Monitoring players' injury status is crucial to fantasy football, from draft preparation to in-season roster moves and, ultimately, sit/start decisions. Starting this week, I'll comb through the official injury reports for each game and offer updates and analysis for not just fantasy-relevant players, but for all players whose availability could influence another player’s fantasy rankings.
Consider this a Week 10 injury report cheat sheet to reference once inactives are announced 90 minutes before kickoff in case any pivots are necessary in seasonal leagues or DFS lineups.
Miles Sanders, RB – Sanders logged a full practice on Thursday and should be all systems go for Sunday’s game versus the Giants. New York has allowed the second-most catches, the most targets and the most receiving yards to running backs this season. Sanders is PFF’s consensus No. 7 running back and has a projected sub-6% ownership on DraftKings.
Lane Johnson, T – If Johnson can’t go for Sunday, it will either be Jack Driscoll or Jordan Mailata at right tackle. Lane Johnson is the Eagles’ highest-graded pass-blocking (81.6) tackle — in the three games he has missed, Carson Wentz has been pressured on 44.7% of his dropbacks versus 34.7% with him.
Wentz’s two worst fantasy outings have come without Johnson in the lineup, so he would fall in my QB rankings. The New York Giants DST would become an even better daily play at $2,700 on DraftKings.
Golden Tate, WR – Tate suffered a knee injury late on Thursday and his immediate replacement would be Austin Mack, who ranked third in routes run among Giants WRs in Week 8 when Tate was inactive. This would also move Sterling Shepard back into the slot, as he has seen a 71% snap share there when Tate has been out of the lineup versus 14% with Tate.
This would also be a huge boost for tight end Evan Engram, who in two games without Tate this season has averaged nine targets per game.
Devonta Freeman, RB – Freeman aggravated his injury on Thursday, so the RB backfield is going to turn over to Wayne Gallman Jr. and Alfred Morris. Gallman has averaged 14.3 touches and 14.8 fantasy points per game over the past three weeks in relief of Freeman. That would grant him RB2 status for Week 10.
Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, TE – All of the Green Bay tight ends are popping off as questionable, which would thrust Jace Sternberger into TE streaming candidacy. He has played more of late and two of his six targets in the last three weeks have been inside the 10-yard line. The Jaguars have allowed the second-most receiving touchdowns to tight ends this season.
Sternberger’s aDOT of 8.6 is also indicative of his targets being near the line of scrimmage, so his receiving production would not be influenced by the high wind in this game.
Kevin King, Jaire Alexander, CB – Jaire Alexander is PFF’s highest-graded cornerback this season (88.5) but is dealing with a concussion that has left him out of practice most of the week. He sustained the injury after 17 snaps in Week 9. Based on that game being played on a Thursday, this does not bode well for his availability.
After he left the game, the secondary gave up 130 receiving yards to Richie James Jr.
If Alexander is out, wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr. becomes a much more attractive option. Just be wary of the intense wind conditions projected for this game; if it’s too windy then it doesn’t matter who the CBs are with the wind making throws that much harder to deliver.
The Packers might be lucky enough to get King back to replace Alexander, but he has allowed the highest passer rating (113.9) in primary coverage among the Packers’ CBs, so the advantage stays with the Jags wide receivers.
David Bakhtiari, T – After missing the last three Packers contests, Bakhtiari will make his return to the starting lineup at LT. He is by far the Packers’ highest-graded tackle (89.0) and is the fourth-highest graded tackle in the league.
His return bodes well for Aaron Jones, my No. 1 overall running back on the week. With Bakhtiari playing, the Packers ranked sixth in yards before contact (1.8) and seventh in yards per attempt (5.0). Without him, they ranked 22nd in both categories as their averages fell to 1.2 and 3.9, respectively.
Allen Lazard, WR – Lazard has a chance to return in Week 10 and that would nuke any fantasy value left for Marquez Valdes-Scantling despite the latter’s big game in Week 9. MVS has just been too inconsistent all season and only saw four targets.
Meanwhile, Lazard was averaging 17.4 fantasy points per game (14th) and 2.62 yards per route run (12th) during the first three weeks of the season. He should produce against the Jags, who own PFF’s 28th-graded coverage unit.
Laviska Shenault Jr., WR – Shenault left last week’s game with a hamstring injury and is going to miss this game. Look to Chris Conley as a free square play at WR because he is always more involved in the offense when a starter goes down. He saw eight targets last week and eight in Week 3 when Chark was sidelined.
Doug Costin, DI – Not a household name by any means, but this undrafted free agent has been the team's leading run-stuffer and will not be available in Week 9 because of a concussion. Costin didn’t start playing great until Week 6 when we started to see improvement from the Jags’ run defense. Since Week 6, he is PFF’s sixth-highest graded run defender (87.0).
Brandon Linder, Andrew Norwell, Cam Robinson, OL – Three of the five starting offensive linemen for the Jaguars are on the injury report. A loss of two or more of these starters would be a huge blow to James Robinson, as we saw the 49ers’ rushing attack struggle last week versus a bad Green Bay run defense without starting left tackle Trent Williams.
Linder (88.2) and Norwell (86.7) both rank inside the top six among interior offensive linemen in PFF pass-blocking grade, so that would further hinder the Jags’ passing attack. The Green Bay Packers DST looks to be in great shape.
DONTRELLE INMAN, WR – Inman missed last week’s contest with a hamstring injury and our injury expert is not optimistic he plays on Sunday. That would lead to Cam Sims operating as the No. 2 wide receiver option — he went for over 100 yards last week.
Sims led the team in aDOT (13.0), and that could make him a sneaky DFS option at just $3,200 versus the Lions who rank dead last in deep pass attempt percentage allowed (17%). Sims also gets a great WR/CB matchup versus Jeffery Okudah.
T.J. HOCKENSON, TE – Injuries added late in the week are never a good sign, but if Hockenson is active you play him. If he’s ruled out, Danny Amendola surprisingly will get the rankings boost. The Lions’ slot receiver is coming off a season-high 10 targets and he led the team in catches last year when Hockenson missed the last four weeks.
TREY FLOWERS, DE – Flowers was placed on IR last week and missed the Lions’ Week 9 contest versus the Lions. Without him in the lineup, Detroit was still able to effectively pressure Kirk Cousins. More pressure means more check downs for J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson.
TRACY WALKER, S – He missed last week, but his return is hardly worth applause. Among safeties that have played at least 50% of their team’s snaps, Walker ranks dead last in PFF coverage grade (38.8). Terry McLaurin [rocket emoji].
NICK CHUBB, RB – If he is active, he is in starting lineups, but he is far from a lock-in DFS. There could be more of a split with Kareem Hunt, and the Browns’ OL needs to be at full force for their rushing attack to be effective. Wyatt Teller is the key cog that makes the biggest difference.
WYATT TELLER, JOEL BITONIO, JACK CONKLIN, J.C.TRETTER, OL – The Cleveland Browns starting RG, LG, RT and C are all questionable entering this game. We have seen the Browns struggle to run the ball without PFF’s highest-graded guard, Teller, in recent weeks. If they were to lose just one more starter, this might not be the smash run spot for the Browns.
During the first five weeks with Teller playing, the team ranked second in the league in rushing yards per attempt (5.4) and No. 1 in explosive run percentage. Without him over the past three weeks, they rank 23rd in rushing yards per attempt (3.9).
Should either Tretter or Bitoino be out, that would hurt the passing game as they rank inside the top-nine OL in PFF pass-blocking grade. Baker Mayfield has the league’s worst passer rating under pressure this season (29.8). There’s also a dangerous wind factor projected for this game so Mayfield’s outlook is on the downward trajectory.
SENIO KELEMETE, G – He is the Texans’ second-highest-graded pass-blocker across the OL. He missed Week 1 and Deshaun Watson was sacked four times. Head coach Romeo Crennel said that if Kelemete can’t go then Max Scharping will start in his place.
Scharping is the 195th-ranked offensive lineman out of 208 qualifiers and by far the worst graded one on the Texans this season (49.1). With so many other QB options to play in DFS, I don’t hate moving away from Watson in a game that also has major weather implications. This could also be a great time to just sell-high on Watson with some tougher matchups coming up.
BRADLEY ROBY, CB – Roby has missed the last two weeks because of an injury and disciplinary reasons but should be back in action for Week 10. His return puts a damper on Rashard Higgins, who he would likely shadow. Higgins will presumably be viewed as the team’s No. 1 outside WR with Odell Beckham Jr. on IR.
ALI MARPET, G – Tampa Bay clearly missed Marpet, PFF’s highest-graded left guard in the NFL this season, in Week 9. Joe Haeg, his replacement, gave up seven pressures alone in the game against the Saints. That’s as many as Marpet has given up all season.
It’d be ideal for Tom Brady and the offense to get Marpet back, but his absence won’t be felt nearly as much versus the Carolina Panthers who rank 25th in pressure rate (28.1%) this season and were able to pressure Brady on just 14.3% of his dropbacks when these two teams met back in Week 2.
CARLTON DAVIS, CB – Davis was added to the injury report late this week and an inactive status from him would make Robby Anderson a bonafide WR1. Davis is projected to match up with Anderson most, per PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart.
SHAQ BARRETT, JASON PIERRE-PAUL, DE – The Buccaneers' two top-graded DEs in terms of pass rush grade have been limited this week, and an absence of either would be a sigh of relief for Teddy Bridgewater and company.
RUSSELL OKUNG, T – He will be sorely missed by his quarterback, as Okung is the Panthers’ highest-graded T. In his place, Greg Little would get the start — he has been absurdly terrible. He ranks dead last in PFF pass-blocking grade (21.2) among tackles with at least 100 snaps played. Find alternatives for Bridgewater.
KYLE VAN NOY, LB – Van Noy was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and isn’t likely to play this week. He is the team’s highest-graded pass-rusher and his absence is detrimental to slowing down the Chargers’ passing attack.
CHRISTIAN WILKINS, DE – Miami’s top-graded run defender among defensive linemen, Wilkins’ loss boosts the Chargers’ running game.
MATT BREIDA, RB – If he’s active, view Breida as an RB3 option as the Chargers have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to RBs over the past four weeks. If he’s out, it's anybody's guess who will be the lead RB, but I’ll shoot my shot with DeAndre Washington.
PRESTON WILLIAMS, WR – We saw DeVante Parker go on an absolute tear last year once Williams went down with an ACL injury, and his usage spiked last week after Williams left the game. He led the team in targets, receptions and receiving yardage in Week 9 — we should expect more of the same from Miami’s No. 1 wide receiver.
Williams was the team’s primary deep threat and led the team in air yards share. With him gone, somebody needs to take on those air yards — Parker and Mike Gesicki are the most likely candidates.
DURHAM SMYTHE, TE – Smythe has played just 14 fewer snaps (51%) than Gesicki over the past two weeks. In Gesicki’s best two games of the season, Smythe played just 24% of the team snaps.
TRAI TURNER, G – Turner practiced in full for the first time since Week 3 on Thursday, and his return to the lineup would be a huge boost for the Chargers’ offense. Los Angeles currently ranks last in PFF run-blocking grade and 24th in PFF pass-blocking grade.
JUSTIN JACKSON, RB – Jackson isn’t going to play, which will make this a three-way RB committee between Joshua Kelley, Troymaine Pope and Kalen Ballage. The order in which I would start them would be Kelley, Pope and the Ballage. Kelley is always involved and I lean Pope over Ballage as Ballage was only promoted from the practice squad once Pope was made unavailable in Week 9.
Pope was the team’s first choice to promote from the practice squad and saw 15 touches in Week 8.
A.J. Bouye, Bryce Callahan CB – The Broncos' top two cornerbacks missed last week’s game, making it a cakewalk for the Falcons to throw all over them. Callahan has allowed the second-lowest passer rating (49.0) when targeted this season and will move back into the slot.
Bouye will be a massive upgrade over Davontae Harris and will lessen the hopes of Henry Ruggs III breaking out. The one plus matchup that stays in play is Nelson Agholor versus Michael Ojemudia, who is by far the worst starting CB for Denver (49.8 PFF passing grade).
Shelby Harris, DI – Harris is the Broncos’ second-highest-graded player on defense and second on the team in run-stop percentage. He is still on the Reserve/COVID-19 list so his absence should be a solid boost for the Raiders’ run game.
Demar Dotson, Jake Rodgers, T – The Broncos' two top right tackles are questionable, so that could force third-stringer Calvin Anderson into action. He has never played in a regular-season NFL game.
Kolton Miller, OL – Miller didn't play last week and the Raiders still rushed for 6.3 yards per attempt. His run-blocking grade is much worse than his pass-blocking grade, so his potential absence affects the passing game more than the running game.
Budda Baker, S – Baker ranks second on the team in PFF run-defense grade (79.1) — his loss would make running back Zack Moss a much more desirable RB2 play. The Cardinals with Baker have PFF’s 25th-ranked run defense. His loss could also make it much easier for Josh Allen to make plays with his legs.
Byron Murphy, Dre Kirkpatrick CB – Both of these CBs missed last week, and it showed. They should both start in Week 10, with Murphy manning the slot and Kirkpatrick playing opposite of Patrick Peterson.
Murphy’s return limits Cole Beasley’s outlook as the team’s highest-graded cornerback, but Kirkpatrick is just as bad as his replacement last week, Kevin Peterson. John Brown should have himself a day regardless.
JUSTIN MURRAY, G – Murray is the team’s best pass-blocker, so we could see Kyler Murray under more pressure than usual. Luckily for fantasy football purposes this just means he’s likely to scramble more, but it could be a reason to move away from a fringy WR like Christian Kirk.
MAXX WILLIAMS, TE – It would be detrimental to the running game if the team plays without Williams, as he is the team’s second-highest-graded run-blocker.
KENYAN DRAKE, RB – We don’t know what the workload would look like with Drake back in the fold, so I’d be hesitant to start him especially if Williams is also out. This would be a downgrade for Chase Edmonds but because it’s a late-game there aren’t too many great pivot options.
MICAH HYDE, S – The Bills’ safety is trending in the wrong direction to be ready for Sunday, and that could be a huge blow to the team’s back-end. Hyde hasn’t graded particularly well as a coverage safety, but he is a clear upgrade over backup Dean Marlowe. Marlowe owns the team’s worst PFF coverage grade (38.4).
CHRIS CARSON, RB – Carson’s availability is still up in the air. Although he is inching closer to a return, make sure to have either Travis Homer or DeeJay Dallas as a back-up plan. It’s worth noting that after a full session on Wednesday, Homer was limited on Thursday.
DEEBO SAMUEL, WR – PFF’s injury expert Mario Pilato does not expect Samuel to play this week with the team’s bye in Week 11. Brandon Aiyuk will be a top-30 wide receiver with Samuel sidelined. In his last two games, Aiyuk commanded a 27% target share and compiled over 200 receiving yards. Jerick McKinnon also gets a boost as he will need to be relied on more in the passing game with the team’s general lack of elite playmakers.
Kendrick Bourne will also make his return to the offense.
K'Waun Williams, CB bThe 49ers’ top slot cornerback is shaping up to miss this game after already missing three games this season. In his absence, the 49ers allowed the second-most passing yards, sixth-highest yards per pass attempt (9.3) and fourth-highest explosive pass play percentage (30%).
In the two games Michael Thomas has played this season, he has played 33% of his snaps from the slot and seen a 26% target rate. In those same games, Emmanuel Sanders has played 40% of his snaps from the slot and seen a 33% target rate.
Jared Cook has also seen time in the slot — 53.5% snap share and 21% target rate. All in all, it’s wheels up for all the Saints pass-catchers without Williams on defense.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB – Big Ben is expected to be activated Saturday, but I am wary of playing a QB that hasn’t practiced all week. First off, the projected total in this game is one of the lowest of the week (46.0), and Roethlisberger’s absences from practice could prove detrimental to his performance.
The Steelers’ quarterback is also dealing with injuries to both his knees (yikes), so the game plan for Pittsburgh could be to just go in and pound the rock with James Conner.
Mike Hilton, CB – Usually, wide receivers don’t get upgraded when players are deemed active, but Tyler Boyd might benefit from seeing Hilton in the slot this week. Hilton has missed the past couple of games — in his place safety Cameron Sutton has filled in admirably. Sutton owns the highest PFF coverage grade on the Steelers while Hilton allowed the most catches/yards during the first six weeks of the season.
Tyson Alualu, DI – Alualu is the highest-graded interior defender in the NFL (91.3). If he were to miss the game, the Bengals would have a much better chance of being able to run the football.
Joe Mixon, RB – Mixon hasn’t practiced all week, so it’s going to be the Giovani Benard show. He has scored over 20 fantasy points per game in his two fill-in starts and should be firmly slotted in all lineups.
Darius Phillips, LeShaun Sims, CB – The Bengals are down their No. 3 and No. 4 cornerbacks, which means one of the top three Steelers’ wide receivers is going to feast. Based on the PFF WR/CB matchup chart, the lucky winner seems to be Chase Claypool who will be matched up versus Tony Brown. Brown has played one defensive snap this season.
Calais Campbell, DI – The Baltimore Ravens’ highest-graded interior run defender (79.3) and NFL interior DL leader in run-stop percentage (17.5%) isn’t likely to suit up Sunday night, which is a massive blow to the team's defense up front. Look for the Patriots to establish the run with Cam Newton and the running backs with the best OL/DL advantage of the week.
With Campbell on the field, the Ravens have allowed just 3.7 yards per carry. Without? 5.3 yards per carry.
Mark Ingram II, RB – Ingram practiced Friday after missing Thursday and looks like he is going to play Sunday night. I’d still rank him behind J.K. Dobbins, but an active status from him makes Gus Edwards unplayable.
Stephon Gilmore, CB – Marquise Brown is on the fringe of being started this week by most fantasy managers. If Gilmore is active, that's enough for me to safely put Hollywood on the bench. He was back at practice on Friday, so set lineups accordingly.
Irv Smith Jr., TE – Smith is dealing with a groin injury, so it’s hands-off with him as a streaming option. He is still splitting time with Kyle Rudolph, so if anything Rudolph might be the pivot option if ISJ is ruled out Monday night.
David Montgomery, RB – It sounds gross, but should David Montgomery miss this game with a concussion, Ryan Nall would be a plug-and-play RB2 option this week. Nall saw four targets after replacing Montgomery and would likely take over early-down work as well.
The Minnesota Vikings provide a favorable matchup, as they have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to RBs over the past four weeks.
Montgomery’s absence would also be an upgrade for Cordarelle Patterson, so don’t forget about him when creating lineups for single-game DFS contests.
Allen Robinson, WR – A-Rob is dealing with a knee ailment — if he were to sit, I think we would see an absolute blow-up game from Darnell Mooney. He was showcased in my Week 10 high-value opportunities article because of the insane end-zone/deep targets the rookie has seen in recent weeks. Those are key indicators of future production, so I expect him to reach the moon Monday night.