The Eagles can’t seem to avoid the injury bug in their defense of a Super Bowl title. At first it was Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery trying to get back on the field after ACL and shoulder surgeries, respectively. Wentz debuted Week 3, and Jeffery was back in Week 4. In the meantime, Philadelphia has also been dealing with injuries to RBs Darren Sproles (hamstring), who hasn’t played since Week 1, and Corey Clement (quad), who has missed the past two games. Mike Wallace suffered a broken leg somewhere in the middle. Now, it’s Jay Ajayi who is on the shelf and done for the year after tearing his ACL last week against the Vikings. Ajayi left for a few snaps midway through the game with a knee injury but later returned and finished it out. So, it definitely came as a shock on Monday when it was learned that Ajayi suffered the ACL tear.
Ajayi has a history of knee problems dating back to the pre-draft process when he was coming out of Boise State in 2015. It was reported he had a chronic issue with his right knee after tearing that ACL in 2011. Some teams removed him completely from their draft boards in fear of Ajayi’s knee not having longevity. The 25-year-old has never played a full 16-game season, but his right knee has held up for the most part outside of some issues in Miami with him needing days off practice. The knee he tore his ACL in this past week was his left one. With Ajayi now out, Sproles still not practicing, and the Eagles left with Clement, Wendell Smallwood, and UDFA Josh Adams, trade winds have been blowing a bit around Philly with the Eagles being linked to some big-name backs.
Holdout Le’Veon Bell mentioned the Eagles as a possible destination last week when he talked to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, but that was before the Ajayi knee injury. Ajayi had previously been dealing with a minor back issue. The Eagles made a move with DT Fletcher Cox’s contract on Monday, freeing up several millions of dollars in cap space, signaling a trade may be in the works. Many immediately went back to Bell as the answer. But ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday night that the Eagles had “no plans” to pursue a Bell trade. It would cost a lot both in dollars and draft picks. On Tuesday, WIVB Buffalo’s Josh Reed reported the Eagles have reached out to the Bills about acquiring former Eagles great LeSean McCoy. This move would make a ton of sense for the Eagles. McCoy is already familiar with the offense after starring in ex-coach Andy Reid’s offense in Philly, and current coach Doug Pederson was on that staff and is a disciple of Reid. McCoy is 30 years old and very much on his last legs, but he does have good football left to give if put in the right situation. That right situation is not the current Bills team he’s on at the moment going through a rebuild in an offense that has shown zero ability to throw the ball or block well enough in the ground game. If McCoy were to be traded, his fantasy value would skyrocket. It’s a situation to watch closely ahead of the deadline.
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Jaguars Shuffle the Deck in the Backfield
The Jaguars have been without Leonard Fournette (hamstring) for the majority of the season. They tried to bring him back too soon from his first hamstring pull suffered in Week 1, and he promptly re-injured it in Week 4 and has been out ever since with no clear timetable for return. It’s been the T.J. Yeldon show the past couple games. Last Sunday, then-No. 2 RB Corey Grant suffered a Lisfranc injury in his foot and is done for the season. That left Brandon Wilds as the only other healthy runner behind Yeldon. Wilds was waived on Tuesday; David Williams was signed off the Broncos’ practice squad; and Jamaal Charles was signed to a one-year deal as veteran insurance. Charles didn’t appear to have much left in Denver last year and doesn’t figure to become relevant in fantasy should Yeldon remain healthy. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero confirmed Yeldon will remain “the guy” for the Jags while Fournette is out. He’ll be a rock-solid RB2 this coming Sunday in Dallas.
Rams Hopeful on Cooks and Kupp
Coach Sean McVay said he is “hopeful” both Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp will be cleared from their concussions in time to play this week against the Broncos. Cooks took a devastating blow to the head from Seahawks S Tedric Thompson in the Week 5 win, while most remain clueless as to when Kupp was concussed. Cooks’ concussion history is rather scary after he was lit up in last season’s Super Bowl. He seems like the lengthier long shot of the two to play in Denver. With Cooks and Kupp out for the entirety of the second half last week, sophomore WR Josh Reynolds played an expanded role, turning three touches into 49 yards on one series. He’d immediately enter the WR4 mix if both Cooks and Kupp miss this game. Gerald Everett, a second-year tight end, also played more, operating as a big slot and seeing a couple more looks than normal, catching all three of his targets for 24 yards. Everett could enter the streaming mix at a hollowed-out tight end position.
Quarterback & Running Back Quick Slants
Saquon Barkley isn’t on the injury report this week after taking a weird spill toward the end of last week’s loss to the Panthers. He says he had a “random back spasm” on the play, and there’s not believed to be anything else going on. Barkley is an every-week RB1. … Titans released QB Austin Davis. With Blaine Gabbert back healthy, he’ll step back in as Marcus Mariota’s backup. … Bengals waived RB Thomas Rawls. Mark Walton will be Joe Mixon’s backup until Giovani Bernard (knee) is ready to return. … Adrian Peterson suffered a strained shoulder in the Monday night loss to the Saints but is not expected to miss any time. … Deshaun Watson is day to day with a chest injury. We should know more about him on Wednesday or Thursday. … Bills signed backup QB Derek Anderson. … Jordan Howard said he wasn’t frustrated with his reduced role in Week 4 against the Bucs when his touches were dialed back in favor of Tarik Cohen, who had a huge game. Howard should remain a back-end RB2, but Cohen is picking up steam as an upside RB3/FLEX play.
Wide Receiver & Tight End Quick Slants
Doug Baldwin expressed frustration after seeing just one target in the Week 5 loss to the Rams. Seattle attempted just 21 passes that afternoon and have passed on a league-low 42.93% of their plays over the last three weeks. The Bills are the only other team under 50% in that span. Baldwin is a real tough sell as a fantasy start at the moment. … Titans released WR Nick Williams after he dropped a short touchdown in the Week 5 loss to the Bills. … Evan Engram (knee) was limited in Tuesday’s practice. He has a shot to return Thursday night against the Eagles. … Free agent TE Clive Walford worked out for the Bengals. Both Tyler Eifert (I.R.) and Tyler Kroft are injured, while C.J. Uzomah picked up the snaps last week.