This is the final week of the regular season for most fantasy leagues and for many of you all the research, lineup and waiver decisions you made may come down to this one matchup. There is a ton of news this week and staying up to date on these tidbits is vital for your chances of winning. Let’s kick it off with our Thursday Night Game.
Thursday Night Football
This week’s Thursday night game between the Cowboys and Saints features a lot of big fantasy names. Drew Brees will have to go on the road, but historically he has been nearly just as good on the road indoors as at home, so that shouldn’t be a factor. WR Tre’Quan Smith (foot) is the only injured player fantasy gamers should have been concerned about and he was removed from the injury report. Almost all fantasy options need to be started in this one as the surging Cowboys will try to hold their position as the NFC East’s No. 1 team. For an in-depth breakdown on every fantasy-relevant player be sure to check out Evan Silva’s Matchups article.
Marlon Mack still in concussion protocol
The Colts have gotten off to a rough start this week on the injury front. T.Y. Hilton (groin) and Eric Ebron (back) didn’t practice Wednesday and Marlon Mack remains in the concussion protocol. Hilton and Ebron are likely just resting and are expected to play this week but Mack’s status is in serious doubt. Unless he clears the concussion protocol on Thursday it’s highly unlikely he plays against the Jaguars.
When Mack has been out, RB Nyheim Hines has seen 66 percent of the red zone carries and according to Rotoworld’s John Daigle, “Nyheim Hines averaged 7.2 carries + 8.5 targets on 63% of snaps without Mack earlier this year (four games). Jordan Wilkins averaged 8.5 carries in those contests.” If Mack sits, Hines is very much in play as a flex or desperation RB2 in PPR leagues.
Devin Funchess remains out
The Panthers’ receiving corps could be shorthanded heading into Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers. Curtis Samuel (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday, a warning flag for a player who has dealt with hamstring injuries in his past. Devin Funchess also remains out, leaving D.J. Moore in a great spot to continue soaking up a major target share. Using TheQuantEdge.com’s injury tool, DJ Moore has seen a 23.5 percent target share on snaps Funchess has missed. Moore is a locked-and-loaded WR2 in a matchup against the weak Buccaneers secondary.
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Kerryon Johnson (knee) remained sidelined at Wednesday’s practice.
Johnson was unable to play in Week 12 after narrowly avoiding a season-ending injury. His recovery doesn’t seem to be as speedy as once thought as he continues to miss practice. His status is up in the air and now it seems likely he will miss this week’s game against the Rams.
As 10-point underdogs the Lions figure to be playing from behind for most of the game. When running an offensive play while losing, the Lions have passed at the sixth-highest rate in the league (72 percent). This makes Theo Riddick an intriguing play in daily fantasy as he will have no competition for the pass-catching running back role. The scope of targets will also be extremely narrow with WR Marvin Jones out as well. Kenny Golladay and Theo Riddick will likely be the most heavily targeted pass-catchers.
Gus Edwards out with ankle injury Wednesday
It was a busy day for Edwards in the news. To start, ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley expects Edwards to “continue to carry the load at running back” for Baltimore. This would make sense as Edwards has been balling out with dynamic QB Lamar Jackson keeping defenses honest and RB Alex Collins didn’t practice on Wednesday.
The issue is Edwards didn’t practice on Wednesday either due to an ankle injury. The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec speculated Gus Edwards‘ ankle injury could prompt the Ravens to activate Kenneth Dixon (knee, injured reserve). Edwards’ practice participation is something that needs to be monitored. If the Ravens are without Edwards and Collins, Dixon will be very much in play in DFS formats and a potential flex option in PPR leagues.
Jalen Ramsey (knee) did not practice Wednesday. HC Doug Marrone said “there is a “high level of concern” he won’t be able to play. This would be catastrophic for a defense that hasn’t played up to its 2017 level. … Leonard Fournette‘s appeal of his one-game suspension was denied. This means he will be forced to sit out against the Colts in Week 13 due to an altercation in last week’s game. T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde figure to share the workload. … A.J. Green (toe) participated in Wednesday morning’s walkthrough and will play in Week 13 against the Broncos. This is a good sign for the Bengals who are severely lacking playmakers and will now be starting Jeff Driskel at quarterback. He is tough to start given the quarterback situation. … Jets placed LG James Carpenter on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, ending his season. Carpenter hasn’t played all that well this year and was graded as 65-of-77 qualifying guards according to Pro Football Focus. As Carpenter is a free agent it’s unlikely he will be back with the Jets next season. … Danny Amendola (knee) is not practicing Wednesday. His absence doesn’t mean much as he played only 14 snaps last week and caught his only target for 13 yards. … Sammy Watkins (foot) remained sidelined at Wednesday’s practice. This is bad news for Watkins who had the whole bye week to rest up. If he practices on Thursday there is a slight chance he plays. The Chiefs likely won’t need him anyways as 15-point road favorites against Oakland. … Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) returned to a limited practice on Wednesday. It was originally reported that he didn’t practice but a limited practice is good news. The Bears may not need him back this week, but certainly, don’t want him to be rusty against the Rams in Week 14. If he’s unable to play Chase Daniel will draw the start. … Joe Flacco (hip) remained sidelined at Wednesday’s practice. This means Lamar Jackson will draw the start again. He is in a good spot against Atlanta’s recovering defense. Flacco may never regain his starting role. … Evan Engram (hamstring) is not practicing Wednesday. He remains confident about playing in Week 13 but it’s unlikely he does unless he gets in a limited practice. … DeSean Jackson (thumb) was limited in Wednesday’s practice. With a limited practice, Jackson is likely to suit up against the Panthers. He probably won’t be at full speed but should play a significant amount of snaps in a good matchup. … … Doug Baldwin (groin) didn’t practice Wednesday. Baldwin played without practicing last week so he should be good to go in this one. He is a risky WR3. … Keke Coutee (hamstring) was limited at Wednesday’s practice. This is great news for Coutee and means he will likely play on Sunday. He’ll be tough to trust this week with DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas hogging targets. … Jimmy Graham (thumb, knee) didn’t practice Wednesday. Graham only played 22 snaps last Sunday but should see a bigger role this week if he does play. … Stefon Diggs (knee) didn’t practice on Wednesday. This is likely nothing to worry about as Diggs wasn’t injured in the game and played on 66-of-70 offensive snaps. He is expected to play against the Patriots this Sunday. … Kenyan Drake (shoulder) was limited in Wednesday’s practice. Drake got injured last week in his best fantasy game of the season. He is likely to play against the Bills this weekend but may see a smaller role if his injury proves serious. … Sam Darnold (foot) returned to a limited practice Wednesday. This is good news for the Jets who have dropped two straight since Josh McCown got the start at quarterback. The Jets may wait one more week before starting Darnold.
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