Injury Report: Week 6

John Daigle
Rotoworld

Week 6 of the fantasy football season is finally here, and the Rotoworld crew has everything you need to leave the weekend with a win. Patrick Daugherty answers your lineup questions with his Week 6 Rankings, Nick Mensio tells you who to start and who to fade in Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em, Ian Hartitz dives into which receivers are destined for production in his WR/CB Matchups Analysis, Hayden Winks breaks down every matchup in his Fantasy Forecast, and I give leans to Week 6's most explosive performances in my Player Props Column.

I'm also here to shed some light on the most important injury situations facing fantasy owners heading into the weekend. The sister resource to this column is the Rotoworld News Page, which will have every single inactive and all the late-breaking news up to kickoff and beyond. I'll also join Josh Norris and a rotating member of the crew every Sunday morning at noon ET on the Rotoworld Fantasy Football Show to answer all of your pressing start/sit decisions.

 

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London
Panthers @ Buccaneers

*Christian McCaffrey (back) was taken off the team’s injury report following a universal Wednesday scare. That rest day will reportedly be the new norm going forward, so no need to be alarmed. The Panthers will still be without starting RG Trai Turner (ankle) and LT Greg Little (concussion) in London, but backup Dennis Daley held his own against the Jaguars as Carolina quietly exited Week 5 tied for the fewest hurries allowed despite make-shifting their o-line mid-week.

*Even without DT Kawann Short (shoulder), the Panthers should have no issues pressuring Jameis Winston sans starting RG Alex Cappa (arm, out) and RT Demar Dotson (hamstring, out). Backups Josh Wells and Earl Watford will make up the entire right side of the Bucs’ offensive trenches.

 

Early Games
Bengals @ Ravens

*Already down DE Kerry Wynn, the Bengals will also be without DE Carlos Dunlap (knee) in an unfavorable matchup as 11-point road dogs in Baltimore.

*Electric rookie Marquise Brown (ankle) failed to practice all week and is headed for a game-time call. Willie Snead was the only wideout to get work in the slot once Brown exited last week, so the former’s the easy pick-to-click if Brown can’t go. Note that the Bengals have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing slot receivers. Mark Andrews (foot, probable) was also fortuitously upgraded to full participation on Friday. Whether you believe he’s truly healthy or not (and I have my doubts), fact is the volatile landscape at his position keeps the second-year tight end entrenched as a weekly Top 7 option. 

 

Seahawks @ Browns

*Rashaad Penny (hamstring) is considered questionable despite getting in three full days of practice. No matter: Chris Carson will continue to work well ahead of him, as he did on a career-high 83.2 percent snap rate last week. The (lack of) gaps created without starting OL Duane Brown (biceps, doubtful) and D.J. Fluker (hamstring, doubtful) are a bigger concern than Penny’s potential involvement.

*Rashard Higgins (ankle) was finally cleared from Cleveland’s injury report for the first time since their season opener. Unfortunately, Coach Freddie Kitchens wouldn’t fully commit to Antonio Callaway taking a backseat in three-wide sets even after the second-year wideout lined up on the wrong side of a formation and kicked a goal-line target into a defender’s hands for a pick on two separate occasions Monday night. Good news is starting corners Denzel Ward (hamstring) and Greedy Williams (hamstring) are both trending positively down to the wire as game-time decisions.

 

Saints @ Jaguars

*It’s pretty clear Alvin Kamara (ankle, questionable) injured himself in Thursday’s practice as he closed the week with a concise DNP. We haven’t seen Latavius Murray’s usage without Kamara on the field just yet, but it’s easy to project the prized free agent acquisition as an every-down back against Jacksonville’s stone-last rush defense DVOA if given the nod. Murray would be a Top 20 option if Kamara’s scratched (though my educated guess is he plays).

*This game genuinely flips favorites if Jalen Ramsey (back, doubtful) suits up. Jags owner Shahid Khan said the star CB would play but all other reports suggest otherwise. 

 

Texans @ Chiefs

*Incumbent No. 1 corner Johnathan Joseph (hamstring, questionable) notably enters this one with a lingering soft-tissue injury — not that the 35-year-old could keep up with any of Kansas City’s receivers, anyhow. 

*Tyreek Hill (collarbone) is questionable while Sammy Watkins (hamstring, doubtful) is expected to sit this one out. If both are scratched, Chiefs’ three-wide sets whittle down to Demarcus Robinson as an every-down player on the outside with both Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle mixing it up in the slot. I rank them Robinson > Pringle > Hardman if Hill’s out (if only because Pringle’s floor is higher than the rookie’s), and Hill > Robinson > Hardman if the former plays. Pringle’s also an easy DFS cash game lock at minimum if Reek’s inactive.

 

Redskins @ Dolphins (Super Bowl)

*Jeremy Sprinkle has worked as Washington’s primary tight end without Jordan Reed (concussion) and Vernon Davis (concussion) the past two weeks, but he’s only totaled 18 routes compared to 28 run/pass-blocking snaps in that span. Case Keenum’s return under center is still spectacular news for Terry McLaurin, who bolstered a team-high 24 targets and the seventh-most air yards (368) among all skill players through the first three games before the 31-year-old vet was benched in Week 4.

*Despite being limited throughout the week, all signs point to Albert Wilson (calf, questionable) making his return against a Washington secondary that’s been diced for the fourth-most fantasy points by opposing slot wideouts. Reminder that Wilson totaled four targets and a carry on just six snaps before exiting in Week 1.

 

Eagles @ Vikings

*DeSean Jackson’s (abdomen, out) continued absence has ultimately limited Carson Wentz’s ceiling rather than thrusted another wideout into exponential opportunity. The trickle down of available targets could still benefit Miles Sanders now that both Darren Sproles (quad, out) and Corey Clement (shoulder, IR) are out for an extended period. Jordan Howard’s still the RB2 of the two. 

*Dakota Dozier will make his third career start in place of RG Josh Kline (foot).

 

 

Afternoon Games
Falcons @ Cardinals

*Only one week after conceding 53 points to the Texans, the Falcons are now slated to be without No. 1 corner Desmond Trufant (toe) against a Cardinals Offense that’s called the 10th-highest pass play rate (62%) in neutral game script. Backup corner Isaiah Oliver has been toasted for 23/305/3 on 32 targets this season.

*David Johnson (back) returned to practice on Friday and is looking like a true game-time decision. Whomever gets the start between he and Chase Edmonds becomes a locked-in RB1 on the week. Edmonds would be bumped down to a FLEX play at best if DJ’s active. It’s also fair to wonder if Christian Kirk’s (ankle, questionable) and Damiere Byrd’s (hamstring, questionable) pending returns take away from Johnson’s and Edmonds’ involvement underneath of late as only Austin Ekeler has recorded more targets (28) among running backs since Week 3. Kirk is a clear WR2/3 if available.

 

49ers @ Rams

*George Kittle strained his groin during Friday’s practice but coach Kyle Shanahan sounded optimistic; Kittle’s still technically questionable for Sunday. Fantasy players should only sweat if TE Daniel Helm is elevated from the practice squad Saturday afternoon. The effectiveness of San Francisco’s blocking sans LT Joe Staley (leg, out), RT Mike McGlinchey (knee, out) and do-it-all FB Kyle Juszczyk (knee, out) is a concern, especially since coach Sean McVay’s had 10 full days to prep. 

*Todd Gurley (quad) played on 65-of-70 offensive snaps last Thursday then failed to get any work in leading up to this one. McVay talked up rookie Darrell Henderson at week’s end, stating there’s “going to be a time” that the team relies on the No. 70 overall pick, but all signs point to Malcolm Brown handling the lion’s share of touches if Gurley sits. Henderson needs to be universally rostered since he’s unanimously the more explosive of the two, but there have been no indications Brown will even so much as split work if named starter. I rank Week 6’s fill-ins Edmonds > Brown > Murray if those ahead of them are ruled out and consider Edmonds the only FLEX worthy option of the trio if all starters play. Henderson’s merely a DFS tourney prayer (albeit a fun one) this Sunday.

 

Titans @ Broncos

*Delanie Walker (knee) closed the week with two full sessions but remains a low-end cross-your-fingers TE1 after being involved in a pitiful 37.2 percent of Tennessee’s offensive snaps the past two games. Jonnu Smith’s only trailed Walker 29-22 in routes run in that span. 

*Courtland Sutton (leg) is fully expected to play despite his limited participation on Wednesday. He remains one of the sneakiest WR2/3 in season-long formats across the board.

 

Cowboys @ Jets

*Jerry Jones has been the only voice of optimism on Tyron Smith’s (ankle, questionable) and La’el Collins’ (knee, questionable) pending availability. Smith sounds much closer than Collins, for what it’s worth. It may not matter for Zeke’s usage if his season-high 44 routes run against the Packers carry over into Week 6. That’s not out of the question as Elliott’s returned to bell-cow status on 94.8 percent of Dallas’ offensive snaps since Week 4.

*Likely short stud LB C.J. Mosley (groin, doubtful) and run-stuffing DT Henry Anderson (shoulder, doubtful), the only good news for the Jets is Sam Darnold’s presence back under center. He won’t have Chris Herndon (hamstring, out) to throw to since the fantasy Gods hate us.

 

Sunday Night
Steelers @ Chargers

*Starting corner Steven Nelson (groin) was recently downgraded to out, sliding 6’0/193 Artie Burns in coverage against the brawny 6’4/218 frame of Mike Williams on the outside. The latter clearly has the advantage. Pittsburgh’s offense is complete guesswork outside of James Conner’s role minus Jaylen Samuels (knee, out) given that UDFA Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges is slated to make his first career start under center.

*Coach Anthony Lynn has already confirmed Hunter Henry (knee, questionable) would play limited snaps if available. His return to the lineup is more an alarm to scramble for him everywhere in season-long than start him immediately.

  

Monday Night
Lions @ Packers

*It’s still early, but it sounds as if both T.J. Hockenson (concussion) and No. 1 corner Darius Slay (hamstring) are trending towards playing. Hockenson remains a low-end TE1 if he’s out there.

*With Jamaal Williams upgraded to probable mid-week, Aaron Jones isn’t the worst fade in single-game DFS slates given his decreased 52.9 snap rate in the three games the former’s played (compared to 75.1 in Jones’ last two). Jones is an obvious RB2 in season-low no matter Williams' involvement. Packers three-wide sets were firmly divvied between Marquez Valdes Scantling (68 snaps), Geronimo Allison (62) and Jake Kumerow (48) without Davante Adams (toe, out) in Week 5, which should continue against the Lions. Allison notably led all from the slot with an 18 percent target share.

 

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