Injury Based Start or Sit Advice, Waiver Wire Pickups and More
Jameis Winston, QB TB – Start
Jameis Winston has been dealing with a shoulder injury for weeks now, one that has regularly made him miss practice but not miss any games. This week is the first week he was able to throw on Wednesday, and that is a good sign. Winston will likely not be 100 percent until the end of the season, as shoulder sprains can take months to heal, but it appears that he is strong enough to be playing near 100 percent. Winston is a QB1 in most leagues, and should be 100 percent owned. The injury is no longer enough of a concern to cut Winston, and in fact he should have his best games going forward.
Devonta Freeman, RB ATL – Cautious Start
Devonta Freeman was injured in the tail end of a 25-20 win against the Jets, and it has caused him to be limited early in the week of practice. Freeman sustained what was described as a “shoulder stinger,” the main symptom of which has been soreness. Freeman will almost surely play in the Week 9 matchup against the Panthers. But because he already splits time with Tevin Coleman, Freeman may not get a very substantial workload. Even if he is feeling 90 percent, he may work more of a 50-50 split with Coleman and may only get 10-15 carries. Freeman will still have value, but use him more as a flex option than an RB1/RB2.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR DEN – Cautious Start
Sanders has been out since twisting his ankle in Week 6 against the Giants, and he hasn’t been able to practice since. With Sanders returning to practice on Wednesday, we must assume they are aiming on having him return this week against the Eagles. We originally had his optimal recovery time at four weeks, meaning that he wouldn’t be 100 percent until next week, but he isn’t far from healthy. He should be at the very least a threat on the field, if not a dominant one. The real question is how Brock Osweiler will pass to Sanders.
Ed Dickson, TE CAR – Cautious Start
While Inside Injuries’ metrics show that Dickson has below average health factors and a higher injury risk, he is likely to play and should at the very least be passable. His ankle injury that he sustained in Week 7 will not be 100 percent healed, but taped up, it should hold. This would normally be a risky start, but with the lack of receiver options in Carolina (Greg Olsen out, Kelvin Benjamin traded), Dickson will likely get more than his fair share of targets just for being on the field. Look for Dickson to get 6-8 targets, if that ankle holds up.
Plug and Play: Tennessee Titans D/ST
The Titans have been in the bottom third of the league from a Fantasy defense perspective so far this season, but this week they provide huge upside with the Ravens coming into town. Joe Flacco is trending towards playing, which may throw some off the scent of this matchup, but it’s still a great one for the Titans’ defense. Flacco has been pretty awful himself, and the Ravens as an offense have struggled mightily for the most part. The main culprit for that has been an offensive line that has been decimated by injury and turnover, most notably the loss of All-Pro guard Marshall Yanda for the season due to a fractured ankle. The strength of Tennessee’s defense has been their front, so expect them to get pressure on Flacco and force multiple turnovers. They are a top-end streamer this week.
Wait and See: Pierre Garcon SF
Pierre Garcon has been frustrated playing in a terrible offense with some terrible quarterbacks this season. He’s been able to muster some decent performances, but overall he hasn’t been able to overcome the lack of talent around him, even with Kyle Shannahan calling the offense. Now, Garcon could be getting help. The ‘Niners trade for Jimmy Garoppolo won’t solve every issue, but he should be able to get the ball to Garcon more consistently. We might finally see the huge target numbers we were expecting, leading to increased production. Garoppolo won’t play this week, but he should be on the field soon enough for San Fran.
One thing to keep an eye on is also the neck injury Garcon is dealing with. He’s currently an Elevated Injury Risk with a Below Average Health Performance Factor according to Inside Injuries. He might miss this week, but it’s worth holding onto him for now to see if the arrival of Garoppolo can prove fruitful over the course of the next few weeks.
Drop: Rob Kelley WAS
Kelley is technically the starting running back for the Washington Redskins right now, but don’t let that fool you. He has just 15 carries since returning from injury in Week 7, and hasn’t had more than 12 in a game this season. He’s still getting over an ankle injury, it seems, which is why he was limited at practice Wednesday and has a Below Average Health Performance Factor designation according to Inside Injuries.
The more pressing issue may be the injuries to the offensive line in front of him. Washington could enter Sunday’s game in Seattle with just one of their starters in the lineup, with guys they signed off the street starting in certain spots. To offset this, Washington is likely going to lean on the screen and quick pass game to try and survive this one, which is why Chris Thompson is a shoe-in for more snaps and carries moving forward. Even when everything has been at full strength, Kelley’s upside is rather limited. Therefore, he’s not worth holding onto during these trying times.
Other Notable Injuries:
Terrelle Pryor, WR WAS – Start
Sterling Shepard, WR NYG – Start
Dez Bryant, WR DAL – Start
Jordan Matthews, WR BUF – Cautious Start
Golden Tate, WR DET – Cautious Start
Rob Kelley, RB WAS – Cautious Start
Jeremy Maclin, WR BAL – Risky Start
Marqise Lee, WR JAX – Risky Start
Jimmy Graham, TE SEA – Sit
Delanie Walker, TE TEN – Sit
Terrance West, RB BAL – Sit
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