As the bye weeks keep rolling on, player news and practice reports become more important to weekly roster maintenance and fantasy decisions. Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, and Green Bay are all on byes this week, leaving the fantasy landscape a little more bare than usual as each team on bye features two or more prominent fantasy commodities.
Per usual, keep tabs on the Player News Page as we get deeper into the week and more information becomes available.
At press time, Week 7 is shaping up to be a relatively light week for injury news. Let’s get to it.
The big story of the week is Ben Roethlisberger’s (knee) health. Succinctly, Big Ben is still doubtful to play in Week 7 against the Chiefs. However, after practice on Wednesday Roethlisberger mentioned, he “threw the ball really well” and was “relatively pain free.” The key word there: “relatively.” If Ben continues to respond well to treatment and the Steelers’ medical staff feels comfortable letting him play at less than 100%, there is a non-zero chance we see Roethlisberger suit up against the Chiefs. If he does play, he’ll get a chance to torch one of the league’s worst secondaries. Kansas City is currently 28th in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA and are allowing the 6th most fantasy points per attempt to opposing signal callers. Check back Thursday and Friday for more updates.
In more quarterback news… Marcus Mariota (knee) said that there was a “pretty good chance” he’ll play in Week 7 against the Falcons. He did not participate in practice on Wednesday. We’ll see if Mariota practices – even on a limited basis – on Thursday or Friday, but for now it’s smart to be skeptical if Mariota will be available in Week 7. Zach Mettenberger would start in place of Mariota if he were inactive.
Washington tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) returned to practice on Wednesday, albeit on a limited basis. It’s an excellent sign for his Week 7 availability after Reed has remained in the league’s concussion protocol for the last two weeks. With DeSean Jackson (hamstring) likely out again this week, Reed is set to reassume his target hog role in Washington’s attack. In his four healthy games, Reed has averaged 8.5 targets per-game, the fourth most among tight ends.
Dez Bryant did not practice on Wednesday as he continues to rehab his surgically repaired foot. Bryant is able to run in straight lines, but has not resumed cutting yet. Once he is comfortable cutting again, Bryant can practice and ultimately play again. He’s extremely doubtful to go in Week 7.
Jeremy Maclin (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday. He suffered the concussion against the Vikings in Week 6 and needs to clear the league’s concussion protocol before he can return. Without Jamaal Charles (ACL) and potentially Maclin, the Chiefs offense will have to rely heavily on Travis Kelce in Week 7 against the Steelers. Albert Wilson and Chris Conley would assume starting roles at wideout if Maclin were out.
In Patriots’ news… Brandon LaFell (foot, PUP) resumed practicing on Wednesday and should be active off of the unable to perform list in Week 8 or 9. Running back Dion Lewis (abdomen) was limited on Wednesday. Lewis will be ready to go in Week 7 barring a setback, but it is worth noting he was possibly hampered by the abdomen injury against the Colts. He only received seven touches in Week 6 after seeing 13 or more touches in each prior game.
T.J. Yeldon (groin) did not practice on Wednesday. He didn’t practice at all last week, either. If Yeldon can’t practice in a limited fashion at the very least on Thursday or Friday, he will be in grave danger of not playing against the Bills’ in London on Sunday. Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart would split the workload if Yeldon is inactive for the second straight week.
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Washington is "hopeful" Matt Jones (toe) can return in Week 7. … Cecil Shorts (hamstring) will not play in Week 7; DeAndre Hopkins is already averaging an absurd 14.8 targets per-game. … Allen Robinson (leg bruise) is “OK” per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and will likely be active in Week 7 against the Bills. … Joe Haden (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday and remains in the league’s protocol. … Paul Richardson (knee, PUP) will not be activated for Week 7. … Melvin Gordon (ankle) is “good to play” in Week 7. … Michael Vick (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday. … Stevie Johnson (hamstring) returned to Chargers practice on Wednesday. … Finally, Justin Forsett (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday.