Injury Based Start or Sit Advice for Week 8
Jameis Winston, QB TB – Start
Jameis Winston was again out of practice on Wednesday in order to help heal his AC joint heal. But this looks to be the same strategy that the Bucs took with him last week when they rested him on Wednesday and Thursday before giving him full reps on Friday. The plan worked last week, and he passed for 384 yards and three touchdowns against a solid Bills defense. Expect Winston to limit his reps again on Thursday and get full reps Friday. If he is limited in practice on Friday, then consider putting him on your bench. But that is unlikely to happen.
Stefon Diggs, WR MIN – Cautious Start
Stefon Diggs has missed the last two games with a groin injury, but things are looking up. He was limited in practice on Wednesday but put in a full practice on Thursday. The fact that he is getting into full practice mode before the end of the week is a good sign, and a lot will depend on his practice on Friday. If he comes back out with another full practice, owners should be confident that he will start and get a full number of snaps. If he is pulled back into a limited status, that is a very bad sign and owners should be extremely cautious. Even if he starts, he probably won’t be 100 percent, as Inside Injuries’ Health Performance Factor has him at 61.5 percent, or Below Average. But he is a top receiver for Minnesota, so if he starts he will be worth putting in all but the deepest lineups. Treat him as a WR2 for this week.
Melvin Gordon, RB LAC – Cautious Start
Melvin Gordon is the definition of banged up right now. From Weeks 3-5, Gordon was dealing with a knee injury, and last week he was listed as having a shoulder injury. Well, this week it’s his foot that is bothering him. Most running backs with his recent health would definitely qualify as a Risky Start, but Melvin has played through all of his injuries to mostly successful outcomes. Keep an eye on practice, and if he is not a full participant by Friday, then maybe you can get a little worried, but for now, he will continue to get volume and have the chance to rest up during his Week 9 bye.
Michael Thomas, WR NO – Cautious Start
Michael Thomas missed practice on Wednesday with a knee issue, but rumor is he is still likely to play. This looks as if he may have just been getting some rest early in the week in order to heal up that knee ailment. If he comes out to full practice on Thursday or Friday, then he will be slated to start. Owners still want to play Thomas with caution, however, because Inside Injuries’ give Thomas an Overall Health Risk of 27.18 percent, which is very high. That means there is a good chance he will hurt himself mid-game. He also has a Below Average Health Performance Factor, meaning that even if he plays all of the snaps that he normally does, he probably won’t perform at his same elite level.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR DEN – Risky Start
Emmanuel Sanders is day-to-day with an ankle injury that kept him out last week. It is still up in the air if the Broncos will start him, but they certainly shouldn’t. The injury he sustained two weeks ago has an Optimal Recovery Time of 4-8 weeks, so even if he was on the quick side of things, he would still be a week early if he comes back this week. Add to that the fact that the Broncos offense has been pretty dreadful recently, and he is definitely not a guy to look towards for big production. If when Sunday comes you feel confident he will start, then you can consider him a flex option, but due to his High Overall Injury Risk, it might be better to forgo the start even if he is slated to play.
Plug and Play: Kenny Golladay DET
Golladay has been a pretty big disappointment following his breakout Week 1 performance, dealing with a hamstring injury that cost him the last three games before the Lions’ Week 7 bye. However, the rookie wideout is on track to return Week 8 against Pittsburgh, and he could be in a position to put up some solid numbers. Golden Tate is dealing with a shoulder injury, and it seems more likely than not that he will miss Sunday night’s game. Tate is an Elevated Injury Risk with a Below Average Health Performance Factor according to Inside Injuries and has yet to put in more than a limited practice this week.
Golladay, on the other hand, is a Low Injury Risk with an Above Average Health Performance Factor, backing the notion that he will indeed return this week. The Steelers have been solid defensively and aren’t a great matchup on paper for Golladay, but if Tate is out, the targets should be there. With Pittsburgh rolling and the Lions fading, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Lions were to fall behind early and have to air it out a bunch. That recipe is enough for Golladay to be a solid flex option in deeper leagues for Week 8.
Wait and See: Willie Snead NO
The Saints surprising turnaround has featured plenty of breakouts on the offensive side of the ball. Snead has not been one of those, however, and he has been a non-factor all season. Snead has only played one game this season, catching just one pass for 11 yards, due to a three-game suspension and a nagging hamstring issue. If you’re still holding onto Snead, it has been a frustrating ride.
However, Snead looks ready to return Week 8, as he has been practicing in full this week. Inside Injuries still has him as an Elevated Injury Risk, but all signs point to him suiting back up. With the Saints starting to roll offensively and Snead set to return, he has to be a hold at this point. His absolute lack of production this year hurts, but we’ve seen what he can do in this offense, especially when it’s moving the way it is right now. He could be a potential flex option moving forward, but you have to be patient. Give him some time to establish himself on the field before deciding to cut him loose.
Drop: Martavis Bryant PIT
Bryant’s return from a season-long suspension in 2016 has been a nightmare. He has openly complained about not being used the way he’d like to be in the Steelers offense, and he has put up microscopic numbers. Bryant was supposed to be the big play option opposite Antonio Brown, but he has lost snaps to the likes of rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster. Mike Tomlin has already said that Bryant won’t play in Week 8, due to his comments on social media following the Steelers’ win last week against Cincinnati. It’s possible that he gets with the program and rebounds in the second half of the season but for now, it looks like his only way back into the lineup is an injury to Brown or another Pittsburgh receiver. Seeing as Brown has missed just one game the past four-plus seasons, that doesn’t seem like something worth banking on.
Other Notable Injuries:
Golden Tate, WR DET – Cautious Start
Willie Snead, WR NO – Cautious Start
Devin Funchess, WR CAR – Cautious Start
Jonathan Stewart, RB CAR – Risky Start
Danny Amendola, WR NE – Sit
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