Dalvin Cook is not expected to play for the Vikings in week 5. Cook has battled hamstring woes all season and sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL Network that it would take an impressive turnaround for him to be on the field.
Here’s a rundown of more updates on player injuries:
- Tight end Hayden Hurst is expected to make his debut for Ravens against the Browns, according to Adam Schefter’s twitter feed.
- Larry Fitzgerald, who is dealing with back and hamstring injuries, is expected to play for the Cardinals against the 49ers.
- 49ers RB Matt Breida is expected to play in the game as well.
- Aaron Rodgers is no longer on the injury report for the Packers.
- Davante Adams remains listed as questionable with a calf injury and is expected to play. Randall Cobb is not expected to play in the contest against the Lions.
- Marvin Jones is expected to suit up for the Lions.
- Greg Olsen won’t play in week 5, though there’s a chance he suits up for the Panthers in week 6.
We’ve hit the quarter-mark on the season and it’s time to look at some players that are trending in the right direction and some that are heading the wrong way:
- Nyheim Hines has played on 70.5% of the Colts offensive snaps during the past two games. Marlon Mack missed both of those contests and three out of four this season with injury woes.
- Hines is averaging 8.3 targets per game when Mack sits. Mack is also not expected to play on Thursday.
- Over the past two weeks, Eric Ebron has run the second-most routes of all tight ends. He saw 21 targets over that span and should be in all lineups at least until Jack Doyle returns to full health.
- Sony Michel accounted for 69.4% of the Patriots’ backfield carries on Sunday, producing 112 yards.
- Michel received nine red zone carries over the last two weeks, which is six more than the next highest back (James White).
- Kerryon Johnson continues to look good when he’s on the field, gaining 55 yards on nine carries against the Cowboys in week 4. He only saw 20 snaps, running just seven routes, seeing just one target. On the plus side, he handled on the Lions‘ only red zone carry.
- Larry Fitzgerald only made three catches during Josh Rosen‘s first start, though better times may be on the horizon. The future Hall-of-Famer recorded a team-high 26% target share from the rookie. Expect brighter days, especially with a soft schedule approaching.
- Nelson Agholor is nice buy-low candidate. Alshon Jeffery stole the receiving show for the Eagles in his first game back, but Agholor actually had more targets. Agholor is still running nearly 70% of his routes from the slot, averaging 8.5 targets per contest.
- Jordan Howard has seen his snap rate decline in each of the past three weeks, going from 72.7% to 62.2% to 54.1% from weeks 2-4. The Bears were up big in the first half thanks to Mitchell Trubisky’s miracle 6-TD game, though Howard only saw one carry.
- Melvin Gordon is averaging 8.4 targets per game and his increased use in the passing game (something he was already a big part of last season) makes him a top-five player in all fantasy formats.
- What is going on with Kenyan Drake? He was only on the field for 44.9% of Miami’s offensive snaps on Sunday and ran just one more route than Frank Gore. The Dolphins just lost starting center Daniel Kilgore for the season so the sledding won’t get any easier for Alabama product.
- In five games without Leonard Fournette in the lineup, Blake Bortles is averaging over 34 pass attempts per game, including 45 and 34 attempts in weeks 2 and 3, respectively.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was pulled from the Buccaneers game on Sunday after completing just nine of his 18 passes for 145 yards. Jameis Winston came in for Fitzmagic and he will be the starter when the team returns from a bye in week 6, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link).
Coach Dirk Koetter said when he originally found out Winston would be suspended for the first three games, he anticipated the former No. 1 overall pick starting in week 4. The coach added that Tampa Bay brought in Fitzpatrick to be a mentor for Winston. Koetter also said that Winston is a “guy who will be here way longer” than the coach will and Winston “needs” to be playing.
The Fitzmagic era in Florida is over and the Harvard QB can be dropped in all leagues. Let’s take a look around the league at a few other key fantasy football story lines:
- Rob Gronkowski left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and while it’s been reported that the ailment is not serious. He’s considered questionable for the Patriots‘ tilt against the Colts.
- Geronimo Allison‘s emergence is real, though a concussion sent him out of Sunday’s game after catching six balls for 80 yards. Randall Cobb didn’t suit up in the contest because of a hamstring injury and if both players are out against Detroit, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who was on the field for 54-of-76 snaps against the Bills, will be the next man up for Green Bay. It’s worth noting that Cobb did not seem close to playing for the Packers this week.
- Calvin Ridley has six touchdowns in four games this year and although that rate is not sustainable, he’s a mainstay in the Falcons‘ red zone offense. Four of his six scores have come from inside the 20. He’s a solid WR3 going forward.
Kerryon Johnson became the first Lions players to rush for 100 yards in a game last week since Reggie Bush did it in 2013. The rookie carried the rock 16 times for 101 yards, making a bevy of explosive plays.
While Johnson’s national televised coming out party may make it harder to obtain him in a trade, a favorable matchup with the Cowboys awaits, meaning it won’t get any easier to trade for him next Monday. Dallas star linebacker Sean Lee won’t play this week. The Cowboys allowed 1.7 more yards per carry with him on the sideline, compared to when he played last season. Jerry’s team spent a first-round pick on Leighton Vander Esch to prepare for Lee-less battles, having gone just 1-8 over the past three seasons when the former Penn Stater sits. Vander Esch should help to mitigate the loss, but it’s still a plus matchup for Lions rushers.
LeGarrette Blount could be a sneaky, low-cost play in daily fantasy. He saw 18 touches last week, producing 65 yards.
Johnson will eat into his volume after the big game, though Blount should still have a nice on role in week 4. Here’s more from around the league:
- Alshon Jeffery was cleared for contact on Wednesday, though he was not on the field for practice on Thursday. For fantasy purposes, Jeffrey is a stay-away even if he suits up. With only two teams (Panthers and Redskins) on bye, there should be plenty of other WR options available to start this week.
- Josh Allen may be a viable fill-in this week for those that lost Jimmy Garoppolo. He was the sixth-ranked QB on ESPN during week 3 and he faces a Green Bay squad that ranks 27th in defensive DVOA this season.
- The Tyler Boyd breakout is for real. He was on the field for 38 of the team’s 47 pass plays and saw seven targets. He’s a WR3 with upside if A.J. Green suits up (he’s expected to as of this writing) and if Green can’t make it onto the field, Boyd becomes a must-start WR2.
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau is doing his best to keep Jimmy Butler in Minnesota, though it doesn’t appear to be enough, as the 4-time All-Star refuses to show up to camp. It was originally reported that Butler had the Nets, Knicks, and Clippers on his shortlist, but Marc Stein of The New York Times reports that Miami is now his preferred destination.
Where will Butler play on opening night? Bovada has the Heat as the favorite. Here are the remainder of the odds:
The Dolphins’ defense sits atop Football Outsiders’ Defensive DVOA metric after two weeks by a comfortable margin. They have a -40.8% rating (negative is better than positive for defenses) with the Jets coming in at No. 2 with -26.4%. New York is closer to No. 9 Houston than they are to Miami at the top.
|Odds To Win The AFC East
Sure, the Dolphins “only” played the Titans and Jets and we don’t yet know how good or bad those offenses are. Still, the production is impressive. Aaron Schatz of FO examined how other teams have fared when putting up a defensive DVOA of at least -30% through two weeks. Thirty-Two teams since 2002 have started out with such a mark and on average they finished with a defensive DVOA of -9.5% or ranking 8.5 in the league. Only seven teams finished as worse than average (0%).
Miami, a team that finished 28th in defensive DVOA last season, has a good chance to finish in the top 10. Their upcoming schedule should provide a few tests, though outside of a trip to New England in week 4 and one to Green Bay in week 10, it’s not too daunting.
The match-up against the Raiders is the only thing keeping Miami from being 3-0 heading into that game with New England. The Dolphins offense has been conservative, though if it can rely on the defense to keep them in games, we could be looking at a playoff team. Odds of that before the season? +400.
*Odds per Bovada.
With week 2 of the NFL season complete, let’s take a look around the league at some stats and trends:
- Blake Bortles exploded for 377 yards against the Patriots. He’s averaging 323 passing yards per game during the four games he’s played with Leonard Fournette on the sideline. He has nine touchdowns during that span. With the Titans up next, he’s a value play in daily fantasy, especially if his star running back sits out.
- The Rams have run 68 passing plays through the first two weeks of the season. They’ve had three wide receivers on the all but one of those plays. There’s room for Brandon Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp in the offense and in the fantasy realm.
- The Raiders and Lions are the only two teams to allow at least 140 yards to each team they’ve faced this season.
- Tight End Jonnu Smith didn’t receive a target during the Titans‘ win over the Texans, though he did play on all of the team’s 56 snaps. Delanie Walker‘s replacement could be someone to target in fantasy once Marcus Mariota returns.
- Javorius Allen has played three more snaps than Alex Collins and has eight more targets so far this season. He should be owned in all leagues.