With the Fantasy Semifinals right around the corner, owners will be getting back two tremendous week-winners for Week 15. Luckily, this looks like a straightforward week on the injury front. We've got two fantasy MVPs cleared through concussion protocol, a TD machine in a walking boot, a big 2017 disappointment dealing with a nagging injury and a 2017 surprise breakout likely to return.
Let’s get to it all in Thursday’s Dose.
After leaving Week 14 after six snaps due to a concussion, Alvin Kamara is practicing in full for Week 15 and is "good to go." Barring a setback, Kamara is fully expected to play against the Jets on Sunday. Granted, the Jets have allowed the fewest YPC to opposing backs over the last five weeks (3.03) -- but the Saints run game has fared well even in unfavorable draws, and they are monstrous 16-point home-favorites over the Bryce Petty-led Gang Green. Also, if Kamara finds tough sledding on the ground this week, we know he'll find success via the air as he's caught five or more passes in five-straight full games. Kamara has only hit double-digit carries three times this year and is overdue for regression in the efficiency department, as his 6.99 YPC is the most among RBs with at least 75 carries in a single-season all-time. Still, even with just moderate volume on the Saints’ high-powered attack, Kamara has been the driving force behind many fantasy teams this year.
In other huge news for the Fantasy Semifinals, Zach Ertz (concussion) has cleared the league's protocol and appears on track to return in Week 15. It couldn't come at a better time. Granted, he'll be playing with Nick Foles as Carson Wentz (ACL) just had surgery on Wednesday, but this is an evident blowup spot for Ertz. The Giants are yielding the most YPG to enemy TEs this year (66.9) while Ertz himself has hit the G-Men for 9/152, 8/97, 2/33 and 8/55/1 in his last four games against them. Week 15 is a weak TE slate -- especially for streaming -- but Ertz's re-addition is a welcome sight.
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More tight end news: Kyle Rudolph (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday and was spotted in a walking boot after the Vikings' Week 14 loss versus the Panthers. That's not good. Rudolph has scored in four of his last five games, and his potential absence in Week 15 would further decimate a thin TE slate beyond the usual suspects. David Morgan and Blake Bell would fill in for Rudolph, should he be unable to go. The likes of Eric Ebron and Julius Thomas will possibly push the top-12 radar in Week 15. Yikes. Still, if he can suit up, Rudolph will be an obvious TE1 in Week 15 against a crumbling Bengals’ defense that just allowed 8/85/1 (on 10 targets) to Bears TEs last week.
Amari Cooper (high ankle sprain) re-injured his ankle in Week 14 and is highly unlikely to play this week on SNF vs. Dallas. Cooper did not practice on Wednesday. This is just the final straw in Cooper's 2017 campaign that has been an unmitigated disaster. He has one good game this year, in which he dropped 11/210/2 on Kansas City in Week 7. If you subtract that game from his sample, Cooper put up 28.0 YPG in his ten healthy games this year. Yikes. Still, for the first time in his career Cooper will be a buy-low candidate as he's one of 16 receivers all-time to average at least 65 YPG between ages 21 and 22. I'd bet Cooper will be a seventh-round pick in 2018 re-draft leagues. In the meantime, Michael Crabtree will continue to be the Raiders' No. 1 receiver with Cooper sidelined. Essentially without Cooper for most of Week 14, Michael Crabtree led the team in target share (32%). He's a shoo-in WR2 against Dallas' struggling secondary.
At press-time, it looks like the Rams will be getting Robert Woods (shoulder) back after a three-week absence. He hasn't played since Week 11, but he was apparently "close" to suiting up last week against the Eagles. Nevertheless, in that span without Woods, rookie Cooper Kupp (24%) has led the Rams in target share with Sammy Watkins trailing slightly behind (20%). However, in Woods' last six games before injury, he was LA's unquestioned No. 1 receiver -- catching four or more balls and hitting 65 or more yards in each game during that stretch. Woods saw 24% of Jared Goff's looks in that stretch, with Cooper Kupp the No. 2 (20%) and Sammy Watkins (12%) a distant No. 3. Even though Woods was white-hot before injury, he's still a little tricky to trust coming off of a long injury layoff in the Fantasy Semifinals.
Offensive Quick Hits
Cards’ HC Bruce Arians said he has "no idea" if Adrian Peterson (neck) will play again this season. … Joe Mixon remains in the league's concussion protocol. … Lions HC Jim Caldwell said he expects Ameer Abdullah (neck) to return Week 15 against the Bears. … Tyrod Taylor (knee) practiced on Wednesday. Kelvin Benjamin (knee) was limited. … Patriots placed RT Marcus Cannon on injured reserve with an ankle injury, ending his season. … Seahawks placed RG Oday Aboushi on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, ending his season. … Ted Ginn (ribs) didn't practice on Wednesday. … Alfred Blue (concussion) is practicing in full for Week 15 against the Jaguars. … Damien Williams (shoulder) remained sidelined at Wednesday's practice.
Defensive Quick Hits
Seahawks LBs Bobby Wagner (hamstring) and K.J. Wright (concussion) both didn’t practice Wednesday. … Steelers CB Joe Haden (leg) returned to a limited practice on Wednesday. He hasn’t played since Week 10. … Bucs’ DL Gerald McCoy (biceps) will have to play through injury to finish the year. … Jaguars WLB Telvin Smith has cleared the league's concussion protocol. … The Broncos placed S Justin Simmons on injured reserve with an ankle injury, ending his season. … Josh Norman (knee) did not practice Wednesday.