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DFS: Injury Report and Breakdown

Today the DFS Injury Report and Breakdown will be a doozy as player health was hit hard in Week 14. To make matters worse, many of those players (i.e. D.J. Chark who is unlikely to be active this week) have been staples in DFS lineups for most of 2019.

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Yikes.

https://twitter.com/FFStudentDoc/status/1204594954636582912?s=20

Nevertheless, these injuries shake up the fade/play landscape which means new opportunities exist to gain leverage on the field. I’ll walk you through a brief-to-the-point injury analysis of each DFS relevant player injury, how it might affect their performance, and what to expect from them in Week 15. Later in the week, I’ll give updates on players who have a chance to return after extended absences such as JuJu Smith-Schuster, Adam Thielen, and James Conner. Note that all of the following prices are from DraftKings.

Mark Andrews ($8,400)

Andrews’ contusion situation is frustrating for DFS players as showdown slates are already super thin and difficult to navigate. Even though he’s trending in the right direction, Andrews being active and subsequently productive is no guarantee as contusions are extremely painful. To further complicate things, the Ravens have clinched a playoff berth and have nothing to play for, so why would they rush him back? The bottom line is that Andrews being active and productive is not a slam dunk, so monitor the inactive leading up to Thursday night and consider Hayden Hurst and/or Nick Boyle in tournament plays. If Andrews is active, he’s also a tournament play.

Ryan Griffin ($2,200)

Griffin falls into a group of usable tournament tight ends from week to week, so his injury isn’t exactly inconsequential. The short and long of it is this: don’t expect him to be active and if he is, don’t expect much production from him. He’s missed practice two days in a row now. Fade the entire Jets offense in this spot (except for Le’Veon Bell ($9,400) in tournaments).

Noah Fant ($4,100)

Speaking of not a slam dunk to play, Noah Fant injured his ankle on Sunday and reportedly now has significant bruising and pain. My hypotheses is that he suffered an eversion ankle sprain (the opposite direction of when you think of “rolling” your ankle) and is not a lock to suit up against Kansas City. Much like Mark Andrews, if Fant is active, he’s not guaranteed to produce as his ankle injuries make each step painful. Jeff Heuerman ($2,600), his backup, is a deep tournament play if Fant can’t go as the Chiefs are ranked in the bottom 10 in defending the tight end.

Jared Cook ($4,600)/DeVante Parker ($6,400)

Next on the DFS Injury Report and Breakdown are two players who suffered concussions last week. I’m grouping them together as neither of them has had more than one concussion previously. Cook has had only one other documented concussion in his career and Parker hasn’t had any. This matters because the medical literature tells us that only after the third concussion does symptoms of concussion and overall recovery time significantly stall. Parker and Cook should both be active and are smash cash plays against the lowly Colts and Giants secondaries respectively.

Update: Both Parker and Cook have practiced in a limited fashion as they make their way through the concussion protocol. What that means is that every day at practice a member of the medical staff re-evaluates them based on a series of tests and measures ranging from concentration to headaches and their ability to track moving objects with their eyes. As I mentioned before, Cook has only one concussion in his past and Parker has none. Unless there is something missing in their history, I’m relatively confident Parker is active and more confident Cook will be active as well given the extra day he has to recover. The flip side here is that neither are cash plays because there is risk for another concussion for both.

Jameis Winston ($6,900)

Winston has a hairline fracture in his thumb on his throwing hand. However, it’s a good sign that he re-entered the game in the second half, and it’s an even better sign that he threw three touchdowns following the injury. Even though the fracture is minor, pain/swelling/painful gripping is very much still in play for Winston this week making him a more volatile play than usual (which isn’t really saying much). Just keep in mind that if you start him, Ryan Griffin (the Bucs backup quarterback, not the Jets’ starting eight ends) taking over at some point mid-game is very much within the realm of possibilities. Winston is a cash fade for me this week, but I would consider sprinkling him into tournaments conservatively.

D.J. Chark ($6,200)

Chark was reportedly wearing a walking boot and using a push scooter. This is concerning because those scooters are reserved for dislocations and serious fractures. Now, some teams are pretty dramatic when it comes to protecting injuries, but I’m convinced that Chark’s injury is legitimate as he didn’t practice on Wednesday. The Jaguars entire organization is a dumpster fire right now and the quarterback situation volatile. However, somebody has to catch passes so Dede Westbrook ($4,600) is a cheap tournament play who has been averaging eight targets per game over the last four weeks.

Josh Jacobs ($7,00)

Josh Jacobs’ situation is one of the most bizarre injury situations of the 2019 season. Last week it was revealed that Jacobs has a fractured shoulder and he was inactive. However, for whatever reason the general consensus on Wednesday is that he’s a slam dunk to be active and productive. This is not the case (see my tweet below). As of now, Jacobs is still not a slam dunk to play as a running back needs to be able to take full and repeated contact without further damage. Follow me on twitter for updates on Jacobs. Regardless of his status, Jacobs is a very volatile cash game option this week as the matchup is very enticing.

Update: Jacobs continues to be limited in practice on Thursday and Gruden will not commit to him being active on Sunday. At this point Jacobs has a chance at playing but the Raiders will take it slow. With nothing left to play for in 2019 and as a centerpiece for the franchise moving forward, I would not be surprised if Jacobs sits this week as well to prevent further damage to the shoulder. I’ll be much more optimistic if he gets in a full contact practice in on Friday.

https://twitter.com/FFStudentDoc/status/1204861244471226371?s=20

Additions

James Conner

Conner is returning (again) from a sternoclavicular injury he originally suffered in Week Eight and then again in Week 11. He resumed full practice activity this week, but I’m not confident he can stay healthy. This injury is one that can be recurring as the stability of the joint itself is never the same. In other words, Conner is on my “prove it” list before using him in cash games. The risk of re-injury is still elevated for him.

T.Y. Hilton

Hilton began practicing again this week in a limited fashion which theoretically opens the door for him to play on Sunday. However, this recurring calf injury is one that is not going away as evidenced by his poor performance in Week 12 and subsequent inactive in Week 13 and 14. The calf muscle is crucial in pushing off of the ground to sprint and jump, making Hilton a fade in all formats even if he’s active. My hope is that the Colts sit him as a calf injury hypothetically increases the risk for an achilles rupture. There’s no reason to risk that at this point in the season for Indi.

Thank you for reading the DFS Injury Report and Breakdown. As I mentioned earlier, I’ll discuss players who have a chance to return from extended absences later this week (potentially even today). This is definitely a week in which you’ll want to keep up with my updates so, bookmark this page, check back periodically, and follow me on twitter here. Good luck!

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Featured image courtesy of Merson.

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