Two injured reserve moves this week have significant implications on Fantasy Football the rest of the way with Cam Newton and DeSean Jackson done for the season after struggling to recover from early season injuries.
It’s a disappointing end to two long processes where each player appeared close to return for several weeks, only for news to get worse in the past week. In Newton’s case, we learned his injury appeared to not be getting better, and after seeking a second opinion from a specialist, he’s been shut down.
Dave Richard Christian McCaffrey but is at least concentrated behind him. There’s potential for that to change a bit with the addition of Donte Moncrief last week, but in all likelihood D.J. Moore will continue to be the most-targeted downfield option with Curtis Samuel the boom-or-bust downfield threat with solid air yards and Greg Olsen also involved as the third option., and we do have several weeks of data on what the Panthers look like without Cam, with an offense that centers around
If those three can continue to dominate the majority of the targets sent toward wide receivers and tight ends, there can still be value with Kyle Allen under center and McCaffrey dominating so much of the offense overall. But if the targets start to get split around more, that could become problematic.
Jackson made his way back on the field this past week but logged just four snaps, and he’s also done. In his absence, the Eagles have run a high rate of two-TE sets, using Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz in tandem. Goedert’s value is most directly impacted by the news because Jackson’s return likely would have led to more three-wide sets with Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. But with Jackson out, all signs point to Jeffery and Agholor being the only consistently-utilized wide receivers, while Goedert has a good shot to maintain his elevated playing time. He’s run routes on over 60% of dropbacks each of the past two weeks, while Ertz has stayed steady at route shares over 80% each of the past five weeks and in seven of the nine games overall.
Another beneficiary is Miles Sanders, who has been split out and utilized on downfield passes as another passing-game weapon in Jackson’s absence. We saw similar from the Packers in their usage of Aaron Jones while Davante Adams was out, and Jones didn’t get the same usage this past week with Adams back. For Sanders, those high-value downfield targets could stick the rest of the way.
Here’s more from around the league:
- The Jets activated Josh Adams from their practice squad, a move that caused some concern about Le’Veon Bell’s status. Bell received an MRI on his knee Monday, but later reports indicated there is not concern of a serious injury. Still, he wasn’t practicing Wednesday, and his status needs to be monitored. The Jets, for their part, claim to have activated Adams to prevent another team (perhaps the Dolphins?) from poaching him. Adams is unlikely to make an impact, while Bilal Powell has out-snapped Ty Montgomery three of the past four weeks, and looks like the best bet to lead the backfield if Bell were to miss.
- A.J. Green was expected to make his debut this week after sitting out the first eight games following ankle surgery, and coach Zac Taylor told reporters as much Wednesday morning. However, Green apparently didn’t feel great coming out of walkthrough Wednesday morning, and was held out of practice as a result. What that means for his status for Week 10 remains to be seen, but Taylor referred to Green as “day to day” Wednesday afternoon. Even if he does play, Green will be difficult to trust in that matchup given it will be rookie Ryan Finley’s first career start, and this apparent setback only makes him look like more of a longshot.
- Adam Thielen is not expected to suit up Week 10 after suiting up for Week 9 but leaving early. Laquon Treadwell somewhat surprisingly led the Vikings in receiving in their loss in Kansas City, but Treadwell didn’t play nearly as much as Bisi Johnson, who has been the Vikings’ No. 2 receiver throughout Thielen’s absence. Expect Johnson and both tight ends to see a few more targets, but the biggest beneficiary is Stefon Diggs. Despite Diggs’ dud in Week 9, he’s a must start option whenever Thielen is out.
- Mark Walton’s four-game suspension will open up opportunity in the Dolphins’ backfield, but it’s not clear yet who might take advantage. Kalen Ballage is the obvious name, but he’s had some opportunities this season already and fell out of favor. There could be potential for Myles Gaskin, the team’s seventh-round pick this year, to earn an extended look. Gaskin has been inactive in each game so far this season. The team also has UDFA Patrick Laird, who has played only on special teams this year, and added De’Lance Turner off the Ravens practice squad, and it would appear that would be the extent of the moves they will make at the position. It’s not a situation conducive to Fantasy success, but if you’re in a deeper league in need of someone who could get some touches, the uncertainty in this backfield makes it worth watching. Gaskin would be my upside option.
- James Conner will be limited in practice again this week and his status for Week 10 is unclear. The Steelers went with a Jaylen Samuels-Trey Edmunds tandem in Conner’s absence in Week 9, with Samuels playing far more snaps and handling all the receiving work. Samuels would figure to remain involved even if Conner plays, while Edmunds has limited standard league value even if Conner misses. Edmunds rushed 12 times in Week 9 but played just 17 snaps.
- Evan Engram is reportedly dealing with a sore foot, and will be getting an MRI and a second opinion. We’ll need to monitor his status, but Week 10 might be in jeopardy. Engram played a season-low 69% snap share in Week 9 as he played through it, but was still targeted eight times. He’s a trustworthy option when active.
- Nick Foles was activated from injured reserve and has already been named the Jaguars’ Week 11 starter after their Week 10 bye. We didn’t get a long look at Foles in this offense, but Gardner Minshew was at least serviceable in terms of maintaining passing-game value, and the best bet is Foles will be a mostly lateral move for guys like D.J. Chark.
- Jacoby Brissett is unsure he’ll practice this week, but still has a shot to play in Week 10 against the Dolphins. Brian Hoyer was serviceable in his stead in Week 9, and would draw the start if Brissett is unable to go.
- The Rams “don’t know” when Brandin Cooks will play again. Both Cooks and Sterling Shepard are in wait-and-see mode after each receiver suffering second concussions in the 2019 season. Shepard nearly returned last week, but had a setback Sunday before the team’s Monday night game. These are tricky injuries with little information where we just need to wait it out.
- Seahawks tight end Luke Willson expects to play Week 10. After he left with a rib injury in Week 9, Jacob Hollister saw a huge usage spike and turned that into a two-touchdown performance in the shootout with Tampa Bay. Willson’s return moves Hollister down any potential streamer list.
- Bill Belichick noted N’Keal Harry was inactive for Week 9 because the Patriots had 46 other players they needed active, but I’m still optimistic about the rookie’s potential to carve out a role. New England notably played each of Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu and Ben Watson on 100% of their snaps Sunday night, with Phillip Dorsett playing a 99% snap share. That’s as extreme as it gets, and they have always been a team that tends to prefer a rotation, so it’s possible we’ll see Harry active and working in some in Week 11. He’s a deeper-league stash.
So who should you sit and start this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 10 rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.