There were some weird things going on in NFL fantasy football last week. Upsets, first-week-byes, suspended players playing, two D/STs with top-five overall scores… the list goes on. What’s going on this week that might make Week 2 a little more (or less) normal?
Elliott will play at least one more game
Ezekiel Elliott’s legal team won a round from the NFL by getting a Texas judge to agree the investigation and suspension of Elliott were flawed enough to order an injunction. Elliott can play while a proper investigation and defense are set up, probably after the season is completed.
The NFL quickly filed an appeal against the injunction which they are not likely to win. The court’s order will probably result in a one-year delay like Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension. If by some fluke the league wins their emergency appeal after Monday, Elliott will play one more game before the suspension kicks in.
Speaking of suspensions
Houston’s inside linebacker, Brian Cushing, was one of five Texans in the concussion protocol and thus, unlikely to play in the Thursday game against the Bengals. Any doubt about his game status was removed when the NFL announced he is suspended ten games for violating the PED (performance-enhancing drugs) policy.
Tough week for Houston tight ends
Houston didn’t just get beat by the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. They got beat up. A total of 21 players appeared on the Texans’ injury report this week including every active tight end. All three entered the concussion protocol. With the short week before Thursday’s game, none will be able to play against the Bengals. CJ Fiedorowicz was placed on injured reserve. The only tight end active for the game will be Evan Baylis, just signed off the practice squad.
Tough guy of the week in Houston
JJ Watt is also on the Texans’ injury report. He will play Thursday with a broken finger. And why not? He finished the Jacksonville game with a bone sticking out, claiming after the game it was no big deal. Watt also said the injury was not responsible for his lack of (NFL fantasy) stats against Jacksonville and it will not affect his play Thursday. With a properly splinted finger, Watt is still a top-three IDP fantasy player.
No, we’re not getting into college sports. We’re talking about real hurricanes. Despite the damage done in Jacksonville and Tampa Bay by Hurricane Irma, both teams will play this week’s games at home as scheduled. There were some minor practice schedule adjustments, but both teams say they are ready for Sunday. The Dolphins moved to Los Angeles last week to prepare for their game against the Chargers. Hopefully, the squads will not be as affected as Houston seemed to be after Hurricane Harvey barreled into Texas.
Good injury news
Thomas Rawls was a full participant in practice this week and will get the start for Seattle against the 49ers. Listening to head coach Pete Carroll’s and Rawls’ happiness at the news, there is conjecture that Rawls will see the bulk of the work Sunday. Is Carroll canceling the committee already?
Cincinnati’s rookie receiver, John Ross, also practiced fully. He could get into Thursday’s game but might be held out. Andy Dalton would love to see the kid out there. The quarterback mentioned in the preseason how Ross’ speed and quickness on underneath routes would help offset strong pass rushes. The way the Bengals’ front line looked last week, a good high school team could rustle up a strong pass rush on Dalton.
Covering the badly injured
This week, Kerwynn Williams is expected to be Arizona’s early down back, with Andre Ellington handling third downs and passing situations. Chris Johnson was signed to provide some veteran experience and could take the lead role if Williams isn’t up to the task. As if that potential committee wasn’t bad enough, coach Bruce Arians says Elijhaa Penny will handle short-yardage situations and could vulture some touchdowns. Rookie DJ Foster will handle returns for now and is the backup plan if anything happens to Ellington.
Arians also planned to increase the workload on the passing game to help make up for David Johnson’s absence. But that might be difficult as wide receiver John Brown and tight end John Gresham both missed practice Wednesday with undisclosed injuries.
Meanwhile, the plan in Jacksonville is less complicated. Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns will be the WR-1 and WR-2. Aurelius Benn and rookie Keelan Cole will back them up. The Jaguars also signed Ed McCaffrey’s other son, Max, off the New Orleans’ practice squad. Max McCaffrey has bounced around practice squads over the past couple of years.
In Baltimore, things are even less complicated. Javorius (Buck) Allen will play the role of Danny Woodhead this week. He could be a useful PPR waiver pickup.
It could always be worse…
The reason Indianapolis has not named a starting quarterback yet might be because neither Scott Tolzien nor Jacoby Brissett wants to take the snaps. The offensive line that gave up 41 sacks and got Andrew Luck hurt last season already lost center (and anchor) Ryan Kelly. Now they placed right tackle Denzelle Good on season-ending injured reserve. Guard John Vujnovich is also listed on the injury report as limited in practice.
But… I just got here!
In Houston, coach Bill O’Brien swears he will give Deshaun Watson a longer leash than usual and offer the rookie every chance to permanently capture the Texans’ quarterback role. Watson was behind center for Houston’s only scoring drive last week, but his overall numbers were actually a little worse than Tom Savage’s.
Dance hall days
It was bad enough that a teammate tweeted a video (since removed) of Odell Beckham Jr. dancing in the locker room after missing last week’s season opener. Now, there are multiple reports that Beckham was in a trendy nightclub this week challenging Russell Westbrook to a dance-off. Beckham is still within a ten-catch, two-touchdown game of winning everyone back, but fans in New York are getting restless. Beckham is reportedly hoping to return for Monday night’s game. Unless you hear he is definitely playing, I would make other wide receiver plans for Week 2.
Follow us every day here at RealSport for the latest news and updates, including whether you should worry about Amari Cooper’s name being on the Raiders’ injury report as limited by a knee injury. As of now, he is expected to play Sunday.
And If you have any questions about who to play next week or about anything related to NFL fantasy football, send it to: [email protected] We’ll publish answers every Wednesday throughout the season.
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