As if injuries weren’t enough to worry about as I set my NFL fantasy lineup, now I have to worry about infighting and players’ mental states, too?
After last week’s games, two Tampa Bay players used the expression, “it doesn’t matter” when asked about possible suspensions and injuries. As in, “We’re 2-6. It doesn’t matter anymore.” Did they give up? Can we trust them to play hard for our fantasy teams in Week 10?
In Denver, there is much conjecture about whether years of defensive mastery wasted by inept quarterback play has finally worn down their D/ST’s resolve.
From New York, “anonymous players” verify what most Giants fans (like me) already suspected; that Ben McAdoo is an awful head coach and lost his locker room. As soon as we saw that hair in the preseason, we knew there were troubling times ahead.
In Indianapolis, the owner and general manager made comments about injured players that were immediately contradicted by medical specialists.
What does it all mean to NFL fantasy owners?
Can we trust the players to keep playing hard? In Tampa, I trust Ryan Fitzpatrick to come out throwing against his former team and offer anyone who can catch a football considerable NFL fantasy points. The only Buccaneers offensive player I am sitting is Doug Martin.
Denver’s defense comes home to play Tom Brady and the Patriots on Sunday night. I trust the defense will put up a fight and remind Brady how Denver is the only city in the world where he has a losing record. Denver loses, but the D/ST racks up enough sacks and turnovers to make them worth a play.
Eli Manning will get enough passes off to tight end Evan Engram and possibly Sterling Shepard to make the receivers worth a start. Orleans Darkwa is a must-start, running behind Brett Jones and DJ Fluker, both of whom are out to prove McAdoo made a mistake by burying them on the bench for half the season.
No one on the Colts, including TY Hilton, is worth starting this week against the superior Steelers’ defense.
In injury news:
QB: Jameis Winston out; Case Keenum, Brock Osweiler still in
Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston, who instigated the incident that got Mike Evans suspended for Week 10, will sit out at least two weeks with a shoulder injury. Winston was playing through an AC joint sprain, but tests this week showed additional damage. It is not a sure thing he returns in Week 12. If you are quarterback-desperate, adding Ryan Fitzpatrick is a good idea.
Minnesota put Sam Bradford on IR, ending his season. That opened a roster spot for Teddy Bridgewater, but don’t expect to see Case Keenum on the bench any time soon. Bridgewater will be the third quarterback this week. Coach Mike Zimmer says he is in no rush to sit Keenum, saying he has “earned” more starts for the 5-3 Vikings. Bridgewater could use a few weeks of getting re-acclimated, too.
Brock Osweiler once defeated Tom Brady and the Patriots in a Sunday night game. The Broncos will see if he can pull off the feat again this week. It is widely assumed that if Paxton Lynch’s shoulder ever gets back to working condition, there will be another change. For now, Osweiler gets the nod over Trevor Siemian.
San Francisco still says it is possible Jimmy Garoppolo does not see playing time at all this season. But they haven’t ruled out playing him as early as this week against the Giants, either. Whether that is due to merit or the realization that rookie CJ Beathard might not survive much more of the beating he takes every game is unclear.
RB: Matt Forte, CJ Anderson, Freeman added to injury lists
Denver is apparently moving to a full-blown running back committee, but the limited contribution of CJ Anderson in Week 9 may have been due to an ankle injury. Whatever happened was enough to keep Anderson out of practice Tuesday and limited him on Wednesday. He is listed as questionable but expected to play Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Jets’ Matt Forte was shut down during Wednesday’s practice after a previously repaired knee swelled up. There was no sign of trouble since the Jets’ Thursday night game, which bodes poorly for Forte’s chances in Week 10. Bilal Powell would become a must-start if Forte is inactive.
Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman is expected to play Sunday, but he was limited by an ankle injury in practice Wednesday.
Malcolm Brown of the Rams is out Sunday and possibly for the season with a significant MCL injury. Brown backs up Todd Gurley and has impressed enough in garbage time opportunities to get noticed. Lance Dunbar comes off the IR just in time to take Brown’s role for the Rams.
RB: Seattle and Dallas’ questions continue
Earlier in the season, Ezekiel Elliott was allowed to play after losing a round of the ongoing suspension saga because the judges’ decision came in later than the Tuesday night roster deadline. We were told it was policy that once rosters are set, any suspensions would be pushed back a week in fairness to the affected teams.
That has been a policy, but it is not a rule. Thus, Elliott was back in play after a late ruling before Week 9. A ruling Thursday night or Friday could result in an immediate suspension. So keep checking for updates and have a backup plan ready.
In Seattle, Pete Carroll has doomed Thomas Rawls to a painful Week 10 injury by naming him the starter and announcing he will get the bulk of the touches Thursday night. Expect to see JD McKissic by the second quarter. Yes. I am being sarcastic. Rawls is supposed to get most of the work.
WR: Dez Bryant game-time decision; Hogan doubtful, most Broncos questionable
Dallas reports that Dez Bryant suffered a high ankle sprain. He sat out practice so far this week and is officially a game-time decision. Whether he plays or not, high ankle sprains affect cutting and stopping, so it could diminish what would have been a positive matchup this week against Atlanta.
New England lists Chris Hogan as doubtful for their Sunday night game. He has not practiced at all this week.
Denver’s quarterback challenges are not helped by the lack of wide receivers at practice. Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and Bennie Fowler all skipped Wednesday’s drills. Sanders and Fowler are good bets to play Sunday. Thomas is not as certain and could be a gameday decision. Fowler would be expected to step up, but he has not done so in two other opportunities this season. Even Sanders is a risky play with Brock Osweiler operating behind a banged-up offensive line.
WR: Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Crowder questionable
Washington’s Jamison Crowder was a limited participant in practice and says he hopes to play. The team says he is questionable and could be a gameday decision.
Julio Jones tweaked his ankle early in last week’s game but came back to catch over 100 yards in passes. The injury bothered him enough for the Falcons to hold him out of practice early this week. Jones has been listed on the injury report several times this season but has not missed a game. If he can walk, he will play against the Cowboys.
New Orleans’ Michael Thomas was added to the injury report Wednesday with an ankle injury. There was no injury mentioned in the post-game report, so we assume this occurred in practice. The team offered no details, so be sure to watch for updates as we get closer to Week 10 game time.
Paul Richardson’s name found its way onto Seattle’s injury report after Tuesday’s practice. Coach Pete Carroll said the wide receiver’s ankle felt tight, so they rested him. He fully expects Richardson to play Thursday in Arizona.
TE: Bennett out; Charles Clay, CJ Fiedorowicz back
Green Bay surprisingly cut Martellus Bennett from the team this week. Lance Kendricks will probably get the starting nod over Richard Rodgers although it could be a fairly even split of snaps.
Charles Clay returned to practice and is likely to be activated for Sunday’s game against the Saints. Despite missing several games. Clay remains the Bills’ leading receiver on the year. Kelvin Benjamin could challenge that status as he makes his debut for Buffalo this week.
Houston’s Ryan Griffin could miss this week’s game with a concussion, but CJ Fiedorowicz has been activated and will step into the starters role Sunday.
Jordan Reed’s continuing hamstring issue makes him doubtful to return this week for Washington.
PK: Falcons hedging bet on Matt Bryant
Atlanta signed Mike Meyer to their practice squad in case Matt Bryant can’t kick on Sunday. Bryant missed practice with a calf issue Wednesday. He will be a gameday decision for the Falcons.
That enough? Well, there will undoubtedly be more news and notes in the days ahead. Check back regularly with RealSport for updates and advice on all things NFL fantasy.
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