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Injury Updates and Fantasy Football Buy/Sell Targets

Inside Injuries November 6, 2017 4:59PM EDT

Post Week 9 Injury Updates and Fantasy Football Buy/Sell Guide


C.J. Anderson RB, Broncos: mild ankle sprain

Anderson left briefly on Sunday after injuring his ankle, but it was a minor tweak and he was able to return to the game. This wouldn’t really be a concern if it weren’t for his history of ankle injuries and other season-ending injuries (in 2016 he missed the second half of the season after surgery to repair a torn meniscus). Anderson missed one game in 2015 due to an ankle sprain and has also played through ankle problems many times in his career. It’s a chronic problem that can pop up again at any moment.

Anderson’s Injury Risk dropped from 12% to 24% (Elevated Injury Risk), a huge drop considering it was such a minor injury. He doesn’t appear to be in danger of missing next week’s game, but this could impact his play the rest of the season. The Broncos are already struggling on offense, and a drop in performance from Anderson would make things even tougher.

Dez Bryant WR, Cowboys: ankle sprain

Bryant appeared to suffer a high ankle sprain on Sunday when his ankle rolled on a near-catch. He tried jogging on the sideline but did not return to the game and was taken to the locker room for further evaluation. After the game Bryant said it was sore and bruised but not too bad.

While the injury is reportedly “not serious,” that doesn’t mean that he won’t be forced to miss a few games. The Optimal Recovery Time for a moderate high ankle sprain is around four weeks. Dez is tough and often plays through injuries, so it is unlikely that he misses the next month of the season. He entered the season a High Injury Risk and will likely remain that way for the rest of the year.  Right now the focus will be on controlling the swelling, then he will work on strengthening the ankle and surrounding muscles.

Don’t forget, Odell Beckham Jr. jogged off of the field and seemed okay after injuring his ankle during the preseason but ended up missing a few games. We still had him as a High Injury Risk, and a few weeks later he suffered his season-ending injury that required surgery. It doesn’t sound like Bryant’s injury will be a season-ending one, but he may still be sent for an MRI to determine if there is any ligament damage.

Zay Jones WR, Bills: knee injury

Dez Bryant might attempt to work through an ankle injury. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Jones suffered a scary-looking knee injury on Thursday night when his leg hyperextended. It was the type of play that often leads to an ACL tear or other significant damage to the knee, but thankfully it looks like he avoided a serious injury. Jones was able to return to the game, but he left again after re-injuring his knee. It still sounds like he avoided a season-ending injury, but we are calculating a grade 2 sprain. That comes with a four week Optimal Recovery Time, so he shouldn’t play next week.

Eddie Lacy RB, Seahawks: groin strain

Eddie Lacy suffered a groin strain on Sunday and did not return to the game. The Seahawks don’t know yet how serious the injury is, but with the Thursday game it is unlikely he is ready to play. Even if it wasn’t a quick turnaround, one week would not be enough for him to recover.

Lacy has a long injury history that includes a 2015 groin strain and a season-ending meniscus tear in 2016. Even a mild (grade 1) strain comes with a three week Optimal Recovery Time. The Seahawks have plenty of other capable running backs on their roster, especially if C.J. Prosise can return from his ankle injury. There’s no need to run Lacy out there if he isn’t ready, especially because this is a muscular injury.

The Seahawks may send Lacy for an MRI to get more clarity on the severity of his injury. Then we will have a better idea of a more realistic recovery time.

Terrance Williams WR, Cowboys: ankle sprain

The Cowboys lost two receivers to ankle sprains yesterday. The injury to Williams’ was much less talked about because Bryant was also hurt, but after his 141 yard day, losing Williams would be tough for Dallas as well. This left ankle sprain doesn’t sound too serious, and right now Inside injuries has calculated a grade 2 injury. If he does practice this week, it could drop to a grade 1.

Williams was walking without much of a limp after the game, but that does not mean that he avoided a high ankle sprain. If he tries to return too soon, his lateral movements and cutting ability will be impacted. He needs to take at least 1-2 weeks off to fully recover, and his recovery time could approach 4-6 weeks if it is a more serious ankle sprain.

Buy/Sell Targets

Corey Davis TEN – BUY

Davis put up underwhelming numbers in his return, but a deeper look provides some promising signs for him moving forward. In his first game since Week 2, Davis mustered just two catches for 28 yards, but he played on 75% of the snaps, which was highly encouraging. Davis remains an Elevated Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries, but he seems to have come out of this one well and should continue to improve physically.

That snap share has him looking like the second receiver in the Titans pecking order, behind Rishard Matthews and ahead of Eric Decker. Also, given the upside that made Davis a Top 5 pick, it wouldn’t be a shock if Davis became Marcus Mariota’s favorite option by the end of the year. He may take a couple more weeks to round back into form coming off the injury and has some tough matchups on the horizon, but the potential for a breakout around the start of the fantasy playoffs is worth investing in.

Demaryius Thomas DEN – SELL

Thomas finally scored Sunday for the first time in 15 games, and he led the Broncos with 12 targets. It was one of his best games of the season, and he now has 13 catches in his last 2 games.

However, Thomas shouldn’t be trusted just yet. His touchdown came in garbage time with the Broncos getting drummed in Philadelphia, and the quarterback uncertainty makes it hard to believe in any Broncos pass catcher moving forward. Also, with Emmanuel Sanders returning on Sunday and getting healthier, the targets aren’t likely to favor Thomas as much on a week-to-week basis moving forward. If you can acquire a more stable asset for Thomas this week, it’s worth a look.

Sterling Shepard NYG – BUY

The Giants got some help in their receiving corps Sunday when Sterling Shepard returned from a three-week absence. Shepard had been fighting a sprained ankle but was good enough to return for a full workload. According to Inside Injuries, Shepard is a Low Injury Risk, which is highly encouraging looking forward.

If he can indeed remain healthy, Shepard should be the #1 receiver for the Giants for the remainder of the season with Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall out. His numbers were solid (5 catches, 70 yards), but not flashy, in his return this week. However, given the other receivers around him and how bad the Giants are, Shepard should see a bunch of targets each week as they play from behind, which should be enough to keep him at least around his numbers from this week. He could be another late season breakout option that helps you win your league. The time to target him is now.

Damien Williams MIA – SELL

With Jay Ajayi getting traded, the Dolphins backfield is now in the hands of Williams and Kenyan Drake. Williams put up a solid fantasy outing Sunday night, with 61 total yards and a touchdown.

However, it’s unclear whether or not those numbers will be sustainable. Williams was outsnapped by Kenyan Drake, and Drake was much more impressive running the football. Williams will probably continue to get more work on third down, but the Dolphins, who continue to make big plays on offense, will need to give Drake more and more looks in the ground game due to his explosiveness, a trait that Williams simply can’t match. With the Dolphins offensive line banged up, there just isn’t enough upside in this offense to sustain two backs week-to-week. Bet against Williams being the guy, and see if you can get a usable piece for him now.

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