• The return: Kyler Murray returns to practice this week for the first time since tearing his ACL in week 14 last season. Could we see him this week?
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
This season feels like it is absolutely flying by as we head into a full slate for week 8 with no teams on bye this week. To start on a positive note, Kyler Murray has returned to full practice for Arizona. A popular waiver wire add this week, Murray could offer some reprieve to teams who were burnt by fading the QB position in drafts this offseason. On the other hand, the Cards placed Zach Ertz on injured reserve, opening the door for one of the most productive college TEs in recent memory in Trey McBride to break out in his second season. The Rams officially placed Kyren Williams on injured reserve ahead of last weekend’s contest, fully passing the backfield work to Darrell Henderson and Royce Freeman in the meantime. We have an absolutely beefy list of injuries to get ahead of for this weekend, so let’s dive in.
Brock Purdy (concussion), San Francisco 49ers
Purdy finished out the Monday night matchup after suffering a concussion and remains in concussion protocol as of Thursday, leaving him doubtful to face the Cincinnati Bengals this weekend. In his stead, Sam Darnold is more than capable of keeping the 49ers offense on track and should be a popular streaming option this weekend against an average Bengals secondary.
Jaylen Waddle (back) and Tyreek Hill (hip), Miami Dolphins
The two speedsters were limited on Thursday, leaving questions around the Dolphins passing game ahead of a divisional matchup. Their statuses will need to be closely watched as we move closer to game time, as both are must-starts should they play. If one or both are unable to go, vacant reps will be split between Braxton Berrios, Robbie Chosen, Cedrick Wilson Jr. and Chase Claypool. Such a situation could be great for DFS or potential player props but for fantasy, it’s hard to feel confident about any of these players stepping into the production Waddle and Hill are capable of.
Justin Fields (thumb), Chicago Bears
Fields remains a non-participant in practice following his thumb injury to his throwing hand against the Vikings in week 6, and is expected to miss this weekend's contest against the Chargers, handing the reins to Tyson Bagent once again. Bagent was solid if unspectacular in week 7, posting an 88.5% adjusted completion percentage, finding D’Onta Foreman for a score, and breaking off a 24 yard scramble. A plus matchup against the Chargers looms, with LA allowing the most 15+ yard passing plays as well as the most yards per attempt through the air this season, but Bagent’s 2.5 average depth of target from last week leaves him firmly in streaming territory for superflex and deeper leagues only.
Jerome Ford (ankle) and Kareem Hunt (thigh), Cleveland Browns
The Browns backfield continues to have its depth tested, as Jerome Ford was knocked out of Sunday’s win in the early fourth quarter while Kareem Hunt is dealing with a thigh injury that limited him on Wednesday. With Ford likely not suiting up this weekend (and potentially beyond), Hunt and Pierre Strong Jr. are poised to split reps this weekend in what appears to be an unfavorable matchup. Averaging just 3.3 yards per carry since his return, Hunt seems like the higher-upside player due to his red zone opportunities and receiving work, but Strong has impressed on the ground in limited work, posting over 90% of his 101 yards after first contact, which makes him a sneaky add who could pay dividends in future weeks.
Raheem Mostert (ankle), Miami Dolphins
Mostert continues to deal with an ankle injury that kept him out of practice Wednesday and limited him Thursday. There is certainly a chance he misses this weekend , but a limited workload is likely in play with Jeff Wilson Jr. fully healthy to help shoulder the load. Also, Salvon Ahmed could factor in once again. Keep an eye on Mostert’s status on Friday and Saturday, and if things are not sounding positive, look for Wilson to vault into RB2 territory.
Kenneth Walker III (calf) and Zach Charbonnet (hamstring), Seattle Seahawks
Walker popped up on the injury report this week due to a calf strain that held him out of practice Wednesday while Charbonnet was limited while he rehabs a hamstring injury that held him out of the Seahawks' win over Arizona. If Walker is able to play, he is the clear lead back and remains a must-start, but if Seattle plans to play it safe and hold him out, Charbonnet (if healthy) should seize the bulk of the backfield work with DeeJay Dallas spelling him in an uninviting matchup with a Browns run defense that has still allowed just 48 yards before contact on the ground this season. The Seahawks also designated rookie Kenny McIntosh for return from injured reserve, but it does not appear he will be available until next week.
Deebo Samuel (shoulder), San Francisco 49ers
Samuel continues to be held out of practice as he deals with a fractured shoulder, leaving little optimism about his chance to play this weekend. With Samuel out against the Vikings, Jauan Jennings led the remainder of the 49er receivers not named Brandon Aiyuk in routes run by a sizable margin due to just 11 of the 49ers' 53 snaps coming in 11 personnel. Jennings represents an intriguing FLEX play in deeper leagues, but with no teams on bye this week, there are surely better options.
Zach Ertz (quadriceps), Arizona Cardinals (IR)
After suffering a quad injury in Week 7’s loss to Seattle, the Cardinals have placed Ertz on injured reserve, sidelining him until Week 12 at the earliest. His backup, second0year Trey McBride, has received at least five targets in the Cardinals last two games and could be in line for a serious bump in usage due to Ertz’s vacated snaps. With tight end being such a fickle position, McBride should merit serious waiver wire consideration in the majority of formats.
Zack Moss (elbow, heel), Indianapolis Colts
After missing Wednesday’s practice due to elbow and heel injuries, Moss returned in a limited fashion Thursday, offering optimism around his status ahead of a home matchup with New Orleans. Despite Jonathan Taylor’s return, the RB5 has maintained a solid workload with his lowest fantasy output coming this past weekend against the stingy Browns run defense. Moss will almost certainly continue to cede more work to Taylor as he reintegrates but he remains a solid RB3/FLEX play until further notice.
Deshaun Watson (shoulder), Cleveland Browns
Watson attempted to play through his shoulder ailment against the Colts, only to be re-sidelined after five dropbacks, ceding the signal-caller role to P.J. Walker once again. With Watson unlikely to go again this weekend, Walker should start in Seattle and only receive fantasy consideration in superflex leagues or deeper formats.
David Montgomery (ribs), Detroit Lions
Montgomery continues to be held out of practice as he rehabs a rib injury that sidelined him this past weekend, leaving him unlikely to play this Monday. The extra day of rest could bode well for Montgomery’s status, but skepticism is appropriate. With a negative game script essentially from the first snap in Week 7, the Jahmyr Gibbs breakout game did not quite come to fruition, although he did look solid on 6.2 yards per carry, finding the endzone once on the ground as well as posting nine receptions on 10 targets for 58 yards. This weekend represents a fantastic matchup for the Lions ground game, as the Raiders allow the most 10-plus-yard rushes this season and rank second highest in rushing yards allowed (993).
Ryan Tannehill (ankle), Tennessee Titans
Tannehill is set to miss this weekend due to an ankle injury suffered in Week 6. Against Jacksonville in London, Malik Willis attempted to lead the Titans to the comeback with Tannehill sidelined, but it sounds like rookie second-round pick Will Levis will start this weekend. With minimal passing options and a matchup with a sneaky-good Atlanta secondary, Levis should only be considered in the most desperate of cases.
Gerald Everett (hip) and Joshua Palmer (knee), Los Angeles Chargers
Both Everett and Palmer were non-participants on Wednesday, offering legitimate doubts about their status moving forward. Both would represent serious losses for the Chargers offense, which is already without Mike Williams. If Everett is unable to go, look for Donald Parham (tied for first in endzone targets among TEs) to receive additional work between the 20s while Palmer’s absence would create a muddy situation that would leave rookies Quentin Johnston and Derius Davis as the primary options out wide behind Keenan Allen. Speedster Jalen Guyton is also set to return this week.
Trevor Lawrence (knee), Jacksonville Jaguars
Lawrence was not fazed by his knee injury this past weekend, breaking off 63 yards on the ground on scrambles in last Thursday’s matchup. He remains limited in practice, but there is little doubt he will be in the lineup this weekend against the Steelers.
Daniel Jones (neck), New York Giants
Jones remains in a non-contact jersey in practice, leaving him unlikely to play once again for this weekend’s crosstown matchup. Tyrod Taylor has been solid in his stead, throwing for 279 yards and two touchdowns last weekend with four big-time throws, but a tougher matchup places Taylor firmly in the lower tier of streaming options.
TJ Hockenson (foot), Minnesota Vikings
Hockenson was estimated as a non-participant for Wednesday’s practice following the Vikings Monday night win. This situation remains up in the air regarding Hockenson’s true status, but indications are that he is not in danger of missing their divisional matchup in Green Bay. Continue to keep an eye on his status heading into the weekend.
Aaron Jones (hamstring), Green Bay Packers
Jones was held out Wednesday and returned Thursday to practice, providing optimism that he will go against the Vikings this weekend, but he remains a player to monitor come Sunday morning when inactives are announced.
Curtis Samuel (foot), Washington Commanders
The WR30 on the season, Samuel has been a nice surprise this fantasy season, but a foot injury kept him out Wednesday and limited Thursday. Keep an eye on his status come Sunday morning, but he is trending in the right direction to play against the Eagles.
Jimmy Garoppolo (back), Las Vegas Raiders
Garoppolo returned to practice Thursday with the team hopeful he will play Monday against the Lions. Brian Hoyer and Aidan O’Connell have not impressed in his absence, but Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers remain solid plays regardless of who is under center.
Taysom Hill (chest), New Orleans Saints
Hill practiced with a non-contact jersey on Wednesday, leaving his status up in the air ahead of a matchup with the Colts. With the inconsistency of the TE position and Hill’s recent usage trends (13 targets, six rushes over the last two games), he represents a solid streaming option if able to play.
David Njoku (knee), Cleveland Browns
After missing Wednesday’s practice, Njoku returned Thursday, giving him a positive chance to be available for this weekend's matchup. He is a solid TE2 play with upside. If he is unable to go, Harrison Bryant is the next man up, although he would firmly be a TD-dependent play in only the deepest of leagues.
Darren Waller (hamstring) & Saquon Barkley (elbow), New York Giants
The Giants duo continues to struggle with injuries, although it is a positive sign for Barkley that the ankle is no longer a primary concern. Both limited on Thursday, their status will need to be closely watched come inactive time on Sunday morning.
Roschon Johnson (concussion), Chicago Bears
Missing the last two weeks with a nasty concussion, Johnson has returned to practice although he has not fully cleared protocol ahead of the Bears' matchup with the Chargers. If Johnson were able to return, he should slot in as a solid FLEX option despite D’Onta Foreman’s impressive showing last weekend.