Michael Crabtree, WR OAK – Cautious Start
Michael Crabtree has been one of the most productive wide receivers in the NFL through Week 3, averaging 16.0 points per week, mostly carried by a monster 80-yard, three touchdown Week 2. His chest injury in Week 3 forced him to leave early, and it is something to watch in practice this week. Our Health Performance Factor does not peg Crabtree’s injury as a serious impairment to his performance, but it does carry the risk of forcing him to exit early once again. All it takes is one big hit, and he could be knocked out for the game. His ceiling should still make him a play for Week 4, but if you are deciding between Crabtree and another WR2, maybe take the safe route and defer to the other option.
Plug and Play: Robert Woods LAR
Woods had a great game last Thursday night, catching 6 passes for 108 yards. If Sammy Watkins misses this week due to a concussion, Woods should fill in as the no. 1 option for Jared Goff. Concussions are always a tricky business nowadays in the NFL, and Watkins is an Elevated Injury Risk with a Below Average Health Performance Factor according to Inside Injuries. The offense has been built around Todd Gurley so far, but against a Cowboys defense that has been bad against the pass (18th in the league, which includes a terrific opener against an inept Giants offense), there should be yards in the passing game for someone, and Woods would look like the number 1 option here, with Cooper Kupp in the mix as well. Kupp may be a better pickup long-term, but Woods is available in more leagues and looks like a better option Sunday if Watkins is out. Woods could factor in as a flex option in deeper leagues.
Julio Jones, WR ATL – Cautious Start
Julio Jones left late in Week 3 with a lower back injury. Backs can be tricky, and for many players this would be considered a “risky start,” but Julio Jones is something of a machine. The Falcons plan to limit him at practice this week, but for now the plan is to have him play. Things could still change rapidly, so keep an eye on him throughout the week and during next week’s game. It will likely continue to bother him, but his elite athleticism should still serve him well.
DeMarco Murray, RB TEN – Risky Start
Demarco Murray aggravated his hamstring injury in Week 2, and at the time we gave Murray a three-week recovery window. Entering Week 4, he is still a week away from optimum health, and we think he should be benched another week. But recently information came out that Murray will play in Week 4. This means he will at the very least get some carries, but we are worried about not only his efficiency, but that he will aggravate his leg injury once again. He had a great game in Week 3, but that doesn’t mean he is out of the woods yet.
Tyler Eifert, TE CIN – Sit
Tyler Eifert is extremely banged up right now, and he is a few weeks away from contention. There are concerns surrounding his knee and his back, both recurring injuries. He missed time during the preseason dealing with knee tendinitis and underwent back surgery last season, so this is a flare-up of the same injury. He will not play Week 4, and he may be worth dropping in smaller leagues where there are some solid tight end options on waivers. Even once he comes back in a few weeks, Eifert still is an injury magnet with 8 injuries in the last 3 seasons.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR CAR – Sit
Kelvin Benjamin is currently listed as day-to-day, but he will almost certainly not play in Week 4. He injured his knee, the same knee that he tore the ACL in in 2015, and while scans confirmed the injury was not serious, it will still take a few weeks to heal. Consider him out for Week 4, and doubtful for Week 5, with Week 6 being the first week he should seriously think about playing. The good news, however, is this is far from season-ending, and he should be back before the midpoint of the season.
Other Injuries of Note:
Martavis Bryant, WR PIT – Start
Charles Clay, TE BUF – Start
Cam Newton, QB CAR – Cautious Start
Amari Cooper, WR OAK – Cautious Start
Jay Ajayi, RB MIA – Cautious Start
Sammy Watkins, WR LAR – Cautious Start
Melvin Gordon, RB LAC – Cautious Start
Terrance West, RB BAL – Cautious Start
J.J. Nelson, WR ARI – Cautious Start
Jack Doyle, TE IND – Cautious Start
Isaiah Crowell, RB CLE – Cautious Start
DeAndre Hopkins, WR HOU – Risky Start
John Brown, WR ARI – Risky Start
Kenny Stills, WR MIA – Risky Start
Danny Amendola, WR NE – Risky Start
Adrian Peterson, RB NO – Risky Start
Doug Baldwin, WR SEA – Risky Start
Carlos Hyde, RB SF – Risky Start
Delanie Walker, TE TEN – Sit
Jordan Reed, TE WSH – Sit
Matt Forte, RB NYJ – Sit
Jimmy Graham, TE SEA – Sit
C.J. Prosise, RB SEA – Sit
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