Injury concerns regarding players heading into the Sunday and Monday games can be critical. Each Saturday, this entry will be dedicated to those who appear on the official NFL game-status injury report and how their status might impact fantasy teams.
For those who might be new to this blog: Injury reports provide some insight to a player's status. The NFL requires teams to submit practice injury reports several times a week, identifying the body part that is involved in the injury. This year, there has been a change in the language of injury reporting, per the league office. The most notable change is the removal of the "probable" designation. For more detailed information on the changes and what they mean, click here.
Early in the week, the practice injury reports indicate whether a player did not practice, was limited in practice or was a full participant in practice. On Fridays, all teams file a game-status injury report assigning one of the following designations: questionable, doubtful or out. The designations listed here reflect the injury reports filed with the league office on Friday evening. Teams playing on Monday night do not have to issue their designations until Saturday. The explanation for each designation is as follows.
Out: This is the easy one -- the guy is not playing Sunday.
Questionable (Q): This remains the most dreaded player designation. By definition it means a player is "uncertain to play." How uncertain is uncertain? There is no percentage or measurement scale, leaving this classification rather vague. Whether a player ends up active or inactive often comes down to a game-time decision based on how he feels on game-day morning or how he performs during warm-ups. Final inactives are due 90 minutes before kickoff.
Doubtful (D): The doubtful designation means a player is unlikely to play that week. Rarely does a player labeled as doubtful end up playing, unless he experiences a major turnaround before game time.
Each week in the Saturday blog, we run down a list of key fantasy players, by position, who appear in the Friday injury report along with the injured body part as listed on the report, player status and any relevant developments or insight. The primary fantasy positions are covered (quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end).
This season, at the end of each positional section, there is a subgrouping of players, "Players Off Game-Status Injury Report." The probable tag no longer exists, so players who would have been listed as probable in previous seasons are now simply removed from the report. This means there will be players who appear in the practice injury reports during the week but will not appear on the game-status report Friday, since they are presumed active for game day. They are included in this blog so that fantasy owners can see where players who were on the practice injury report during the week have been upgraded in advance of the games.
At the end, key fantasy players listed Friday as "out" for the week's games will appear as a group.
There are more injuries to factor into the mix as the season progresses and there are four teams on bye this week: The Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens are all off in Week 10. The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals played on Thursday night, leaving 13 remaining matchups whose fantasy-relevant injured players are represented here.
Good luck in Week 10, everyone!
Players off game-status injury report:
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, right shoulder, Monday night: It feels like this entry can write itself. Newton is a fixture here because of his shoulder and the team's desire to limit his reps in practice. He will play on Monday night at home against the Dolphins.
Jay Cutler, Miami Dolphins, ribs, Monday night: This entry is a formality as Cutler has already returned to play from the rib injury that forced him to miss Week 8. He remains on the practice injury report but has fully practiced each day and will play Monday night.
Damien Williams, Miami Dolphins, illness, (Q), Monday night: With Jay Ajayi now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, Kenyan Drake and Williams have become the backs to watch in Miami. Williams, however, crops up on the team's injury report this week after not practicing Thursday or Friday due to illness. The good news is that he was a full participant in Saturday's practice, and coach Adam Gase had hinted at his availability. It is always good to have a backup plan in place for fantasy players, but it appears Williams is expected to go Monday night.
Players off game-status injury report:
C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos, ankle/illness, 8:30 p.m.: Anderson would have been on the injury report because of his ankle but was sent home due to illness Thursday. He returned to full practice on Friday. His removal from the pregame injury report indicates he is expected to play Sunday night.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers, toe, Monday night: Stewart remains on the practice injury report because of his toe, but his full participation in practice indicates there are no worries regarding his status. The Panthers took him off the pregame injury report, which also removes the concern about his health.
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos, ankle, (Q), 8:30 p.m.: This questionable designation feels less uncertain than last week's considering Sanders has now returned from the ankle injury that sidelined him for two weeks. In fact, after limited practice Wednesday, Sanders fully practiced both Thursday and Friday. Fantasy players will want to have a backup plan in place given the late kickoff time, but it would be a surprise at this point if Sanders didn't play.
Danny Amendola, New England Patriots, knee, (Q), 8:30 p.m.: Amendola has been listed as questionable more often than not this season, but he's missed only one game. It looks as if he'll play again this week after practicing on a limited basis daily.
Players off game-status injury report:
Demaryius Thomas, hamstring, and Bennie Fowler, ankle, Denver Broncos, 8:30 p.m. ET: Both Thomas and Fowler were dealing with ailments that impacted their practice but won't affect their status for Sunday night. Most important, both were able to practice fully on Friday in advance of being cleared from the pregame injury report.
Martellus Bennett, New England Patriots, shoulder, (Q), 8:30 p.m.: It was a strange week with regards to Bennett's situation. He started the week on the Packers' injury report because of his shoulder, a condition for which he had been reported to be seeking additional opinions last week. After practicing Tuesday, Bennett was listed as a non-participant Wednesday and was cut that day by the team. On Thursday, he was claimed off waivers by the Patriots, and he was listed as a limited participant Friday. He heads into Sunday night's game listed as questionable, and it is unclear whether he will be available to play. Bennett took to Instagram to address his shoulder situation and to document his thoughts regarding how it was handled. Several Packers players, including Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson, responded via social media to defend the team's medical staff. This will not likely be the end of the story, but at the very least, it appears Bennett plans to play through the injury this season, given his signing with the Patriots.
This space is intended for a list of key players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status, who are officially listed as "out" for the upcoming game.
Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots, shoulder: Hogan, who injured a shoulder in Week 8, never really appeared to have a shot of playing after not practicing all week. Despite a bye last week, Hogan still needs more time to recover.
Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets, knee: Forte had swelling in his right knee after last Thursday night's game. There is concern regarding his condition, as this is the same knee Forte had arthroscopic surgery on to address a meniscus tear in the offseason. It's worth noting he had a season-high carries last week, meaning even when he does return, this could push the Jets to reduce his workload.
Zay Jones, WR, Buffalo Bills, ankle: Jones appeared to hyperextend a knee in last week's game but ultimately returned to play. He ended up on the injury report, however, because of an ankle, and he did not practice all week before being ruled out.
Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals, ankle: Hill missed Week 9 and was slated to miss more time because of an injured ankle. The Bengals decided to place Hill on the reserve/injured list, which now paves the way for less competition at the running back position for Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard.
Dan Bailey, K, Dallas Cowboys, right groin: Bailey's absence this week does not come as a surprise given that he was already expected to be out until at least Thanksgiving with a groin injury. Mike Nugent will kick for the Cowboys in the interim.
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, right shoulder: No surprise here, as the Bucs had indicated their plan to shut Winston down for at least two weeks. This is the first of those minimum two weeks.
Games are underway
These players were previously listed above, but their games have kicked off and rosters are locked.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings, knee, 1 p.m. ET: Case Keenum will start for the Vikings, but it is nice to see Bridgewater completely off the game injury report after a lengthy absence. Bridgewater dislocated his left knee in practice during the 2016 preseason and has faced a long and difficult recovery process. He was a full participant in practice throughout the week and is now removed from the injury report. Perhaps most encouraging is his confidence, despite not having taken the field yet. It's impossible not to root for his successful return, whenever that day comes.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts, groin, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Hilton was a late addition to the injury report Thursday, always worrisome, especially for soft-tissue injuries such as this. On the bright side, he was back at practice Friday, albeit in limited fashion. Despite his questionable status, Hilton is expected to play. But check pregame inactives to be sure.
Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars, knee, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Lee has yet to miss a game because of the knee injury, and his practice reps have been managed accordingly. Last week he didn't practice for two days; this week he missed only one practice, on Wednesday. After limited work both Thursday and Friday, Lee is listed as questionable but he is expected to play.
Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins, hamstring, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Crowder made it clear last week that, while his hamstring felt better, he was having trouble when he tried to accelerate to top-end speed. Rather than risk an in-game setback, Crowder sat out Week 9, and it likely paid off. This week he has improved to limited participation throughout the week (last week he did not practice at all), and it appears he will try to give it a go Sunday. Still, as we have seen already this year, things can change during pregame warm-ups, so fantasy players should be sure to check pregame inactives.
Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions, hamstring, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Golladay, who has not played since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 4, is questionable for Sunday's game. Last week he had one limited practice; this week he had three. It sounds as if he is not yet 100 percent healthy, and his status is iffy at best.
Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings, tooth, 1 p.m. ET: Diggs had a root canal procedure this week and, as a result, landed on the practice injury report as a limited participant Thursday. He was back in full practice Friday and is off the pregame injury report.
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints, ankle, 1 p.m. ET: When a player appears on the injury report with a new ailment to start the week, as was the case with Thomas, it's hard to know just how concerned to be. By the end of the week, if the player has been on the practice field daily (Thomas was, albeit in limited fashion) and is removed from the pregame injury report, the concern eases. Thomas is expected to play.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans, ankle, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Despite the questionable tag, the expectation is that Walker will play on Sunday. Given that he already took the field last week when his status was much more up in the air, it stands to reason that he will do so again. Walker was given Wednesday and Thursday off to rest the ankle, then turned in a limited practice Friday. Fantasy players should be sure to check the pregame inactive list but can feel pretty good heading into Sunday morning regarding Walker's status.
Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins, hamstring, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: When coach Jay Gruden expressed concern about Reed's hamstring injury the day after it happened in Week 8, it seemed as if it could be a multi-week injury. Despite some encouraging news early this week, when Reed did some drills in practice, the possibility that he could miss another week is looking more likely. After two days of limited work, Reed did not practice with the team Friday. While there was no official report of a setback, a missed practice late in the week always raises that concern. Even if Reed were to suit up Sunday, it's clear he has not fully tested the hamstring as of yet, making him a bit risky. This is certainly not the direction one would like to see a player's activity turn heading into the weekend.
Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills, knee, (Q), 1 p.m. ET: Clay has been absent since injuring his left knee in Week 5, when he suffered a torn meniscus and an MCL sprain. He subsequently underwent arthroscopic surgery and has been rehabbing and gradually reintegrating to football activity. This past week he returned to practice and was a limited participant daily. Last week coach Sean McDermott said it was realistic to think Clay could return in Week 10, and he offered more words of encouragement late in the week after seeing Clay practice. His questionable designation indeed allows for that possibility, although it would not be a surprise to see him in a somewhat limited format. There's no denying his preferred status as a pass-catcher makes him valuable to Tyrod Taylor if he does take the field.
Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins, hand, 1 p.m. ET: Davis had swelling in a hand after last week's game, which resulted in his placement on the injury report. After limited practice Wednesday, he upgraded to full participation both Thursday and Friday and will be available for this game against the Vikings. His status is important given Jordan Reed's questionable status.
Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons, knee, 4:25 p.m. ET: Freeman was reported initially this week to have an undisclosed injury, but when injury reports disclosed it Wednesday, it was a knee that was listed. Between a stinger two weeks ago and having the wind knocked out of him last Sunday, Freeman has been absorbing some big hits. Nothing has been serious enough to put him in danger of missing this week's game, as his removal from the pregame injury report would indicate. He is expected to play as the Falcons host the Cowboys.
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, knee/ankle, (Q), 4:25 p.m. ET: Well, Dez said he's going to play. Should fantasy players believe him? It feels like they should, although there's no certainty until kickoff and, unfortunately, this is one of the few late games this week. Bryant left last week's game with what appeared to be primarily an ankle injury, but early this week coach Jason Garrett indicated his knee was also an issue. Bryant said both his knee and ankle were "stable," an important distinction. He also said this was nothing like last year's injury, the cracked tibial plateau that sidelined him for several weeks. Bryant practiced on a limited basis Friday after resting Wednesday and Thursday and was reportedly moving well. Insurance is important with a late game, but it appears Bryant is likely to play.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons, ankle, 4:25 p.m. ET: Jones is no stranger to foot and ankle injuries, and once again he plays through an in-game injury but lands on the practice injury report. Jones had indicated early in the week that he would be fine, and it appears he will be. He did not practice Wednesday or Thursday but turned in a limited practice Friday and was reportedly moving well. Just how well he moves in the game remains to be seen, but at least we know Jones will play.
Will Fuller, Houston Texans, knee, 4:05 p.m. ET: Fuller had a knee injury that landed him on the injury report, but he was a full participant in practice throughout the week and his status was never really in doubt. Perhaps affecting him to a larger degree is the loss of QB Deshaun Watson to a season-ending injury; Fuller had no red zone targets in Week 9.