this week, Evans looks to be a solid WR1 against the Carolina Panthers. Evans was WR6 through the first four weeks in which Fitzpatrick played but was WR16 in the weeks Jameis Winston has played. Evans should be a big contributor to the Bucs' offense as the oddsmakers show this game totaling 55 points, which is third among Week 9's games.
Cooper Kupp (knee) has been practicing on a limited basis but has been trending upward, Head Coach McVay expects Kupp to be active on Sunday. Kupp was fantasy's WR5 leading into Week 5 -- which is when he was injured -- and had a 23% target market share and 18% of the team's air yards during that early portion of the season. In a game where the scoring environment should be electric against the New Orleans Saints, Kupp is numberFire's WR16, with a projected 10.33 points in FanDuel scoring.
Royce Freeman was officially labeled as DNP on Thursday, but that was for team drills only. Freeman did participate in individual drills. A bystander at Friday's practice and handed a questionable tag, it's worth noting that the Broncos are on bye next week and the team could hold him back to give him an extra week off. Phillip Lindsay has been the better running back this season on a Rushing Net Expected Points per carry basis (.16) and by Receiving Net Expected Points per target (.28). Freeman's at .02 and -.11, respectively. Lindsay saw a season-high 21 touches last week despite Devontae Booker having 13 touches himself.
Theo Riddick has been limited in the Detroit Lions' practices this week after missing time since the Week 6 bye. Kerryon Johnson has seen a usage bump with Theo sidelined, particularly in the receiving game, where he saw eight targets last week. If Theo returns this week it shouldn't be a surprise if he gets his share of passing downs back, and with Golden Tate out of the picture Riddick could theoretically be in line for a Tate-lite role as the low depth of target receiver that can generate yards after the catch.
Melvin Gordon (hamstring) has been limited throughout the week after the Los Angeles Chargers are coming off their bye. Head Coach Anthony Lynn has been noncommittal to Gordon's availability for Sunday. Gordon missed Week 7 and the team relied on Austin Ekeler, who played 42 of 44 of the team's offensive snaps and logged only seven touches. Ekelar had some stand alone value as a backup, but if Gordon misses he should be in-line for a large role against the Seattle Seahawks. Ekeler is available in 35% of ESPN leagues if you need a bye week fill-in.
Dalvin Cook has been out for a number of weeks now but is trending upward, practicing in a limited fashion and officially heading into the week questionable. There is a report that indicates that Cook is playing but on a snap count. Latavius Murray has been a true workhorse for the Minnesota Vikings and has dominated running back touches, and last week he saw six targets -- a season-high -- which is assuring to know that he might be less game-flow dependent than fantasy players think. Playing either, particularly Cook, would be a gamble given that they will split touches.
Stefon Diggs (ribs) was injured during the Sunday night game last week and has not practiced for the team's first two practices, though he was seen on Friday. Diggs has a notable injury history but most of which have been lower body, which is less concerning given that he is not dealing with that. However, he's questionable and could be held out this week given that the team is on bye next week. It doesn't need to be said that Adam Thielen is on a historical pace and will get his targets, but this could really benefit Kyle Rudolph, who's been an ancillary piece in the Vikings offense. In a week with limited tight end options, Rudolph has one of the better matchups here with the Detroit Lions ranking 31st in numberFire's passing defense and allowing .31 Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
Sony Michel (knee) has been limited in practice this week. As all things New England Patriots related, they are a hard team to diagnose and their practice reports are no different, most players who pop up on the injury report are always labeled as limited and rare to see them progress throughout the week. With that said, Michel plays Sunday night where most owners won't know whether he will be active until mid-day Sunday. Best practice would be to have another player in place or keep Michel in your flex spot and swap him out with a bench player. Michel is currently numberFire's 29th-ranked running back.
Allen Robinson was tagged as questionable on Friday's injury report and was limited in practice. He started the week missing two practices in a row, which signifies Robinson is not quite at full health. Robinson missed last week, which allowed Josh Bellamy (83% snaps, five targets) and Anthony Miller (73% snaps, seven targets) to fill in at wide receiver. Mitchell Trubisky doesn't appear to heavily favor one receiver over the other, but the Buffalo Bills have fared well against opposing passers this season. The Bills' passing defense has allowed only one game of more than 300 passing yards and have three games where they allowed multiple passing touchdowns.
Torrey Smith missed last week's game and has been held out this week with a knee injury. Rookie D.J. Moore made the best of the situation and posted season-highs in snaps (71%), routes run (29, Per Pro Football Focus), targets (6), and receiving yards (90). It is worth noting that Moore was on his way up the snaps and target pecking order leading into Week 8 since the Carolina Panthers bye week (41%, 45%, 46% snaps and 4, 5, 5 targets), but it's apparent that Smith has been blocking his playing time when healthy.
As is with all injuries, each individual situation is fluid. Make sure to keep tabs throughout the weekend and keep up with our numberFire player news feed for up-to-date reports prior to kickoff. Good luck this week!
Gabriel Garrido is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Gabriel Garrido also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username guhreedoe28. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.