DeAndre Hopkins, WR HOU – Start
After a disappointing 2016 that saw Hopkins held to under 1,000 yards and only four touchdowns, Hopkins has come out full force this season. He is on pace to match his career high in yards of 1,521 yards and on pace to beat his career high of 11 touchdowns. But Hopkins sustained a foot injury last week that has had him as limited in practice this week, which could affect his pursuit of a career-best season. But according to reporting by Rotoworld, Hopkins is at no risk to miss this week’s game against the Titans, and we tend to agree. He should be starting in all leagues and all formats.
Adrian Peterson, RB ARI – Cautious Start
The David Johnson injury early in the season led to Adrian Peterson joining the Cardinals. He immediately became the guy who would take the most carries. He started off with some great success as the starter and had one of the most prolific days of any running back this year, rushing for 159 yards on 37 carries against the 49ers.
But he hasn’t had as much success recently. In his past three games, he has averaged only 45 yards per game despite averaging over 18 carries per game. Peterson has not practiced yet this week, and his injury is somewhat mysterious in that there was no single play during last week’s game that appeared to give him an injury. It could be a phantom injury and an excuse for rest but monitor him closely. If he still hasn’t practiced through Friday, then something more serious has happened. Otherwise, you should feel pretty good about starting him. The volume is there.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR BUF – Risky Start
In his two games with the Buffalo Bills, Kelvin Benjamin hasn’t found much success. The former Panthers wideout has only accumulated 62 yards in his two games, a far cry from his 59.4 yards per game as a Panther this season. A lot of that is on the Bills’ quarterback situation, which is bad, to say the least.
Benjamin is listed as day-to-day on the injury report with a knee injury, but the Bills have been known to have players “day-to-day” for weeks. Day-to-day in Buffalo has started to be more like what “doubtful” used to be. There is a solid chance that he will not play this week, and without a good quarterback under center, there seems to be relatively little upside in starting Benjamin. If Benjamin does suit up, it’s going to be a tough day. Playing through a meniscus tear just two weeks after the injury is not a good idea.
Greg Olson, TE CAR – Sit
In his first week back from a near season-ending injury, Greg Olsen is now unlikely to play through his foot injury. Olsen didn’t show much to be desired in his return anyway (just one catch for 10 yards), but with the renewed injury status, he is virtually unplayable. He did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. If you, like me, picked up Olsen hoping he would provide some depth, it is probably safe to drop at this point unless you have room on your roster to hold onto him for a few more weeks. Look elsewhere for a tight end.
Plug and Play: Dede Westbrook JAX
Westbrook has been immediately included in the Jacksonville passing game after being activated off of IR two weeks ago. In two games, he has been targeted 16 times, catching nine passes for 76 yards. The actual production isn’t stunning, but the target numbers are what’s most intriguing.
If Allen Hurns is out again this week, Westbrook should continue to see that share of the targets. Hurns’ absence seems likely as he didn’t practice Thursday and is a High Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries. Westbrook will also be going against an Indy defense that has struggled mightily against the pass. It’s the same defense that gave up 330 yards passing to Blake Bortles in Week 7, meaning there should be more opportunity to produce in the Jacksonville passing game than normal. All of these factors make Westbrook a sneaky plug and play WR3 this week.
Wait and See: Jordy Nelson GB
Jordy Nelson has done next to nothing ever since Aaron Rodgers went down in Week 6. Even last week, when Brett Hundley had a breakout game, Nelson was held to three catches for 11 yards. Nelson at this point is only worth holding onto because of the potential return of Rodgers in Week 15. It’s unclear if Rodgers will for sure return, but a lot likely depends on whether the Packers are still alive in the playoff hunt.
Rodgers has been improving physically, but he is still an Elevated Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries, so it would only make sense for him to come back if the Packers have a chance to make a run. Green Bay would likely have to win the next two weeks for that to be the case, so Nelson might not be worth holding onto much longer. However, the potential of Rodgers coming back for the final two weeks of the Fantasy season and turning Nelson into a WR1 type option again is there. If you have a roster spot open to stash Nelson, then try to do so for at least another week.
Drop: Bilal Powell NYJ
Powell has been a big disappointment this year, mostly due to his inability to gain a consistent hold of the Jets’ backfield. In recent weeks, as long as Matt Forte has been healthy, Powell has been useless in Fantasy. Forte remains a tossup week-to-week whether or not he’s going to play. Even when Forte has been out, Elijah McGuire has eaten into the workload. He has just two games this season with more than 43 yards on the ground. Lately, he has not been a factor as a receiver either, catching just two passes the past three weeks. In deeper leagues, he might be worth keeping on your roster just to see if Forte is shut down at some point, but the return even then likely won’t be that great. It’s time to cut ties with Powell.
Other Notable Injuries:
Aaron Jones, RB GB – Cautious Start
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR PIT – Cautious Start
Rishard Matthews, WR TEN – Cautious Start
Ty Montgomery, RB GB – Risky Start
Danny Amendola, WR NE – Risky Start
Matt Forte, RB NYJ – Sit
Robert Woods, WR LAR – Sit
DeSean Jackson, WR TB – Sit
Devin Funchess, WR CAR – Sit
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