Week 13 brought us a new batch of injuries across all positions and there are multiple Carolina Panthers that have either tested positive for COVID-19 or were deemed to have close contact to someone with the virus. Let’s go position by position once again and get a feel for what we’re dealing with as far as injuries are concerned for this week’s 13 game main slate.
Drew Brees – Questionable to play due to his injured ribs
– Per multiple reports, Brees “has progressed quicker than expected” and his return could come as soon as this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. His return would certainly be welcomed by fellow teammate Alvin Kamara, who’s role in the passing game has dwindled significantly. Brees and Taysom Hill are priced appropriately ahead of week 14.
Daniel Jones – Questionable to play due to a hamstring injury
– Jones practiced in a limited capacity last Friday. He’s likely more on the probable side this week though what he does at practice will ultimately determine his availability. If Jones is out once again, Colt McCoy will be the starting quarterback for the New York Giants for the second consecutive game.
Brandon Allen – Questionable to play due to a chest injury
– Ryan Finley came in relief in the second half against the Miami Dolphins due to Allen’s injury. Whether it’s Allen or Finley that starts – this offense is mostly toast though a great matchup against the Dallas Cowboys in week 14 and cheap price tags all around puts them in the tournament conversation.
Carson Wentz – Benched
– This one isn’t injury related but rather Wentz was benched on Sunday due to his poor play throughout the season. There’s a chance Jalen Hurts starts for the Philadelphia Eagles for what’s left of the season, though that hasn’t been officially confirmed. The Eagles’ offense has been in shambles for a while and while it was getting healthier, the production seemed to be lacking due to Wentz’s poor play. Hurts has a collegiate history of being a dual threat quarterback, and we’d expect more of the same at the NFL level. This upcoming matchup against the New Orleans Saints is a tough one specifically due to their ability to rush the passer, but Hurts’ price tags are cheap everywhere.
Christian McCaffrey – Expected To Play
– It sounds like McCaffrey is either at full health or close to it. If that’s the case, my expectation is that he’ll carry near a full workload on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
Antonio Gibson – Questionable to play due to a toe injury
– Antonio Gibson hurt his toe early in Monday Night’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and didn’t return. He’s now dealing with a short week as the Washington Football Team plays a West Coast game on Sunday. If Gibson misses this one, the expectation is that Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic will cover the backfield. As we saw against the Steelers, Barber can operate as the early downs back while McKissic is a key fixture of third downs. Both are cheap but Barber in particular is priced close to the minimum on both sites.
Josh Jacobs – Unlikely to play
– Coach Jon Gruden said he “doesn’t have much confidence” that Jacobs will be available against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Devontae Booker only played 42% of snaps against the New York Jets with Jacobs out but he did generate 17 touches (16 carries and 1 catch on 2 targets). Jalen Richard and Theo Riddick were also involved but not nearly enough to have a relevant Fantasy role. Richard ended up playing 41% of snaps but saw 1 target.
D’Andre Swift – Questionable to play with an illness; Kerryon Johnson is also Questionable to play due to a knee injury
– D’Andre Swift has presumably had enough time to get past his non-COVID illness though this hasn’t been confirmed. He was ruled doubtful and then out last weekend due to his illness and lack of practice availability throughout the week. If he’s ruled out once again, expect Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson (also questionable) to see all of the backfield work for the Detroit Lions. If both Swift and Johnson are out, Jonathan Williams would likely see some passing downs work.
Joe Mixon – Expected to return from IR
– The expectation is that Joe Mixon will return from the IR against the Dallas Cowboys this week. Giovani Bernard will now handle a backup role while Mixon starts.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Questionable to play due to illness
– Clyde Edwards-Helaire wasn’t listed as inactive this past Sunday but it was revealed after the game by coach Andy Reid that he was only going to play in case of emergency. Le’Veon Bell played 51.5% of snaps without Edwards-Helaire around against the Denver Broncos. Bell would be in play in DFS IF Edwards-Helaire misses more time.
Alexander Mattison – Questionable to play due to appendectomy
– Mattison is in danger of missing a second game due to his appendectomy. If that’s the case, Ameer Abdullah will have a non-Fantasy relevant role as a backup to Dalvin Cook.
Salvon Ahmed – Questionable to play due to a shoulder injury
– We’ll need all week to see the practice availability for Salvon Ahmed and the rest of the backup RBs in Miami. Matt Breida and DeAndre Washington were out last Sunday along with Ahmed, which left Myles Gaskin with a big workload, including 7 red zone opportunities. Gaskin is the main back in a Dolphins’ uniform anyway, but the availability of some of these backups could cut into some of his opportunities.
Ito Smith, Tyler Ervin and AJ Dillon are tertiary pieces to their respective backfield and are questionable to play this week.
DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel – COVID-19 List
– It sounds like DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel were deemed as close contacts to someone with COVID-19. They’ll both have an opportunity to get off the list ahead of their matchup against the Denver Broncos, but to do that they’ll need to test negative five consecutive days. If both are out, Robby Anderson could flirt with double digit targets. The return of Christian McCaffrey would be a welcomed addition as well – in both the passing and running game. Tight end Ian Thomas has been a huge disappointment in Fantasy this season and the Panthers’ depth at receiver behind their top three is ugly.
Kenny Golladay – Questionable to play due to a hip injury
– Golladay has now missed five consecutive games due to his hip ailment but the good news is that he was caught doing sprints before the game this past Sunday. It sounds like Golladay, who was never placed on IR due to this injury, is very close to returning. If he remains out this week, expect the usual suspects – Marvin Jones Jr. and T.J. Hockenson – to lead the team in targets.
Tee Higgins – Questionable to play due to a hamstring injury
– Tee Higgins was apparently hurt leaping over a defender late in the game against the Miami Dolphins. Higgins has been a consistent and vital part of the Bengals’ offense regardless of quarterback, and his absence would be felt. If he’s out, Tyler Boyd would see a boost in targets and should serve as a security blanket as a first read out of the slot for whoever quarterbacks this offense.
Jakeem Grant and Larry Fitzgerald (COVID-19 list) are questionable to this week. Fitzgerald has missed the last two games due to COVID-19.
Jonnu Smith and Irv Smith Jr. have received questionable tags this week and both were out in week 14. Anthony Firkser saw an expanded role without Smith around and he “got there” but keep in mind that the game was completely out of hand in the second half and that’s when he generated 5 of his 6 targets. With that in mind, Firkser’s projection is unlikely to be as strong this week even if Smith is ruled out. Kyle Rudolph goose egged without Irv Smith Jr. this past Sunday and he’s essentially a touchdown or bust play at this point.