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Inside the Tent - Week 8 NFL Injury Insight

The Patriots RB that gets goal line and red zone carries is insanely valuable in fantasy football. When Rex Burkhead was put on IR, it was officially Sony Michel's backfield as far as carries were concerned. James White will always be a PPR monster but Michel was rewarding those who drafted him and stuck with him. Unfortunately though, in Week 7, he got his left leg twisted underneath him by a defender, left the game, and didn't return. Fellow AFC East running back, LeSean McCoy, left Week 7 with a concussion while Melvin Gordon surprised everyone by not playing across the pond against the Titans. These injuries and more will be covered below in this week's edition of Inside the Tent!

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you guys, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student, graduating in May. About a year ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for three years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed. Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest breaking NFL news updates.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!


Inside the Tent Updates

Leonard Fournette, RB - Jacksonville Jaguars

I’m going to start charging rent to Fournette for being on this list for so long with his hamstring strain. Week 7 saw T.J. Yeldon have the backfield practically all to himself once again. He wasn’t effective on the ground, rushing 12 times for 28 yards but in PPR leagues he was more valuable catching five of seven targets for 40 yards and a touchdown. The newest Jacksonville running back, Carlos Hyde, will likely be more involved in Week 8 so the distribution is difficult to predict at this point. Hyde will likely handle early-down work until Fournette returns in Week 10 (hopefully) and Yeldon will catch passes on third down and when they are behind.

Dalvin Cook, RB - Minnesota Vikings

Cook sat once again in Week 7 and will likely be out until Week 11 according to ESPN reports. This was a disappointing season for Cook as he looked to bounce back after suffering an ACL tear in 2017. He suffered a hamstring strain in Week 2 during an overtime game with the Packers. Following the injury, it was reported he was “fine” and he would “definitely” be ready to play Week 4 against the Rams. He did indeed play but in the process re-aggravated his hamstring and here we are a month later. Latavius Murray will continue to pound the rock for the Vikings until Cook returns.

Marshawn Lynch, RB - Oakland Raiders

Lynch was placed on the IR by the Raiders after undergoing surgery to repair a groin/core muscle injury. Given the “core muscle” designation, this could be a sports hernia and adding to this hypothesis, Lynch has had one in the past when he played with the Seahawks. The Raiders’ medical team likely considers surgery necessary because this is not the first time this has happened. With Lynch on the IR, HC Jon Gruden has called Doug Martin a “feature back: and will handle the majority of the work for the struggling Raiders.

Giovani Bernard, RB - Cincinnati Bengals

Bernard is still dealing with a sprained MCL and is in danger of missing Week 8 as well. He did not practice on Wednesday but if he is able to practice in some fashion Thursday or Friday, he could be eased back into the Bengals offense in Week 8 and give Joe Mixon some well deserved rest. Bernard’s value will obviously be capped given Mixon’s role in the offense.

Cooper Kupp, WR - Los Angeles Rams

Kupp has been deemed “doubtful” for Week 8 against the Packers by HC Sean McVay but he is reportedly making good progress following a sprained MCL in Week 6. The play he got injured on looked scary and it definitely seemed like some ligamentous damage was a possibility. Luckily though, Kupp escaped with only a sprain and seems to be on the path to return in Week 9.

T.Y. Hilton, WR - Indianapolis Colts

Hilton was able to suit up in Week 7 after a hamstring strain and chest injury kept him out for the previous two weeks. He rewarded fantasy owners catching all four of his targets for 25 yards and two touchdowns. Look for Hilton to return to putting up huge yardage numbers in Week 8 against a suspect Raiders secondary.

Quincy Enunwa, WR - New York Jets

Enunwa sat out Week 7 with a high ankle sprain and it seems like he may sit out Week 8 as well. High ankle sprains can be tough to come back quickly from and are almost always a multi week ordeal. The Jets and QB Sam Darnold will welcome their big possession receiver back with open arms; hopefully in Week 9. Jermaine Kearse will likely be the Jets’ #1 WR in Week 8 considering Robby Anderson’s ankle sprain.

Geronimo Allison, WR - Green Bay Packers

Following the Packers’ bye week, Allison was able to turn in limited practices in Tuesday and Wednesday which puts him on track to play against the Rams this week. He is recovering from a hamstring strain so re-aggravation is always a concern. If he can play in Week 8 without tweaking it though, it is all systems go in one of the NFL’s most prolific passing offenses thanks to Aaron Rodgers.

Evan Engram, TE - New York Giants

Engram was able to play in Week 7 after recovering from a sprained MCL. He caught two of his four targets for 16 yards and generally disappointed anyone who was depending on him for some Monday Night Football magic. His four targets were behind Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, and Sterling Shepard in an inconsistent New York passing attack.


Week 8 Injury Updates

Melvin Gordon, RB - Los Angeles Chargers

  • Injury: Gordon is dealing with a hamstring strain and will be considered week to week. The hamstrings are located on the back of the thigh and help athletes accelerate as well as slow down. Hamstring strains can be easily re-aggravated so care must be taken not to bring a player back too soon.
  • News: Fantasy owners got a surprise Friday night when Gordon was downgraded to questionable for the Chargers’ game in London against the Titans. Considering this, owners had to either play it safe and set their lineup without Gordon in it or wake up and check the injury report. Ultimately, Gordon was OUT for the game and Austin Ekeler handled a larger volume of touches.
  • Outlook: This is a true “wait and see” scenario as the Chargers are on bye in Week 8 and we likely won’t know anything about Gordon’s status until Monday or Tuesday. He will likely be limited in practice to start the week though and if he misses Week 9. Austin Ekeler will once again step in and handle a larger volume of touches.

Sony Michel, RB - New England Patriots

  • Injury: Michel got his left knee twisted underneath him by a Bears defender and is dealing with a sprained MCL. The MCL, or medial collateral ligament, runs along the inside of the knee and helps to provide stability to the knee joint.
  • News: The video of this injury was worrisome and like Cooper Kupp’s injury, I definitely thought a torn ligament was the result. Thankfully though, Michel, a promising rookie out of Georgia, avoided structural damage and is considered “week to week” at this time. Michel has not practiced all week.
  • Outlook: Michel is trending towards missing Week 8 and his practice status leading up to Week 9 will be something to monitor. A two-week absence is not out of the question and depends on the severity of the sprain as well as the amount of swelling or effusion within the joint. Michel has had knee troubles as recently as training camp so the Patriots may be cautious with him. With him sidelined, James White is locked in as an RB1 in PPR formats and high-end RB2 in standard leagues based on his involvement in the passing game. Kenjon Barner is a sneaky add if you’re desperate for RB help.

LeSean McCoy, RB - Buffalo Bills

  • Injury: McCoy left Week 7 with a concussion after a blow to the head. Obviously, a concussion is the result of a blow to the head and the subsequent chemical changes cause the typical signs and symptoms of a concussion including headaches, nausea, sensitivity to light, dizziness, and confusion.
  • News: McCoy did not return to the game in Week 7 and is officially in concussion protocol. With that being said, McCoy will need to be cleared by an independent neurological consultant to ensure he is safe to return to football activities. McCoy was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday but as of Saturday morning still remains in concussion protocol.
  • Outlook: If McCoy does not get cleared this week, Chris Ivory will likely handle the majority of the Buffalo carries. The Bills will likely be playing in a negative game script though so Marcus Murphy could be a dart throw after catching five passes for 17 yards and rushing four times for 53 yards in Week 7.

Royce Freeman, RB - Denver Broncos

  • Injury: Freeman is indeed dealing with a high ankle sprain. High ankle sprains commonly involve the anterior tibiofibular ligament which connects the shin bone (tibia) and the bone that runs along the outside of the leg (fibula) just above the ankle. These sprains typically require a few weeks for return to play.
  • News: HC Vance Joseph told reporters the Friday after Thursday Night Football that Freeman was day to day, suggesting it was not a high ankle sprain but that was not correct. Freeman did not practice Wednesday at all which suggests the high ankle sprain is something to be concerned about. It was reported that Freeman is indeed OUT for Week 8 against the Chiefs.
  • Outlook: With Freeman potentially missing multiple weeks, Phillip Lindsay is a must start and a solid RB2. Lindsay finally has the backfield to himself as far as carries are concerned while Devontae Booker will break up the party and catch some passes out of the backfield.

Robby Anderson, WR - New York Jets

  • Injury: Anderson got tangled up with cornerback Xavier Woods during their Week 7 matchup with the Vikings. Both players left the game and Anderson is reportedly dealing with an ankle injury. In all likelihood, Anderson sustained a mid-ankle sprain which could be week to week.
  • News: Anderson left the game and did not return and did not practice on Wednesday. His status for Week 8 is looking bleak at the moment considering he was not able to practice at all this week. Consider him doubtful for Week 8 with Jermaine Kerse leading the Jets passing attack.
  • Outlook: With Anderson missing Week 8, the newly-signed Rishard Matthews will look to make the most of his opportunity with the Jets and their depleted wide receiver corps. A less risky play would be Jermaine Kearse considering he’s already had a role on the team.

Keke Coutee, WR - Houston Texans

  • Injury: Coutee is dealing with a hamstring strain. The hamstring muscle group runs along the back of the leg and helps athletes accelerate as well as slow down. When muscles are stretched beyond their normal length, unexpectedly, they can strain.
  • News: He has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football. In his absence, DeAndre Hopkins caught six of seven targets for 82 yards and 2 TD and Will Fuller caught five of six targets for 124 yards and a TD. Fuller left the game though with a knee injury and it was confirmed Friday that he had torn his ACL.
  • Outlook: With Coutee out, look for Desean Watson to spread the ball down field to DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Coutee is the short and intermediate-range target to compliment Fuller and Hopkins who do more of their damage downfield. Hopkins is one of the best in the NFL though so look for him to get more underneath targets and get yards after the catch.

Give me a follow on Twitter at @FFAchesAilments - Check back next week and all season for insight regarding fantasy's biggest injuries!

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