Fantasy Football: Week 4 injury roundup

2RT4210 New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates the team's touchdown with wide receiver Chris Olave (12) in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

• Testing the depth: The Baltimore Ravens‘ skill positions have been absolutely hammered with injuries thus far, losing J.K. Dobbins to a Week 1 Achilles injury while the status of Justice Hill, Gus Edwards, Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman are in doubt for Week 4 and beyond.

• QB news: Derek Carr (shoulder) and Jimmy Garoppolo (concussion) are both uncertain to go this weekend while rookies Bryce Young (ankle) and Anthony Richardson (concussion) appear to be optimistic about their Week 4 status.

• Dominate your fantasy league in 2023: For up-to-date fantasy draft rankings and projections, check out PFF’s fantasy rankings tool!

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Now fully into the thick of the NFL season, we appear to be on the other side of the hamstring epidemic that typically plagues the league during the early weeks of the season. On the other hand, snap counts are beginning to stack up and the physicality of the NFL game begins to really start to wear and tear, putting us into the window of the season where almost everyone will be banged up to some degree, a situation which will only continue to be more apparent each week.

From a fantasy perspective, it is essential to monitor participation in practice around the league and the reasons behind those statuses to gain some insight into potential weekend availability. Once again, let’s dive in and examine how some of the biggest names in the NFL are trending for their week 4 availability and the outlooks surrounding each situation.

WR:CB Matchup Chart

 


Derek Carr (shoulder), New Orleans Saints

Injuries to the throwing shoulder are never encouraging for a quarterback, and after suffering a sprained AC joint, it is unlikely that Carr sees the field until he is back to near 100 percent, making him a near lock to miss this weekend. If there is a silver lining, it has to be having a backup as experienced as Jameis Winston, who posted a 66.7 adjusted completion percentage and a 68.5 passing grade in his stead against the Green Bay Packers. While the Jameis roller coaster has been well documented, we know he can sling it and the Packers defense is no pushover. Tampa Bay’s secondary may represent an encouraging streaming matchup in superflex or deeper 1QB leagues with a week to prepare as the starter and a bevy of weapons, including the returning Alvin Kamara (suspension).


Jimmy Garoppolo (concussion), Las Vegas Raiders

Garoppolo suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night and remains in concussion protocol as of Thursday, making his availability for Sunday’s matchup against the Chargers uncertain. Veteran Brian Hoyer appears to be the next man up, although rookie Aidan O’Connell impressed in preseason action and could be called upon if Hoyer were to struggle. Against a Los Angeles Chargers defense that has allowed the most passing yards and explosive plays (15-plus yards) through the air in the NFL through three weeks, there is a definite chance for the Raiders skill position players to put up appealing point totals despite the question marks at QB.


Mike Williams (knee), Los Angeles Chargers (IR)

One of the best contested catch artists in the league, Williams had his strong start to the season cut short on Sunday after suffering a torn ACL against the Minnesota Vikings and will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2023 season. The Chargers will certainly miss his physical presence, but depth exists to offset his loss in the form of Joshua Palmer and rookie Quentin Johnston while Keenan Allen (PPR WR2 through three weeks) should continue to dominate the Chargers' target share. Palmer has been reliable when called upon as a depth receiver, posting 76 receptions and 10.6 yards per reception last season in Williams and Allen's place at different points in the season. Johnston was the 22nd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and hopes are high that this represents an opportunity that will allow him to break out after posting just five catches for 26 yards through the first three weeks. However, Palmer feels like a safer bet at this point to receive the majority of that usage given his pre-existing chemistry with Justin Herbert.


Deebo Samuel (ribs) and Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring), San Francisco 49ers

Samuel suffered a rib injury last Thursday night against the New York Giants and has yet to practice ahead of the 49ers’ Week 4 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals. With Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) also limited in practice, the 49ers' receiving depth could be tested if both were to miss this weekend’s contest, but there is a solid chance both end up suiting up with Samuel’s injury not limiting mobility and Aiyuk having a week of rehab. If one or both are unable to go, look for rookie seventh-rounder Ronnie Bell (24 yards and a touchdown in Week 3) and Jauan Jennings (20.5 yards per reception; 1.52 yards per route run in 2023) to feature alongside George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey.


Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle), Justice Hill (toe), Gus Edwards (concussion), Baltimore Ravens

Justice Hill practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday, giving him a chance to see the field Sunday at Cleveland, while Odell Beckham Jr. missed Wednesday’s practice due to an ankle injury that put him out early against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3, putting his status in jeopardy as well. Gus Edwards (31 snaps, 4.6 yards per carry) practiced in full on Wednesday after working through concussion protocol and split time with Melvin Gordon III (28 snaps) and Kenyan Drake (11 snaps) in Week 3 with Hill out. Expect this to continue, making each of them dependent on finding the endzone to find any flex value against Cleveland. At receiver, Rashod Bateman (hamstring) also appears to be in line to miss Sunday’s contest leaving rookie Zay Flowers (10 targets in Week 3) as the Ravens' WR1 while Devin Duvernay and Nelson Agholor bring depth at the position. Flowers remains a solid WR3/FLEX play and Mark Andrews should be in line for heavy usage, but it is hard to feel confident in any Ravens’ skill position player beyond Flowers and Andrews against a suffocating Browns defense.


Jamaal Williams (hamstring), New Orleans Saints (IR)

Williams was placed on injured reserve prior to Sunday’s matchup due to a hamstring injury, which will sideline him for at least four weeks. While the Saints will miss Williams' physicality on the ground, Alvin Kamara is due to return from his three-game suspension this weekend and should return to his role as the workhorse in this offense with Tony Jones Jr. and Kendre Miller spelling him. It may take a week for Kamara to return to form, presenting some apprehension about his ceiling against a stiff Tampa Bay run defense.


Saquon Barkley (ankle), New York Giants

After missing Week 3 due to a sprained ankle, Barkley put in a limited practice on Thursday, presenting optimism that he could return to play with an extra day of rest before Monday night. Monday toss-ups are always tough to account for when setting lineups, so this is one that will have to be closely monitored heading into the Sunday slate, but it is hard to bench him for lesser options against a Seattle defense that has missed 29 tackles and allowed 14 catches by opposing RBs so far this season.


Others to monitor 

Bryce Young (ankle), Carolina Panthers

Young put in a full practice Wednesday after missing Week 3 and is trending towards playing Week 4. Outside of last week’s Andy Dalton outburst, the Panthers passing game has not impressed, but a favorable matchup this weekend puts either Young or Dalton in streaming territory. Adam Thielen revenge game, anyone? 

Austin Ekeler (ankle), Los Angeles Chargers

Ekeler has not played since Week 1’s ankle injury but put in a limited practice on Wednesday and there is optimism he could return this weekend against a Raiders defense that has allowed 10 rushes of 10-plus yards, 4.3 yards per attempt on the ground and 20 receptions to opposing RBs this season. If he is still unable to go, Joshua Kelley should be set up for significantly more success than he saw last week.

Puka Nacua (oblique), Los Angeles Rams

The record-setting rookie has been dealing with an oblique injury since Week 1, but the Rams appear to be managing his workload in practice, creating little doubt about his Week 4 status, barring something unforeseen. Against a Colts secondary that ranks bottom 10 in completions, yards and explosive (15-plus yards) passing plays against, Nacua is a locked-in WR starter if he goes.

Zay Jones (knee), Jacksonville Jaguars

Jones is still rehabbing a knee injury suffered in Week 2 and is considered a long shot to play Sunday morning in London against the Falcons. With the early kick, it is recommended to look elsewhere for receiver help this week regardless of his status.

Jerome Ford (shoulder) and Kareem Hunt (groin, ribs), Cleveland Browns

Hunt came out of his first game of the 2023 season with rib and groin injuries, missing Wednesday’s practice and putting a limited practice in on Thursday, putting his status for Sunday in doubt, while Ford was limited with a shoulder injury. If Ford goes, he is a solid RB2/FLEX option against Baltimore based on volume alone.

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