Week 8 of the NFL season is here, and the Rotoworld crew has everything you need to cash in a winning week. Patrick Daugherty answers your lineup questions with his Week 8 Rankings, Nick Mensio tells you who to start and who to fade in Start’ Em or Sit ‘Em, and Evan Silva breaks down every matchup in his award-winning Matchups Column.
As for me, I am 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 also occasionally tweet about football @RMSummerlin.
Lions vs Chiefs in London
* Jeremy Maclin (concussion) is probable after being held out of last week’s game. He is a good play against the sixth-worst defense against fantasy wide receivers. Tamba Hali is listed as questionable with a knee injury, but he got in full practices Thursday and Friday. Mike DeVito (concussion) and Ben Grubbs (neck) are out.
* Brandon Pettigrew (knee, elbow) should return after being listed as probable. Pettigrew will cost Eric Ebron snaps, but Ebron is still a low-end TE1. LaAdrian Waddle (knee) is questionable and DeAndre Levy (hip) is out.
49ers @ Rams
* Tre Mason (ankle) returned to a full practice Friday but is listed as questionable. He is nothing more than a handcuff for Todd Gurley even when healthy. William Hayes (thigh), T.J. McDonald (shoulder) and Robert Quinn (knee) are questionable. Chris Long (knee) is out.
* Carlos Hyde (foot) has been ruled out with a midfoot stress fracture in his left foot. The injury reportedly can heal with rest, but Hyde has been playing through the fracture for at least the last two weeks. He could be held out through the Week 10 bye. Reggie Bush played the most snaps of the backup options last week and is expected to start, but he is not an every-down option. Rookie Mike Davis should handle some of the early-down and the short-yardage work. Neither player is a worthwhile fantasy option against the Rams. Anquan Boldin (hamstring) missed practice Friday and is listed as questionable, but he said there is “no doubt” he will play. The Rams DST is the premier DFS cash play this week.
Cardinals @ Browns
* Josh McCown (throwing shoulder) is listed as questionable after getting in limited practices Thursday and Friday. McCown is expected to start, but Mike Pettine indicated he would be willing to sub in Johnny Manziel if McCown struggles with the injury. Uncertain to finish the game and in a tough matchup, McCown can be left on the bench. Tashaun Gipson (ankle) is questionable, but he plans to play. With Joe Haden (concussion, probable) also expected back, the Browns’ secondary should be in better shape. Craig Robertson (ankle) is questionable. Jordan Poyer (shoulder), Rob Housler (hamstring) and Andrew Hawkins (concussion) are out.
* John Brown (hamstrings) came back for a limited practice Friday and is listed as questionable. Coach Bruce Arians said the upcoming bye week will have no bearing on Brown’s status, and the official website reported the team is in “wait and see” mode. Brown sounds like he will be a true game-time decision. Michael Floyd will be an upside WR3 play if Brown sits. Brittan Golden (groin) and Jerraud Powers (hamstring) are also questionable. Darren Fells (shoulder) and Alex Okafor (calf) are out.
Titans @ Texans
* J.J. Watt (back) is questionable but fully expected to play. Brandon Brooks (toe) and Charles James (foot) are also questionable. With Cecil Shorts (hamstring) out, Nate Washington should again have a big role. Akeem Dent (hamstring), Kareem Jackson (ankle), Greg Mancz (knee) and Benardrick McKinney (concussion) are also out.
* Marcus Mariota will miss another game with a sprained MCL. There is some hope he can return next week. Zach Mettenberger will get another start and is an interesting streaming option in a great matchup. With Harry Douglas (ribs) out again, Justin Hunter and Dorial Green-Beckham should play more snaps, but neither is a trustable fantasy option. Andy Gallik (concussion) and Jason McCourty (hamstring) are questionable. Perrish Cox (hamstring) is out.
Vikings @ Bears
* Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal and Jay Cutler are no longer listed on the injury report. Jermon Bushrod (shoulder), Bruce Gaston (illness), Hroniss Grasu (neck) and Antrel Rolle (ankle) are questionable. Shea McClellin (knee) is doubtful.
* Adrian Peterson (hip, finger, ankle) returned to practice Friday and is listed as probable. Audie Cole (finger), Sharrif Floyd (knee, ankle), Justin Trattou (foot) and Rhett Ellison (concussion) are out.
Bucs @ Falcons
* Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) has been ruled out and Nick Williams (hamstring) is questionable. Roddy White should see a bump in targets, and rookie Justin Hardy will make his NFL debut. William Moore (groin) is out.
* Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) is listed as doubtful despite practicing on a limited basis all week. With Vincent Jackson (knee, doubtful) also out, Mike Evans should be fed as many targets as he can handle. Evans is a must play in DFS. Tony McDaniel (groin), Clinton McDonald (pectoral) and Major Wright (hamstring) are also doubtful. Reid Fragel (concussion) is out.
* Odell Beckham (hamstring) practiced in full all week and is a great play in his Louisiana homecoming. Victor Cruz (calf) is out, and there is not a timetable for his return. He has been droppable for weeks. Prince Amukamara (pectoral), Owa Odighizuwa (hamstring) and J.T. Thomas (ankle) are also out. Jon Beason (ankle) is questionable, but he is unlikely to play after missing practice all week.
Bengals @ Steelers
* Ben Roethlisberger (knee, probable) will make his much-anticipated return this week. Roethlisberger will immediately slot in as a QB1, and his return represents a huge boost for Antonio Brown, who is an underpriced option on most DFS sites. Will Allen (ankle), Terence Garvin (knee), Stephon Tuitt (knee) and Michael Vick (hamstring) are out.
* Vontaze Burfict (knee, PUP) began practicing this week, but he is extremely questionable to play. Leon Hall (back) is questionable, but he got in a full practice Friday. The Bengals are perhaps the healthiest team in the league.
Chargers @ Ravens
* Steve Smith Sr. (knee) is probable after getting in a full practice Friday. He is a solid WR2 play against the Chargers’ suddenly leaky secondary. Maxx Williams (knee, ankle), Kelechi Osemele (knee), and Kendrick Lewis (knee) are questionable. Eugene Monroe (shoulder) is doubtful. Breshad Perriman (knee) is lost on an island with Marqise Lee.
* Antonio Gates (knee) is listed as questionable, but there is little chance he plays after not practicing all week. Ladarius Green will be a great streaming option as long as Gates is sidelined. Melvin Gordon (ankle) is probable, but his workload is questionable after being benched the entire first half last week. He is a desperation play at best. Sean Lissemore (hamstring) and Craig Mager (hamstring) are questionable. Eric Weddle (groin), Tourek Williams (foot), Manti Te’o (ankle) and Orlando Franklin (ankle) are out. Denzel Perryman (biceps) is doubtful.
Jets @ Raiders
* Neiron Ball (knee) is out. Every other Raider is probable or better.
* Chris Ivory was slowed by a hamstring injury against the Patriots, but he practiced in full all week and is probable. Despite his health, the likely absence of Nick Mangold (neck, doubtful) downgrades Ivory a bit. Eric Decker (knee) is questionable after getting in limited sessions Thursday and Friday. He should play, but with Devin Smith (ankle) out Jeremy Kerley will play a bigger role. Willie Colon (knee) and Buster Skrine (shoulder) are questionable. Bilal Powell (ankle) is out, meaning Zac Stacy should serve as the change-of-pace back again. Stevan Ridley (knee) could also have a role after being activated off the PUP list Friday. Calvin Pryor (ankle) is out.
Seahawks @ Cowboys
* Dez Bryant (foot) got in limited practices all week and is listed as questionable. Despite the questionable tag, Bryant is fully expected to play and said he does not expect to be on a snap count. In a tough matchup in his first game back, Bryant is more of a WR2. Joseph Randle (back) is out this week, and he is reportedly facing a suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Darren McFadden will be the lead back in Dallas for the foreseeable future. Barry Church (ankle) is questionable.
* Russell Okung is questionable for Week 8 after suffering an ankle injury in practice Thursday. He did not practice Friday and was initially listed as doubtful. It is promising he was upgraded, but he is still unlikely to play. The Seahawks have given up a league-high 31 sacks this season, and Okung is their best offensive lineman. The Dallas defense has a vicious pass rush when fully healthy, and they should cause Russell Wilson a lot of trouble even if Okung suits up. Cowboys DST is a sneaky play. Paul Richardson (knee) could be activated off the PUP list Saturday, but he will be nothing more than a situational deep threat.
Packers @ Broncos
* Emmanuel Sanders (shoulder) practiced fully Friday and is probable. Jordan Norwood is questionable after injuring his hamstring in Friday’s practice. Cody Latimer played 34 snaps against Cleveland before the bye and could play even more if Norwood sits. Ty Sambrailo (shoulder) is doubtful and Shane Ray (knee) is out.
* Davante Adams (ankle) is probable after practicing in full Friday, but he is not a recommended play against the best pass defense in the league. Ty Montgomery (ankle, questionable) did not practice all week and is unlikely to play. James Starks (hip) is questionable after getting in limited sessions Thursday and Friday. Starks is not worth a start against Denver’s suffocating defense even if he plays, but his absence would make Eddie Lacy a better RB2 play. Nick Perry (shoulder, hand), B.J. Raji (groin) and Damarious Randall (ankle) are questionable.
Colts @ Panthers
* Shaq Thompson (knee), Ryan Kalil (ankle), Mario Addison (shoulder) and Dwan Edwards (ankle) have yet to practice this week. Daryl Williams (knee) should be good to go after getting in full sessions Thursday and Friday.
* Mike Adams (hamstring) and Clayton Geathers (knee) practiced fully Friday and should be able to play. Phillip Dorsett is out at least a month with a broken ankle. Winston Guy (shoulder), Khaled Holmes (neck) and Nate Irving (knee) have not practiced this week.