Fantasy Football: Wild Card Round 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 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 lineup lock.
Allen Robinson (ribs), Taylor Gabriel (ribs), and Anthony Miller (shoulder) have been full participants in practice this week, so all should be expected to play. This is excellent news for Mitchell Trubisky's prospects, who is getting back a full receiving corps, on top of tight end Trey Burton and explosive pass catching running back Tarik Cohen. This does, however, make it difficult to allocate targets and select independent players for DFS purposes. Robinson led the team in target share (22%) but only narrowly, as Gabriel (18%) and Cohen (18%) are right behind him, with Burton (15%) not far out in the distance. Miller seems to be the odd man out here with an 11% target share on the season and having failed to reach a 50% snap rate over the last four games. With such few elite options at running back and tight end on the slate, Cohen and Burton are intriguing stand-alone players. They are conveniently affordable on FanDuel with price tags of $7,000 and $6,200, respectively.
Melvin Gordon (ankle) was a full participant on Wednesday and Thursday practice, and is expected to play. Gordon suffered an ankle injury in the Los Angeles Chargers' finale in Week 17, but it is promising that he practiced in full. Gordon has not been effective in their last two games, which is when he returned from his knee injury in Week 16. Gordon's opportunities have dipped with 15 and 13 in those two games, and he has struggled with them. The Chargers' running back rushing success rate dropped to 31.7% after averaging 45.9% on the season, and hisreceiving success rate dropped to 33% after averaging an astronomical 64%. Gordon and the Chargers will have a tough test on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, who finished the regular season as the second-best defensive unit.
T.Y. Hilton (ankle) and Zach Pascal (knee) are officially questionable. Pascal was able to record a full practice on Thursday, but Hilton has been a non-participant. It's tough to imagine that the Indianapolis Colts will be without their star receiver for their playoff game, so the expectation should be that he will play but effectiveness can be questioned. Pascal has logged over 50% in the last five games but his target volume is boom-or-bust as he's just as likely to record one target as he is six or seven. Hilton, on the other hand, has been a stud for the Colts. The receiver leads the team in market share (21%), air yards (34%) and weighted opportunity rating (0.55) over the team's last three games. Hilton has crushed the Houston Texans throughout his career, and this season was no different, racking up 13 catches on 18 targets with 314 receiving yards. The Colt should be one of the chalkier receivers on FanDuel at $7,700.
Keke Coutee (hamstring) has been deemed questionable. Coutee was able to log a full practice this week and appears to be trending up despite the injury status. Coach Bill O'Brien mentioned that Coutee will be a game time decision on Saturday, and fortunately the Texans play in the first game on the slate, meaning DFS players will be able to adjust to news prior to lock. This would be Coutee's first game since Week 12. On the season, Coutee caught 28 of a possible 41 targets with 287 receiving yards and one touchdown. The player that sees an impact with or without Coutee would be DeAndre Carter, who's logged 70% of the snaps with 15 targets over the last three games. Carter and Coutee are similarly priced on FanDuel this weekend, with only a $400 difference between the two.
Austin Ekeler (groin) has been limited in practice this week. He missed Weeks 15 and 16, and was able to return to the team's final game but got injured in the process. Ekelar's groin injury is not related to the one he suffered previously though. With Gordon expected to play, Ekeler should be his backup on Sunday and will receive a handful of opportunities. On the season, he has accounted for 35% of the teams running back carries and 12% market share, but he has been very efficient when he's gotten those chances; the Charger has a 46.2% rushing success rate to go along with a 76.9% receiving success rate, amounting to 68 scrimmage yards per game.
Ryan Grant (toe) missed practice this week and was ruled out. Grant's role as a part-time receiver should secure Dontrelle Inman and Chester Rogers within the Indianapolis Colts' top three receivers. Inman has played over 50% of the team's snaps in the last four games and accounted for five or more targets in three of four. Rogers has also played over 50% in the last three games but only has 12 targets during that span.
The Colts were second in the league in three wide receiver sets, with 83% of the team's plays being run out of that formation (per SharpFootball Stats). In their base offense the Colts' periphery receivers have tended to fluctuate between playing time and target share with all at full health, which presents risk when picking individual receivers. Still, the matchup is desirable as the Texans have the worst passing defense among all playoff teams, per our rankings.
As it 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.