As it is every week, the next three days are crucial for lineup decisions, lineup making and general roster maintenance in fantasy football. Week 4 features two teams on a bye (Titans and Patriots) and another full round of injuries to keep an eye on.
Let’s recap Wednesday’s most pertinent news.
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Bills HC Rex Ryan mentioned on Wednesday that LeSean McCoy (hamstring) “doesn’t look good (to play)” for Week 4 against the Giants. Rookie out of FSU Karlos Williams will handle the majority of the touches if McCoy is indeed inactive. Williams is a freak athlete for his height and weight. He’s 6’1”, 230 lbs and ran a 4.48 forty at the 2015 combine; that was good enough for a 94th percentile speed score from Player Profiler. Williams is an explosive and sudden back who averaged 3.8 yards per carry after contact on his 12 carries in Week 3. He’s a borderline top-10 play this week.
Continuing unfortunate Bills-related news, Rex Ryan also mentioned that he’s “not sure” if Sammy Watkins (calf) will play Week 4 against the Giants. Watkins didn’t practice on Wednesday and may be held out all week. Percy Harvin and Robert Woods would get the start if Watkins were to miss the Bills home against the Giants.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees (shoulder) said he took “most” of the first-team reps at practice on Wednesday, adding he feels “really good” about his chances of playing in Week 4 against the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Brees continued, "I'll see how the shoulder responds tomorrow and for the rest of the day. But each day I'm able to do more and more; each day I feel stronger. Each day there's more range of motion, more strength, and so that's the key." Brees was ruled out for Week 3 on Friday of last week, indicating he wasn’t really close to playing against the Panthers. He is still questionable at best for now, but at least there is clear optimism here mid-week.
Cardinals HC Bruce Arians stated on Wednesday that Andre Ellington (knee) is “50/50” to play Sunday against the Rams. Chris Johnson would start in place of Ellington again if he’s inactive, with David Johnson spelling CJ2K. Chris Johnson’s name is usually the butt of a joke, but he’s played well in Ellington’s absence. In two games against the Bears and Niners (poor run-stopping defenses) Johnson has 182 yards on his 42 carries (4.33 YPC) and 56.04% of his rushing yardage came after first contact. For what it’s worth, the Rams are currently ranked 12th in Football Outsiders’ Rush Defense DVOA. Johnson isn’t a league-winning back anymore, but he’ll be heavily involved while Ellington is nursing his PCL strain.
Continuing the theme of RBs that are “50/50” to play in Week 4, Marshawn Lynch (hamstring) is questionable to suit up for Monday Night Football. Lynch had an MRI on Monday, but the team did not provide any information on the results. Thomas Rawls would start in place of Lynch if he is indeed inactive but it’s looking like Lynch is already trending towards a game-time decision.
Davante Adams was seen around the Packers’ facilities in a walking boot for his injured left ankle on Wednesday. He didn’t practice. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport mentioned during Monday Night Football that Adams was dealing with a high ankle sprain and would “miss some time.” Early indications this week seem to point to Adams being unavailable for Week 4 in San Francisco. This would leave Ty Montgomery as the Packers’ starter opposite James Jones and Randall Cobb in the slot. Keep in mind, Green Bay’s base offense is 3-WR sets. They have run 99% of their offensive plays with three receivers out wide.
Texans reporter Tania Ganguli is “sensing a lot of optimism” about Arian Foster’s (groin) chances of playing in Week 4 against the Falcons. HC Bill O’Brien stated Wednesday that he’s anticipating a game-time decision on Foster’s availability. I’m taking O’Brien’s word with a grain of salt, but we’re close to seeing Arian Foster back on the field in 2015. With all of the carnage, missed opportunities and general lack of good play for whatever reason at the running back position, Arian Foster is a weekly top-10 option when he returns.
In Bears’ news, Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) and Jay Cutler (hamstring) both returned to practice on a limited basis on Wednesday. Jeffery is on the positive side of the questionable tag and should play, barring a setback. There probably isn’t a realistic shot Cutler plays at home against Oakland in Week 4. John Fox has a mind of his own when it comes to his teams’ practice and injury reports.
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Andrew Luck (shoulder) was limited in Wednesday’s practice; I’d wager there is a 99.5% chance Luck plays in Week 4. … Victor Cruz re-aggravated his calf injury in Wednesday’s practice and can safely be dropped in 10- and 12-team re-draft fantasy leagues. … DeSean Jackson (hamstring) remained sidelined during Wednesday’s practice. … Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday. … In the least-shocking news on the Jags’ injury report, Marqise Lee (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday. … Finally, Julius Thomas (hand) has yet to be cleared to play.