News & Analysis

Week 12 NFL injuries that matter for fantasy

Nov 19, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (13) is helped off the field by trainers during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Staying on top of injuries throughout the week, and especially on Sunday mornings, is one of the easiest ways to maintain an edge in fantasy football. Outside of, you know, just making sure you don’t have inactive players in your starting lineup, it’s important to understand how one injury can greatly impact the fantasy potential of other skill position players within a game.

Lucky for you, this weekly series is here to help. Rather than just frantically refreshing each team’s injury report, I’ll do the heavy lifting each Saturday night and update injuries and provide analysis once inactives are released and early game-time decisions finalized on Sunday mornings.

Early Inactives

John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals (toe) – Out
Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons (concussion) – Out
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Buffalo Bills (knee) – Out
Mike Tolbert, RB, Buffalo Bills (hamstring) – Out
D’Onta Foreman, RB, Houston Texans (achilles) – Out
Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (ankle) – Out
Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams (shoulder) – Out
Jay Cutler, QB, Miami Dolphins (concussion) – Out
Jeremy Kerley, WR, New York Jets (suspended) – Out
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (hamstring) – Out

Doubtful

Drew Stanton, QB, Arizona Cardinals (knee) – Doubtful
Ty Montgomery, RB, Green Bay Packers (ribs) – Doubtful
Martellus Bennett, TE, New England Patriots (shoulder) – Doubtful
Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots (shoulder) – Doubtful
Mike Davis, RB, Seattle Seahawks (groin) – Doubtful

Questionable

Terrance West, RB, Baltimore Ravens (calf) – Questionable (likely)
Charles Clay, TE, Buffalo Bills (knee) – Questionable (likely)
Jordan Matthews, WR, Buffalo Bills (knee) – Questionable (likely)
Dion Sims, TE, Chicago Bears (illness) – Questionable (game-time decision)
Dontrelle Inman, WR, Chicago Bears (groin) – Questionable (likely)
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos (ankle) – Questionable (likely)
Albert Wilson, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (hamstring) – Questionable (likely)
Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots (knee) – Questionable (likely)
Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets (knee) – Questionable (game-time decision)
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Oakland Raiders (hip) – Questionable (likely)
Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks (ankle) – Questionable (likely)
Trent Taylor, WR, San Francisco 49ers (ribs) – Questionable (likely)
Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ankle) – Questionable (likely)
Rishard Matthews, WR, Tennessee Titans (hamstring) – Questionable (unlikely)

Updates/Analysis

Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons – Inactive – Among all 32 running backs to see at least 300 carries over the past three seasons, Tevin Coleman ranks seventh in yards per carry (4.40) and second in yards per target (8.47). Coleman averaged just 2.15 yards per carry last week, but it was in a brutal matchup against the Seahawks, who are allowing a league-best 2.66 yards per carry average since Week 4. Coleman has seen 40 carries and three targets the last two weeks with Freeman playing on just two snaps due to a concussion, and is a strong RB1 in a more-neutral matchup this week.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Buffalo Bills – Inactive – With Benjamin out and both Jordan Matthews and Charles Clay banged up, Zay Jones should get a slight target boost in a good matchup against Kansas City. Jones runs 49 percent of his routes from the left, while Kansas City is allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing left wide receivers.

Rishard Matthews, WR, Tennessee Titans – Inactive – With Matthews out, we can project a significant target-bump for Delanie Walker and Corey Davis. The Colts rank bottom-12 in fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends and bottom-three to opposing left wide receivers (where Davis runs 53 percent of his routes). Both are strong starts this week.

Jay Cutler, QB, Miami Dolphins – Inactive – With Cutler inactive, it’s safe to raise Kenny Stills’ fantasy projection, as I wrote about here.

Martellus Bennett, TE, New England Patriots – Inactive – Bennett has had three targets in each of his first two games back with the Patriots. Rob Gronkowski has disappointed fantasy owners in two-straight weeks. If there’s a correlation there, owners won’t have to worry about it this week with Bennett inactive.

Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots – Inactive – With Hogan out, Gronkowski should have more touchdown upside, though that hasn’t yet been the case. Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola should be good for a target-bump as well.

Mike Gillislee, RB, New England Patriots – Inactive – With Gillislee out, Dion Lewis becomes a strong start with a good bet to score a touchdown, as 16.5-point favorites at home.

Mike Tolbert, FB, Buffalo Bills – Inactive – Tolbert being inactive might actually be a slight detriment to LeSean McCoy. Last week, with Tolbert out, Travaris Cadet came in and saw three carries and six targets. Tolbert, meanwhile, hadn’t eclipsed three targets or four carries in any of his previous five games.

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