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It seems like every week another star suffers an injury. An unfortunate reality of this violent sport we all know and love. One of football’s most famous mentalities is next man up. The next man behind the starter must always be ready to step in whenever necessary. In this article I will be going over the significant injuries to fantasy starters that will keep them out of their week 13 contests. All statistics found in this article can be found at our website https://www.lineups.com/nfl.
WR Julio Jones (ATL)
Julio Jones suffered a shoulder injury after the Falcons loss to the Buccaneers last Sunday. Jones has not been able to practice so far this week. The shoulder injury he suffered could be more serious than we are let on to believe. If Jones is unable to perform this week against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, expect other players to benefit from his absence. The obvious beneficiary most people would assume is the Falcons #2 receiver, Calvin Ridley. However, this may not be the case. If Jones is out, Ridley would then have to matchup against one of the better cornerbacks in the league, Saints’ cornerback Marshon Lattimore. A challenging matchup for the second-year receiver. Although he will most likely see an uptick in targets, his matchup is much tougher without Jones in the lineup.
The biggest beneficiary will really be Russell Gage, a rookie wide receiver out of LSU drafted in the 6th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Gage has been coming on in the past few weeks. Seeing 10 targets last week against the Buccaneers, catching 8 for 76 yards. If Jones were to miss this Thursday’s game, Gage could see similar usage against the Saints’ secondary which has not been good outside of Marshon Lattimore. Tight-end Jaeden Graham will also benefit from Jones’ potential absence. Seeing just 2 targets in each of the last 2 games Graham made the most of his 2 targets last week, catching 1 for 53 yards. Graham saw a majority of the offensive snaps last week at 66% over Luke Stocker who played just 37% of the offensive snaps. A risky play due to the lack of sample size and the tough matchup against the Saints (9th against fantasy tight-ends).
The Falcons will likely be getting starting running-back Devonta Freeman back from injury this week against the Saints. Normally a poor matchup to come back to for running-backs. If Jones misses this Thursday’s game Freeman, who has made most of his fantasy points this season from the receiving game, could see a large target share out of the backfield. This Falcons team has been playing hard recently and will fight to sweep the Saints this year.
TE George Kittle (SF)
George Kittle made his return to action last week against the Packers, catching all 6 of his targets for 129 yards and a touchdown. However, the injury that he came back from is seemingly aggravated again. A serious concern for any Kittle owner out there. The clear beneficiary will be Ross Dwelley who came in for Kittle while he was out before. During that time Kittle was out a few weeks ago Dwelley performed well. Catching 4 of 5 targets for 14 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Cardinals in week 11 and 3 for 7 targets for 24 yards against the Seahawks in week 10. However, facing the Ravens (5th against fantasy tight-ends) proves to be a tough matchup for Dwelley. But if Kittle is out for this matchup against the Ravens Dwelley will certainly be involved and targeted in a similar fashion as he did during week 10 and 11.
While Kittle was out during weeks 10 and 11, Deebo Samuel saw his highest target share of the year. Seeing 11 targets in week 10 and 10 targets during week 11, having two of his best performances of the season reaching 100+ yards in both games Kittle was out. Kendrick Bourne also had his two best fantasy performances of the year, scoring 14.2 points in week 10 and 11.1 points in week 11. If Kittle is to miss this week 13 matchup against the Ravens, expect his targets to be distributed throughout this 49er’s offense.
WR Golden Tate (NYG)
Golden Tate exited his week 12 matchup against the Bears with a concussion. Failing to participate in Wednesday’s practice, his status for this week’s matchup against the Packers is up in the air. Before exiting week 12 Tate was targeted 7 times, catching 3 for 33 yards and a touchdown. If Tate is to miss this week, look to Sterling Shepard to take over the #1 wide receiver role. Shepard made his return from injury in week 12, seeing 9 targets and catching 5 for just 15 yards as well as getting 1 carry for 22 yards. A disappointing performance however the targets prove to be promising. The Giants like Shepard and want to get him the ball to make a play. Darious Slayton will be benefiting from Tates potential absence this week. Seeing 7 targets in week 12, catching 4 for 67 yards against a tough Bears defense. Slayton is the Giants big play receiver who will make plays when given the opportunity. Slayton and Shepard will face the Packers young secondary who rank 9th against opposing fantasy wide receivers.
Saquan Barkley will also benefit if Golden Tate is to miss this week. Having a disappointing fantasy season so far, Barkley just hasn’t been seeing much work in the passing game. With Tate potentially missing this week, Barkley can finally see the targets he deserves from the backfield. Barkely will also be facing a plus matchup against the Packers who rank 29th against opposing fantasy running-backs. With the Giants #1 wide receiver out, they could be inclined to run the ball more with Barkley. Barkley is a must start fantasy option no matter what, but he will finally have an opportunity to perform like he was drafted to perform.
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