Week 8 brought us another round of significant injuries to big names around the league. Additionally, there is a COVID situation we’re following that could have further ramifications for the upcoming Thursday night game. Let’s dive into these situations.
Thursday Night Football
San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo – Out with an ankle injury
– Nick Mullens
George Kittle – Out with a foot injury
– Ross Dwelley / Jordan Reed
Deebo Samuel – Likely Out with a hamstring injury
– Brandon Aiyuk
– Kendrick Bourne
The San Francisco 49ers are limping – literally – into Thursday Night Football as they’re down their starting quarterback, starting tight end, top wide receiver, and top running back (Raheem Mostert). Unfortunately for them, Garoppolo and Kittle both have landed on the IR and are expected to miss quite a bit of time. Kittle himself will be out for at least 8 weeks. Nick Mullens was awful in his last start and got benched in favor of C.J. Beathard but it’ll be Mullens who gets the start this Thursday. Kittle and Samuel out opens up a significant amount of the target tree, and the expectation is that Brandon Aiyuk will benefit the most as he’ll be operating as the WR1 in this offense. Kendrick Bourne generated a season-high 10 targets in week 8 and will continue to hold value moving forward. Jordan Reed should be returning soon from the IR, but until then, it’ll be Ross Dwelley who fills the TE role for the 49ers. Dwelley hasn’t played a big role as a pass-catcher given that he’s had to play behind Kittle, but he’ll likely have a role in that department moving forward. Dwelley saw 4 targets in week 8.
The 49ers backfield has been hampered by injuries every week this season. Coming into week 9, they’ll be without Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., and potentially Tevin Coleman, who returned last week and was seen limping to the sidelines. Coleman didn’t return. JaMycal Hasty led the team in carries in week 8 and he’ll very likely do so again on Thursday with Jerick McKinnon backing him up.
Green Bay Packers
A.J. Dillon – Out due to COVID-19
Aaron Jones – Questionable with a calf injury
Jamal Williams – Iffy due to being in close contact with Dillon
There’s a scenario in which all three of the Green Bay Packers’ running backs are ruled out for Thursday’s game. We already know that A.J. Dillon isn’t playing due to testing positive for COVID-19, but Jamal Williams was in close contact with Dillon and is now a real question mark to play. Aaron Jones didn’t practice at all last week. The best-case scenario for the Packers is that Jones is able to return and Williams tests negative for the virus, but obviously there’s no guarantee that either will happen. IF both Jones and Williams are out, Tyler Ervin would be forced into heavy playing time and Dexter Williams would need to be called up from the practice squad. Ervin typically serves as a scatback but the Packers would need him to be much more than that depending on who’s available in the backfield for this game.
Kenyan Drake – Out with an ankle injury
– Chase Edmonds ($6,800 DK/$6,700 FD)
– Eno Benjamin ($4,000 DK/$4,500 FD)
With Kenyan Drake ruled out for at least week 9, Chase Edmonds easily emerges as a top 10 running back with a clear upside path of getting into the top 5. Edmonds was already an established part of the passing offense, posting a 13.6% market share of targets this season. With Drake out, though, he gets to command ~50% of the Cardinals’ rushing attempts. Edmonds’ price tag saw a spike during the Cardinals’ bye week but it’s not going to keep him from being one of the most valuable plays in the slate as his workload easily projects to be one of the most favorable ones you’ll find in all of football. Rookie Eno Benjamin hasn’t played a single snap this season but should see some semblance of value via a backup role with Drake sidelined.
Kenny Golladay – Out with a hip injury
– Marvin Jones Jr. ($5,100 DK/$6,100 FD)
– Marvin Hall ($3,800 DK/$4,600 FD)
– T.J. Hockenson ($5,100 DK/$6,000 FD)
Golladay has been ruled out for week 9 and is officially week-to-week with a hip injury. As long as Marvin Jones Jr. isn’t traded (deadline is Thursday), he’ll serve as the de facto WR1 in the Lions’ offense as long as Golladay is sidelined. Golladay being out means a team-high 23% market share of targets has to be spread out so Jones Jr. is certainly not the lone beneficiary. Marvin Hall played a season-high 68% of snaps last week with Golladay leaving the game in the first half. Hall and Danny Amendola are the WR punts to keep in mind ahead of their matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. T.J. Hockenson saw a team-high 10 targets last week and he should be neck and neck with Jones Jr. for the team lead in market share of targets moving forward.
Calvin Ridley – Likely Out with a foot sprain
– Julio Jones ($7,200 DK/$8,200 FD)
– Russell Gage ($4,500 DK/$5,400 FD)
– Hayden Hurst ($4,100 DK/$5,600 FD)
With Calvin Ridley likely out for week 9, it’ll be the Julio Jones show. Ridley got hurt in week 13 in 2019 and Jones went on to generate 20, 15 and 13 targets through 3 games. For those keeping score at home – that adds up to 48 targets in a span of 3 games. Ridley got hurt in week 8 this season and Jones led the team with 10 targets. His pricing hasn’t changed much with Ridley potentially out, which makes this an even better investment. Hurst (second highest market share of targets in Atlanta) and Gage are going to have to pick up extra targets in Ridley’s absence as well, and Oladime Zaccheus could see a bit more playing time.
Other Injuries We’re Tracking
Christian McCaffrey – Expected back this week
Jonathan Taylor – Questionable with an ankle injury
– Jonathan Wilkins saw 21 touches in week 8 while Nyheim Hines saw 10 touches; 5 of those were targets and he scored 2 receiving touchdowns. Both Wilkins and Hines would be in line for much bigger roles if Taylor is ruled out.
Chris Carson – Questionable; Carlos Hyde – Doubtful
– DeeJay Dallas played 79.4% of snaps last week and generated 23 touches (5 targets) with both Carson and Hyde out. He’ll be the primary beneficiary if the same context plays out in week 9.
Mark Ingram – Questionable
– J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards would lead the Ravens’ backfield once again if Ingram is unable to play in week 8. Dobbins played a season-high 65.8% of snaps with Ingram sidelined last week and has impressed all season long as the rookie is averaging 6.7 YPC.
Gardner Minshew – Ruled Out
– Jake Lutton will start.
T.Y. Hilton – Questionable
– Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson and Michael Pittman Jr. will handle the WR reps if Hilton is out.
Tim Patrick – Questionable
-Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler and DaeSean Hamilton will be the available WRs if Patrick is out once again.
Devonta Freeman – Questionable
– Wayne Gallman was the starting RB for the Giants in week 8 and would likely be the starter again in week 9 while Alfred Morris would play a backup role if Freeman is unable to suit up.